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Specialize
Icon Specialize
Keyword Ability
Type Activated
Introduced Alchemy Horizons: Baldur's Gate
Last used Alchemy Horizons: Baldur's Gate
Reminder Text Specialize [cost] (Pay [cost], choose a color, discard a card of that color or associated basic land type: This creature perpetually specializes into that color. Activate only as a sorcery.)
Statistics
19 cards
{W} 21.1% {U} 21.1% {B} 15.8% {R} 21.1% {G} 21.1%
Scryfall Search
fulloracle:"Specialize"

Specialize is a designed-for-digital, MTG Arena-specific mechanic introduced in Alchemy Horizons: Baldur's Gate. As a mechanic that adds a color and abilities to a legendary creature, it acts as a parallel to choosing a Background.[1]

Description[ | ]

Specialize is a digital-only combination of transform and perpetual mechanics. Cards with specialize feature a circled upward pointing triangle in the upper left corner of the card, similar to the MDFC arrow but colored black instead of white. This indicates that it is able to specialize.[2] The ability invokes the choosing of a D&D character's new class during a campaign.

You may pay the specialize cost (an entirely generic mana cost) and discard a card of your choice to specialize the creature into one of five options, one for each color. The available options are determined by the color and/or basic land type of the discarded card. Specialized creatures have different names to their original counterparts, an extra mana symbol of the new color in their mana cost, and a 5-way branching arrow icon in the top left corner.

Specialize is mostly seen on reimagined cards, all of which originally had "Choose a Background". There are two that are not, who are characters original to this set: Lukamina, Moon Druid and Klement, Novice Acolyte. Both have six arts, whereas the reimagined cards only have one that is color shaded to match their new color when specialized. The other exception is of Lae'zel, Illithid Thrall: mixing Lae'Zel's Baldur's Gate III ending with the player character's, it has unique art, a different name structure than Lae'zel's other forms, and is the only one that adds Horror to the type.

In terms of rules text, all but Klement, Novice Acolyte have consistency in their specialized abilities. Any keyword and non-specialize activated abilities are retained after changing forms. If the original card had an enters the battlefield ability, the specialized card has a new ability that synergizes with it. Triggered abilities on specialized cards have identical conditions for each character, with a color-appropriate payoff. Some will also gain a color-appropriate keyword. Finally, aside from Klement, Novice Acolyte, Skanos, Dragon Vassal and Wilson, Bear Comrade, the sizing boost is consistent and symmetrical across all five forms.

By default, cards retain their specialization when changing zones. However, Lukamina, Moon Druid is unique in how it can "unspecialize" each time it dies while specialized.

Icons[ | ]

Specialize cards have an icon next to the name representing a triangle {dfc-obverse}, indicating their ability improve or upgrade. The back faces have a five-branching arrow {dfc-specialize}, representing the five different color paths the card can take.

Rules[ | ]

Specialize commander color Brawl MTGA

Color identity selection wheel for specialize commanders.

Specialize is not included as part of the Comprehensive Rules.[3] It operates according to the programmed rules of Magic: The Gathering Arena.

Commander[ | ]

Cards with specialize have a unique color identity when used as a commander in Brawl.[1] During deck construction, the player must pick one of the five colors - representing one of the five specialized faces of the commander. That face's color or colors then become the commander's color identity for the purposes of deck construction. This forces each card to act as a traditional double-faced card rather than a {W}{U}{B}{R}{G} commander.

Example[ | ]

Example

Viconia, Nightsinger's Disciple {1}{B}
Legendary Creature — Elf Cleric
2/3
Specialize {2}
{1}:Exile target card from a graveyard.

Example 1

Viconia, Disciple of Rebirth {1}{W}{B}
Legendary Creature — Elf Cleric
3/4
When this creature Specializes, conjure a duplicate of target creature card exiled with this creature into your hand. The duplicate perpetually gains "You may spend mana as though it were mana of any color to cast this spell." If it has mana value 3 or less you may put it onto the battlefield.
{1}:Exile target card from a graveyard.

Example 2

Viconia, Disciple of Arcana {1}{U}{B}
Legendary Creature — Elf Cleric
3/4
When this creature Specializes, choose up to one target creature card and up to one target instant or sorcery card from among cards exiled with this creature. Conjure a duplicare of each of those cards into your hand. The duplicate perpetually gains "You may spend mana as though it were mana of any color to cast this spell."
{1}:Exile target card from a graveyard.

Example 3

Viconia, Disciple of Blood {1}{B}{B}
Legendary Creature — Elf Cleric
3/4
When this creature Specializes, conjure a duplicate of target creature card exiled with this creature into your hand. The duplicate perpetually gains "You may spend mana as though it were mana of any color to cast this spell." and "When this creature enters the battlefield each opponent loses 2 life and you gain 2 life.
{1}:Exile target card from a graveyard.

Example 4

Viconia, Disciple of Violence {1}{B}{R}
Legendary Creature — Elf Cleric
3/4
When this creature Specializes, conjure a duplicate of target creature card exiled with this creature into your hand. The duplicate perpetually gets +1/+0 and gains haste and "You may spend mana as though it were mana of any color to cast this spell."
{1}:Exile target card from a graveyard.

Example 5

Viconia, Disciple of Strength {1}{B}{G}
Legendary Creature — Elf Cleric
3/4
When this creature Specializes, conjure a duplicate of target creature card exiled with this creature into your hand. The duplicate perpetually gets +2/+2 and gains "You may spend mana as though it were mana of any color to cast this spell."
{1}:Exile target card from a graveyard.

References[ | ]

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