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Ability Word
Introduced Odyssey
Last Used Modern Horizons 2
Typical Text Threshold — As long as there are seven or more cards in your graveyard, …
86 cards
{W} 22.1% {U} 3.5% {B} 24.4% {R} 14% {G} 25.6% {G/W} 2.3% {artifact symbol} 1.2% {land symbol} 7%
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Threshold is an ability word that gives a card different or additional characteristics if its controller has seven or more cards in their graveyard. It was introduced in Odyssey.


Threshold indicates that an additional or different ability is available if the controller of the card with threshold has seven or more cards in their graveyard. It is written in one of the following ways:

  • Threshold — As long as there are seven or more cards in your graveyard, [static ability], [self-replacement], [activated ability] and/or [triggered ability]
  • Threshold — [static ability], [self-replacement], [activated ability] and/or [triggered ability]. Activate this ability only if seven or more cards are in your graveyard


Threshold appeared as a keyword ability on 84 cards in the Odyssey block. However, rules-wise it wound up being a bizarrely complex characteristic-setting ability. “Threshold — [text]” meant “As long as you have seven or more cards in your graveyard, [this object] has ‘[text].’” The wording on it made it so that it could be active in the middle of combat damage, the middle of ability or spell resolution, and often immediately after paying discard or sacrifice costs and before the ability resolved. Conversely, it could also be turned off in the same way. Threshold was seen in all colors. However, in Odyssey and Torment, blue was notoriously good at putting cards into the graveyard, and therefore had fewer threshold cards (it would have had an unfair advantage over the other colors).[1]

It was later realized that Threshold actually was a precursor to ability words that were formally introduced with Saviors of Kamigawa. Ability words are so simple that they don’t actually have any rules meaning. The formal change was made with the release of Time Spiral. The “threshold” section from the rules was eliminated, and all threshold cards received errata.[2]

Deep-Sea Terror (Magic Origins), Search for Azcanta (Ixalan) and Illuminate History (Strixhaven: School of Mages) essentially feature the mechanic, but without the ability word. Jace, Vryn's Prodigy (Magic Origins), Trapped in the Cemetery (Innistrad: Midnight Hunt) and River Serpent (Amonkhet) have a five-card version.

The mechanic made an reappearance in Modern Horizons on a reprint (Nimble Mongoose and a new card (Excavating Anurid).[3]

Related mechanics[]

Some creatures in Odyssey with threshold are lycanthropes, meaning they change from one thing into another; the creature type line captures the before and after, but the art only shows one, usually after.[4]

Several related "threshold mechanics" like metalcraft also allow a card to swap between various states based on some external criteria somewhere in the game.[5] Many other graveyard abilities like delirium, and spell mastery also take inspiration from threshold.

Jace's Phantasm from Magic 2015 was the first card to have reverse threshold (caring about the number of cards in the opponents graveyard, albeit 10 instead of 7).


From the glossary of the Comprehensive Rules (April 29, 2022—Streets of New Capenna)

“Threshold” used to be a keyword ability. It is now an ability word and has no rules meaning. All cards printed with the threshold keyword have received errata in the Oracle card reference.


  • Instants and sorceries with threshold check if seven or more cards are in your graveyard when they resolve, not when they're cast or put on the stack.
  • Activated and triggered abilities that permanents have at threshold check the number of cards in your graveyard only when the abilities are activated or triggered. Even if you have fewer than seven cards in your graveyard when the ability resolves, it will still resolve normally.
  • Static threshold abilities are simply "on" when you have seven or more cards in your graveyard and "off" when you don't.



Boneshard Slasher {1}{B}
Creature — Horror
Threshold — As long as seven or more cards are in your graveyard, Boneshard Slasher gets +2/+2 and has "When Boneshard Slasher becomes the target of a spell or ability, sacrifice it."


  1. Magic Arcana (January 29, 2002). "Blue Threshold". Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Mark L. Gottlieb (September 20, 2006). "Too Cool for Rules". Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Matt Tabak (May 31, 2019). "Modern Horizons Mechanics". Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Mark Rosewater (February 8, 2020). "Krosan Beast's typeline explicitly calls it a Squirrel (Creature - Squirrel Beast).". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  5. Mark Rosewater (October 18, 2010). "I Want to Threshold Your Hand (Or Possibly My Artifacts)". Wizards of the Coast.