What is Backup?!

Backup – MTG Keywords Explained

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Backup is a triggered ability that appears on creatures, and goes off when they enter the battlefield. It is always written with a number next to it, and it means that when a creature with it enters the battlefield, a target creature gets that many +1/+1 counters.

Now, that can certainly be the original creature that just entered the battlefield. However, if you put the counters on a different creature, that creature will also get all of the abilities of the original creature that are printed below Backup until the end of the turn. So in the case of Boon-Bringer Valkyrie, if it backs up a different creature, that creature will get one +1/+1 counter and get flying, first strike, and lifelink until the end of the turn.

With me so far? Here’s a few more notes on how this all works:

  • Some creatures have abilities printed above Backup. Those abilities are not granted to another creature when the trigger resolves, only the abilities below backup.
  • Any abilities you give to a Backup creature with the backup trigger on the stack will not be granted to another creature when the trigger resolves.
  • If a token copy is made of a backup creature, they do enter the battlefield and trigger as normal.
  • Granting abilities to another creature doesn’t remove those abilities from the original creature.

This is kind of an odd version of pseudo-haste, as you can potentially use the abilities of a creature the turn it enters, just not on that creature itself. All it really requires to be used is that a set have creatures with other abilities in it, so if it’s well enough received it could certainly come back again pretty easily.

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