MTG Keywords Explained: Champion

Chris Cornejo Strategy

Champion, from Lorwyn Block, appears on creatures, and appears on those cards as “Champion a ____” where the blank is a creature type. There are two abilities that go along with Champion – the first says that when it enters the battlefield, sacrifice it unless you exile another ____ you control” (again, a creature type). The second ability says that “When this leaves the battlefield, return the exiled card to the battlefield under its owner’s control.” 

So yeah. Seems odd, doesn’t seem to do much on its own. But the creatures with Champion are usually either A) undercosted for what they are, B) have an ability that goes off when they do their champion thing, or C) Both. So yeah, Champion itself doesn’t do much, but it’s paired with other abilities that do a lot. 

There‚Äôs also got a lot of weird rules interactions that go with Champion. For example:  

  • You can’t exile a creature to itself, even though it will have the correct creature type.  
  • If the creature loses its abilities and then leaves the battlefield, the second part of Champion won’t happen, and the exiled card will stay exiled.  
  • I say card there in that last point, because it doesn’t have to be a creature – there are tribal enchantments and whatnot out there that you can exile.  

This is a flavorful mechanic – representing the idea of designating a powerful ally to fight for someone else. It’s a little odd to work with in practice, and requires a somewhat specific environment to work with; as it exists right now, it requires a very creature-heavy set that revolves around specific creature types. The chances of it returning aren’t great, but not nothing. It can be a powerful ability with a lot of unique and interesting interactions. 

Want to try out this chivalric mechanic for yourself? We have all the Champion cards you need at cardkingdom.com