MTG Keywords Explained: Changeling

Card Kingdom Strategy

We’re just ten days away from the release of Kaldheim, and you’ve probably seen at least a few cards from the set already. Like most Magic sets, Kaldheim features a mix of new mechanics as well as some returning mechanics from further back in the game’s history.

One of these mechanics is changeling — an ability that allows your creatures to have every creature type at once. If you’re planning on building a tribal creature deck, you’ll want some of these creatures to help you out. And, if you’re new to the game, you may want a better understanding of how changeling works. Read on as we break down all the rules and nuances you’ll need to know to get the most out of your changelings.

What is Changeling?

Creatures with changeling don’t just have every creature type on the battlefield — they have every type in every zone. If you have a card that tells you to go get a rebel from your library, you can find a changeling. If a card tells you to go get an Eldrazi card from outside of the game (which usually means your sideboard), you can find that same exact card if one is in your sideboard. Any effect that targets or requires a specific creature type can use a creature with changeling to satisfy that requirement.

Changeling is a pretty straightforward ability, but it can interact with other effects in unexpected ways. To better explain this, let’s go over a concept in the Magic rules called Layers.

Layers cover everything that can affect the way a card interacts with the rules. If you have a bunch of different things affecting a creature, applying the Layers in order will tell you what the creature ends up as at the end of it all. We wrote a two-part article series about it a while back — here’s Part 1 and Part 2.

According to the Layer system, effects that change or set a creature’s type apply before effects that will add or remove abilities. This means a few things for your changeling:

  • If an effect causes a creature to lose all creature types or sets all creatures to have one type, the creature will still have changeling, but whatever type the effect dictated.
  • If a creature loses changeling somehow, it will still have all creature types.
  • If a creature gains changeling somehow, it’ll have changeling, but it will not be all creature types.

Weird, right?

Changeling exists to enable tribal strategies and flexibility in certain sets, and has a bunch of surprising and fun uses if you dig into it enough. You can check out all the cards with changeling at Card Kingdom here.

LEARN MORE!

Check out the rest of our keyword ability primers:

Banding
Cascade
Companion
Crew
Cycling
Deathtouch
Defender
Enchant
Encore
Equip
Fading & Vanishing
First Strike & Double Strike
Flash
Flying & Reach
Haste
Hexproof
Indestructible
Kicker
Lifelink
Menace
Mill
Mutate
Partner
Phasing
Prowess
Prowl
Ripple
Storm
Suspend
Trample
Vigilance