Enchantments, as a card type, don’t always get a lot of love in Magic: The Gathering. Many players are wary of putting enchantments on their creatures, lest they be removed from play. And sometimes, when you’re being attacked by a swarm of creatures, an enchantment won’t do much to save you.
But enchantments can be extremely powerful — and, in the right circumstances, they can swing the game in your favor. If you’re new to the game and still learning how enchantments work, we have a few tips you might find useful.
What is Enchant?
Some enchantments sit on the battlefield and have static effects on the game. But other enchantments called auras only apply to certain creatures or other objects in the game.
Unlike other enchantments, auras cannot be cast without a legal target. They specifically enchant something — a creature, another object in the game, or even a player.
If the object an aura is enchanting gets destroyed, exiled, or otherwise removed from play, the aura goes to the graveyard. Similarly, if at any point the enchanted object is no longer a legal target for the aura, the aura will go to the graveyard.
If you aren’t casting the aura, but putting it onto the battlefield through other means (say, casting Replenish), then you get to choose a legal object for it to attach itself to. This gets around targeting, so you can use this to enchant something of your opponent’s that has hexproof. If there is nothing on the battlefield that the aura could attach itself to, it just goes back to the graveyard.
Examples of Auras
There are thousands of auras in Magic, but here are a few common ones you may run into in your games:
Auras are best known for granting new abilities to creatures. The most iconic of these is Splinter Twin: an aura that once formed an infinite combo with Deceiver Exarch in Modern. If you enchant Deceiver Exarch with Splinter Twin, you can tap the Exarch to make a copy of itself, and the copy’s “enter the battlefield” effect will untap the enchanted Exarch, thus creating an army of 1/4’s with haste.
Some enchantments don’t just enchantment creatures on the battlefield — they can enchant creatures in graveyards, too! Animate Dead will put a creature from your graveyard onto the battlefield when it comes into play, but keep in mind that the creature will only stick around as long as Animate Dead does.
Auras don’t just have to target your creatures! While some auras have beneficial effects, others, which are more detrimental, are best reserved for your opponents’ creatures. Pacifism is a classic white removal spell that’s been reprinted several times, and you’ll often see it in Draft environments.
Some auras that enchant your opponents’ creatures can even give you control of them! Control Magic has been around since Alpha, and cards like it pop up every now and then. (Treachery is a common variant in many Cubes — it costs five mana to cast and allows you to untap up to five lands when you play it, so it’s basically free.) Keep in mind that the creature you enchant with a spell like Control Magic will not gain haste.
Creatures aren’t the only permanents you can enchant — lands work, too! Spells like Utopia Sprawl will enchant your lands and allow them to tap for additional mana.
You can even enchant players with a special type of aura called an aura curse. Curses usually have detrimental effects on players — milling, de-powering creatures, dealing damage — so you’ll want to target your opponents with these sorts of spells. They’re especially popular in Commander and other multiplayer formats.
Check out the rest of our keyword ability primers: