Equip – MTG Keywords Explained

Card KingdomStrategy

Zendikar can be a dangerous place, where the land itself could strike at any moment. To survive here, the denizens of this plane have forged a number of tools that you might find helpful. Whether you’re in the market for a kitesail to help you get around, a pick-axe to help your scale the cliffs, or a hammer to defend yourself, Zendikar has a lot to offer.

In-game, these tools are represented as equipment cards: a special type of artifact that includes a special kind of keyword. We’re here today to equip you (ha!) with the knowledge you need to use these spells in your next game.

What is Equip?


“Equipment” is an artifact supertype in Magic: The Gathering. It applies to artifacts that grant bonuses to your creatures – but, unlike auras, they can be reused again and again, even after your creatures leave the battlefield.

Functionally, equipment spells in Magic are just like the swords, shields, and other tools you’ll find in the real world. They don’t do much unless a creature is holding them, and if a creature drops the equipment, another one can pick it up and use it.

When you cast an equipment spell, it enters the battlefield like any other permanent. But once it resolves, you then need to equip it to one of your creatures using the equip ability. Usually, this involves paying mana to attach the equipment to your creature; most players choose to represent this by putting the equipment on top of their equipped creature.

You can only equip creatures at sorcery speed – during your turn, on your main phase, with an empty stack – but some pieces of equipment, like Embercleave, have “enter the battlefield” effects that allow them to come into play attached to a creature. Whenever you pay an equip cost, your opponent has a chance to respond before the equipment is attached.

Sometimes, you’ll attach an equipment to one creature and then realize later that you’d rather equip it to a different one. Not a problem! Just pay the equip cost and transfer the equipment from one creature to the other. Similarly, if an equipped creature dies and you still control the equipment, you can pay its equip cost to attach it to another creature you control.

Finer Details

There are a few more scenarios that can come up when you’re using equipment, so we wanted to cover them here, too.

  • If an equipment becomes a creature itself, it can’t be attached to another creature, and will “fall off” of any creature it’s attached to.
  • Equipment can only be attached to creatures. If an equipped creature somehow becomes a non-creature (say, a Mutavault turning back into a land at the end of a turn), the equipment will fall off.
  • Some equipment have other abilities besides equip that can attach or unattach the equipment. Those abilities can be activated at instant speed.
  • Some equipment can have multiple equip costs, sometimes with a qualifier attached. You may use any equip cost you wish, provided that the targeted creature meets the qualifier.
  • If there is an effect that lowers equip costs, it lowers all equip costs.
  • If an equipped creature you control gets stolen by another player, you are still the controller of the equipment, and can activate any abilities the equipment has. You also still control any effects the equipment has – so, if you control a Sword of Fire and Ice that’s equipped to a creature an opponent stole, you’ll get to choose the target for the two damage and draw a card when that creature deals damage to another player.


Check out the rest of our keyword ability primers:

First Strike & Double Strike
Flying & Reach