Infect – MTG Keywords Explained

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All right. This is a pretty divisive mechanic, but for now, we’ll just stick with how it works. So: Infect is a static ability that can appear on any card type, and modifies the manner in which it deals damage. To wit: damage dealt by a source with Infect does not cause a play to lost life, but rather gives them an equivalent amount of Poison counters. Damage dealt to creatures by an Infect source doesn’t damage the creature, but instead gives that creature an equivalent amount of -1/-1 counters.

  • This is a static ability, and works no matter zone the source is in.
  • It also works with non-combat damage.
  • Sources with infect are still dealing damage, so abilities like lifelink or things that trigger off damage being dealt still work like they normally would.
  • Finally, Infect damage affects Planeswalkers normally.

Now then, as stated at the beginning, this is a fairly divisive mechanic. Infect is inherently quite powerful, immediately halving the amount a player needs to be hit to lose, as ten poison counters causes a player to lose the game. Combined with Wither’s creature-diminishing -1/-1 counter effect, and this mechanic can be pretty intimidating, to say the least. The alt-win condition feel combined with it’s sheer power rubbed some the wrong way, while others immediately latched onto it and embraced it wholeheartedly, with Standard, Modern, and Legacy decks fully devoted to taking advantage of the mechanic. Infect can be tricky to balance, so while it may return someday, don’t expect it to become the next Cycling or anything.

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