Kicker – MTG Keywords Explained

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This week, we’ll return to the world of Zendikar with the release of the newest Magic set, Zendikar Rising. Each time we return to a favorite plane, we get to experience a mix of old and new elements; oftentimes, Wizards will design cards that use Magic’s mechanics in new and unexpected ways.

Like, say, putting the kicker ability on a planeswalker:

Jace, Mirror Mage

This is new and exciting territory for Magic – but if you’re new to the game, you may just be wondering what kicker is. That’s why we’re here to help! By the time you finish reading this article, you’ll know how to kick Jace (don’t actually kick him, though – blue mages have feelings, too) and how to get the most out of your spells in Zendikar Rising.

What is Kicker?

Kicker has been kicking around in Magic for almost 20 years; if you played during Invasion block, you may have seen it before. It was a prominent mechanic in the first Zendikar block, and most recently, it’s appeared in Dominaria and Modern Horizons.

When you cast a spell with kicker, you have two options: you may cast the spell for its mana cost as usual, or you may choose to pay the kicker cost in addition to the spell’s mana cost. If you pay the kicker cost, you get the additional effect printed on the card. So, if you pay 1UU, you get to cast Jace, Mirror Mage; if you pay 3UU (1UU + 2 for the kicker), you get a Jace, plus a token copy of it.

There are also some variations on kicker that you may run into. In Worldwake, Magic introduced multikicker – an ability that allows you to pay a kicker cost as many times as you want and get an effect for each time you pay the cost. If you play Commander, you may have seen the card Everflowing Chalice, which can create varying amounts of mana based on how many times you can kick it.

Some cards also have multiple or alternate kicker costs, and not all kicker costs necessarily cost mana. Goblin Barrage from Dominaria allows you to sacrifice an artifact or a goblin in order to kick it.

There are also many cards that don’t have kicker themselves, but work well with spells that do. If you enjoy playing spells with kicker, might we suggest building a Hallar, the Firefletcher Commander deck?

Remember: you don’t have to kick a spell, and just because you can kick a spell doesn’t mean you need to. Spells with kicker are designed to scale throughout the game and to give you options so you can get the most out of your cards in any situation.


Check out the rest of our keyword ability primers:

First Strike & Double Strike
Flying & Reach