MTG Keywords Explained: Level Up

Card Kingdom Strategy

Level Up is the mechanic that Class was based on, and appears on creatures (known as Levelers). Level Up creatures enter the battlefield at Level 0, and have a Level Up ability on them, along with a text box split into three distinct sections, each with their own power and toughness. At level 0, they have the power and toughness that appears in the top text box. At sorcery speed, you may pay the Level Up cost and put a level counter on that creature. You then get whatever benefit is in the section that corresponds with the number of Level counters on the creature, and its power and toughness become whatever is listed in the appropriate section. The sections aren’t cumulative – the creature only gets the power and toughness listed for whatever level it is, and only has the abilities for that level (and the Level Up ability itself).

  • Level counters only exist on the battlefield, so in any other zone, the Leveler creature is level 0, and has the stats and abilities it would have upon normally entering the battlefield. This is important for cards that search your Library or other zones for cards with specific Power and/or Toughness.
  • You can keep leveling a creature up as much as you want, although once you reach the final part of the text box you won’t get any more benefits for doing so.
  • Also, the Leveler doesn’t care how it gets the Level counters – its level only depends on the number of them, it doesn’t matter if they were put there with the Level Up ability or not.

Level Up was an interesting idea to let cards improve over time, refined a bit and made simpler in the Rules with the Class cards in Adventures in the Forgotten Realms. In practice, it was a little clunky and confusing, and received mixed reviews. It’s unlike to come back in its original form, although given the relative success of Class and Saga cards, expect a similar creature-based mechanic in the future.

If you need to Level Up your collection, head over to!