Modular – MTG Keywords Explained

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Sets like Modern Horizons provide exciting opportunities to revisit the mechanics of Magic‘s past. But if you’re new to the game — or coming back after a break — you may have some questions about how these mechanics work.

Today, we’ll be covering a mechanic you may have seen in Modern Horizons and Modern Horizons 2: an artifact-based mechanic called modular.

What is Modular?

Simply put, modular is an ability that puts +1/+1 counters on artifact creatures, and it allows you to move those counters around if a creature with counters should die. Arcbound Ravager is the best-known creature with this ability, and you’ll see it in a lot of artifact decks, especially in Magic formats like Modern.

Creatures with modular have a printed power and toughness of 0/0. However, they enter the battlefield with a number of +1/+1 counters equal to their modular number, written as “modular N.”

When a creature with modular dies, you may move all the +1/+1 counters on it onto another target artifact creature. This ability allows you to keep those +1/+1 counters on the battlefield, as long as you have more artifact creatures sitting around. Keep in mind that you move the amount of +1/+1 counters on the modular creature at the time that it died, regardless of the creature’s modular number. You also have to move the counters onto a single target creature; you can’t split them up.

We also wanted to share a quick note on -1/-1 counters, which can be tricky with modular creatures. If a creature with modular gets enough -1/-1 counters to kill it, it still has +1/+1 counters on it, and you can still move those counters onto another target creature. This seems a little counterintuitive, as normally +1/1 and -1/-1 counters negate each other.

Modular lets you make sure that your creatures can continue to be large threats, even if your opponent can kill your biggest one. Check out all the cards with modular, and consider adding some to your decks!