MTG Keywords Explained: Retrace

Card Kingdom Strategy

Retrace appears on Instants and Sorceries, and is a mechanic that lets you get a lot of use out of those spells. If a card with Retrace is in your graveyard, you may pay its mana cost and discard a land from your hand to cast it from there, still obeying all normal timing restrictions. However, unlike a lot of other mechanics that let you cast cards from your graveyard (like Flashback), the card goes right back into your graveyard, and you can just keep Retracing it – the only limit is how much you can pay the cost, including having a land in hand to discard. Even if the spell is countered when it’s being retraced, it still ends up back in the graveyard. And while it’s being cast, it’s on the stack, not in the yard, so even graveyard removal can be tricky to use correctly to get it out of there.

While having to discard a land in addition to paying the full mana cost can be a fairly steep price, this mechanic is a little too recursive to see the light of day that often. A Retrace card can easily take over a game if the deck it’s in is built around it – limitless recursion remains a pretty powerful effect, it turns out.

If you’re here, odds are you’ve already been to cardkingdom.com. Retrace your steps there to pick up all the retrace cards you need!