MTG Keywords Explained: Unearth

Card Kingdom Strategy

Unearth is a graveyard mechanic from Shards of Alara block found exclusively on creatures. It’s essentially creature Flashback; a way for you to get a one-shot use out of the creature from the graveyard. 

When a creature with Unearth is in your graveyard, you may, at sorcery speed, pay it’s Unearth cost. You then return the creature to the battlefield, and it gains haste. At the beginning of the next end step, or if it would leave the battlefield for any reason, exile it. 

  • If the creature gets removed from the graveyard in response to activating the Unearth ability, the ability will still technically resolve, but the creature won’t return to the battlefield. 
  • Unlike Flashback, you aren’t casting the creature again. So no counterspells can stop it from coming back – although a well-placed Stifle effect will do it. 
  • Stifle can also be used to stop the self-exile trigger at the end of the turn, keeping the creature on the battlefield. It will still get exiled if it goes anywhere else from this point on. 
  • If the Unearthed creature gets exiled by a different effect than Unearth, that effect will work as intended – so if the creature gets put into an Oblivion Ring and then the ring gets destroyed later, the creature will come back to battlefield again as good as new, as if it had just been cast from your hand. 

This is a mechanic that is pretty simple to grasp once you play with it and pretty useful in general, so it will probably show up again someday. Graveyard recursion is always good, and this is a good way to get that while being somewhat balanced about it. 


If you want to get your hands on some recursive creatures, you can find them all at cardkingdom.com