Unleash – MTG Keywords Explained

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Unleash appears solely on creature cards, and gives you a choice when a creature with it enters the batlefield. As the creature enters the battlefield, you may have it enter with a +1/+1 counter on it. As long as the creature has a +1/+1 counter on it, it cannot block.

Easy! A simple choice: have a bigger creature that can’t block, or a smaller on that can. There’s not a lot more to this one, so lets go through it:

  • Unleash is not a trigger. You make the choice as the creature would enter the battlefield, and it will enter with the +1/+1 counter on it if that’s the choice you make.
  • You make the unleash choice no matter where or how the creature is entering the battlefield.
  • Any +1/+1 counter will mean that the creature can’t block, not just the one that can get put on it as it enters the battlefield.
  • If an unleash creature is declared as a blocker and then has a +1/+1 counter put on it, it will still be blocking during that combat.

Unleash was a bit of an odd mechanic – it read initially as a bit of a downside mechanic. Once it saw some play, people warmed up to it a bit, but that initial hesitancy might still hold it back from returning just a bit. But it is flavorful and plays pretty well in practice, so it will likely make a return eventually.

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