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Magic: The Gathering Deathtouch: What It Is and How to Use It

Magic The Gathering Deathtouch

Hello, fellow Planeswalkers! It’s your friend from MTGA Central, here to share some wisdom about one of my favorite mechanics in Magic: The Gathering – Deathtouch. I’ve been playing Magic since the late ’90s, and let me tell you, there’s nothing quite like the thrill of using a deathtouch card to turn the tide of a game.

Understanding Deathtouch in MTG

What is Deathtouch?

Understanding Deathtouch in MTGIn the world of Magic: The GatheringDeathtouch is a keyword ability that’s as deadly as it sounds. It’s a special power that some creatures have, and it’s pretty straightforward: any amount of damage a creature with deathtouch deals to another creature is enough to destroy it. That’s right, even if it’s just one point of damage, the other creature is going down. It’s like the Midas touch, but instead of gold, everything turns to dust!

The Mechanics of Deathtouch

Now, let’s dive a bit deeper into the mechanics of deathtouch in MTG. When a creature with deathtouch deals damage to another creature, that creature is destroyed, regardless of its toughness. This is true whether the damage is dealt during combat or as a result of a spell or ability.

Here’s a simple table to help you understand how deathtouch works:

Creature A (with Deathtouch) Creature B (without Deathtouch) Result
1/1 5/5 Creature B is destroyed
2/2 3/3 Both creatures are destroyed
3/3 1/1 Creature B is destroyed

As you can see, deathtouch can be a real game-changer. It doesn’t matter how strong the other creature is; if it gets hit by a creature with deathtouch, it’s out of the game.

I remember the first time I played a deathtouch MTG card. It was a lowly 1/1, up against a formidable 6/6. My opponent laughed when I sent my little creature into battle… until they realized it had deathtouch. The look on their face was priceless!

That’s the beauty of Magic: The Gathering Deathtouch. It’s a reminder that in this game, as in life, it’s not always the biggest and strongest that win. Sometimes, it’s the ones with the deadliest touch.

The Role of Deathtouch in Gameplay

How Deathtouch Influences Strategy

deathtouch mtgWhen it comes to Magic: The Gathering Deathtouch, it’s not just about the power to destroy any creature with a single touch. It’s also about the strategic implications this ability brings to the table. Deathtouch can influence your game strategy in several ways.

Firstly, deathtouch creatures are excellent defenders. Your opponent will think twice before attacking you if they know they’ll lose their creature in the process, no matter how powerful it is. This can buy you some valuable time to draw into your game-winning cards.

Secondly, deathtouch creatures can also be great attackers, especially in the late game. If your opponent is low on life and can’t afford to take any damage, they’ll be forced to block your deathtouch creature and lose theirs in the process.

Finally, deathtouch can also synergize with other abilities. For example, a creature with both deathtouch and trample can be a real nightmare for your opponent. Even if they block, some of the damage will trample over and, thanks to deathtouch, that’s enough to destroy their creature.

Deathtouch in Different Game Modes

Deathtouch is a versatile ability that can shine in different game modes of Magic: The Gathering. In a one-on-one game, deathtouch creatures can serve as efficient removal, taking out your opponent’s biggest threats. In multiplayer games, they can act as deterrents, discouraging others from attacking you.

In formats like Commander, where life totals are higher and games tend to go longer, deathtouch creatures can really shine. They can keep the board in check and deter opponents from swinging in with their massive creatures.

In Limited formats like Draft or Sealed, deathtouch creatures can be valuable picks. They can trade up with more expensive creatures, giving you a significant advantage.

In Constructed formats like Standard or Modern, deathtouch creatures might not always make the cut in high-tier decks due to the fast pace of these formats. However, they can still find a home in certain strategies or as sideboard cards against creature-heavy decks.

Remember, the key to mastering deathtouch MTG is understanding not just what it does, but also when and how to use it to your advantage. And that’s something that comes with experience. So keep playing, keep experimenting, and you’ll find that deathtouch can be a powerful tool in your Magic arsenal.

Understanding Deathtouch

Deathtouch is a fascinating mechanic in Magic: The Gathering. It’s a keyword ability that can turn the tide of a game in your favor. But what exactly does it mean, and how can you use it to your advantage? Let’s dive in!

What is Deathtouch?

Deathtouch is a keyword ability that you’ll find on creatures in Magic: The Gathering. When a creature with deathtouch deals damage to another creature, it destroys that creature, regardless of how much damage was dealt. It’s like the creature has a lethal touch – hence the name, deathtouch!

You can find a list of all cards with the deathtouch ability on the official Magic: The Gathering card database.

How Does Deathtouch Work?

How Does Deathtouch Work?When a creature with deathtouch deals damage to another creature, it doesn’t matter how much damage it deals. Even if it’s just one point of damage, the other creature is destroyed. This makes deathtouch a powerful ability, especially when used strategically.

Imagine you’re in a game, and your opponent has a powerful creature on the battlefield. You have a small creature with deathtouch. Even though your creature is smaller and weaker, it can still take down the opponent’s creature if it deals damage to it. That’s the power of deathtouch!

Deathtouch and Trample

Deathtouch can also interact with other abilities in interesting ways. Take trample, for example. Normally, a creature with trample can deal excess damage to the player or planeswalker it’s attacking if it’s blocked by a creature with less toughness. But what happens when a creature with both deathtouch and trample attacks?

In this case, the creature only needs to assign one point of damage to the creature blocking it (since that’s enough to destroy it due to deathtouch), and the rest of the damage can be assigned to the player or planeswalker. This combination can be devastating and can quickly turn the tide of a game.

Using Deathtouch Strategically

Understanding deathtouch and how to use it strategically can make a big difference in your games. It can help you take down powerful creatures, break through defenses, and even turn a losing game around.

Remember, deathtouch isn’t just about destroying creatures. It’s also about the threat of destruction. Sometimes, just having a creature with deathtouch on the battlefield can deter your opponent from attacking or blocking, giving you an advantage.

So, next time you’re building a deck or playing a game, consider the power of deathtouch. It might just be the key to your victory!

Deathtouch in Different Formats

Deathtouch is a versatile ability that can be useful in many different formats. Whether you’re playing a casual game with friends, competing in a tournament, or battling it out in a Commander game, deathtouch can be a valuable tool in your arsenal.

In formats like Commander, where games tend to go long and powerful creatures are common, deathtouch can be especially useful. It can help you deal with threats that would otherwise be difficult to handle.

So, don’t underestimate the power of deathtouch, no matter what format you’re playing. It’s a powerful tool that can help you win games!

Understanding Deathtouch

MTG Understanding DeathtouchDeathtouch is a powerful ability that can turn the tide of any Magic: The Gathering game. It’s a keyword that, when assigned to a creature, allows that creature to destroy any creature it damages, regardless of the other creature’s toughness. This ability can make even the smallest creatures a significant threat on the battlefield.

Deathtouch in Detail

When a creature with deathtouch deals damage to another creature, the damaged creature is destroyed. This happens no matter how small the damage is. Even if your creature with deathtouch only deals one damage, it can take down a creature with a toughness of 20! This makes deathtouch a great equalizer on the battlefield.

Deathtouch and Combat

In combat, deathtouch can be a game-changer. If your opponent knows you have a creature with deathtouch, they might think twice before attacking or blocking with their powerful creatures. After all, they wouldn’t want to lose their best creature to your deathtouch critter. This can give you a strategic advantage, allowing you to control the flow of combat.

Deathtouch and Card Interactions

Deathtouch can interact with other cards in interesting ways. For example, if a card allows your creature to deal damage to multiple creatures, deathtouch can potentially take out several creatures at once. Also, some cards can give deathtouch to a creature temporarily or even permanently, adding another layer of strategy to the game.

Deathtouch Cards

There are many cards with deathtouch in Magic: The Gathering. You can find a comprehensive list of them on the Gatherer – the official Magic card database. Some of these cards are creatures that naturally have deathtouch, while others are spells or abilities that can grant deathtouch.

Using Deathtouch Strategically

Deathtouch is more than just a creature ability; it’s a tool you can use strategically. You can use it to deter attacks, control combat, and even manipulate your opponent’s actions. Remember, in Magic: The Gathering, the player who can best use their cards’ abilities is often the one who comes out on top.

Deathtouch in Different Formats

Deathtouch is a common ability in many Magic: The Gathering formats. Whether you’re playing Standard, Modern, Commander, or even Pauper, you’re likely to come across creatures with deathtouch. This makes understanding and mastering deathtouch an essential part of becoming a better Magic player.

So, there you have it – a deep dive into the world of deathtouch. It’s a small keyword with a big impact. And once you’ve mastered it, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a formidable Magic: The Gathering player.

How to Build a Deathtouch Deck

Magic: The Gathering DeathtouchBuilding a deathtouch deck in Magic: The Gathering can be a thrilling experience. It’s like assembling a team of deadly assassins, each ready to take down the mightiest of foes. But how do you go about building such a deck? Let’s dive into it.

Choosing the Right Deathtouch Cards

The first step in building a deathtouch deck is choosing the right deathtouch cards. Not all deathtouch cards are created equal. Some are more efficient than others, and some fit better into certain strategies.

For example, Typhoid Rats is a one-mana creature with deathtouch, making it a great early-game play. On the other hand, Vampire Nighthawk costs more mana but also has flying and lifelink, giving it extra versatility.

When choosing your deathtouch cards, consider their mana cost, their additional abilities, and how they fit into your overall strategy.

Balancing Your Deck with Other Card Types

While it might be tempting to fill your deck with deathtouch creatures, it’s important to remember that a balanced deck usually performs better. You’ll also need spells to disrupt your opponent’s plans, lands to produce your mana, and perhaps some non-deathtouch creatures for variety.

For instance, spells like Murder can remove threats that your deathtouch creatures can’t handle. Cards like Sign in Blood can help you draw more cards, giving you more options during the game.

Remember, a deathtouch deck isn’t just about deathtouch—it’s about using deathtouch as part of a larger strategy. So, while deathtouch is your main theme, don’t forget to include other cards to support that theme.

Building a deathtouch deck is like crafting a finely-tuned machine. Each card should have its purpose, and they should all work together towards your ultimate goal: victory. So, choose your cards wisely, balance your deck, and most importantly, have fun! After all, that’s what Magic: The Gathering is all about.

Playing with a Deathtouch Deck

Once you’ve built your deathtouch deck, it’s time to take it for a spin. Playing with a deathtouch deck can be a lot of fun, but it also requires some strategic thinking. Let’s explore some tips and common mistakes to avoid.

Tips for Playing a Deathtouch Deck

When playing a deathtouch deck, your strategy will revolve around your deathtouch creatures. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of them:

  1. Use your deathtouch creatures as deterrents. Just the presence of a deathtouch creature on the battlefield can deter your opponent from attacking or blocking. Use this to your advantage.
  2. Don’t be afraid to trade. Your deathtouch creatures can destroy any creature they damage, so don’t be afraid to use them to take out your opponent’s biggest threats.
  3. Take advantage of other abilities. Many deathtouch creatures have other abilities. For example, Vampire Nighthawk also has flying and lifelink. Use these abilities to your advantage.
  4. Protect your deathtouch creatures. Your opponent will likely try to remove your deathtouch creatures. Use spells or abilities to protect them.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

While playing with a deathtouch deck can be powerful, there are also some common mistakes to avoid:

  1. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. While it’s tempting to load up your deck with deathtouch creatures, remember to include other types of cards as well. You’ll need a good mix of creatures, spells, and lands to win.
  2. Don’t forget about your life total. Deathtouch can control the board, but it doesn’t help you if your life total drops to zero. Be sure to include ways to protect yourself and maintain your life total.
  3. Don’t underestimate your opponent. Even if you have a board full of deathtouch creatures, never underestimate your opponent. They may have tricks up their sleeve that can turn the tide of the game.

Playing with a deathtouch deck in Magic: The Gathering can be a unique and rewarding experience. It requires strategic thinking and careful planning, but when done right, it can lead to some truly satisfying victories. So, take these tips to heart, avoid these common mistakes, and enjoy the game!

Deathtouch in MTG Arena

If you’re a fan of Magic: The Gathering, you’ve probably tried your hand at MTG Arena, the digital version of the game. MTG Arena brings the depth and strategy of the physical card game to your computer, allowing you to play anytime, anywhere. But how does deathtouch work in MTG Arena? Let’s find out.

Differences Between Physical MTG and MTG Arena

Differences Between Physical MTG and MTG ArenaWhile the rules of MTG Arena are the same as the physical card game, there are some differences in how the game is played. In MTG Arena, the game handles all the rules enforcement, which means you don’t have to remember all the intricate details of how abilities like deathtouch work.

When a creature with deathtouch deals damage to another creature in MTG Arena, that creature is automatically destroyed, just like in the physical game. You don’t have to do anything special – the game takes care of it for you.

Using Deathtouch in MTG Arena

Using deathtouch in MTG Arena can be a powerful strategy. Just like in the physical game, deathtouch creatures can deter attacks, control the board, and take down powerful creatures.

However, there are some things to keep in mind when playing with deathtouch in MTG Arena. First, remember that the game automatically assigns combat damage. This means that if you attack with a deathtouch creature and your opponent blocks with multiple creatures, your creature will deal its damage to the creature that was declared as the first blocker. You don’t get to choose how to assign your creature’s damage as you do in the physical game.

Second, remember to use your deathtouch creatures strategically. Don’t just throw them into combat recklessly. Consider your opponent’s potential blocks and plan your attacks accordingly.

Playing with deathtouch in MTG Arena can be a lot of fun. It brings a unique strategy to the game and can lead to some exciting matches. So, give it a try and see how deathtouch can enhance your MTG Arena experience!


We’ve journeyed through the world of Magic: The Gathering Deathtouch, exploring what it is, how it works, and how to use it to your advantage. Whether you’re playing a physical game with friends or battling it out in MTG Arena, deathtouch is a powerful tool that can change the course of a game.

The Impact of Deathtouch on MTG

Deathtouch has had a significant impact on Magic: The Gathering. It’s an ability that has shaped the game, influencing how players build their decks and plan their strategies. Deathtouch creatures can control the board, deter attacks, and take down even the most formidable foes. They add a layer of depth and strategy to the game, making it even more engaging and exciting.

Why Deathtouch is Worth Mastering

Mastering deathtouch can make you a better Magic player. It can help you understand the game on a deeper level, make more strategic decisions, and even pull off some impressive plays. Whether you’re a new player just starting out or a seasoned veteran looking to improve your game, understanding deathtouch is definitely worth your time.

So, next time you’re building a deck or playing a game, consider the power of deathtouch. Experiment with different deathtouch cards, try out different strategies, and see how this unique ability can enhance your Magic: The Gathering experience. And most importantly, have fun! After all, that’s what playing Magic is all about.

Learning about Magic: The Gathering Deathtouch doesn’t have to stop here. There are plenty of resources available to help you deepen your understanding of this powerful ability and improve your game. Here are some places to start.

Other Resources for Learning About Deathtouch

There are many great resources online where you can learn more about deathtouch and other aspects of Magic: The Gathering. Here are a few of my favorites:

  1. Gatherer: This is the official Magic: The Gathering card database. You can search for all cards with deathtouch and see their details.
  2. MTG Wiki: This is a great place to learn about the rules and mechanics of deathtouch, as well as its history in the game.
  3. ChannelFireball: This site offers articles and videos from some of the top players in the game. You can find deck guides, strategy articles, and more.

Where to Find More Information on MTG Strategy

If you’re interested in learning more about Magic: The Gathering strategy, there are plenty of resources available. Here are a few places to start:

  1. StarCityGames: This site offers articles and videos from some of the top players in the game. You can find deck guides, strategy articles, and more.
  2. MTG Goldfish: This site offers deck lists, strategy articles, and a podcast. It’s a great place to see what decks are popular and learn how to play them.
  3. Tolarian Community College: This YouTube channel offers deck guides, product reviews, and tutorials. It’s a great resource for both new and experienced players.

Remember, the key to becoming a better Magic player is to never stop learning. So, keep reading, keep playing, and keep having fun. That’s the true magic of Magic: The Gathering!


As we wrap up our deep dive into Magic: The Gathering Deathtouch, let’s address a couple of frequently asked questions about this powerful ability. These are questions that many players, both new and experienced, often ask.


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