What is Equip in MTG and How Does it Work?

The Equip mechanic in Magic: The Gathering (MTG) is a fundamental gameplay element introduced in the Mirrodin block, allowing players to attach equipment artifacts to their creatures to enhance their abilities or stats. Unlike other card types, equipment remains on the battlefield and can be reassigned to different creatures through its Equip cost, offering strategic depth and versatility in gameplay.

Equipment cards, such as the notable “Sword of Feast and Famine,” provide dual benefits: not only do they boost a creature’s power and offer additional abilities, but they also persist through the creature’s death, ready to be equipped to a new creature. This mechanic emphasizes long-term strategy and resource management, distinguishing it from single-use spells or abilities.

Rules for Equipping

Equip can only be activated at sorcery speed, meaning it can only be done during the player’s main phases and not in response to other actions. This limitation ensures strategic planning is essential in utilizing equipment effectively. However, certain cards and abilities, such as “Leonin Shikari,” allow players to circumvent this rule, enabling equipment to be attached at instant speed under specific conditions.

These exceptions add layers of complexity and open up opportunities for surprise tactics and unexpected plays. The requirement for the creature to be under the player’s control and the targeted nature of Equip also introduces interaction with rules around control and targeting, further enriching the strategic landscape of MTG.

Types of Equipment

Initially, equipment cards were primarily colorless, but expansions like Alara Reborn and Zendikar Rising introduced equipment with colored casting and equip costs. This evolution allowed for greater integration with the color-specific strategies and themes of MTG, broadening the tactical considerations for deck building.

The introduction of artifact creatures that could also serve as equipment, such as those from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, expanded the mechanic’s versatility. These cards can switch between being creatures and equipment, offering dynamic options for responding to the changing battlefield.

Equip vs. Attach

While all equipment involves attachment to creatures, not all attachments are considered equipment. The game also includes Auras, another card type that attaches to creatures, lands, or other permanents to provide benefits or restrictions. The differentiation between Equip and Attach clarifies gameplay interactions and rules, ensuring a consistent understanding of how various cards and abilities function within the game’s framework.

This difference is very important for understanding how things work together and what their limits are. For example, creatures with shroud or hexproof can not be targeted by Equip abilities because they need to be targeted, but some auras can attach without targeting.

Strategies and Tactics

Equipping creatures is a core strategy for many decks, enabling players to create powerful synergies and enhance the capabilities of their creatures. The strategic decision of when and what to equip can turn the tide of the game, making equipment cards valuable assets in both offensive and defensive plays.

The versatility of equipment also allows for creative combinations and interactions with other cards, encouraging players to explore unique deck-building strategies. Cards like “Sword of Feast and Famine” exemplify the potential for equipment to significantly impact gameplay, offering not only stat boosts but also additional effects that can provide card advantage and disrupt opponents.

Notable Equip Cards

“Sword of Feast and Famine” is a prime example of the impact equipment can have on the game, offering a combination of protection, stat boosts, and powerful additional effects.

Here’s a summary of additional notable cards and what makes each of these equipment cards stand out:

  1. Swiftfoot Boots – This equipment is lauded for granting both hexproof and haste to a creature, protecting it from spells or abilities while allowing it to attack or use tap abilities immediately. Its low equip cost makes it a staple in many decks for its utility and speed benefits.
  2. Lightning Greaves – Similar to Swiftfoot Boots, Lightning Greaves offers haste and shroud instead of hexproof. The key difference is that it can be equipped for free, making it incredibly efficient for immediate impact, despite the shroud sometimes limiting your ability to further interact with the equipped creature.
  3. Skullclamp – Known for its ability to turn creature deaths into card advantage, Skullclamp has been a controversial piece of equipment due to its potency in generating card draw. The ability to draw two cards whenever the equipped creature dies makes it a powerful tool for decks that can easily create and sacrifice creatures.
  4. Whispersilk Cloak – This equipment provides a unique combination of shroud and making the equipped creature unblockable. The significant tactical advantage it provides, making important creatures almost untouchable and ensuring their ability to deal direct damage, more than offsets the slightly higher cost.
  5. Sword of the Animist – This card stands out for its land ramp capability, allowing you to search your deck for a basic land to put onto the battlefield tapped whenever the equipped creature attacks. This effect is particularly valuable in colors or decks that struggle with land acceleration, making it a versatile choice for many strategies.

These cards often become the centerpiece of decks designed around them, showcasing the depth and diversity of strategies enabled by the Equip mechanic. The evolution of equipment cards over time reflects the game’s ongoing development and the continuous exploration of new gameplay possibilities.

FAQs and Common Misconceptions

Understanding the rules and nuances is essential for effectively utilizing equipment in gameplay, as well as for anticipating and countering opponents’ strategies involving equipment.

  1. Can I equip at instant speed?
    Generally, equip can only be activated at sorcery speed unless a card specifically allows it otherwise.
  2. What’s the difference between equipping and attaching?
    Equip specifically refers to attaching equipment to creatures. Attach can also apply to Auras and other types of cards.
  3. Can you unequip equipment?
    You cannot unequip but can move equipment to another creature by paying the equip cost again.
  4. Can equipment be attached to enemy creatures?
    Equipment can only be attached to creatures you control.
  5. Can you equip shroud creatures?
    No, shroud prevents creatures from being the target of any abilities, including equip.
  6. Can tokens be equipped?
    Yes, as long as they are creature tokens.
  7. Is there a limit to how many equipment can be attached to a creature?
    No, there’s no limit unless specific rules or effects prevent it.
  8. Can I equip to a tapped creature?
    Yes, the state of being tapped or untapped does not affect equipping.

Conclusion and Future of Equip Mechanic

The Equip mechanic has evolved significantly since its introduction, becoming a staple of MTG’s strategic complexity. Its ability to adapt and find new expressions, such as through the introduction of colored equip costs and artifact creatures with equip abilities, suggests a promising future for further innovation.

As MTG continues to explore new sets and mechanics, the Equip mechanic will likely see new iterations and applications, continuing to offer players diverse and dynamic strategies for victory. The continued popularity and strategic importance of equipment in MTG highlight its enduring appeal and the depth it adds to the game.

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