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Celebrity Keywords


Have you ever called a pair of keywords by one name? You know, if two evergreen mechanics were a celebrity couple, what would be their combined name? Sort of like Bradgelina or Tomkat or Benifer.

This concept is called a portmanteau. You are combining parts of words to create a new word. You know what? Magic is just loaded with tons of keywords. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could use some shortened ways of referring to multiple keywords on a creature? I think so!

Today, let’s look at some ways to combine keywords in order to save everyone some time at their next Magic nights!

I am using these evergreen keywords for today’s article:


  • Vigilance
  • Flying
  • Hexproof
  • Reach
  • Protection
  • Landwalk
  • Lifelink
  • Deathtouch
  • Indestructible
  • First Strike
  • Double strike
  • Trample
  • Haste
  • Flash
  • Intimidate
  • Defender

Flample – This article idea began with this old-school combination of flying and trample, seen regularly for years and years. It’s a common term among my playgroups, and I started to think about other portmanteau possibilities. It’s been on creatures from Abyssal Persecutor to Firestorm Hellkite!

Refender – Want to play Archers of Qarsi from Fate Reforged? That’s probably because it has refender (reach + defender)!

Firestorm Hellkite
Archers of Qarsi
Wall of Air

Flyfender – Meanwhile, Walls all the way back to Wall of Air and Wall of Swords we are rocking this thang.

Trampatation (trample + protection) – Every now and then, I find myself tempted by the latest tramp. I don’t know what it is, but something in your tramps just moves me. Polis Crusher is seriously suffering from it, too!

Tramstrike (trample + first strike) – Don’t you hate it when your commute via public transportation is delayed by yet another Tramstrike? Even Ebon Praetor thinks so!

Intimidible – I like because I can never say it. I always mumble it accidentally instead. Try it! (Unfortunately, no creatures have both intimidate and indestructible—isn’t that sad?) You can also sing it to the tune of “Unforgetable.” Intimidible—that’s what you are.

Polis Crusher
Ebon Praetor
Sigarda, Host of Herons

Flexproof – Your flying, hexproof Sigarda, Host of Herons is now immune to taking flextime and forces you to work next Tuesday. Sorry, Bob from Accounting.

Flygilance (flying + vigilance) – Because there are some places where saying the word flatulence will get you into trouble—flygilance! If your favorite creature of all time is Serra Angel, here you go!

First death – Probably one of my favorite keyword combinations is rocking first strike and death touch, right? Even Glissa, the Traitor reveals its value in spades. But don’t worry; this isn’t your last death, just your first one. First death, the homage to the Twilight franchise, coming to a theater near you! And don’t forget its sequel Double Death!

Serra Angel
Glissa, the Traitor
Reaper of the Wilds

Deathproof – This one actually is a movie! (And it’s also a double-activation on Reaper of the Wilds.)

Life strike – On a similar note, Knight of Meadowgrain and company can gain that life and do it before normal combat damage is done. Or you can just buy the latest model of that defibrillator.

Life reach – Is this that generic competitor to Life Alert? You know, it’s the brand that made the phrase, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up,” into one of the biggest pre-Internet memes?

First flash – It all goes downhill from here . . . (Did you know that one of the first flash creatures had first strike? It was Benalish Knight.)

Knight of Meadowgrain
Benalish Knight
Ball Lightning

Traste – All the way back to Ball Lightning, we’ve seen this combination.

Hexilance – Yes, your Hexilance? Right away, your Hexilance! Please, come this way, your Hexilance. Now presenting her Hexilance, the Duchess of Awesome.

Flynk – Flying and lifelink form a commonly-drafted combo on small bodies like Vault Skirge. Note that this named combo is just one letter away from flash and lifelink (flank).

Raste – I’ll raste you to the finish line! (We need a spider to have reach and haste—come on now, that’s just fun!)

Flashfend – Jeskai Barricade, with its flash and defender, is a great card. Right? Right?

Deathdate – Hmm . . . That’s a surprisingly somber combination for this article. We’ll just pretend it’s not here. How about instead . . . 

Lifedate – Today is my thirty-eighth lifedate celebration! Grab the candles—and the cannoli.

Double death – You know what? Pretty much any of combinations of mechanics is going to sound awesome with the word double in front, right? Double touch? Double life? Double flash? Double proof? Double date? Double down? Double dare? Double trouble? Whoops, I went off topic there for a bit, sorry.

Vault Skirge
Jeskai Barricade
Chancellor of the Tangle

Vigileach – Chancellor of the Tangle called, and he wants to call him back ASAP.

Restrike (reach + first strike)– I suspect that restrike might have been in the reject pile of names for that new double strike ability they were considering. Longbow Archer misses getting played; remember when you saw that little 2-mana guy all over Casual Town? Man, sad days, sad days.

Protection from life (lifelink + protection) – Well, I hope no one reading this article has this keyworded ability. Am I right? Although that Blood Baron of Vizkopa guy does.

Protection from death (protection + deathtouch) – Or you could just call it indestructible for short.

Longbow Archer
Blood Baron of Vizkopa
Baleful Strix

Deathing – Deathtouch plus flying? So, when you are running that Baleful Strix, you can deathing your foes! I feel that I use the fl- prefix too much in my flash or flying combos, although perhaps that’s because I like the way it sounds. We can use this one instead. With my predilection toward the prefix, what would I do with, say, flash plus flying—you know, for that Bogardan Hellkite or something?

Flysh! – Obviously!

Protection from flying – This should be a real thing. Forget haste—can’t we give the next Spider protection from flying creatures altogether? “That’d be a great power!” – Voice of All.

Bogardan Hellkite
Voice of All
Black Knight

Hexdate – That’s a game show title if I’ve ever heard one. “Today on Hexdate, we’re going to bring in that couple from last week, o see if they survived the cursed weekend vacation! Let’s bring out Sally and Steve!”

Prostrike – Ever since White Knight and Black Knight debuted in Magic’s first set, you can tell that want to go on a bit of a date together. One is the ying to the other’s yang, right? First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the couple with a Grey Knight in the baby carriage.

Sometimes These Combinations Sound Like New Abilities. Here Are a Few Examples.

Lifetouch – Just like Wurmcoil Engine, this has both deathtouch and lifelink I suppose. Although lifetouch sounds like its own keyword. How about, “This creature gains indestructible until the end of the turn whenever it deals damage.” It’s better than deathlink, which just sounds like the latest in an ongoing poor set of choices you made on that epic New Year’s Eve 2009.

Hextouch – I actually have no idea what hextouch would do, but it sounds cool! (It’s the flipside of deathproof, which was mentioned above.)

Retouch (reach + deathouch, like Deadly Recluse) – Seems like an odd mechanic from a highly advanced art society in Magic-dom. Retouch that painting, dearie. And fix up that spell while you’re at it!

Wurmcoil Engine
Deadly Recluse
Vine Dryad

Flashwalk (flash + landwalk, like Vine Dryad) – Umm . . . Again, it seems like something that might be cool. I like that flash one—let’s try it again.

Flashstrike – That’s awesome. (Do you like it better than that previously mentioned first flash? Or what about double flash?)

Reflash (reach + flash, like Tangle Spider) – You go back, Jack, and do it again. Wheel turning round and round.

Walkproof (landwalk + hexproof) – You can’t touch my shoes!

Dexproof – Meet the latest feat from your Dungeons & Dragons campaign? Or it could just be your Sylvan Caryatid’s defender and hexproof.

Lifewalk – Actually, in addition to being the combination of lifelink and your typical landwalking, this could be a fun new keyword as well. How about, “This creature may not be blocked if the defending player’s life total is equal to or greater than his or her starting life total.” This would be a nice mechanic to bring lifers back down to reality at the multiplayer table. Oh . . . got it . . . get ready . . . 

Tangle Spider
Sylvan Caryatid
Coral Eel

Double lifewalk – So let’s say that you have a creature with lifewalk, right? So give it double strike as well if the defender has the qualified life total. You could easily make a simple creature, like a 2/1 for 2 mana, with double lifewalk, and it’s just a dopey Coral Eel by day, but by night? It smashes folks for 4 damage a pop, unblockable, if the opponent has 20 or more life (or 40 or more in Commander). Oh, get ready . . . 

Deathwalk – You could add in a black ability with something like this: “This creature may not be blocked if the defending player’s life total is equal to or less than half of his or her starting life total” That’s right, it gets nastier as your foe drops in life (just like some mechanics from Innistrad block). And you could push this right on into double deathwalk for doling out incredibly uncomfortable amounts of destruction.

Double link – Do you remember when lifelink used to stack? You could give a card lifelink through a variety of methods, and gain life multiple times for the damage dealt. Now, you could just call that combination of double strike and lifelink “double link” (as per True Conviction), but you could also make a new ability that gave you life from this source of damage twice. And you know what? Sometimes, you need to combine more than two of these folks, right? Like, say . . . 

Does something have flash, haste, and indestructible? Flastable! How are you feeling today? A little flastable? Sorry about that, let me get the Pepto for you.

Hexproof, flying, and protection make flextection!

Did you crack Lightning Shrieker at the Fate Reforged prerelease? It has flying, trample, and haste, right? Flampaste!

True Conviction
Lightning Shrieker
Darksteel Sentinel

How about, say, Darksteel Sentinel and its indestructible, vigilance, and flash. There’s no way I could do that easily, right? Right? Flanstible! That’s right, you are so flanstible, buddy. (I guess you could go with vigashtible as well.)

What is Vampire Nighthawk, with flying, deathtouch, and lifelink? Flynktouch is the obvious I suppose.

And I can keep this thing up all day long.

Spark Trooper’s trample, haste, and lifelink make trastink!

What about after Ankle Shanker has attacked and it has first strike, haste, and deathtouch? That’s fist-touch! He’s gonna punch everyone with his fist-touch superpowers! It’s seems that everyone on Tarkir is punching something—might as well have Ankle Shanker get in on that action.

Vampire Nighthawk
Ankle Shanker
Mirri, Cat Warrior

Mirri, Cat Warrior has forestwalk, first strike, and vigilance. Does it seem like it would be a tough one? Not really. It’s figwalk. The doctor tells folks to do one of those daily, for at least thirty minutes.

Indefendible – Have you ever played that game in which you write something in your native language, put it into translation software online, copy and paste what it translated to, and then translate it back to your original language? The result is something quite garbled and unnatural-sounding. Indefendible seems like you played that game with unblockable. Colossus of Akros is a great card! When you’ve first played it, it’s indefendible! But after you’ve monstrositied this thing on up, it becomes become intrampible.

Now I want you to think about this . . . 

What is the combination of flash, flying, and lifelink? That’s right . . . 

Flanking. It’s an actual keyword. That just blows my mind.

Now let’s really push this stuff.

Akroma, Angel of Wrath

Akroma, Angel of Wrath
She has protection, vigilance, trample, flying, haste, and first strike.

Those are six keywords. There is no way I could pull that one off, right? Right?

Flyrst Vigamplastion.

That’s correct, the Akroma Challenge has been met, gentle-ladies.

I hope you found something fun to take away from today’s article. Let me know what you thought! Just remember that you can only leave positive comments—because this article is flexproof.

See you next week,

Abe Sargent


It’s too bad that older evergreen keywords are gone—because I want to have fearstrike!

I can’t tell you how awesome an ability called fearstrike would be.

A Quick Brainstorm:

Take 1: Fearstrike – Whenever this creature deals combat damage to a creature, place a fear counter on it. Creatures with fear counters may not block.

Take 2: Fearstrike – Whenever this creature deals combat damage to a player, that player may not play any spells this turn.

Take 3: Fearstrike – Whenever this creature deals combat damage to a player, that player may not target you or your permanents until the end of the turn.

Take 4: Fearstrike – Whenever this creature deals combat damage to a creature, place a fear counter on it. Creatures with fear counters become colorless and lose all abilities.

Fearstrike—coming to a set near you!

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