Hexproof is an evergreen ability keyword in Magic: The Gathering. A permanent or player with hexproof can’t be the target of spells or abilities your opponents control. This article delves into what hexproof means in the MTG rules, how it works with examples, the best hexproof cards, winning hexproof decks, how to play against hexproof, and common hexproof questions.
MTG Hexproof Rules
What do the MTG rules say about hexproof?
On a permanent it means, “This permanent can’t be the target of spells or abilities your opponents control.”
On a player it means, “You can’t be the target of spells or abilities your opponents control.”Magic: The Gathering Comprehensive Rules 702.11 “Hexproof”.
If a creature has hexproof, your opponents can’t cast spells that target that creature. Your opponents also can’t activate abilities that target your hexproof creature. The same applies to players with hexproof.
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The Hexproof mechanic was introduced all the way back in Portal Three Kingdoms. However, the mechanic was only made a keyword in the Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012 video game. Subsequently, hexproof was first printed in the Commander and Magic 2012 sets.
Hexproof is currently a primary ability in blue, but it is only a secondary ability in green. It is tertiary in white. Although it is waning in design popularity, hexproof has been an evergreen keyword mechanic since Magic 2012.
Recently, R&D has experimented with conditional hexproof, such as hexproof from specific colours or card types. Similarly, some cards only have hexproof when untapped. The ward mechanic was also introduced as a way to create a mechanic similar to hexproof but less powerful.
MTG Hexproof Examples
So, in response, I cast Beaming Defiance on Aegis Turtle. This gives it hexproof until the end of turn, which means that Closing Statement can no longer target it. As such, my creature survives.
Next, imagine that my opponent wants to cast another spell that turn that targets Aegis Turtle. They can’t, because it now has hexproof. Similarly, they also can’t target my hexproof creature with abilities, such as from Garruk, Cursed Huntsman.
However, hexproof still lets me target my own creature with spells and abilities. As such, I can target Aegis Turtle with an enchantment like Arachnoform just fine.
Suppose I now want to attack with my hexproof Aegis Turtle. My opponent can block it normally with any untapped creature they control. This is because blocking isn’t an ability, so hexproof creatures don’t have evasion.
What Does Hexproof Protect Against?
Hexproof protects against an opponent targeting my permanent with their spells or abilities. It doesn’t save my permanent from being destroyed in other ways, such as through combat damage.
As such, hexproof protects against instants and sorceries that target my permanent. It also protects against abilities that target it, such as from planeswalkers, artifacts, or enchantments.
Furthermore, this means that hexproof doesn’t protect against my own spells or abilities. So, if I have to choose a target creature I control to destroy or damage, hexproof won’t defend it. Also, my teammates can still target my hexproof creatures since those players aren’t my opponents.
Difference between Hexproof and Shroud
Hexproof was made an evergreen keyword to replace shroud. Compared to shroud, which prevents a card from being targeted by any spells or abilities, hexproof allows for more interaction and involvement.
For instance, let’s say I control the shroud creature Calciderm. I can’t target it with auras, equipment, or combat tricks. This can be a major problem for its survivability in combat, as well as for any synergies.
Overall, shroud is just kind of boring. It can actually make my creature weaker, precisely because I can’t buff or protect it like I would with any other creature.
However, hexproof gets around this issue. I can enchant, equip, and otherwise target a hexproof creature like Cragplate Behemoth as much as I want. In fact, enchanting hexproof creatures make for a solid deck, which we’ll discuss later.
Hexproof vs Deathtouch
Because deathtouch does not target a creature, hexproof won’t save a creature from deathtouch. Instead, the hexproof creature will just be dealt damage normally and be destroyed as a result.
Suppose I attack my opponent with Venomous Hierophant, which has deathtouch. They block it with the hexproof Spined Megalodon. Venemous Hierophant deals combat damage to the blocker, which automatically destroys Spined Megalodon without targeting it.
Hexproof vs Annihilator
Hexproof does not protect from annihilator. When a creature with annihilator attacks, the defending player must choose a set number of permanents to sacrifice. Firstly, choosing is different to targeting. Second, the permanent controller chooses to sacrifice it, so hexproof can’t save it there either.
For example, imagine my opponent attacks me with Artisan of Kozilek, which has annihilator 2. The ability triggers, so I have to sacrifice two permanents. I can choose to sacrifice a hexproof creature like Wingfold Pteron if I want to, but I can also choose not to if I have other options available.
Best MTG Hexproof Cards
Leyline of Sanctity (Hexproof – White Enchantment)
White’s best answer to burn, Leyline of Sanctity is an enchantment that gives you hexproof. That means that you, the player who controls this card, can’t be targeted by any of your opponent’s spells or abilities!
Although other cards also do this, Leyline of Sanctity is so strong because you can play it for free if it’s in your opening hand. Against certain decks, mulliganing until you draw the leyline is almost a guaranteed win.
Heroic Intervention (Hexproof – Green Instant)
Normally, green doesn’t have great interaction. However, Heroic Intervention is fantastic interaction, giving all your permanents indestructible and hexproof until the end of turn. It is shorter to list what this combination doesn’t protect them from!
Play Heroic Intervention when your opponent plays removal, artifact or enchantment hate, land destruction, or just any planeswalker. It’s even a good combat trick and allows your creatures to survive when they otherwise wouldn’t.
Stormsurge Kraken (Hexproof – Blue Creature)
Stormsurge Kraken is an ideal Commander threat. Not only is this a big creature stats-wise, clocking in at 5/5, it also gets +2/+2 as long as you control your commander. That, and when it’s blocked, you draw two cards.
However, it’s the hexproof that makes this card so strong. Usually, a random beater wouldn’t be a problem, but hexproof makes a 7/7 Stormsurge Kraken a major issue. Either your opponent loses 7 life per turn, or loses their creatures and gives you card advantage.
Lotus Field (Hexproof – Land)
The risk with really good lands is encountering really good land destruction. Lotus Field has hexproof, and so doesn’t risk being destroyed at all. Instead, it consistently taps for three mana of any colour.
Of course, this mana fixing is fantastic. A Black Lotus every single turn would obviously be fantastic. So, Lotus Field slots well into nearly any multicolor deck.
Eradicator Valkyrie (Hexproof – Black Creature)
Easily one of the best creatures in Forgotten Realms Standard, Eradicator Valkyrie is a brutal card. For four mana, it’s a 4/3 with flying and hexproof from planeswalkers. This hexproof creature can also force your opponents to sacrifice their own creatures and planeswalkers.
Furthermore, Eradicator Valkyrie’s flying ability allows it to focus down planeswalkers twice over. Planeswalkers can’t fight back either, as those cards cannot target this angel.
Swiftfoot Boots (Hexproof – Artifact)
Swiftfoot Boots is what you play when you want something to stay alive and make a big impact! Often haste creatures just get blasted with removal before they can do anything. However, Swiftfoot Boots ensures your creature stays alive by giving it hexproof too.
The low costs of this equipment are also a significant bonus, as you can get out Swiftfoot Boots early and equip it to whatever needs the buffs at the time. At only 1 mana to more, you can effectively give any creature you cast haste and hexproof for the turn that it needs the abilities most.
MTG Hexproof Decks
As it is primary in that colour, blue has the most hexproof cards, where the keyword functions like a pseudo-counterspell. Green has hexproof as an alternative to evasion on large creatures, while white has it as a way to thematically protect creatures and the player themselves.
As such, if you want hexproof cards, buy blue and green theme boosters. Not only are these the two colours with the most hexproof, but you’ll also have a better chance at getting rare hexproof creatures.
Bogles – Modern Hexproof
Bogles is a Modern deck that relies on buffing up cheap hexproof creatures with powerful auras. This is so effective because your opponent can’t target the hexproof creatures themselves, which means you can safely put as mana auras on them as you want.
These hexproof creatures then get powered up with auras. Ethereal Armor, Daybreak Coronet, and Rancor are all excellent choices here as they provide a strong damage boost in addition to other abilities.
Next, Bogles attacks. Really, it’s that simple. Many decks just don’t have an answer to such a powerful creature attacking so early, particularly if they can’t target it with removal. Other auras like Gryff’s Boon and Spirit Mantle give the creature evasion too, which means it hit even harder.
Lastly, this deck also runs a few other cards for protecting the hexproof creature, and your life total. For instance, Mana Tithe is an excellent answer to any board wipes, edict effects, or counterspells.
Sigarda Human Tribal – Commander Hexproof
Hexproof also has a great presence in Commander. One fun example of this is human tribal, led by the angel Sidarda, Heron’s Grace. This deck focuses on overwhelming the opponent with low-cost synergistic human creatures, buffed up by powerful equipment and anthem effects.
Sigarda, Heron’s Grace is the ideal commander here because it gives you three great benefits. Not only is Sigarda itself a good damage dealer, but you and all humans you control get hexproof. That’s some fantastic protection, as is Sigarda’s ability to make extra human tokens.
This deck makes heavy use of human tribal cards and humans that just have good utility in general. Odric, Lunarch Marshal, Mentor of the Meek, Duskwatch Recruit, Thraben Doomsayer and Devout Chaplain all see play in the 99 as such.
Not only that, but Sigarda gets additional tribal synergy in the form of cards like Gallows at Willow Hill, Angel of Glory’s Rise, and Bygone Bishop. Anthem effects like Cather’s Crusade, Archangel of Thune, and Mikaeus, The Lunarch, are notable inclusions too.
Finally, being in white and green, Sigarda Human Tribal also runs a couple of generally helpful cards. For instance, most versions of this deck have additional creature protection and recursion and a strong ramp package.
How to play against Hexproof
The best way to play against hexproof is to play cards that can remove permanents without targeting. Board wipes are an excellent choice here, as is anything that forces players to sacrifice permanents or stop attacking.
At times, a card won’t have hexproof inherently. Rather, another spell or ability is giving it to them. Where possible, make sure to destroy or counter that source of hexproof, as it usually won’t have hexproof itself.
Similarly, players often like to buff up their hexproof creatures with instants and enchantments, which don’t have hexproof. Destroy or counter them if you can as that will heavily interfere with the opponent’s overall strategy.
Hexproof creatures can also die in combat. Similarly, nongreen hexproof creatures generally don’t have high stats. Nothing is stopping you playing combat tricks on your own creatures either. Attack and block strategically to kill hexproof creatures if they’re threats.
If a player has hexproof, destroy the card giving it to them. If need be, sideboard in extra answers for that card type, such as artifact destruction. Remember, you can still attack them even if they have hexproof.
You can even try overwhelming or racing a hexproof deck. On average, hexproof creatures are slow. They struggle to match damage against an aggressive deck like Red Deck Wins or White Weenies, especially when blocking. If you see hexproof, attack.
Keep in mind that you still need to win the overall game. Hexproof is often used as a distraction. They’re impressive cards with a cool ability, but your opponent might have other plans too. Make sure to prioritize.
Do Board Wipes Kill Hexproof?
Board wipes do kill hexproof cards. This is because board wipes are not targeted destruction. Rather, board wipes will destroy, damage, or otherwise remove all creatures on the battlefield indiscriminately.
As such, hexproof creatures will die to board wipes. Similarly, cards that destroy or disable all artifacts, enchantments, or lands without targeting will also affect hexproof permanents of the same type.
How Do You Kill Creatures With Hexproof?
Anything that can destroy without targeting will kill hexproof cards.
Apart from targeted destruction, hexproof creatures have all the same weaknesses. In addition to using board wipes, you can kill creatures with hexproof via combat damage or forcing your opponents to sacrifice them with cards like Edicts.
Can You Fight a Hexproof Creature?
You cannot target hexproof creatures with the fight ability. Fight has two target creatures deal damage equal to their power to the other. Your opponent’s creatures with hexproof cannot be chosen to fight as you can’t target them at all.
A note: Hexproof MTG
In summary, Hexproof is keyword ability that prevents an opponent targeting you or your permanent with their spells or abilities. Immediately, this is a strong keyword that gives great protection.
Hexproof is most common in blue, although many white and green cards have it too. Many hexproof cards are used in fun, powerful decks like Bogles and Sigarda Human Tribal.
Of course, it’s no wonder they use hexproof cards. Not only are they reliable and impactful, but they’re versatile. So, add some hexproof to your deck today. Your opponent can’t do a thing about it!
More Magic: The Gathering Keyword Articles
- How to Build an MTG Deck
- How to Build a Commander Deck in MTG
- MTG Evergreen Keywords List
- MTG Counter
- MTG Counters (markers)
- MTG Deathtouch
- MTG Defender
- MTG Double Strike
- MTG Enchant
- MTG Equip
- MTG Fear
- MTG Fight
- MTG First Strike
- MTG Flash
- MTG Flying
- MTG Haste
- MTG Indestructible
- MTG Intimidate
- MTG Lifelink
- MTG Menace
- MTG Protection
- MTG Prowess
- MTG Reach
- MTG Regenerate
- MTG Sacrifice
- MTG Shroud
- MTG Tap and Untap
- MTG Trample
- MTG Vigilance
- MTG Ward