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Shroud in MTG – Rules, Best Cards + Decks!

Shroud is a deprecated static keyword ability in Magic: The Gathering. If a permanent or player has shroud, they can’t be targeted with spells or abilities. This article delves into how shroud works in MTG, lists the best shroud cards, gives shroud deck ideas, strategies to play against shroud, and answers common shroud questions.

Calcite Snapper MTG shroud card illustration. Image: Wizards of the Coast. Artist: David Palumbo.
[c]Calcite Snapper[/c] MTG shroud card illustration. Image: Wizards of the Coast. Artist: David Palumbo.

MTG Shroud rules

What does the MTG reminder text say about shroud?

This permanent or player can’t be the target of spells or abilities.

See Magic: The Gathering Comprehensive Rules, 702.18. “Shroud” for more information.

If something has shroud, nobody can cast a spell or activate an ability that targets it. However, this does not make shroud immune to all spells or abilities. Shroud creatures also attack and block as normal.

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Although the shroud mechanic was introduced in Legends, shroud was only made a keyword mechanic in Future Sight. Those older cards that couldn’t be targeted have now received errata to have shroud.

Originally, shroud was an evergreen ability. However, it was made obsolete in Magic 2012 due to the introduction of hexproof. Since then, very few shroud cards have been printed, none of which have been Standard-legal.

Shroud was a primary ability in green and blue. It was a secondary ability in white. Green and blue shroud cards could be any type, while white only used shroud to protect the player or many permanents at once.

MTG Shroud Examples

MTG cards Scythe Tiger, Kird Ape, Doom Blade, Davriel, Soul Broker, Anjani, Mentor of Heroes and Colossus Hammer. Image: Wizards of the Coast.
MTG cards Scythe Tiger, Kird Ape, Doom Blade, Davriel, Soul Broker, Anjani, Mentor of Heroes and Colossus Hammer. Image: Wizards of the Coast.

[c]Scythe Tiger[/c] and [c]Kird Ape[/c] might seem pretty similar at first glance. After all, they’re one-drop creatures with abnormally high stats that interact with your lands. However, Scythe Tiger is far more survivable. It has shroud.

These rules mean that my opponent can’t target Scythe Tiger for removal. While Kird Ape might die to cards like [c]Doom Blade[/c] or [c]Davriel, Soul Broker[/c], Scythe Tiger cannot be targeted by spells or abilities whatsoever.

However, this includes my own spells abilities. For example, I can’t buff up my [c]Scythe Tiger[/c] with [c]Ajani, Mentor of Heroes[/c], or equip it with [c]Colossus Hammer[/c] either, because both of those cards target and shroud stops targeting of any kind.

Regardless, Scythe Tiger attacks and blocks as usual. Shroud doesn’t affect the way combat works. So, if my opponent wants to, they can block and kill it with their Kird Ape. And, if they equipped their Kird Ape with a Colossus Hammer, that would be an awful trade for me.

MTG card True Believer. Image: Wizards of the Coast.
MTG card True Believer. Image: Wizards of the Coast.

I can also give myself shroud with particular cards. For example, [c]True Believer[/c] gives me shroud as long as it is on the battlefield. In this case, a spell or ability that reads “target player” cannot target me. 

Even if I have shroud, though, I can still be attacked. Shroud doesn’t prevent an opponent from attacking me because declaring attackers is neither a spell nor an ability. So, that pesky Kird Ape is still an issue.

Shroud vs Hexproof

Hexproof was the evergreen keyword that replaced shroud. While shroud prevents any targeting, hexproof still lets you target your card with spells or abilities.

MTG card Crystalline Sliver and Geist of Saint Traft. Image: Wizards of the Coast.
MTG cards Crystalline Sliver and Geist of Saint Traft. Image: Wizards of the Coast.

For instance, let’s say I control the shroud creature [c]Crystalline Sliver[/c]. If my opponent blocks it with a higher power creature, I can’t save my sliver with combat tricks. Likewise, I can’t equip or enchant it either.

This drawback makes shroud quite dull to play. It can weaken my creatures, precisely because I can’t target them.

However, this isn’t the same for hexproof at all. I can equip, enchant, and otherwise target a hexproof creature like [c]Geist of Saint Traft[/c]. Doing so is how many Voltron strategies get off the ground.

Shroud vs Deathtouch

Because deathtouch does not target, shroud won’t save a creature from deathtouch. Instead, the shroud creature will just be dealt damage normally and be destroyed as a result. Remember, dealing combat damage isn’t an ability.

MTG cards Calciderm and Ambush Viper. Image: Wizards of the Coast.
MTG cards Calciderm and Ambush Viper. Image: Wizards of the Coast.

Imagine I attack with [c]Calciderm[/c], a shroud creature. My opponent blocks with [c]Ambush Viper[/c], which has deathtouch. Combat damage occurs without targeting, destroying Calciderm. Even though Ambush Viper has less power than its toughness, it does have deathtouch, so any amount of damage is enough to kill.

Best MTG Shroud Cards 

Morphling (Shroud Blue Creature)

MTG card Morphling. Image: Wizards of the Coast.
MTG card Morphling. Image: Wizards of the Coast.

An infamous win condition from Magic’s early days, [c]Morphling[/c] is the benchmark for a versatile creature. From flying to firebreathing, Morphling has an ability for it, and it untaps itself to boot.

Of course, Morphling wouldn’t be nearly as broken if it wasn’t for shroud. For only one blue mana, you can effectively counter any removal that targets Morphling. So, in addition to being effectively unblockable, your opponent can’t [c]Lightning Bolt[/c] this creature either.

Greater Auramancy (Shroud White Enchantment)

MTG card Greater Auramancy. Image: Wizards of the Coast.
MTG card Greater Auramancy. Image: Wizards of the Coast.

Sometimes you want to play enchantments. If you do, you’ll want to put [c]Greater Auramancy[/c] in the mix and give all your enchantments shroud. Not only that, but Greater Auramancy also extends this protection to your enchanted creatures.

This ability is so powerful because it lets you enchant your creatures at least once and get value out of your auras. Furthermore, two copies of Greater Auramancy protect each other, preventing your opponents from destroying either!

Argothian Enchantress (Shroud Green Creature)

MTG card Argothian Enchantress. Image: Wizards of the Coast.
MTG card Argothian Enchantress. Image: Wizards of the Coast.

A cornerstone of its namesake deck, [c]Argothian Enchantress[/c] is a deceptively powerful creature. Even though its stats are awful, its ability certainly isn’t. Whenever you cast an enchantment spell, you draw a card. Argothian Enchantress pays for itself nearly instantly.

And because Argothian Enchantress has shroud, that means it’s dramatically more complicated to get rid of because nobody can target it with removal. As long as you don’t waste it attacking or blocking, your opponent will struggle to remove it, and it will keep drawing you cards.

Stonewood Invocation (Shroud Green Instant)

MTG card Stonewood Invocation. Image: Wizards of the Coast.
MTG card Stonewood Invocation. Image: Wizards of the Coast.

[c]Stonewood Invocation[/c] is a potent combat trick, and here’s why. Not only does it give your creature +5/+5, but it also gives it shroud for the turn. This protects it from nearly any kind of removal and ensures that it’ll hit home for massive damage.

This instant also has split second, which further increases its versatility. As long as it’s on the stack, players can’t cast spells or activate abilities that aren’t mana abilities, which means Stonewood Invocation isn’t getting countered either!

Arcane Lighthouse (Shroud Land)

MTG card Arcane Lighthouse. Image: Wizards of the Coast.
MTG card Arcane Lighthouse. Image: Wizards of the Coast.

However, we don’t want our opponents playing creatures with shroud either. That’s where [c]Arcane Lighthouse[/c] comes in. This land taps to remove shroud and hexproof from your opponents’ creatures.

Not only does this instantly shut off Voltron strategies, but Arcane Lighthouse also interferes with a lot of mass protection cards too. Since it’s a land, the opportunity cost to run it is also low. You can always find a place for it in the 99, or a Legacy sideboard.

Crystalline Sliver (Shroud White/Blue Creature)

MTG card Crystalline Sliver. Image: Wizards of the Coast.
MTG card Crystalline Sliver. Image: Wizards of the Coast.

A regular feature in sliver tribal, [c]Crystalline Sliver[/c] gives all slivers shroud. This ability compensates brilliantly for one of their only weaknesses otherwise, which is spot removal.

Crystalline Sliver is only two mana as well. It comes down early, it comes down cheap, and it effectively locks your opponents out of interacting with any of your cards. Also, because sliver buffs don’t target themselves, you don’t miss out on shroud’s weaknesses either.

MTG Shroud Decks 

Shroud is most commonly found in green, blue, and white. However, because it’s an obsolete mechanic, you won’t find cards printed with the ability nowadays.

If you want shroud cards, it’s a good idea to buy or trade for them individually, rather than buying old booster packs. Although the relatively recent Modern Horizons did have some shroud cards, they haven’t seen competitive play.

Building a competitive “shroud tribal” deck is hard nowadays, as there aren’t any shroud synergy cards, and there will likely never be. Likewise, shroud cards also can’t synergize with each other much either. 

Rather, select shroud cards are instead used to enhance other strategies. Because they can’t be targeted, shroud cards can provide significant bonuses at low risk. Similarly, giving other cards shroud protects them, but you only need to do that once.

Enchantress – Legacy Shroud

Arguably the best deck to use shroud cards in the entire format, Legacy Enchantress is simple but effective. Cards like [c]Enchantress’s Presence[/c] and the shroud creature [c]Argothian Enchantress[/c] draw you more cards whenever you cast enchantments. You turn that value into more enchantments, and then you win.

This initial synergy is deceptively strong. It turns every enchantment spell into a card-draw engine, and the deck is packed with those. Even seemingly insignificant enchantments like [c]Utopia Sprawl[/c] or [c]Wild Growth[/c] effectively cantrip.

Of course, those cards comprise the deck’s ramp package. The deck also runs copies of [c]Serra’s Sanctum[/c] for this purpose. Together, these three cards let you outpace nearly any other deck, and that’s without even considering fetchlands.

Of course, you need to survive long enough to draw all those cards! That’s where [c]Solitary Confinement[/c] and [c]Elephant Grass[/c] come in. Usually, these cards have debilitating drawbacks, but Enchantress’s ramp and card draw negate them.

[c]Sigil of the Empty Throne[/c] and [c]Words of War[/c] are both your win conditions. They let you turn your enchantments into an army of angel tokens and a barrage of pinging, respectively.

Certain variants of Enchantress also run more shroud cards to give their enchantments additional protection. [c]Greater Auramancy[/c] and [c]Sterling Grove[/c] both give all your enchantments shroud, while the latter can also tutor for key combo pieces.

How to play against Shroud 

Playing cards that don’t target gets around shroud entirely since you can’t target shroud. As such, play board wipes, edict effects, and prison cards to stop shroud creatures.

Sometimes, a card won’t have shroud inherently. Instead, another card, like an aura or equipment, is giving them shroud. Where possible, make sure to destroy or counter the source of the shroud, as it usually won’t have shroud itself.

You can also counter shroud cards. Shroud only applies while on the battlefield itself, not when on the stack. Counter shroud cards before they become a threat.

Shroud creatures can also die in combat. As such, whenever they attack or block, make sure you can respond and kill them. Utilize your combat tricks for that.

If a player has shroud, destroy whatever is giving it to them. If need be, sideboard in additional answers for that card type, such as enchantment hate. If all else fails, you can still attack them even if they have shroud.

Against Enchantress strategies, play mass enchantment removal or slow down their spellcasting and card draw. If your opponent can’t keep drawing cards and spamming enchantments, shroud becomes irrelevant.

It’s also possible to race shroud on damage. On average, shroud creatures are slow while other shroud cards need synergies to be effective. They struggle to outpace an aggressive deck. If you see shroud, attack.

Keep in mind that you still need to win the overall game. Shroud is often the distraction, not the win condition. They’re unique cards with a distinctive ability, but your opponent might have other plans too. Make sure to prioritize.

Shroud FAQs 

Does Shroud Stack?

Multiple instances of shroud on the same creature do not stack, So, if you give a card shroud twice, you can still cast it whenever you could cast an instant. There’s no additional benefit.

Is there Shroud Equipment?

There is shroud equipment, and, in fact, it is remarkably powerful. Being able to get around shroud’s major weakness of preventing you from targeting your creatures means that shroud equipment continually sees play.

[c]Whispersilk Cloak[/c], [c]Lightning Greaves[/c], and [c]General’s Kabuto[/c] are all examples of shroud equipment. If you want to target your creature, you can detach the equipment, do so, and then attach the equipment afterward again.

Can You Target Your Own Creature with Shroud?

You can’t target your own creature if it has shroud. Shroud stops a card from being targeted by all spells or abilities, including your own. You can still give a creature shroud with a targeted ability, though, but you can’t target it afterward then.

Can You Sacrifice a Creature with Shroud?

You can sacrifice a creature with shroud. Choosing a creature isn’t the same as targeting a creature, which means you can choose a shroud creature when you have to sacrifice. 

However, you can’t do so if you have to target a shroud creature before sacrificing it.

Do Board Wipes Kill Shroud?

Board wipes can kill shroud creatures. Board wipes don’t target creatures but rather destroy or otherwise remove all creatures at once without targeting any of them.

Can You Mutate with Shroud?

You can’t mutate with shroud. Mutate is a targeted ability, which means that shroud creatures can never be the target for it.

Does Shroud Remove Auras?

Shroud does not remove auras. An aura staying attached to an enchanted creature isn’t a target ability. Some auras, like [c]Diplomatic Immunity[/c] or [c]Clout of the Dominus[/c], actually give a creature shroud. 

However, once you’ve given a creature shroud, you can’t enchant it any further. Enchanting a creature does involve targeting that creature, which shroud prevents.

Does Shroud Protect from Planeswalkers?

Shroud will protect a creature from being targeted by a planeswalker’s abilities. However, if a planeswalker can remove shroud creatures without targeting, shroud will not protect them. Thus, a planeswalker like [c]Liliana of the Veil[/c] can kill shroud.

A note: Shroud MTG 

In summary, shroud is keyword ability that prevents something from being targeted by any spells or abilities. This ability can be a double-edged sword because, while it protects your cards from removal, it stops you interacting with them as well.

Shroud is most common in blue and green, although some white cards have it too. Unfortunately, shroud is considered obsolete and was replaced with hexproof. Nevertheless, some shroud cards do still see competitive play, such as in Enchantress builds.

So, shroud isn’t quite finished just yet. If you don’t like anyone tampering with your cards, add some shroud to your deck today. Your opponent can’t do a thing about it!

For a guide on How to Build your MTG Deck, see our article! Playing Commander? See our full guide on How to Build a Commander Deck it’s packed full of tips!

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