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Type: Static
Introduced: Alpha (mechanic)
Champions of Kamigawa (keyword)
Last Used: Magic 2015
Reminder Text: This creature can't attack.
Statistics: 217 cards
Manaw.gif23% Manau.gif19% Manab.gif14% Manar.gif13% Manag.gif11%
Artifact 13%, Multicolor 10%
Gatherer search for "Defender"

This article is about the about the ability Defender. For the player, see Defending player.

Defender is a static ability that renders a creature unable to attack.


The keyword was introduced as a replacement of the baggage that the creature type Wall carried. It was introduced with Champions of Kamigawa and was retroactively added to all Walls.[1]

From the Comprehensive Rules (Fate Reforged)

  • 702.3. Defender
    • 702.3a. Defender is a static ability.
    • 702.3b. A creature with defender can’t attack.
    • 702.3c. Multiple instances of defender on the same creature are redundant.

Before defender was introduced all Walls were unable to attack as a definition of their creature type. Now creatures with Defender can potentially lose the ability and attack - this would have been a rules-hassle before. However, Defender has introduced some confusion as well, because not all cards that refer to Walls or non-Walls have been changed.

  • Erhnam Djinn has the text: "At the beginning of your upkeep, target non-Wall creature an opponent controls gains forestwalk until your next upkeep."

It is perfectly legal to choose a non-Wall creature with Defender, such as Carven Caryatid, even though that was not the original intent.

  • Norritt has the text: "Tap.gif: Target non-Wall creature attacks this turn if able. If that creature doesn't attack, destroy it at end of turn unless it came under its controller's control this turn. Play this ability only during that creature's controller's turn before the declare attackers step."

This ability is clearly designed to work on non-Defenders, but that is not the case. It is legal for Norritt to target any non-Wall creatures with Defender, such as Carven Caryatid.

Whenever confusion arises, always see the Oracle Card Reference or Gatherer for clarification.


  • Changing a creature's type no longer affects whether it can attack. A Wall that becomes a non-Wall will still have the defender ability. Likewise, a non-Wall that becomes a Wall won't have the defender ability.


  • Wall of Stone - Mana1.gifManar.gifManar.gif
    Creature — Wall
    Defender (This creature can't attack.)

Cards that grant defender[edit]




Cards that circumvent defender[edit]

Creatures with defender that may be able to attack[edit]


  1. Mark Rosewater. (October 04, 2004.) "Change For the Better", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.

External links[edit]