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Undying is a keyword triggered ability introduced in Dark Ascension [1] and also featured in Avacyn Restored. Its function is similar to persist, a keyword ability from the Shadowmoor block; if a permanent with undying is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, it returns to the battlefield under its owner's control. However, unlike persist, a creature with undying returns to the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter on it (rather than a -1/-1 counter) unless it already had one or more of those counters on it when it died.

From the Comprehensive Rules

  • 702.92. Undying
    • 702.92a Undying is a triggered ability. "Undying" means "When this permanent is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, if it had no +1/+1 counters on it, return it to the battlefield under its owner's control with a +1/+1 counter on it."


[edit] Rulings

  • All cards printed with undying are creatures. If a creature with undying stops being a creature (for example, an artifact creature with undying becomes a noncreature artifact due to Neurok Transmuter's second ability), undying will still trigger.
  • Likewise, if a noncreature permanent becomes a creature, gains undying, and is put into a graveyard, the undying ability will still trigger even though that permanent won't be a creature when it returns to the battlefield.
  • Multiple instances of undying trigger separately, but are effectively redundant as only the first instance to resolve will have any effect.
  • An object returned to the battlefield with the undying ability is a new object with no memory of its previous existence. It has "summoning sickness".
  • Tokens can gain undying, and the ability will trigger if a token is put into a graveyard. However, like all tokens, it can't return to the battlefield and will cease to exist as a state-based action before the ability would go on the stack.
  • Undying relies on the last known information about the permanent just before it was put into a graveyard. If that permanent had a +1/+1 counter on it, then receives enough -1/-1 counters for it to be put into a graveyard due to having 0 toughness or lethal damage marked on it, it won't return to the battlefield despite the state-based action of +1/+1 counters and -1/-1 counters "cancelling each other out". As the permanent last existed on the battlefield, it had a +1/+1 counter on it, so undying will not trigger.

[edit] Example

  • Sightless Ghoul - Mana3.gifManab.gif
    Creature — Zombie Soldier
    Sightless Ghoul can't block.
    Undying (When this creature dies, if it had no +1/+1 counters on it, return it to the battlefield under its owner's control with a +1/+1 counter on it.)

[edit] Color percentages

There are 20 cards that involve undying, which divide by color as such:

  • Black = 45 %
  • Red = 20 %
  • Green = 20 %
  • Blue = 15 %

[edit] Spell that grants Undying

[edit] References

  1. Mark Rosewater. (January 16, 2012.) "Dancing in the Dark Ascension, Part 2", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.

[edit] External link