How does Indestructible work in Magic: The Gathering?

Indestructible is a common keyword in MTG.

Image via Wizards of the Coast

Magic: The Gathering is one of the most popular collectible card games around and is an excellent option for players looking for a fun and complex experience. There is a slight learning curve for newcomers since some cards have keywords that introduce new rules to the standard gameplay. 

The Indestructible keyword is a common challenge players will face that can be tough to counter if you do not understand how the mechanic works. But there are still a few ways to get rid of Indestructible creatures once they hit the battlefield. 

Magic: The Gathering rule 702.12 states a permanent with Indestructible can’t be destroyed and “such permanent aren’t destroyed by lethal damage, and they ignore the state-based action that checks for lethal damage.”

In simpler terms, a permanent with Indestructible is not destroyed by traditional lethal damage or effects that specifically say “destroy” on it. For example, Crested Sunmare gives other horses you control Indestructible, which means they will not die even if they receive a lethal amount of damage. 

Cards that typically destroy every creature like Shatter the Sky do not work on cards with Indestructible, as they are impervious to being destroyed. This makes Indestructible creatures or permanents a pain to deal with, but there are still a few ways to remove them from play. 

Indestructible cards can be exiled by cards like Banishing Light, which does not destroy them but removes them from the battlefield. Players can also reduce an Indestructible card’s toughness to zero, causing the player to put the card into their graveyard immediately, since this isn’t technically dealing damage. 

Another way to get rid of Indestructible creatures is to make your opponent sacrifice them with cards like Chittering Harvester. Repeatedly mutating this creature causes an opponent to sacrifice a creature each time, which is an excellent way to remove their Indestructible permanents. 

Players can also counter an Indestructible spell to prevent it from touching the battlefield. Control decks are full of counters like Didn’t Say Please, which sends the card straight to the graveyard before it can cause havoc. Enchanting an Indestructible creature with cards like Pacifism is another option that makes them useless and prevents them from doing damage. 

These are just a few ways to counter Indestructible cards. Don’t be intimidated if you encounter an Indestructible permanent in Magic: The Gathering. They might be tough to remove from play, but creative players can always deal with them with other strategies.