How to use Vigilance in Magic: The Gathering

Avoid making it confusing when you're attacking.

Image via WotC

There are many keyword abilities in Magic: The Gathering with varying degrees of power and Vigilance gives creatures some of the best potential for utility out of any in the game.

Printed primarily on White creature cards, Vigilance makes it so that a creature can attack without needing to be tapped. This provides you with the ability to block with the card during your opponent’s combat phase on the following turn or even use an activated ability that requires you to tap a creature.

Vigilance is a static ability and it “modifies the rules for the declare attackers step,” according to MTG’s comprehensive rules. “Attacking doesn’t cause creatures with vigilance to tap,” the rules read.

It’s commonplace for people who are attacking with a vigilant creature to move the creature slightly forward on the battlefield during the declaration of attackers phase to ensure that their opponent is aware that the vigilant creature is attacking since it doesn’t need to be tapped.

Because most creatures are tapped during the declaration of attackers, it can sometimes be confusing to opponents when you attack with a vigilant creature because you don’t need to tap it.

This makes it important to be thorough as the owner of a card with vigilance when attacking with it. Making sure you have the full attention of your opponent and verbalizing your attack with the vigilant creature can help prevent any sort of dispute about whether you were attacking with the creature that doesn’t need to be tapped.

Vigilance is a mechanic that’s been in Magic since Alpha and has been a keyword since Champions of Kamigawa, so its well-known enough that as long as both players are attentive during gameplay, you shouldn’t have any issues. But emphasizing communication during attacks will squash any potential confusion that could arise.

About the author
Max Miceli

Senior Staff Writer. Max graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a journalism and political science degree in 2015. He previously worked for The Esports Observer covering the streaming industry before joining Dot where he now helps with Overwatch 2 coverage.