What does Vigilance mean in Magic: The Gathering?

The ability lets you make moves offensively without losing your defense.

Image via WotC

Deciding whether to attack with your creatures or leave them back as a defense against the crackback from your opponent can sometimes be a tricky situation in Magic: The Gathering. But one mechanic makes that decision significantly less complicated.

Vigilance is a keyword ability in Magic that lets you attack with a creature without being required to tap it.

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

If for some reason a creature is given Vigilance multiple times, it doesn’t change anything. One instance of ability operates in the same way as multiple instances.

Vigilance is one of the older mechanics in the game, being introduced in Alpha. It became a keyword in Champions of Kamigawa.

While the ability is typically printed on creature cards, there are a few enchantments that can give creatures the ability.

With 483 cards that include Vigilance, it’s one of the more popular mechanics in the game. But it’s typically reserved for White cards. Nearly 52 percent of cards featuring Vigilance are mono-White and another 14.5 percent of Vigilance cards are a combination of White and another color.

Vigilance is commonly associated with aggressive mono-White and Red-White (Boros) creature-based decks. But the ability is also printed on a small contingent of higher-power Green creatures that serve as top-end value in ramp decks.