The Fundamental Mechanics of all CCGs
as Expressed through Magic: the Gathering


The list below is a compilation of fundamental card game mechanics – those universal mechanics which are the most basic and, unlike most keyword and ability word mechanics, don’t derive from or depend on any other mechanics. (Note that keyword and ability word mechanics often pose as and even exemplify the fundamental mechanics.) Some mechanics listed below are so basic that they have close roots in traditional card games like war, poker, and UNO.

If you are familiar with any unlisted mechanics of MAGIC, another CCG, any card game, or any applicable game period, please bring it to light by posting it here. I hope to refine and even perfect this list over time, and I think this idea is a worthy pursuit for all amateur card designers whether they're creating for MAGIC, L5R, YU-GI-OH, or the CCG of the future.

Know that this post is a personal request for input pertaining to the following list – whether it be about a missed mechanic, a misnomer, a misspelling, or any other mistake. Anything will be appreciated. Thank you in advance.

Control (as in Confiscate or Mindslaver)
Copy
Counter (as in Voidslime)
Counters (as in Giant Fan)
Counting (as in Locket of Yesterday or Chroma)
Damage
Destroy
Discard
Donate (as in Donate)
Draw
Evasion (as in Flying or Unblockable)
Extra (as in Time Walk, AKA: Another or Additional)
Indestructible
Play (as in “play a land” or “cast a spell”)
Protection
Prevention
Put (as in Dredge or Reclaim)
Random
Redirect (as in Meddle or Nomads en-Kor)
Return (as in Unsummon or Raise Dead)
Sacrifice
Shroud
Shuffle
Skip (as in False Peace or Fatigue)
Trigger (as in Storm or Nekrataal)