MTG Equipment – Everything you need to know

Equipment(s) are a super flavorful card type in Magic: The Gathering. They are cards that represent a piece of equipment that is bestowed upon one of your creatures, granting it bonuses. While some equipment are stronger than others, there are also creatures that gain additional perks if they’re equipped with something which can up their power level. Overall, there is quite a bit to unpack about MTG equipment and how it works. So, let’s get right into it.

An “equipment” is an artifact with the “equip” keyword ability. By paying the equip cost, it attaches to a creature you control. The creature then gets the benefit stated on the equipment until it is removed. If that creature leaves play, the Equipment becomes unattached and remains in play.

At its simplest, equipment is pretty straightforward and easy to use. However, like all things in Magic: The Gathering, there are factors that can complicate things. For example, timing issues like when you can or can’t equip things and how equipment works with abilities like “Shroud” can become quite confusing at times. Worry not though, if you’ve got questions about MTG equipment, we’ve got you covered.

Table Of Contents:

  1. What Is Equipment?
  2. How Does Equipment Work?
  3. When Can You Use Equipment?
  4. How Many Equipment Can A Creature Have?
  5. What Happens To The Equipment When The Creature Dies?
  6. Can You Unequip Equipment?
  7. Can You Equip A Creature With Shroud?
  8. Can You Equip A Planeswalker?
  9. Is “Attach” The Same As Equip?
  10. What Is The Best Equipment In MTG?
    1. Colossus Hammer
    2. Cranial Plating
    3. Umezawa’s Jitte
    4. Sword Of The Animist
    5. Shadowspear
    6. Skullclamp
    7. Lightning Greaves
    8. The “Sword Of” Cards
  11. End Step

What Is Equipment?

Equipment are artifacts with the subtype “equipment.” They have the “equip” keyword ability. By paying the equip cost (which can only be done at sorcery speed), it attaches to a creature you control and grants it whatever bonus is stated on the equipment.

How Does Equipment Work?

You cast equipment like any other spell in MTG. You pay the mana cost, it goes on the stack, and assuming it resolves, it goes onto the battlefield. If no effects allow you to attach it directly to a creature you control, it simply enters the battlefield.

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Any time you could cast a sorcery, you may pay the “equip” cost and attach it to a creature you control. Once you do, that creature gets the effect of bonuses stated on the equipped. The creature stays equipped until it’s destroyed or you pay the equip cost again and move it to another creature.

When Can You Use Equipment?

Equip cost can usually only be activated at sorcery speed. This means you can attach equipment you control to your creatures during either of the main phases of your turn. However, there are effects such as that of Leonin Shikari that allow you to equip at instant speed.

How Many Equipment Can A Creature Have?

There is no limit to the amount of equipment a creature can have on them. So long as the creature is a valid target and you can pay the equip cost you may attach any number of equipment to your creatures.

What Happens To The Equipment When The Creature Dies?

When an equipped creature dies, the equipment(s) attached to it stay behind on the battlefield, unless an effect states otherwise. Furthermore, this is actually the reason that equipment was designed.

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There was far too much inherent card disadvantage when attaching auras to creatures and then having the creatures removed. As a result, the MTG team designed a similar effect that would stay behind after the creature left. This makes MTG equipment a much safer investment than auras in most circumstances.

Can You Unequip Equipment?

The answer here is no. At least not without another valid target. Let me elaborate. You can always move an equipment from one creature to another by paying the cost and targeting the new creature.

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However, if there are no other legal targets for an equipment, you cannot simply remove it from the creature it’s currently on. In other words, you can switch it between creatures but you can’t remove it from a creature without putting it onto another.

Can You Equip A Creature With Shroud?

This is a widespread question when it comes to MTG equipment. So, can you equip a creature shroud with an equipment? The answer is, no. Equip abilities target the creature that they are to equip.

Shroud says that a creature cannot be the target of spells or abilities. As a result, creatures with shroud are not a legal target for equipment.

Can You Equip A Planeswalker?

Under most circumstances, you cannot equip a planeswalker with equipment. Most equipment specifies that “you may attach this permanent to target ‘creature’ you control.” However, there are circumstances where there are exceptions to this. Let’s take a look.

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Luxior, Giada’s Gift is the only true way to equip a planeswalker with an equipment. It has an “equip planeswalker” cost and once it has been paid, it attaches and the planeswalker turns into a creature but keeps its loyalty abilities.

Furthermore, if a planeswalker like Gideon Jura for example, were to become a creature via his ability he would then be a legal target for equipment. If you were to equip Gideon while he was a creature, he would remain equipped until he was no longer a creature. After that, the equipment would simply fall off.

Is “Attach” The Same As Equip?

A card like Cranial Plating has an alternative means of moving itself onto creatures besides its equip cost. The alternate method simply states to “attach” the equipment to a target creature you control. So, what are the differences between attach and equip?

Attach and equip function identically to one another in all ways but one. Where they differ is that attach is an ability that can be activated at instant speed. Whereas equip costs may only be activated at sorcery speed.

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Why is this ability useful? Well, let’s say you attack with two 1/1 creatures, one of which is equipped with Cranial Plating. When your opponent declares blocks, if you have the mana available, then you could switch Cranial Plating to the unblocked creature.

What Is The Best Equipment In MTG?

So, we’ve covered what MTG equipment is, how it works and how it interacts with other things inside the game. With that, what better way to close out an article about equipment than to look at the top equipment in the game. As well as their pros and cons and the formats where they shine. Without further ado, let’s jump into the list.

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8. Colossus Hammer

colossus hammer

Colossus Hammer is not something you want to be paying the full-price equip cost for. However, effects like that of Stoneforge Mystic circumvent the pricey cost to attach the hammer and make even the smallest creatures into lethal threats.

The massive +10/+10 bonus and the ability to come down early thanks to Urza’s Saga and be cheated onto a creature make it an easy way to quickly close out games in the modern format where it is the namesake card for a deck known as “Hammer Time.”

ProsCons
Massive BonusExpensive to equip
Cheap to castRemoves flying

Recommended Formats: Modern, Pioneer

7. Cranial Plating

cranial plating

Cranial Plating has two major things going for it. First, the boost scales with the number of artifacts you control. This can lead to some massive pumps to your creatures. Furthermore, considering Cranial Plating itself is an artifact it’ll always count towards itself.

Second, it can be switched between creatures at instant speed. This makes it much more effective at getting your creatures around blockers and getting in for lethal damage. It’s an all-star in aggressive artifact-based strategies in modern and commander.

ProsCons
Bonus to creatures can scale upRequires colored mana to “attach”
Can be switched to creatures at instant speedBonus to creatures can scale down

Recommended Formats: Modern, Commander

6. Umezawa’s Jitte

umezawa's jitte

Umezawa’s Jitte is a multi-format all-star thanks to its versatility. Whenever a creature equipped with the Jitte deals combat damage to a player or even a creature, you get two charge counters. Then, for the cost of one charge counter, you can choose one of three options.

Each of the three options is quite strong at the right time. Furthermore, since you get two charge counters per attack, you can remove them both and choose two effects. This versatility makes the JItte a valuable asset at any point in most games.

ProsCons
Three strong abilitiesMust deal combat damage to trigger
Versatile options

Recommended Formats: Commander, Legacy, Vintage

5. Sword Of The Animist

sword of the animist

Sword Of The Animist has the very unique effect of ramping lands out onto the battlefield whenever the equipped creature attacks. Furthermore, it still offers a nice +1/+1 boost to the creature as well.

The fact that the Sword can grab any basic land makes it able to easily slide into any deck and be of use. Where Sword of the Animist really excels is when it’s equipped on something like Brushfire Elemental where the extra land represents even more value. If left unchecked, this two CMC equipment can quickly take over a game.

ProsCons
Ramps youLegendary
Boosts creatures’ power/toughness
Triggers on attack

Recommended Formats: Commander

4. Shadowspear

shadowspear

Shadowspear has quite a lot to like about it. For just one colorless mana, you get an equipment that gives you a +1/+1 as well as trample and lifelink. Plus, it has the added ability to strip opposing permanents of hexproof and indestructible for a turn.

Shadowspear is well costed and the boost alongside trample allows you to be very aggressive. While the lifelink and the ability to disrupt opposing creatures give you a solid defense and an ability to disrupt opposing gameplans. Couple all this with the fact that it can be tutored for with Urza’s Saga and you have a recipe for success.

ProsCons
Good on offense and defenseLegendary
Versatile
Can remove hexproof and indestructible

Recommended Formats: Modern

3. Skullclamp

skullclamp

Skullclamp is an extremely powerful mtg equipment and it’s almost by accident. Whenever the creature equipped with skullclamp dies you get to draw two cards. However, the equipment itself gives the creature a +1/-1. The -1 was added to the card as a “downside” to compensate for its ability to generate card advantage.

While the thought was there, this ended up being the card’s greatest upside. Why? Because any deck playing lots of creatures with one toughness can simply equip skullclamp for a single mana, killing their own creature immediately and drawing two cards.

So, you don’t have to use extra resources to find ways to sacrifice your creature or wait for it to die. If you’ve got a creature with one toughness and one mana of any color you can draw cards. Paired with things like Blood Artist triggers, skullclamp can generate even more enormous value.

ProsCons
Card advantageLowers toughness
Cheap to equipRequires creatue to die
Self-sufficient

Recommended Format: Commander

2. Lightning Greaves

lightning greaves

Lightning Greaves is a commander staple and for good reason. For two mana you get two very powerful abilities – Haste and shroud. Furthermore, it costs absolutely nothing to equip. Not only does this mean it can be used the same turn it’s played but it can also be switched between creatures as needed, with no extra resources.

The Greaves are an invaluable piece of equipment to decks that prioritize early attacks or protecting their commanders at all costs. The speed and consistency that lightning greaves offer a deck are largely unrivaled and it’s truly one of the best MTG equipment in the game.

ProsCons
Two powerful abilitiesEquipped creature can’t be targeted by you
Protects creatures
Free to equip

Recommended Formats: Commander

1. The “Sword Of” Cards

sword of feast and famine

Considering there have been none on the list so far, you probably saw this number one spot coming. I added them as the number one spot as a whole lest they dominate the list. First, let’s take a look at each of the Swords, and then we can touch on what makes them so powerful.

Each card in the “Sword of” cycle offers the equipped creature a +2/+2 bonus, protection from two colors, and two massive effects that trigger on combat damage. For a three-mana investment and two to equip, they simply offer an absurd amount of value.

Furthermore, protection from not one but two colors makes the swords extremely effective at getting around would-be blockers and triggering themselves. While the +2/+2 boost turns even the smallest creatures into formidable threats.

What you get when you inevitably deal combat damage varies from sword to sword. However, all of them are powerful in their own right and in the right situation, protection from two colors can damn near win you the game on the spot.

ProsCons
+2/+2 bonusMore expensive
Protection from colors
Combat damage triggers

Recommended Formats: Commander, Modern

End Step

Equipment is super fun, super flavorful, and oftentimes a very powerful part of MTG. With that said, there is quite a bit of situation that raise questions about how they work or interact with certain things within the game. Regardless of what your curiosity about equipment was, I hope you found what you were looking for in the information above. Until next time, get out there and suit up those creatures.

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Geno Doak

I started playing Magic in 2015. I love all formats but I particularly love to play and build decks in modern. Pretty much every part of my life has been influenced by Magic in some way or another. It is something I am very passionate about. RIP Simian Spirit Guide.