How does a creature with indestructible end up in the graveyard?

I have been trying to figure this out for a little while.


Indestructible prevents the permanent from being destroyed. This usually is caused by damage exceeding a creature's toughness, or an effect that explicitly says that it will destroy a permanent.

The main ways that a creature with indestructible will die (being put to the graveyard from the battlefield) will be:

  1. Having its toughness reduced to zero via -X/-X effects. (Tragic Slip, Black Sun's Zenith)
  2. Being sacrificed. (Innocent Blood)
  3. Losing indestructible and being destroyed (Hour of Devastation, Turn to Frog + destruction effect)

Other ways to deal with indestructible permanents that do not cause them to "die" include:

  1. Exiling. (Swords to Plowshares)
  2. Bounce. (Unsummon)
  3. Interacting with them on the stack. (Counterspell)
  4. Discard. (Thoughtseize)
  5. Removal from the deck. (Memoricide)
  6. Taking control of them. (In Bolas's Clutches)
  7. Move them to their owner's library. (Condemn)
  • 1
    I would have linked to all the cards, but my current reputation won't allow it. – dragoncmd Jul 13 '15 at 1:24
  • 2
    You can just write [mtg:<card name>] for card links. – Cascabel Jul 13 '15 at 2:44
  • 2
    Turning them frogs also works – ikegami Jul 13 '15 at 4:17
  • 5
    Since the question calls out ending up in the graveyard, not just dying, it may be worth adding things like mill, self-mill, and discard. – corsiKa Jul 13 '15 at 22:45
  • 3
    The original question actually specified dying, though I am unsure that the person asking understand what that means in magic. I tried to include ways to deal with indestructible creatures, as opposed to focusing on the graveyard itself. – dragoncmd Jul 15 '15 at 9:42

A creature with indestructible can die as a result of anything that is not damage (Lightning Bolt) and does not explicitly use the word 'destroy' (Doom Blade).

The most common ways:

Toughness reduced to less than zero. (This is neither damage nor a 'destroy' effect.) e.g., Death Wind

The creature's controller is forced to sacrifice it. e.g., All is Dust

  • 1
    And of course, they can be exiled, returned to their owner's hand, or put back into their owner's library. None of that puts them in the graveyard, but it still gets rid of them! – Cascabel Jul 12 '15 at 20:27
  • It can also be discarded from hand or from the library. – GendoIkari Jul 12 '15 at 23:37

Damage dealt with infect is able to kill Indestructible creatures. This is because sources with infect deal damage to creatures in the form of -1/-1 counters, which eventually can reduce the creature's toughness to 0 or less.

  • 1
    The top answer already includes "reducing toughness to 0" -1/-1 counters and temporary -/- effects both work this way. – Andrew Nov 19 '18 at 16:50
  • 1
    Welcome to the site! It is useful to mention that both Wither and Infect can cause indestructible creatures to go to the graveyard, but this answer would be a bit better suited as either an Edit to the existing answer or as a comment underneath it (You will be able to comment once you get a bit more Rep). Thanks for contributing though and hope you stick around. – Malco Nov 19 '18 at 18:25
  • 2
    I think infect/wither is worth mentioning separately. Yes, this is a specific implementation of the Reducing Toughness category above, but both are achieved through damage, which is counter-intuitive for other cases of indestructability seemingly not caring about damage dealt. – ryanyuyu Nov 20 '18 at 15:35
  • @ryanyuyu I agree it should be mentioned, though not alone as a separate answer. – Andrew Nov 27 '18 at 15:27

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.