Is the text on Tempest Djinn: "Tempest Djinn gets +1/+0 for each basic Island you control." considered an "ability"? Does that mean if Merfolk Trickster's triggered ability targets Tempest Djinn it becomes a 0/4 vanilla creature?


Yes, it's a so-called 'static ability':

604.1. Static abilities do something all the time rather than being activated or triggered. They are written as statements, and they’re simply true.

The ruling under the card in Gatherer confirms that:

Tempest Djinn’s ability that modifies its power applies only while it’s on the battlefield. In all other zones, it’s a 0/4 creature card.

(emphasis mine)

so it's affected by Merfolk Trickster.

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  • If the tempest Djinn is enchanted by something that says "Enchanted creature gets +1/+1" is this treated as a static ability? Does merfolk trickster turn this off too? – Joshua Augustinus Oct 26 '19 at 1:14
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    @Josh That's an ability of the aura, not of the Djinn. So it is unaffected by the Trickster. But yes, that's a static ability too. – Arthur Oct 26 '19 at 14:38
  • @Arthur OK you are correct. In particular because the wording uses "gets". I've done some more research and found more info that might be useful to others. An enchantment can grant abilities to the object if it uses "gains" or "has": [303.4e] the Aura grants an ability to the enchanted object (with “gains” or “has”)... mtg.fandom.com/wiki/Enchantment – Joshua Augustinus Oct 26 '19 at 23:24

Is all the text on Tempest Djinn considered an "ability"?

No, the text on the card also includes its name, type, subtype, expansion, language, artist, copyright and trademark notice, and flavor text. None of those are abilities.

Tempest Djinn has two static abilities, Flying and "Tempest Djinn gets +1/+0 for each basic Island you control." If it loses its abilities, it ceases to have Flying, and will be 0/4.

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  • It's clear that the question was referring to the card text, because it acknowledges that the creature would have its printed power and toughness. – murgatroid99 Oct 26 '19 at 0:44
  • That's being overly pedantic, isn't it? Yes Josh could have been more specific to the non flavour text in the text area of the card, as defined by the oracle text on gatherer, but the intention of the questions are clear - you could have easily edited the question. – Andrew Oct 26 '19 at 4:46

All of a card's text is part of an ability, and only the card's text forms abilities. Note that the card's text is defined by Gatherer, which is a corrected, English version of the contents of the text box, without any of the italicized words.

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