MTG Commit a Crime Rules: What Counts For It?

Commit a crime is a new MTG mechanic / rules phrase introduced with Outlaws of Thunder Junction. In this article, you’ll find answers to all the questions you might have about it, including:

  • What counts as committing a crime in MTG?
  • Does commit a crime in MTG come with downsides?
  • If you target an opponent, but your spell gets countered, is it still a crime?
  • And more!

Without further ado, let’s begin.

How Does Commit a Crime Work?

A reminder text for crime in MTG is : “Targeting opponents, anything they control, and/or cards in their graveyards is a crime.”

So, if you target an opponent, or anything they control, or cards in their graveyard, that’ll count as committing a crime.

Most cards with this mechanic reward its controller for committing crimes. Thus, they encourage players to interact with opponents and their stuff. Let’s take a look at some examples for better understanding.


Here’s Duelist of the Mind, a 2-mana flyer, that cares about committing crimes.

Duelist of the Mind Outlaws of Thunder Junction Spoilers

If you control Duelist, and commit a crime, you may draw a card and discard a card (also known as looting). That’s a neat ability that allows you to improve the quality of cards in your hand.

So, if you target your opponent with Lightning Bolt, you’ll loot. If you use a Counterspell on their spell, you also loot. Murder their creature? Loot. As you can see there are a lot of things that you can do to commit a crime. While this ability will trigger only once per turn, other crimes might work differently.

As, an example, let’s take a look at Oko, the Ringleader.

Oko, the Ringleader Outlaws of Thunder Junction Spoilers

This is a planeswalker, and as such comes with multiple abilities. For the purpose of this article, let’s focus on its +1 ability.

With it, you draw two cards. Then you also need to discard two. However, if you committed a crime on the turn you activated that ability, you only need to discard a single card. Certainly a good reward for targeting your opponent and their stuff.

MTG Commit a Crime – Interactions and Details

Now you know what committing a crime means in MTG. In this section, we’ll explore this mechanic in more detail, and answer some additional questions that might pop up.

Each Opponent? Not a Crime.

Torment of Hailfire Commit a Crime Rules MTG

This part might not be the most intuitive, but effects that say each opponent and don’t target, won’t count as a crime.

So, if you unleash a large Torment of Hailfire upon your opponents, that’s not a crime. Furthermore, destroying opponents’ creatures with mass removal spells, such as Wrath of God, that’s also not a crime.

So, keep in mind that you need to target opponents or their cards if you want to commit a crime.

Beneficial Effect? Still a Crime.

Healing Salve Committing a Crime MTG Rules

Now there’s the other side of the coin. What if you’re a fan of group hug strategies, and do something positive to your opponent?

Say you gain them three life with Healing Salve or draw them a couple of cards with Inspiration? It doesn’t matter that the effect was beneficial, you’ve targeted an opponent, so that’s a crime.

Thus, when you really want to enable committing a crime, you can most certainly target an opposing creature with a Giant Growth.

MTG Commit a Crime – FAQ

Here are the answers to some questions you might have about this mechanic. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, just leave a comment below, and we’ll get back to you soon.

What does it mean to commit a crime in MTG?

If you target your opponent or any permanent they control or their cards in the graveyard, that counts as committing a crime.

Does countering an opponent’s spell counts as committing a crime?

Yes, it does.

Does destroying an opponent’s creature counts as a crime?

Not necessarily. You need to target an opponent’s creature in order to commit a crime. If it just dies in a combat, or due to a mass removal spell, that won’t count as committing a crime.

Do discard spells trigger commit a crime effects?

Depends on whether they target an opponent. Thoughtsize targets, so that’s a crime. On the other hand, Unnerve doesn’t target, so that isn’t a crime.

If I target a creature with an ability does that count as committing a crime?

Yes, it does. For example, you could use abilities of creatures, such as Gideon’s Lawkeeper and Zada’s Commando to commit crimes.

Say I target an opponent’s creature with a removal spell, but it gets countered. Does my removal spell still count as a crime?

Yes, it does, as you’ve already targeted an opponent’s creature. It doesn’t matter if your spell was countered.

What Else to Do in the Wild West?

That’s all about MTG commit a crime rules. However, you might want to learn what are the other new things that Outlaws of Thunder Junction is bringing us. In that case, we’ve got you covered, with some great articles:

In case you’re excited about the new set, and want to get your hands on the new cards ASAP, you can already preorder them on Amazon.

Outlaws of Thunder Junction Play Booster Box

Until next time, have fun and may the only crimes you commit be in a fair game of Magic the Gathering.

6 thoughts on “MTG Commit a Crime Rules: What Counts For It?”

  1. With the card Rhystic Study the card says “When an Opponent draws a card” that doesn’t say each opponent so does it count as doing a Crime?

  2. If I cast Kohlagan’s Command targeting an opponent for 2 damage and the same opponent to discard, is that two crimes?
    What if it was one opponent’s creature 2 damage, and the same opponent to discard?
    What if it was two different opponents?

    • No, because it doesn’t target an opponent. Now if it would say target opponent discards a card, then it would work.


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