MTG Kicker – Rules and Interactions Explained

Kicker is an MTG ability word introduced in Invasion. In this article, we’ll talk about everything you need to know about it, including:

  • How does kicker work?
  • What are some interactions that can happen with kicker?
  • And More!

So, let’s get right to it!

How Does Kicker Work?

Kicker can appear on various card types. When you cast a spell with kicker, you have two options:

  1. Cast the spell without kicker. You don’t get the spell’s kicker effect, but it is cheaper to cast.
  2. Cast the spell with kicker. You get the spell’s bonus effect, but you’ll have to pay the extra (kicker) cost.

That’s basically it. Let’s take a look at an example or two.


Here’s Juniper Order Rootweaver, a common creature from Dominaria United.

Juniper Order Rootweaver

You can cast it for two mana (one White, and one of any color). This means that you get a 2/2 creature, and that’s it.

However, you can also decide that you’ll kick it. This means that you’ll have to pay an additional Green mana (so three mana total, a cost of 1WG). For your troubles, you get to put a +1/+1 counter on one of your creatures.

Different Kicker Costs

As we mentioned, different types of cards can come with kicker. (Basically everything except lands.) Although most kicker costs want you to pay additional mana, that’s not always the case. One different example is Blood Tribute.

Blood Tribute MTG Kicker Rules

With this spell, the kicker cost is that you tap one of your untapped Vampires. If you do, you’ll also get as much life as your opponent will lose due to Blood Tribute.

And/Or Kicker

One type of kicker is a and/or kicker. This means you have four options, when you cast such card:

  1. Pay neither kicker cost.
  2. Pay the first kicker cost.
  3. Pay the second kicker cost.
  4. Pay both kicker costs.
Archangel of Wrath

The card will get better if you use both kicker costs, as can be seen with Archangel of Wrath. It can be a 3/4 flying lifelinker for four mana. If you also pay an additional Black or Red mana, it also deals 2 damage to any target. If you paid both Black and Red mana (so six mana total), you get that effect twice.

MTG Kicker – FAQ

In this section, we’ll try to answer the most common questions about kicker. If you have a question that we didn’t answer, you can ask it in the comments, and we’ll get back to you.

Can I only pay the kicker cost to just get the kicker effect?

No, you have to pay the spell’s regular cost and kicker cost in order to get the kicker effect.

What does it mean if a spell is kicked?

It means that it kicker cost was paid.

Can you pay kicker cost if you aren’t casting a spell from your hand?

Yes, you can, but you have to be casting the spell, as kicker is an additional cost.

If I cast a spell without paying its mana cost, can I use the kicker mode?

Yes, you can. However, you’ll still have to pay the kicked cost, even if you could cast a spell without paying its mana cost.

MTG Kicker – Interactions

What are some interesting interaction with kicker? Let’s find out.

Payoffs for Kicker

Of course, all kicker cards have a payoff. Pay the kicker cost, get the payoff. However, there are other cards that work well with kicker, giving you even more payoffs.

Roost of Drakes MTG Kicker Rules

One such card is Roost of Drakes. It’ll give you a 2/2 flying Drake whenever you cast a spell. It also has kicker itself, so it works great in multiples. If you’re playing a casual 60-card deck, and want to build around kicker, this card is a great one to start with.

Kicker Commander

If you enjoy both the kicker mechanic and Commander, you might want to build a 100-card kicker-tribal deck.

Verazol the Split Current Kicker Commander

Your two best options for a commander are Verazol, the Split Current and Hallar, the Firefletcher. Which one is better depends on your preferences. While both cards explicitly support the kicker mechanic, they do so in different ways. Of course, as commanders, they also allow you to play different colors.

Kicker in Draft

How does kicker play out in draft in sealed? Well, the mechanic is very beloved among the Limited enthusiasts. The reason for this is that kicker gives you flexibility and reduces the amount of non-games.

Are you stuck on lands? You can play your kicker card without kicker. Did you draw to many lands? At least, you have enough mana for a powerful kicker effect. As you can see, kicker is quite easy to like.

One common play pattern is that you’ll usually want to play more than the regular 17 lands. You could go up to 18 in, and in some corner cases you might get away with 19. The idea is that you really don’t want to miss your early land drops, and you’ll be able to use the extra mana you’ll have in the late game with your kicker cards.


Usually we don’t talk about the other mechanics in these “rules articles”, but this time we had to make a change, as there is a mechanic very similar to kicker. It’s multikicker.

Bloodhusk Ritualist Kicker Multikicker Difference MTG

The mechanic works almost exactly the same as kicker, with the only difference that you can use kicker only once. On the other hand, multikicker can be used as many times as you want – as long as you have the mana to do it.

Everything is Kicker

One issue that kicker has is that many MTG mechanics are actually just a kicker variant. Even Mark Rosewater, the head designer for MTG, talked about the kicker problem.

Here are just some of the mechanics that could be re-branded as kicker or multikicker:

  • Awaken (kicker)
  • Buyback (kicker)
  • Casualty (kicker)
  • Cleave (kicker)
  • Strive (multikicker)


This marks the end of this kicker rules article. Now you should have a good understanding of how kicker works, so you’ll be able to use it to your advantage.

Perhaps you want to get open some cards with kicker. In that case, we’d recommend you get a Dominaria United Set booster box.

Dominaria United Set Booster Box

Furthermore, if you’re looking for more MTG content, here are some articles for you to check out:

Until next time, have fun and may you always have the mana you need to kick your spells.

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