Card art from the Plan the Heist MTG card.

Plot in Magic: The Gathering, Explained

Devious thoughts and sneaky schemes...

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Reyadh is a writer of fantasy, horror, and science fiction who loves to play video games full of monsters and magic. When he's not scribing unique and unrelenting speculative fiction or slaying demons in virtual worlds, he is writing strategy guides to help others reach their gaming goals.

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Marshall is a seasoned writer and gaming enthusiast based in Tokyo. He's a prolific wordsmith with hundreds of articles featured on top-tier sites like Business Insider, How-To Geek, PCWorld, and Zapier. His writing has reached a massive audience with over 70 million readers!

Key Takeaway

In Magic: The Gathering, by paying a spell’s Plot cost, you can exile it and then cast it on a later turn for free.

Both exiling a spell with Plot and casting it from exile can only be done as Sorcery actions; you can only do either on your turn—never during your opponent’s turn.

Plot is a flavorful MTG mechanic that lets you pay an alternate mana cost to cast a spell. If you’re extra stealthy with your plans, you can catch your opponent unawares in your next Magic: The Gathering game. Doing so can gain you a crucial advantage.

Table Of Contents

    What Is Plot in MTG?

    On a spell with the Plot keyword, there’s a mana cost listed next to it that may be different than a spell’s mana cost. In an MTG game, you can exile a spell by paying its Plot cost and cast it on a later turn for free. However, you can only exile a Plot spell—and cast it from exile—as Sorcery actions. This means both of the aforementioned Special Actions can only be done on your turn. Moreover, you can only exile a spell with Plot from your hand.

    Note
    When a card is exiled through the Plot mechanic, it becomes Plotted.

    On top of that, you cannot cast a Plotted card for an alternative cost. With that said, you can still pay additional costs for it. In cases where the cost of a Plotted spell is X, you must pay zero mana to cast it from exile.

    An Example of How Plot Works

    As you should expect from the name of this mechanic, you need to plan ahead to make the best use of it! However, this is easy to do as you cast the Plotted spell from exile for free. The lack of an end cost for such actions makes them stress-free to implement whenever you need them.

    Furthermore, some Plot spells have a lower Plot cost than their mana cost. This means you’ll save some mana by plotting, incentivizing you to do so as much as possible. Keep in mind that not all Plot spells are like this; some have Plot costs equal to or slightly higher than their mana costs.

    A great example of an easy-to-use Plot spell is to cast a Plotted Rise of the Varmints during the late parts of a game. Doing so lets you flood the battlefield with 2/1 Creature Tokens.

    The Rise of the Varmints MTG card, which has the Plot mechanic.

    Such a tactic works best if you mill yourself a lot or sacrifice many Creatures in a game. Green and black decks are excellent at capitalizing on this kind of strategy. Wait until you have a ton of Creatures in your graveyard and then—BAM! A horde of Varmints explodes all over your opponent.

    Combining the effect of Rise of the Varmints with spells that increase the number of tokens you create, like Doubling Season, can enhance the payoff.

    How to Use Plot in MTG

    In addition to using Plot in its most common form, keep an eye out for cards in MTG that can make spells Plotted without the Plot mechanic. Doing so lets you synergize your most devious techniques.

    Spells like Aven Interrupter; Lilah, Undefeated Slickshot; and Make Your Own Luck are great choices.

    The Aven Interrupter; Lilah, Undefeated Slickshot, and Make Your Own Luck cards from MTG.

    How to Counter Plot in MTG

    If you’re trying to outwit a tricky plotter of an opponent, you should know that you cannot directly counter the casting of Plotted spells. This is because spells cast through the Plot mechanic do not appear on The Stack in MTG. As such, Counterspell variants won’t stop an opponent from casting a Plotted spell.

    Note
    Plotting doesn’t use The Stack because it is a Special Action; not a standard Action.

    For the most part, spells in exile are notoriously difficult to target. So taking a spell out of the game while it’s Plotted is next to impossible—especially since your opponent can cast Plotted cards for free. Your best bet is to wait until your foe’s Plotted spell fully enters the battlefield before dealing with it. This means using a destroy spell on cast Creatures and other Permanents. However, this won’t help you against Sorcery spells cast through the Plot mechanic.


    Even the best-laid schemes can go awry, so don’t get cocky about your cunning Plot in MTG! Always prepare for your opponent’s next move—even after your Plotted spells hit the battlefield. As such, implement similar tactics as you would when using the Foretell mechanic.

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