Proper Wording Guide

edited August 2022 in Tutorials
Hi. I'm creating this post to help everyone properly word their cards or to make the text look good, because I see a lot of mistakes repeated over and over. This is not meant to offend anyone or brag, I'm rather trying to help. It's impossible to write everything out under every individual card, so from now on you can just send a link to this thread in case anyone needs to see it.

Using numbers in the textbox
There are several instances, where you use a number in the textbox of a card:
- Amount of damage (e.g. "Shock deals 2 damage to any target.")
- Amount of life (e.g. "You gain 3 life."/"Each opponent loses 1 life.")
- Converted mana cost (e.g. "Destroy target creature with converted mana cost 3 or less.")
- Values of abilities (e.g. "Scry 2."/"Crew 4")
- Creatures' power and toughness and their modifiers (e.g "...unless you control a 1/1 creature."/"target creature gets +2/+0 until end of turn."/"Each creature gets -X/-X until end of turn.")

And then there are moments where you don't write it with a number, instead you use a numeral word:
- Any amount of cards
Wrong: "Draw 2 cards." / Right: "Draw two cards."
Wrong: "Look at the top 5 cards of your library." / Right: "Look at the top five cards of your library."
Wrong: "Discard 3 cards." / Right: "Discard three cards."
Wrong: "Search your library for 2 land cards..." / Right: "Search your library for two land cards..."

Get x Gain x Have
Creatures "get" a modifier for their power/toughness and they "gain" a keyword ability for a limited duration. "Have" is used for keywords but on a static effect. E.g. "Target creature gets +3/+3 and gains trample until end of turn." ; "Creatures you control get +1/+0 and have haste." (on a permanent card)

Keyword abilities
Some creatures have one or more keyword abilities at the front. There is not a period after them. The only ability that will begin with a capital letter is the first one of the list.

When using keyword abilities somewhere else in the textbox (e.g. "Target creature gains lifelink until end of turn."), those words also don't begin with a capital letter (wrong: "Target creature gains Lifelink until end of turn.").

The reminder text for a keyword ability is in brackets and must be in italics. To get a text into italics, simply select it and then click on the "italics" button above.

Ability words
Ability words are written in italics, after them is a long dash, and then normal text. Ability words can't be referred to by other cards and can't be granted. Example of an ability word:

Landfall — Whenever a land enters the battlefield...

An ability word is unified only by the condition under which it triggers or is active. You can't for example give a creature landfall.

Dealing damage and gaining life
This is an issue, that I see all the time and please remember this - you as a player don't deal damage. Damage always has to have a source, let it be a spell or a permanent. Whenever you are talking about dealing damage in the textbox, you need to state the source - and it is pretty much always the card that talks about dealing the damage.

Wrong: "Deal 2 damage to any target." / Right: "Shock deals 2 damage to any target."

The other similar issue is with gaining life. You always need to state who gains the life.

Wrong: "Gain 4 life."Right: "You gain 4 life."

Subtypes in the text box
Whenever you refer to a creature type or another subtype in the textbox, the first letter should be capitalized. E.g. "Put a +1/+1 counter on each Vampire you control." / "Search your library for a Gate card..."

Activated abilities and mana costs
Whenever you begin another sentence in an activated ability, the first letter should be capitalized, like this:

"{1}, {t}, Tap an untapped creature you control: Add two mana of any one color."

The part after the mana cost is an additional cost to activate the ability and the colon comes only after it. The "tap" symbol is also separated from the mana cost by a comma.

In any mana cost, the generic mana symbol always comes first, then come the colored mana symbols. If you are unsure on the order of the colored mana symbols, search up a real modern card of that color combination.

Card frames
A card with only one color in its mana cost is simple, you use a simple mono-colored frame of the chosen color.

A card that has exactly two colors of mana in its mana cost has two options:
1) the mana cost utilizes hybrid mana symbols - the frame is "Dual Hybrid"
2) the mana cost doesn't use hybrid mana symbols - the frame is "Dual Gold"
Bear this in mind, because the cardmaker will automatically assign a solid Gold frame to cards that have more colors of mana in their mana cost, which doesn't work for two-color cards.

A card that has three or more colors in the mana cost uses a simple solid Gold frame.

Colorless cards also have two options:
1) the card is an artifact - the frame is "Artifact"
2) the card is not an artifact - the frame is "Colorless"

If the card is legendary, use the "Legendary" frame while also utilizing everything else that was said in this section.

Text formatting
After writing out the card, hit "Preview card" and look at your creation. There you still have time to go back and edit the card, so you do this just to see how everything looks.

If any text goes over the border of the text box, go back, find that spot and put the text that is overhanging onto another line. Repeat this process until everything fits neatly into the text box.

Please leave a blank line between each paragraph of text in the textbox. If that doesn't fit, change the text size to "small" and do it that way. If it still doesn't work, your card is too wordy.

If your text is shorter and would leave too much open space under it, consider inserting another blank line at the beginning, which pushes the text downwards. Your text should be centered - leaving the same amount of space above and under it.


If there are any other things you want to add, write me, or write in this thread. If I got something wrong, please let me know and I will fix it as soon as possible.

As I've said, you are free to link this to people who need a bit of help making better cards. I am simply trying to universally help those, who are new to card making or just struggle with getting some things right.


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