What does ETB mean in MTG?

Enters the battlefield

Magic: The Gathering (MTG) players use the acronym ETB to refer to "enters the battlefield" abilities. For example, the card Thragtusk says "When Thragtusk enters the battlefield, you gain 5 life." This ability may be referred to as Thragtusk's ETB.

ETBs trigger when a creature (or other card) actually comes into play, not when it is cast. So, if a card with an ETB ability is countered, its ETB will not happen.

Hearthstone's Battlecry mechanic is that game's version of ETBs. Notably, however, Battlecry effects trigger only when you play a card from your hand, while Magic's ETBs trigger whenever and however a card enters the battlefield.


I use my Resto Angel to blink my Flametongue Kavu, triggering the Kavu's ETB
An ETB that bounces a creature
An ETB that bounces a creature

Related Slang


Updated July 29, 2021

ETB definition by

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