In-hand effects are card effects which are active while they are in the player's hand, rather than while in the battlefield. In-hand effects are notable for being exceptions to the general game rule that cards do not become active until played or otherwise put into play.
Most cards with in-hand effects have a variable mana cost that changes in response to game conditions, as with or . Other effects include increasing stats (as with or ), transforming into other cards (as with and ), or directly causing an effect outside of the card itself (as with ).
Because mana cost modifications are lost upon being played, the consequences of most in-hand effects exist only while in the hand. Modifications made to the card itself other than mana cost tend to survive into the battlefield, although they will be lost if returned to the hand. Most in-hand effects are calculated on an ongoing basis, depending on certain events within the game; these provide their values regardless of when they were brought into the hand. Others activate at specific times, only recording the number of times the triggering event has taken place while they were in the hand.
In-hand effects are distinguished from on-draw effects, which activate when they are drawn from the deck, but not otherwise while they are in the player's hand. However, since on-draw effects must first be drawn into the player's hand in order to activate, they are in a sense in-hand effects.
- While some in-hand effects, like those of or , appear to respond to events taking place while the card is still in the player's deck, the effect is in fact not triggered until the card enters the player's hand.
- Chadd Nervig on Twitter. (2020-07-24).