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Shroud vs. Hexproof: What's the Difference?

By Aimie Carlson & Janet White || Published on March 3, 2024
Shroud and Hexproof are both mechanics in the trading card game Magic: The Gathering, providing protection to creatures from spells and abilities.

Key Differences

Shroud is a keyword ability that prevents a card from being the target of spells or abilities, including those controlled by its own controller. Hexproof, on the other hand, offers similar protection but allows the card's controller to still target it with spells and abilities. The key difference lies in the scope of protection: Shroud offers a blanket immunity from all targeting effects, regardless of the source, while Hexproof provides immunity only from opponents' targeting effects, allowing more strategic flexibility for the card's controller.
Shroud's comprehensive protection can sometimes be a double-edged sword, as it prevents even the card's controller from targeting it with beneficial effects. Hexproof offers a more nuanced advantage, safeguarding the creature from opponents' interference while permitting its controller to apply positive buffs or abilities. This distinction makes Hexproof generally more favored among players for its versatility, allowing for more interactive and strategic gameplay.
In deck-building and gameplay, choosing between shroud and hexproof depends on the player's strategy. Shroud can be ideal for a defensive approach, ensuring a creature's longevity on the battlefield without the risk of being targeted by any spells or abilities. Hexproof, conversely, suits a more aggressive or synergistic strategy, where the player might want to enhance their creature with their spells or abilities while keeping it safe from opponents' attempts to remove or debuff it.
Understanding the implications of shroud and hexproof is crucial for Magic: The Gathering players, as it affects how they plan their moves, build their decks, and respond to opponents' actions. The strategic choice between shroud and hexproof can significantly influence the outcome of a game, highlighting the depth of strategy and decision-making inherent in the game.

Comparison Chart

Protection From

All spells and abilities, regardless of the source.
Spells and abilities controlled by opponents only.

Owner's Interaction

Cannot target their own creature with spells or abilities.
Can target their own creature with spells or abilities.

Strategic Use

Provides complete protection, best for purely defensive strategies.
Offers protection from opponents, allowing for strategic enhancements by the controller.


Limited, as it restricts both beneficial and harmful targeting.
Higher, allowing the owner to interact with their creature.

Preferred in

Scenarios where no interaction with the creature is needed.
Situations requiring balance between protection and enhancement.

Shroud and Hexproof Definitions


A creature with shroud cannot be targeted by any spells or abilities.
A creature with shroud remains unaffected by all targeted enchantments or removal spells.


A creature with hexproof cannot be targeted by opponents' spells or abilities.
Hexproof protects creatures from being targeted by enemy removal spells but allows the owner to target it with beneficial effects.


Shroud serves as a strong defensive tool against removal spells.
Creatures with shroud provide a reliable defense in a control-heavy meta.


Hexproof provides a balance between protection and interaction.
Hexproof creatures can be key in strategies that rely on building a strong board presence.


Shroud indiscriminately blocks all targeting effects.
Even beneficial auras or buffs cannot be applied to a creature with shroud.


Hexproof allows for strategic plays and enhancements by the creature's controller.
Players can safely enchant or equip their hexproof creatures with powerful auras or equipment.


Shroud restricts the creature's controller from targeting it.
Shroud prevents players from using their targeted spells or abilities on their creature.


Hexproof specifically limits opponents' ability to interact with the creature.
Hexproof creatures can bypass common control strategies, forcing opponents to find alternative ways to deal with them.


Choosing shroud requires careful deck construction and strategy.
Decks with shroud creatures often avoid cards that require targeting their own creatures.


Hexproof supports the application of positive effects by the creature's controller.
Hexproof creatures are ideal targets for beneficial spells or abilities in synergistic decks.


A cloth used to wrap a body for burial; a winding sheet.


Something that conceals, protects, or screens
Under a shroud of fog.


Does shroud protect from all types of spells and abilities?

Shroud protects from spells and abilities that specifically target the creature, but it does not protect from non-targeted effects like global enchantments or board wipes.

Can a creature have both shroud and hexproof?

While it's theoretically possible for a creature to have both abilities, it would be redundant since shroud already provides complete targeting immunity, making hexproof's additional protection unnecessary.

Can you remove hexproof from a creature?

Yes, hexproof can be removed if the creature becomes the target of an effect that removes hexproof or if the creature loses all abilities.

Can shroud be temporarily removed to target a creature?

Temporary removal of shroud is possible through spells or abilities that specifically strip a creature of its abilities, allowing for a window to target the creature.

Does hexproof protect a creature from being countered?

Hexproof does not protect a creature spell from being countered on the stack, as hexproof only takes effect once the creature is successfully on the battlefield.

Can shroud protect a creature from board wipes?

No, shroud only prevents targeting, so board wipes that don't specifically target creatures will still affect creatures with shroud.

Is hexproof better than shroud?

Hexproof is often considered more versatile than shroud because it allows the creature's controller to still target the creature with beneficial effects, though the "better" mechanic depends on the specific strategy and deck.

How does hexproof interact with AoE (Area of Effect) spells?

Hexproof does not protect creatures from AoE spells, as these spells typically affect all creatures or a certain area without targeting individual creatures specifically.

Can a player give hexproof to a creature in response to it being targeted?

Yes, a player can respond to a creature being targeted by casting a spell or activating an ability that grants hexproof, effectively countering the targeting spell or ability if it resolves first.

Are there any cards that grant shroud or hexproof to other permanents?

Yes, there are several cards in Magic: The Gathering that can grant shroud or hexproof to other permanents, enhancing their protection.

How do new players typically react to encountering shroud and hexproof?

New players may initially find shroud and hexproof confusing, particularly regarding the limitations and opportunities these abilities present, but they quickly become key strategic elements as players gain experience.

How do shroud and hexproof contribute to the lore or flavor of Magic: The Gathering?

Shroud and hexproof contribute to the lore by embodying the magical protection and elusive nature of certain creatures or objects within the game's vast multiverse, enhancing the thematic depth.

Is there a way to determine the best scenarios to use creatures with shroud versus hexproof?

The best scenarios for using creatures with shroud versus hexproof often depend on the overall strategy of the deck and the expected metagame, with hexproof generally favored for its flexibility and interaction potential.

How do multiplayer dynamics affect the usefulness of shroud and hexproof?

In multiplayer games, hexproof's value can increase as it protects creatures from multiple opponents' targeting spells and abilities, while shroud's non-discriminatory protection remains consistent, highlighting strategic considerations in different game formats.

Can enchantments or artifacts have shroud or hexproof?

Yes, both enchantments and artifacts can possess shroud or hexproof, providing similar protective benefits against targeting as seen with creatures.

How do competitive players view shroud and hexproof in deck building?

Competitive players carefully consider the inclusion of shroud and hexproof in their decks, balancing the need for protection against the desire for interaction and flexibility, often favoring hexproof for its strategic advantages.

Can global buffs or effects still affect creatures with shroud or hexproof?

Global buffs or effects that do not target can still affect creatures with shroud or hexproof, as these abilities only prevent direct targeting.

What happens if a creature with hexproof becomes the target of a spell or ability due to a game rule or effect?

If a game rule or effect causes a creature with hexproof to become targeted (such as through an "each creature" clause), hexproof does not prevent this targeting, as it specifically protects against opponents' spells and abilities that target.

Is it possible for an opponent to bypass hexproof?

Opponents can bypass hexproof by using spells or abilities that do not target, such as those that affect all creatures or players, or by removing hexproof through global effects that strip abilities.

Are there any rules exceptions or complexities involving shroud and hexproof?

The complexity of shroud and hexproof often lies in interactions with other abilities or rules exceptions, such as layers, dependency, and timing, requiring a deeper understanding of the game's comprehensive rules.
About Author
Written by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.
Co-written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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