Console-based access to the Gatherer Magic Card Database.
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Console-based access to the Gatherer Magic Card Database.


I'm not going to lie: I look up a lot of Magic cards. Sometimes I want to see the art, but usually I just want to know what the card does. There are plenty of web-based search engines, but even modest queries can involve manipulating many form elements when, really, all you want to do is type it out. Thus: mtg.



  • Python 2.7 or 3.3+.
  • pip (to install)

How to install

To install the latest release of mtg, use pip:

$ pip install mtg

To update to the latest version, use:

$ pip install mtg --upgrade

Documentation & Examples of Use

Mtg is a command-line tool. It accepts a number of arguments that specify what cards you are looking for. There are a number of conventions it relies on to make complex queries remain compact. The best way to learn these is to read some examples.

Simple Queries

Search for cards by name. Any positional arguments passed to mtg are assumed to be part of the card's name. This lets you look up any card with:

$ mtg ancestral recall

Ancestral Recall U
Text: Target player draws three cards.
Limited Edition Alpha (Rare), Limited Edition Beta (Rare), Unlimited
Edition (Rare)

All other search filters are achieved with options. For example, to find all white cards with "gideon" in the name, you use:

$ mtg gideon --color=w

To specify colors, use the one-letter abbrevations: w, u, b, r, g. You may also specify c for colorless.

Note for non-Americans: --color and --colour both work the same way.

Filter by card text. A string of comma separated terms searches cards containing all terms, not the exact phrase. For example, to find all green cards that mention flying, use:

$ mtg --text=flying --color=g

Note that a text search includes reminder text. If you are confused about why your search for "flying" is returning creatures with Reach, this is why.

To search for an exact phrase, make sure to put the text in quotes:

$ mtg --text='destroy all creatures'

Filter by type. Mtg does not distinguish between subtypes, supertypes, and plain old types. Mix and match, any order you want, whatever. Put them all on --type argument and you'll get what you want.

$ mtg --text='destroy all creatures' --type=instant

Combining terms

Sometimes, you want to search for more than one thing. Give mtg a comma separated list and it will return only cards that match both words (logical and).

For example, find all artifact goblins:

$ mtg --type=goblin,artifact

All cards that mention flying and islandwalk:

$ mtg --text=flying,islandwalk

If you want results to match either term (logical or), use the pipe character to separate words:

$ mtg --type='nautilus|oyster'

Note: many terminals require you to enclose a pipe character in quotes or escape it with a backslash for mtg to properly interpret it.

You can combine the and and or operators by combining commas and pipes. The following query will return all snow cards that are either zombies or goblins or aurochs:

$ mtg --type='snow,zombie|goblin|aurochs'

Multicolored Cards

Searching for multicolored cards is sometimes tricky, so there are a few more options to help you out.

First, you don't need to comma-separate the color letters. The search

$ mtg --color=w,g

is equivalent to

$ mtg --color=wg

Both will find cards that are white and green.

You can also use guild, shard, and clan names (e.g. boros, jund, abzan) to search for multicolored cards with those colors. So:

$ mtg --color=dimir

is the same as

$ mtg --color=ub

Similarly, to find cards that are white plus either blue or green, the comma is optional, and you use the pipe operator as normal:

$ mtg --color='w,u|g'

is equivalent to

$ mtg --color='wu|g'

Lastly, to exclude unselected colors, there is a -xc flag. To find cards that are white-green and no other colors, use:

$ mtg --color=wg -xc


Sometimes you want to find a card based on a numeric field. Right now you can do that for these three: power, toughness, and converted mana cost.

To find a card where the number matches exactly, just search as you would normally. For example, to find all 4/4 goblins, use:

$ mtg --type=goblin --power=4 --tough=4

You can also use the inequality operators greater-than (>) and less-than (<). Also allowed are greater-than-or-equal-to (>=) and less-than-or-equal-to (<=). Note again most shells require you to escape pointy bracket characters. To find goblins even bigger than 4/4, use:

$ mtg --type=goblin --power='>4' --tough='>4'

Searching by converted mana cost is the same, though we use the helpful abbreviation "cmc." To find all angels that cost two or less, use:

$ mtg --type=angel --cmc='<=2'

You can also combine these with the or operator. To find angels that cost either two or less or nine or greater, use:

$ mtg --type=angel --cmc='<=2|=>9'


If you want to specifically exclude something from the results, you can use the not operator: !. This is helpful for weeding out junk you don't want. For example, to find all angels that are not white:

$ mtg --type=angel --color='!w'

You can also combine this in the usual way. To find angels that are not white but are either blue or colorless, use:

$ mtg --type=angel --color='!w,u|c'

Other search fields

Rarity uses the following abbreviations:

E.g., all mythic rare goblins:

$ mtg --type=goblin --rarity=m

Note: some cards have been printed with multiple rarities (e.g. Sengir Vampire). Searching by rarity will match cards that have ever been printed at that rarity, even if it was only once fifteen years ago.

Searches can be limited to sets, blocks, or formats using the full name of the set or an abbreviation, e.g. all alternate win conditions not from unhinged or unglued:

$ mtg --text='win the game' --set='!unhinged,!unglued'

Or, all white commons from Innistrad:

$ mtg --color=w --rarity=c --set=inn

Or, all green 1-drops in Standard:

$ mtg --color=g --type=creature --cmc=1 --format=standard

Display options

The output of "mtg" is customizable to a certain degree. Add the flags below to format the results to your liking.

-r: Show reminder text. Normally reminder text is hidden, because most people using this program are super-geniuses who know all the rules. But sometimes it's helpful! For example, what did "banding" do again?

$ mtg timber wolves -r

--hidesets: Hide the list of what sets the card has been printed in. Sometimes, you just don't care about this. Especially for basic land! Breathe a breath of fresh air with this:

$ mtg --type='basic,!snow' --hidesets

--rulings: Show the card rulings. Note: this only works if there is exactly 1 search result. I'm (slowly) working on fixing this.

--json: Enable JSON-formatted output. Useful if you want to pipe the output into another program or perform some other post-processing on the results of your card search.

--colourize: Enable colored mana-costs in the output. Very pretty. Especially handy for multicolored cards.


I love hearing from users of this software. Any comments, criticism, nit-picks, kudos, requests, or other feedback are welcome. Feel free to open an issue or email me.


As far as I can tell, neither Magic nor command lines are going away any time soon, so this project should continue until then. So I welcome any and all developers and dabblers, neophytes and experts, djinni and angels to contribute to the code.

The easiest way to get started is to clone or fork this repository and start making some changes. Mtg has a fairly extensitve test suite, so you shouldn't have to worry too much about breaking something without knowing. To get set-up, use:

$ pip install -r requirements-dev.txt
$ python develop

And to run the tests:

python nosetests

Once you have fixed a bug or implemented a new feature, please sent a pull request! I try to get around to merging these in as quickly as I am able, but if it seems like I'm ignoring you, just pester me until I respond.


The MIT software license can be found in this file.