Unearth is a keyword ability first introduced in Shards of Alara. Unearth was featured as rules card 3 of 5 in the Shards of Alara set. Unearth returns a creature to the battlefield and gives it haste, at the expense of the creature being exiled at the end of turn. It functions similar to flashback, providing a one time effect that can be cast from the graveyard. However, flashback only appears on instants and sorceries, and Unearth is strictly limited to creature cards.
From the Comprehensive Rules:
- 702.83. Unearth
- 702.82a Unearth is an activated ability that functions while the card with unearth is in a graveyard. "Unearth [cost]" means "[Cost]: Return this card from your graveyard to the battlefield. It gains haste. Exile it at the beginning of the next end step. If it would leave the battlefield, exile it instead of putting it anywhere else. Activate this ability only any time you could cast a sorcery."
- Unearth appears only on creature cards.
- You may play the unearth ability of a card in your graveyard no matter how it wound up in your graveyard.
- If you activate a card's unearth ability but that card is removed from your graveyard before the ability resolves, that unearth ability will resolve and do nothing.
- Activating a creature card's unearth ability isn't the same as casting the creature card. The unearth ability is put on the stack, but the creature card is not. Spells and abilities that interact with activated abilities (such as Stifle) will interact with unearth, but spells and abilities that interact with spells (such as Remove Soul) will not.
- At end of turn, a creature returned to the battlefield with unearth is exiled. This is a delayed triggered ability, and it can be countered by effects such as Stifle or Voidslime that counter triggered abilities. If the ability is countered, the creature will stay on the battlefield and the delayed trigger won't trigger again. However, the replacement effect will still exile the creature when it eventually leaves the battlefield.
- Unearth grants haste to the creature that's returned to the battlefield. However, neither of the "exile" abilities is granted to that creature. If that creature loses all its abilities, it will still be exiled at the end of the turn, and if it would leave the battlefield, it is still exiled instead.
- If a creature returned to play with unearth would leave the battlefield for any reason, it's exiled instead — unless the spell or ability that's causing the creature to leave the battlefield is actually trying to exile it. In that case, it succeeds at exiling it. If it later returns the creature card to the battlefield (as Oblivion Ring or Flickerwisp might, for example), the creature card will return as a new object with no relation to its previous existence. The unearth effect will no longer apply to it.
- Dregscape Zombie -
Creature — Zombie
Unearth (: Return this card from your graveyard to the battlefield. It gains haste. Exile it at the beginning of the next end step or if it would leave the battlefield. Unearth only as a sorcery.)
There is a total of 22 cards that involve unearth, which divide by color as such:
- Black = 32 %
- Multicolor = 32 %
- Blue = 18 %
- Red = 18 %
Creature that grants Unearth
Plane card that grants Unearth
- Grixis (blue, black, and/or red creature cards in your graveyard)