Lesson 3 (Judge Classes)

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Copying Objects

(Comprehensive Rules Section 706)

Copying Permanents

When copying an object, the copy acquires the copiable values of the original object’s characteristics and, for an object on the stack, choices made when casting or activating it (mode, targets, the value of X, whether it was kicked, how it will affect multiple targets, and so on).

The “copiable values” are the values derived from the text printed on the object (that text being name, mana cost, color indicator, card type, subtype, supertype, rules text, power, toughness, and/or loyalty), as modified by other copy effects, by its face-down status, and by “as . . . enters the battlefield” and “as . . . is turned face up” abilities that set power and toughness (and may also set additional characteristics). Other effects (including type-changing and text-changing effects), status, and counters are not copied.

A copy acquires the color of the object it’s copying because that value is derived from its mana cost or color indicator.

A copy acquires the abilities of the object it’s copying because those values are derived from its rules text.

An object that enters the battlefield “as a copy” or “that’s a copy” of another object becomes a copy as it enters the battlefield. It doesn’t enter the battlefield, and then become a copy of that permanent. If the text that’s being copied includes any abilities that replace the enters-the-battlefield event (such as “enters the battlefield with” or “as [this] enters the battlefield” abilities), those abilities will take effect. Also, any enters-the-battlefield triggered abilities of the copy will have a chance to trigger.

When copying a permanent, any choices that have been made for that permanent aren’t copied. Instead, if an object enters the battlefield as a copy of another permanent, the object’s controller will get to make any “as [this] enters the battlefield” choices for it.

When copying a double-faced permanent, a face-up meld card, or a melded permanent, only the copiable values of the face that’s currently up are copied. Exceptions:

Copy effects may include modifications or exceptions to the copying process.

  • Some copy effects cause the copy to gain an ability as part of the copying process. This ability becomes part of the copiable values for the copy, along with any other abilities that were copied.
  • Example: Phantasmal Image adds the ability “When this creature becomes the target of a spell or ability, sacrifice it.” as part of the copy process.
  • Some copy effects specifically state that they don’t copy certain characteristics and instead retain their original values. These effects use the phrase “except its [characteristic] is still [value]” or “except it’s still [value(s)].” They may also simply state that certain characteristics are not copied.
  • Example: Quicksilver Gargantuan still being a 7/7.
  • Some copy effects modify a characteristic as part of the copying process. The final value(s) for that characteristic becomes part of the copiable values for the copy.
  • Example: Phyrexian Metamorph adds the type artifact to type line of the creature it copies.

Copying Spells and Abilities

To copy a spell, activated ability, or triggered ability means to put a copy of it onto the stack; a copy of a spell isn’t cast and a copy of an activated ability isn’t activated.

A copy of a spell or ability copies both the characteristics of the spell or ability and all decisions made for it, including modes, targets, the value of X, and additional or alternative costs.

  • Example: If we copy a Fireball that was paid as R+2+1 such that X=2 and Fireball has 1 additional target (for a total of two targets), the value of X in the copy will also be 2, and the copy will also have 1 additional target for a total of two targets. The copy will also have the same targets as the original Fireball.
  • Example: If we copy an Azorius Charm with the chosen mode “Draw a card”, we can’t choose a new mode for the copy.
  • Example: If we copy a Firespout that was cast paying green and red mana, we will not deal any damage because the copy wasn’t cast paying green and red (mana paid to cast a spell isn’t part of the information that we copy).

Choices that are normally made on resolution are not copied. If an effect of the copy refers to objects used to pay its costs, it uses the objects used to pay the costs of the original spell or ability.

A copy of a spell is owned by the player under whose control it was put on the stack. A copy of a spell or ability is controlled by the player under whose control it was put on the stack.

A copy of a spell is itself a spell, even though it has no spell card associated with it. A copy of an ability is itself an ability.

If a copy of a spell is in a zone other than the stack, it ceases to exist. If a copy of a card is in any zone other than the stack or the battlefield, it ceases to exist. These are state-based actions

Some effects copy a spell or ability and state that its controller may choose new targets for the copy. The player may leave any number of the targets unchanged, even if those targets would be illegal. If the player chooses to change some or all of the targets, the new targets must be legal. Once the player has decided what the copy’s targets will be, the copy is put onto the stack with those targets.

If an effect refers to a permanent by name, the effect still tracks that permanent even if it changes names or becomes a copy of something else.

Some effects copy a spell or ability for each player or object it “could target.” The copies are put onto the stack with those targets in the order of their controller’s choice. If the spell or ability has more than one target, each of its targets must be the same player or object. If that player or object isn’t a legal target for each instance of the word “target,” a copy isn’t created for that player or object.

Keyword Abilities and Actions - Part 1 - Evergreen Keywords

Deathtouch

Static ability. Any nonzero amount of combat damage assigned to a creature by a source with deathtouch is considered to be lethal damage, regardless of that creature’s toughness. A creature with toughness greater than 0 that’s been dealt damage by a source with deathtouch is destroyed. The deathtouch rules function no matter what zone an object with deathtouch deals damage from. If an object changes zones before an effect causes it to deal damage, its last known information is used to determine whether it had deathtouch.

Defender

Static ability. A creature with defender can't attack.

Double Strike

Static ability. Modifies the rules for the combat damage step (like first strike does).

Removing double strike from a creature during the first combat damage step will stop it from assigning combat damage in the second combat damage step.

Giving double strike to a creature with first strike after it has already dealt combat damage in the first combat damage step will allow the creature to assign combat damage in the second combat damage step.

Enchant

Static ability, written “Enchant [object or player].” The enchant ability restricts what an Aura spell can target and what an Aura can enchant. If an Aura has multiple instances of enchant, all of them apply. The Aura’s target must follow the restrictions from all the instances of enchant. The Aura can enchant only objects or players that match all of its enchant abilities. Auras that can enchant a player can target and be attached to players. Such Auras can’t target permanents and can’t be attached to permanents.

Equip

Activated ability of Equipment cards. “Equip [cost]” means “[Cost]: Attach this permanent to target creature you control. Activate this ability only any time you could cast a sorcery.” If a permanent has multiple instances of equip, any of its equip abilities may be activated.

Fight

Keyword action. When two creatures fight, they deal damage equal to their power to each other simultaneously. If one of the creatures no longer exists when the fight would happen, or if the fight spell/ability is targeted and one of the targets is illegal, no fight happens. Fight is not combat damage so abilities which modify combat (first strike, flying) do not apply, while abilities that modify the damage a creature deals (lifelink, deathtouch, infect) do apply.

First Strike

Static ability that modifies the rules for the combat damage step.

If at least one attacking or blocking creature has first strike or double strike as the combat damage step begins, the only creatures that assign combat damage in that step are those with first strike or double strike.

After that step, instead of proceeding to the end of combat step, the phase gets a second combat damage step. The only creatures that assign combat damage in that step are the remaining attackers and blockers that had neither first strike nor double strike as the first combat damage step began, as well as the remaining attackers and blockers that currently have double strike.

After that step, the phase proceeds to the end of combat step. Giving first strike to a creature without it after combat damage has already been dealt in the first combat damage step won’t prevent that creature from assigning combat damage in the second combat damage step. Removing first strike from a creature after it has already dealt combat damage in the first combat damage step won’t allow it to also assign combat damage in the second combat damage step (unless the creature has double strike).


Flash

Static ability that functions in any zone from which you could play the card it's on. "Flash" means "You may play this card any time you could cast an instant."

Flying

Static evasion ability. A creature with flying can't be blocked except by creatures with flying and/or reach. A creature with flying can block a creature with or without flying.

Haste

Static ability. If a creature has haste, it can attack or activate its activated abilities whose cost includes the tap symbol or the untap symbol even if that creature hasn’t been controlled by that player continuously since his or her most recent turn began.

Hexproof

Static ability. “Hexproof” on a permanent means “This permanent can’t be the target of spells or abilities your opponents control.” “Hexproof” on a player means “You can’t be the target of spells or abilities your opponents control”.

Indestructible

Static ability. A permanent with indestructible can’t be destroyed. Such permanents aren’t destroyed by lethal damage, and they ignore the state-based action that checks for lethal damage.

Lifelink

Static ability. Damage dealt by a source with lifelink causes that source’s controller, or its owner if it has no controller, to gain that much life (in addition to any other results that damage causes). If a permanent leaves the battlefield before an effect causes it to deal damage, its last known information is used to determine whether it had lifelink. The lifelink rules function no matter what zone an object with lifelink deals damage from.

If multiple sources with lifelink deal damage at the same time, they cause separate life gain events.

If a source has multiple instances of lifelink, you will gain life only once.

Menace

Static evasion ability. A creature with menace can't be blocked except by two or more creatures.

Prowess

Triggered ability. A creature with Prowess has "Whenever you cast a noncreature spell, this creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn."

Reach

Static ability. A creature with flying can't be blocked except by creatures with flying and/or reach.

Scry

Keyword action. To "Scry N" means to look at the top N cards of your library and put any number of them on the bottom of your library in any order, and the rest on top of your library in any order.

Trample

Static ability. Modifies the rules for assigning an attacking creature’s combat damage. The ability has no effect when a creature with trample is blocking or is dealing noncombat damage. The controller of an attacking creature with trample first assigns damage to the creature(s) blocking it. Once all those blocking creatures are assigned lethal damage, any remaining damage is assigned as its controller chooses among those blocking creatures and the player or planeswalker the creature is attacking. In order to assign damage to a creature, the creature that precedes must be assigned lethal damage. An amount of damage that’s greater than a creature’s lethal damage may be assigned to it. Once all creatures have been assigned lethal damage, excess damage can be assigned to the defending player or planeswalker.

When checking for assigned lethal damage, take into account:

  • Damage already marked on the creature.
  • Damage being assigned by other creatures.

Do not take into account:

  • Abilities or effects that might change the amount of damage that’s actually dealt, such as damage prevention effects.
  • A creature’s regeneration shield.
  • Whether or not the creature is indestructible.

Examples:

  • A 2/2 creature with 1 damage marked on it only needs to be assigned 1 damage for it to be considered lethal damage.
  • A 2/2 creature that will have the next 1 damage dealt to it prevented needs 2 damage to being assigned lethal damage (but would need 3 damage assigned to actually be destroyed).
  • A 3/3 creature with indestructible needs to be assigned 3 damage for it to be considered lethal damage, even though it won’t actually be destroyed.
  • A 5/5 creature only needs to be assigned 1 damage by a source with deathtouch for it to be considered lethal damage.

If an attacking creature with trample is blocked, but there are no creatures blocking it when damage is assigned, all its damage is assigned to the player or planeswalker it’s attacking.

If a creature with trample is attacking a planeswalker, none of its combat damage can be assigned to the defending player, even if that planeswalker has been removed from combat or the damage the attacking creature could assign is greater than the planeswalker’s loyalty.

Vigilance

Static ability that modifies the rules for the declare attackers step. Attacking doesn't cause creatures with vigilance to tap.

Additional Resources