Editors’ Note: This article was updated on 5/29/2018 to account for XLN rules changes.
Blood Moon is one of those cards that, at a glance, seems like a fairly straightforward card – all nonbasic lands become Mountains. However, there are quite a few cards, especially Modern legal cards, where the interaction with the Moon is not as clear. This article is designed to go through some of the more common interactions you might run in to at your local Modern tournament.
Blood Moon in General
Blood Moon will make all nonbasic lands into Mountains. What this means is that the land loses all other land types and abilities and gains the ability to tap for one red mana. They still keep other types and supertypes, so a legendary land will still be legendary, but the name of the card does not change. The lands will still be nonbasic, even though they gain a basic land subtype, so nonbasic lands can still be destroyed by Fulminator Mage’s ability. It will also prevent enter-the-battlefield abilities from triggering, like Bojuka Bog’s ability to exile all cards in target player’s graveyard.
Thanks to the rules change in Ixalan, Blood Moon works a little differently now with replacement effects. Lands will now look ahead to how they look on the battlefield to see how they ente, which includes taking Blood Moon’s effect into account (which can remove the land’s replacement effect that affects how it enters the battlefield). That means that if the land has a replacement effect that affects how it enters the battlefield, Blood Moon will remove that ability before it gets a chance to apply. For example, Arcane Sanctum will enter the battlefield untapped with a Blood Moon on the battlefield, since Blood Moon will remove the “Arcane Sanctum enter the battlefield tapped” ability before it enters the battlefield. Likewise, a Gruul Turf will enter the battlefield untapped and you won’t have to return a land to your hand.
Now that we’ve gone over some of the basics of Blood Moon, let’s look at some specific cases.
Blood Moon and Ravnica Shocklands
Let’s start off by looking how Blood Moon works with the shocklands. If there is a Blood Moon on the battlefield and someone tried to play a shockland (like Sacred Foundry), the land will enter the battlefield untapped without having to pay 2 life. We look ahead and see that the Foundry would be affected by Blood Moon once it enters, and it removes the shockland’s ability that makes it enter the battlefield tapped unless you pay 2 life. Even if you really want to pay the life for some reason, you can’t, and the shockland will always enter the battlefield untapped.
Blood Moon and Vesuva
If there’s a Blood Moon in play and someone tries to play Vesuva, Blood Moon will remove Vesuva’s ability that lets it enter the battlefield as a copy of a land. Even if you really want to copy a basic land (so it’s not affected by Blood Moon), Blood Moon will stop you from copying a land and Vesuva will enter the battlefield untapped with no other abilities besides being able to tap for red mana. If Blood Moon leaves the battlefield after Vesuva enters, then Vesuva won’t be a copy of anything and won’t have any abilities that let it tap for mana.
Blood Moon and Artifact Lands
If you have an artifact land on the battlefield and Blood Moon enters the battlefield, the artifact land will lose its normal abilities and become just a mountain. However, it is still going to be an artifact. Changing a permanent’s subtype has no effect on a permanent’s type, so giving a land the Mountain subtype will not affect its other types or supertypes.
If the artifact land happens to be a Darksteel Citadel, it will also no longer be indestructible. The ability that makes the Citadel indestructible will also be removed by Blood Moon, so the Citadel will be a destructible artifact land with the ability tap for one red mana.
Blood Moon and Blinkmoth Nexus
If there is a Blinkmoth Nexus on the battlefield with the Moon and it is not a creature, the Nexus will lose its animation ability, so it will be just like every other nonbasic land. If the Nexus is already a creature when the Moon enters the battlefield, it will still be an artifact creature with the Blinkmoth subtype, and it will still have flying, but it will lose the ability to pump up Blinkmoth creatures. When you set a land’s subtype, it loses the abilities generated by its rules text, but not abilities granted by other effects. In this case, the Nexus will lose its printed ability, but not the abilities that it gave itself when you activated its animation ability.
Blood Moon and Prismatic Omen/Spreading Seas
Let’s look at a situation where we have multiple effects that want to set a land’s type. What happens if I have both a Blood Moon and a Prismatic Omen on the battlefield? It all comes down to which one entered the battlefield last (a.k.a. timestamps). Since the Moon sets the land type of the lands, it will override other land types it gained through other effects, like the Omen.
If the Omen entered the battlefield last, it will have a later timestamp than the Moon, so it will override the effect of the Moon. Nonbasic lands will have all of the basic land types, although the Moon’s type setting effect will mean that nonbasic lands still lose their other abilities. If the Moon entered the battlefield last, then nonbasic lands will be just mountains, they will not have any other basic land types.
Spreading Seas, which has started to see play in Modern, also functions similar to Prismatic Omen. If the Seas enters the battlefield before Blood Moon, Blood Moon wins since it has a later timestamp and the land will just be a Mountain. If the Seas enters the battlefield after Blood Moon, then the effect of the Seas wins and the land will be an Island.
Blood Moon and Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Here, we have two effects that both want to affect land types: Urborg wants to make everything into Swamps in addition to their other types, while Blood Moon wants to make nonbasic lands into just mountains. And this is an example of dependency: both Blood Moon and Urborg want to apply in the same layer, but applying Blood Moon first will change what Urborg affects (since the Blood Moon will remove Urborg’s ability of making lands into swamps). Because of this, we can say that Urborg’s effect is dependant on Blood Moon’s effect. So no matter what order they enter the battlefield in, we apply Blood Moon first, causing Urborg to lose its ability, so lands will not gain the swamp subtype.
Blood Moon and Dryad Arbor
As our final case, let’s look at Dryad Arbor. We’ve already established that it will still be a Dryad creature with the ability to tap for red mana, but will it still be green? Yes, it will still be green. The Arbor is a green card because it has a green color indicator. That indicator is not removed when the Arbor becomes a mountain, so it will still be a green creature.
I believe that covers most of the common cases that you’ll probably run in to. Hopefully, you’re a little less confused about this card that’s becoming more popular as the popularity of nonbasic lands rises. Feel free to contact me if you have any further questions or want clarification.
DCI Level 2 Judge