My name is Daniel Kitachewsky. In the Judge Program, besides Head Judging Grand Prix, I manage the Level 3 testing process. I make sure testing standards guarantee that Level 3 judges can perform adequately at any type of event, from RPTQs up to Pro Tours.
Today it’s my pleasure to introduce you to a new Aether Revolt card! Without further ado:
You might remember Ensoul Artifact from not too long ago:
Tezzeret’s Touch adds an interesting twist to it, returning the enchanted artifact to its owner’s hand when it’s put into a graveyard.
Now, this animation effect was already interesting when Ensoul Artifact came out, but now becomes even trickier with vehicles around. Let’s take a look.
First of all, Tezzeret’s Touch changes power and toughness and makes your artifact a creature, but it doesn’t remove anything. The artifact keeps its abilities, so your enchanted Sky Skiff will be a 5/5 flier. Note that the printed power and toughness 2/3 don’t play any role here.
It also keeps its crew ability, so you could, if you really wanted, crew it again. However, that won’t do much; it will still be 5/5. Why?
This has to do with the way you determine what a permanent looks like, also known as the “layer” system. In that system, you look at the printed card and apply continuous effects in a specific order, always the same. Among others, for power and toughness, the order is:
- 0. Printed values
- 7a. Characteristic-defining effects, i.e. effects that say “I am */*, where * is…”. Think Tarmogoyf.
- 7b. Effects that set power/toughness to a value.
- 7c. Effects that change power/toughness by a value.
- 7d. Effects from counters.
- 7e. Effects switching power and toughness.
Wow, that a lot to digest! But worry not, you just have to put your effects in the appropriate slots and read from top to bottom.
So here, the Sky Skiff has a printed power/toughness of 2/3, that goes into 0. Tezzeret’s Touch goes into 7b. And that means that your Skiff will always be 5/5, no matter how many times or when it was crewed.
But there’s more, the above chart tells us everything we need to know about other interactions as well:
With a Gideon emblem, your artifact is always 6/6. Same if your artifact has a +1/+1 counter on it, that always applies after the effect saying it’s 5/5.
But what if an effect disappears? Wouldn’t your Sky Skiff turn into a 0/0 and die? No, you simply look at the effects which are left.
- Let the Naturalize resolve, making the Sky Skiff un-animated; or
- Respond by crewing the Sky Skiff, which you could even do using itself, making it a 2/3 after the dust settles.
What if you enchant your animated Inkmoth Nexus with Tezzeret’s Touch? It’s an artifact after all, so you’d be able to hit your opponent for 5 poison, pretty good! But note that Tezzeret’s Touch adds the creature type, not the artifact type. At the end of the turn, Inkmoth Nexus becomes a pumpkin… err, a non-artifact creature and Tezzeret’s Touch simply falls off and is put into the graveyard. You’ll need another one to finish off your opponent.
Let’s talk about the other ability: “When enchanted artifact is put into a graveyard, return that card to its owner’s hand.” This also triggers if both the artifact and Tezzeret’s Touch are put into a graveyard at the same time, say because of Planar Cleansing.
What if it goes elsewhere than the graveyard? All depends how it does so. If there’s a Rest in Peace in play, the artifact goes directly into exile and Tezzeret’s Touch won’t trigger.
But if there’s a Planar Void in play, then it might come back or not. The difference? Rest in Peace has a replacement effect, recognizable by “would… instead”. Planar Void has a triggered ability, recognizable by “whenever”.
Well then, is it exiled under Planar Void or does it go to the hand?
Here we have two triggered abilities that would go on the stack at the same time. If both are controlled by the same player, that player chooses the order on the stack. If they’re controlled by different players, then the active player (the player whose turn it is) puts their ability on the stack first, then the nonactive player does so. That way the nonactive player sees their ability resolve first.
As a result:
- If the same player controls both Planar Void and Tezzeret’s Touch, they probably want to put Planar Void’s ability on the stack first so they get the artifact back to their hand. By the time Planar Void’s ability resolves, the artifact has moved already and won’t be exiled.
- If the active player controls Planar Void and the nonactive player controls Tezzeret’s Touch, the artifact will end up in its owner’s hand.
- If the active player controls Tezzeret’s Touch and the nonactive player controls Planar Void, the artifact will end up in exile.
So if you’re trying to get rid of your opponent’s artifact, you better destroy it during your opponent’s turn, and that works only if you control the Planar Void yourself.
I hope you enjoyed reading about all these interactions and will enjoy even more playing with Tezzeret’s Touch in pre-releases!