Copycat – Copying objects

In a nutshell

  • To copy an object, look at the printed values of the object you’re copying. The copy will have those values. The copying process does not copy any counters or continuous effects acting on the original. Other copy effects acting on the original are taken into account, though.
  • When copying a spell, you also copy any choices made while casting it, such as modes, targets, the value of X, and whether any additional or alternate costs were paid. Many times, the effect that let you copy the spell will let you change the targets.

Q: Amy enchants her Soul Warden with a Splinter Twin. She then taps the Soul Warden to put a token onto the battlefield. She reasons that because abilities are copied, this token, being a copy of Soul Warden, has the “tap to make a creature token” ability that Splinter Twin is giving the original Soul Warden, and that this combo lets her gain infinite life. What do you think?

A: The copying process does not copy any continuous effects acting on the original object. This means that the token generated by Splinter Twin does not have the ability that Splinter Twin granted to the original creature.

Q: Amy casts Clone and chooses to have it copy an Arcbound Ravager that has 4 +1/+1 counters on it. What happens?

A: Copying Arcbound Ravager does not copy the 4 counters already on it, but it does copy the ravager’s modular ability, which means that Clone enters the battlefield with 1 +1/+1 counter on it. Being a copy of ravager, the Clone is now an artifact, meaning that when ravager dies, its +1/+1 counters could be moved onto Clone.

Q: Amy casts Clone and chooses to have it copy an Ivy Elemental that has 4 +1/+1 counters on it. What happens?

A: Copying Ivy Elemental does not copy the 4 counters already on it, but it does copy the elemental’s ability that makes it enter the battlefield with counters. Unfortunately, since we’re copying a permanent, not a spell, we can’t copy any choices that were made while casting it. This means that when that ability is trying to determine the value of X to see how many counters to put on Clone, it won’t have a real value to work with, and will use 0 instead. The Clone will enter the battlefield as a 0/0 Ivy Elemental and will be put into the graveyard the next time state-based actions are performed.

Q: Amy casts Profane Command with X = 2 choosing to return a Grizzly Bears from her graveyard to the battlefield and give her Forest Bear and Balduvian Bears fear until end of turn. Nicole has a Twincast, but doesn’t control any creatures or have any creature cards in her graveyard. Can she Twincast the Profane Command to have Amy lose 2 life and give her Forest Bear -2/-2?

A: No. When copying a spell, you copy all the choices made as it was cast. This means that the value of X, modes, and targets of the original Profane Command are all copied. Twincast specifically allows Amy to choose new targets, but it does not allow her to choose new modes, so these stay unchanged.

Note: Because Profane Command specifies that its second mode targets a “creature card…from your graveyard”, Nicole is not able to change the target of that mode, since she has no legal targets to pick (Nicole controls the copy, so the target must be in her graveyard). Say she also leaves the targets unchanged for the other mode. Here’s what will happen when the copied Profane Command resolves: The second mode will still target Amy’s Grizzly Bear, which is not a legal target, so this part will do nothing. The copy is not countered, because some of its targets (those for the fourth mode) are still legal. It will grant fear to Amy’s two bears.

Q: Amy controls a Voice of All that has protection from green. She targets her Artisan of Forms with a Giant Growth and chooses for it to become a copy of Voice of All. What happens?

A: Artisan’s heroic ability triggers when Amy casts the spell, so it goes on the stack on top of Giant Growth. When the ability resolves, the artisan becomes a copy of Voice of All. Voice of All has protection from the color that was chosen for it. Since Artisan of Forms didn’t have a color chosen for it as it entered the battlefield, it doesn’t have protection from anything. This means that Giant Growth resolves as normal.

Note: If a Clone copies Voice of All, it will copy the Voice’s ability that makes you pick a color. Clone/Voice’s controller will pick a color as it enters the battlefield, and it will have protection from that.

Q: Amy activates a Mutavault, then casts a Clone choosing to copy Mutavault. What does the Clone look like?

A: The Clone is an un-animated Mutavault. Copy effects do not copy any counters or effects (except that they do see other copy effects) acting on an object. If Amy activates her Clone’s activated ability, that will turn it into a 2/2 land creature with all creature types.

Q: Amy controls a Glorious Anthem and a Reverent Hunter, which has two +1/+1 counters on it. She casts a Giant Growth targeting Reverent Hunter, then a Phantasmal Image, choosing to copy it. After that, she casts a Decree of Savagery. Then she casts a Clone to copy her Phantasmal Image. What are the Phantasmal Image’s and Clone’s characteristics (mana cost, creature types, abilities, and power/toughness)?

A: Phantasmal Image copies Reverent Hunter’s base p/t of 1/1. It also copies its ability that gives it +1/+1 counters as well as its mana cost. Therefore this ability puts two +1/+1 counters on Phantasmal Image when it enters the battlefield. Decree of Savagery puts four additional +1/+1 counters on Phantasmal Image. Phantasmal Image is 1/1 with Glorious Anthem and six +1/+1 counters for a total p/t of 8/8. It is a Creature – Human Archer Illusion, and it has Reverent Hunter’s “devotion counters” ability and the “sacrifice me” ability it gives itself.

Clone copies these characteristics, so it is also a Creature – Human Archer Illusion with the Reverent Hunter’s “devotion counters” ability and the Phantasmal Image’s “sacrifice me” ability. Its mana cost is now 2G, meaning that when its Reverent Hunter ability resolves, it will put three +1/+1 counters on Clone. Base p/t of 1/1 plus Glorious Anthem and three +1/+1 counters gives a total p/t of 5/5.

Advanced Note: Astute readers may wonder why Clone could copy Phantasmal Image’s “sacrifice me” ability when Soul Warden didn’t get the ability granted by Splinter Twin in an earlier question. Effects that use the word “has” or “gains”, like Splinter Twin, are continuous effects that grant abilities to permanents, and, like other continuous effects that may be acting on the thing being copied, are not seen by other copy effects. However, some copy effects provide exceptions or modifications to the copying process such as by allowing the copy to keep the original card’s name (Sakashima the Impostor), p/t (Quicksilver Gargantuan), types, supertypes, or subtypes (Phyrexian Metamorph), or color (Vesuvan Doppelganger). Such exceptions are considered part of the copy effect and will be seen by future copy effects.