Welcome to another issue of Card of the Month! Today we’ll be enjoying the protection of a Mage ahead of its time, the Time-Mage Teferi of Zhalfir.
To analyze this card, let’s rip it in 3+1 parts:
Until your next turn, you have protection from everything (Progenitus’s complex)
What does this mean?
- Any Aura attached to you is no longer legal (as you have protection from enchantments) and, as a result, it’s put into its owner’s graveyard by the State-Based Actions.
- You can’t be the target of spells or abilities (as you have protection from them.)
- If a spell or ability is on the stack with only one target (you) and you play Teferi’s Protection in response, that spell or ability will no longer have a valid target and will be countered by the rules. None of its effects will happen.
- Any damage you would be dealt will be prevented.
- While it doesn’t prevent you from being attacked, all combat damage dealt to you will be prevented and triggers like “when this do combat damage…” will not triggers, because the damage never occurs. Your opponent’s Umezawa’s Jitte or Looter il-Kor won’t trigger, and Steel Hellkite can’t tell that you were damaged for its second ability.
- Spells or abilities that don’t target will still affect you, like Liliana of the Veil’s +1.
Until your next turn, your life total can’t change (Emperion complex):
What does this mean?
- You can’t pay any amount of life that is not “0”.
- You can’t play spells or abilities with a cost that includes paying life.
- Your opponents can’t play spells or abilities with a cost that includes you gaining life (like Invigorate).
- If a spell or ability generates multiple effects and one or more of them is that you gain or lose life, that effect won’t happen but the rest of them will do.
- If there’s an effect that replaces you gaining or losing life (like Tainted Remedy), that effect won’t ever happen because “your life total can’t change” and thus there isn’t any event to replace, as it didn’t happen in first place.
- If a replacement effect is able to replace any event and causes you to gain or lose life, the replacement effect will work but you will still not gain or lose life due to it. For example, you may skip drawing a card with Words of Worship, but you still won’t gain any life doing so.
- If a spell or ability tries to change your life total to a fixed number, it will do nothing (Sorin Markov, you have no power here!)
- If a spell or ability tries to exchange your life total with another player’s life total, that exchange won’t happen and both of you will keep your current life totals.
- Even if you manage to skip your Protection from everything (with something like Leyline of Punishment) and a source is able to damage you, this damage will still not be able to change your life total; however, all associated effects will work (for instance Lifelink, discarding a card with Hypnotic Specter, or receiving poison counters due to a creature with Infect). Effects that “ask” how much damage is being dealt, like Notorious Throng, will take it into account, though.
All permanents you control “phase out” (these are not the permanents you’re looking for):
For those who are not familiar with phasing in Magic, and since phase in and phase out are related to this ability, let’s look to what it does first.
A phased out permanent does effectively not exist for the game: can’t be destroyed, tapped, moved to another zone, attack, block, trigger its abilities – nothing, nada. It simply doesn’t exist, for now. This has nothing to do with exile, as we’ll see in a moment.
A spell or ability that is targeting a permanent being phased out will lose its target. If all its targets become illegal, it will be countered by the rules and nothing will happen.
Also, phasing out does not trigger any leaves the battlefield abilities. In the same way, phasing in does not trigger any enters the battlefield abilities. Static effects, though, are indeed affected: if an Angel of Invention is phased out its +1/+1 effect will stop working.
Effects that last until a permanent leaves the battlefield will not end, because the permanent never leaves the battlefield. On the other hand, effects that last while something is under your control will indeed stop working. An Abzan Kin-Guard will lose lifelink if all of your white and black permanents are phased out.
As opposed to blinking effects (like Momentary Blink) permanents phased out and back in will retain their “memory” of their “past selves”: all counters placed on them, permanents attached to them, choices made for them as they entered the battlefield, and anything else will remain.
The TL; DR is that this effect makes all of our permanents ignore all game effects without leaving the battlefield. They simply become very good ninjas.
At the beginning of our next turn, before untapping, all phased out permanents will phase back in and they will “exist” again. Then, you will untap your permanents (including the ones that just phased in). No player will receive priority between these actions, as it’s usual during the untap step.
Creatures will be able to attack normally the same turn they phase in.
There is the possibility that some effect makes us skip our untap step. If this happens, no permanents will phase in as this happens during the untap step.
It may also happen that we have a permanent from another player under our control and we phase it out. If the effect that gave us control of that permanent ends before our next untap step happens, our opponent will have control of it when the permanent phases back in during our untap step. In short, it will come back during our untap step, but under their control.
Last but not least, with Commander 2017 a rules change was made to phasing. Before that, if a token phased out it simply ceased to exist in the same way it does when changing zones. Beginning with the release of Commander 2017 this is no longer true and tokens phase in normally with other permanents. This prevents a “rules loophole” that was possible before that enabled you to, for example, phase out a 0/0 Germ token equipped with a Batterskull and vanish the Batterskull forever alongside the token, as it wasn’t possible for an attached permanent to phase back in if the permanent it was attached to didn’t phase back in too.
The fourth wall effect:
This card, as it happens with many others, has a very high potential for dangerous combos, and as such it includes a rider that it’s lately being seen a lot:
It exiles itself upon resolution!
This prevents any potential shenanigans that could happen if it went to the graveyard, like flashing it back with Snapcaster Mage or recovering it endlessly with a Cryptic Command-enabled Eternal Witness.
And with this ends the protection brought to us by someone who shined both as a good and a bad student, and someone who one day had a spark but surrendered it to protect his homeland and ourselves. ¡See you next time!