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- 406.1 The exile zone is essentially a holding area for objects. Some spells and abilities exile an object without any way to return that object to another zone. Other spells and abilities exile an object only temporarily.
- 406.2 To exile an object is to put it into the exile zone from whatever zone it’s currently in. An exiled card is a card that’s been put into the exile zone.
- 406.3 Exiled cards are, by default, kept face up and may be examined by any player at any time. Cards “exiled face down” can’t be examined by any player except when instructions allow it. However, once a player is allowed to look at a card exiled face down, that player may continue to look at that card as long as it remains exiled, even if the instruction allowing the player to do so no longer applies. A card exiled face down has no characteristics, but the spell or ability that exiled it may allow it to be played from exile. Unless that card is being cast face down (see rule 707.4), the card is turned face up just before the player announces that they are playing the card (see rule 601.2).
- 406.4 Face-down cards in exile should be kept in separate piles based on when they were exiled and how they were exiled. If a player is instructed to choose an exiled card, the player may choose a specific face-down card only if the player is allowed to look at that card. Otherwise, they may choose a pile of face-down exiled cards, and then a card is chosen at random from within that pile. If choosing such a card is part of casting a spell or activating an ability, the chosen card isn’t revealed until after that cost is fully paid. (See rule 601.2i.)
- 406.5 Exiled cards that might return to the battlefield or any other zone should be kept in separate piles to keep track of their respective ways of returning. Exiled cards that may have an impact on the game due to their own abilities (such as cards with haunt) or the abilities of the cards that exiled them should likewise be kept in separate piles.
- 406.6 An object may have one ability printed on it that causes one or more cards to be exiled, and another ability that refers either to “the exiled cards” or to cards “exiled with [this object].” These abilities are linked: the second refers only to cards that have been exiled due to the first. See rule 607, “Linked Abilities.”
- 406.7 If an object in the exile zone becomes exiled, it doesn’t change zones, but it becomes a new object that has just been exiled.
- 406.8 Previously, the exile zone was called the “removed-from-the-game zone.” Cards that were printed with text that “removes [an object] from the game” exiles that object. The same is true for cards printed with text that “sets [an object] aside.” Cards that were printed with that text have received errata in the Oracle card reference.