Gift of Tusks vs. Equipment/Auras

We’re all feeling those post-Christmas blues. The presents are opened and we can’t wait until next year for the joy of gifts. But wait, what is this!? Oath of the Gatewatch has brought us one more gift, the Gift of Tusks! Just like Christmas, but with more elephants. This ghost of Pongify has all sorts of fun uses in standard and limited but how does it interact with creatures that are equipped? Or have auras or counters? I am glad you asked.

Gift of Tusks does not destroy or otherwise remove the creature it targets from play. This means any equipment, auras and counters on the creature will stay. Any power and toughness modifications that give the creature +/+ or -/- will remain unchanged (even the counters). If there were a previous effect that set that creature’s power and toughness (Like Eldrazi mimic) Gift will override as long as it was the last effect to set the power and toughness. This sounds confusing but it is really easy, lets break it down.

I have a Cinder Hellion enchanted by Iona’s Blessing (+2/+2 has vigilance and can block additional creatures). My opponent casts Gift of Tusks- what does my creature become?

  • First we have to look at the creature’s base power and toughness. It went from a 4/4 to a 3/3.
  • It loses all its abilities.
  • bBecause it still has the Iona’s blessing, it gets the +2/+2.

I now have a 5/5 green creature with no abilities. Why? Because magic cares about what happened last and follows a strict set of rules called “Layers” to produce a predictable outcome every time something changes a permanent in the game. Color changes, abilities removed, power and toughness set and then modified (yes, set and modified are different). Equipment works mostly the same way except you could move the equipment to another creature you control then move it back to get the abilities back. This of course is only if you are in your main phase, have priority, can pay all the costs and there is nothing else on the stack.

Here are some more possibilities:

  • If Gift resolves on Eldrazi Mimic that has already had its power and toughness changed, it will change its power and toughness again to 3/3 until the end of the turn. Perhaps another colorless creature enters the battlefield. If this happens, the mimics power and toughness will still be 3/3 since it lost all of its abilities. It is green until the end of the turn.
  • After Gift resolves, the creature is now green, and retains none of its previous colors until something else changes it again or the turn ends. Even a devoid creature will gain the color green for the rest of the turn
  • Abilities of auras/equipment that aren’t actually granted to the creature are not removed. If a creature is equipped with Captain’s Claws and is targeted by Gift of Tusks, the creature will have its base power and toughness set to 3/3 (then +1/+0), it will have its abilities removed, and it will become green (though not in that exact order). When it attacks, however, you will still get a 1/1 ally token tapped and attacking with you. This is because the Claws have the ability, not the creature. When reading the aura or the equipment, it will always say something to the effect of “gains this ability” or “has” if it’s giving the ability to the creature. To use an earlier example, Iona’s Blessing, the creature gets +2/+2 and has vigilance and can block an additional creature (meaning the creature, not the equipment). If you were to enchant your creature after the tusks resolves, it would have any abilities that enchantment gives it. Remember- Timestamp order! It cannot take away what is not there.

If you are ever confused, you have resources. You can always ask a judge 24/7 on the Ask a Judge portion of this blog. They are really helpful and usually very quick to respond.

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