Creatures Coming Down AFTER Join Shields

Welcome to the end of Selesnya Week here at the Rules Tip Blog. Today we’ll be closing things out with Join Shields, a lovely little combat trick that can stymie most any removal your opponent throws at you, and turn your tapped army into an untapped one ready to block profitably! It untaps all your creatures, and they gain Hexproof and Indestructible until end of turn. But what happens if you play creatures AFTER Join Shields has resolved- do they get the boon, too?

Unfortunately, no. Since the spell is modifying the actual characteristics of a specific set of objects (in this case, “adding abilities” is the characteristic modifying, and “creatures you control” being the specific set), it “locks in” what set it’s gonna work on as it resolves. Creatures that you control LATER in the turn won’t retroactively get the buffs. Interestingly enough, this used to work slightly differently with Indestructible. Back in Ye Olden Days, Indestructible wasn’t an ability- it was just something that was true of an object.

So the original Elspeth, Knight-Errant‘s last ability just read “For the rest of the game, artifacts, creatures, enchantments, and lands you control have indestructible.”. That didn’t just apply to the things you had when you used the ability, though- it was just something that was TRUE of any artifact, creature, enchantment, or land you controlled for the rest of the game. There’d never been an instance where an ‘invisible’ indestructible would last longer than a turn or so before that, and it led to some memory issues (as well as people being frustrated when they thought it only applied to the things that were on board when it resolved). So, they created the concept of Emblems to clear that up, as well as open up design space that didn’t exist before! It’s a good thing they did- it helped open the way for Indestructible to simply become an ability, rather than ‘a thing which is true of a permanent’- which helps make things a bit smoother overall.

Join us next week when we cover the last guild from Guilds of Ravnica- the Boros Legion!

Today’s Rules Tip was written by Trevor Nunez

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