Copying Double-Faced Cards

Welcome to a minor Blast from the Past here at the Rules Tips Blog, where we talk about Double-Faced Cards! We have a couple of them in Standard right now; Nicol Bolas, the Ravager is a return to the form of the DFC-Walkers from Origins, being a Legendary Creature pre-spark on one side, and a post-spark Planeswalker on the other. We also have a few double-faced cards from Ixalan, but outside of Golden Guardian and Conqueror’s Galleon (sometimes, anyway) none of them are creatures, and that’s where we’re focusing for today.

So, let’s say your opponent has a Nicky B staring you down, and you happen to draw a Protean Raider and you want to get in on that dragon action. You get yourself a copy Bolas, and soon have the mana to transform it! Yeah, you’ll be sad if you do. See, you’ll exile your Copy Bolas as the instructions dictate, but you can’t return it to the battlefield transformed- because your Protean Raider is not a Double-Faced Card. It cannot Transform, so it cannot be Transformed. Returning it to the battlefield in that way is an impossible action, so you just don’t do it. That leaves the Raider stranded in exile forever, and you with egg on your face for paying 4UBR to remove your own creature. If something tries to force a transformation while the Raider is on the battlefield, it’ll also not work- so if you’re playing Commander and you copy your opponent’s Delver of Secrets to try and get a 3/2 flier, you’re gonna whiff because you still can’t transform a single-faced card.

Speaking of OG Innistrad, here’s one little bit of trivia fun before you go: Moonmist. It transforms all Humans and then fogs any non-Werewolf creature damage. The original intent for this card was to turn a board of Human Werewolves into their bigger badder selves, and blow your opponent out by having only your Werewolves do any damage this combat. But there’s a few other things it can work on: Namely, 4 of the 5 Origins Planeswalkers. Kytheon, Hero of Akros; Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy; Liliana, Heretical Healer; and Chandra, Fire of Kaladesh are all Humans that can Transform, and Moonmist will hit them- but don’t get too excited about spending 1G to transform your Liliana in response to removal, or your Jace on turn 3. The DFC-Walkers exile themselves for more than just flavor reasons of ‘planeswalking away and coming back’. By coming back transformed, they enter with loyalty counters like all Planeswalkers are supposed to. But if you simply force a transformation without a zone change, a la Moonmist, they aren’t ENTERING the battlefield- they’re already there. So they’ll transform, but have no way of gaining Loyalty counters. That means that right after you Moonmist, you’ll have a Planeswalker (or two, or three, or four) with zero Loyalty, which means it’ll immediately die. So, uh… don’t do that. Nissa and Bolas are fine with it though, being non-humans and all. And you can always blow your opponents out with the Moonmist trick, since it transforms ALL humans, whether or not they’re yours! Have fun with that.

Today’s Rules Tip was brought to you by Trevor Nunez

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