Scorchmark vs. Regenerate

Welcome back to the Rules Tips Blog! Today’s tip comes to you straight from the Ask the Judge group on Facebook- what happens when Scorchmark goes head-to-head with a Regeneration effect? Scorchmark is a burn spell- for 1R, you throw 2 damage at a targeted creature, and set up a fun replacement effect: if that creature would die this turn, you exile it instead. Regeneration is slightly more complex, though; when an effect tells you to “regenerate” a permanent, what it’s really doing is putting a sort of ‘shield’ around it for the rest of the turn. If that permanent would be destroyed while the ‘shield’ is up, INSTEAD you tap the permanent, remove it from combat (if it was in combat), and remove all marked damage from it. It replaces “being destroyed” with “being tapped”, more or less, and clears off any damage to make sure it doesn’t just die again from the damage! Important to note, Regeneration can only replace a destruction event, specifically. That’s limited to the word ‘destroy’, and lethal damage. It won’t help for the Legend Rule, or being told to sacrifice a creature, for example.

So what happens when these two go up against each other? One of them is saying ‘you’re exiled instead of dying’, and the other says ‘you’re tapped instead of being destroyed’- are those trying to modify the same event? They actually are not! It might not feel super intuitive, but being destroyed CAUSES dying. You’re destroyed, so you go to the graveyard from the battlefield, which is what ‘dying’ is. They’re not the same event, but they are back-to-back parts of the same process, so to speak. So in this scenario, the Regeneration shield is used up stopping the destruction in the first place. Since it was never destroyed, it never tries to ‘die’, which means there’s no event for Scorchmark to replace. The creature lives! Be careful, though- while you stopped this destruction event from leading to exile, that replacement effect created by Scorchmark lingers for the whole turn. So if your opponent manages to destroy your creature again this turn and you don’t have the means of stopping them, your creature will still end up exiled!

Today’s Rules Tip was written by Trevor Nunez

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