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Canopy Cover is an Aura enchantment that includes this effect:

Enchanted creature can't be the target of spells or abilities your opponents control.

This sounds the same as Hexproof's definition in the glossary:

This permanent can't be the target of spells or abilities your opponents control.

So what's the difference between Canopy Cover and a card like Alpha Authority, which just says "Enchanted creature has hexproof"?

Why does Canopy Cover spell it out like this?

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I'm posting this because of an inquiry on this question - I think it merits its own question. – doppelgreener Nov 29 '13 at 2:34
It kinda sais so on the gatherer: 4/15/2013 This is not the same as hexproof. If, for example, you target one of your opponent's creatures, your opponents won't be able to target their own creature with spells or abilities. – Lyrion Nov 29 '13 at 7:54
Oh, Hm. Should I delete this? – doppelgreener Nov 29 '13 at 13:26
Nah, it's ok. Doesn't hurt to have the info in two places. – ikegami Nov 29 '13 at 19:23
The "why" is really simply that hexproof hadn't been invented/added to the game as a universal keyword at the time that card was printed. The fact that the actual functionality is a little bit different when the aura is controlled by a different player than the enchanted creature would be the reason the card hasn't been errata'd to say "enchanted creature has hexproof." – Affe Dec 2 '13 at 19:21
up vote 11 down vote accepted

The effects are different because of what you/your refers to: it refers to an object's controller.

Canopy Cover's effect is radically different from an effect that says "Enchanted creature has hexproof", but the difference only becomes important when you use it on a creature an opponent controls.

Let's suppose you're a Green player facing a Blue player.

Enchanting your opponent's creature with Hexproof means you can't target it

Doing so means the creature now has a static ability that says:

This permanent can't be the target of spells or abilities your opponents control.

The "your" here refers to that creature's controller - Blue player - so now Blue player's opponents can't target that creature with spells or abilities. That's you, Green player. You now cannot target that creature with spells or abilities.

Enchanting your opponent's creature with Canopy Cover means they can't target it

Doing so means the enchantment says:

Enchanted creature can't be the target of spells or abilities your opponents control.

Since you are the enchantment's controller, the "your" in this case refers to you, the Green player. So your opponents can't target that creature with spells or abilities - that's the Blue player.

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Jonathan did a good job of explaining the impact the difference has on the game. However, that doesn't explain why the Oracle text of Canopy Cover continues to spell out the effect in full.

Specifically: Canopy Cover does not grant any abilities to the enchanted creature. There is no means by which you can word this effect such that the keyword "Hexproof" is included and no ability is granted to the creature. Thus, Canopy Cover spells out the effect.

In addition to the results spelled out by Jonathan, consider interactions with cards such as Muraganda Petroglyphs and Sudden Spoiling. Canopy Cover does not prevent the buff from Petroglyphs, while Alpha Authority does. Sudden Spoiling does not remove the Hexproof-esque effect of Canopy Cover, but it would remove the Hexprof granted by Alpha authority.

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Worldwake was released on February 5, 2010, and Hexproof was released with Magic 2012 on July 15, 2011. Thus the keyword hexproof did not exist. Typically when releasing cards they match the phrasing, even if the actual resulting mechanic is different. In this case cards were templated "~ cannot be the target of spells or abilities your opponents control" so canopy cover has the same with the name of the permanent replaced with "Enchanted creature". – Guvante Dec 2 '13 at 18:49
Muraganda Petroglyphs does not target anything, so it can affect a creature with either Canopy Cover or Hexproof. Sudden Spoiling is a very good point though. – doppelgreener Dec 3 '13 at 8:45
@JonathanHobbs, While Petroglyphs doesn't target and thus could in theory affect a creature with Hexproof... a creature with Hexproof by definition has an ability, so Petroglyphs would stop affecting that creature. – Brian S Dec 3 '13 at 14:45
@Guvante, Good point, I will revise my answer to refer to Oracle text rather than printed text. – Brian S Dec 3 '13 at 14:46
@BrianS Now I understand. It sounded to me like it being hexproof would prevent the buff from affecting it (by nature of being hexproof and untouchable, not by nature of having an ability and thus becoming ineligible). – doppelgreener Dec 3 '13 at 14:54

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