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A friend and I recently ran into a scenario and we're not sure how it would play out.

  1. My friend plays Shade's Form on one of his creatures. (B: This creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn." When enchanted creature is put into a graveyard, return that card to the battlefield under your control.

  2. On my next turn I play False Demise on that same creature. (When enchanted creature dies, return that card to the battlefield under your control.)

  3. On the next turn, the creature is put into a graveyard. Who gains control of this creature? I assume False Demise would resolve first putting it under my control—but does Shade's form then resolve too, moving it back to my opponent?

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2 Answers 2

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The resolution of both abilities will result in the creature coming into the battlefield under control of the non-active player, and that player will still control it when both abilities have resolved.

Both of those enchantments have triggered abilities. When the creature dies, multiple triggered abilities controlled by different players trigger. Then we just follow rule 603.3b:

If multiple abilities have triggered since the last time a player received priority, each player, in APNAP order, puts triggered abilities he or she controls on the stack in any order he or she chooses.

APNAP here is an acronym for "Active Player, Non-Active Player". So, first the active player's trigger gets put on the stack, then the non-active player's trigger. This means that the non-active player's ability resolves first, so they get control of the creature. Then when the active player's ability tries to resolve, we have to look at rule 603.6:

Trigger events that involve objects changing zones are called "zone-change triggers." Many abilities with zone-change triggers attempt to do something to that object after it changes zones. During resolution, these abilities look for the object in the zone that it moved to. If the object is unable to be found in the zone it went to, the part of the ability attempting to do something to the object will fail to do anything.

The triggered ability that is trying to resolve ("When enchanted creature dies, return that card to the battlefield under your control.") is actually shorthand for

When enchanted creature is moved from the battlefield to the graveyard, put that card onto the battlefield under your control.

Since the creature that died is no longer in the graveyard, the active player's ability does nothing as it resolves, and the non-active player retains control of the creature.

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The non-active player will get it.


Both abilities trigger at the same time, the moment the creature is moved to the graveyard from the battlefield[CR 603.2].

The next time a player would get priority, all the abilities that have triggered since the last time a player got priority are placed on the stack[CR 603.3]. APNAP controls the order in which the triggers are placed on the stack[CR 603.3b].

This means the Active Player (the player whose turn it is) places his abilities on the stack first. (If there are more than one, he places them in the order he desires.) Then, the Non-Active Player places his abilities on the stack (in the order he desires)[CR 101.4].

As usual, they will resolve in the opposite order they were added.

The NAP's ability will resolve first. The card will be returned to the battlefield under that player's control.

The AP's ability will resolve second. The ability will fail to find the card (since that object no longer exists[CR 400.7]) and it won't do anything[CR 609.3][CR 603.6].


603.3b If multiple abilities have triggered since the last time a player received priority, each player, in APNAP order, puts triggered abilities he or she controls on the stack in any order he or she chooses. (See rule 101.4.) Then the game once again checks for and resolves state-based actions until none are performed, then abilities that triggered during this process go on the stack. This process repeats until no new state-based actions are performed and no abilities trigger. Then the appropriate player gets priority.

101.4. If multiple players would make choices and/or take actions at the same time, the active player (the player whose turn it is) makes any choices required, then the next player in turn order (usually the player seated to the active player’s left) makes any choices required, followed by the remaining nonactive players in turn order. Then the actions happen simultaneously. This rule is often referred to as the “Active Player, Nonactive Player (APNAP) order” rule.

609.3. If an effect attempts to do something impossible, it does only as much as possible.

603.6. Trigger events that involve objects changing zones are called “zone-change triggers.” Many abilities with zone-change triggers attempt to do something to that object after it changes zones. During resolution, these abilities look for the object in the zone that it moved to. If the object is unable to be found in the zone it went to, the part of the ability attempting to do something to the object will fail to do anything. The ability could be unable to find the object because the object never entered the specified zone, because it left the zone before the ability resolved, or because it is in a zone that is hidden from a player, such as a library or an opponent’s hand. (This rule applies even if the object leaves the zone and returns again before the ability resolves.) The most common zone-change triggers are enters-the-battlefield triggers and leaves-the-battlefield triggers.

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