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Consider a battlefield where I control a Deadfall, a Sunweb, and a Muraganda Petroglyphs. Importantly, Sunweb says

Sunweb can't block creatures with power 2 or less.

Deadfall says

Creatures with forestwalk can be blocked as though they didn't have forestwalk.

and Muraganda Petroglyphs says

Creatures with no abilities get +2/+2.

If my opponent attacks with a Jukai Messenger (a 1/1 Forestwalk creature), can my Sunweb block it?

The answer seems at first to be "no", but if the Messenger didn't have forestwalk, it wouldn't have any abilities, so it would get +2/+2 due to Muraganda Petroglyphs' ability, which would make it big enough for Sunweb to block. So the question is really:

When declaring blockers (or checking whether a declaration is legal) and Deadfall is in play and you choose to block as though the creature didn't have forestwalk, are other continuous effects also applied as though the creature didn't have forestwalk?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Sunweb can't block, because the "as though" only applies to blocking restrictions, nothing else)

Deadfall doesn't cause anything to lose forestwalk. Anything that had forestwalk still has it, so it has an ability, and Muraganda Petroglyphs doesn't work on it.

The relevant comp rule, I suppose, is:

609.4. Some effects state that a player may do something "as though" some condition were true or a creature can do something "as though" some condition were true. This applies only to the stated effect. For purposes of that effect, treat the game exactly as if the stated condition were true. For all other purposes, treat the game normally.

So when Deadfall says "Creatures with forestwalk can be blocked as though they didn't have forestwalk." it only applies to the decision of whether the creature can be blocked, nothing else, not even other continuous effects that might ultimately have an effect on whether it can be blocked. (Rusher pointed out in the comments: this is essentially rule 101.1: "Whenever a card’s text directly contradicts these rules, the card takes precedence. The card overrides only the rule that applies to that specific situation.".)

Deadfall does remove the effect of forestwalk on blocking, which does make it pretty useless, but that's not the same thing as actually removing the ability. It doesn't say "...lose forestwalk". (Example: Scarwood Hag can actually remove the forestwalk ability.) And it only allows ignoring forestwalk for the purposes of declaring blockers, nothing else. It doesn't say "resolve spells as though...", or "during the declare blockers step, treat it as though...", or anything crazy, just "can be blocked as though...". Muraganda Petroglyphs has nothing to do with blocking, so the exception doesn't apply.

For a bit more convincing, take Colossus of Akros, with rules text including:

As long as Colossus of Akros is monstrous, it has trample and can attack as though it didn't have defender.

There's a ruling as well:

Colossus of Akros doesn’t lose defender when it’s monstrous. It’s just able to attack.

I know it's defender and attacking, not forestwalk and blocking, but it's a pretty clear example of the same kind of "...as though..." templating. It really means what it says: you can ignore the ability in this case, but the ability is still there.

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let us continue this discussion in chat –  Jefromi Apr 21 at 2:07
    
I was almost tempted to post this as a separate answer, but I don't feel like rewriting most of what you wrote just to add it. Rule 101.1 reads, "Whenever a card’s text directly contradicts these rules, the card takes precedence. The card overrides only the rule that applies to that specific situation." Does it override the rules concerning blockers? Yes, because it says so on the card. Does it override any other rules? No. It's really not any more complicated than that. –  Rainbolt Apr 24 at 18:55
    
@Rusher Yup, similar to the "as though" rule, edited in. I do think, though, that the OP was originallyunsure exactly what situation "can be blocked" referred to - is it just the blocking decision itself, or is it the entire state of the game while you're making that decision? –  Jefromi Apr 24 at 19:28
    
@Jefromi Revisiting this question/answer, I just want to say that I originally accepted this answer because of the reference to rule 613. I'm really not sure why you removed it, because it's the only convincing argument I've seen across both answers. I don't think 101.1 applies because the question is about the interaction between two abilities in the context of the same situation: declaring blockers and determining constraints for that declaration. In my mind, that makes the entire second half of the answer irrelevant because the question is about declaring blockers. –  murgatroid99 Jul 10 at 3:48
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I understand what you are saying, but Deadfall simply makes Forestwalk ineffective. It doesn't remove any ability or alter the creature's power. It's still 1/1, and as such, Sunweb can't block it. Trying to find convincing wording is hard, but I have no doubt of this.

609.4. Some effects state that a player may do something "as though" some condition were true or a creature can do something "as though" some condition were true. This applies only to the stated effect. For purposes of that effect, treat the game exactly as if the stated condition were true. For all other purposes, treat the game normally.

The rule is trying to convey that whether Muraganda Petroglyphs pumps up Deadfall or not is outside of the scope of examining blocking restrictions.

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I wouldn't be surprised if this is how it works, but I'm hoping to get some official reference that describes exactly what is affected by "as though it didn't have [ability]". It does seem to me that that phrase could reasonably be interpreted as saying that the side effects of not having that ability should be considered. –  murgatroid99 Apr 19 at 6:39
    
@murgatroid99 This is really a case of just read what it says on the cards, I think. Deadfall only applies to blocking, not anything else. If they really meant for it to cause things to lose forestwalk, they'd say so - there are plenty of cards that say something of the form "creatures your opponents control lose hexproof". But it doesn't - it just says "can be blocked as though they didn't have forestwalk". –  Jefromi Apr 19 at 6:41
    
I know that it doesn't make the creature lose forestwalk. I never said that. What I'm asking is whether "as though it didn't have forestwalk" means "as long as blockers are being declared, resolve continuous effects for the creature as though it didn't have forestwalk" or "it can be blocked even if you have a forest". –  murgatroid99 Apr 19 at 6:52
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Not at all. Whether or not Muraganda pumps or not is outside of the scope of this "as though". Updated answer. –  ikegami Apr 19 at 17:44
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@murgatroid99 The fact that it will ultimately affect other blocking restrictions doesn't turn Muraganda's effect into a blocking decision/restriction. Its effect only does what it says on the card. For the purposes of deciding whether or not Sunweb can block, sure, you can ignore forestwalk, but that doesn't mean you get to go back and rewrite other cards' effects. –  Jefromi Apr 19 at 17:49
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