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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 10 down vote accepted

The Sunweb can't block the Jukai Messenger.

There's a bit of confusion here about the scope of "as though". It definitely only applies to the stated situation ("...can be blocked..."), but

613.10. Some continuous effects affect game rules rather than objects. For example, effects may modify a player’s maximum hand size, or say that a creature must attack this turn if able. These effects are applied after all other continuous effects have been applied. Continuous effects that affect the costs of spells or abilities are applied according to the order specified in rule 601.2e. All other such effects are applied in timestamp order. See also the rules for timestamp order and dependency (rules 613.6 and 613.7).

Muraganda Petroglyph's effect is a power/toughness changing ability, so it's applied first (in layer 7). The Messenger has an ability, so it stays a 1/1.

Deadfall's effect modifies game rules (changing the way blocking works), so it is applied last. (Ability-removing effects do get applied earlier on, but this is not an ability-removing effect - the creature never loses forestwalk.)

So when deciding whether Sunweb can block, we have a 1/1 Messenger with forestwalk (which is non-functional, thanks to Deadfall). Sunweb therefore can't block it, since its power is 2 or less.


There was also some question about the scope of "as though" in this case. One possibility is that it applies only to the blocking legality decision itself, and thus it doesn't interact with the other effects. Another is that it applies to the whole game state at the time that blocking legality is decided, in which case if it were to apply before the other effects, it would change the outcome. It's difficult to tell for sure which of these is correct; the rules don't go so far as defining "can be blocked as though". But since according to 613.10, it's applied last, we don't have to worry about any of that.

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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
    
I have downvoted this answer because even though the conclusion is correct, the explanation is incomplete at best. The primary reasoning is that Deadfall's ability is only relevant to determining whether blocks are legal, which completely ignores the fact that the question specifically asks about the result of interactions when determining whether blocks are legal. And second, the single referenced rule can be interpreted to support either conclusion, depending on how you interpret the scope of "stated effect". Only rule 613.10 unambiguously answers this question. –  murgatroid99 Aug 14 at 6:56

Deadfall simply makes Forestwalk ineffective, so Sunweb can't block it.


Forestwalk is an evasion ability.

702.14b Landwalk is an evasion ability.

Deadfall makes it so you Forestwalkers can no longer evade. That's all Deadfall does. As CR 609.4 points out, Deadfall only applies very specifically to "determining if a creature can block".

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.

Muraganda Petroglyphs attempts to determinine if a creature has abilities. As such, The effect from Deadfall's ability is irrelevant.

It's still 1/1, and as such, Sunweb can't block it.

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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
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OK, I see that. And that rule seem to say what I'm saying: that when deciding whether blocks are legal, treat the game exactly as if the creature didn't have forestwalk, which includes considering that it would be pumped by Muraganda Petroglyphs. –  murgatroid99 Apr 19 at 17:40
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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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