We had this situation come up in a game last night, and we think we stumbled upon the right answer, but we're not sure.

So, Player A's Commander (Sliver Overlord) was stolen by Player B using a Zealous Conscripts. Player B also had a Conjurer's Closest in play. At the end of the turn Player B decided to use the Conjurer's Closet on the Sliver Overlord, with the idea that after it was 'blinked', it would permanently be under her control.

But then we remembered that Player A can choose to have their Commander return to the Command Zone when it would be exiled or go to the graveyard, so that trick wouldn't work. (Player B ended up using it anyway, as Player A couldn't recast his general at that point.)

Did we play this out correctly?

2 Answers 2


You got it wrong, but this interaction is tricky. Sliver Overlord can be put in the command zone, but the ability of Conjurer's Closet will return it to the battlefield anyway.

We follow the instructions in the triggered ability:

1) "exile target creature you control": instead of putting it in the exile zone, we put it in the command zone. We don't first exile it, then put it in the command zone. The commander is directly put in the command zone.

2) "return that card to the battlefield under your control": notice how this doesn't say "the exiled card". It says "that card". So we return the card from the command zone to the battlefield under player B control (because "your control" refers to player b, as he is the one who controls the triggered ability).

The rule that allows this to happen is the same one that allows to return the card from exile in the first place:

400.7g A resolving spell or activated ability can perform actions on an object that moved from one zone to another while that spell was being cast or that ability was being activated, if that object moved to a public zone.

Here is a link to a similar ruling in Wizard's forum, about a commander and Cloudshift. Post 12 in that thread is from an official Net Rep, therefore that ruling is official.

  • Lol. If you look at my edits, you'd see that I was vacillating between yes and no. Looks like I stuck with the wrong one in the end.
    – SocioMatt
    Mar 25, 2013 at 12:09
  • @Pablo Just to clarify, the Sliver Overlord will return to the battlefield under the control of Player B, correct?
    – Discord
    Mar 25, 2013 at 12:45
  • @Discord yes, player B controls the triggered ability of Conjurer's Closet, therefore he is the player who "your control" refers to. I'll edit my answer to add this.
    – Pablo
    Mar 25, 2013 at 13:04


Per ire_and_curses suggestion in meta, I've opted to leave this open to show the potential error in reading the rules. Ultimately, the reason the below answer is incorrect is because the Command Zone is also public. As Pablo points out in the accepted answer, the act of moving the Commander to the Command Zone instead of the Exile Zone does not cause Conjurer's Closet to lose track of "the card" because it is still moving to a public zone.

Yes, you did play this correctly. The Magic Comprehensive Rules explain what happens when a Commander is exiled:

903.12. If a commander would be put into the exile zone from anywhere, its owner may put it into the command zone instead.

903.13. If a card is put into the exile zone face down from anywhere, and a player is allowed to look at that card in exile, the player must immediately do so. If it’s a commander owned by another player, the player that looked at it turns it face up and puts it into the command zone.

The Exile Zone is shared by all players:

400.1. A zone is a place where objects can be during a game. There are normally seven zones: library, hand, battlefield, graveyard, stack, exile, and command. Some older cards also use the ante zone. Each player has his or her own library, hand, and graveyard. The other zones are shared by all players.

Since the exile zone is public, the owner of the commander (Player A) can choose to put it into his Command Zone instead of the Exile Zone.

  • 1
    This is not correct, see my answer for the long explanation.
    – Pablo
    Mar 23, 2013 at 1:56
  • @SocioMatt, sorry to take the answer from you, but I felt like I should switch it to the correct one.
    – Discord
    Mar 25, 2013 at 12:42
  • 2
    @Discord That's the whole point of the site. Thanks for switching it to where it's supposed to be.
    – SocioMatt
    Mar 25, 2013 at 12:47

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