If I have a Phantasmal Image that enters the battlefield copying the abilities of another creature, when does that creature stop having the abilities of the copy?

When it enters the graveyard, do "when this creature enters the graveyard" effects occur? If I copy a creature with scavenge, can I scavenge my Phantasmal Image after it has died?

2 Answers 2


It will keep its abilities as long as it doesn't leave the battlefield. When it leaves the battlefiel, it is considered a new object:

400.7. An object that moves from one zone to another becomes a new object with no memory of, or relation to, its previous existence. There are seven exceptions to this rule:

400.7a Effects from spells, activated abilities, and triggered abilities that change the characteristics of a permanent spell on the stack continue to apply to the permanent that spell becomes.

400.7b Prevention effects that apply to damage from a permanent spell on the stack continue to apply to damage from the permanent that spell becomes.

400.7c If an ability of a permanent requires information about choices made as that permanent was cast as a spell, including what mana was spent to cast that spell, it uses information about the spell that became that permanent as it resolved.

400.7d Abilities that trigger when an object moves from one zone to another (for example, “When Rancor is put into a graveyard from the battlefield”) can find the new object that it became in the zone it moved to when the ability triggered, if that zone is a public zone.

400.7e Abilities of Auras that trigger when the enchanted permanent leaves the battlefield can find the new object that Aura became in its owner’s graveyard if it was put into that graveyard at the same time the enchanted permanent left the battlefield. It can also find the new object that Aura became in its owner’s graveyard as a result of being put there as a state-based action for not being attached to a permanent. (See rule 704.5n.)

400.7f If an effect grants a nonland card an ability that allows it to be cast, that ability will continue to apply to the new object that card became after it moved to the stack as a result of being cast this way.

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.

Therefore, in the graveyard, it won't be a copy anymore, so you can't scavenge it.

Leaves-the-battlefield triggered abilities will work, because the game looks for the characteristics of the object on the battlefield. For example, persist will work.

603.6c Leaves-the-battlefield abilities trigger when a permanent moves from the battlefield to another zone, or when a phased-in permanent leaves the game because its owner leaves the game. These are written as, but aren’t limited to, “When [this object] leaves the battlefield, . . .” or “Whenever [something] is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, . . . .” An ability that attempts to do something to the card that left the battlefield checks for it only in the first zone that it went to. An ability that triggers when a card is put into a certain zone “from anywhere” is never treated as a leaves-the-battlefield ability, even if an object is put into that zone from the battlefield.

603.6d Normally, objects that exist immediately after an event are checked to see if the event matched any trigger conditions. Continuous effects that exist at that time are used to determine what the trigger conditions are and what the objects involved in the event look like. However, some triggered abilities must be treated specially. Leaves-the-battlefield abilities, abilities that trigger when a permanent phases out, abilities that trigger when an object that all players can see is put into a hand or library, abilities that trigger specifically when an object becomes unattached, abilities that trigger when a player loses control of an object, and abilities that trigger when a player planeswalks away from a plane will trigger based on their existence, and the appearance of objects, prior to the event rather than afterward. The game has to “look back in time” to determine if these abilities trigger.

However, remember that abilities like the one in Emrakul, the Aeons Torn are not Leaves-the-battlefield abilities, because they tigger when the permanent is put on the graveyard from anywhere, not only from the battlefield. Therefore, that ability won't work if you copy Emrakul.

  • So if I copy Doomed Traveler (who reads "When X dies...") does it invoke rule 400.7d or 603.6c? When is something a "Leaves-the-battlefield"? Commented Jul 26, 2013 at 20:22
  • @bengoesboom "Dies" is shorthand for "is put into a graveyard from the battlefield." So 603.6c (well, 400.7d also applies; they're not contradictory).
    – Alex P
    Commented Jul 26, 2013 at 23:02

No the copy effect is no longer active once it has died.

When the phantasmal image is put into the graveyard the effect it created when it entered the battlefield is over.

As for the 'when this creature enters the graveyard effects', I am not aware of that verbiage but there are a number of triggered abilities that happen when a creature goes to the graveyard or dies, is destroyed etc. Those effects would trigger because as the phatasmal Image is dieing and destined to go to the graveyard, it is still a copy of the creature.

The effect basically ends as soon as the phantasmal Image is no longer a permanent.

The pertinent comp rule:

611.3b The effect applies at all times that the permanent generating it is on the battlefield or the object generating it is in the appropriate zone.

So in this case that means as long as the Phantasmal Image is on the battelfield, then it's copy effect is continuos and as soon as it is not, it ends.

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