The trick that involves Cloudshifting or Unsummoning (or any similar effect) a card with the Oblivion Ring effect (most commonly in current standard is Fiend Hunter) to permanently exile a creature is well-known to even mildly experienced players, and questions related to it are relatively common on forums.

Recently, I've had a player claim that, at the time that a recent GP was played in my hometown, he was told by a judge that this trick will also work on a Fiend Hunter that has been on the battlefield since the beginning of the turn with a creature that is already exiled. This supposedly results into a permanently exiled creature (the originally exiled one) and a second, "temporary" exile.

Since I have never seen anyone claim so or ask the question, I find myself having to ask because, well, let's just say that the "judge aura" is not exactly helping me making my arguments here, and I am much less experienced than the other player. My only theory is that there was some miscommunication and the judge assumed this was the classic, constantly-asked question about a Fiend Hunter cloudshifted as it enters the battlefield.

  • two cloud shifts
    – Pow-Ian
    Aug 12, 2013 at 20:52

2 Answers 2


I'm unsure what the judge was talking about, and how this "trick" explained works.

The well-known "trick" takes advantage of the fact that the Fiend Hunter has two triggered abilities. One that triggers when it enters the battlefield, and one that triggers when it leaves the battlefield.

If you trigger the second ability before the first resolves, the first will still resolve but the exiled card will no longer be linked to the Fiend Hunter because it has left the battlefield (if you used an unsummon effect) or because the original Fiend Hunter permanent no longer exists (if you used a flicker effect, when Fiend Hunter returns to play it is a new object and has no relation to the previous Fiend Hunter which triggered the first ability.)

However, if the Fiend Hunter has been on the battlefield linked to an exiled creature since the start of turn, the second ability's trigger will be placed on the stack when it leaves play. At that point nothing short of a Stifle or similar ability will stop the exiled creature from returning to play.

As Pow-lan mentions in a comment, a possible scenario the judge was referring to is that you use two Cloudshift spells (or other flicker effects), where you "reset" the Fiend Hunter with the first, thus allowing the first ability to trigger again when it returns to play, and then remove it from play with the second before the first ability resolves… but that seems pretty obvious.


I think I know what the judge was saying, but I think they were mistaken, or maybe being over zealous with interpretation.

Since the LTB and the ETB would trigger at the same time, and you get to pick the order they are placed on the stack since they all trigger before a player gets priority, this 'trick' would work with a single cloudshift if the ability did not know what creature was exiled with the original Feind Hunter.

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.

The wording on the card says:

...return the exiled card to the battlefield under it's owner's control

Thanks to ghoppe who pointed out this is defined as a linked ability by rule 607.2a

607.2a If an object has an activated or triggered ability printed on it that instructs a player to exile one or more cards and an ability printed on it that refers either to "the exiled cards" or to cards "exiled with [this object]," these abilities are linked. The second ability refers only to cards in the exile zone that were put there as a result of an instruction to exile them in the first ability.

Because it is a linked ability there is no escaping it. When the ability is triggered it has intrinsic knowledge of the card that was exiled with the ETB ability. There is no way that the Fiend Hunter could exile two creatures if it was already on the battle field without using a pair of cloudshifts or other flickering mechanisms..

  • This question is answered by CR 406.5: An object may have one ability printed on it that causes one or more cards to be exiled, and another ability that refers either to "the exiled cards" or to cards "exiled with [this object]." These abilities are linked: the second refers only to cards that have been exiled due to the first. See rule 607, "Linked Abilities."
    – ghoppe
    Aug 13, 2013 at 17:59
  • Even though you get to stack the LTB and ETB in either order, it doesn't matter, since the LTB ability will use "last known information" (CR 112.7a) of the Fiend Hunter which no longer exists. I don't see how this is different than say, an unsummon or kill spell on the Fiend Hunter… the LTB ability has to know which card was exiled when it resolves even if the Fiend Hunter is no longer on the battlefield.
    – ghoppe
    Aug 13, 2013 at 18:09

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