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Confusion in the Ranks. 3RR. Enchantment. Whenever an artifact, creature, or enchantment enters the battlefield, its controller chooses target permanent another player controls that shares a card type with it. Exchange control of those permanents.

Under the rulings for Confusion in the Ranks is this gem:

12/1/2004

Confusion in the Ranks triggers on itself entering the battlefield. If an opponent controls an enchantment, exchange Confusion in the Ranks for that enchantment.

For some reason, I simply cannot wrap my brain around this.

How does Confusion in the Ranks trigger itself when it comes into play? I would have though that by the time it was already in play, it would be too late to trigger itself.

Is there a particular ruling in the Comprehensive Rules that I'm just not seeing?

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Triggers look at the board state immediately after the spell resolves and moves from stack to battlefield. The "event" is object of given type moved from stack (or other zone) to battlefield. The state of the board is checked for triggers that see that event immediately after the event, and so there it is. I guess there isn't really a better answer than, the comp rules say so, so here it is!

603.6a Enters-the-battlefield abilities trigger when a permanent enters the battlefield. These are written, “When [this object] enters the battlefield, . . . ” or “Whenever a [type] enters the battlefield, . . .” Each time an event puts one or more permanents onto the battlefield, all permanents on the battlefield (including the newcomers) are checked for any enters-the-battlefield triggers that match the event.

603.6d Normally, objects that exist immediately after an event are checked to see if the event matched any trigger conditions.

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  • The last line was what I was looking for! "Each time an event puts one or more permanents onto the battlefield, all permanents on the battlefield (including the newcomers) are checked for any enters-the-battlefield triggers that match the event." Somehow after all this time, I've missed those points. Thanks! Oct 15 '13 at 19:14
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Well, compare Confusion in the Ranks to this type of card:

Banisher Priest

When Banisher Priest enters the battlefield, exile target creature an opponent controls until Banisher Priest leaves the battlefield.

In Magic, cards definitely "see" themselves entering the battlefield. It's a mechanic that gets used all the time.

As far as comp rules go, that's because we check for triggers after an action has occurred:

603.6a ... Each time an event puts one or more permanents onto the battlefield, all permanents on the battlefield (including the newcomers) are checked for any enters-the-battlefield triggers that match the event.

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  • I'm aware of that, I guess my confusion was this: I cast CitR; CitR resolves. It's now in play. Why would it then trigger itself once it's already in play? It's already in play, I would have thought that only future cards would trigger it. Oct 15 '13 at 19:11
  • @LittleBobbyTables It's the same template as Banisher Priest, just more broadly. CitR sees itself enter the battlefield for the same reason that Banisher Priest sees itself enter the battlefield.
    – Alex P
    Oct 15 '13 at 19:15
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    @AlexP I think the confusion is more that we've gotten so used to the "When ~ or another [permanent type] [does X]" that clarifies this situation, that this template (which would be weird if formulated that way) is capable of throwing someone for a loop.
    – Circeus
    Oct 16 '13 at 2:17
  • i think the example really helps explain this concept.
    – Patters
    Oct 16 '13 at 8:26
  • @Circeus I've seen such clarification-by-redundancy wordings in several games, and every time these eventually caused problems. Sooner or later you run into a situation where you can't insert the usual redundancy, and then the inconsistency causes confusion.
    – tsuma534
    Apr 1 '16 at 12:15

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