I have a Hibernation Sliver in play which states that all slivers have "Pay 2 life: Return this permanent to its owner's hand."

I have slivers in my graveyard. Can I pay 2 life and return a sliver card to my hand from my graveyard and if I can't, why not?

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    I edited in the actual card text, which you omitted a rather meaningful word ("permanent") from. – Cascabel Dec 12 '13 at 1:28
  • What if some one mind controlled one of my slivers would I be able to get that one back? – James Dec 13 '13 at 15:55
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    You could return it in response before they have control, but once they do, no, you couldn't get it back, because the controller of the sliver is the one who can activate its abilities - your opponent would have to pay the life to give it back, pretty unlikely. – Cascabel Dec 13 '13 at 16:09

No, for 2 reasons. First, because unless they say otherwise, abilities of permanents only function while they are on the battlefield.

112.6. Abilities of an instant or sorcery spell usually function only while that object is on the stack. Abilities of all other objects usually function only while that object is on the battlefield. The exceptions are as follows:

None of the exceptions relate to the ability in question.

Also, Slivers that are in your graveyard will not even get that ability in the first place. When a card says "All Slivers", it refers to all Sliver permanents, and a permanent is a card or token on the battlefield.

609.2. Effects apply only to permanents unless the instruction’s text states otherwise or they clearly can apply only to objects in one or more other zones.

Example: An effect that changes all lands into creatures won’t alter land cards in players’ graveyards. But an effect that says spells cost more to cast will apply only to spells on the stack, since a spell is always on the stack while a player is casting it.


110.1. A permanent is a card or token on the battlefield.

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    The OP also paraphrased the card text; the actual card says "return this permanent", so even if the slivers in the graveyard got the ability, and could use it, it still wouldn't make sense. – Cascabel Dec 12 '13 at 1:29
  • So its only a permanent if its on the battlefield? – James Dec 13 '13 at 15:52
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    @James Yes, that's exactly what permanent means: an object on the battlefield (presumably artifact, enchantment, creature, land, or planeswalker). Elsewhere it's just a card - a creature card in your graveyard, a land card in your hand, and so on. – Cascabel Dec 13 '13 at 16:12
  • @James, I added one more rule where it defines "permanent." – GendoIkari Dec 13 '13 at 16:15
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    @GendoIkari, An artifact animated by March of the Machines and targeted by Neurok Transmuter's second ability will become a blue permanent with no type. – Brian S Dec 13 '13 at 19:47

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