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I have a Shadowborn Demon and I was a little curious about the description of it. It specifically says "At the beginning of your upkeep, if there are fewer than six creature cards in your graveyard, sacrifice a creature."

So what I was wondering is, do I have to sacrifice my own creature? Or can I try and keep less than six creatures in my graveyard and sacrifice an opponent's creature every upkeep? Since it does specifically says "a creature" — it does not say "your creature" or "a creature you control." Most cards that have a sacrifice involved are extremely specific about that and will say "your creature" or "a creature you control" if it wants you to sacrifice your own creatures.

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    As a historical note, cards used to be worded "Sacrifice a creature you control", but with the new definition, it's now redundant.
    – Discord
    Jan 31, 2014 at 17:49
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    @ikegami The exact wording was more like "Sacrifice one of your creatures". You can find it on Sacrifice, for example. gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=sacrifice
    – Rainbolt
    Jan 31, 2014 at 19:05

1 Answer 1

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You cannot sacrifice a creature you do not control. The rule on sacrifice, 701.14a says

To sacrifice a permanent, its controller moves it from the battlefield directly to its owner’s graveyard. A player can’t sacrifice something that isn’t a permanent, or something that’s a permanent he or she doesn’t control. Sacrificing a permanent doesn’t destroy it, so regeneration or other effects that replace destruction can’t affect this action.

From a common sense point of view, getting rid of something that's not yours isn't really a sacrifice.

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