The wording on Bear Hug states:

Each other player destroys his or her minion with the least power (owner chooses in case of ties).

The wording on Incorporeal states:

Play on one of your minions. Ongoing: This minion is not affected by other players' cards.

Can Bear Hug force a player to destroy a minion that has Incorporeal played on it if it is the lowest power minion?

I ask because my game group came up with two separate interpretations of the rule. The first interpretation was that Bear Hug doesn't affect the minion because Bear Hug is a card and has no effect against the Incorporeal minion due to the wording of "other players' cards." The other interpretation is that Bear Hug does force the player to destroy the Incorporeal minion since Bear Hug is played on the player and not the minion directly.

Is there something in the rules that can clarify this or at least a general consensus from some official forums?

2 Answers 2


Bear Hug cannot destroy an Incorporeal Minion.

First to correct some termiology. Bear Hug is not played "on a player," it is simply played. Cards that are played on something will use the word Attach, and to my knowledge no cards Attach to players. Secondly, the Bear Hug card is destroying the Minion, the instructions on the card informing you which Minions need to be destroyed (Each other player's, with the least Power). Players do not affect cards, because nothing in the rules says they do. Cards do affect other cards if they move, return, destroy, or attach to another card.

The rules state the following:

Affect: A card is affected if it is moved, returned, destroyed, or has an action attached. (pg 8)

If cards conflict, the one that says you can't do something beats the one that says you can. (pg 9)

Incorporeal prevents the attached Minion from being affected, so Bear Hug cannot affect (destroy) the Incorporeal Minion if it is played by an opponent.

This hasn't showed up in an official FAQ, but one of the designers, Mark Wootton, noted that Incorporeal protects a Minion from Poison.

  • The question isn't whether or not the Minion is affected -- there's no doubt that it is -- the question is by what. Bear Hug says "player destroys" rather than just "destroy", so it is the player or Bear Hug that's affecting the Minion? Poison isn't relevant because it doesn't use the "player verbs" wording.
    – ikegami
    Feb 5, 2014 at 14:18
  • @ikegami, the rules state that you follow the instructions on the cards. Players don't affect anything, only cards do.
    – user1873
    Feb 5, 2014 at 14:22
  • @ikegami, what makes you think the "player verbs" have any bearing on the matter? I see nothing in the rules that says players do anything. The rules do say to, "follow the instructions on the card," and the instructions on Bear Hug affect other player's creatures. Where is your evidence that players affect anything?
    – user1873
    Feb 5, 2014 at 15:35
  • Without the card, there is no destroy effect so I think this clears it all up. Thanks. Feb 5, 2014 at 15:51
  • I will say it again, "Nothing in the Smash-Up rules tells you that players can affect cards. The rules specifically call out cards being affected by things that destroy, move, attach, etc.. The only things that have that "verbage" are Action cards and Minion cards. The Bear Hug card is telling you which cards to destroy, but it is doing the destroying. Getting Hung-up on how Mtg cares about sources is besides the point.
    – user1873
    Feb 6, 2014 at 4:59

To put it more succinctly, the question is:

Does "causing a player to destroy a card" count as "affecting a card"?

The rules define affecting as follows:

Affect: A card is affected if it is moved, returned, destroyed, or has an action attached. (pg 8)

By a strict reading of the rules, no, that's one one of the actions listed within the definition of "affect". This is what you call "the first interpretation". But I don't think that's the correct answer.

Strict reading of rules is Magic: The Gathering's domain. In Magic, whether a card says "deal X damage to Y" or "enchanted creature deals X damage to Y" matters to stuff that check the source of damage such as Protection[1].

Smash Up isn't nearly so complex. It doesn't have the breadth of mechanics Magic has. You have take a much looser approach to interpreting the rules. I don't believe there's any intention to have a distinction between a card performing action and a card having a player perform an action. Things are meant to be simple, and the simple interpretation is:

There would be no destruction without Bear Hug, so Bear Hug is attempting to affect the Incorporeal Minion.

In my opinion, the Incorporeal Minion is protected. It's hard to hug something incorporeal. While I understand those who think otherwise, I don't think the wording of Smash Up cards should be taken so literally.

  1. That said, nothing nothing in Magic checks the source of Destruction since Protection was greatly limited eons ago.
  • "By a strict meaning of the rules, no, Bear Hug does not affect the card," you have a strange interpretation of affect. If a card is moved, certainly something is moving it. If a card is returned, something is causing it to be returned. If a card has a action attached, an action is attaching to to the card. How is the Bear Hug not, destroying the Minion?
    – user1873
    Feb 9, 2014 at 1:19
  • @user1873, "Destroy" is not found on Bear Hug. Yeah, I know you disagree with the interpretation -- so do I -- but pretending it doesn't exist is infantile. Please stop.
    – ikegami
    Feb 10, 2014 at 0:28
  • @user1873, "Player destroying" is very different than "Bear Hug destroying" when trying to accertain whether Bear Hug is affecting the Minion. But does it make a difference? The OP thinks it might, but I don't think it makes a difference in Smash-Up. This is already covered by the answer.
    – ikegami
    Feb 10, 2014 at 0:41

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