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If I have a Phyrexian Dreadnought on top of my graveyard, and I put a Volrath Shapeshifter onto the battlefield, will I have to sacrifice other creatures with the total power of 12 or not?

The same question goes for using the shapeshifters activated ability to discard a Phyrexian dreadnaught from my hand.

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If I have a Phyrexian Dreadnought on top of my graveyard, and I put a Volrath Shapeshifter onto the battlefield, will I have to sacrifice other creatures with the total power of 12 or not?

Yes.

It's the VS's appearance on the battlefield that will determine if the ability triggers.

603.6d Normally, objects that exist immediately after an event are checked to see if the event matched any trigger conditions. Continuous effects that exist at that time are used to determine what the trigger conditions are and what the objects involved in the event look like. [...]

Static abilities are always operational when the object with the ability is in the appropriate zone, so there is not a moment the VS is on the battlefield that it's not a PD, so its triggered ability will trigger.


The same question goes for using the shapeshifters activated ability to discard a Phyrexian dreadnaught from my hand.

No.

An object enters the battlefield when it is placed in the battlefield from another zone.

Enters the Battlefield: A nontoken permanent “enters the battlefield” when it’s moved onto the battlefield from another zone. A token “enters the battlefield” when it’s created. See rules 403.3, 603.6a, 603.6e, and 614.12.

The object in this case, the VS-become-PD, has not changed zones. All that happened is that its characteristics (name, type, text, etc) changed. As such, it has not entered the battlefield.

If changing characteristics was considered entering the battlefield, then using Giant Growth on a Phyrexian Dreadnought would trigger its ability, and I'm sure you realize it doesn't.

  • The rules for the VS + PD is just as I expected. So that means that if an opponent phases my VS out, it will return to the battlefield from another zone and therefore trigger the sacrifice of creatures? – Jacob Lund Feb 6 '14 at 20:04
  • @Jacob Lund, No. Phasing (like tapping) is a status change, not a zone change. 702.25d The phasing event doesn’t actually cause a permanent to change zones or control, even though it’s treated as though it’s not on the battlefield and not under its controller’s control while it’s phased out. Zone-change triggers don’t trigger when a permanent phases in or out. Counters remain on a permanent while it’s phased out. Effects that check a phased-in permanent’s history won’t treat the phasing event as having caused the permanent to leave or enter the battlefield or its controller’s control. – ikegami Feb 6 '14 at 20:12
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For the first question, yes, you will have to either sacrifice the Shapeshifter or Sacrifice other creatures. The Shapeshifter's static ability applies as it is entering the battlefield, so it is just like a Dreadnought is entering the battlefield.

For the second question, the answer is no. The rulings of the Volrath Shapeshifter say:

When it changes forms, any "enters the battlefield" abilities of the card it "copies" do not trigger.

The creature it becomes is not "entering the battlefield" because it is already on the battlefield.

  • Do you have any rules citation for the first part? – Colin D Feb 6 '14 at 16:36
  • Tried to find it, I can't find anything clear. Only rules for cloning effects. I found several forums of people discussing this same question, though. – GendoIkari Feb 6 '14 at 16:59

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