What I love about M:tG is the fact that even after 10+ years of playing you always come up against new situations. This one stumped me earlier tonight though.

I've gone up against Leyline of the Void a few times over the years, but earlier I had mind controlled the Leyline's owners creature, then sacrificed it for an ability, pretty standard fare.

He immediately swiped back the card putting it into his graveyard and stated that I don't actually get any benefit for the sacrifice and definitely don't get to exile his creature from the Leyline's ability?

I said he was wrong based on my understanding of graveyard triggers. I thought that, even though I don't own the permanent, it still triggers graveyard entry, even if it essentially can't exist in my graveyard and goes to the owners. For example sacrificing a token still counts as a creature dying and entering a graveyard, even though they cease to exist after triggering entering the graveyard. So I thought his creature would exile even though he was the owner, I was the controller and anything that goes to my graveyard exiles?

It was late and we agreed that he was right to move game on, but ironically the 2 judges in our group had gone by then and I think he just wanted to keep the card in his graveyard so he could recur it. So was I wrong to challenge him? Just having and playing a card doesn't mean you know how it plays.

  • Could you be more specific about which "sac benefit" you are referring?
    – ikegami
    Commented Feb 21, 2014 at 4:54
  • @ikegami I assume he means that he used an ability that said "Sacrifice a creature: <do something>" and is talking about whether he gets the "do something."
    – Cascabel
    Commented Feb 21, 2014 at 5:21
  • @Jefromi, It could mean that, but it's hard to believe his opponent said he wouldn't get the benefits of that. I think he means something else. See my answer for a couple of possibilities. (It also covers that one.)
    – ikegami
    Commented Feb 21, 2014 at 5:24
  • Thanks guys, both answers were well done, I chose answer based on the extra info about multiple outcomes and rules text. The sac ability was just a sac creature : draw card, but his argument was I didn't get card because creature didn't reach my grave sorta thing.
    – BadMike01
    Commented Feb 21, 2014 at 10:12
  • Look at it this way: Either you were able to sacrifice it (and therefore activate the ability), or you weren't and you didn't do anything at all to the creature and it's still on the battlefield.
    – ikegami
    Commented Feb 21, 2014 at 12:34

2 Answers 2


He's right. It goes directly to his graveyard.

Just to be clear, he controls Leyline of the Void, which has the following ability:

If a card would be put into an opponent's graveyard from anywhere, exile it instead.

You control one of his creature, which you somehow sacrifice.

701.14a To sacrifice a permanent, its controller moves it from the battlefield directly to its owner’s graveyard. [...]

108.3. The owner of a card in the game is the player who started the game with it in his or her deck. [...]

As part of sacrificing the creature, you place it in his graveyard. The Leyline's replacement effect does not apply since the creature enters his graveyard (being the creature's owner), not the graveyard of one of his opponents.

As for whether you benefit from the sacrifice, the answer isn't clear, since it's not clear what you mean by that.

  • If sacrifice is part of the cost of activating an ability: The ability resolves as normal, no matter where the creature ends up. As the person who activated the ability, you control it.

  • If the creature has an ability that triggers on leaving the battlefield, it would trigger with you as the controller of the ability. (LTB abilities look at the state of the game before the event happen.)

  • If another one of your permanents has an ability that triggers whenever you sacrifice a creature, it triggers no matter where the creature ends up. The sacrifice action still take places even if the effect of sacrifice is modified by a replacement effect.

  • If another one of your permanents has an ability that triggers whenever a creature enters your graveyard, it will not trigger since the creature moved from the battlefield to his graveyard.

  • If the creature has an ability that triggers when it enters a graveyard, it will trigger with your opponent as the controller since it went to his graveyard.


Short answer: your friend is right about putting it in his graveyard, but wrong about you getting no benefit from the sac.

Leyline of the Void's text:

If a card would be put into an opponent's graveyard from anywhere, exile it instead.

So if a card tries to go into anyone's graveyard except his, it would be exiled instead. When the creature dies, it attempts to go to its owner's graveyard. It never even tries to go to your graveyard, so he's right that he gets to keep it.

That said, he's wrong about you not getting a benefit from the sac for two reasons:

  • If you played an ability with "sacrifice a creature" as a cost, it doesn't matter if the creature is prevented from entering a graveyard somehow; you still paid the cost. This also applies to any effect that triggers upon a sacrifice (although cards that specifically care about creatures dying still care if the creature makes it to the gravyeard)

  • Going to someone else's graveyard from the battlefield still counts as dying.

If you controlled the Leyline instead of him (so that the creature would be exiled), the second reason would not apply, but the first still would.

Tokens work a bit differently. The reason tokens can get death triggers even though they don't stay in a graveyard is because they are removed from the game in an entirely different way. Tokens have the following property:

A token in any zone except the battlefield ceases to exist.

So tokens actually do go to the graveyard, and then vanish next time state-based effects are checked. It's not a replacement effect, so it doesn't keep them from actually dying.

(NOTE: I originally misread it to mean the asker controlled Leyline so my original answer was wrong)


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