So I know that if I have Athreos, God of Passage on the field and a creature spell is countered, it still counts as dying and Athreos's effect still kicks in. I was told it's because the creature (even though it never officially hit the battlefield) will still go into my graveyard. Would this also be true for discarded creatures, since they will go into the graveyard and not exile? I am using Athreos with Pack Rat and I was wondering if it would give me the ability to clone Pack Rat for basically free so long as he is on the field.

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    I think you were asking about triggering Athreos off of the cards you discard to Pack Rat, but just in case: remember that while the Pack Rat copy tokens do "die", they can't be returned to your hand, so Athreos won't do much good for them either.
    – Cascabel
    Commented May 22, 2014 at 1:02
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    To clarify on what @Jefromi has said, a token dying will go to the yard and will still trigger Athreos' ability. Your opponent should (pretty much) never choose to pay the life, as there is nothing to return to your hand. Commented May 22, 2014 at 16:15

1 Answer 1


What you were told about Athreos triggering for countered creature spells is incorrect.

The official definition of "dies" in the comprehensive rules is:

700.4. The term dies means "is put into a graveyard from the battlefield."

Since a countered creature spell is never a creature on the battlefield, it didn't "die".

Similarly, a discarded creature card would not trigger Athreos either.

In fact, note the terminology here: "creatures" only exist on the battlefield; they are "creature spells" when on the stack, and merely "creature cards" or "creature tokens" elsewhere.

  • ""creature cards" only exist in the non-battlefield". Are you sure about this? I thought that a card is still considered a card while on the stack and the battlefield.
    – GendoIkari
    Commented May 22, 2014 at 3:32
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    108.2a. In the text of spells or abilities, the term "card" is used only to refer to a card that's not on the battlefield or on the stack, such as a creature card in a player's hand. For more information, see section 4, "Zones."
    – Hao Ye
    Commented May 22, 2014 at 5:11
  • Thanks, I guess I was mistaken. I thought "card" was sometimes used to differentiate a token on the battlefield from a non-token, but I guess they just use "non-token" for that.
    – GendoIkari
    Commented May 22, 2014 at 5:14
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    I think that used to be the case for old cards like Apocalypse Chime and Chaos Orb, but they've since been errata'd.
    – Hao Ye
    Commented May 22, 2014 at 6:14
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    They are still cards. "X is only used to refer to Y by Z" does not mean "Y isn't an X". 108.2a is a templating guideline for abilities. e.g. It says you won't say "Creature cards get +1/+1." Despite that, both the rules and abilities refer to creatures on the battlefield as cards. e.g. 110.1 includes the passage "A permanent is a card or token on the battlefield." They are still cards.
    – ikegami
    Commented May 22, 2014 at 12:02

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