My opponent has to sacrifice a creature. He sacrifices a Blightsteel Colossus. I have Grave Betrayal on the battlefield. Will my opponent get to shuffle the colossus into his deck again, or will it return to the battlefield under my control?

  • This question is interesting if you consider it with emrakul(that actually enters the graveyard), or undying/persist creatures. In general, you win in these cases if you kill the creature on your opponents turn because of APNAP
    – Cruncher
    Commented May 27, 2014 at 20:35
  • 1
    @Cruncher: Well, not in this particular case because Grave Betrayal doesn't happen until the end step. But you are right if the reanimation were immediate. Commented May 28, 2014 at 1:32
  • @ChadMiller Oops, I didn't fully read the card
    – Cruncher
    Commented May 28, 2014 at 12:43
  • So I assume Emrakul would come under the opponents control whereas Blightsteel Colossus would not?
    – neubert
    Commented Jul 4, 2014 at 3:46

3 Answers 3


Consider this portion of the text on Blightsteel Colossus.

If Blightsteel Colossus would be put into a graveyard from anywhere, reveal Blightsteel Colossus and shuffle it into its owner's library instead.

This text creates a replacement effect. A replacement effect "watches" for an event to happen. For example, regeneration is a replacement effect that watches for the creature to be destroyed.

The rules for replacement effects neatly state that the event being replaced never happens.

614.6. If an event is replaced, it never happens.

So, when Blightsteel Colossus starts to head for the graveyard, instead, he is revealed and shuffled into his owner's library. The event that got replaced never happens.

To die in Magic has a specific meaning:

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

Blightsteel Colossus never went to the graveyard, and so Blightsteel Colossus never died. Therefore, Grave Betrayal never triggers.

  • 3
    Maybe it's obvious, but the other part of the answer here is that "dies" means specifically "is put into a graveyard from the battlefield", so a creature that sure seems like it's dying but for whatever reason doesn't go to the graveyard doesn't actually "die".
    – Cascabel
    Commented May 27, 2014 at 20:25

It will be shuffled into his deck.

To die is to be moved from the battlefield to the graveyard[CR 700.4]. Blightsteel Colossus never dies because he moves to its owner's library instead of moving to the graveyard when he is sacrificed[CR 614.6]. As such, Grave Betrayal's ability never triggers.

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

614.6. If an event is replaced, it never happens. [...]

  • 3
    It's ironic that in Magic, dying is the act of going to the graveyard, where as in real life dying is the cause of going to the graveyard.
    – corsiKa
    Commented May 27, 2014 at 20:29
  • 1
    @corsiKa which is likely the cause of the intuitive disconnect in these kinds of cases.
    – Cruncher
    Commented May 27, 2014 at 20:38
  • Let us continue this discussion in chat.
    – Cascabel
    Commented May 27, 2014 at 21:26

It never goes to the graveyard and so it does not get affected by the delayed triggered event of Grave Betrayal.

They get to shuffle it back into their deck.

  • 1
    Even if Grave Betrayal could set up its delayed trigger, it wouldn't be able to find the Colossus after it changes zones, so the trigger would resolve and do nothing. The same thing (ie: nothing much) would happen if the opponent reanimated the creature before the end step.
    – Brian S
    Commented May 27, 2014 at 20:33

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