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Say I cast Oblivion Ring on Garruk, the Veil-Cursed (i.e. a transformed Garruk Relentless). What happens when my Oblivion Ring gets destroyed?

My interpretation was that Garruk returns in his Veil-Cursed form, but dies with zero loyalty counters, since there is no reference to how many counters he has upon return.

Also, am I correct assuming that Clever Impersonator is everything but clever when trying to impersonate Garruk, the Veil-Cursed (i.e. he dies due to zero loyalty counters)?

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    Ouch, now I understand this question. Garruk the Veil-Cursed has no default counter amount. – doppelgreener Oct 15 '14 at 10:56
  • @ikegami Objects not on the battlefield don't have status, so "untapped", "unflipped", "face up", and "phased-in" don't apply to them. – murgatroid99 Oct 15 '14 at 18:11
  • @murgatroid99, oh yeah. The point remains, though. Every time it changes zones, it's a new object with no memory of the object the card represented before (with simple exceptions). It stopped being transformed when it was exiled, long before it re-entered (at which point it would stop being transformed again if it was possible to be transformed in exile). – ikegami Oct 15 '14 at 18:20
  • Also, technically, "transformed" isn't a status. Transforming is an action the switches which face is face-up. And off the battlefield, the main face is always face up (711.2a). – murgatroid99 Oct 15 '14 at 18:23
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My interpretation was that Garruk returns in his Veil-Cursed form, but dies with zero loyalty counters, since there is no reference to how many counters he has upon return.

No. Transform cards always enter the battlefield "sunny side up" unless an effect says otherwise (see Loyal Cathar). When Garruk re-enters the battlefield, he will be Garruk Relentless, with 3 loyalty counters.

Also, am I correct assuming that Clever Impersonator is everything but clever when trying to impersonate Garruk, the Veil-Cursed (ie he dies due to zero loyalty counters)?

Yes. When a copy effect copies a transformed card, only the currently displayed face is copied (and the clone/token cannot transform). Clever Impersonator will be Garruk, the Veil-Cursed, however it will enter with zero loyalty counters and be moved to the graveyard the next time state-based actions are checked.

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    When Garruk is in the exile zone, he is also "sunny side up":"711.2a. In every zone other than the battlefield, and also on the battlefield with its front face up, a double-faced card has only the characteristics of the front face." – Hao Ye Oct 15 '14 at 18:32
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It will come back as the Garruk Relentless with 3 loyalty counters since it enters the battlefield as a new object. See comprehensive rules 110.6 and 110.6b

110.6. A permanent's status is its physical state. There are four status categories, each of which has two possible values: tapped/untapped, flipped/unflipped, face up/face down, and phased in/phased out. Each permanent always has one of these values for each of these categories.

110.6b Permanents enter the battlefield untapped, unflipped, face up, and phased in unless a spell or ability says otherwise.

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    This is incorrect. Double-faced cards are governed by rule 711. The rules you quoted are not relevant because double faced cards are always face up (711.6). – murgatroid99 Oct 15 '14 at 16:24
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These two situations actually have two different outcomes. In the case where the Oblivion Ring that removed Garruk leaves the battlefield, he re-enters with his front face (Garruk Relentless) face up, with 3 loyalty counters. Rule 711.6 says

A double-faced card enters the battlefield with its front face up unless a spell or ability puts it onto the battlefield "transformed," in which case it enters the battlefield with its back face up.

When it re-enters from exile, it is a new object with no memory of its previous existence (see rule 400.7). Oblivion Ring doesn't say that it should enter transformed, so it enters with its front face up.

If you copy Garruk, Veil Cursed, the copy will enter as a Garruk, Veil Cursed, and because it has no default loyalty, it will in fact enter with 0 loyalty counters and die the next time state based actions are checked. Rule 711.3 says

Except for determining whether or not a permanent can transform, a spell, ability, or rule that needs information about a double-faced permanent sees only the information given by the face that's currently up.

Example: A Clone enters the battlefield as a copy of Wildblood Pack (the back face of a double-faced card). The Clone will be a copy of Wildblood Pack. Because the Clone is itself not a double-faced card, it can't transform.

The situation described in that example is exactly the same as the one you are asking about: if you copy a transforming card, you copy the information that is currently face up.

  • @Rainbolt A planeswalker can in fact die. Rule 700.4 says "The term 'dies' means 'is put into a graveyard from the battlefield.'" – murgatroid99 Oct 15 '14 at 16:51
  • @murgtroid99 Ok, I found this: ""Dies" is shorthand for "is put into a graveyard from the battlefield" that's used exclusively to refer to creatures." in this article. Has something changed since Core Set 2012? Can Planeswalkers actually "die" now? Is that article just wrong? – Rainbolt Oct 15 '14 at 16:56
  • @Rainbolt in rule 700.4 there is no mention of creatures. I guess that has changed since M12 but I'm not sure... you'd have to compare the old and new releases of the comprehensive rules. In any case, regardless of what the rules say, people have used "dies" informally for noncreature permanents for a long time. – David Z Oct 15 '14 at 16:59
  • I accepted Brian's answer because your answers seem the same to me and his was there before. Thanks for your answer. – john_leo Oct 15 '14 at 17:13
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    That's understandable. I just thought some rules references would be helpful. – murgatroid99 Oct 15 '14 at 17:14

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