4

Extract is a Sorcery which reads:

Search target player's library for a card and exile it. Then that player shuffles his or her library.

Which option below, if either, is equivalent to the actual card text above?

  1. Name a card, and then look through opponent's library for it. Exile a copy if any are found in the library. Opponent shuffles the library afterwards.

  2. You may look through opponent's library; exile any card of your choice. Opponent shuffles library afterwards.

In short, do I need to know what I am looking for?

5

You don't need to name a card. If you need to name a card that card would say it, like with Cranial extraction for example.

  • Definitely unclear though isn't it? Any search "for" something without first determining what you're looking for is really just pilfering! – ProductionValues Nov 1 '14 at 11:30
  • 1
    @ProductionValues: Different definitions of for. "To search for" is just Magic's way of saying "look at all cards in that zone and select one". – Guvante Nov 2 '14 at 22:12
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    @ProductionValues seems pretty clear to me: you are looking for a card. Anything that counts as "a card" is fair game to be found by the search. If an ability said "search your library for a land card" then you could find anything that is a land card. If it said "search your library for a green creature card with converted mana cost less than 6" then you could find anything that is a green creature card with CMC less than 6. Would you argue that these are all unclear because you don't know which piece of cardboard you are allowed to get? – David Z Nov 4 '14 at 7:37
  • @DavidZ, yours are in deed find examples of sensible usage of the word "search". After all, the library is not known to be all lands, or known to consist of only creatures with converted mana cost less than 6. To determine if there are any, we must search. I am really curious about the nuance at play here. How would "Search your hand for a card and discard it." sound as an example? There is "Search your graveyard for a creature and put it into play." but not "Search your graveyard for a card and exile it.". It would simply read "Exile a card from your graveyard." – ProductionValues Nov 5 '14 at 7:14
3

The rules for searching clarify exactly what you're supposed to do. Specifically:

701.15a To search for a card in a zone, look at all cards in that zone (even if it’s a hidden zone) and find a card that matches the given description.

This means that option 2 is exactly what you are supposed to do.

2

2 is very close.

You must look through opponent's library, then you must choose a card to exile (if possible) and exile it. The opponent must shuffle his library afterwards.

There's nothing odd about not being specific about what you are searching for. For example, Say you are an entrepreneur starting a business. You can say you are searching for an investor without naming an investor, and it doesn't mean you'll take the first offer that comes along.


In detail

Searching is defined as follows:

701.15a To search for a card in a zone, look at all cards in that zone (even if it’s a hidden zone) and find a card that matches the given description.

But in this case, the ability doesn't specify a quality to match, so you are simply searching for a number of cards.

701.15d If a player is searching a hidden zone simply for a quantity of cards, such as “a card” or “three cards,” that player must find that many cards (or as many as possible, if the zone doesn’t contain enough cards).

As you can see, there's nothing optional about it, and at no point do you need to name a card.

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