If an ability says "target creature," does the creature have to be on the battlefield? I think I found a loophole that depends on the answer.

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    If you don't mind me asking, what was the possible loophole you found? – Michael Snook Nov 11 '14 at 3:55
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    Your question could be simplified to "What is a creature?" Once that has been established, it's clear what "target creature" means. – Rainbolt Nov 11 '14 at 21:08

Yes, it does. The rules say:

109.2. If a spell or ability uses a description of an object that includes a card type or subtype, but doesn’t include the word “card,” “spell,” “source,” or “scheme,” it means a permanent of that card type or subtype on the battlefield.

i.e., "creature" can only mean a creature permanent on the battlefield.

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    I'd just like to add that it is a default e.g. card may say "target creature card in your graveyard" in which case, it has to target a creature in the grave. Rule 109.2 does say this but I don't think it has been made clear – Progenitor Mimic Nov 11 '14 at 8:56
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    @LukeDrew: in that case, it says creature card. – RemcoGerlich Nov 11 '14 at 9:40
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    I liked the old "Enchant dead creature" of animate dead. The new wording is so convoluted! – Nick Nov 11 '14 at 14:00
  • @Luke Drew, Since the word "card" is included, 109.2 doesn't apply. "Creature" acts as an adjective modifying "card" in that sentence. "target creature card" means "target card (that is a creature)", not "target creature (that is a card)". – ikegami Nov 13 '14 at 17:21
  • Maybe I wasn't too clear, I was trying to say that "target creature" is also appears in "target creature card in your graveyard" which is why I had "target creature" in bold. I think in the end, I was trying to point out maybe you should make a point that if it is followed by one of the words in 109.2, then you can't target something on the battlefield. If you think that rule 109.2 makes that clear without explaining it, then feel free to ignore me. I'm sorry if this still makes no sense since I'm not the best at explaining things :( – Progenitor Mimic Nov 14 '14 at 9:08

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