An opponent's Banisher Priest exiled my Goblin Shortcutter.

As I was reading some rules, I came across the fact that in some situations exiled cards face upwards and sometimes downwards.

What factor determines whether the card gets exiled face up or face down? The text on the card?

1 Answer 1


If the ability says to exile the card face down, you exile it face down. Otherwise, you exile it face up. Banisher Priest doesn't say to exile the creature face down, so you exile it face up. Rule 406.3 says

Exiled cards are, by default, kept face up and may be examined by any player at any time. Cards "exiled face down" can't be examined by any player except when instructions allow it. However, once a player is allowed to look at a card exiled face down, that player may continue to look at that card as long as it remains exiled, even if the instruction allowing the player to do so no longer applies. A card exiled face down has no characteristics, but the spell or ability that exiled it may allow it to be played from exile. Unless that card is being cast face down (see rule 707.4), the card is turned face up just before the player announces that he or she is playing the card (see rule 601.2).

One thing to keep in mind is that the point of exiling a card face down is to keep players from knowing what it is. It wouldn't make sense to exile a card face down if everyone already knows what it is. The only abilities that say to exile face down are abilities that exile from hidden zones: the hand and the library.

  • Well, I suppose (theoretically) exiling a card face-down from a public zone could affect interactions with Pull from Eternity or Riftsweeper. Also, if no player had permission to look at the face-down exiled card, exiling a Commander face-down from a public zone with such an effect wouldn't give the Commander's owner permission to return it to the Command zone. As you say, there are no such cards currently in existence, though.
    – Brian S
    Nov 19, 2014 at 16:00
  • They wouldn't print cards that exile from public zones face down just because of the interaction with a couple of other cards. It would make sense in too few cases and would confuse people too much. Also, you're wrong about the commander thing. Rule 903.13 says that in that case, the Commander returns to the command zone (I can't imagine a card that exiles face down from a public zone without allowing anyone to look at it).
    – murgatroid99
    Nov 19, 2014 at 16:05
  • If a commander is exiled face-down and nobody may look at the face-down card, you can't send the commander back to the command zone. Even if you know the face-down card is the commander (eg, Memory Lapse the commander with Future Sight in play, then tap Pyxis of Pandemonium). If they printed a card that exiled face-down from a public zone and didn't give permission to look at the face-down card, you couldn't replace the exile with sending to the command zone. If anybody has permission to look at the face-down card, the owner gets the opportunity to replace the event.
    – Brian S
    Nov 19, 2014 at 16:21
  • See my parenthetical for a response to that point.
    – murgatroid99
    Nov 19, 2014 at 16:22
  • It's all theoretical, anyway, and getting a bit off-topic. :)
    – Brian S
    Nov 19, 2014 at 16:23

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