In Magic the Gathering Origins set, there is a cycle of 5 creatures, each that are double-sided and have a planeswalker on the back side. Previously when double-sided cards were used, the cards had a condition that when triggered, said to "transform [CARD NAME]". However, with this cycle of cards, instead of simply being transformed, when the condition is met, the cards are exiled and then returned to the battlefield transformed.

Is there a reason for this? There's obviously a few different situations in which case this will be different for game purposes, such as if the creature was being targeted by a spell on the stack when it's transform condition triggered. But most of the time it would play out the same. And the new version is a little wordier than the old, as well as different than what people were used to; so I'm assuming that there's either a mechanical reason or a flavorful reason for doing it this way. Are there any rules issues that would be caused by a creature simply transforming into a planeswalker?

2 Answers 2


There are two main reasons for this way of doing it, one mechanics based, and one flavor based.

The mechanical reason is that if they just transformed they would need to have additional text to put the loyalty counters on them, whereas if they exile then enter transformed they enter with the appropriate number of loyalty counters.

The flavor reason is it represents them Planeswalking when their spark ignites, then returning to help you out.

  • I know Doug, MaRo, and Matt have talked about this on tumblr, I will try to find references, but I'm not sure I'll be able to find them quickly.
    – diego
    Jul 18, 2015 at 15:11
  • 2
    Ah, I hadn't thought of the loyalty counters.
    – GendoIkari
    Jul 18, 2015 at 15:19
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    It would also remove any continuous effects and Auras, and it allows them to evade spells and abilities targeting them, giving the Planeswalker a fresh start. I don't know if this is by design or not.
    – ikegami
    Jul 19, 2015 at 1:09
  • @ikegami that would fit flavor wise too, since sparks are said to ignite under extreme stress, pulling the new walker away and out of danger.
    – Andrew
    Oct 18, 2018 at 14:37

Another answer is both mechanics and flavor based, I think. I have yet to find confirmation on it.

It stops all mind control effects from the planeswalker. It gets exiled, and then returns under its Owner's control, not its controller's. Something really annoying to find out mid match.

  • 3
    While this is an effect of the exiling, it's more of a down-the-line side effect than the actual reason they get exiled. It's not like MTG specifically tries to do things to beat mind control effects, and it's simply already the default that "exile, then return" effects put the card under the owner's control. Oct 4, 2021 at 11:53

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