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I have a Champion of Stray Souls. It says, in short, that I can trade any number of creatures (sacrifice) for any other creatures in my graveyard. It does not say creatures in my hand or on the battlefield, so my question is: Can I sacrifice creatures in my deck or in my hand (or just my hand but not my deck, etc.) to trade in for creatures in the graveyard, or just creatures on the battlefield?

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You can only sacrifice creatures that are on the battlefield and you control.

From the comprehensive rules:

701.14. Sacrifice

701.14a To sacrifice a permanent, its controller moves it from the battlefield directly to its owner’s graveyard. A player can’t sacrifice something that isn’t a permanent, or something that’s a permanent he or she doesn’t control. Sacrificing a permanent doesn’t destroy it, so regeneration or other effects that replace destruction can’t affect this action.

A permanent is a card on the battlefield, such as creatures, lands, artifacts, etc.. A card that is not on the battlefield can never be a creature (land, etc), only a creature card (land card, etc.).

  • It might be worth emphasizing that this is part of the definition of "sacrifice" and has nothing to do with Champion of Stray Souls specifically. – David Z Dec 6 '15 at 6:37
  • @DavidZ that's because there's nothing specific about the card. It lets you sacrifice creatures. This rule tells you what you can sacrifice. – corsiKa Dec 6 '15 at 7:33
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    @DavidZ It's even more general, not just part of the definition of sacrifice. It's a general thing, as the answer mentions in the last sentence: "a creature" (or "other creatures" as the card in question says) always means a permanent. Creature cards elsewhere have to be referred to as creature cards. For what it's worth, the comp rules quote is "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." – Cascabel Dec 6 '15 at 7:49
  • @corsiKa yes, that's exactly what I'm saying. My point is that, given the way the question is worded, I could imagine a new player missing the fact that this applies to any instance of the word "sacrifice" on any Magic card. – David Z Dec 6 '15 at 7:54
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    @DavidZ The answer seems pretty clear that it's making a general statement, starting with that first bolded sentence. As for which rule/definition to look at... both are worthwhile. It's good to know that when you see "sacrifice" it's going to talk about a permanent, but it's also good to get it in your head that when a card says "creature" (whether sacrificing is involved or not) it means a permanent. – Cascabel Dec 6 '15 at 8:12

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