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This question already has an answer here:

If I were to cast Hymn to Tourach a black card that makes the opponent discard 2 cards at random, and the only 2 cards my opponent has in his hand have protection from black would they be protected? Would it fall under Targeting since it doesn't actively target the creatures with white, it should go off?

marked as duplicate by diego, JonTheMon, Joe W, murgatroid99 magic-the-gathering Apr 12 '16 at 2:13

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Protection only functions on the battlefield; most rules text only functions on the battlefield. The exceptions are characteristic defining text, i.e. 'this card is black' and text which references another zone, i.e. '{2}, discard 2 cards: return CARDNAME to battlefield from the graveyard.'

In your example your opponent would discard both of their cards, despite their having protection from black, as protection only applies to permanents on the battlefield.

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    "Protection only functions on the battlefield" is not entirely true. Players also can have protection and a player is not on the battlefield. For example, Runed halo – Ivo Beckers Apr 12 '16 at 9:05
  • @IvoBeckers sure the player isn't on the battlefield; in your example, however, Runed halo is on the battlefield, and its (protection) text only functions while the enchantment is on the battlefield. I just realized that It is possible that an emblem could give protection to something, and emblems live in the command zone not the battlefield, but AFAIK no emblems do this ATM. – esoterik Apr 12 '16 at 22:46
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Hymn targets the player not the cards, so they are discarded.

(It's also worth noting that protection never does anything while a card is in your hand - see esoterik's answer for details.)

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