Alice has a Wildfire Cerberus and a Bow of Nylea, and Bob has a tapped 3/3 Beast token.

Alice attacks with the Cerberus, and activates its Monstrosity. In response, Bob targets the Cerberus with Vanish into Memory.

When everything resolves, will Bob still have his Beast token?


It depends on if Vanish into Memory is cast before or after the Monstrous ability resolves.

If Vanish into Memory is cast in response to the Monstrosity ability then the Beast will survive because when the ability resolves the Cerberus is no longer on the battlefield to trigger, and thus doesn't deal damage.

Gatherer Ruling:

An ability that triggers when a creature becomes monstrous won’t trigger if that creature isn’t on the battlefield when its monstrosity ability resolves.

If Vanish into Memory is cast in response to the triggered ability the the Beast will die because the ability uses Last Known Information to determine if the Cerberus had deathtouch. Basically the game looks back in time to how the Cerberus last existed on the battlefield to determine effects of the damage like deathtouch.

112.7a Once activated or triggered, an ability exists on the stack independently of its source. Destruction or removal of the source after that time won’t affect the ability. Note that some abilities cause a source to do something (for example, “Prodigal Pyromancer deals 1 damage to target creature or player”) rather than the ability doing anything directly. In these cases, any activated or triggered ability that references information about the source because the effect needs to be divided checks that information when the ability is put onto the stack. Otherwise, it will check that information when it resolves. In both instances, if the source is no longer in the zone it’s expected to be in at that time, its last known information is used. The source can still perform the action even though it no longer exists.

702.2e If an object changes zones before an effect causes it to deal damage, its last known information is used to determine whether it had deathtouch.

  • Interestingly, in the comp rules "702.2b Any nonzero amount of combat damage assigned to a creature by a source with deathtouch is considered to be lethal damage, regardless of that creature’s toughness. See rules 510.1c–d." I always thought that deathtouch applied to all types of damage, but this seems to indicate it only applies to combat damage. – SocioMatt May 6 '16 at 14:02
  • 2
    @SocioMatt That rule is there so that when assigning combat damage you only need to assign 1 per blocker, and not equal to their toughness. 702.2c is the one for actually killing things: 702.2c A creature with toughness greater than 0 that’s been dealt damage by a source with deathtouch since the last time state-based actions were checked is destroyed as a state-based action. See rule 704. – diego May 6 '16 at 14:07
  • This rule seems poorly organized syntactically. All of the other keyword rules are written (1) It's called this, (2) It does this, (3) Other important information and clarification. Deathtouch seems to read (1) (3) (2) (3). Any idea why they felt the need to clarify the combat rules before explaining that deathtouch is applied by any damage dealt by that creature? – SocioMatt May 6 '16 at 14:21
  • @SocioMatt Yes, because it impacts damage assignment in combat, and thus needs to be located there too. – Waterseas May 6 '16 at 14:35
  • It's also a fairly recent change in the grand scheme of things. (M12 maybe?) It used to be trampling death toucher would have to assign damage fully equal to toughness before trampling over, even though it had death touch. So there may have been some rationale for adding it as its own specific additional rules item at the time. – Affe May 6 '16 at 15:00

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