3

So if I had a token that died could I immediately exile it from the graveyard using Necrogenesis? I know that a token is only in the graveyard for an instant, but could I exile it in that instant?

8

Your question, literally, can be answered very simply: You cannot exile a token from a graveyard, because tokens that have left the battlefield cannot change zones:

110.5g A token that has left the battlefield can’t move to another zone or come back onto the battlefield. If such a token would change zones, it remains in its current zone instead. It ceases to exist the next time state-based actions are checked; see rule 704.

This alone doesn't prevent you from using Necrogenesis's ability to get a saproling, though, because it doesn't prevent you from targeting it with the ability; the ability just wouldn't exile the token when it resolved. You still can't get the saproling for several reasons.

You do not get priority before state-based actions are checked:

704.3. Whenever a player would get priority (see rule 116, “Timing and Priority”), the game checks for any of the listed conditions for state-based actions, then performs all applicable state-based actions simultaneously as a single event. If any state-based actions are performed as a result of a check, the check is repeated; otherwise all triggered abilities that are waiting to be put on the stack are put on the stack, then the check is repeated. Once no more state-based actions have been performed as the result of a check and no triggered abilities are waiting to be put on the stack, the appropriate player gets priority. This process also occurs during the cleanup step (see rule 514), except that if no state-based actions are performed as the result of the step’s first check and no triggered abilities are waiting to be put on the stack, then no player gets priority and the step ends.

The token ceases to exist as a state-based action:

704.5d If a token is phased out, or is in a zone other than the battlefield, it ceases to exist.

You do not have a chance to activate Necrogenesis's ability between the time the token enters the graveyard and the time it ceases to exist. Even if you somehow did have a chance to activate it, a token is not a "creature card", so it isn't a legal target for the ability:

108.2. When a rule or text on a card refers to a “card,” it means only a Magic card. Most Magic games use only traditional Magic cards, which measure approximately 2.5 inches (6.3 cm) by 3.5 inches (8.8 cm). Certain formats also use nontraditional Magic cards, oversized cards that may have different backs. Tokens aren’t considered cards—even a card that represents a token isn’t considered a card for rules purposes.

Also, state-based actions are checked again after you activate the ability, because you receive priority again after:

116.3c If a player has priority when he or she casts a spell, activates an ability, or takes a special action, that player receives priority afterward.

A similar ability that could target a token in a graveyard (which does not currently exist) would still not work, because the token would cease to exist before you get priority again just after you activate it. It would no longer be an illegal target, and the ability would be countered if it had no legal targets remaining. In the case of Necrogenesis, the ability has only one target, so it would be countered. During resolution, this happens:

608.2b If the spell or ability specifies targets, it checks whether the targets are still legal. A target that’s no longer in the zone it was in when it was targeted is illegal. Other changes to the game state may cause a target to no longer be legal; for example, its characteristics may have changed or an effect may have changed the text of the spell. If the source of an ability has left the zone it was in, its last known information is used during this process. The spell or ability is countered if all its targets, for every instance of the word “target,” are now illegal. If the spell or ability is not countered, it will resolve normally. Illegal targets, if any, won’t be affected by parts of a resolving spell’s effect for which they’re illegal. Other parts of the effect for which those targets are not illegal may still affect them. If the spell or ability creates any continuous effects that affect game rules (see rule 613.10), those effects don’t apply to illegal targets. If part of the effect requires information about an illegal target, it fails to determine any such information. Any part of the effect that requires that information won’t happen.

1
  • @ikegami In what situation would that be the case? – Hackworth Dec 26 '16 at 10:33
2

[Short answer]

So if I had a token that died could I immediately exile it from the graveyard using Necrogenesis?

There are no means by which you can exile a token that moved to the graveyard.

110.5g A token that has left the battlefield can’t move to another zone or come back onto the battlefield. If such a token would change zones, it remains in its current zone instead. [...]


[Long answer]

No, for four independent reasons:

  • After a token has left the battlefield, it can no longer change zones, so a token can't be exiled after entering the graveyard from the battlefield.

    110.5g A token that has left the battlefield can’t move to another zone or come back onto the battlefield. If such a token would change zones, it remains in its current zone instead. It ceases to exist the next time state-based actions are checked; see rule 704.

    ⇒ This would not prevent you from obtaining a Saproling.

  • The token would cease to exist before any spell (or ability) could resolve. State-based actions are performed before a player gets priority, and all players gain priority between the casting of a spell (or the placing of an ability on the stack) and its resolution.

    116.3d If a player has priority and chooses not to take any actions, that player passes [...]

    116.4. If all players pass in succession (that is, if all players pass without taking any actions in between passing), the spell or ability on top of the stack resolves or, if the stack is empty, the phase or step ends.

    116.5. Each time a player would get priority, the game first performs all applicable state-based actions as a single event [...]

    704.5. The state-based actions are as follows:

    704.5d If a token is phased out, or is in a zone other than the battlefield, it ceases to exist.

    ⇒ As Necrogenesis's ability's only target, this would cause the ability to be countered on resolution ("fizzle"). You would not obtain a Saproling.

    608.2b If the spell or ability specifies targets, it checks whether the targets are still legal. A target that’s no longer in the zone it was in when it was targeted is illegal. [...] The spell or ability is countered if all its targets, for every instance of the word “target,” are now illegal. [...]

  • The token ceases to exist before you get a chance to cast a spell or activate an ability. State-based actions are performed before a player gets priority, and one normally needs priority to cast a spell.

    The exception is when a spell or ability instructs you to cast a spell. So if there was a spell with the ability "Destroy target creature. Cast a spell.", you could cast a spell while the token is still in the graveyard. However, I believe there are no cards with an equivalent ability.

    ⇒ Without a valid target, you can't activate Necrogenesis's ability to obtain a Saproling.

  • Abilities that move objects from the graveyard are worded so they can only move cards. Tokens aren't cards

    108.2. [...] Tokens aren't considered cards — even a card that represents a token isn't considered a card for rules purposes.

    ⇒ Necrogenesis's ability's target must be a card, not a token. Without a valid target, you can't activate Necrogenesis's ability to obtain a Saproling.


See also: Do tokens ever go to the graveyard and can they be sacrificed or exiled?

2
  • Your exception is errant; the desired effect from Necrogensis is an ability, not a spell. To cast Necrogensis would be to play it from hand so that the enchantment enters the battlefield. – Drunk Cynic Dec 26 '16 at 17:05
  • @Drunk Cynic, I believe the word is erroneous. Fixed. – ikegami Dec 26 '16 at 20:13
1

While the other answers are correct that the token would cease to exist before you had the priority sufficient to cast a spell or activate the ability of Necrogenesis, there is a more immediate disclaimer.

The activated ability of Necrogenesis targets Creature Cards in your graveyard — physical magic cards with the permanent subtype Creature. While tokens may represent creatures, they are not represented by Creature Cards, thus aren't a legal target for Necrogenesis.

6
  • "Creature is a card type, limited to the Permanent cards." I don't know what this sentence means. At first glance it appears to imply only cards, and not tokens, can be creatures, but I don't believe you'd really try to say that. – doppelgreener Dec 26 '16 at 17:38
  • @doppelgreener No. I was trying to say that Necrogenesis can only target Creature Cards, magic cards with the card type Creature. While a token can be a creature, it is not represented by a Creature Card. – Drunk Cynic Dec 26 '16 at 17:40
  • Right, I agree with what you've said there. That sentence is a weird one though. I suggest rephrasing. – doppelgreener Dec 26 '16 at 17:43
  • Re "While the other answers are correct that the token would cease to exist before you had the priority sufficient to cast a spell or activate the ability of Necrogenesis, there is a more immediate disclaimer.", Actually, I did mention both of those reasons, as well as two others. This post is wholly redundant as I even included a rule quote. – ikegami Dec 26 '16 at 20:15
  • @ikegami All buried under superfluous conversation. They aren't independent. 1 leans on 3, because of the Cross reference to 704. 2 is not applicable, because of the impacts of four. – Drunk Cynic Dec 26 '16 at 21:26

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.