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I was reading through the answers of this question when I suddenly wondered about Vehicles in their artifact state.

They have a listed Power and Toughness. If I were to reduce that toughness to 0 and the Vehicle is not crewed (i.e. does not have the Creature type, only Artifact), is it destroyed?

Are there other examples of this, like enchantments that have a power and toughness even though they are (at the moment) not creatures? Can those permanents be destroyed by reducing toughness?

12

The Gods from Theros aren't creatures sometimes.

208.3. A noncreature permanent has no power or toughness, even if it’s a card with a power and toughness printed on it (such as a Vehicle).

208.3a If an effect would be created that affects the power and/or toughness of a noncreature permanent, that effect is created even though it doesn’t do anything unless that permanent becomes a creature.

Thus, they have no power and toughness that can be reduced to below 0.

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  • @diego Edited. I used magiccards.info for the rules (I couldn't access wizards official page), and it seems they were outdated. Jan 10 '17 at 13:53
  • Good example of, though it'd be nice if you directly answered the question about noncreature artifacts too.
    – Cascabel
    Jan 10 '17 at 17:03
  • 1
    The rule directly below the quoted rule seems to answer the question much more directly, so I just edited it in.
    – Rainbolt
    Jan 10 '17 at 18:13
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No, it will not be destroyed. The most direct way to reach this conclusion is to look at the rule that specifies that creatures with zero or negative toughness will die:

704.5f If a creature has toughness 0 or less, it’s put into its owner’s graveyard. Regeneration can’t replace this event.

This rule applies only to creatures, not to noncreature artifacts (like unanimated vehicles). There is no corresponding rule for vehicles, artifacts in general, or any type of noncreature permanent. (It wouldn't make sense because noncreature permanents don't have toughness.)

Another argument is a little more technical. Even when a creature does have zero or negative toughness, it's not destroyed. "Destroy" has a specific meaning in Magic; it's one particular way that a permanent might be caused to die, but but not the only way. Reducing a creature's toughness to zero or less is a completely different way. One of the differences is that regeneration can save a creature which would be destroyed, but it does not save a creature with zero or negative toughness.

Other answers have identified other justifications for the same conclusion, which I will not repeat here.

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  • This misses a reason, fyi: a noncreature can't have toughness at all, so a noncreature has no toughness to reduce to 0 or below. Jan 10 '17 at 19:14
  • @doppelgreener I intentionally omitted that because rule 704.5f makes it irrelevant, and it would be a distraction from my point. I believe this answer is a sufficient explanation without that fact. (Though an answer that does mention that could be perfectly valid.) I'll clarify this answer to point out that there are other explanations.
    – David Z
    Jan 10 '17 at 19:23
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No, and you can't even target the vehicle with effects that target creatures, such as Tragic Slip, unless that vehicle has been turned into a creature. Until a vehicle is crewed (or granted creatureship through some other means like Start Your Engines), it has no power or toughness.

From the Gatherer rulings for an arbitrary vehicle:

Each Vehicle is printed with a power and toughness, but it’s not a creature. If it becomes a creature (most likely through its crew ability, but the Kaladesh set includes other such effects), it will have that power and toughness.

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  • Correct answer but inaccurate statement: targeting has nothing to do with the vehicle having toughness, and everything to do with it being a creature.
    – monoRed
    Jan 10 '17 at 16:15
  • @monoRed I agree. Unless it is a creature, you can't target it with effects that target creatures, such as reducing toughness. Toughness is a characteristic only attributable creatures, so anything that reduces toughness could never target a permanent that isn't a creature.
    – SocioMatt
    Jan 10 '17 at 16:20
  • There are effects that can target non-creature permanents that affect P/T, such as Aether Meltdown, and it is possible to have +1/+1 or -1/-1 counters on non-creature permanents. They're not common, but they exist.
    – monoRed
    Jan 10 '17 at 16:24
  • @monoRed Aether Meltdown enchants a vehicle, but that vehicle's power can't be reduced until it becomes a creature. While it's possible to have +1/+1 counters on a non-creature permanent, those counters have no effect unless the permanent becomes a creature since the permanent has no power or toughness.
    – SocioMatt
    Jan 10 '17 at 16:28
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    Right, you can't affect power and toughness because they're not there, but that doesn't stop them from targeting the vehicle. If I have a spell that says "target permanent gets -2/-2 until end of turn", I can target a land or a planeswalker or a vehicle and it won't do anything (unless they turn into a creature later that turn), but it's a legal target.
    – monoRed
    Jan 10 '17 at 16:29

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