Say if I have Scrap Trawler on the battlefield, which watches for when artifacts die. I have a manifested Colossus of Akros that dies while still just a manifested 2/2 creature. Per the rules, I turn it face up and put it in the graveyard face-up.

Does it trigger Scrap Trawler's ability (and get considered an artifact that leaves the battlefield and enters the graveyard) or not?

Does Colossus leave the battlefield as an artifact?

3 Answers 3


It was a face-down creature when it left the battlefield, so it wasn't an artifact (creature) to trigger Trawler's ability.

As for why that's the case:

603.10. Normally, objects that exist immediately after an event are checked to see if the event matched any trigger conditions, and continuous effects that exist at that time are used to determine what the trigger conditions are and what the objects involved in the event look like. However, some triggered abilities are exceptions to this rule; the game “looks back in time” to determine if those abilities trigger, using the existence of those abilities and the appearance of objects immediately prior to the event. The list of exceptions is as follows:

603.10a Some zone-change triggers look back in time. These are leaves-the-battlefield abilities, abilities that trigger when a card leaves a graveyard, and abilities that trigger when an object that all players can see is put into a hand or library.


A face-down permanent is just a 2/2 creature. Period. It has no abilities, no type other than "Creature" (in particular it's not an artifact), no subtype, no abilities, no color, no mana cost, not even a name. Whatever is printed on the other side of the card is completely irrelevant, as long as the permanent is face down.

What I'm saying is that your face-down Colossus of Akros isn't a Colossus of Akros at all, as far as the game is concerned. It's just a nameless vanilla 2/2. And as JonTheMon said, a nameless vanilla 2/2 isn't an artifact and doesn't trigger Scrap Trawler's ability.

The rule that says so, albeit in more complex language, is this one:

707.2. Face-down spells and face-down permanents have no characteristics other than those listed by the ability or rules that allowed the spell or permanent to be face down. Any listed characteristics are the copiable values of that object's characteristics. (See rule 613, "Interaction of Continuous Effects," and rule 706, "Copying Objects.")

707.2a. If a face-up permanent is turned face down by a spell or ability, it becomes a 2/2 face-down creature with no text, no name, no subtypes, and no mana cost. A permanent that enters the battlefield face down that wasn't cast as a face-down spell also has these characteristics. These values are the copiable values of that object's characteristics.

Of course, all that changes when you flip the card face up. Then it switches to being whatever is printed on the front of the card (in your case, a Colossus of Akros). Same when it leaves the battlefield.

  • Isn't 603.10(a) also relevant in establishing which set of statistics counts for the trigger? Mar 16, 2017 at 8:43
  • It does play a role in determining how this plays out in the game, but I don't think it's particularly relevant in resolving what I believe to be the asker's confusion.
    – David Z
    Mar 16, 2017 at 14:17

It leaves the battlefield as a 2/2 creature with no abilities; however, it enters the graveyard face up. For example, if your opponent controls Compost, which cares about black cards going into graveyards, a face-down Abzan Guide will trigger it, and a manifested land being killed will trigger Countryside Crusher.

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