When a card transforms to its back face, does it trigger an enter the battlefield ability?

In most cases (maybe all), when a card is flipped, it's exiled and returned to the battlefield so it triggers. But what would be triggered if card is just flipped?

For example, when Chandra, Fire of Kaladesh is flipped to Chandra, Roaring Flame, does it trigger Oath of Chandra second ability?

  • 2
    Werewolf creature cards, the most common cards that flip, do not get exiled and do not trigger enter to the battlefield effects when they flipped. When they flip they do not trigger enter the battlefield effects. The five planeswalkers from the Magic Origins do get exiled when they flipped and enter the battlefield flipped triggering any enter the battlefield effects.
    – Mosquite
    Sep 20, 2017 at 18:03

3 Answers 3


Transforming a card doesn't cause enter the battlefield effects to trigger.

Transforming a card is explained in the comprehensive rules under rule 701.26. More specifically:

701.26a To transform a permanent, turn it over so that its other face is up. Only permanents represented by double-faced cards can transform. (See rule 711, “Double-Faced Cards.”)

When transforming a double faced card (Rule 711) it never leaves the battlefield in the first place.

The exception to this standard way of transforming are the 5 Planeswalkers from magic Orgins. In order to function properly they have additional rules text on each card that modifies how they transform, for instance Chandra has (emphasis mine):

If Chandra has dealt 3 or more damage this turn, exile her, then return her to the battlefield transformed under her owner's control.

The Magic Origins Planeswalkers need to leave and Enter the Battlefield in order to get their Loyalty counters, as all Planeswlakers are treated as if they have "This permanent enters the battlefield with a number of loyalty counters on it equal to its printed loyalty number." in their rules text (306.5b). If they transformed normally they would never receive their loyalty counters and would then die.

In your specific example since Chandra the Roaring Flame is being exiled and then returning to the Battlefield transformed, Oath of Chandra's ability will trigger.

  • 1
    There is also a vehicle from Ixalan that exiles to transform
    – diego
    Sep 20, 2017 at 18:16
  • @diego It seems to be a conscious design choice for Conqueror's Galleon, and is mentioned in the Rulings on its gatherers page. "Unlike the other double-faced cards in the Ixalan set, Conqueror’s Galleon is exiled and then returned to battlefield transformed. It will be considered a new object entering the battlefield. Notably, it will return to the battlefield untapped."
    – Malco
    Sep 20, 2017 at 19:12
  • 1
    It isn't really a design choice, as much as a rules reason. If it didn't exile it would still be a creature from the Crew ability, but it wouldn't have a defined toughness so it would die. Exiling makes it a new object so it isn't a creature any more. (Also I was mostly commenting because you say 'the exception' rather than 'an exception)
    – diego
    Sep 20, 2017 at 19:14
  • @diego good point I hadn't considered that. I thought it was something along the lines of stripping off whatever buffs/effects might have been applied during combat along with allowing the land to come in untapped. the exiling does make things simpler though since you can just treat it like a new object.
    – Malco
    Sep 20, 2017 at 19:17
  • 1
    @diego For background, I believe this is because, if the vehicle was crewed, the land would still be an artifact creature due to the rules defining crew. However, it doesn't have printed power/toughness, so it would die, or it would need those numbers printed which would be confusing on a land.
    – Samthere
    Sep 25, 2017 at 13:33

Most cards that transform do not exile themselves prior to transforming. Usually the only cards that do have some sort of rules reason for the exile (for the Planeswalkers like Chandra, Roaring Flame for example it is so they get loyalty counters without needing extra text to give them).

For a transforming card like Huntmaster of the Fells, where the card does not get exiled prior to transforming they do not leave the battlefield, thus they do not enter the battlefield.

For your specific example Chandra, Roaring Flame will trigger Oath of Chandra because the card is entering the battle field. But if instead you had the Huntmaster and Warstorm Surge transforming would not trigger Warstorm Surge's ability.


From the glossary of the Comprehensive Rules:

A nontoken permanent “enters the battlefield” when it’s moved onto the battlefield from another zone.

Various other things you can do to a card, including transforming it, flipping it, tapping it, etc, that do not involve changing zones are thus not entering the battlefield, but e.g. Chandra, Fire of Kaladesh is exiled and then returns to the battlefield, so it is entering the battlefield.

  • Tokens also enter the battlefield when they're poped, aren't they?
    – sinsedrix
    Sep 20, 2017 at 19:31
  • Here's the second sentence of the rule I quoted: 'A token “enters the battlefield” when it’s created.' Sep 20, 2017 at 19:33

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