I understand a good number of rules, but there is still one that I can't find the answer to:

Let's say I have a Civilized Scholar and Ulrich, Uncontested Alpha in play.

I activate Mirrorweave or Cytoshape and target the Civilized Scholar. Ulrich, Uncontested Alpha become a copy of Civilized Scholar.

I understand the example in rule 711.5.

Rule 711.5

Only permanents represented by double-faced cards can transform. (See rule 701.26, “Transform.”) If a spell or ability instructs a player to transform any permanent that isn’t represented by a double-faced card, nothing happens.

Example: A player casts Cytoshape, causing a Kruin Outlaw (the front face of a double-faced card) to become a copy of Elite Vanguard (a 2/1 Human Soldier creature) until end of turn. The player then casts Moonmist, which reads, in part, “Transform all Humans.” Because the copy of Elite Vanguard is a double-faced card, it will transform. The resulting permanent will have its back face up, but it will still be a copy of Elite Vanguard that turn.

This means that Ulrich will be a copy of the Scholar even after he flips. And another rule does allow me to use Ulrich as Civilized Scholar to discard a creature and flip him. But does Ulrich get his transform triggers? Or are these triggers missed because Ulrich's name is still Civilized Scholar?

I'm trying to break the game here. =P

I want to tap Ulrich as Scholar, discard a creature, untap, flip, trigger fight, tap, discard a creature, untap, flip, trigger buff, and repeat. This should result in Ulrich eating every creature in play, growing bigger and bigger, to prepare for a lethal swing. All in one turn.

3 Answers 3


Ulrich will be a copy of Civilized Scholar, so you can use Civilized Scholar's ability to transform it, repeatedly if you have some way to untap it. But the triggered abilities will not trigger.

First, in the rules section about Copying objects, rule 706.2 says

When copying an object, the copy acquires the copiable values of the original object’s characteristics [...]. The “copiable values” are the values derived from the text printed on the object (that text being name, mana cost, color indicator, card type, subtype, supertype, rules text, power, toughness, and/or loyalty), as modified by other copy effects, by its face-down status, and by “as . . . enters the battlefield” and “as . . . is turned face up” abilities that set power and toughness (and may also set additional characteristics).

So, once the Mirrorweave targeting Civilized Scholar resolves, Ulrich becomes a copy of Civilize Scholar, which means that it has the name, mana cost, rules text, etc. of Civilized Scholar. Importantly, it no longer has Ulrich's values for those characteristics, and in particular it no longer has Ulrich's abilities.

Then, once you activate and resolve the ability, the card will physically transform and untap, but it will still be a copy of Civilized Scholar. This means that it still doesn't have Ulrich's abilities, so those abilities won't trigger.

  • Civilized Scholar himself untaps as per discarding a creature. Thanks though!
    – Andy Malik
    Commented Sep 26, 2017 at 20:34

It won't work because of the layer system and the fact that transforming a creature doesn't make it a new object.

The layer system (which is way more complicated than I want to try and explain here, google it if interested) lays out how you determine what abilities a card has, power, toughness etc. It applies when anything changes a card's characteristics. The first layer to be applied is the copy layer, which states that all copy effects are applied (like from Cytoshape). Cytoshape makes a creature become a copy of target creature until the end of turn. It doesn't matter if that creature transforms, Cytoshape's effect overwrites whatever is printed on the card (regardless of which face is up) with the copied card's characteristics. Hence the rules you quoted in your question. Even if the card transforms (and changes which side is up) the face-up side is irrelevant (this turn) because the creature will still be the copied creature.

This might be easier to see by spelling out what's going on.

  1. You have Civilized Scholar and Ulrich out (with Ulrich, Uncontested Alpha face up)
  2. You cast and resolve Cytoshape, making Ulrich a copy of Civilized Scholar
  3. Every time the game looks at Ulrich, it applies the copy effect to it, so it looks exactly like Civilized Scholar
  4. You activate Ulrich (Civilized Scholar)'s ability and transform him. His physical card flips to show Ulrich of the Krallenhorde.
  5. Normally, you would put Ulrich's transform triggers on the stack, but he doesn't have those abilities. The copy effect from Cytoshape still applies, so he still looks exactly like Civilized Scholar, who has no such triggers.
  6. No matter how many times you transform Ulrich (Civilized Scholar) he will always, as far as the game cares, be a Civilized Scholar.

Ulrich will always be the Scholar, and will not get Ulrich's transform trigger. Copying the Scholar onto a transformable creature will "only" allow you to cycle any number of creature cards.

The reason for that is that the copy effect is applied after the characteristics printed on the actual card:

  1. Interaction of Continuous Effects

613.1. The values of an object’s characteristics are determined by starting with the actual object. For a card, that means the values of the characteristics printed on that card. For a token or a copy of a spell or card, that means the values of the characteristics defined by the effect that created it. Then all applicable continuous effects are applied in a series of layers in the following order:

613.1a Layer 1: Copy effects are applied. See rule 706, “Copying Objects.”

That means that the game will never see Ulrich once you've copied the Scholar over it, neither its original nor its transformed side. It's Scholars all the way down.

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