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If a sliver comes into play while Constricting Sliver is in play, and then with the exile ETB effect on the stack, the sliver is returned to hand with Hibernation Sliver's ability, is the target of the exile effect exiled with no chance of returning to the battlefield or does it immediately return to the battlefield?

12

The (attempted) exiled creature will never leave the battlefield.

This is because the exile ability only works if the sliver causing it is still on the battlefield when it resolves. As per the Gatherer rulings:

If a Sliver leaves the battlefield before its enters-the-battlefield ability resolves, the target creature won’t be exiled.

This is covered under One-shot effects in the comprehensive rules:

610.2.: Some one-shot effects create a delayed triggered ability, which instructs a player to do something later in the game (usually at a specific time) rather than as the spell or ability that’s creating the one-shot effect resolves. See rule 603.7.

610.3.: Some one-shot effects cause an object to change zones “until” a specified event occurs. A second one-shot effect is created immediately after the specified event. This second one-shot effect returns the object to its previous zone.

610.3a: If the specified event has already occurred when the initial one-shot effect would cause the object to change zones, the object doesn’t move.

Lets break down your interaction:

  • You control a Hibernation Sliver and a Constricting Sliver. You opponent controls a Runeclaw Bear.
  • You play a Sliver creature, Constricting Sliver's given effect triggers. You target your opponents Bear.
  • You then return that Sliver creature to your hand using Hibernation Sliver's given ability. The stack is now (hibernation) return effect on top of (constrict) exile effect.
  • Your opponent has no responses, the stack starts to resolve.
  • First your sliver leaves the battlefield. Next the exile effect checks to see if the Sliver is still on the battlefield, and fails to find it. The exile ability does nothing, the Runeclaw Bear is not moved and remains on the battlefield under your opponents control.
  • I believe rule 610.2 doesn't apply to this case. Perhaps it'd be better to leave it out of the answer? – David Z Jan 8 '18 at 23:46
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    I believe the “until” wording was created specifically for this purpose; to not allow the loophole that cards like Oblivion Ring had. – GendoIkari Jan 9 '18 at 0:30
  • @DavidZ I decided to include it for context, 610.3a is the important one but it makes more sense with the preceding rules included. – Malco Jan 9 '18 at 13:43
  • @Malco Well, I agree that including 610.3 helps to provide useful context, but I don't see the connection with 610.2. After all, nothing in this scenario actually sets up a delayed triggered ability. Unless I'm missing something? – David Z Jan 9 '18 at 19:25
4

Actually, it's neither — if you bounce the Sliver with the exile effect still on the stack, nothing gets exiled at all.

Check the Oracle rulings on Constricting Sliver:

If a Sliver leaves the battlefield before its enters-the-battlefield ability resolves, the target creature won’t be exiled.

Note that this is different from exile-and-return because ETB effects won't trigger, tokens won't disappear, a creature won't get summoning sickness, &c.

4

Neither of the end results in the question happen. What does happen is the ETB effect resolves, but doesn't do anything, causing the targeted creature to remain on the battlefield unchanged. Constricting Sliver uses the new wording of the ability, as seen on Banishing Light, this wording was used to close that timing issue, as seen on Oblivion Ring.

In the rulings on Constricting Sliver:

Constricting Sliver gives Slivers you control an ability that causes a zone change with a duration, a newer style of ability that’s somewhat reminiscent of older cards like Oblivion Ring. However, unlike Oblivion Ring’s abilities, this ability creates two one-shot effects: one that exiles the creature when the ability resolves, and another that returns the exiled card to the battlefield immediately after the Sliver leaves the battlefield.

And:

If a Sliver leaves the battlefield before its enters-the-battlefield ability resolves, the target creature won’t be exiled.

  • I corrected what I thought was a mistake in your answer, and then found the same mistake in Malco's answer. Now I'm not sure that I'm right. Can you check my edit and tell me what you think? – Rainbolt Jan 8 '18 at 20:56
  • @Rainbolt Yes I believe you are correct, the ability resolves but does nothing. However that's above me in the technicalities of magic, it could be countered as a state based effect, similar to removing all legal targets. – Andrew Jan 8 '18 at 20:59

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