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My question came up after I had a disagreement over what it means when a card states “sacrifice a creature” as it’s ability. The disagreement is in whether or not this text allows a player to sacrifice ANOTHER players creature. The rules for sacrifice didn’t clear up the issue for me, the ruling is still vague enough that I could conceivably sacrifice my opponents creature in a game and think it’s perfectly legitimate. Anyway I wanted to get some feedback on this.

marked as duplicate by Nij, BJ Myers, TimLymington, Toon Krijthe, doppelgreener Apr 8 '18 at 20:18

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    Can you let us know what rules / ruling you were reading that is vague? – GendoIkari Apr 8 '18 at 17:24

You can only sacrifice a creature you control.

A few sources...

From the quick start guide:


Sometimes a card tells you to sacrifice a creature or some other permanent. To sacrifice a permanent, you move it from the battlefield to your graveyard. You can’t regenerate it or save it in any way. You can sacrifice only your own permanents.

From the glossary in the basic rules, page 31:


To choose one of your permanents on the battlefield and put it into its owner’s graveyard. You can sacrifice only permanents you control. Sacrificing a permanent is different from destroying it, so the permanent can’t be regenerated. You can sacrifice a permanent only if a spell or ability tells you to, or if it’s part of a cost.

And the comprehensive rule where that comes from:

701.15a To sacrifice a permanent, its controller moves it from the battlefield directly to its owner’s graveyard. A player can’t sacrifice something that isn’t a permanent, or something that’s a permanent he or she doesn’t control. Sacrificing a permanent doesn’t destroy it, so regeneration or other effects that replace destruction can’t affect this action.

  • Ah I did not see that specific wording, thank you that’s what I was looking for! I think the wording I had seen was something along the lines of “player removes target permanent from the battlefield”. But this clears it up once and for all. I guess this means you have to use abilities other than sacrifice to get rid of an opponents creatures. – Cameron Belt Apr 8 '18 at 17:53
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    @Cameron Belt, Any definition of sacrifice that uses the word "target" is wrong. – ikegami Apr 9 '18 at 1:17

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