Dream Eater's ability says:

When Dream Eater enters the battlefield, surveil 4. When you do, you may return target nonland permanent an opponent controls to its owner's hand.

The second half of the ability is referred to as a "reflexive triggered ability". So, with the first half of the ability on the stack, can you remove the Eater so the second half doesn't trigger?

1 Answer 1


No, having the Dream Eater become a new object does not affect its ability on the stack.

A reflexive triggered ability follows the same rules as a delayed triggered ability:

603.12. A resolving spell or ability may allow a player to take an action and create a triggered ability that triggers “when [a player] [does or doesn’t]” take that action or “when [something happens] this way.” These reflexive triggered abilities follow the rules for delayed triggered abilities (see rule 603.7), except that they’re checked immediately after being created and trigger based on whether the trigger event occurred earlier during the resolution of the spell or ability that created them.

This just means that the second half of the ability ("When you do...") is triggered by actually doing the first half ("surveil 4") instead of something happening later as with regular delayed triggered abilities. Delayed triggered abilities can potentially never trigger if its trigger event happened before the ability was created. This can't happen for reflexive triggered bilities. For reflexive triggered abilities, the second half can only not trigger if the first half never happens, for example if the first half was replaced.

Either way, Dream Eater's ability does refer to the Dream Eater that created it, but it doesn't affect it, so 603.7c does not apply.

603.7c A delayed triggered ability that refers to a particular object still affects it even if the object changes characteristics. However, if that object is no longer in the zone it’s expected to be in at the time the delayed triggered ability resolves, the ability won’t affect it.

Therefore, removing the Dream Eater does not affect the ability it created. Once it has entered the battlefield and triggered the ability as a whole, removing it won't do anything.

112.7a Once activated or triggered, an ability exists on the stack independently of its source. Destruction or removal of the source after that time won’t affect the ability.

  • Hmm, it feels like you're hitting around the question. I was mostly asking if the second half of the ability is still present even if the sphinx is gone.
    – JonTheMon
    Sep 21, 2018 at 14:11
  • 3
    @JonTheMon Yes, the second triggered ability is part of the first one, so it is not dependent on the state of the sphinx at all.
    – Arthur
    Sep 21, 2018 at 14:31
  • @JonTheMon The whole ability is there or not. 112.7a says it's there even when the sphinx is gone, and since 603.7c does not apply, it will have its effect normally. All that is in my answer.
    – Hackworth
    Sep 21, 2018 at 16:12
  • One point that may clarify things is that this is all one ability because it is all one paragraph. Cards always have exactly one ability per paragraph, except for keyword abilities, which are separated by commas. This is specified in rule 112.2c.
    – murgatroid99
    Sep 21, 2018 at 16:22
  • @JonTheMon just to be clear, you do know that it's all one ability on the Dream Eater?
    – Hackworth
    Sep 21, 2018 at 16:24

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .