Let's say I bring a creature (the canonical Runeclaw bear) into play from an opponent's graveyard using one of the "enchant creature in a graveyard" cards (Necromancy, or Animate Dead, or Dance of the Dead).

Now the Runeclaw Bear is exiled (by a Bishop of Binding, say). Since it leaves the game, Necromancy goes to my graveyard, right?

Later, the Bishop of Binding expires. Thus, the Bear should return from exile. Under my control, now independently of Necromancy?

And what about "when Necromancy leaves the battlefield, that creature’s controller sacrifices it"? Does that simply fizzle?

up vote 6 down vote accepted

In the examples you provide, yes, exiling and returning the creature will make it a "regular" creature again that no longer requires the enchantment to live. However, it will return to the battlefield under its owner's control, not yours.

You are correct in most of your assumptions. When a creature enchanted with Necromancy etc. leaves the battlefield, Necromancy no longer enchants a legal target and is put into its owner's graveyard as a state-based action.

704.5m If an Aura is attached to an illegal object or player, or is not attached to an object or player, that Aura is put into its owner’s graveyard.

As its death trigger, it tries to make you sacrifice the creature it enchanted, but since that creature object no longer exists (it becomes a new object on zone change), that sacrifice simply doesn't happen. When the previously-enchanted, now exiled creature returns to the battlefield, it becomes a new object again, with no relation to its former existence. At that point, Necromancy is long gone and has no more effect on the Bear.

400.7. An object that moves from one zone to another becomes a new object with no memory of, or relation to, its previous existence. [..]

The bear returns under its owner's control, i.e. your opponent's:

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.

610.3b An object returned to the battlefield this way returns under its owner’s control unless otherwise specified.

Note that there are a few reanimation effects that prevent the order of events as described. For example, the reanimation effect of Isareth the Awakener exiles the Runeclaw Bear when it would leave the battlefield. Even though Bishop of Binding would also exile the creature, Isareth's exile effect replaces the Bishop's, which means the Bishop's never happens, and thus the Bishop leaving the battlefield would not cause the Runeclaw Bear to return.

614.6. If an event is replaced, it never happens. A modified event occurs instead, which may in turn trigger abilities. [..]

  • It's worth explicitly stating, either way, who now controls the bear. – Pureferret Nov 23 at 16:01
  • Intersting, you reversed the conclusion in the edit :-). Nice answer, well referenced. – xebtl Nov 27 at 11:04

I agree with Hackworth's answer, but i would like to add to the exile/replacement effect.

When applying rule 614.6, we must differentiate events and abilities. The event being replaced may be part of an ability but that doesn't replace the ability as a whole, nor does it become a seperate effect1.

For convenience's sake, you may replace the original event with the replacement event in the wording of the ability. This question illustrates the interaction between card tracking and replacement effects far better than I could.

That is to say that applying the replacement effect of Isareth the Awakener on the ability of Bishop of Binding would result in a final ability along the lines of :

When Bishop of Binding enters the battlefield, exile2 target creature an opponent controls until Bishop of Binding leaves the battlefield.

That ability from Bishop of Binding will track the reanimated card to exile and return it at the end of the specified time.


1 The interaction between Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet and Anointed Procession is a good illustration: when both are on the battlefield, Kalitas does not create two tokens as the replacement is not an effect.

2 The original exile has been replaced by Isareth's exile.

  • Kalitas and Anointed Procession absolutely do create 2 tokens for every replaced creature death, because multiple replacement effects can chain (616.2). Also, the Bishop's exile effect is a one-shot zone-change effect with a event-triggered expiration (610.3). The return part is set up by that exile effect, but the exile effect is replaced by Isareth. Therefore, the return effect is not set up either. – Hackworth Nov 26 at 11:10
  • Indeed, the rules have changed for Kalitas since Ixalan (link for the original ruling), my bad. However, I will have to point to the ruling on Roon of the Hidden Realm which has a very similar ability, but can track to exile or command zone depending on the replacement effect. – PbWO4 Nov 26 at 11:22
  • It's not about being able to track the card or not, it's about the fact that the Bishop's exile effect never happens if it gets replaced. (614.6). Just because the replacement effect does superficially the same thing (exiling the creature) doesn't mean the Bishop's ability is still in effect and can create its return effect. – Hackworth Nov 26 at 11:31

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