I am a fairly new player and the person I have been playing with has a card called Immortal Phoenix and I was wondering if cards that say "destroy" wouldn't activate the Phoenix's resurrection feature.


2 Answers 2


'Dies' means 'is put into the graveyard from the battlefield', so any effect that destroys it will end up causing this trigger to happen. The four main ways this card could move from the battlefield to the graveyard is:

  1. Being dealt lethal damage
  2. Having toughness reduced to zero
  3. Effects that say destroy
  4. Sacrificing the creature.

A creature going to the graveyard and removing a creature from the game* are very different things, but there are ways of putting Immortal Phoenix into the graveyard (and keeping it there) and exiling it.

A card like Oblivion Ring can exile it, and some cards like Annihilating Fire can change where it goes. (If it goes into exile instead of the graveyard, it never actually 'died')

If Immortal Phoenix is put into the graveyard from anywhere that's not the battlefield (perhaps by being discarded from Mind Rot), that's also not dying, so it does not return to your hand.

One more complicated way of stopping Immortal Phoenix from going back to a hand is by preventing the creature's ability from happening. You could either counter the ability (such as with Disallow) or by causing the ability to not trigger, such as with Hushbringer

*This is called 'exiling', although there are technically ways to get it back from exile

  • 5
    As for "taking it out of the game", stuff like Pacifism would also be effective in making the Phoenix irrelevant, regardless of it technically still being on the battlefield.
    – ilkkachu
    Oct 6, 2019 at 12:05
  • 4
    It may be worth discussing the case of countering the spell, since it may not be clear to a new player that a creature card on the stack isn’t on the battlefield, and a countered creature spell doesn’t produce a creature who then “dies.”
    – KRyan
    Oct 7, 2019 at 2:21

"Dies" is shorthand for "is put into the graveyard from the battlefield". So cards that say "Destroy" (e.g. Murder) would result in the Phoenix returning to it's owners hand. Not all removal spells trigger this though. For example cards that say "Exile" (e.g. Vraska's Contempt) do not put the creature into the graveyard (but rather in exile) and thus, do not trigger "die"-triggers.

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