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My opponent attacks me with Etrata, the Silencer. I have only token creatures in my battlefield. Does one of the tokens go into exile? Does my opponent have to shuffle Etrata into his library again?

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Yes, but it doesn't count towards losing the game because it's not a card.

If Etrata’s ability exiles a token creature, it won’t count to determine whether three cards are exiled with hit counters.


Creature tokens on the battlefield are creatures, so they are valid targets for Etrata's ability.

When Etrata's ability resolves, the following happens:

  1. The targeted token is exiled.

  2. A hit counter is put on the now-exiled token.

  3. Token aren't cards,[CR 108.2] so you don't lose the game.

  4. Etrata is shuffled into its owner's library.

Immediately after Etrata's ability resolves, the following happens:

  1. Tokens outside of the battelfield cease to exist as a State-Based Action.[CR 704.5d]

108.2. When a rule or text on a card refers to a “card,” it means only a Magic card or an object represented by a Magic card.

108.2b Tokens aren’t considered cards—even a card-sized game supplement that represents a token isn’t considered a card for rules purposes.

704.3. Whenever a player would get priority (see rule 117, “Timing and Priority”), the game checks for any of the listed conditions for state-based actions, then performs all applicable state-based actions simultaneously as a single event. [...]

704.5. The state-based actions are as follows:

704.5d If a token is in a zone other than the battlefield, it ceases to exist.

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No, the token will simply cease to exist (this is a general rule for tokens leaving the battlefield) and won't 'count' towards the three hit counter rule.

11.7. A token that’s in a zone other than the battlefield ceases to exist.

This is confirmed by one of the rulings below the card in Gatherer:

If Etrata’s ability exiles a token creature, it won’t count to determine whether three cards are exiled with hit counters.

Even though that part of the ability doesn't have any effect, it is by no means countered, which means the rest of the ability happens too:

608.2c The controller of the spell or ability follows its instructions in the order written.

So Etrata will be shuffled into its owner's library.

  • 4
    That's not true. They do get exiled. They even get a counter. You don't lose because tokens aren't cards. They only cease to exist after the ability finishes resolving. – ikegami Oct 19 at 21:14
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My opponent attacks me with Etrata, the Silencer.

Etrata's ability triggers on combat damage, not attack. So the scenario you describe would not be sufficient to cause a creature to go into exile. For the rest of my answer, I'll assume you mean "My opponent attacks me with Etrata, resulting in combat damage to me".

I have only token creatures in my battlefield.

There is no "my battlefield". The only zones that are specific to a particular player are library, hand, and graveyard. The battlefield, exile, command, and stack are common to all players. While the cards/tokens corresponding to objects in the latter zones are generally physically separated according to control (e.g. a player will place cards they control on "their" part of the playing table), in game terms control is simply a characteristic of the objects, not a matter of what zone an object is in. A permanent on the battlefield that you control is not considered to be in a different "place" than one you don't control, as far as the rules are concerned.

Does one of the tokens go into exile?

Yes. Etrata's ability states:

Whenever Etrata deals combat damage to a player, exile target creature that player controls and put a hit counter on that card. That player loses the game if they own three or more exiled cards with hit counters on them. Etrata's owner shuffles Etrata into their library.

There is no "may" before "exile target creature", and a token creature is a creature. Since there is a valid target for the ability, the ability must be resolved.

Does my opponent have to shuffle Etrata into his library again?

Yes. Etrata's ability states "Etrata's owner shuffles Etrata into their library." There is no "may", so there is no choice whether to resolve this. If you controlled no creatures on the battlefield, on the other hand, then there would be no valid target for "exile target creature". When a spell or ability contains one or more instances of the word "target", at least one must have a valid target. If none do, the spell or ability does not resolve. Since there is only one instance of "target", if it is not valid, then the ability would not resolve, and so Etrata would not be shuffled into its owner's library. See

608.2b If the spell or ability specifies targets, it checks whether the targets are still legal. A target that’s no longer in the zone it was in when it was targeted is illegal. Other changes to the game state may cause a target to no longer be legal; for example, its characteristics may have changed or an effect may have changed the text of the spell. If the source of an ability has left the zone it was in, its last known information is used during this process. If all its targets, for every instance of the word “target,” are now illegal, the spell or ability doesn’t resolve.

Also, while you didn't ask about the "That player loses the game if they own three or more exiled cards with hit counters on them" part of the ability, the following rules are relevant to that part:

108.2. When a rule or text on a card refers to a “card,” it means only a Magic card or an object represented by a Magic card.

704.5d If a token is in a zone other than the battlefield, it ceases to exist.

Since the ability specifically requires three cards in the exile zone, and a token is not a card, the exiled token will not be considered when looking at whether you lose. In addition, as soon as SBA are checked, the token will cease to exist.

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    Re "There is no "may" before "exile target creature"", That doesn't mean it happens. Some instructions are impossible to follow. While this isn't one of them, I thought I'd point out that your conclusion doesn't follow from your argument since you're nitpicking. [ Don't get me wrong, I approve of it :) ] – ikegami Oct 20 at 4:02
  • I didn't downvote. – ikegami Oct 21 at 9:50

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