I have a Magus of the Moon, opponent turns it into an Elk that loses all abilities with Oko, Thief of Crowns. Are nonbasic lands still affected by the magus?

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    This question seems pretty straightforward - Magus of the Moon loses all abilities, so it no longer has the ability that affects nonbasic lands. Perhaps you could explain a bit more of your thought process to help us see if there is more to explain? – BJ Myers Nov 2 '19 at 15:17
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    As my answer shows, that's not actually how it works. And the fact that it's non-obvious even to more experienced players makes it a perfectly reasonable question, in my opinion. – murgatroid99 Nov 2 '19 at 16:40
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    I feel like other than perhaps rare exceptions; questions that require 613.1 to answer properly are the only rules questions in MTG that I can't answer without consulting the rules. – GendoIkari Nov 2 '19 at 17:44

No, turning Magus of the Moon into an Elk will not stop it from affecting nonbasic lands.

Both of these effects in question are continuous effects, so their interaction is described by the Interaction of Continuous Effects rules section, commonly called the "layer system". The first part of that section is the most relevant here:

613.1. The values of an object’s characteristics are determined by starting with the actual object. For a card, that means the values of the characteristics printed on that card. For a token or a copy of a spell or card, that means the values of the characteristics defined by the effect that created it. Then all applicable continuous effects are applied in a series of layers in the following order:

  • 613.1a Layer 1: Copy effects are applied. See rule 706, “Copying Objects.” 613.1b Layer 2: Control-changing effects are applied.

  • 613.1c Layer 3: Text-changing effects are applied. See rule 612, “Text-Changing Effects.”

  • 613.1d Layer 4: Type-changing effects are applied. These include effects that change an object’s card type, subtype, and/or supertype.

  • 613.1e Layer 5: Color-changing effects are applied.

  • 613.1f Layer 6: Ability-adding effects, ability-removing effects, and effects that say an object can’t have an ability are applied.

  • 613.1g Layer 7: Power- and/or toughness-changing effects are applied.

Magus of the Moon's effect applies at layer 4: it changes the type of nonbasic lands to Mountain. Oko's effect applies at layers 4, 5, 6, and 7: it turns the permanent into an Elk Creature, makes it green, removes its abilities, and makes it a 3/3. So, as 613.1 says, the continuous effects are applied in that order.

First, Magus of the Moon turns nonbasic lands into Mountains and Oko's effect turns the Magus into an Elk. Second, Oko's effect turns the Magus green. Third, Oko's effect removes the Magus's ability. And fourth, Oko's effect turns the Magus into a 3/3.

You may be wondering, then, how Magus of the Moon also ends up removing abilities from nonbasic lands, if its effect only applies in layer 4. The answer is rule 305.7:

If an effect sets a land’s subtype to one or more of the basic land types, the land no longer has its old land type. It loses all abilities generated from its rules text, its old land types, and any copy effects affecting that land, and it gains the appropriate mana ability for each new basic land type. Note that this doesn’t remove any abilities that were granted to the land by other effects. Setting a land’s subtype doesn’t add or remove any card types (such as creature) or supertypes (such as basic, legendary, and snow) the land may have. If a land gains one or more land types in addition to its own, it keeps its land types and rules text, and it gains the new land types and mana abilities.

  • I'm confused. Wouldn't, the next time SBA's are check, the game not see a rule turning nonbasics into mountains, which would cause nonbasics to return to being whatever they were before? Magus of the Moon's ability doesn't still apply when he leaves the battlefield, so why would it still apply when the relevant text is not on the battlefield? – Aetherfox Nov 3 '19 at 23:57
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    State-based actions are a totally separate thing from the rules quoted here. Continuous effects are applied continuously and in a set order; they don't get re-evaluated based on the result of their evaluation. – murgatroid99 Nov 4 '19 at 0:36
  • But when the rules text for Magus of the Moon goes away, the lands must return to normal. For instance, if he's destroyed, the lands do not remain mountains because the ability altering them is gone. Why do they still remain changed when the ability is gone but Magus of the Moon is still on the battlefield (IE, elk with no abilities)? – Aetherfox Nov 4 '19 at 4:04
  • Because that is how continuous effects interact. This is what rules section 613 describes. Continuous effects are applied to the game state in the order specified by the layer system. In this situation, in the partially computed game state that the Magus's effect is applied to, the Magus still has the ability because that effect is applied on layer 4, before the layer 6 effect that removes the ability. – murgatroid99 Nov 4 '19 at 4:25
  • So if Magus of the Moon dies the lands go back to normal but if he is turned into an elk with no abilities the lands are still mountains? – Jokus Nov 4 '19 at 23:27

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