Is there any process or series of plays/cards that would allow an instant to be put onto the battlefield as a permanent, instead of resolving? Would it resolve anyway, even if not cast? Not including something like manifesting an instant, where it's not technically the card.

4 Answers 4


There's a clear boundary between the two types of cards (one having a 'lasting' effect, the other a 'momentary' effect), and as far as I can see that's intentional. In the history of Magic: The Gathering, a handful of instant/sorcery cards with transform and/or manifest have been printed, and with some other cards it would be possible to make permanents of them, except for some very specific rules (mentioned by @doppelgreener) preventing this:

304.4. Instants can’t enter the battlefield. If an instant would enter the battlefield, it remains in its previous zone instead.

307.4. Sorceries can’t enter the battlefield. If a sorcery would enter the battlefield, it remains in its previous zone instead.

701.27d If a spell or ability instructs a player to transform a permanent, and the face that permanent would transform into is represented by an instant or sorcery card face, nothing happens.

701.33f If a manifested permanent that’s represented by an instant or sorcery card would turn face up, its controller reveals it and leaves it face down. Abilities that trigger whenever a permanent is turned face up won’t trigger.

Even if those rules didn't exist, the text on an instant or sorcery indicates what happens when the spell resolves. So if you could somehow get a Lightning Bolt on the battlefield as a permanent, it won't do any damage, not even when it enters the battlefield.

  • That's what I thought would happen. Printed text would happen upon resolution, doesn't matter if it doesn't resolve.
    – CollinB
    Commented Nov 15, 2019 at 17:53
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    See also: 304.4 and 307.4, which are rules specifically preventing instants and sorceries from entering the battlefield, and 701.27d (transform) and 701.33f (manifest) which prevent face-down instants/sorceries from being turned face up. Commented Nov 15, 2019 at 17:55
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    I don't think any of those rules are superfluous. 304.4/307.4 handle interactions between Manifest and flicker/Journey to Nowhere type of effects. 701.27d was definitely created specifically to handle the interaction between Startled Awake/Persistent Nightmare and Moonmist or Waxing Moon with some kind of type changing effect. 701.33f handles interactions between Manifest and Break Open (and probably some other card I'm not thinking of).
    – CALEB F
    Commented Nov 15, 2019 at 19:49
  • @CALEBF you're probably right, but the OP already excluded Manifest.
    – Glorfindel
    Commented Nov 15, 2019 at 20:15
  • Well, I took that to mean they didn't care that an Instant or Sorcery could be on the battlefield manifested because that was trivial and uninteresting. If being manifested first was one of the steps that could eventually get a face up Instant or Sorcery onto the battlefield, I think they would still be interested in that answer (but those rules prevent those kinds of weird tricks).
    – CALEB F
    Commented Nov 15, 2019 at 22:36

It's not possible, but it almost was.

In 2001, Wizards added this bit of errata:

The creature type of the tokens created by Splintering Wind has changed from Splinter to Sprite to prevent an unintended and strange interaction with the Splinter sorcery.

They don't say what the interaction actually is, but there's a good chance that it was related to the card Retraced Image (which would be released in Torment about 6 months later), which read

Reveal a card in your hand, then put that card into play if it has the same name as a permanent in play.

In the absence of rules 304.4 and 307.4, this would allow you to put the (Sorcery) card Splinter into play if you had a Splinter token in play. Which is, as they say, "an unintended and strange interaction."

I have not been able to find any evidence as to whether or not rules 304.4 and 307.4 (which put the kibosh on these sorts of shenanigans) existed at the time. They certainly existed in 2006, when Time Spiral reprinted Splintering Wind and reerrataed the tokens to be Splinters again.

  • iirc there was a similar issue to do with the Illusion half of the Illusion // Reality split card before the rules for split cards were changed.
    – user3490
    Commented Nov 18, 2019 at 13:17

Sort of, but not really.

As Glorfindel said, not currently. However, this card was very recently shown at a MtG event where packs contained experimental/prototype cards. It does exactly what you're looking for.

Speculation: If they're testing out gameplay of this mechanic, they may be considering releasing something officially that does something like that.

  • Honestly, I think that the fact that this was included is a good sign they aren't planning on doing it. It seems like something that has been on their radar for an extremely long time, and they wouldn't want to take away some of the wow factor by showing that they are still testing it. I think the test cards represent things that they are pretty sure that they are not going to do, at least in that form.
    – CALEB F
    Commented Nov 15, 2019 at 19:55
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    The release notes describe those cards as "unprecedented peek inside an early stage of the design process". They have said elsewhere that part of the purpose of including the playtest cards is to gauge interest and reactions. So, I think it's not accurate to say that those cards generally represent discarded ideas.
    – murgatroid99
    Commented Nov 15, 2019 at 20:36
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    Mark Rosewater has been pretty vehement that the 'playtest' cards are nothing of the sort. They were created for the Mystery Boosters for the purpose of being entertaining, and are almost entirely unconnected to their actual design process. I'm sure that they will get feedback from the cards and some of the ideas may end up actually being used, but the cards shouldn't be taken as indicative of anything. Commented Nov 15, 2019 at 20:53
  • I stand corrected, but still agree with @ArcanistLupus that this shouldn't indicate anything one way or another.
    – CALEB F
    Commented Nov 15, 2019 at 22:30

This is not possible under normal gameplay:

400.4a If an instant or sorcery card would enter the battlefield, it remains in its previous zone.

Of course, silver-bordered or other non-tournament-legal cards (including the Mystery Booster test cards) may bend the rules in ways not covered by the Comprehensive Rules. In such cases, absent official rulings, this would be up to your playgroup to decide. (The rulings for the test cards can be found in the Mystery Booster release notes.)

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