I need to find the ruling where it says, when I want to put a creature from my hand onto the battlefield, that I have to cast it and that it's a spell on the stack.

302.1. A player who has priority may cast a creature card from their hand during a main phase of their turn when the stack is empty. Casting a creature as a spell uses the stack. (See rule 601, “Casting Spells.”)

So now I have to find the rule where it says how to cast a creature as a spell:

601.2. To cast a spell is to take it from where it is (usually the hand), put it on the stack, and pay its costs, so that it will eventually resolve and have its effect. Casting a spell includes proposal of the spell (rules 601.2a–d) and determination and payment of costs (rules 601.2f–h). To cast a spell, a player follows the steps listed below, in order. A player must be legally allowed to cast the spell to begin this process (see rule 601.3). If a player is unable to comply with the requirements of a step listed below while performing that step, the casting of the spell is illegal ; the game returns to the moment before the casting of that spell was proposed (see rule 725, “Handling Illegal Actions”).

Problem here is that a guy just didn't want to accept that a creature is a spell before it enters the battlefield if cast from the hand, he meant that you don't have to cast the spell, just pay mana and there it goes onto the field.

Background: Forgotten Ancient triggers whenever a player casts a spell. He didn't accept that creatures trigger here.

Are there some more definite rules? Or a line where it says to play cards that you have to cast them, if nothing else stands on the card.

  • 3
    If is apparently a common misconception -- which was shared in 1990ies by many my country MTG players including myself -- that creature cards are not spells. In this question it is affirmed that they are and discussed as well boardgames.stackexchange.com/questions/49202/… note also that in earlier editions creature cards read "Summon <creature type>" instead of "Creature <type>". Ie. "Summon Zombie" instead of "Creature Zombie"
    – Gnudiff
    Commented Feb 4, 2020 at 22:13
  • Does your friend play hearthstone. This may be the source of his confusion
    – Neil Meyer
    Commented Nov 3, 2021 at 19:21

5 Answers 5


We have

701.13b To play a card means to play that card as a land or to cast that card as a spell, whichever is appropriate.

There is no room in this rule for a way to "play a creature" other than casting it as a spell. Only lands go directly from hand to battlefield. Unless he has a card with an effect along the lines of "put a creature card from your hand onto the battlefield", as those creatures aren't spells.

  • Exactly what I was searching for.
    – Eggi
    Commented Feb 4, 2020 at 10:42
  • 1
    @Arthur Clever, but not quite correct. 305.9 prohibits you from casting it, even if you wouldn't need to pay its unpayable mana cost.
    – VeeArr
    Commented Feb 5, 2020 at 0:49
  • 3
    @Douglas I thought so too until this morning. However, as VeeArr points out, the lack of a mana cost is not the strongest prohibition against this. A lack of mana cost can always be circumvented by other cards that let you cast cards from your hand or other places without paying their mana costs or for an alternate cost. No, a card that has the type land is explicitly forbidden from being played as anything other than a land, according to 305.9, regardless of ability to pay costs.
    – Arthur
    Commented Feb 5, 2020 at 18:28
  • 1
    @corsiKa Not at all. Douglas' argument implies that the Dryad may be cast through Ætherworks Marvel or Bring to Light, or use Kari Zev's Expertise to get it onto the battlefield without using your land drop for the turn. And had the Dryad been, say, a creature without mana cost but with suspend, those would've been allowed. But because it's a land, it's not allowed.
    – Arthur
    Commented Feb 5, 2020 at 23:50
  • 1
    @corsiKa Then look at suspend. The actual wording of that ability uses "play it without paying its mana cost", and several suspend cards are without mana cost. You ought to be able to cast them once the suspend expires, wouldn't you say?
    – Arthur
    Commented Feb 6, 2020 at 0:16

Arthur's answer certainly answers your question, but just to add on to it, here's a link to Gatherer featuring all the cards that contain the phrase "noncreature spell" in it's text. This includes the keyword "Prowess".

Prowess (Whenever you cast a noncreature spell, this creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn.)

If the game worked in the way your friend said it did (that creatures weren't spells) then the phrase "noncreature spell" would be completely pointless.

  • 1
    This is a great way to appeal to people without having to pop out lawyery comprehensive rules
    – Cruncher
    Commented Feb 5, 2020 at 17:26

In case it's helpful to have a simpler explanation, in the basic rules they're quite explicit about this.

To cast a spell, you must pay its mana cost (located in the upper right corner of the card) by tapping lands (or other permanents) to make the amount and Game Actions type of mana which that spell requires. For example, if you were casting Serra Angel, which costs 3 (W) (W), you could tap three basic lands of any type to pay plus two Plains to pay .

Once a spell has been cast, one of two things happens. If the spell is an instant or a sorcery, you follow the instructions on the card, and then you put the card into your graveyard. If the spell is a creature, artifact, or enchantment, you put the card on the table in front of you. The card is now on the battlefield.

They don't talk about things at the level of complexity of "stack" in this section, but it's quite clear about it being a spell that you cast.


Here's are some more specific rules found in the comprehensive rules (2020-04-24) that clarify that creatures must be cast as spells and then they end up on the battlefield if they resolve (emphasis mine)

302.1. A player who has priority may cast a creature card from their hand during a main phase of their turn when the stack is empty. Casting a creature as a spell uses the stack. (See rule 601, “Casting Spells.”)

302.2. When a creature spell resolves, its controller puts it onto the battlefield under their control.

  • 1
    @Joe It is called Magic Comprehensive Rules. You can find them on this page: magic.wizards.com/en/game-info/gameplay/rules-and-formats/rules Note that links to PDF with Comprehensive Rules appear only on English-language version of the website.
    – hijarian
    Commented Feb 4, 2020 at 21:16
  • The question was about the ruling which states that creatures have to be cast as spells (if nothing else is standing on the card or you make some shenanigans like through the breach).
    – Eggi
    Commented Feb 6, 2020 at 5:41

Cards with "counter target creature spell":https://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Search/Default.aspx?action=advanced&text=+[counter]+[target]+[creature]+[spell]


Deny Existence 2U
Counter target creature spell. If that spell is countered this way, exile it instead of putting it into its owner's graveyard.

The only reason that creatures can be countered is that when the counter is cast, the creature is a spell on the stack. If creatures were instantly put on the battlefield, no one would have a chance to counter them.

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