My understanding is that being attacked by a creature with Annihilator N, which would force me to choose and sacrifice N permanents while have a Sacred Ground on the battlefield means that if I sacrificed lands on resolution those lands would come back onto the battlefield since an opponent controlled the Annihilator ability. (Possibly even providing me with a benefit, due to ETB effects or sacrificing tapped Basic lands to get them back untapped.)

However, I understand that any intervening ability or effects including state based effects would interfere with the Sacred Ground's ability. For instance a Stalking Stones that's turned itself into an Artifact Creature should come back from an opponent's Shatter, but not a Lightning Bolt since the state based action of having enough damage to kill it puts it in the graveyard, not the Lightning Bolt itself.

Are there any intervening effects involved in making a choice of sacrifices, or other effects I've missed, that prevent Sacred Ground from bringing back a land sacrificed to an opponent's creature's Annihilator ability? Or are there any issues in my interpretation of the abilities in question?

If I gave the opponent's creature the Annihilator ability through Eldrazi Conscription (or copy effects or other contrivance...) does anything change? (Not that I plan to do anything of the sort, just to be comprehensive in my understanding.)

1 Answer 1


Yes, this works as you describe.

Although Sacred Ground has no rulings in Gatherer; we can look at a similarly-worded card, such as Nephalia Academy.

If a spell or ability an opponent controls causes you to discard a card, you may reveal that card and put it on top of your library instead of putting it anywhere else.

This has the following ruling:

If a spell or ability an opponent controls causes you to make a choice and you choose to discard a card, Nephalia Academy’s ability will apply.

This should make it clear that even when you have a choice to make; if you choose the thing that the ability cares about, it counts as your opponent's spell or ability "causing" it to happen.

In the case of Annihilator; your opponent controls the Annihilator triggered ability which is what causes you to sacrifice a permanent.

This would be no different if you controlled an Eldrazi Conscription enchanting an opponent's creature; because your opponent's creature is still the object with the Annihilator ability. It would be different if Eldrazi Conscription said "whenever enchanted creature attacks; defending player must sacrifice 2 permanents". If that were the wording; then you would be the controller of the ability, not your opponent.

  • The reference to the ruling on Nephalia Acadamy is helpful. At first I wasn't sure that discarding and sacrificing were going to have a relevant connection, but the ruling about making choices seems to be pretty clear. Commented Apr 13, 2020 at 21:01
  • @InternetHobo Yeah I wasn't able to find any other "causes"-worded card except ones that talked about discarding. But the "even if you had a choice" seems key. I don't think the comprehensive rules define something like this, because it's relying on the normal English meaning of the word "causes".
    – GendoIkari
    Commented Apr 13, 2020 at 21:56

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