There are some cards, that have activated abilities, that a player can activate when the card is in the graveyard. For example, the ability of Stitchwing Skaab to return it from the graveyard to the battlefield.

Stitchwing Skaab

However, most of the other card abilities, a player can't activate from the graveyard. For example, Drogskol Cavalry's ability to put a spirit token to the battlefield can not be activated when it's in the graveyard.

Drogskol Cavalry

So my question is, which rule of the game allowing a player to activate some abilities from the graveyard?

  • 1
    The addition "from your graveyard". Have a look at "flashback" or "escape" mechanics.
    – Erik
    Aug 10, 2020 at 9:16
  • @Erik Sure, but where's this specified in the CR? Aug 10, 2020 at 9:23

1 Answer 1


This is Comprehensive Rule 113.6:

113.6. Abilities of an instant or sorcery spell usually function only while that object is on the stack. Abilities of all other objects usually function only while that object is on the battlefield. The exceptions are as follows:

[ ... ]

113.6k An ability whose cost or effect specifies that it moves the object it’s on out of a particular zone functions only in that zone, unless its trigger condition or a previous part of its cost or effect specifies that the object is put into that zone or, if the object is an Aura, that the object it enchants leaves the battlefield. The same is true if the effect of that ability creates a delayed triggered ability whose effect moves the object out of a particular zone

Example: Reassembling Skeleton says “{1}{B}: Return Reassembling Skeleton from your graveyard to the battlefield tapped.” A player may activate this ability only if Reassembling Skeleton is in their graveyard.

  • 1
    In short, ability activation is possible wherever it needs to be possible in order for the ability to ever be functional on its own.
    – Douglas
    Aug 10, 2020 at 18:15
  • @Douglas Except characteristic-defining abilities. They function everywhere, even outside a game.
    – ikegami
    Aug 10, 2020 at 18:43
  • @Douglas I don't think so, take the Drogskol Cavalry example from the question. That ability is perfectly possible to function on its own; compare with (say) Bridge from Below. Aug 10, 2020 at 19:23
  • 1
    @PhilipKendall Exactly. Drogskol's ability is possible to function on its own. Therefore, it acting in the graveyard is not need for it "to be possible in order for the ability to ever be functional on its own." If it's impossible for an ability to ever function except for in the graveyard, then it functions in the graveyard. Aug 10, 2020 at 20:28
  • 2
    @Philip Kendall, Douglas was imprecise. They were describing where the ability works if the ability wouldn't ever function on the stack (instants and sorceries) or battlefield (others). Ex1) Drogskol Cavalry isn't an instant of sorc or instant, so its abilities only work on the battlefield by default. Since they can work on the battlefield, they only work on the battlefield. Ex2) Bridge from Below's abilities couldn't possibly work from the battlefield, so they only work from the graveyard.
    – ikegami
    Aug 10, 2020 at 21:19

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