I have recently built a cycling commander deck and have a question about an interaction between Abandoned Sarcophagus and Rebuild. If I have Abandoned Sarcophagus on the battlefield and cast Rebuild, is Rebuild exiled from Abandoned Sarcophagus's ability or does Abandoned Sarcophagus's ability not apply because the Abandoned Sarcophagus has been returned to my hand?
Rebuild will go to the graveyard, not exile, because the Abandoned Sarcophagus has already been returned to your hand.
The most important thing to note here is that Abandoned Sarcophagus's second ability is a replacement effect. You can tell because it uses the word "instead" [CR 614.1a]. This means that it applies at the time that the event it replaces occurs. In this case, that event is Rebuild going to the graveyard. By the time Rebuild finishes resolving and goes to the graveyard, it has already returned Abandoned Sarcophagus to your hand, so that replacement effect no longer exists and it no longer moves the Rebuild to exile.
608.2m As the final part of an instant or sorcery spell’s resolution, the spell is put into its owner’s graveyard. As the final part of an ability’s resolution, the ability is removed from the stack and ceases to exist.
So, here's the order:
- You cast Rebuild.
- When Rebuild resolves, you first perform the text of the card: "Return all artifacts to their owners' hands."
- As the final step of resolving Rebuild, you put the card into your graveyard. At this point, Abandoned Sarcophagus is not on the battlefield anymore, so its ability does not apply.
You fully perform the action of returning artifacts to owners' hands before performing the action of putting Abandoned Sarcophagus in your graveyard.