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In Arena, I exiled enemy's Teferi, Hero of Dominaria using Banishing Light. Some time later Banishing Light was destroyed and Teferi returned to play. It had immediately 8 loyalty.

What allows this? I thought planeswalkers return with printed loyalty?

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Your thinking is correct, when Teferi, Hero of Dominaria returns from exile as a result of Banishing Light being destroyed, it is a brand new object that should be exactly as if it was being played for the first time.

400.7. An object that moves from one zone to another becomes a new object with no memory of, or relation to, its previous existence.

There are several possible effects that could cause Teferi to have entered with 8 loyalty counters, but no way to know for sure what happened in your particular game unless you know the entire board state.

One simple possibility is that your opponent could have had Doubling Season or Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider or a similar card in play, which would cause their planeswalkers to enter with twice the normal amount of loyalty counters.

They also could have activated an ability such as Gilder Bairn as soon as Teferi entered play.

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    Based on the Arena tag, I'd guess that Vorinclex is the specific cause for this situation, which is currently the only card in Standard or History that can double loyalty counters. – ryanyuyu Apr 2 at 13:08
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    Given the Mtg Arena tag, Doubling Season and Gilder Bairn seem unlikely. My bet is Vorinclex – Arcanist Lupus Apr 2 at 13:08
  • @ArcanistLupus not to mention Gilder Bairn would still have it enter at 4 and then Gilder would need to go through the stack. If it were on MTGa then it would have shown it go that route. – Andrew Apr 2 at 14:59
  • It happened to me around 3-5 times, and I do not remember if Vorinclex was present in any or all cases. In at least one case opponent had Vorinclex in the deck at least. My fuzzy recollection is that not all of the cases are explained by Vorinclex. That would be supported by the other answer, that confirms a bug. But still I should pay more attention to Vorinclex as I always forget about that part of it's text :) – mcc Apr 6 at 10:45
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This has happened to me on many occasions, and although people have come up with perfectly legal ways for this to occur, it is actually a bug with planeswalkers exiled with prison realm/banishing light. Please see this link (and countless others) where it is confirmed by WOTC that this is a bug on arena which should be fixed with the Strixhaven update.

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    I accepted the other answer as I cannot rule it out, and it will be valid even after they fix the bug. Thanks for the info, I would accept both answers if possible. – mcc Apr 6 at 10:47

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