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Why does the Enduring Angel from Innistrad: Midnight Hunt has the following text:

Then if Enduring Angel didn't transform this way, you lose the game

When does it apply?

2 Answers 2

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Clones (like Clone) and tokens copies (created by effects like Cackling Counterpart) don't have a backside and can't transform for that reason. If you had a copy or clone of Enduring Angel and you tried to transform it you'd lose the game.

Also, if it were under the effect of a card which stops it from transforming (like Bound by Moonsilver) you would also lose the game.

Ruling:

701.28c: If a spell or ability instructs a player to transform a permanent that isn’t represented by a transforming double-faced card, nothing happens.

UPDATE (13-09-2023):

Since the release of March of the Machine tokens can transform (this was done to make the incubator tokens work). So, cards that create token copies (like from Cackling Counterpart) will be able to transform. This has also changed the ruling to:

701.28c: If a spell or ability instructs a player to transform a permanent that isn’t represented by a transforming token or a transforming double-faced card, nothing happens.

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  • The day after this answer was posted, the card received this interesting ruling: "If a transforming double-faced card has somehow become a copy of Enduring Angel, the replacement effect will apply, the copy of Enduring Angel will transform, and your life total will become 3. However, because the copy effect that makes it Enduring Angel continues to apply to it after it transforms, it will still be a copy of Enduiring [sic] Angel. This means that the replacement effect will be applied again if your life total would be reduced to 0 or less a second time while that copy effect is still applied." Commented Oct 15, 2022 at 2:10
  • "If you had a copy or clone of Enduring Angel and it transformed you'd lose the game." I take it you mean something along the lines "If you had a copy or clone of Enduring Angel and it tried to transform you'd lose the game"? If a copy did in fact transform, you wouldn't lose the game. Commented Oct 15, 2022 at 15:44
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    Due to the introduction of transforming incubator tokens in Phyrexia: All Will Be One, a token copy of Enduring Angel can now transform. So the rules text only applies to clones. Commented Sep 13, 2023 at 15:06
  • @CainGoldhardt you're absolutely right, I've added an update to my answer to reflect the changes in the ruling Commented Sep 13, 2023 at 15:14
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I'm sure there are others, but probably the most common situation is if you make a token copy of Enduring Angel; because the token doesn't have a back side, it can't transform.

Perhaps the most well-known case here is Garruk Relentless - if you copied Garruk and then reduced his loyalty, the game would draw due to an infinite sequence of Garruk's "transform" trigger going on the stack, failing to do anything and then triggering again.

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