9

There are a number of ways to turn battles into creatures, for instance the classic Liquimetal Coating and Karn, the Great Creator's +1 ability.

Now, your battle is a creature, based on my reading of the rules I would expect the following to be the case:

  1. If you cast the battle on the same turn you turn it into a creature it should have summoning sickness.
  2. You should be able to attack with your battle creature, while simultaneously have your creatures attack your battle.
  3. When your creature/battle is attacked by your creatures and takes damage greater number of defense counters it should offer you the ability to cast its backside.

As of 2023-05-14, the second and third of these are untrue in Arena; I initially believed the first to be untrue as well but I realised Arena simply does not indicate the summoning sickness in the normal way on the battle creature (left in the question so not as to invalidate existing answers).

Is my understanding of the rules in error or are these Arena bugs?

3
  • I think you're right. As the person who cast the battle you are its default controller, and so everything should behave just like it were any other permanent under your control. At a guess, I suspect that the Arena developers implemented battles by putting them under the opponent's control because that made all of the common interactions work.
    – ConMan
    May 15, 2023 at 3:58
  • 3
    I think that's unlikely. When the last counter of a siege is removed, its controller may cast the back face. If the controller is the other player under the hood, that part would be harder to implement. It should be relatively simple to verify who controls a battle: just give it an activated ability and see who can activate it.
    – murgatroid99
    May 15, 2023 at 4:02
  • Or just check the valid targets of Assassins Trophy or similar. May 18, 2023 at 0:26

2 Answers 2

12

1. Summoning Sickness

Your first point is correct. A creature you control has summoning sickness if you did not control that permanent since the beginning of your current or most recent turn. It does not matter how its characteristics have changed in that time. See this question for full details of how summoning sickness works.


2. Attacking with creature battles

However, your second point is incorrect because a permanent that is both a battle and a creature cannot attack or block. The main rules that cover this are 508.1a and 509.1a:

508.1a The active player chooses which creatures that they control, if any, will attack. The chosen creatures must be untapped, they can’t also be battles, and each one must either have haste or have been controlled by the active player continuously since the turn began.

509.1a The defending player chooses which creatures they control, if any, will block. The chosen creatures must be untapped and they can’t also be battles. For each of the chosen creatures, the defending player chooses one creature for it to block that’s attacking that player, a planeswalker they control, or a battle they protect.

On the other hand, there's nothing in the rules to say that a creature battle can't be attacked.

There are other rules that cover related situations, such as 506.3e and f:

506.3e If an effect would put a creature that’s also a battle onto the battlefield attacking or blocking, that permanent enters the battlefield but it’s never considered to be an attacking or blocking creature.

506.3f If a resolving spell or ability would cause a battle to become an attacking or blocking creature, that part of the effect does nothing.


3. Damaging creature battles

Your third point is correct sometimes. If a creature/battle is dealt damage, there are three different rules that control the effects of that damage:

120.3d Damage dealt to a creature by a source with wither and/or infect causes that source’s controller to put that many -1/-1 counters on that creature.

120.3e Damage dealt to a creature by a source with neither wither nor infect causes that much damage to be marked on that creature.

120.3h Damage dealt to a battle causes that many defense counters to be removed from that battle.

So, any damage dealt to a permanent that is both a creature and a battle will result in removing that many defense counters, and in either putting -1/-1 counters on it or marking damage on it. If the damage removes the last defense counter, the triggered ability inherent to Siege battles triggers, as described in rule 310.11b:

Sieges have the intrinsic ability “When the last defense counter is removed from this permanent, exile it, then you may cast it transformed without paying its mana cost.”

After that, state-based actions are checked, and any of the following could be relevant:

704.5f If a creature has toughness 0 or less, it’s put into its owner’s graveyard. Regeneration can’t replace this event.

704.5g If a creature has toughness greater than 0, it has damage marked on it, and the total damage marked on it is greater than or equal to its toughness, that creature has been dealt lethal damage and is destroyed. Regeneration can replace this event.

704.5h If a creature has toughness greater than 0, and it’s been dealt damage by a source with deathtouch since the last time state-based actions were checked, that creature is destroyed. Regeneration can replace this event.

704.5v If a battle has defense 0 and it isn’t the source of an ability that has triggered but not yet left the stack, it’s put into its owner’s graveyard.

The last one won't actually apply, because the creature/battle is the source of an ability that has triggered but has not yet left the stack. If any of the others apply, the creature/battle dies.

After that, the triggered ability is put on the stack and resolves. If the creature/battle is still alive, the ability will exile it and you can cast it transformed as usual. However, if it died, the ability will not be able to exile it, and there will be nothing to cast.

4
  • 1
    I figured you'd know the answers. So, I think you've answered 1 & 2, but not 3?
    – John
    May 15, 2023 at 4:02
  • 2
    You're right. I was under the impression that creature battles couldn't be in combat at all, but the rules don't seem to support that, so I've updated the answer.
    – murgatroid99
    May 15, 2023 at 4:09
  • Small correction in your last paragraph After that, the triggered ability is put on the stack and resolves. The triggered ability is already on the stack, as you stated 2 paragraphs earlier. If it weren't on the stack, then rule 704.5v would have moved the battle to the graveyard. Besides the case Arcanist Lupus pointed out for creature battles, that rule seems it would mostly apply if the triggered ability is directly countered (via Stifle, Trickbind or a similar effect), or if another effect immediately ends the turn (Sundial of the Infinite, Glorious End, Time Stop, etc)
    – RisingZan
    May 17, 2023 at 13:19
  • No, that is not correct. An ability triggering and going on the stack are two separate events that happen at separate times. I didn't say that it went on the stack, I said that it triggered. And rule 704.5v says "it isn’t the source of an ability that has triggered". I suggest reading rules 603.2 and 603.3 for more information. And, to your other point, I did acknowledge that that SBA wouldn't apply; I just thought it was worth mentioning for completeness.
    – murgatroid99
    May 17, 2023 at 15:12
7

Number 1 is correct.

Battles do not interact with summoning sickness, so a battle turned into a creature should interact with summoning sickness exactly like any other permanent turned into a creature.

Number 2 is incorrect.

murgatroid explained this in detail, so I won't repeat it

Number 3 is tricky.

Damage dealt to a battle creature is applied both as it would to a battle, and as it would to a creature

120.3e Damage dealt to a creature by a source with neither wither nor infect causes that much damage to be marked on that creature.

120.3h Damage dealt to a battle causes that many defense counters to be removed from that battle.

For simplicity's sake, let's consider a 5/5 creature battle with 5 defense counters. It's dealt 5 damage. 5 defense counters are removed, and 5 damage is marked. Now state-based actions are checked.

704.5g If a creature has toughness greater than 0, it has damage marked on it, and the total damage marked on it is greater than or equal to its toughness, that creature has been dealt lethal damage and is destroyed. Regeneration can replace this event.

704.5v If a battle has defense 0 and it isn’t the source of an ability that has triggered but not yet left the stack, it’s put into its owner’s graveyard.

What's this extra text on the battle state-based action? "isn't the source of an ability that has triggered but not yet left the stack"?

That's to handle Sieges, which replace the normal battle state-based action with an exile-and-then-play effect. For some reason, rather than actually replace the action, they instead use a triggered ability (rule 310.11b), and then inserted a rule into the state-based action that makes it ignore battles with an existing triggered ability waiting to resolve* **.

310.11b Sieges have the intrinsic ability “When the last defense counter is removed from this permanent, exile it, then you may cast it transformed without paying its mana cost.”

But the special exception for triggers only exists in the Battle state-based action, not state-based actions in general. So if the battle as a creature was dealt lethal damage, it will die to the creature state-based action before the exile effect can resolve.

If the battle creature is indestructible, or loses all its defense counters without taking lethal damage then you should be able to exile and cast it as normal.


*Sagas do the same thing

**State-based actions are checked before triggered abilities are put on the stack, but this doesn't matter because the triggered ability has still triggered, even if it's not on the stack

3
  • If you're going into detail on that third point anyway, it seems like you should probably quote rule 310.11b, which is kind of the crux of the whole thing.
    – murgatroid99
    May 15, 2023 at 4:23
  • I was going to ask if state-based actions are always checked (and handled) in the specified order (so 704.5g always happens prior to 704.5v), but I see now that you're saying that 704.5v doesn't apply at all, due to the funny trigger exception? Is that correct?
    – BradC
    May 15, 2023 at 14:06
  • 1
    @BradC that's right, they carved an exception directly into the action to allow Sieges to use a trigger instead of a replacement effect. All state-based actions are handled simultaneously. May 15, 2023 at 19:28

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .