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Given that Misthollow Griffin can be cast from exile, if you somehow use Mimic Vat to imprint the Misthollow Griffin and then cast Misthollow Griffin and remove it from exile, can you still make Misthollow Griffin tokens via Mimic Vat?

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4 Answers 4

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No. The exiled card has ceased to be in exile, so the activated ability will be unable to find it when it resolves. Misthollow Griffin isn't even required for this question, sinceMimic Vat itself is constantly exiling creatures, and then returning those cards to their owners graveyard. You can no longer make copies of cards that were returned to their owners graveyards, neither can you copy Misthollow Griffin if it changes zones.

Mimic Vat contains linked abilities. The first triggered ability exiles cards when they die (technically, these do not have to be creature cards, they only need to be creatures when they die). The second activated ability returns a token copy of the card to the battlefield until the beginning of the next end step. There are some unusual corner cases where it is important to know which ability was responsible for exiling a particular card, if some card gains multiple exile abilities, since only the abilities that are linked are able to refer to the cards exiled in that way. (Note: The CR give an interesting example with Quicksilver Elemental, Arc-Slogger, and Sisters of Stone Death that I won't review here)

607.2a If an object has an activated or triggered ability printed on it that instructs a player to exile one or more cards and an ability printed on it that refers either to “the exiled cards” or to cards “exiled with [this object],” these abilities are linked. The second ability refers only to cards in the exile zone that were put there as a result of an instruction to exile them in the first ability.

406.5. An object may have one ability printed on it that causes one or more cards to be exiled, and another ability that refers either to “the exiled cards” or to cards “exiled with [this object].” These abilities are linked: the second refers only to cards that have been exiled due to the first. See rule 607, “Linked Abilities.”

So, what happens if the card is no longer in exile (or is exiled again by some other effect)? It becomes a new object, with no relation to it's precious existence. What this means is that Mimic Vat cannot find the card that was exiled, and therefore cannot copy it.

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 seven exceptions to this rule: ... (seven exceptions removed for brevity, none apply)

406.6. If an object in the exile zone becomes exiled, it doesn’t change zones, but it becomes a new object that has just been exiled.

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If the Misthollow Griffin leaves the exile zone, you cease to be able to make "a copy of the exiled card", as it no longer counts as "the exiled card".

It's not actually the fact of having been exiled at some point that makes a card an "exiled card", it's the fact of being in the exile zone.

I'd make an analogy of this with, let's say, an Aura that "enchants a green creature". If the creature later ceases to be green, the enchantment ceases to be valid. Likewise, with Mimic Vat, if the exiled card ceases to be exiled, it has broken the terms of the agreement (as it were) and is no longer copiable by the Vat.

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No you cannot.

As with any imprint cards, the ability related to the imprinted card is only available as long as the imprinted card does not change zone, otherwise the game loses track of the relationship between Mimic Vat and the imprinted card.

For instance, a Chrome Mox would not produce mana if the imprinted card leaves the exile zone.

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  • For info: I accepted your question edit as helpful, but there is a much simpler syntax, which will save you time in future: [mtg: Chrome Mox]. See Please add support for the magic autocard window for more details. Aug 16, 2012 at 23:00
  • @ire_and_curses thanks for the tip, but from here the simplified form is just not working. It just gives the link to wizards site, with no popup of anysort. Tested on Chrome 21 and IE 9, Windows 7 64 bits. Also tested in the link you provided in the comment. Aug 16, 2012 at 23:08
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    Indeed, linking to the site, not pop-up, is the expected implemented behaviour (you can see this in the comments, although it is not entirely obvious). I have re-raised this discussion though, because I think it wasn't very clearly explained the first time through. Personally, I think hover should be implemented. Feel free to upvote my request if you agree! Aug 17, 2012 at 0:00
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No, as of the November 18th Comprehensive Rules update, you may not make any tokens of any kind in this scenario.

111.11. If an effect instructs a player to create a token that is a copy of a nonexistent object, no token is created (see rule 707, “Copying Objects”). This does not apply to an effect that would use the last known information of an object.

Example: Mimic Vat has a triggered ability whose effect gives you the option to exile a card and an activated ability that says “Create a token that’s a copy of a card exiled with Mimic Vat. It gains haste. Exile it at the beginning of the next end step.” If no card has been exiled with Mimic Vat’s triggered ability, no token is created.

Prior to November 2022, it seemed a pretty settled question. But it could be argued (and there was no rule to stop your assertion) that since Mimic Vat could no longer find your Misthollow Griffin, you would obtain a token that is a copy of nothing.

This interesting omission was discussed in a recent Comprehensive Rules update.

The new rule joins the other rules in place to prohibit gaining, however small, an advantage from this scenario:

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.
I have omitted 12 exceptions here, that do not apply to this scenario.

406.5. Exiled cards that might return to the battlefield or any other zone should be kept in separate piles to keep track of their respective ways of returning. Exiled cards that may have an impact on the game due to their own abilities (such as cards with haunt) or the abilities of the cards that exiled them should likewise be kept in separate piles.

406.7. If an object in the exile zone becomes exiled, it doesn’t change zones, but it becomes a new object that has just been exiled.

607.2a If an object has an activated or triggered ability printed on it that instructs a player to exile one or more cards and an ability printed on it that refers either to “the exiled cards” or to cards “exiled with [this object],” these abilities are linked. The second ability refers only to cards in the exile zone that were put there as a result of an instruction to exile them in the first ability.

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