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Oblivion Ring MTG
Detention Sphere

Detention Sphere Russian

Last Modified 21.01.2018

We shall review another great card from Return to Ravnica this time. Detention Sphere is also called “The imroved Ring”, referencing Oblivion Ring, and it is quite obviously much more powerful than the Ring. Let’s learn to use it properly.

Detention Sphere

Oracle Text:

Enchantment

When Detention Sphere enters the battlefield, you may exile target nonland permanent not named Detention Sphere and all other permanents with the same name as that permanent.

When Detention Sphere leaves the battlefield, return the exiled cards to the battlefield under their owner's control.

Detention Sphere is an enchantment. The Detention Sphere spell does not target anything, when it resolves, the Detention Sphere permanent enters the battlefield where it stays until an effect moves it to another zone.

Detention Sphere is two colors, white and blue. This means that:

Force of Will

Detention Sphere may be exiled from your hand to pay the alternative cost of Force of Will.

Mistveil Plains

Detention Sphere will be countered by the second ability of Mistveil Plains.

Both of Detention Sphere’s abilities are triggered abilities of changing zones. We recognize these by the word “when” and the triggering events: “enters the battlefield” and “leaves the battlefield”.

After Detention Sphere has entered the battlefield (no matter how exactly), its first ability triggers (provided that the permanent has that ability at the moment).

Lay Claim

Change of control does not involve entering the battlefield. If your cunning but inexperienced opponent steals your Detention Sphere, he won’t trigger its abilities just because.

Show and Tell

When Show and Tell resolves, we may put Detention Sphere onto the battlefield. Although Detention Sphere wasn’t cast, it has entered the battlefield which triggers its first ability.

After putting a trigger onto the stack, the controller must choose a legal target for it, which is a permanent that’s not a land and whose name is not “Detention Sphere”. Let me remind you that permanents are cards and tokens on the battlefield.

Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

Emrakul is a great target for Detention Sphere. The Sphere spell doesn’t target at all, and the source of the trigger is a permanent, not a spell, while Emrakul’s ability only protects her from colored spells.

Gideon Jura

Detention Sphere’s ability may target any nonland permanent that’s not named Detention Sphere. This may be a creature, enchantment, artifact or a Planeswalker.

If there is no legal target for the ability, it is removed from the stack and does nothing.

Mutavault

An animated land usually preserves the type Land (you can tell by reading the ability text carefully), so it is an illegal target for Detention Sphere’s ability.

Dryad Arbor

Dryad Arbor is both a land and a creature, so it may not be chosen as the target for Detention Sphere.

Detention Sphere

You may not target the same or another Detention Sphere, unless you somehow change its name. This way we can be safe from having to observe endless cycles that could be launched with three Oblivion Rings.

In order to get the effect of this ability, we need to get it to resolve.

Disallow

A triggered ability may be countered, it will then leave the stack and produce no effect.

Stave Off

It will also get countered (fizzled in slang) if its only target becomes illegal before resolution. For instance, through receiving Protection from white/blue/enchantments/everything or Hexproof (Shroud).

Phantasmal Bear

If you choose Phantasmal Bear as the target, its trigger will go off and appear on the stack above the Sphere’s trigger. It will resolve first, the Image will be sacrificed, and the trigger will fizzle.

The ability resolves if it becomes the top element of the stack and all players pass in turn order. If the target is still legal, the target permanent and all permanents with the same name are exiled.

Wurmcoil Engine

Wurmcoil Engine’s trigger generates two different tokens with the same name. Detention Sphere’s ability only cares about matching names, so if either Wurm is targeted, all tokens named Wurm will be exiled, no matter what color or abilities they have.

Phyrexian Metamorph

Name is a copiabe value, so Phyrexian Metamorph (and any other clone that copies the name) will be exiled along with the target which has the same name.

Morph

A face-down card has no name. It’s silly to target such a permanent with Detention Sphere and hope that all Morphs leave us. There’s no match for a nonexisting name.

Delver of Secrets
Insectile Aberrations

When dealing with double-faced cards, you need to remember that different faces of the card have different names. By choosing Delver of Secrets as the target for Detention Sphere’s first triggered ability, you will only get rid of Delvers. Insectile Aberrations will be safe, as they have different names.

Bushi Tenderfoot

The same is valid for flip cards. Different states of the same card feature different names.

If it so happens that there is a land permanent that has the same name as the target nonland permanent, it will be exiled too. You figure out how this is possible.

Here is a hint:

Only one permanent is targeted by the first ability, so all permanents with the same name as that one are exiled even if any of them has Shroud, Hexproof or relevant Protection (provided that the ability resolves successfully).

Angelic Overseer

If you choose your Angelic Overseeras the target, an opponent’s Overseer will be exiled along with it even if the opponent controls a Human and her Angelic Overseer has Hexproof.

Since Detention Sphere’s first ability does not specifically mention the player whose permanents are to be exiled, all permanents with the same name as the target are exiled, no matter who controls them.

0/0 black Germ creature token

If a token is exiled, it cannot return. Whenever it is moved to any zone other than the battlefield, it ceases to exist upon the nearest SBA check.

Melira, Sylvok Outcast

If a Commander is exiled through Detention Sphere’s effect, rule 903.11 comes into effect, which allows to put it into the command zone instead.

Misthollow Griffin

Detention Sphere’s first ability exiles cards face up. Misthollow Griffin may be cast from exile through its static ability.

Detention Sphere’s second ability triggers when Detention Sphere leaves the battlefield. It doesn’t matter where it is heading. Such abilities trigger from the battlefield, so it matters whether the ability exists just before Detention Sphere leaves the battlefield.

Erase

Detention Sphere’s ability triggers no matter where the Sphere is going from the battlefield: to the graveyard, exile, hand or library.

Yixlid Jailer

If Detention Sphere is moved from the battlefield to the graveyard with a Yixlid Jailer in it, its second ability will trigger.

According to rule 607.2a., the first and second abilities of Detention Sphere are linked. When the second ability resolves, only the cards exiled by that very Sphere’s first ability will return (tokens cannot really return).

Olivia Voldaren

Cards enter the battlefield under their owners' control, not their previous controllers'!

Riftsweeper

Only cards exiled with the Sphere’s first ability that are still exiled can return.

Misthollow Griffin

If a card has changed zones, it cannot return because it is considered a new object.

Here’s the most unexpected part:

Krosan Grip

If Detention Sphere leaves the battlefield before its first ability resolves (for example if it falls under Krosan Grip’s effect in response to its first trigger), the second ability will trigger.

It will appear on the stack above the first one, so it will resolve first. Nothing will happen on its resolution, since nothing has been exiled with the first trigger (it hasn’t even resolved yet!).

Then, as the first trigger resolves, the target permanent and all permanents with the same name are exiled.

Tokens cease to exist upon the nearest SBA check, and cards will remain exiled indefinitely, until an effect moves them from there.


  1. Sakashima the Impostor keeps its own name. Ref. Copying permanents and cards for details.
  2. Abilities of one Sphere have no relation to the other’s, because according to the rules, when a rules text refers to an object by name, it means that specific object, not any other object with the same name.

Translated by Witas Spasovski