Each new set features new mechanics. The most curious mechanics in “Fate Reforged” is undoubtedly Manifest.
We have here a green 4/4 creature with just one creature type and no supertypes whatsoever. It has two abilities which are of particular interest to us.
The first ability of Whisperwood Elemental
“At the beginning of your end step, manifest the top card of your library. (Put it onto the battlefield face down as a 2/2 creature. Turn it face up any time for its mana cost if it’s a creature card.)”.
- At the beginning of — indicates that this is a triggered ability which triggers at the beginning of
- your end step — the beginning of this step of your turn is the moment when this ability triggers. As soon as this step begins, all such abilities trigger first, then SBA are checked, then the triggers are put onto the stack in APNAP order, and only after all that the active player (the controller of Whisperwood Elemental) gets priority.
- manifest the top card of your library. — that is the trigger effect, we get to perform it only as the trigger resolves. Triggers do not do anything right away (with the exception of mana triggers), they need to be put onto the stack, then resolve.
The effect of Whisperwood Elemental’s trigger isn’t optional. You must manifest that top card of your library (provided there is one, clearly).
- (Put it onto the battlefield face down as a 2/2 creature. Turn it face up any time for its mana cost if it’s a creature card.) — everything written in italics isn’t a rule. Parenthesis include reminder text. For example, this reminder text is critically incomplete: It’s not actually “any time” but rather “any time you have priority”!
When you have grasped the general basis about the ability, let us get a deeper look at how this Manifest happens.
701.31a. “To manifest [a card], turn it face down. It becomes a 2/2 face-down creature card with no text, no name, no subtypes, and no mana cost. Put that card onto the battlefield face down. That permanent is a manifested permanent as long as it remains face down. The effect defining its characteristics works while the card is face down and ends when it’s turned face up.”
Should it occur that you manifest a double-faced card, it becomes interesting. Considering that it is either represented in the deck as a checklist card, or is inserted in a fully opaque sleeve, you are naturally able to put it onto the battlefield with its sun side face down just like any other card, and it will feature the afore-mentioned characteristics. However, according to the new rules, it may not be transformed. If the sun side of the card is a creature card, you may turn it face-up by paying the mana cost of the card. At that moment it becomes a regular double-faced card without any restriction on transforming. A double-faced card cannot be “turned face-down” by any effect, it can only be “transformed”.
The manifested card enters the battlefield as a creature. It is subject to all corresponding effects, and causes all corresponding triggers to trigger.
701.31b. Any time you have priority, you may turn a manifested permanent you control face up. This is a special action that doesn’t use the stack (see rule 115.2b). To do this, show all players that the card representing that permanent is a creature card and what that card’s mana cost is, pay that cost, then turn the permanent face up.
The effect defining its characteristics while it was face down ends, and it regains its normal characteristics. (If the card representing that permanent isn’t a creature card or it doesn’t have a mana cost, it can’t be turned face up this way.)
It is very important to account that a special action may only be performed when you have priority. You may not turn a manifested permanent face-up when:
- a spell is being cast or an ability is being activated;
- spells or abilities are resolving;
- attackers/blockers are being declared (though it will be possible just after, when you receive priority!);
- combat damage is being dealt etc.
I.e. it’s not really
Another condition to turn a card face-up is for it to be a creature card. Here we have differences from the Morphs which we already happen to know well. The rule for Morph says “ show all players what the permanent’s morph cost would be if it were face up, pay that cost, then turn the permanent face up”, while the rule for Manifest says “show all players that the card representing that permanent is a creature card and what that card’s mana cost is, pay that cost, then turn the permanent face up”. The main difference is that with Manifest, the game doesn’t peep into the future, it just looks at what’s printed on the card!
Lastly, the third condition to turn a card face-up is that card having a mana cost. If the manifested card does not have a mana cost, it cannot be paid, so it may not be turned face-up.
Effects that modify the casting cost of a spell or the cost of activating an ability do not apply to the cost which you pay for turning a manifested creature face-up:
701.31c.If a card with morph is manifested, its controller may turn that card face up using either the procedure described in rule 702.36d to turn a face-down permanent with morph face up or the procedure described above to turn a manifested permanent face up.
Unlike Morphs, a manifested card has no abilities that allow to turn it face-up. This effect is created by Manifest itself. This means that if a manifested creature loses all abilities, it may still be turned face-up (as long as it has a mana cost).
By copying a manifested card you will get a face-down card without the Manifest effect. It may not be turned face-up by paying its mana cost.
If a manifested card becomes a copy of some other card through, say, Mirrorweave, it remains manifested.
701.31d. If an effect instructs a player to manifest multiple cards from his or her library, those cards are manifested one at a time.
We need this rule in case we need to determine values based on the number of permanents on the battlefield. Cards are moved from the library onto the battlefield one by one, not all at once. If an effect would instruct us to keep the top card of the library revealed (such as Courser of Kruphix), each of those cards would have to be revealed.
701.31e. If a manifested permanent that’s represented by an instant or sorcery card would turn face up, its controller reveals it and leaves it face down. Abilities that trigger whenever a permanent is turned face up won’t trigger.
701.31f. See rule 707, “Face-Down Spells and Permanents,” for more information.
All this information is already described in the article about Morphs. If you haven’t familiarized yourself with it yet, please proceed there.
- You may look at the face of a face-down card under your control at any time.
- When a game ends or a face-down card is moved to another zone (including hidden zones), you must reveal its face to other players.
- You may not change the visual order of face-down permanents in order to confuse an opponent. The easiest way to track all face-down permanents is to use specifically designated markers and to number them (e.g. Morph 1, Morph 2, Manifest 1, Manifest 2 etc.).
- When a permanent is turned face-up it remains the same permanent: it doesn’t have summoning sickness; it doesn’t lose counters, auras and equipments (exceptions do occur); a spell or ability targeting a face-down permanent will continue targeting it after it is turned face-up.
- When a creature is turned face-up, it doesn’t enter the battlefield, it has already been there for some time, it simply had different characteristics.
- If you have manifested your Commander, this fact has to be marked somehow. Combat damage dealt by it will be Commander damage, regardless of whether it is face-up or down.
Whisperwood Elemental’s second ability
"Sacrifice Whisperwood Elemental : Until end of turn, face-up nontoken creatures you control gain “When this creature dies, manifest the top card of your library."
- : — unambiguosly indicates that this is an activated ability.
- The part in front of the colon is the ability’s cost: Sacrifice Whisperwood Elemental.
If you sacrifice the Elemental as instructed by an effect (Cruel Edict) or as payment for another ability (Birthing Pod), this does not automatically mean activating Whisperwood Elemental’s second ability, so you won’t get its effect.
- The part after the colon is the effect, i.e. what kind of things happen upon resolution: until end of turn, face-up nontoken creatures you control gain “When this creature dies, manifest the top card of your library."
As this ability resolves, each of your non-token creatures gets a trigger. These creatures will keep those triggers until end of turn. All creature cards that will enter the battlefield under your control, or permanents that will become creatures, after the said ability resolves, will not have this trigger.
“When this creature dies, manifest the top card of your library"
- When — indicates that it’s a trigger
- with a triggering condition — this creature dies — dies meaning, being put into the graveyard from the battlefield.
- manifest the top card of your library — is the effect, we will get it upon the trigger’s resolution.
- ⇑ Even if an effect reveals the top card of the library, and the topdeck definitely isn’t a creature card.
Translated by Witas Spasovski