How Magic Cards work
Banisher Priest

Banisher Priest Russian

Last Modified 06.07.2020

Banisher Priest is one of two cards of Magic 2014 edition that has had a special rule written for it. Let’s check it out now.

“Oathbreaker, I cast you out!”

Banisher Priest’s flavor text

Banisher Priest

Oracle Text:

Creature — Human Cleric

When Banisher Priest enters the battlefield, exile target creature an opponent controls until Banisher Priest leaves the battlefield. (That creature returns under its owner's control.)

Banisher Priest has only one ability: “When Banisher Priest enters the battlefield, exile target creature an opponent controls until Banisher Priest leaves the battlefield”.

  • When — signal word indicating that we are dealing with a triggered ability. Such abilities go off independently from players as soon as their triggering event occurs:
  • Banisher Priest enters the battlefield — is that very triggering event that the ability is waiting for.
    • The trigger goes off when Banisher Priest hits the battlefield. It doesn’t matter how exactly that happens. You may resolve the Banisher Priest spell; or you may as well activate AEther Vial’s ability and put the Priest onto the battlefield from your hand.
    • Events that do not trigger this ability include: change of control (Olivia Voldaren); change of state to phased-in; copying the Priest’s characteristics onto a permanent that is already present on the battlefield (Lazav, Dimir Mastermind) etc.
  • exile target creature an opponent controls until Banisher Priest leaves the battlefield. — the effect of this trigger, we get it only when it resolves.
    • This trigger is targeted. It is evident by the word “target”. If the target becomes illegal by the time the trigger resolves (for instance, through getting hexproof or protection from white), the trigger is countered.
    • As any other trigger, this one may be countered with special spells like Disallow, then we obviously do not get the effect.
    • The Priest’s trigger may only target creatures under an opponent’s control. You will not be able to remove a dangerous creature (such as Dark Confidant when you are low on life) under your control or under the control of your other head in Two-Headed Giant.
    • If there is no legal target for the Priest’s trigger, it is simply removed from the stack. Being able to target something with the trigger is not related to being able to cast Banisher Priest! The spell and the trigger are two totally different objects.

How does it all happen?

Banisher Priest
Ajani’s Chosen
Doom Blade

Banisher Priest enters the battlefield. Her trigger goes off. After SBA are performed you put the trigger onto the stack choosing an opponent’s creature as the target, such as Ajani’s Chosen. As the trigger resolves, the Chosen are moved to the exile zone face up. Players will commonly put the card exiled this way under the Banisher Priest cast. If the cunning opponent removes the Priest with Doom Blade, then as soon as she leaves the battlefield, Ajani’s Chosen return to the battlefield under their owner’s control.

When Banisher Priest’s trigger resolves, it creates two one-shot effects. One of those effects exiles the creature when the ability resolves.

Spirit Mantle
Blazing Torch

Auras and Equipment attached to the exiled creature “fall off”. Equipment remains on the battlefield unattached, whereas the Aura cards are moved to their owners' graveyards.

Калонская Гидра

If the exiled creature has any counters, those will be removed for good.

The other effect returns the exiled card to the battlefield immediately when Banisher Priest leaves the battlefield. In order for that to happen, two conditions must be met:

  • The Priest must actually leave the battlefield. This happens in case:
    • Banisher Priest is moved to another zone (hand, graveyard, exile, library).
    • Banisher Priest’s owner loses the multiplayer game.
  • The exiled card is still exiled:
token sacred cat

If a creature token is exiled, it ceases to exist upon the nearest SBA check.

Olivia Voldaren

If a Commander is exiled through Banisher Priest’s ability, the rules allow moving it to Command zone as next SBA are performed.

Misthollow Griffin

The Priest’s ability exiles cards face down. Misthollow Griffin may be cast from exile through its own static ability.

When Banisher Priest leaves the battlefield, having or not having this ability is irrelevant, as is the shape of the Banisher Priest object. The effect created on resolution of her trigger does not vanish even if the Priest turns into something humongous.

Turn // Burn

Turn // Burn with Fuse will send the Priest to the graveyard without abilities, but the owner gets his creature back.


If the Priest becomes an unanimated Mutavault and leaves the battlefield in that shape, the exiled card still returns to the battlefield.

If Banisher Priest leaves the battlefield before her trigger resolves, the target creature is not exiled.

Oblivion Ring

Unlike Banisher Priest, Oblivion Ring has two triggered abilities that function differently!

If the Sphere leaves the battlefield before its first ability resolves, its second ability triggers.

The second trigger will go onto the stack above the first one and will resolve earlier. Nothing happens when it resolves, since the target permanent has not been exiled by the first ability yet — that one is still on the stack.

Later when the first ability resolves, the target permanent and all other permanents with the same name are exiled indefinitely.

The new rules we talked about at the beginning of this article have no impact on how Detention Sphere and other similar cards function.

Effects never go onto the stack; it is therefore not possible to counter the return of the exiled object, or somehow respond to it. Nothing happens between Banisher Priest leaving the battlefield and the exiled object returning. Neither player receives priority, and no SBA are checked.


If a Clone returns to the battlefield, it cannot copy the Priest that has just left the battlefield.

Primeval Titan

When Primeval Titan returns this way, its controller has a wonderful opportunity to search for 2 lands on the Titan’s EtB-trigger resolution.

Bloodbraid Elf

Being put onto the battlefield isn’t identical to casting! Bloodbraid Elf’s Cascade won’t trigger.

When the card returns from exile, replacement effects that impact the way the card enters the battlefield are applied:

Geralf’s Messenger

Geralf’s Messenger reenters the battlefield tapped. Its ability triggers.

Kalonian Hydra

Kalonian Hydra reenters the battlefield with four +1/+1 counters (which may be modified by other effects).

Concluding today’s article with a curious interaction:

Restoration Angel

Suppose a Restoration Angel is arriving on the battlefield under your control, and you blink your Banisher Priest. As soon as the Priest leaves the battlefield, the creature that had been exiled with her ability returns to the battlefield under its owner’s control. Then Banisher Priest reenters the battlefield, and her trigger goes off. You may now exile target creature — either the same, or another one under an opponent’s control, maybe something more dangerous this time.

If players forget about the exiled card, it is treated as Gameplay Error — Game Rule Violation. As soon as it is discovered, even if multiple turns have passed since that moment, the Judge will return the card to the battlefield.

This isn’t a trigger! Even in events on Competitive REL or higher, the Priest’s controller may not keep silence about the fact that the exiled card hasn’t been returned to the battlefield.

  1. Naturally, the Planeswalker must currently be a creature for you to be able to target it with Banisher Priest’s target.

Translated by Witas Spasovski