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 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:
Detention Sphere may be exiled from your hand to pay the alternative cost of Force of Will.
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).
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.
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 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.
If there is no legal target for the ability, it is removed from the stack and does nothing.
In order to get the effect of this ability, we need to get it to resolve.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Detention Sphere’s ability triggers no matter where the Sphere is going from the battlefield: to the graveyard, exile, hand or library.
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).
Here’s the most unexpected part:
- ⇑ Sakashima the Impostor keeps its own name. Ref. Copying permanents and cards for details.
- ⇑ 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