Today we pay another visit to replacement effects and copying, this time by looking at Essence of the Wild.
The ability of Essence of the Wild is static and generates a replacement effect which is a copying effect as well. That’s a hell of a mixture, I must say. We have already met this one when scrutinizing Phyrexian Metamorph. But unlike the Metamorph, Essence of the Wild’s effect is applied not to itself, but to all other creatures entering the battlefield under your control (we assume here that you are in control of Essence of the Wild).
As we already know from Gideon Jura, a replacement effect impacts an event by replacing it with another event. This way, the original event doesn’t take place at all. Essence of the Wild’s effect replaces the “regular” way creatures enter the battlefield.
What is “regular” and why did I include that word in quotes? Because “regular” is a very rare thing in Magic. Each “regular” usually has an entire inscription attached to it explaining the lack of effects and clarifications in the text of a spell which would allow us to put something on the battlefield. But in general, a creature’s “regular” way is to enter the battlefield untapped, unflipped, face up and phased in under your control.
As soon as we notice that the “regular” order is modified by something, we should look for a replacement effect:
As you can see, there can be many different effects replacing the way a creature enters the battlefield, and they may be of pretty different types. So you will have to choose the order in which to apply them, because obviously, this order will determine the final shape of your creature. The following rule has been accepted to make this order logical and consistent:
Replacement effects that modify the way a creature enters the battlefield are applied in the following order:
- first, control-changing effects,
- followed by copying effects,
- then all other effects.
If the creature entering the battlefield is subject to multiple similar replacement effects, we may choose the order in which to apply them. Sometimes it matters, sometimes it doesn’t.
Now that we are talking about copiable values, let me remind you that they are name, mana cost, color indicator, card type, subtype, supertype, rules text, power, toughness and loyalty. These may be characteristics printed on the card, as well as those that appeared on it through a copying effect. Copiable values of tokens are defined by the spell or ability that creates them. There are other effects that affect copiable values. Also, the permanent’s state may influence them. If the object you are copying has been subject to some effects that you suspect of having modified its copiable values, you’d better consult a judge whether that is correct. If there is no judge at hand, help yourself to a detailed Judge School class about Copying. Some basic information is also given in the article on Phyrexian Metamorph.
Keep in mind that the permanent’s status, counters on it and all effects that do not affect copiable values are not copied. Auras and Equipments attached to the permanent aren’t copied either.
Creatures enter the battlefield under your control as copies of Essence of the Wild. Therefore, no EtB-triggers of creatures entering the battlefield under your control have a chance to go off. Those creatures never were on the battlefield in their original form. There is no moment of time when a creature is on the battlefield but isn’t a copy of Essence of the Wild yet.
— Reveillark cast at its Evoke cost enters the field under my control. What happens next?
— Reveillark enters the battlefield as a copy of Essence of the Wild. That’s it. It doesn’t have EtB-triggers, even if you cast it at its alternative cost. You won’t sacrifice it.
— Hell’s Thunder enters the battlefield under my control through Unearth. What happens next?
— You have an Essence of the Wild with Haste which will have to be exiled as the delayed trigger resolves or the replacement effect is applied.
— Wait, wut? Why is there a trigger in one case and none in the other?
— It’s simple, here’s how things are:
Evoke is a keyword representing two abilities: one static allowing to play the card by paying its alternative Evoke cost, and one EtB-trigger that goes off when this permanent enters the battlefield. We can pay the cost, but here is the thing: Reveillark never entered the battlefield. Essence of the Wild did, and it doesn’t have any triggers.
Unearth is an activated ability, which, upon resolution, moves a creature from the graveyard to the battlefield and gives it Haste, creates a delayed trigger and a replacement effect. Thus, the trigger and the effect do not depend on what incredible shape the creature returns in. Either of those two will track any form of it and exile it.
By the way, if you try to copy the Essence of the Wild copy that originally was an unearthed Hell’s Thunder, it doesn’t get Haste.
Here are a few weird examples.
Read in much more detail about copying weird objects in the Judge school class Attack of the Clones, or Copying.
The last thing left to mention about Essence of the Wild: the copying effect doesn’t cease after the “original” Essence leaves the battlefield. Creatures that have entered the field as its copies carry on being them.
Translated by Witas Spasovski