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Today we review the card reissued in Innistrad — Blazing Torch. It will serve us a great example to analyze Equipments.

Translated by Witas Spasovski

Blazing Torch

We have already reviewed auras, now is the time to talk about other permanents that get attached — Equipments. If you are only interested in the interactions of this card, scroll straight down to the Fire it up! header.

Those who are wondering about Equipments in general, welcome to their bizarre world. As usual, I have some theory and many examples for you. We shall begin with several simple statements:

  1. Blazing TorchEquipment is an artifact subtype.
  2. Equipment may or may not be attached, but only to a creature.
  3. Each equipment has an ability with keyword Equip, but it is not the only way to attach it to a creature.
  4. The ability Equip is targeted. A permanent equipment doesn't target anything.
  5. The equipment that becomes a creature or loses the Equipment subtype “falls off” the equipped creature and remains on the battlefield.
  6. The controller of the creature and the controller of an equipment attached to it may be different players.

So, Equipment is an artifact subtype. It enters the battlefield as an independent permanent, and unlike auras may reside on the battlefield by itself. An equipment, even one that has the ability keyword Living Weapon, does not enter the battlefield attached to a creature immediately.

In order to attach an Equipment to a creature you need a related effect which may be gotten in different ways. The easiest way is to use the activated ability that is inherent by default to every equipment.


Shall we take a look into the rules:

“Equip {cost}” means “{Cost}: Attach this permanent to target creature you control. Activate this ability only any time you could cast a sorcery”.

Since we know how to read magic cards we can note the colon immediately (it is the indication of an activated ability); the word “target” (the indication that the ability is targeted); the restrictions to the targets for that ability: “a creature you control”; and the restriction ofr activating it: “Activate this ability only any time you could cast a sorcery” (we have just been over it while discussing Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir).

Leyline of Anticipation

When you control Leyline of Anticipation you can certainly cast Sorcery spells at instant speed. But! This doesn't allow you to activate abilities with restrictions like “Activate this ability only any time you could cast a sorcery”. This restriction means you can only activate this ability during your turn when you have priority and the stack is empty. It is in no way related to having the possibility to cast Sorcery spells. After all, it is what it is, an activated ability, not a sorcery spell.

Hence we conclude that the activated ability Equip may only be used in our main phase when the stack is empty. After announcing this ability and putting it on the stack, we need to choose a legal target for it, which has to be a creature you control. Then pay the activation cost and wait for it to resolve.

Phantasmal Image Tel-Jilad Fallen Spellskite

You cannot equip your Phantasmal Image using the Equip ability: as soon as we target it, its trigger will go off, and as it resolves we will have to sacrifice Phantasmal Image.

Neither can we get rid of someone else's Phantasmal Image, since we cannot target it with Equip. It has to be a creature we control.

Fancy a spooky story?

Once upon a dark night... A member of the Russian national team at World Magic Cup 2010 was defeated by this creature equipped with an equipment!!!

No one concerned can explain how this happened. A creature with Protection from artifacts cannot be equipped. An equipment is an artifact!

We cannot snatch another player's equipment by changing the target of Equip to our Spellskite. Even though the Equip ability itself is a legal target for Spellskite's ability, when it resolves nothing happens since Spellskite is an illegal target for the Equip ability. It is controlled by a different player.

Dungrove Elder Algae Gharial Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

Nothing prevents you from equipping your creature with Hexproof. You control the ability Equip, so, say, Dungrove Elder is a legal target for it.

However, you cannot attach an equipment to a creature with Shroud. Shroud means the permanent cannot be the target of spells of abilities, and the ability Equip is targeted as we already know.

Not all Protection prevents from equipping. Emrakul has protection from colored spells. As we can see, the source of the Equip ability is not a colored spell. It's alright to equip your own Emrakul with your equipments.

Attach without equipping

How else can a creature get equipped?

Batterskull Cranial Plating Brass Squire

When the triggered ability with keyword Living weapon resolves, Batterskull becomes attached to a 0/0 germ.

If you wonder why the 0/0 Germ doesn't die in between entering the battlefield and getting equipped with Batterskull, help yourself to the articles on Priority and State-Based Actions.

Some equipments, such as Cranial Plating, have an activated ability separate from Equip, which can also attach the equipment to a creature you control. Note that this ability has no activation restrictions, therefore it can be activated any time you have priority.

When the ability of Brass Squire resolves you can attach a target equipment you control to a target creature you control. This can be done at instant speed as well.

Lightning Greaves

And to sum up the targets, let me remind that a permanent Equipment doesn't target anything. To remember this, just look at Lightning Greaves. This equipment would make no sense if a permanent Equipment would target.


Beginners often ask how can an Equipment be unattached from a creature. For example, if the cunning opponent steals your creature, you certainly don't want it to benefit from your equipment's bonuses.

Actually, an Equipment may only be unattached through:

  • paying a related cost of a spell or ability;
  • performing an effect instructing you to unattach an Equipment;
  • reequipping the Equipment from one creature to another.
Shuriken Disarm Blazing Torch

Unattaching Shuriken is part of the activation cost of the ability it grants to a creature.

If you're curious, there's a very challenging example about Shuriken in the article “Everything under control”.

The effect of Disarm instructs to unattach all equipments from a target creature.

In your main phase when the stack is empty, you may “reequip” Blazing Torch from the creature it is equipping to another creature you control by activating the Equip ability.

You cannot just unattach an equipment with no reason. Well, it's about time we all have realized that in Magic, you need to have a reason for everything.

The equipment will become unattached from the equipped creature by itself if:

  • The equipment becomes a creature or stops being an Equipment (loses the Equipment subtype);
  • The creature an Equipment is attached to becomes illegal to be attached to, leaves the battlefield or ceases to exist.
Tezzeret the Seeker

This Planeswalker can turn artifacts into creatures. Since a creature may not be attached to anything, an equipment transformed into a creature this way will fall off and stay on the battlefield as an independent Artifact Creature.That is a result of SBA.


Glint Hawk Idol Gatekeeper of Malaki Tel-Jilad Defiance

If an animated Glint Hawk Idol becomes equipped, the animating effect ends in the cleanup step, Glint Hawk Idol will stop being a creature. Since an equipment may only be attached to a creature, it will fall off and remain on the battlefield. That's a result of SBA.

If you sacrifice an equipped creature through resolving the triggered ability of Gatekeeper of Malakir, all equipments attached to it will fall off and remain on the battlefield.

If the cunning opponent casts Tel-Jilad Defiance at your equipped creature and the spell resolves, since the creature gets protection from artifacts, it may no longer be equipped, all equipment will fall off and remain on the battlefield. That's SBA.


Act of Treason doesn't make a creature lose the pants”.

lordi at

The permanents attached one to another may be controlled by different players. The change of control of one of these permanents doesn't change control of another.

Mind Control Carry Away

If you “snatch” an opponent's equipped creature, you control only the creature. The opponent preserves control of the equipment. The Equipment doesn't fall off the creature.

Usually the change of control of the equipment doesn't unattach it. Carry Away's EtB-ability* explicitly states that it does, however.

Only the controller of an Equipment may activate its Equip ability. Obviously, in his or her main phase when the stack is empty.

Fire it up!

Here we are taking a look at Blazing Torch itself. This equipment grants the equipped creature an ability and modifies certain game rules for it. It's important do understand what is what in this case.

“Equipped creature cannot be blocked by Vampires or Zombies” - is the modification of the game rules. This is not an ability of the creature and cannot be removed by effects that remove abilities.


”Equipped creature cannot be blocked by Vampires or Zombies” means only that you cannot declare a creature with subtype Vampire or Zombie blocking the equipped creature in process of normal procedure of choosing blockers at the Declare blockers step.

If a Vampire or a Zombie enters the battlefield blocking, for instance, through resolving Atherplasm's triggered ability, it is legal to put the Vampire or a Zombie blocking the creature equipped with Blazing Torch.

And this: “{T}, sacrifice Blazing Torch: Blazing Torch deals 2 damage to target creature or player” is the activated ability granted to the equipped creature by this equipment. Therefore, this ability may be removed by an effect that removes abilities. I guess everyone already figured out we are going to turn creatures to frogs now.

Bear Cub Blazing Torch Turn to Frog

Suppose we have a Bear equipped with a Blazing Torch. If the cunning opponent casts Turn to Frog at it, the bear will still not be able to be blocked by Vampires or Zombies, but it will have no other abilities.

If the bear was first turned to frog and then equipped with the Blazing Torch, it will not be able to be blocked by Vampires or Zombies, and it will have the ability “{T}, sacrifice Blazing Torch: Blazing Torch deals 2 damage to taget creature or player”.

For those who want to figure out the layers, I recommend reading the article “Layer system”.

But that's far from alll. The fact that this ability is owned by the creature means that the source of the ability is the equipped creature. However, the source of damage is still Blazing Torch, and this leads to some curious interactions:

Act of Treason Spirit Mantle

If you “snatch” an opponent's creature equipped with Blazing Torch, you cannot activate the ability granted to the creature by the Torch because you do not control the Torch and therefore, you cannot sacrifice it to pay the activation cost.

The opponent cannot do it either since he doesn't control the creature and cannot activate its abilities.

Protection from creatures will prevent you from targeting a creature enchanted with Spirit Mantle with the ability granted by Blazing Torch. The ability is targeted, and a creature is its source.

The same is true for creatures with protection from certain quality the equipped creature has (color, CMC, subtype etc.).

Flensermite Tel-Jilad Fallen

When the ability of Flensermite equipped with a Blazing Torch resolves, you will neither gain life nor deal damage in the form of -1/-1 counters, since Blazing Torch is the source of damage, and it has neither Infect nor Lifelink.

If an equipped creature isn't an artifact, you can activate the creature's ability granted by the Torch to target a Tel-Jilad Fallen. That damage will be prevented when the ability resolves, because Tel-Jilad Fallen has Protection from Artifacts.

* EtB-ability is a short name for triggered abilities that trigger upon entering the battlefield.

Irina Samonova © 1999-2017

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