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While taking a look at the “new Salt”*, we shall get acquainted with the Devoid mechanic that confuses many players.

Translated by Witas Spasovski

Crumble to Dust

Crumble to DustYou're probably wondering about Devoid most of all here, so we'll start from the last part, i.e. from the effect of Crumble to Dust, to have a few words about that and then turn to Devoid. While casting this spell, we choose a target, specifically a nonbasic land, i.e. a land without the supertype “basic”. We talked about such lands when we reviewed Blood Moon (it also affects only nonbasic lands). Since the text of Crumble to Dust mentions a land without mentioning “card”, it goes about a permanent, i.e. a land on the battlefield.

If by the time the spell resolves the land is still a legal target, the spell performs its effect. If not, for instance, if the land has left the battlefield or is no longer nonbasic, the spell is countered. I will remind that supertype is a copiable value, so there are lands that may become basic. For example, Thespian’s Stage, as it copies a basic land.

Thus, if we get to resolve the spell, you exile the land and perform a search for cards with the same name in the hand, graveyard and library of the player in control of that land. Since the text mentions that you may find any number of such cards, you may leave any number of such cards in any of the mentioned zones; you are not bound to exile them all. This may be useful when you Crumble to Dust your own land to save the other copies from an opponent’s Crumble to Dust (this would obviously also take an effect that would allow you to cast a sorcery spell at instant speed).

Keep in mind that the search is made by the card name, not by the land type.

Finally, the player under the effect of Crumble to Dust shuffles his or her library in any case, regardless of whether it has been searched or not.

Crumble to Dust is a sorcery spell which requires red mana to cast it. We notice it on the first glance at its mana cost. However, due to Devoid ability, this card has no color in any game zone (as well as outside the game). This is so because Devoid is a characteristic-defining ability (CDA). We have encountered abilities of this kind when scrutinizing the notorious Tarmogoyf.

Blue Elemental Blast Merchant Scroll Ancient Stirrings

Blue Elemental Blast cannot counter Crumble to Dust, as the spell is colorless, not red.

Merchant Scroll cannot find Brutal Expulsion despite its blue symbol in the mana cost.

On the other hand, any card with Devoid may be revealed and put in hand when resolving Ancient Stirrings.


702.113a. Devoid is a characteristic-defining ability. “Devoid” means “This object is colorless.” This ability functions everywhere, even outside the game. See rule 604.3.

Other than that, knowing that Devoid is CDA helps us when we need to consider the interaction of continuous effect — those terrible layers. To do so, we'll take a moment to leave the card we are reviewing today out of sight and take a creature with Devoid as example.

Catacomb Sifter Cerulean Wisps Humility

Effects defining color are applied at layer 5. At that, the first effects to come in consideration are those generated by the CDA, then all other.

Thus if we cast Cerulean Wisps at Catacomb Sifter, their effect will win: until end of turn, Catacomb Sifter will no longer be colorless and become blue.

Effects that grant and remove abilities are applied at the next layer, the 6th, so if you remove abilities of a creature with Devoid, that alone won’t change a thing about its color. If Humility is on the battlefield, Catacomb Sifter will be a colorless 1/1 creature without abilities, regardless of when exactly Humility entered the battlefield — before or after Catacomb Sifter.

The absence of color may have its privileges:

Herald of Kozilek Chill Ghostfire Blade

If you control Herald of Kozilek, casting any spell with Devoid costs you {1} less.

Chill’s effect doesn’t influence the cost of Crumble to Dust and other cards with Devoid that have a red mana symbol in their mana cost.

The cost of Equip ability of Ghostfire Blade is reduced by {2} for a colorless target.

Turn Against Iona, Shield of Emeria Persecute

You can borrow an enemy Emrakul with Turn Against!!!

Iona chills out here, her effect doesn’t affect colorless cards in any way. As you remember, “colorless” is not a color.

Not a single card with Devoid is discarded when resolving Persecute.

When you examine how Devoid interacts with abilities considering the color of the object and of its mana symbols, you need to understand exactly what is considered by the effect of that ability:

Ruinous Path Feat of Resistance

Convoke takes the permanent’s color into consideration, so tapping a permanent with Devoid can only replace colorless mana.

Devotion considers the color of mana symbols, which means, permanents with Devoid with a corresponding mana symbol in the mana cost will be taken to account for Devotion.

Absence of color does not make the object an Artifact. Let’s remember that Artifact is a card type.

Annul Grand Architect Mikaeus, the Unhallowed

Annul cannot counter Crumble to Dust.

Grand Architect cannot make Catacomb Sifter blue.

Herald of Kozilek cannot block Mikaeus, the Unhallowed.

Devoid in Commander (EDH)

If you play Commander, you must be puzzled about the color identity of cards with Devoid. Let’s take a glance at the rules:

903.4. The Commander variant uses color identity to determine what cards can be in a deck with a certain commander. The color identity of a card is the color or colors of any mana symbols in that card’s mana cost or rules text, plus any colors defined by its characteristic-defining abilities (see rule 604.3) or color indicator (see rule 204).

According to this rule, if a card with Devoid has a mana symbol in the mana cost or rules text, it gets the corresponding color identity.

Herald of Kozilek Catacomb Sifter Crumble to Dust

Color: none.

Color identity: blue, red.

Color: none.

Color identity: black, green.

Color: none.

Color identity: red.

* Sowing Salt — or simply “Salt”, the card that “disables” the Urzatron.

Irina Samonova © 1999-2017

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