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Gideon JuraAnything you want to know about planeswalkers.

Gideon Jura

Gideon Jura has the latest card type — a planeswalker. It is neither a creature nor a player (despite that Magic advertising tells you!). So if an effect directly affects a planeswalker (for example Despise) you'll see word “planeswalker” in the text of this effect.
A planeswalker on the battlefield is the permanent. Thus, any spell or ability that affects permanents can affect planeswalkers:

We will discuss the last example later and learn how a planeswalker can be dealt damage by such kind of spells.


Despite that you can't see it on the card, each planeswalker has an ability that reads: “This permanent enters the battlefield with a number of loyalty counters on it equal to its printed loyalty number.” (That  number is printed in lower right corner of the planeswalker card.) This ability produces a replacement effect, which functions as the planeswalker enters the battlefield. It doesn't matter if it enters the battlefield because it was played, or it was put on the battlefield by an effect.

?????? ????? Doubling Season

The first ability of Venser, the Sojourner resolves Gideon returns to the battlefield with 6 loyalty counters. It doesn't matter how many of these it had before.

If you control Doubling Season, Gideon enters to the battlefield with 12 loyalty counters, because the effect of its static ability puts counters on it.

If a planeswalker's loyalty is 0, it is put into its owner's graveyard. This is a state-based action.

“Planeswalker uniqueness rule”

Unlike “legend rule” this rule cares about subtype of the permanent, not about its name. If a player controls two or more planeswalkers that share a planeswalker type, that player chooses one of them, and the rest are put into their owners' graveyards. This is a state-based action. Note that the rule doesn't take in account the names of planeswalkers, it cares only about the subtype.

Gideon Jura Gideon, Champion of Justice

If you control Gideon Jura and Gideon, Champion of Justice, you have to choose one of them and put the other into its owner’s graveyard.

If you control Gideon Jura and you teammate in 2HG game controls Gideon, Champion of Justice it's OK.

Loyalty abilities

An activated ability of the planeswalker with a loyalty symbol in its cost is the loyalty ability. Loyalty symbol contains arrow and a number of loyalty counters.

Player can activate loyalty abilities of the planeswalker only at “sorcery speed”, i.e. any time he has priority and the stack is empty during a main phase of his turn. The emblem of Teferi, Temporal Archmage removes this limitation.

There is one more restriction on activating: one ability per one turn for each permanent. The Chain Veil may help to avoid this restriction.

Do you remember that an object which changes a zone is counted as a new one?

Momentary Blink Bazaar Trader Suppression Field

You activate the third ability of Gideon Jura, then blink it. Gideon Jura enters the battlefield with 6 loyalty counters. You can activate any of its loyalty abilities during your main phase if the stack is empty.

You play in a 2HG tournament. You activate the third ability of Gideon Jura, then use the ability of Bazaar Trader to pass the control of Gideon to your teammate. Unfortunately, your teammate can't activate loyalty abilities of Jura during this turn.

Since loyalty abilities are activated ones, effect of Suppression Field will affect them. The activation cost will consist of not only adding or removing loyalty counters, but paying 2 manas as well.

Note that adding or removing loyalty counters is an activation cost, that must be paid during the process of activation. A Loyalty ability whose cost involves removing Loyalty counters may only be activated if there are enough counters on the Planeswalker.

It doesn't matter if the ability resolves or not. Cost is already paid.

Kalonian Hydra Unsummon Doubling Season

You activate the second ability of Gideon Jura targeting Kalonian Hydra under your opponent's control and remove two loyalty counters as a cost upon activation of the ability. It happens before any player gets priority, so nobody can response to it. Then your opponent bounces the Hydra. The ability fizzles because it lost its only target, but your Gideon Jura still has two loyalty counters less.

You activate the first ability of Gideon Jura, so you put two loyalty counters on the Gideon as a cost not due to some effect, so your Doubling Season coudn't double them.

The first loyalty ability of Gideon Jura

The first loyalty ability of Gideon Jura creates an effect, which affects each creature opponent controls during all combat phases on his next turn (say hello to Hellkite Charger). It completely doesn't matter if a creature came under your opponent control before the ability resolved or after.  Neither it matters when a permanent became the creature. It matters only if the creature is able to attack Gideon. So,

a) Gideon Jura must be on the battlefield so that target opponent will be able to attack it. 

b) Gideon Jura must be a planeswalker, since only a player or a planeswalker can be attacked.

If it stopped to be a planeswalker or is under your opponent's control (or under control of your opponent's teammate in 2HG game), then the effect becomes completely useless — creatures under your opponent's control will be able to attack you or any other planeswalkers under your control.

Players who don't know rules well enough tend to refer to the Magic Online automatic rules enforcement. The fun fact is that during three weeks in MTGO there was an error which forbid player to attack an opponent if Gideon left  the battlefield after its first ability was resolved.

A creature must be able to attack. Tapped creatures, creatures with “summoning sickness” and creatures under effects that forbid to attack can take a break.

Angelic Arbiter Norn's Annex Inkmoth Nexus

If your opponent did cast any spell, then his creatures can't attack during this turn while your Angelic Arbiter has its ability.

If a creature can't attack unless its controller pays a cost, that player will not be forced to pay that cost, so the creature doesn't have to attack. If the players decided to pay the cost, the creature must attack Gideon.

If Nexus was animated before Declare Blockers step, it must attack Gideon if able.

The effect of first loyalty ability of Gideon Jura doesn't care about creatures which were put to the battlefield attacking, since they never were declared as attacking creatures, so, according to the rules, they never “attacked”.

Preeminent Captain

When your Preeminent Captain attacks, you may put a creature which has a subtype Soldier from your hand to the battlefield tapped and attacking.

If you decide to use this ability, Soldier creature enters the battlefield already attacking.  It doesn't trigger “when a creature attacks” triggers and is not subject to restrictions on declaring attackers.

You can choose which player or planeswalker Soldier creature is attacking. It doesn't have to attack the same player or planeswalker that Preeminent Captain attacks (in our case it is Gideon Jura).

Gideon Jura Gideon Jura

You can meet some tricky situation in multiplayer games (e.g. EDH). Imagine player A actives the first ability of his Gideon Jura targeting playr C. Player B does the same in his turn with his own Gideon. So in turn of player C each creature his control can attack any of two Gideons.

The second loyalty ability of Gideon Jura

Only tapped creature is a legal target for the second loyalty ability of Gideon Jura. You might know that the legality of target is checked on resolution as well. So if the creature was untapped in response to activation of the ability (say hello to Deceiver Exarch), then the ability will be countered and the creature will not be destroyed.

The third loyalty ability of Gideon Jura

The third loyalty ability turns Gideon Jura to a 6/6 Human Soldier creature.

  • It doesn't enter the battlefield as a creature. It already was on the battlefield, only changed types. Abilities that trigger whenever a creature enters the battlefield won't trigger.
  • Its power and toughness don't depend on amount of its loyalty counters.
  • It retains any other card types or subtypes it already had since the effect contains word “still”.
  • Captivating Vampire

    If animated by the third loyalty ability Gideon Jura was stolen by Captivating Vampire, it gains an additional creature subtype — Vampire. This effect doesn't have any time restriction and doesn't care if the Captivating Vampire is on the battlefield or not.

    When animation effect ends, Gideon loses all subtypes that don't correspond with its current card types. If there are no other effects affecting it, Gideon will return to its original state and its type line will look like this: “Planeswalker — Gideon.”

    When you activate the third loyalty ability again, two effects will affect the Gideon: one from its own ability and another from the ability of Captivating Vampire. Since they are independent and apply on the same layer (layer 4), they are applied in a timestep order. First Captivating Vampire's effect is applied but does nothing because Gideon is not a creature**. Then Gideon's effect is applied and Gideon becomes “Planeswalker Creature — Gideon Human Soldier.”

  • If you have not controlled Gideon Jura continuously since your most recent turn began, it can't attack and you can't use any of his {Tap} or {UnTap} abilities (if it has any). Note that summoning sickness checks when Gideon Jura came under your control, not when it became a creature.
  • Mimic Vat

    If the animated Gideon Jura goes into a graveyard from the battlefield, it can be imprinted on Mimic Vat.

    The first ability of Mimic Vat triggers, since nontoken creature is put into a graveyard from the battlefield. It checks the card type before the creature goes to the graveyard, since this is a Leaves-the-battlefield trigger. Gideon Jura is a creature in the time of death, so the ability triggers. The ability doesn't care about card type when it resolves (it doesn't target). As a result Gideon Jura will be exiled by Mimic Vat imprint ability.

    The second ability of Mimic Vat refers to the card, which was exiled by it's first ability, regardless of this card's type. You can copy that card and make a token. So you will get Gideon Jura with Haste. It will be only a planeswalker, not a creature. Haste doesn't have any meaning for a planeswalker, but if you decide to animate it, it will be a nice bonus (do you remember about summoning sickness?)

  • The third loyalty ability of Gideon Jura produces prevention effect. This effect functions even if Gideon loses all its abilities:
  • Turn into Frog

    After Turning to Frog Gideon Jura becomes blue 1/1 “Planeswalker Creature — Gideon Frog” and loses all its abilities. But the prevention effect is still working.

    This effect is created when the ability has resolved and it gives no ability to the Gideon. So it can't be removed by effects that remov? abilities, like Turn to Frog's effect.

  • If Gideon Jura was animated and then copied, that copy will be only a planeswalker, not a creature. (Loyalty counters are not copied but if a creature enters the battlefield as a copy of Gideon, it will gain proper number of loyalty counters. See loyalty) Since both permanents will be planeswalkers with the planeswalker type Gideon, one of them will be put into its owner's graveyard as a state-based action due to the “planeswalker uniqueness rule.”
Phyrexian Metamorph Mirrorweave

Since Phyrexian Metamorph enters the battlefield as a copy of Gideon, it will gain 6 loyalty counters (see loyalty).

Both Gideons will be put into their owners' graveyard due to the "planeswalker uniqueness rule."

Mirrorweave turns into Wrath of God: all other creatures become Gideon Jura without loyalty counters (unless, for some odd reason, they already had loyalty counters on them).

All creatures will be put into their owners' graveyards as a state-based action.


Damage dealt to a planeswalker removes that many loyalty counters from it. It doesn't matter how the damage was dealt and that kind of damage is it.

How you can deal damage to a planeswalker?

A planeswalker can be attacked. During Declare Attackers Step the active player announces which player or planeswalker each of his creatures is attacking.

If the planeswalker is a creature too, it may receive damage like an ordinary creature:

  • During your precombat main phase, you animate Gideon Jura, then the tricky opponent gains control of it. You may attack Gideon Jura, since it's still a planeswalker. Gideon Jura may block, since it's a creature. It may block any eligible attacking creature, including ones that attack it.
  • Animated Gideon can also get noncombat damage, for example from Lightning Bolt.

In this case the damage dealt will cause two consequences. If animated Gideon Jura is dealt damage which can't be prevented (say hello to Unstable Footing), then

  • since it's a creature, the damage dealt to it remains until the Cleanup Step (If the total amount of damage dealt to Gideon Jura is greater than or equal to its toughness, it will be destroyed as a state-based action.) This damage is subject to all rules which modify the assigning or dealing damage to creatures. Abilities like Infect, Wither, Deathtouch, Trample etc. affect this damage accordingly.
  • since it's a planeswalker, the same damage causes that many loyalty counters to be removed from Gideon (If Gideon Jura has no loyalty counters on it, it will be put into his owner's graveyard as a state-based action.)

Let's assume that Flaring Pain was played and resolved earlier this turn. You attack by animated Gideon Jura with 6 loyalty counters and the opponent blocks it by Flensermite:

Flaring Pain Gideon Jura Flensermite

Flensermite deals 1 damage to Gideon, Gideon deals 6 damages to Flensermite. Since Gideon is a creature and Flensermite has Infect, Gideon gets -1/-1 counter and loses 1 loyalty counter. As a result Flensermite goes to the graveyard, and we still have Gideon with 5 loyalty counters and one -1/-1 counter. The opponent gets 1 life, since Flensermite has Lifelink and has dealt 1 damage (despite the double consequences of this damage, the amount of the damage doesn't change). At the Cleanup Step effect of the third Gideon's ability wears off and Gideon stops being a creature. But the -1/-1 counter remains on it, which doesn't mean anything until the next time you animate Gideon.

Some damagethat would be dealt to aplayer can be redirected to a planeswalker this player controls instead. What damage is it?

  • It should be noncombat damage.
  • The source of the damage must be controlled by an opponent.
  • The opponent chooses whether to redirect the damage (if the redirection effect is applied).

Let's assume that you control noncreature Gideon Jura.

Blightning Lightning Bolt Leyline of Sanctity

Your opponent can't target your Gideon with his Blightning. But he can redirect damage from you to your Gideon. Then Gideon Jura loses 3 loyalty counters.

You have to discard two cards anyway, since you are the target of the spell.

Your cunning opponent can't target Gideon with his Lightning Bolt, if Gideon isn't a creature at that moment, because ununimated Gideon neither a creture or player so it isn't a legal target for Lightning Bolt.

If the opponent wish to deal damage to your Planeswalker, he have to choose you as a target for his Lightning Bolt, then redirect damage to the Planeswalker.

If you control Leyline of Sanctity, your opponent can't choose you as target for his spells so he can't deal damage to your Planeswalker.

Lightning Bolt Quest for Pure Flame Volcanic Fallout

Earlier this turn your opponent activated the ability of Quest for Pure Flame, that resolved successfully. Then he targets you with Lightning Bolt.

During the resolution of Lightning Bolt we get two replacement effects: the first one — redirecting damage to Gideon, the second one — doubling Lightning Bolt damage. Both of them affect you, so you may choose the order of them. After you made your choice, your opponent will decide if the damage will be redirected to Gideon or not.

If you choose the redirection effect to apply first, then you opponent will have to decide, if this effect will apply or not. If yes, the effect from Quest for Pure Flame will become useless, since it affects only the damage dealt to a creature or player. If you opponent decides to leave the damage for you, it will be doubled.

If you choose the opposite order, then the damage will be doubled, then it will be dealt to you or your Gideon Jura according to your opponent's decision.

— I cast Volcanic Fallout. Can I redirect damage to my Gideon?

— No. The source of damage must be controlled by your opponent.

Before we say good bye, I'd like to remind you about Deathtouch. This ability works only if it deals with a creature. It doesn't affect players or planeswalkers.

Gideon Jura Grave Titan

Grave Titan attacks noncreature Gideon Jura with 7 loyalty counters. After damage is dealt, Gideon has one loyalty counter. Nothing more happens.

If Grave Titan deals damage to animated Gideon Jura (which can't be prevented due to some effect), Gideon dies regardless of how many loyalty counters it has. It is a creature and destroyed as a state-based action, since Grave Titan has Deathtouch.

* Bounce (Magic slang) — cards that return permanents to their owners' hand. Also used for cards that return only creatures.

** According to rule 205.3d an object can't gain a subtype that doesn't correspond to one of that object's types.

Irina Samonova © 1999-2017

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