Magic: the Gathering
Card of the week
Espanol  Polski  Francais  Russian

Last changes:
19.06.2014

MTG cards

Spirit MantleSpirit Mantle

Today we will speak about special enchantments. We will learn everything about Auras and protection taking Spirit Mantle as an example.



Spirit Mantle is an enchantment. Enchantments have only tree subtitles: Aura, Shrine and Curse (the subtitle Curse first time appears in the Innistrad block). Our Snark is a Boojum!* I mean an Aura. That fact changes nearly everything in the life of this card.

The theory (a bit of it, frankly speaking):

During the game a Magic card can represent different objects. It depends on the zone where card is located:

  • a permanent (only in the battlefield)
  • a spell (only in the stack)
  • a card — in any other zone (like graveyard) or outside the game (it’s not a zone!)

That means we use words "Aura permanent" only for auras on the Battlefield. Aura spell is a card or copy of the spell/card in the stack. In all other cases we are talking about aura card.

Why an Aura is Boojum among the enchantments?

  • Every aura has an enchant ability;
  • Every aura spell has a target; aura permanet doesn’t target anything.
  • And unlike all other enchantments, auras can be on the battlefield in the "cat’s status" AKA "all by themselves" only in exceptional cases.

Enchant

This is a static ability that defines what an Aura spell can target and what an Aura permanent can be attached to. Spirit Mantle can enchant and target a creature.It doesn’t matter who is that creature’s controller.

Lets look at the other enchant abilities:

Emblem of the Warmind Paradox Haze Annex

Emblem of the Warmind can enchant only a creature your control.

Paradox Haze enchants a player!

Annex enchants a land.

Carry Away Spellweaver Volute Animate Dead

As a matter of fact this is Enchantment — Aura with Enchant Equipment. So, it can enchant only an equipment.

This unique card enchants instant card in a graveyard! By the way, any aura card will be on the battlefield regardless of what it is enchanting.

If you are brave enough, take a look at Animate Dead.
This aura can lose his enchant ability and get completely different one.

If the enchanted object doesn’t fit aura’s enchant ability, the aura unattaches indignantly and goes to its owner’s graveyard the next time SBA are checked.

Spirit Mantle Rusted Relic Into the Core

If you control three artifacts and Rusted Relic enchanted by Spirit Mantle, and your cunning opponent exiles two of your artifacts, Rusted Relic stops being a creature. When SBAs are checked Spirit Mantle goes to its owner’s graveyard.

Keep in mind that SBAs aren’t checked continuously. The game checks them only in proper time. Between these moments game state isn’t relevant:

Runner's Bane Bear Cub Give/Take

Imagine that you cunning opponent doesn’t like your little bear and enchanted it with his Runner's Bane. If you cast Give/Take with Fuse choosing the bear as both targets, despite the fact that at some point Bear Cub grows to the size of an adult bear 5/5, the Aura will not fall off.

Aura spells are always targeted

Why? According to the Magic rules:

114.1b Aura spells are always targeted. These are the only permanent spells with targets. An Auras target is specified by its enchant keyword ability (see rule 702.5, "Enchant"). The target(s) are chosen as the spell is cast; see rule 601.2c. An Aura permanent doesnt target anything; only the spell is targeted. (An activated or triggered ability of an Aura permanent can also be targeted.)

When you cast an Aura you have to choose legal target for the spell.

Emrakul the Aeons Torn Oblivion Ring Spellskite

You can’t target Emrakul with Spirit Mantle because of his protection from colored spells: Spirit Mantle is the white spell in the stack.

Enemy Illusions are nice targets! For those who do not like to be a target, Spirit Mantle is a removal**.

Spellskite's ability can change the target of enemy Spirit Mantle. Great idea, by the way!

Aura permanent by the same rules doesn’t target anything. Therefore:

Sun Titan Vines of Vastwood Retether

If you return Spirit Mantle from the graveyard with Sun Titan's trigger you can attach it to the creature with Shroud or Hexproof, of course, if it can be legally enchanted by Spirit Mantle.

It's silly of your opponent to hope that Spirit Mantle will "fall off" due to effect of his Vines of Vastwood cast targeting your enchanted creature.

You can enchant your Emrakul with Spirit Mantle if it was returned from the graveyard by Retether's effect. Indeed, in this case the Spirit Mantle is not a spell.

Aspect of Mongoose

Finally let's nail on the vine last doubts that might be left: how an Aura permanent could possibly be targeted, if there is an aura like Aspect of Mongoose which gives Shroud to enchanted creature?

Here is a bit of theory (again!)

  1. a) If an Aura is enchanting an illegal object or player,
    b) or if an Aura is not attached to anything,
    an Aura is put into its owner’s graveyard. (This is a state-based action)
    c) There is an exception from this rule: an Aura with Bestow loses enchant creature, falls off and remains on the battlefield as an Enchantment Creature.
  2. If a creature is attached to an object or player, it becomes unattached and remains on the battlefield.
    Similarly, if a permanent thats neither an Aura, an Equipment, nor a Fortification is attached to an object or player, it becomes unattached and remains on the battlefield.
  3. If an Aura is entering the battlefield under a players control by any means other than by resolving as an Aura spell (Show and Tell, Sun Titan, Retether), and the effect putting it onto the battlefield doesnt specify the object or player the Aura will enchant (Gift of Immortality, for example, defines), that player chooses what it will enchant as the Aura enters the battlefield. The player must choose a legal object or player.
  4. a) If an Aura is entering the battlefield and there is no legal object or player for it to enchant, the Aura remains in its current zone, unless that zone is the stack.
    b) In that case, the Aura is put into its owner’s graveyard instead of entering the battlefield. And again, if it was an Aura spell, cast with the Bestow cost payed, we will have a permanent Enchantment Creature.
  5. If an effect attempts to put a permanent that isnt an Aura onto the battlefield attached to an object or player, it enters the battlefield unattached.
  6. If an effect attempts to attach an Aura on the battlefield to an object or player, that object or player must be able to be enchanted by it. If the object or player cant be, the Aura doesnt move. (Aura Graft, Autumn-Tail, Kitsune Sage).

Examples:

Stave Off Unsummon Celestial Archon

[1 b)] If your creature enchanted by Spirit Mantle was bounced***, destroyed, exiled (how dare they?), the Spirit Mantle becomes unattached and goes to its owner’s graveyard

[1 b)] If your creature enchanted by Spirit Mantle was bounced***, destroyed, exiled (how dare they??), the Spirit Mantle becomes unattached and goes to its owner’s graveyard.

[1 c)] If a creature enchanted by Celestial Archon leaves the battlefield or gains protection from white, the Celestial Archon falls off and remains on the battlefield as Enchantment Creature.

Calming Licid Liquimetal Coating Tezzeret the Seeker

[2] Calming Licid knows how to turn into the Aura and enchant creature. If you decide to stop this effect, the Calming Licid detaches from the creature he is enchanting, and remains on the battlefield.

[2] A player activates Liquimetal Coating's ability targeting Spirit Mantle, after the ability resolves, player activates Tezzeret the Seeker's ultimate and, voilà, Spirit Mantle is a creature. As a consequence, it falls off the creature that it was enchanting.
[1 b)] But since it has not ceased to be an Aura (this is a feature of becoming the artifact creature - it retains all the previous card types and its subtypes), it will quickly go to the graveyard as a SBA.

Show and Tell Boon Satyr Flickerform

[3–4 a)] When Show and Tell is resolving you decide to choose Spirit Mantle as an enchantment. When it enters the battlefield there was no permanent which can be enchanted by it, so it stays in your hand after you show(and tell about) it to your opponent.

[4 ?)] If a target of Boon Satyr cast with Bestow is illegal when it resolves, the spell isn’t countered. It stops being an Aura, and enters the battlefield as an Enchantment Creature.

[5] As the delayed trigger resolves, any Aura with Bestow exiled by Flickerform's activated ability, returns to the battlefield in the form of an independent creature because it is no longer an Aura.

Aura Graft Spirit Mantle Black Knight

[6.] If your very cunning, but not a very experienced opponent wants to "steal" your Spirit Mantle by Aura Graft, and as Aura Graft resolves there is only one other creature and it's Black Knight under his control, your opponent will control Spirit Mantle but can't attach it to Black Knight and Spirit Mantle will remain on your creature.
If there are some other creatures on the battlefield, the controller of Aura Graft will have to attach Spirit Mantle to one of them, even if it is not profitable (for example, if another creature is your Emrakul).

It's time to discuss one very obvious thing: the controller of the aura and the controller of the enchanted object may be completely different players. In some cases, the object has no controller. For example, nobody controls cards in the graveyard.

Bear cub Spirit Mantle Mind Control

You have a bear enchanted by Spirit Mantle. Cunning opponent takes it with Mind Control. You still control Spirit Mantle, but it still remains attached to the bear, and it gets all bonuses.

It is not always that easy with other Auras.

Remember that "you" in the card text always refers to the object's controller.

It seems I have told you everything you need to know about Auras. I hope now you will not be surprised that a creature with Shroud can be enchanted by one of them.

It’s time to look on the Spirit Mantle's bonuses. Not all yogurt bonuses are the same health-giving. The first part just gives the creature +1/+1, i.e. modifies its characteristics, the second one gives the creature a static ability.

Bear cub Spirit Mantle Turn to Frog

That means that if a creature enchanted with Spirit Mantle is targeted by Turn to Frog, the first part Spirit Mantle's effect will still work (it is working in higher layer than setting P/T to certain values), but you have to say goodbye to protection from creatures until end of turn, because Turn to Frog removes all abilities from target creature and this one as well.

Protection from creatures

Here is mnemonic rule for protection (by Yaroslav Berezovsky)

Protection does exactly four things.

If a permanent or player is protected from FREAKs, that means:

  1. This permanent or player can not be the target of the FREAK's spell and ability from FREAK's sources.
  2. Damage that FREAKs trying to deal to this permanent or player is prevented.
  3. FREAK's Aura or equipment / fortification falls off this permanent or player (Auras are put into its owner’s graveyard, equipments remains on the battlefield). This is a state-based action.
  4. If this permanent attacks, FREAKs can't block it.

Aside from this, Protection does nothing more.

Hence we conclude that the creature enchanted by Spirit Mantle:

  • can not be the target of creature's abilities;
  • damage from creatures (both combat and noncombat) is prevented;
  • it can not be blocked by any creature.
Inferno Titan Magma Phoenix Dazzling Beauty

The creature enchanted by Spirit Mantle can't be the target of Inferno Titan's triggered ability since the source of the ability is a creature.

Damage from Magma Phoenix's ability can't harm the creature enchanted by Spirit Mantle, it will be prevented by Protection.

The creature enchanted by Spirit Mantle can't be blocked by any creature, but you can change its combat state with a spell.

Funny fact:

Vengeful Pharaoh

The creature enchanted by Spirit Mantle can't be the target of Vengeful Pharaoh's ability from the graveyard, since protection from creatures disregards whether the source is a permanent or a creature card in any other zone.

Such an exception is made for protection from card types, subtypes and supertypes. Usually we talk about a creature only as an object on the battlefield, i.e., permanent. We have a creature spell in the stack, and a creature card in other zones.

One more funny fact:

Blazing Torch

A creature enchanted by Spirit Mantle, can not be damaged by Blazing Torch, thanks to the ability that it gives to the equipped creature.

Why? Blazing Torch is an artifact, not a creature. The fact is that its ability «{T}, Sacrifice Blazing Torch: Blazing Torch deals 2 damage to target creature or player» belongs to equipped creature. And this ability has target. A creature enchanted with Spirit Mantle has protection from creatures, therefore it can not be targeted with that ability.

Aside from this, Protection does nothing more.

Gatekeeper of Malakir Kagemaro, First to Suffer Phyrexian Metamorph

You control only one creature that is enchanted by Spirit Mantle. You cunning opponent casts Gatekeeper of Malakir with kicker. You have to sacrifice that creature.

Due to effect of the second ability of Kagemaro, First to Suffer creature enchanted with Spirit Mantle will get -X/-X and can easily go to the graveyard, if X is high enough to decrease its toughness to 0 or lower.

Phyrexian Metamorph can copy a creature enchanted by Spirit Mantle, since it doesn't target. Keep in mind that copy will not have any +1/+1 or Protection from creatures.


* Doorways in the Sand by Roger Zelazny

** Removal — a slang expression for a spell or ability that allows to neutralize opponent's permanents: destroy, exile, make it impossible to attack / block.

*** Bounce — a slang expression for the effect of returning a permanent to its owner's hand.



Irina Samonova © 1999-2014

Magic the Gathering is TM and copyright Wizards of the Coast, Inc, a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc. All rights reserved.

.