Double-faced card

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Double-faced cards (DFCs) in Magic have a regular card frame on each side. A subcategory, meld cards, have only half a regular card on the card back.

History[edit | edit source]

Double-faced cards were introduced in the Innistrad block. In Innistrad there are 2 white, 3 blue, 2 black, 6 red and 7 green double-faced cards. In Dark Ascension there are 1 white, 1 blue, 2 black, 3 red, 3 green, 1 multicolored and 2 artifact double-faced cards. Alll these cards featured the keyword action transform (turn it over so that its other face is up).

Double-faced cards returned in Magic Origins where one side featured a legendary creature, and the other side featureds its planeswalker incarnation. These were first exiled and then return transformed from the exile zone.[1] In Magic Origins, there is only one double-faced card for each color.

Of course, double-faced cards returned again in Shadows over Innistrad. There are 5 white, 5 blue, 4 black, 7 red, 7 green, 1 multicolored, 3 artifact and 1 land double-faced cards. These had the transform mechanic again. New rules stipulated that the converted mana cost of the back face of a double-faced is based on the mana cost of the front face.[2] Eldritch Moon introduced a twist with meld, a keyword action that changes the card with meld and a specific other card into one oversized card. That single card only exists on the backs of the two other cards. Whenever the melded card leaves the battlefield, both cards go, and they each turn front face up again.[3] For gameplay purposes, these are NOT considered to be DFCs (see rule 711.1d below), though they occupy the DFC slot in a Shadows over Innistrad booster pack.[4] There are 3 pairs of cards that can meld together. There are also 15 regular DFCs in Eldritch Moon.

Since june 2017, double-faced cards are considered to be deciduous.[5] Ten of them appeared in Ixalan - one of each color, and 5 artifacts - highlighting the tales and tools of discovery.[6] Double-faced cards are going to be an infrequent thing. The short time between Shadows over Innistrad and Ixalan is not meant to be a precedent.[7]

Description[edit | edit source]

Double-faced cards represented a radical change for the card back.[8] [9][10][11] Until their release, no legal card could have a different print on the back than the regular Magic card back.

Thematically, double-faced cards represent something that undergoes a major transformation, hence the keyword action. In the Innistrad sets, many are werewolves or fledgling vampires. In Magic Origins, they are planeswalkers whose spark is igniting. In Ixalan, they represent the journey into uncharted territory and the discovery of new locales.

Most double-faced cards (68 out of 96, not counting meld cards) are creatures that transform into other creatures, although there are exceptions:

  • All five of the double-faced cards from Magic Origins are creatures that transform into planeswalkers.
  • Garruk Relentless (Innistrad) and Arlinn Kord (Shadows over Innistrad) are planeswalkers that transform into other planeswalkers.
  • Chalice of Life (Dark Ascension) and Neglected Heirloom (Shadows over Innistrad) are artifacts that transform into other artifacts.
  • Elbrus, the Binding Blade (Dark Ascension) and Cryptolith Fragment (Eldritch Moon) are artifacts that transform into creatures.
  • Thraben Gargoyle (Shadows over Innistrad) is an artifact creature that transforms into another artifact creature.
  • Harvest Hand (Shadows over Innistrad) is an artifact creature that transforms into a non-creature artifact.
  • Soul Seizer (Dark Ascension) and Accursed Witch (Shadows over Innistrad) are creatures that transform into enchantments.
  • Autumnal Gloom and Skin Invasion (Shadows over Innistrad) are enchantments that transform into creatures.
  • Startled Awake (Shadows over Innistrad) is a sorcery that transforms into a creature.
  • Westvale Abbey (Shadows over Innistrad) is a land that transforms into a creature.
  • Five of the ten double-faced cards from Ixalan are enchantments that transform into lands.
  • The other five double-faced cards from Ixalan are artifacts that transform into lands.

Double-faced is a referable property for a card: Moonmist's reminder text refers to double-faced cards.

Rules[edit | edit source]

From the Comprehensive Rules (Ixalan (September 29, 2017))

  • 711. Double-Faced Cards
    • 711.1. A double-faced card has a Magic card face on each side rather than a Magic card face on one side and a Magic card back on the other. Each face may have abilities that allow the card to “transform,” or turn over to its other face. Tokens and cards with a Magic card back can’t transform. (See rule 701.26, “Transform.”)
      • 711.1a A double-faced card’s front face is marked by a front-face symbol in its upper left corner. On Magic Origins double-faced cards, the front-face symbol is a modified Planeswalker icon. On cards in the Innistrad block and Shadows over Innistrad set, as well as on Ulrich of the Krallenhorde in the Eldritch Moon set, the front-face symbol is a sun. On other Eldritch Moon double-faced cards, the front-face symbol is a full moon. On Ixalan cards, the front-face symbol is a compass rose.
      • 711.1b A double-faced card’s back face is marked by a back-face symbol in its upper left corner. On Magic Origins double-faced cards, the back-face symbol is a full Planeswalker icon. On cards in the Innistrad block and Shadows over Innistrad set, as well as on Ulrich, Uncontested Alpha in the Eldritch Moon set, the back-face symbol is a crescent moon. On other Eldritch Moon double-faced cards, the back-face symbol is a stylized image of Emrakul. On Ixalan cards, the back-face symbol is a land icon.
      • 711.1c If the back face of a double-faced card is a creature, the front face of that card will have the back face’s power and toughness printed in gray above the power and toughness box. This is reminder text and has no effect on game play.
      • 711.1d Meld cards have a Magic card face on one side and half of an oversized Magic card face on the other. These aren’t double-faced cards and are subject to their own set of rules. See rule 712, “Meld Cards.”
    • 711.2. Players who are allowed to look at a double-faced card may look at both faces.
    • 711.3. Players must ensure that double-faced cards in hidden zones are indistinguishable from other cards in the same zone. To do this, the owner of a double-faced card may use completely opaque card sleeves or substitute a checklist card (see rule 713). Sanctioned tournaments have additional rules for playing with double-faced cards. See rule 100.6.
    • 711.4. Each face of a double-faced card has its own set of characteristics.
      • 711.4a While a double-faced card is outside the game, in a zone other than the battlefield, or on the battlefield with its front face up, it has only the characteristics of its front face.
      • 711.4b While a double-faced permanent’s back face is up, it has only the characteristics of its back face. However, its converted mana cost is calculated using the mana cost of its front face. If a permanent is copying the back face of a double-faced card (even if the card representing that copy is itself a double-faced card), the converted mana cost of that permanent is 0.
    • 711.5. Only permanents represented by double-faced cards can transform. (See rule 701.26, “Transform.”) If a spell or ability instructs a player to transform any permanent that isn’t represented by a double-faced card, nothing happens.

      Example: A Clone enters the battlefield as a copy of Wildblood Pack (the back face of a double-faced card). The Clone will be a copy of the Wildblood Pack. Because the Clone is itself not a double-faced card, it can’t transform.

      Example: A player casts Cytoshape, causing a Kruin Outlaw (the front face of a double-faced card) to become a copy of Elite Vanguard (a 2/1 Human Soldier creature) until end of turn. The player then casts Moonmist, which reads, in part, “Transform all Humans.” Because the copy of Elite Vanguard is a double-faced card, it will transform. The resulting permanent will have its back face up, but it will still be a copy of Elite Vanguard that turn.

    • 711.6. If a spell or ability instructs a player to transform a permanent, and the face that permanent would transform into is represented by an instant or sorcery card face, nothing happens.
    • 711.7. If a double-faced card is cast as a spell, it’s put on the stack with its front face up. See rule 601, “Casting Spells.”
    • 711.8. A double-faced card enters the battlefield with its front face up by default. If a spell or ability puts it onto the battlefield “transformed,” it enters the battlefield with its back face up.
      • 711.8a If a player is instructed to put a card that isn’t a double-faced card onto the battlefield transformed, that card stays in its current zone.
    • 711.9. If an effect allows a player to cast a double-faced card as a face-down creature spell, or if a double-faced card enters the battlefield face down, it will have the characteristics given to it by the rule or effect that caused it to be face down. That card remains hidden, using either a face-down checklist card or opaque sleeves. See rule 707, “Face-Down Spells and Permanents.”
      • 711.9a While face down, a double-faced permanent can’t transform. If it is turned face up, it will have its front face up.
    • 711.10. Double-faced permanents can’t be turned face down. If a spell or ability tries to turn a double-faced permanent face down, nothing happens.
    • 711.11. A double-faced card that is exiled face down remains hidden, using either a face-down checklist card or opaque sleeves. See rule 713, “Checklist Cards.”
    • 711.12. When a double-faced permanent transforms, it doesn’t become a new object. Any effects that applied to that permanent will continue to apply to it after it transforms.

      Example: An effect gives Village Ironsmith (the front face of a double-faced card) +2/+2 until end of turn and then Village Ironsmith transforms into Ironfang. Ironfang will continue to get +2/+2 until end of turn.

    • 711.13. If an effect instructs a player to choose a card name, the player may name either face of a double-faced card but not both.

Playing with double-faced cards[edit | edit source]

The Innistrad block double-faced cards have an icon next to the name representing a sun {Sun symbol} or a moon {Moon symbol}. The front of the card is called the day side and has a regular card frame, a mana cost, and the sun symbol. The back or "night" side has the moon symbol and a slightly altered frame similar to planeshifted cards with a darker text box and white text for the card type, name, and (for creatures) power/toughness.

With the Magic Origins rules update, the sun and moon symbols lost their meaning; the front of the card is now defined by the appearance of the mana cost. The set also introduced two new symbols for the five double-faced cards in its set: The rising run {Origin symbol} for the front side and the planeswalker symbol {Ignite symbol} for the back side.

Creatures from Eldritch Moon that transform in colorless Eldrazi have a {Eldritch moon symbol} for the front side and an {Emrakul symbol} for the back side, showing this creature has joined Emrakul's brood. [12] This is symbolizing one transformation step further from that shown in Innistrad, Dark Ascension, and Shadows over Innistrad

Double-faced cards Ixalan highlights the tales and tools of discovery. The front face is recognized by the icon of a compass rose. Lands on the backface are marked by the land icon last seen in Future Sight Land symbol.svg

Double-sided cards enter the battlefield with their front ("day") side up. To switch between the two card faces, the keyword action transform is used. When a permanent transforms, all counters, Auras, and Equipment stay on the card, and the card neither enters nor leaves the battlefield. The Magic Orgins double-faced cards are creatures on one face and planeswalkers on the other; rather than simply transform, they are instead exiled and then returned to the battlefield transformed, so that they enter the battlefield as planeswalkers and receive the appropriate number of loyalty counters.

To be allowed to play with double-sided cards, the player must either have opaque sleeves for all his cards through which no detail of the cards is visible, or use a checklist card to substitute for each double-faced card in the deck. Each set with double-faced cards has a checklist card in some of its booster packs. Checklist cards have the regular Magic card back and list the name and mana cost of all double-faced cards from the set. The player must mark which double-faced card the checklist card is meant to represent on the checklist card, in a manner not visible from the the back of the card. The checklist card is shuffled into the deck while the actual double-faced card is kept outside the game.

Card rulings[edit | edit source]

  • Double-faced cards can not be turned face down with cards such as Ixidron. When a double-faced card is instructed to be turned face-down, nothing happens. Similarly, if a non-double-faced card is instructed to transform, nothing happens.
  • If a double-faced card is manifested, it will be put onto the battlefield face down. While face down, it can't transform. If the front face of the card is a creature card, you can turn it face up by paying its mana cost. If you do, its front face will be up.
  • When a double-sided card is copied, e.g. with a card like Clone, only the characteristics of the face that is currently visible upon copying are copied. Such copies cannot transform, either.
  • If a card is not in play, the only information relevant and viewable for other cards is the front side of the card.
  • The color identity of the card includes either face.
  • With the exception of Professional REL events, During booster drafts, double-faced cards are revealed to all players all times until the end of the pick that card was picked by any player.
    • Starting from Pro Tour Shadows over Innistrad, all drafts that involved sets having Double-faced cards will be pre-sleeved during Professional REL events.
    • Magic Online's draft events involving double-faced cards are no different to draft events having no double faced card (similar to Professional REL events' draft).
  • Transforming a permanent into a land isn't the same as playing a land. Treasure Cove doesn't enter the battlefield, and it doesn't count as your land play for the turn.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Matt Tabak. (June 22, 2015.) “Magic Origins Mechanics Article”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Matt Tabak. (March 7, 2016.) “Shadows over Innistrad Mechanics”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Mark Rosewater. (June 27, 2016.) “Over the Moon, Part 1”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Mark Rosewater. (June 29, 2016.) "Do meld cards count as DFCs?", Blogatog, Tumblr.
  5. Mark Rosewater. (June 30, 2017.) "What mechanics and tools are currently considered Deciduous?", Blogatog, Tumblr.
  6. Matt Tabak. (August 28, 2017.) “Ixalan Mechanics”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Mark Rosewater. (August 28, 2017.) "Is it reasonable to expect more double faced cards in at least one set each year moving on?", Blogatog, Tumblr.
  8. Mark Rosewater. (August 29, 2011.) “Every Two Sides Has a Story”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  9. Monty Ashley. (September 21, 2011.) “The Two Sides”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  10. Mark Rosewater. (August 05, 2013.) “Twenty Things That Were Going To Kill Magic”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  11. Wizards of the Coast. (August 28, 2011.) “Double-Faced Card Rules”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  12. Ken Nagle. (June 28, 2016.) “A Summary of Two Fears”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.

External links[edit | edit source]