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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. All 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. 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. 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. 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. There are 3 pairs of cards that can meld together: a white pair, a black pair, and a pair consisting of a red card and a land. There are also 15 regular DFCs in Eldritch Moon: 2 white, 3 blue, 1 black, 3 red, 4 green, 1 multicolored, and 1 artifact.
Since June 2017, double-faced cards are considered to be deciduous. Ten of them appeared in Ixalan - one of each color, and 5 artifacts - highlighting the tales and tools of discovery. Another seven double-faced cards appeared in Rivals of Ixalan, one of each enemy color pair and 2 artifacts. 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.
Description[edit | edit source]
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 and Core Set 2019 they are planeswalkers whose spark is igniting. In Ixalan sets, they represent the journey into uncharted territory and the discovery of new locales.
Most double-faced cards (68 out of 103, 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 as well as the only double-faced card in Core Set 2019 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, as are five of the seven double-faced cards from Rivals of Ixalan.
- The other five double-faced cards from Ixalan are artifacts that transform into lands, as is one of the double-faced cards from Rivals of Ixalan.
- Golden Guardian (Rivals of Ixalan) is an artifact creature that transforms into a land.
Rules[edit | edit source]
Playing with double-faced cards[edit | edit source]
The Innistrad block double-faced cards have an icon next to the name representing a sun or a moon . 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 and 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 for the front side and the planeswalker symbol for the back side.
Creatures from Eldritch Moon that transform into colorless Eldrazi have a the aforementioned eldritch moon for the front side and Emrakul for the back side, showing this creature has joined Emrakul's brood.  This is symbolizing one transformation step further from that shown in Innistrad, Dark Ascension, and Shadows over Innistrad.
Double-faced cards from Ixalan and Rivals of Ixalan highlight 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.
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 and Nicol Bolas, the Ravager from Core Set 2019 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 their 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 both faces.
- With the exception of Professional REL events (starting from Pro Tour Shadows over Innistrad) that are pre-sleeved, during booster drafts, double-faced cards are revealed to all players all times until the next pick that card was picked by any player. They are allowed to reveal the card in either side, however.
- For Professional REL events after Ixalan, unless WotC decided the set should be pre-sleeved (determined by number and the opening frequency of double-faced card of the set), all player must reveal their double-faced card opened in their pack (if any) before the draft begins as well for sets involving double-faced cards.
- Magic Online's draft events involving double-faced cards are no different to draft events having no double faced card regardless of event type and set involved.
- 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]
- Matt Tabak. (June 22, 2015.) “Magic Origins Mechanics Article”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Matt Tabak. (March 7, 2016.) “Shadows over Innistrad Mechanics”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater. (June 27, 2016.) “Over the Moon, Part 1”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater. (June 29, 2016.) "Do meld cards count as DFCs?", Blogatog, Tumblr.
- Mark Rosewater. (June 30, 2017.) "What mechanics and tools are currently considered Deciduous?", Blogatog, Tumblr.
- Matt Tabak. (August 28, 2017.) “Ixalan Mechanics”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- 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.
- Mark Rosewater. (August 29, 2011.) “Every Two Sides Has a Story”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Monty Ashley. (September 21, 2011.) “The Two Sides”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater. (August 05, 2013.) “Twenty Things That Were Going To Kill Magic”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Wizards of the Coast. (August 28, 2011.) “Double-Faced Card Rules”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Ken Nagle. (June 28, 2016.) “A Summary of Two Fears”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
[edit | edit source]
- Sam Stoddard. (May 6, 2016.) “Developing Double-Faced Cards”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Wizards of the Coast. (May 25, 2016.) “Double-Faced Cards Procedure for Professional REL Drafts”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.