Will Turntimber Ranger + Xenograft go infinite?

Asked by SirFowler 4 years ago

It has come to my understanding that when you name allies with Xenograft then cast Turntimber Ranger would give you infinite allies because I think I remember someone else using this combo and winning. Am I wrong?

Rhadamanthus says... #1

That's right. Each creature token made by the ability will be a Wolf Ally, thereby triggering the ability again. Since the ability says "you may put" a token, the controller picks his/her favorite big number and stops the loop there ('"infinite" isn't technically a legal choice, but many players just wave their hands around and play through it).

May 26, 2015 4:03 p.m.

SirFowler says... #2

I think the ruling on the Xenograft says that cards outside of the battlefield aren't effected. So when it won't apply until after it hits the battlefield.

May 26, 2015 4:21 p.m.

TheRedMage says... #3

That is incorrect, SirFowler. Static abilities like the one on Xenograft apply at all times that a permanent is on the battlefield and are always checked. The token will enter the battlefield as a Wolf Ally.

It is true that cards like Xenograft only apply on the battlefield - so, for example, if I have Xenograft naming spirit and my opponent casts Huntmaster of the Fells  Flip I still won't be able to counter it with Hisoka's Defiance since it won't be a spirit on the stack.

However, once it resolves, the huntmaster will be a spirit, will enter the battlefield as a spirit, and there will be no time during which it was on the battlefield and not a spirit.

Similarly, in this case there will be no time that the wolf token is on the battlefield and not an ally, so abilities that trigger on allies entering the battlefield will trigger.

May 26, 2015 4:43 p.m.

Rhadamanthus says... Accepted answer #4

Yes, Xenograft doesn't apply to the tokens before they get to the battlefield, but that doesn't matter here. There's no moment that the tokens are on the battlefield yet somehow not affected by Xenograft's static ability. They enter the battlefield as Allies and will trigger anything that cares about Allies. ETB triggers look at the characteristics of a triggering object at the time it entered the battlefield. The following rules cover this situation:

603.6a Enters-the-battlefield abilities trigger when a permanent enters the battlefield. These are written, "When [this object] enters the battlefield, . . . " or "Whenever a [type] enters the battlefield, . . ." Each time an event puts one or more permanents onto the battlefield, all permanents on the battlefield (including the newcomers) are checked for any enters the-battlefield triggers that match the event.

603.6b Continuous effects that modify characteristics of a permanent do so the moment the permanent is on the battlefield (and not before then). The permanent is never on the battlefield with its unmodified characteristics. Continuous effects don't apply before the permanent is on the battlefield, however (see rule 603.6e).

May 26, 2015 4:47 p.m.

SirFowler says... #5

The-Xellos says otherwise. I'm still not sure on the ruling. One person says one thing and another says something else. Maybe I should just cut the combo all together if it creates such differences.

May 26, 2015 4:52 p.m.

Rhadamanthus says... #6

Well, I'm sorry to hear that. The combo works and the quoted rules are why it works.

May 26, 2015 4:57 p.m.

SirFowler says... #7

I decided to keep it. Thank you everyone for helping me understand. :)

May 26, 2015 5:08 p.m.

The-Xellos says... #8

If this is true then why if Warrior is the chosen creature type and you control Bramblewood Paragon, a Runeclaw Bear would not enter the battlefield with an additional +1/+1 counter.

May 26, 2015 10:58 p.m.

SirFowler says... #9

It's because the paragon's ability is a static ability, meaning that you don't have a choice for the effect. But since the ranger's ability says you may put a creature into play, it is considered a triggered ability.

May 26, 2015 11:16 p.m.

TheRedMage says... #10

@The-Xellos: if you control Bramblewood Paragon and Xenograft naming Warrior, your Runeclaw Bear will actually be a bear warrior when it enters the battlefield and will thus get a counter as it enters the battlefield. Why do you have the impression it doesn't?

May 27, 2015 2:29 a.m. Edited.

SirFowler says... #11

It says in the Bramblewood Paragon ruling that it wouldn't work. That's why I'm still confused on this subject.

May 27, 2015 2:36 a.m.

TheRedMage says... #12


You are right. It is possible I just misinterpreted the text on Bramblewood Paragon.

The difference here is that the ability on Bramblewood Paragon is a replacement effect. It tries to give your creature the counter as it enters the battlefield, which is to say, it will check immediately before the creature gets to enter the battlefield. Because the effect only applies to objects on the battlefield, if you check right before, it won't be a Warrior quite yet, and won't get the counter.

On the other hand Turntimber Ranger has an ability that triggers upon allies entering the battlefield. It will check upon triggering, which is, immediately after your creature enters the battlefield. At that point, it will be an Ally already.

Sorry for the confusion. This is kind of a corner case and it's easy to forget that's the case.

May 27, 2015 4:42 a.m.

The-Xellos says... #13

Ya, magic is sooo simple. Thanks TheRedMage and SirFowler for clearing that up for me. As soon as I think I know the rules, I find out I missed something. I just thought that the combo was too strong and thought that Bramblewood Paragon was a triggered ability not a static.

May 27, 2015 8:53 a.m.

Rhadamanthus says... #14

Right, because Bramblewood Paragon's ability is a replacement effect that modifies how a creature enters the battlefield, it has to be applied before the creature actually gets to the battlefield. This means Xenograft isn't yet affecting Runeclaw Bear at the time Paragon's effect would be applied.

May 27, 2015 9:02 a.m.

TheRedMage says... #15

Kind of mad at myself for getting it wrong. But I guess it's better to get it wrong here and now that if I get a call at a tournament later on.

Just to clarify, The-Xellos: you can tell if something is a triggered ability because it will use one of the three magic trigger words: "when", "whenever" or "at". Most triggered abilities start with one of those three words ("At the beginning of your upkeep...", "Whenever a warrior enters the battlefield under your control...", "When you control no other creatures..." and so on). In some rare cases they won't, but they'll still have the magic trigger word in them somewhere.

Abilities that do not include one of these are not triggered. Most notably, abilities that use the words "if" (like the one on Notion Thief) or "as" (like for example the ability that makes you choose a type in Xenograft) are not triggered abilities, but rather, replacement effects, and so are abilities that tell you that something enters the battlefield "with something" like our very own Bramblewood Paragon.

I hope this makes the difference a little bit more clear to you (and to me, since I apparently need it :) )

May 27, 2015 12:40 p.m. Edited.

SirFowler says... #16

Thank you for clearing that up :)

Sorry if I made such a ruckus with this question. I just wanted to know because some of the explanations for magic rules kind of are counter intuitive at times.

Anyway, thank you again everyone.

May 27, 2015 2:42 p.m.

This discussion has been closed