Double-faced card

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Comprehensive Rules
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Parts of a Card
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Spells, Abilities, and Effects
Additional Rules
700. General
701. Keyword Actions
702. Keyword Abilities
703. Turn-Based Actions
704. State-Based Actions
705. Flipping a Coin
706. Copying Objects
707. Face-Down Spells and Permanents
708. Split Cards
709. Flip Cards
710. Leveler Cards
711. Double-Faced Cards
712. Controlling Another Player
713. Ending the Turn
714. Restarting the Game
715. Subgames
716. Taking Shortcuts
717. Handling Illegal Actions
Multiplayer Rules
Casual Variants
Innistrad checklist card
Dark Ascension checklist card
Magic Origins checklist card

Double-faced cards in Magic have a regular card frame on each side.

Decription[edit | edit source]

Double-faced cards were introduced with the set Innistrad and represented a radical change for the card back. [1] [2] [3] [4] Until their release, no legal card could have a different print on the back than the regular Magic card back.

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.

Double-faced cards returned in Magic Origins where one side features a legendary creature, and the other side features its planeswalker incarnation. These are first exiled and then return transformed from the exile zone. [5] In Magic Origins, there is only one double-faced card for each color.

In Shadows over Innistrad there are 3 white, 3 blue, 3 black, 6 red, 6 green and 3 colorless double-faced cards.

Thematically, double-faced cards represent a creature (or, in the case of Garruk Relentless, planeswalker) that undergoes a major transformation, hence the keyword action. Many are werewolves or fledgling vampires. In Magic Origins, they are planeswalkers whose spark is igniting.

Rules[edit | edit source]

From the Comprehensive Rules (Oath of the Gatewatch (January 16, 2016))

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 permanent to “transform,” or turn over to its other face. Tokens and cards with a Magic card back can’t transform. (See rule 701.25, “Transform.”)
  • 711.1a A double-faced card’s front face includes its mana cost. Its back face has no mana cost.
  • 711.1b Each face of a double-faced card has an icon in its upper left corner (for example, a sun or a stylized Planeswalker symbol). These icons have no effect on game play.
  • 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.
  • 711.2. 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. Sanctioned tournaments have additional rules for playing with double-faced cards. See rule 100.6.
  • 711.3a A checklist card has a normal Magic card back. The face of a checklist card is divided into sections. Each section lists the name and mana cost of each double-faced card it could represent and includes a fill-in circle. Before a checklist card can be used, exactly one of the fill-in circles must be marked to denote which double-faced card the checklist card represents.
  • 711.3b If a checklist card is used in a deck, the double-faced card it represents is set aside prior to the beginning of the game (see rule 103.1a) and must remain available throughout the game. A checklist card can’t be included in a deck unless it is representing a double-faced card.
  • 711.3c For all game purposes, the checklist card is considered to be the double-faced card it’s representing.
  • 711.3d If the checklist card is face up in a public zone, it should be set aside and the double-faced card used instead.
  • 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. The back face doesn’t have a mana cost; it has the colors in its color indicator (see rule 202.2e), if any.
  • 711.5. Except for determining whether or not a permanent can transform, a spell, ability, effect, or rule that needs information about a double-faced permanent sees only the information given by the face that’s currently up.
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 double-faced card is cast as a spell, it’s put on the stack with its front face up. See rule 601, “Casting Spells.”
  • 711.7. 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.
  • 711.8. 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.”
  • 711.8a While face down, a double-faced permanent can’t transform. If it is turned face up, it will have its front face up.
  • 711.9. 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.
  • 711.10. A double-faced card that is exiled face down remains hidden, using either a face-down checklist card or opaque sleeves. See rule 711.3.
  • 711.11. 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.
  • 711.12. If an effect instructs a player to name a card, 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 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/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.

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.

Double-faced 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 can not transform either.
  • If a card is not in play, the only information relevant and viewable for other cards is the day side of the card.
  • The color identity of the card includes either face.

Checklist card rulings[edit | edit source]

  • It's important that the cards in your deck be indistinguishable from one another. To accomplish this with double-faced cards, you can use the checklist cards included in some Innistrad and Dark Ascension booster packs and fat packs from those sets. These checklist cards have a list of all double-faced cards in the respective set on one side and the typical Magic card back on the other side.
  • You must have with you the actual double-faced card the checklist card is representing. The double-faced card should be kept apart from the rest of your deck. In tournaments, the double-faced card should also be kept separate from your sideboard.
  • A checklist card can't be included in a deck except when it's being used to represent a double-faced card.
  • You must mark exactly one fill-in circle on the checklist card to indicate which double-faced card it represents.
  • You can still use card sleeves, even if you also choose to use checklist cards.
  • During the game, a checklist card is considered to be the double-faced card it represents. For example, say you have a checklist card in your hand representing Tormented Pariah and an opponent casts Despise. The checklist card is a creature card, so your opponent may choose the checklist card and you would discard it.
  • As soon as a checklist card enters a public zone (stack, battlefield, graveyard, or exile unless it's exiled face down), use the double-faced card and set the checklist card aside. If the double-faced card is put into a hidden zone (hand or library), use the checklist card again.
  • If a double-faced card is exiled face down, keep its identity hidden by using the face-down checklist card.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Mark Rosewater. (August 29, 2011.) "Every Two Sides Has a Story", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Monty Ashley. (September 21, 2011.) "The Two Sides", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Mark Rosewater. (August 05, 2013.) "Twenty Things That Were Going To Kill Magic", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Wizards of the Coast. (August 28, 2011.) "Double-Faced Card Rules", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Matt Tabak. (June 22, 2015.) "Magic Origins Mechanics Article",, Wizards of the Coast.