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Morph

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Morph
Type: Static
Introduced: Onslaught
Last Used: Khans of Tarkir
Reminder Text: You may cast this face down as a 2/2 creature for Mana3.gif. Turn it face up any time for its morph cost.
Statistics: 120 cards
Manau.gif32% Manaw.gif16% Manab.gif15% Manag.gif15% Manar.gif15%
Artifacts 1%, Land 1%
Gatherer search for "Morph"

Morph is a keyword ability on permanents that allows the player to pay Mana3.gif to play a card with the ability face down as a 2/2 colorless, typeless creature. The player can then turn that creature face-up at any time they could play an instant by paying a variable Morph cost printed on each card. Many permanents with morph have additional triggered abilities that trigger when they are turned face-up (see Bane of the Living), and some other permanents trigger when a different card is turned face up.

History[edit]

Morph came about because the rules team was trying to figure out a way to make Illusionary Mask and Camouflage work. The answer was to define face-down cards as creatures with a power and toughness. The rules team realized the solution led to a mechanic. Cards could be cast face-down and then, for a cost, could be later turned face-up. As all face-down creatures were the same, it would create a sense of mystery. The rules team pitched the idea to Mark Rosewater, who loved it.[1] The ability first appeared in Onslaught block [2][3][4][5][6] and was revisited in the Time Spiral block.[7][8] Most morph creatures in these sets had a visual cue in their art that represented the mysteriously uniform “morph shell” from which the morph creature emerges. It’s that spider-shaped creature shell that is represented in Onslaught’s expansion symbol (ONS symbol.png).[9]

Morph returned again in Khans of Tarkir.[10][11] The mechanic was now visually represented as a swirl of draconic magic, used as a disguise.[12][13]

Rules[edit]

From the Comprehensive Rules (Khans of Tarkir)

  • 702.36. Morph
    • 702.36a Morph is a static ability that functions in any zone from which you could play the card it‘s on, and the morph effect works any time the card is face down. "Morph [cost]" means "You may cast this card as a 2/2 face-down creature, with no text, no name, no subtypes, and no mana cost by paying {3} rather than paying its mana cost." (See rule 707, "Face-Down Spells and Permanents.")
    • 702.36b To cast a card using its morph ability, turn it face down. It becomes a 2/2 face-down creature card, with no text, no name, no subtypes, and no mana cost. Any effects or prohibitions that would apply to casting a card with these characteristics (and not the face-up card‘s characteristics) are applied to casting this card. These values are the copiable values of that object‘s characteristics. (See rule 613, "Interaction of Continuous Effects," and rule 706, "Copying Objects.") Put it onto the stack (as a face-down spell with the same characteristics), and pay {3} rather than pay its mana cost. This follows the rules for paying alternative costs. You can use morph to cast a card from any zone from which you could normally play it. When the spell resolves, it enters the battlefield with the same characteristics the spell had. The morph effect applies to the face-down object wherever it is, and it ends when the permanent is turned face up.
    • 702.36c You can‘t cast a card face down if it doesn‘t have morph.
    • 702.36d If you have priority, you may turn a face-down permanent you control face up. This is a special action; it doesn‘t use the stack (see rule 115). To do this, show all players what the permanent‘s morph cost would be if it were face up, pay that cost, then turn the permanent face up. (If the permanent wouldn‘t have a morph cost if it were face up, it can‘t be turned face up this way.) The morph effect on it ends, and it regains its normal characteristics. Any abilities relating to the permanent entering the battlefield don‘t trigger when it‘s turned face up and don‘t have any effect, because the permanent has already entered the battlefield.
    • 702.36e See rule 707, "Face-Down Spells and Permanents," for more information on how to cast cards with morph.

Rulings[edit]

  • An important change in Future Sight is that playing a spell face down works as though the card were already face down in your hand when you start to play it. It's treated as though it's a creature card with no name, color, abilities, mana cost, or subtypes while it's in your hand, and you can play that creature spell by paying Mana3.gif rather than its mana cost. You can also play it face up as normal, of course.
  • If you have Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir in play, creature cards in your hand have flash. If you play a noncreature card with morph face down, you can do so as though it had flash. If you play a noncreature card with morph face up, you can do so only at the time you could normally play that type of card.
  • If a card such as Voidstone Gargoyle prohibits you from playing a certain card that has morph, you can still play that card face down.
  • Morph triggers occur when you use the Morph ability to turn the card face up, or when an effect turns it face up. It will not trigger on being revealed or on leaving play.

Notes related to noncreature cards with morph[edit]

  • The first (and only) noncreature cards with morph are Lumithread Field (an enchantment), Whetwheel (an artifact) and Zoetic Cavern (a land).
  • As soon as a noncreature card with morph is turned face up, it stops being a creature. Any Equipment attached to it fall off. Any Auras that can't be attached to it fall off. Any counters that are on it will remain, though they may not have any effect.
  • If such a permanent is in combat when it's turned face up, it's removed from combat. Combat damage that it assigned will not be dealt. Combat damage assigned to it will not be dealt. This is because the permanent is removed from combat when it stops being a creature. As such, it is removed from all damage assignment orders. Blockers do not assign any damage if no attackers are assigned to it.
  • Three Onslaught block cards (Aphetto Runecaster, Aven Farseer, and Bonethorn Valesk) are printed with abilities that trigger whenever a creature is turned face up. These are erratad so they trigger whenever a permanent is turned face up.

Examples[edit]

Khans of Tarkir morph overlay card.
  • Aphetto Alchemist - Mana1.gifManau.gif
    Creature — Wizard
    1/2
    Tap.gif: Untap target artifact or creature.
    Morph Manau.gif (You may cast this face down as a 2/2 creature for Mana3.gif. Turn it face up any time for its morph cost.)
  • Gathan Raiders - Mana3.gifManar.gifManar.gif
    Creature — Human Warrior
    3/3
    Hellbent — Gathan Raiders gets +2/+2 if you have no cards in your hand.
    Morph — Discard a card. (You may cast this face down as a 2/2 creature for Mana3.gif. Turn it face up any time for its morph cost.)

Overlay card[edit]

Khans of Tarkir introduced the Morph-overlay card which was available in booster packs an extra card with an advertisement on the back side. The overlay card may be used on face-down Morph cards to remind players of their power and toughness and that it can be turned face-up for its Morph cost.[12][14]

Cards that affect morph costs[edit]


References[edit]

  1. Mark Rosewater. (November 24, 2014.) "Top 8 and a Half Tales", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Mark Rosewater. (September 09, 2002.) "Wait, There's Morph", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Paul Barclay. (September 6, 2002.) "Morph: Onslaught’s New Ability", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Mark Rosewater. (January 6, 2003.) "Trigger Happy", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Aaron Forsythe. (January 8, 2003.) "Morph Trigger Rules Primer", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  6. Jay Moldenhauer-Salazar. (February 13, 2003.) "Decks That Morph", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Magic Arcana. (March 05, 2007.) "Shaper Parasite", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  8. Magic Arcana. (June 11, 2007.) "Remnant of a Morph Shell", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  9. Magic Arcana. (October 24, 2006.) "Hidden “Morph Spiders”", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  10. Mark Rosewater. (July 26, 2014.) "All The Goods From The Panel, Part 1", Blogatog, Tumblr.
  11. Sam Stoddard. (October 24, 2014.) "Hidden Information", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Matt Tabak. (August 31, 2014.) "Mechanics of Khans of Tarkir", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  13. Blake Rasmussen. (November 6, 2014.) "Morphs on Tarkir", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  14. Blake Rasmussen. (September 10, 2014.) "Tokens of Tarkir", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.