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A permanent is an object in play. Permanents are typically at least one (and possibly more) of the following:

A permanent need not necessarily be one of the above types. There are circumstances, such as using Neurok Transmuter's ability to remove the artifact type from an artifact being animated by March of the Machines, in which a permanent can be completely typeless.

A permanent is any card or token on the battlefield.

From the Comprehensive Rules (Shadows over Innistrad (April 8, 2016))

110. Permanents

  • 110.1. A permanent is a card or token on the battlefield. A permanent remains on the battlefield indefinitely. A card or token becomes a permanent as it enters the battlefield and it stops being a permanent as it’s moved to another zone by an effect or rule.
  • 110.2. A permanent’s owner is the same as the owner of the card that represents it (unless it’s a token; see rule 110.5a). A permanent’s controller is, by default, the player under whose control it entered the battlefield. Every permanent has a controller.
  • 110.2a If an effect instructs a player to put an object onto the battlefield, that object enters the battlefield under that player’s control unless the effect states otherwise.
  • 110.3. A nontoken permanent’s characteristics are the same as those printed on its card, as modified by any continuous effects. See rule 613, “Interaction of Continuous Effects.”
  • 110.4. There are five permanent types: artifact, creature, enchantment, land, and planeswalker. Instant and sorcery cards can’t enter the battlefield and thus can’t be permanents. Some tribal cards can enter the battlefield and some can’t, depending on their other card types. See section 3, “Card Types.”
  • 110.4a The term “permanent card” is used to refer to a card that could be put onto the battlefield. Specifically, it means an artifact, creature, enchantment, land, or planeswalker card.
  • 110.4b The term “permanent spell” is used to refer to a spell that will enter the battlefield as a permanent as part of its resolution. Specifically, it means an artifact, creature, enchantment, or planeswalker spell.
  • 110.4c If a permanent somehow loses all its permanent types, it remains on the battlefield. It’s still a permanent.
  • 110.5. Some effects put tokens onto the battlefield. A token is a marker used to represent any permanent that isn’t represented by a card.
  • 110.5a A token is both owned and controlled by the player under whose control it entered the battlefield.
  • 110.5b The spell or ability that creates a token may define the values of any number of characteristics for the token. This becomes the token’s “text.” The characteristic values defined this way are functionally equivalent to the characteristic values that are printed on a card; for example, they define the token’s copiable values. A token doesn’t have any characteristics not defined by the spell or ability that created it.
Example: Jade Mage has the ability “{2}{G}: Put a 1/1 green Saproling creature token onto the battlefield.” The resulting token has no mana cost, supertype, rules text, or abilities.
  • 110.5c A spell or ability that creates a token sets both its name and its subtype. If the spell or ability doesn’t specify the name of the token, its name is the same as its subtype(s). A “Goblin Scout creature token,” for example, is named “Goblin Scout” and has the creature subtypes Goblin and Scout. Once a token is on the battlefield, changing its name doesn’t change its subtype, and vice versa.
  • 110.5d If a spell or ability would create a token, but an effect states that a permanent with one or more of that token’s characteristics can’t enter the battlefield, the token is not created.
  • 110.5e A token is subject to anything that affects permanents in general or that affects the token’s card type or subtype. A token isn’t a card (even if represented by a card that has a Magic back or that came from a Magic booster pack).
  • 110.5f A token that’s phased out, or that’s in a zone other than the battlefield, ceases to exist. This is a state-based action; see rule 704. (Note that if a token changes zones, applicable triggered abilities will trigger before the token ceases to exist.)
  • 110.5g A token that has left the battlefield can’t move to another zone or come back onto the battlefield. If such a token would change zones, it remains in its current zone instead. It ceases to exist the next time state-based actions are checked; see rule 704.
  • 110.6. A permanent’s status is its physical state. There are four status categories, each of which has two possible values: tapped/untapped, flipped/unflipped, face up/face down, and phased in/phased out. Each permanent always has one of these values for each of these categories.
  • 110.6a Status is not a characteristic, though it may affect a permanent’s characteristics.
  • 110.6b Permanents enter the battlefield untapped, unflipped, face up, and phased in unless a spell or ability says otherwise.
  • 110.6c A permanent retains its status until a spell, ability, or turn-based action changes it, even if that status is not relevant to it.
Example: Dimir Doppelganger says “{1}{U}{B}: Exile target creature card from a graveyard. Dimir Doppelganger becomes a copy of that card and gains this ability.” It becomes a copy of Jushi Apprentice, a flip card. Through use of Jushi Apprentice’s ability, this creature flips, making it a copy of Tomoya the Revealer with the Dimir Doppelganger ability. If this permanent then becomes a copy of Runeclaw Bear, it will retain its flipped status even though that has no relevance to Runeclaw Bear. If its copy ability is activated again, this time targeting a Nezumi Shortfang card (another flip card), this permanent’s flipped status means it will have the characteristics of Stabwhisker the Odious (the flipped version of Nezumi Shortfang) with the Dimir Doppelganger ability.
  • 110.6d Only permanents have status. Cards not on the battlefield do not. Although an exiled card may be face down, this has no correlation to the face-down status of a permanent. Similarly, cards not on the battlefield are neither tapped nor untapped, regardless of their physical state.

Non-permanents[edit | edit source]

Non-permanents include sorceries, instants, triggered abilities and activated abilities on the stack, emblems, counters, and players. The obsoleted mana sources and interrupts were also considered to be non-permanents.