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Rules Q&A » Post: Burn from Within question

Burn from Within question

April 1, 2016 09:03:40 PM

Cris Plyler
Judge (Level 2 (Judge Academy))

USA - Central

Burn from Within question

Burn from Within
Magma Spray

Question on the FAQ's regarding Burn from Within. In the FAQ it states that if damage is prevented to the creature it targeted, that if it would die later in the turn it would not be exiled. But the rulings for other cards like Magma Spray it says the exact opposite.

I agree that the creature wouldn't have indestructible removed, since it states for that part of the effect that the creature must be damaged, but it's worded the exact same way when it refers to exiling the creature as it is in Magma Spray so I would think the creature would still be exiled if it were to die in some other fashion.

Cris Plyler

Edited Cris Plyler (April 1, 2016 09:04:03 PM)

April 1, 2016 10:28:12 PM

Callum Milne
Forum Moderator
Judge (Uncertified)


Burn from Within question

The difference between Magma Spray and Burn from Within is that the phrase “that creature” in the final sentence references different noun phrases on each card–it's a function of English grammar.

On Magma Spray, things are simple because there is only one noun phrase which “that creature” could be referencing: the “target creature”. So it doesn't matter if anything's dealt damage, because nothing's telling you to care about that. But on Burn from Within, there are two such possible antecedents. One, as on Magma Spray, is “target creature”, but the other is “creature (that was) dealt damage this way”. These are two completely different noun phrases, and could end up referring to completely separate objects thanks to effects like Harm's Way so it's important that we know which of them the last sentence references.

So we turn to the rules of English grammar, which tell us that when there are multiple possible antecedents, the most recent one is the one being referenced. In Burn from Within's case, that's “creature (that was) dealt damage this way”. Thus, you're looking to exile the creature that was dealt damage. And of course, if the damage was prevented there is no such creature, and so nothing can be exiled.