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Battle
Battle symbol
Card Type
Subtype Battle type
Statistics
36 cards
{C} 2.8% {W} 11.1% {U} 11.1% {B} 11.1% {R} 13.9% {G} 13.9% {W/U} 5.6% {U/B} 2.8% {B/R} 2.8% {R/G} 2.8% {G/W} 2.8% {W/B} 5.6% {U/R} 2.8% {B/G} 2.8% {R/W} 2.8% {G/U} 2.8% {M} 2.8%
as of March of the Machine
Scryfall Search
type:"Battle"
Invasion of Zendikar MOM

Front side of a Battle

Battle is a card type introduced in March of the Machine.[1][2][3][4][5] Battles are attackable permanents that have abilities.[6]

History[ | ]

Battles were teased before their release in Phyrexia: All Will Be One, when battle was listed as a card type on the card Atraxa, Grand Unifier.[7] This teaser was reminiscent of the introduction of the planeswalker type, which was first hinted at on Tarmogoyf in Future Sight.

There are 36 planes being invaded in March of the Machine, with one battle card for every plane that was a major setting, plus a few extras. All of them are Sieges in this first iteration. Going forward, Battles are considered to be deciduous.[8]

Description[ | ]

Battle cards have a unique horizontal card frame with the title bar, type line, and text box positioned in the center of the card. The artwork for battles fills the entire remaining card space, excluding the border. Additionally, a small star icon on the bottom-right side of the text box represents the starting defense of the battle.

The first released battles all had the battle subtype Siege. This means that they all were double-faced cards that could transform (TDFCs). While Sieges do require a double-faced card, battles inherently don't. R&D can design single-faced battles that have an effect and are destroyed by the opponent attacking them. Essentially, a battle is like a planeswalker with only static, triggered, or activated effects and no loyalty abilities.[9] For Sieges, a standard front-face icon is positioned to the left of the card name.

A battle is placed horizontally on the battlefield (the first permanent to do so). Battles can be cast during a player's main phase, just like creatures, sorceries, and other non-instant spells.

Each battle enters the battlefield with defense counters on it equal to its defense, found in the lower right corner of the front face. This shows how much damage it takes to defeat that battle. Any damage dealt to a battle causes that many defense counters to be removed from it. When a battle's defense reaches 0, the battle is defeated and rewards its controller.

Battles are not evergreen. They are a tool R&D will use where appropriate.[10] Future battles don’t necessarily have to be double-faced.[8]

Flavor[ | ]

The flavor is supposed to be that players are fighting in the battle, although players struggled to comprehend what it would mean to "attack" and to "defeat" a battle in this case.[11][12]

Subtypes[ | ]

A battle's subtype provides rules on how it can be attacked. and the award for winning the battle.

Outside of the comprehensive rules[ | ]

  • No subtype – The battle's controller protects it. When it's defeated, it's put into its owner's graveyard. Currently, no battles of this kind exist. These kinds of battles would likely have a positive effect to incentivize their controller to defend them.[14]
  • Control Point – The battle starts under its owner's control, then exiles and reenters the battlefield defended by the last player to defeat it. Currently only on the test card Occupation of Llanowar, making its practicality questionable.

Rules[ | ]

From the glossary of the Comprehensive Rules (June 7, 2024—Modern Horizons 3)

Battle
A card type. A battle is a permanent. See rule 310, “Battles.”

From the Comprehensive Rules (June 7, 2024—Modern Horizons 3)

  • 310. Battles
    • 310.1. A player who has priority may cast a battle card from their hand during a main phase of their turn when the stack is empty. Casting a battle as a spell uses the stack. (See rule 601, “Casting Spells.”)
    • 310.2. When a battle spell resolves, its controller puts it onto the battlefield under their control.
    • 310.3. Battle subtypes are always a single word and are listed after a long dash: “Battle — Siege.” Battle subtypes are also called battle types. See rule 205.3q for the complete list of battle types.
    • 310.4. Defense is a characteristic that battles have.
      • 310.4a The defense of a battle card not on the battlefield is equal to the number printed in its lower right corner.
      • 310.4b A battle has the intrinsic ability “This permanent enters the battlefield with a number of defense counters on it equal to its printed defense number.” This ability creates a replacement effect (see rule 614.1c).
      • 310.4c The defense of a battle on the battlefield is equal to the number of defense counters on it.
    • 310.5. Battles can be attacked. (See rule 508, “Declare Attackers Step.”)
    • 310.6. Damage dealt to a battle results in that many defense counters being removed from it.
    • 310.7. If a battle’s defense is 0 and it isn’t the source of an ability which has triggered but not yet left the stack, it’s put into its owner’s graveyard. (This is a state-based action. See rule 704.)
    • 310.8. Each battle has a player designated as its protector.
      • 310.8a As a battle enters the battlefield, its controller chooses a player to be its protector. Which players may be chosen as its protector are determined by its battle type (see rule 310.11). If it has no battle types, its controller becomes its protector.
      • 310.8b A battle’s protector can never attack it. A battle can be attacked by any attacking player for whom its protector is a defending player. Notably, a Siege battle can be attacked by its own controller.
      • 310.8c A battle’s protector may block creatures attacking that battle with creatures they control. Creatures controlled by other players can’t block those attackers.
      • 310.8d If a battle’s protector is a different player than its controller, all rules and effects that refer to the “defending player” relative to a battle that is being attacked refer to that battle’s protector rather than its controller. See rule 508.5.
      • 310.8e If a rule or effect refers to the player who protects a battle, it means the player who is that battle’s protector.
      • 310.8f A battle can have only one protector at a time. A battle’s protector stops being its protector if another player becomes its protector.
      • 310.8g A battle’s protector doesn’t change if it stops being a battle or it becomes a copy of another battle.
    • 310.9. A battle can’t be attached to players or permanents, even if it is also an Aura, Equipment, or Fortification. If a battle is somehow attached to a permanent, it becomes unattached. This is a state-based action (see rule 704).
    • 310.10. If a battle that isn’t being attacked has no player designated as its protector, or its protector is a player who can’t be its protector based on its battle type, its controller chooses an appropriate player to be its protector. If no player can be chosen this way, the battle is put into its owner’s graveyard. This is a state-based action (see rule 704).
    • 310.11. All currently existing battles have the subtype Siege. Sieges are subject to special rules.
      • 310.11a As a Siege enters the battlefield, its controller must choose its protector from among their opponents. Only an opponent of a Siege’s controller can be its protector.
      • 310.11b Sieges have the intrinsic ability “When the last defense counter is removed from this permanent, exile it, then you may cast it transformed without paying its mana cost.”

Rulings[ | ]

  • Battles are susceptible to more than just combat damage. Some spells and abilities may specifically say that they cause damage to be dealt to battles. Also, any spell or ability that says "any target" can target a battle. Damage dealt to a battle causes that many defense counters to be removed from it.
  • Battles enter the battlefield untapped.[15]
    • They can be tapped, but they don’t naturally tap. Being tapped doesn’t have any mechanical relevance.[16]
  • Battles that are animated as creatures in addition to being a battle can't attack or block.[17]
    • Battles that become an attacking or blocking creature drop out of combat.[17]
    • Battle creatures that receive damage remove that many defense counters in addition to the damage being marked on the creature.[18]
    • If lethal damage also removes the last defense counter from a battle creature, it will die before it can be exiled and the back face be cast.[18]
  • If a battle somehow stops being a battle while it is attacked, it is removed from combat. Similarly, if the battle's controller changes in the middle of combat, it is removed from combat.
  • Only a battle's protector may block creatures attacking it. However, all other players in the game may attack that battle.
    • A battle's protector and its controller are different players. The battle's controller chooses an opponent as its protector. As a result, the battle's controller can attack their own permanent that they control, the first time this has been possible.[3]
  • In a multiplayer game, if a player that was assigned to defend a battle loses the game, its controller picks a new defender.[19] If the battle is currently being attacked when its protector leaves the game, its controller chooses a new protector only once no creatures are attacking it.
  • Battle is a new card type, but Siege is a battle subtype. Sieges have some special rules that limit who can protect them, and they let their controller exile them and cast them transformed when they are defeated. All battles that currently exist are Sieges, but future battles may have different subtypes with different rules about who can protect them and what happens when they are defeated.
  • Sieges each have an intrinsic triggered ability. That ability is "When the last defense counter is removed from this permanent, exile it, then you may cast it transformed without paying its mana cost."
  • As a Siege enters the battlefield, its controller chooses an opponent to be its protector.
  • A Siege's controller can't be its protector. If a Siege's protector ever gains control of it, they choose a new player to be its protector. This is a state-based action.
  • A battle's "defense" is displayed in the bottom right corner of the card. A battle enters the battlefield with that number of defense counters. If another permanent enters the battlefield as a copy of a battle, it also enters with that number of defense counters.
  • If a non-battle permanent that is already on the battlefield become a copy of a Siege, its controller chooses one of their opponents to be that battle's protector. However, it will most likely be put into its owner's graveyard because it has no defense counters (see below).
  • If a battle has no defense counters, and it isn't the source of a triggered ability that has triggered but not yet left the stack, that battle is put into its owner's graveyard. This is a state-based action. This doesn't cause a Siege's intrinsic triggered ability to trigger.
  • Notably, if a Siege never had defense counters on it (perhaps because a permanent became a copy of one), it can't have its last defense counter removed. It will be put into its owner's graveyard. You won't exile it or cast the other face.
  • If a token or a card that isn't represented by a transforming double-faced card becomes a copy of a Siege, it can't be cast as its triggered ability resolves. It will remain in exile. If it's a token, it will cease to exist the next time state-based actions are performed.
  • If a permanent that is represented by a transforming double-faced card becomes a copy of a Siege, it will be exiled as that Siege's triggered ability resolves, then it will be cast transformed. Note that this applies only to transforming double-faced cards, not to modal double-faced cards that can normally be played using either face.

Trivia[ | ]

References[ | ]

  1. Mark Rosewater (January 18, 2023). "Is there any information you can give us about Battle the new card type?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  2. [MOM] From a Wizards email - Battle cards to be in every back and double faced. Reddit (February 21, 2023).
  3. a b Matt Tabak (March 29, 2023). "March of the Machine Mechanics". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Mark Rosewater (March 29, 2023). "March of the Machine Learning, Part 1". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Dave Humpherys (April 4, 2023). "A Battle for the Ages: Leading March of the Machine Set Design". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  6. Mark Rosewater (February 1, 2024). "Without the siege subtype, what defines the function of battles?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  7. [ONE] Atraxa, Grand Unifier. Reddit (January 18, 2023).
  8. a b Mark Rosewater (March 29, 2023). "With the introduction of battles, can we assume that from now on, MDFC's are now evergreen and every set will have them?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  9. Mark Rosewater (November 20, 2023). "Odds & Ends: 2023, Part 1". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  10. Mark Rosewater (April 7, 2023). "Do you anticipate battles being in every set going forward or just in some?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  11. Mark Rosewater (April 7, 2023). "It's hard to imagine what it means flavor-wise to "attack a Battle".". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  12. Mark Rosewater (April 2, 2023). "Why is it "when a Battle is defeated" instead of "when a Battle is won?"". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  13. Kieron Verbrugge (March 28, 2023). "Here's an Exclusive Magic: The Gathering March of the Machine Card Preview". Press Start.com.
  14. Mark Rosewater (April 10, 2023). "Could there be a battle without a subtype?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  15. Mark Rosewater (March 30, 2023). "Do battles enter "tapped"". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  16. Mark Rosewater (March 29, 2023). "Why are battle landscape and can they be tapped/untapped?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  17. a b Matt Tabak (April 1, 2023). "There are a lot of rules to cover unusual battle situations, but here’s one that may be more common". Twitter.
  18. a b Matt Tabak (April 1, 2023). "If it’s a battle and a creature, damage takes off defense counters and is marked on the creature". Twitter.
  19. Mark Rosewater (April 3, 2023). "In a multiplayer game (i.e. commander) if a player that was assigned to defend a battle loses the game, what happens to the battle?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  20. Mark Rosewater (March 29, 2023). "Do you consider Battles to have filled the rest of the design space Structures might have?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  21. Mark Rosewater (February 22, 2024). "Was there any discussion of making the new "Battle of Hoover Dam" a battle card rather than a fate reforged style enchantment?". Blogatog. Tumblr.

External links[ | ]

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