Magic the Gathering

Templating and “that card”

From today’s Ask the Judge:

Q: At the end of my turn, if my Shirei, Shizo’s Caretaker is still in play, a land that went to my graveyard from play as a 1/1 creature due to Living Plane does not come back into play, does it? It says “creature card” on Shirei, which makes me suspect.

A: This land card will still be returned to play. Rule 404.4c says: ‘A delayed triggered ability that refers to a particular object still affects it even if the object changes characteristics.’ When Shirei’s ability says to return that creature card, it means that you return to play that card regardless of card type it is. This happens because that triggered ability that returns that card to play is a delayed triggered ability.

Here is the current oracle text of Shirei:

Whenever a creature with power 1 or less is put into your graveyard from play, you may return that creature card to play under your control at end of turn if Shirei, Shizo’s Caretaker is still in play.

I think that the question shows a problem with current templating. As the submitter of the question points out, the term “creature card” leads you to assume that only creature cards can be returned to play. While the rules make it clear that this is not the case, as Chris points out, it’s still a violation of the rule that cards should be as clear as possible. In my opinion “that card” would be more concise and not in any way less clear to newer players.

I’m a little undecided what to do about permanents, though. See for example Through the Breach:

Put a creature card from your hand into play. That creature has haste. Sacrifice that creature at end of turn.

Say you put a creature card into play with Through the Breach. You turn the creature into an Enchantment using Soul Sculptor. You will have to sacrifice the Enchantment, although it isn’t a creature anymore because of rule 404.4c. In this case it is not a good idea to have the oracle text read: “… Sacrifice that permanent at end of turn.” The problem here is for newer players to understand the term “permanent”.

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