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  • Writer's pictureCuriosity Video Games

Commander Nights 5/20/23 - Back it up!

Apologies for this being a little late, it's been a weird week. We will not be changing any of the special points for this week, but a new global effect will be in play.

Creatures you control without Backup gain Backup 1 (When this creature enters the battlefield, put 1 +1/+1 counter on target creature. If that’s another creature, it gains the following abilities until end of turn.)

!!Creatures that gain backup this way gain the ability above all other printed abilities.

For those of you who may not have experience with the backup mechanic introduced in March of the Machines; When a creature with backup enters the battlefield, you can put X counters (where x is the number following the Backup texty) on a target creature (either the one that entered or another one already on the battlefield). If you put the counter on a creature other than the one that entered, that creature you put the counter on will gain all the abilities printed after the Backup ability of the one that entered until end of turn.

Comprehensive rules

  • 702.165. Backup

    • 702.165a Backup is a triggered ability. “Backup N” means “When this creature enters the battlefield, put N +1/+1 counters on target creature. If that’s another creature, it also gains the non-backup abilities of this creature printed below this one until end of turn.” Cards with backup have one or more abilities printed after the backup ability. (Some cards with backup also have abilities printed before the backup ability.)

    • 702.165b The order of printed abilities is part of an object’s copiable values. See rule 707.2.

    • 702.165c Only abilities printed on the object with backup are granted by its backup ability. Any abilities gained by a permanent, whether due to a copy effect, an effect that grants an ability to a permanent, or an effect that creates a token with certain abilities, are not granted by a backup ability.

    • 702.165d The abilities that a backup ability grants are determined as the ability is put on the stack. They won’t change if the permanent with backup loses any abilities after the ability is put on the stack but before it resolves.


  • Only abilities that are printed after Backup are granted to the target creature. Abilities printed before Backup are not granted to the target creature.

  • If a player gives additional abilities to a creature in response to its Backup ability, those abilities are added before the printed Backup ability and are therefore not granted to the Backup target.

  • If a backup ability targets the creature with backup, that creature will get +1/+1 counters, but it won't gain additional abilities.

  • If a backup ability causes another creature to gain abilities, the creature with backup will still have those abilities.

  • If a permanent enters the battlefield as a copy of a card with a backup ability or a token is created that is a copy of that card, the order of the printed abilities is maintained.

  • Backup confers only abilities that are actually printed below it. Any abilities that are gained by the permanent are ignored, including abilities gained due to a resolving spell or ability or copy effects.

  • The abilities that backup grants to the target creature are determined only once, at the time the ability triggers. They won't change if the permanent with backup loses any abilities before the backup ability resolves.

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