"Non-X" Beware!

Posted in Arcana on April 10, 2006

By Wizards of the Coast

Rakdos the DefilerDissension's Rakdos the Defiler (previewed in today's feature article by Rei Nakazawa) causes players to sacrifice "non-Demon" permanents. While references to "Goblin Taskmaster" and "Gempalm Strider" and "Takeno, Samurai General" have been relatively common in Magic, use of the "non-" prefix, specifying everything that isn't a member of a subtype, has been much rarer.

Most of the references to "non-" are on older cards that specified "non-Wall creatures" before the defender keyword was created to mean "this creature can't attack." Nettling Imp, Siren's Call and Aggression gain some flavor by specifying "non-Wall" -- it wouldn't do to have your Wall of Stone die because it couldn't heed the Norritt or got in a fight with a Basilisk, right?

Catacomb Dragon
Mirage's Catacomb Dragon is a cool early example of a card that specifies "non-Dragons" -- anything that gets in a tussle with it that isn't a dragon or artifact creature gets so freaked out that its power is cut in half.

Frontline Strategist
Onslaught Block's heavy emphasis on tribal interactions, especially combined with Black's selfish fifth of the color pie, led to several instances of the exclusionary "non-". Cruel Revival, Deathmark Prelate, Noxious Ghoul, and Call to the Grave all punish non-Zombies. However, also see Frontline Strategist, which "Fogs" all non-Soldiers for battlefield victory.

Harbinger of Spring
Rakdos the Defiler is the only card that refers to "non-Demons", but Kamigawa Block has its share of tribally-aware demons and spirits. When Yukora the Prisoner dies, he takes all your non-Ogres with him. Harbinger of Spring has protection from non-Spirits, and Rend Flesh rends, well, any fleshy creatures, i.e. non-Spirits.

Most recently, the introduction of the Aura subtype to replace "local enchantments" has caused Oracle rewording of the term "global". For example, Opalescence and Tranquil Domain now refer to "non-Aura enchantments". But we suggest, when you head to the prerelease, that you keep track of non-Demons first...

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