Sunforger and cards that can't be cast

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Sunforger has a ruling that you have to find a castable card. But what exactly governs this? I don't suppose there's a written rule in the comprehensive rules. 


  • Maybe there should be a rule for this? Or maybe it should say "search for a card ... you can cast"? or add a "may" to the "search and cast"?

  • Or maybe it should allow finding an uncastable card but not allowing to cast it, Changing it to say "if able" like other cards that force casting?

  • Or should it stay as it, remaining a part of those special not-in-the-rules rulings? (too obvious since you might as well not find at all?)


And how does that work with the fact that sometimes we don't know if the card is castable until we start to cast it? it seems that for Sunforger we don't just reverse back to before we cast the card, but also before the search which seems quite exceptional.

(edit: fixed the last sentence)
Is this actually a problem? If you start to cast a spell from your hand and it's uncastable, you rewind to before you cast the spell and it goes back to your hand. If you attempt to cast an uncastable spell with Sunforger, wouldn't the spell just return to your library? Or is this an issue of whether or not you then get to try and cast something else from your library?

Edit: Hmm, after doing a little bit of searching, it looks like any effect other than Suspend that allows you to cast something without paying its mana cost either says "you may" or "if able", so maybe Sunforger's template should be updated to follow this convention. "You may" seems more appropriate, since even if the card currently forces you to cast the spell, you can always opt not to find one in the search.
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As far as being parctical, this ruling is anything but a problem, it works great and offers a good solution for this effect. It helps to convey that what the effect is actually saying is "cast a a card from your library which is so-and-so".

What may be problematic, however, is that the exceptional way in which it works doesn't seem to be mentioned by the comprehensive rules, Sunforger's oracle or the way we usually iterpret a card's instructions. Just following the CR and the oracle make the instruction sound like you should first find a card and then attempt to cast it, and if you can't cast it you're stuck with the card you found because you can't reverese back to before you searched.

In the CR, rule 601.2 tells us only to reverse illegaly cast spells to a "moment before" the spell was cast. And 717.2 only explains how you're allowed to choose another option.
quoted rules
601.2. To cast a spell is to take it from where it is (usually the hand), put it on the stack, and pay its costs, so that it will eventually resolve and have its effect. Casting a spell follows the steps listed below, in order. If, at any point during the casting of a spell, a player is unable to comply with any of the steps listed below, the casting of the spell is illegal; the game returns to the moment before that spell started to be cast (see rule 717, "Handling Illegal Actions"). Announcements and payments can't be altered after they've been made.

717.2. When reversing illegal spells and abilities, the player who had priority retains it and may take another action or pass. The player may redo the reversed action in a legal way or take any other action allowed by the rules.


...

With that said, I'm starting to think I misunderstanding what "searching" really is. I probably shouldn't connect it with finding, rather, it's the action that comes later that is connected with finding. In that sense, when you're reversing the casting, you go back to before you found the card. "search for [something] and cast it" should probably be iterpreted as "look at your library, cast a [something] from it, stop looking at your library".

Edit: Hmm, after doing a little bit of searching, it looks like any effect other than Suspend that allows you to cast something without paying its mana cost either says "you may" or "if able", so maybe Sunforger's template should be updated to follow this convention. "You may" seems more appropriate, since even if the card currently forces you to cast the spell, you can always opt not to find one in the search.


Changing it to "search, you may cast" or "search, cast if able" would imply that you can't search for another card if you found one you can't cast, which is not desired. (Also, "you may search and cast" is probably not possible because you need both actions to be legal before you choose to perform them, and you can't know if "cast" is legal until you actually find a card)

(As a side note, other than "you may" and "if able" there's also the "cast any number" template seen on Chandra Ablaze  and Spwansire of Ulamog which are similar to "you may" since you can choose zero.)
I believe the ruling may simply be clarifying that an uncastable card will never leave your library and will therefore be shuffled back in. Casting directly from the library is unusual, so some people might think the card goes to your hand first, in which case they might think that Sunforger could be used as a weird sideways tutor for something uncastable. The ruling clarifies that that doesn't work.

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Hmm, from what I see in the ruling:
Any card you find must be legally castable (for example, you have to be able to choose a legal target for it). If you can't find a castable card (or choose not to), nothing happens and you shuffle your library.



You don't have the option of finding an uncastable card and then doing nothing with it. Rather you have to find a castable card or not find at all. It also sounds like if you found an uncastable card, you get to reverse back to searching.
I think the reasonable assumption reading the text would be that you search for any red or white instant card with converted mana cost 4 or less and then you cast it. Since it never left the library, if you can't cast it, it will still be there when it's shuffled. I know not a lot of cards let you cast things from your library, but I don't see the need for extra rulings, especially if they introduce ambiguous concepts like "castable".
Hmm, from what I see in the ruling[...]You don't have the option of finding an uncastable card and then doing nothing with it. Rather you have to find a castable card or not find at all.

There's really no functional difference between those two.

My point is that perhaps the rules are that you can find an uncastable card and be unable to do anything with it, but since most players won't really follow that fine distinction the ruling glosses over the details and says something technically inaccurate yet functionally equivalent that will hopefully be clearer to them.

After all, rulings aren't actually rules--they're simply stating the consequences of the rules. As such, they can be a little looser with the technical details.

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Your point sounds reasonable. I guess this won't matter unless some weird rule/effect that forces you to find a card will be created in the future.
Sunforger has a ruling that you have to find a castable card. But what exactly governs this?

608.2d is the enforcer here

you are instructed to cast the spell that you find (there is no may) therefore you must choose an option that is possible
ie. a card that you can cast aka a red and/or white instant with CMC 4 or less with legal targets if required

of course, you can always fail (or opt not) to find a card 

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But searching in itself doesn't restrict your "finding options" to castable cards. I suppose that when regarding sunforger's instruction as saiying "cast [something] from library" there is a choice and 608.2d applies, but knowing that you're supposed to regard it as such is not so clear from the printed text, the CR or the rulings for the card.
Just to check: if the entirety of your library is revealed (say if you have Oracle of Mul Daya, there's only one card left in it, it's a Flames of the Blood Hand, and the opponent has shroud), you're still not required to find a card meeting the criteria, right?
Right. The library is still a hidden zone even if all cards in it are revealed.
The only thing that comes to mind that makes "castable" ambiguous is if you try to cast something like Evermind (with Painter's Servant naming red or white, for the sake of argument). You can of course do this - but as someone mentioned, the rulings are just rulings, not actual rules.
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