Wirewood and a Regenerate Question

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Wirewood (creature) - effect is you have to Return an elf you control to your hand: to untap target creature.

My friend and I were wondering you could use the ability to return a card to your hand if the creature is about to die. Lets say i attack with something, he blocks with a weaker creature, but instead of putting it into the graveyard he uses that ability and returns the card to his hand. Is that possible?

My second question is about regeneration. I forgot what the situation was but basically the question is if a card is about to die but is then regenerated, if it had death effects, such as Festering Goblin: put a -1\-1 counter on target creature till end of turn, will those effects happen or not? When you regen a creature, is it actually going to the graveyard? or just staying in the playing field?
1) Yes. You can return any elf at any time you can play the activated ability.

2) Regenerate doesn't make the creature a new creature, so all effects of the creature stay in effect. Regen actually replaces the go to graveyard effect so it never goes to the graveyard. so any go to graveyard triggers, won't happen.
My friend and I were wondering you could use the ability to return a card to your hand if the creature is about to die. Lets say i attack with something, he blocks with a weaker creature, but instead of putting it into the graveyard he uses that ability and returns the card to his hand. Is that possible?

Yes. Any time before damage is combat damage is dealt, you can use the ability of Wirewood Symbiote to return an elf you control to your hand. The last chance you will have in combat to do this is with damage on the stack in the combat damage step. You can also use it in response to a spell that will kill your creature.
My second question is about regeneration. I forgot what the situation was but basically the question is if a card is about to die but is then regenerated, if it had death effects, such as Festering Goblin: put a -1\-1 counter on target creature till end of turn, will those effects happen or not? When you regen a creature, is it actually going to the graveyard? or just staying in the playing field?

It never goes to the graveyard. Regeneration means: "The next time this would be destroyed this turn, instead remove all damage from it, tap it, and remove it from combat." Note that if the creature is going to the graveyard for having 0 toughness, it will not be regenerated because it is not being destroyed. Also, Festering Goblin does not put a -1/-1 counter on a creature.
Thx guys, that clears things up a lot. Does the creatures damage still go through if he returns it to his hand? In that case is it like the sacrifice ability?
Thx guys, that clears things up a lot. Does the creatures damage still go through if he returns it to his hand? In that case is it like the sacrifice ability?

In regards to combat damage, a creature leaving play because it has been returned to your hand will function very similiarily to a creature leaving play because it has been sacrificed. What matters isn't why it's leaving play but that it is leaving play.
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