Published on 05/31/2021

Don't Replace My Trigger

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Sure I have a replacement effect that
leads to me having a triggered ability.


I've helped many a player or store keep become a judge. Guiding them through things they should now, having them help me run events, giving them needed feedback, and eventually giving them the old written judge test. Although tests are handled differently now, I still have 5 area's of the comprehensive rules I like to make sure those looking to become judges know.

1) Layers ( I did an article over this HERE.),
2) Triggers Vs Replacement effects,
3) The steps to casting a spell,
4) Alternate Costs Vs Additional Costs
5) Copying, Casting Copies, and Copies becoming permanents.

I figured today we would delve into the difference between handling multiple Triggers and handling multiple replacement effects and we can save those other subjects for articles at a later date.

If you have any Magic questions burning at the back of your brain, you can send them to us. We may even use them in a future article. If you have a short question, you can send it to us via our Twitter account at @CranialTweet, and you can send us longer questions at moko@cranialinsertion.com .




The first step is being able to identify triggered abilities.

From the comprehensive rules:

603.1. Triggered abilities have a trigger condition and an effect. They are written as "[When/Whenever/At] [trigger condition or event], [effect]. [Instructions (if any).]"

Q: So with that in mind, which of the following cards have triggered abilities?

A: The answer is...

A: Rotlung Reanimator
B: Scorned Villager
C: Back for More
D: Equestrian Skill
E: Batterskull


The answer is
A, B, C, & E.
Triggered abilities will have When, Whenever, or At followed by a trigger condition, then followed by some effect the trigger will do (this covers Rotlung Reanimator and Scorned Villager). Although most trigger are on permanents, some are on instants or sorceries like we see with Back for More. Some keyword abilities are triggered abilities, Living Weapon is one such keyword.






Next we need to be able to identify replacement effects.

This is a little harder to define than triggered abilities. Most replacement effects will include the word instead, but some simply state they modify how an object enters the battlefield.

Some simple examples are
"(this object) enters the battlefield tapped",
"(this object) enters the battlefield with X +1/+1 counters on it",
"as (this object) enters the battlefield name a card",
"(this object) enters the battlefield as a copy of any creature on the battlefield", or
"(objects) enter the battlefield tapped".

There are two other ways to identify a replacement effect, they will include the word "Skip" or will prevent damage.

Q: So with that in mind, which of the following cards have a replacement ability?

A: The answer is...

A: Alms Collector
B: Ancient Silverback
C: Intruder Alarm
D: Eon Hub
E: Authority of the Consuls


The answer is
A, B, D, and E.
Alms Collector has an easy to identify "instead" replacement effect. Eon Hub instructs players to "skip" their upkeep steps making it a replacement effect. Authority of the Consuls modifies how opponent's permanents enter the battlefield making it a replacement effect. Ancient Silverback has Regeneration, this is a replacement effect that replaces dying with becoming tapped, being removed from combat, and removing all damage from the Ape.





If multiple triggered abilities are put on the stack at the same time, and they all have the same controller, then the controller chooses the order they are placed in.

If multiple triggered abilities are put on the stack at the same time and they are not all controlled by the same player, then the active player puts all of their triggers on the stack in the order they choose, then the next player in turn order puts all the triggers they control on top of those previously added triggers in the order they choose. Then the next player in turn order does the same until each player has added all the trigger they control.

This mean the active player chooses targets before anyone else, and the active player's triggers will ultimately resolve last.

Conversely, the last player in turn order chooses their targets after everyone else, and their triggers will resolve first.

Q: In a three player game, Amber, Bowman, and Carter each control their own Blood Artist and each player is at 1 life. Assuming its currently Amber's turn and Bowman's turn is next. If Amber casts Damnation which of the following is true?

A: The answer is...

A: No matter what the other players do with their triggers, Bowman can win if he chooses his targets correctly.
B: No matter what the other players do with their triggers, Amber can win if she chooses her targets correctly.
C: No matter what the other players do with their triggers, Carter can win if they chooses their targets correctly.
D: No player can win in this scenario.
E: The game ends in draw as all 3 players die.


The answer is
C.
When Damnation resolves 3 creatures will die, causing each player to get 3 Blood Artist triggers. As its currently Amber's turn, she will put her three triggers on the stack first, then Bowman next in turn order will put his three triggers on the stack 2nd, and lastly Carter will put their three triggers on the stack. So long as Carter targets one opponent once, and the other opponent twice, Amber and Bowmen will both die before any of their trigger's will resolve.






If multiple replacement effects try to replace the same action, the order they are applied in is decided by the effected player or the controller of affected object.

Its possible that some replacement effects won't happen if the action it would have effected has been entirely replaced with something different.

Each replacement ability can only affect the same action at most once, so having for example two Parallel Lives and making a 1/1 Squirrel token will not create infinite squirrels.

If a spell or ability replaces part of itself, it is always applied before any other replacement effects.


Q: Alfred controls Furnace of Rath and Urza's Armor. Nora also controls a Urza's Armor. If Alfred cast's Flame Rift, which of the following is true?

A: The answer is...

A: Alfred chooses whether he takes 6 or 7 damage.
B: Alfred chooses whether Nora takes 6 or 7 damage.
C: Nora chooses whether she takes 6 or 7 damage.
D: Nora chooses whether Alfred takes 6 or 7 damage.
E: Both players have to take 7 damage, because Furnace has to be applied first.
F: Both players have to take 6 damage, because Urza's Armor has to be applied first


The answer is
A & C.
Each player is being effected by the Flame Rift, and gets to choose the order the replacement effects will happen to the damage hitting themselves. Neither player has any control over how this damage will effect their opponent.





Stop hitting yourself.

Q: Blake controls Hostility and Trisha controls Purity. If Blake hits Trisha with a Lightning Bolt, which of the following is true?

A: The answer is...

A: Purity wins, and Trisha gains 3 life.
B: Hostility wins, and Blake creates three elemental tokens.
C: If its Blake's turn, Hostility wins, and Blake creates three elemental tokens, otherwise Purity wins, and Trisha gains 3 life.
D: If its Trisha's turn, Hostility wins, and Blake creates three elemental tokens, otherwise Purity wins, and Trisha gains 3 life
E: Blake chooses between A. or B.
F: Trisha chooses between A. or B.


The answer is
F.
This is two replacement effects trying to modify a lightning bolt, the affected player (Trisha), gets to choose the order they attempt to apply in.




Q: Ajani and Nahiri each control a Stuffy Doll naming the other player and each player is at 10 life. If Ajani casts Earthquake with an X of 5, which of the following is true?

A: The answer is...

A: Ajani dies before Nahiri, so Nahiri wins.
B: Nahiri dies before Ajani, so Ajani wins.
C: Both players die at the same time.
D: Ajani chooses who dies first.
E: Nahiri chooses who dies first.


The answer is
A.
Because Earthquake is a sorcery, we know its currently Ajani's turn. Each player first looses 5 life to the Earthquake. The each player creates a trigger to deal 5 damage to the other player. As these are triggered abilities triggering at the same time and its currently Ajani's turn, Ajani puts his 5 damage on the stack first, then Nahiri puts her 5 damage on the stack above that. Nahiri's trigger resolves first killing Ajani. The game ends before Ajani's trigger can resolve.




Q: Alexa, Brandon, and Corinth are playing a 3 player game of commander. The turn order is Alexa, then Brandon, and finally Corinth. Brandon and Alexa both control a Mimic Vat. Alexa controls a Bear Cub. Brandon has a Terror in his hand. Brandon would like to kill the Bear Cub so it ends up under his Mimic Vat, with no chance for Alexa to get it under her Mimic Vat. With that in mind, which times are best for Brandon to Terrorize a bear cub?

A: The answer is...

A: During Alexa's Turn.
B: During Brandon's own Turn.
C: During Corinth's Turn.
D: As Alexa owns the Bear Cub, she can always choose get the Bear Cub under her Mimic Vat before Brandon.


The answer is
A. & C.
Because of turn order, the only bad turn for Brandon to kill the bear cub is his own turn.





Q: Anthony controls Boon Reflection, Angel of Vitality, and Alhammarret's Archive. If Anthony casts Revitalize how much life will he gain?

A: The answer is...

A: Anthony gained 13 life.
B: Anthony gained 14 life.
C: Anthony gained 16 life.
D: Anthony chooses between A, B, or C.
E: Anthony's opponent chooses between A, B, or C.


The answer is
D.
These are all replacement effects and as Anthony is the effected player, he can choose the order the replacement effects occur in.
Angel, Boon, Archive = 16
Angel, Archive, Boon = 16
Boon, Angel, Archive = 14
Archive, Angel, Boon = 14
Archive, Boon, Angel = 13
Boon, Archive, Angel = 13





Bonus Trigger Question #1

There are a subset of triggers called "State Triggers" that work slightly different then others, they wait for a specific game state to be true and if that state occurs they trigger once and won't trigger again until the initial trigger leaves the stack. If they didn't have this special limitation, they would automatically draw the game by continually triggering before resolving any of the previous triggers. Most people don't even notice this because people expect cards to work, but this on the rare occasion leads to some weird situations.

Rune-Tail, Kitsune Ascendant is an example of a card that has a state trigger. As soon as Rune-Tail's controller has 30 or more life the ability triggers once. If for some reason that trigger leaves the stack such as it was countered by Stifle it will trigger once again.


Q: At the beginning of Karn's upkeep, Karn's Darksteel Reactor triggers. Its about to put the twentieth counter on itself. In response Karn's opponent Serra casts Angel's Grace. What happens next?

A: The answer is...

A: Karn will win the game during Serra's next upkeep.
B: Karn will win the game during this turn's clean up step.
C: Karn will win the game during his next upkeep.
D: The game ends this turn in a draw.


The answer is
D.
So this is kinda weird. If a state trigger can't complete its action, when it resolves it does nothing and leaves the stack. Then it triggers again. If it still can't complete the action this repeats itself infinitely not allowing the game to move from the current step or phase. So unless someone can at instant speed change the state needed to not be true, remove the item creating the state trigger, or stop the effect that is prevent the state triggers action from completing the game ends in a draw.

In our question above, the game gets stuck in a loop of Darksteel Reactor trying to win the game, it can't, so it tries again.






It's probably best my first ability
doesn't trigger every time I join you.

Bonus Trigger Question #2

There is another subset of triggered abilities that have a special set of rules. These are called "intervening 'if' clause" triggers. They look like normal trigger starting with "when/whenever/at" but have an if before the condition for causing it to trigger, followed by an effect.

The import difference with these triggers is they won't trigger at all if the trigger condition isn't true. When they do successful trigger, they will fail to do there effect if the trigger condition is no longer true when they attempt to resolve.

Its important to note: Just because a triggered ability has the word 'if' in it, doesn't make it a "intervening 'if' clause" trigger, the if has to be directly before the condition causing the trigger.


Q: With that in mind, which of the following cards have a "intervening 'if' clause" trigger?

A: The answer is...

A: Aberrant Researcher
B: Agent of Treachery
C: Uktabi Drake
D: Lambholt Elder
E: Parasitic Strix
F: Paralyze


The answer is
B, C, D, & E

Aberrant Researcher and Paralyze each have a trigger that has the word if in them, but the "if" is in a separate sentence from the main trigger conditions. These two are not "intervening 'if' clause' triggers.







Until next time may you keep your Triggers and Replacements correctly ordered.

- Justin Hovdenes AKA Hovey
Level 2 Magic Judge
Rapid City, SD


 
Burned
It's interesting that you have used the 5th Edition version of Paralyze as the link in the second Bonus Question, option F, since the printed wording on that version does not actually contain the word "if" in it.
#1 • Date: 2021-05-31 • Time: 10:38:18 •
Hovey
Quote (Burned):
It's interesting that you have used the 5th Edition version of Paralyze as the link in the second Bonus Question, option F, since the printed wording on that version does not actually contain the word "if" in it.


It wasn't an intentional trick. The only version of Paralyze that has the updated wording is Vintage Masters, for which I'm not sure how to link that specific card.

However it does incidentally teach an important lesson with old magic cards, always check the oracle text.

There are many old cards that have never been printed with their current oracle text.
#2 • Date: 2021-06-27 • Time: 09:45:45 •
 

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