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Can I use a card with bloodrush in response to something?

For example:

If an evil opponent wants to kill my attacking Skarrg Guildmage with an Izzet Charm can I discard Scorchwalker and use it's ability to save my guildmage?

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Note that your opponent can easily play around bloodrush by throwing burn at creatures that aren't currently attacking. –  Alex P Jan 25 '13 at 20:47
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Yes, in fact you can't not use bloodrush at instant speed because you can't play sorceries while creatures are attacking. –  Sam I am Jan 25 '13 at 21:11
    
I didn't get your answer Sam I am. Could you please explain? –  Installero Jan 26 '13 at 15:14
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@Installero What Sam I am means is the only way bloodrush can work is Instant speed, since it targets an attacking creature. Sorceries can only be played during the Main Phase. Creatures can only be attacking during the Combat Phase. –  ghoppe Feb 7 '13 at 19:36
    
Oh, I see. Of course, thank you! :) –  Installero Feb 11 '13 at 9:46
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3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Yes. All activated abilities are at instant speed unless they specifically indicate otherwise*. Because the ability is written with a colon, it is an activated ability. It does not need to be on the battlefield to be activated, and your opponent does not need to know it exists to activate it (although you must reveal it, obviously). In this particular cast, you're discarding the card as part of the cost. That's the only reason you have to discard the card. If it didn't say discard, you could activate the ability as many times as you wanted.

This is spelled out in 112.3b, emphasis mine.

112.3b Activated abilities have a cost and an effect. They are written as "[Cost]: [Effect.] [Activation instructions (if any).]" A player may activate such an ability whenever he or she has priority.

Compare this to the rules text for instants,

304.1. A player who has priority may cast an instant card from his or her hand.

So the timing for activated abilities is the same as the timing for instants.

As for it being in your hand, this is spelled out here:

602.2a The player announces that he or she is activating the ability. If an activated ability is being activated from a hidden zone, the card that has that ability is revealed. That ability is created on the stack as an object that's not a card.

Note: I said specifically indicate otherwise. This specification does not need to be on the card. For example, the Comprehensive Rules state that planeswalker activate abilities can only be activated on your turn at sorcery speed, but this is not stated on the card.

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Note that in general creature activated abilities do need to be on the battlefield to be activated. Bloodrush is an exception because it has a cost - "discard this card" - which can only be paid when it's in hand. –  Tynam Jan 25 '13 at 20:55
    
@Tynam same with artifact or any other activated ability. I'm having trouble nailing down the ruling that clarifies that, though. We may have to wait a week for the new comp rules to be released to clarify that. –  corsiKa Jan 25 '13 at 22:25
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It's rule 112.6, with the exception spelled out in 112.6i. (It's not an obvious rule to find even when you know it's there; took me a while searching.) –  Tynam Jan 25 '13 at 22:32
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Yes.

"Bloodrush" has no rules meaning (as indicated by the use of italics), but it's only used on activated abilities (that can be activated from your hand), and you can activate activated abilities whenever you have priority ("instant speed").

112.3b Activated abilities have a cost and an effect. They are written as "[Cost]: [Effect.] [Activation instructions (if any).]" A player may activate such an ability whenever he or she has priority.

So yes, you can activate Bloodrush abilities in response to instants like Izzet Charm. They will resolve before the instant, so the Scorchwalker in your hand can save your Skarrg Guildmage.

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Yes, your Bloodrush would stack on top of Izzit Charm and thus resolve before the damage. Bloodrush was specifically designed to be used in the combat phase, at instant speed and only on target attacking creatures.

Also note that because this is an activated ability, this should go without saying but is still questioned again and again, cannot be countered by counter-spells. It can however be countered by the following only because Activated Abilities are named.

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