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Here's the situation:

Trostani, Selesnya's Voice is in play (Whenever another creature enters the battlefield under your control, you gain life equal to that creature's toughness). Then, Voracious Wurm is cast (Voracious Wurm enters the battlefield with X +1/+1 counters on it, where X is the amount of life you've gained this turn).

Which trigger happens first?

  • Gain 2 life, then the wurm enters play with 2 +1/+1 counters, or
  • The wurm enters play with 0 +1/+1 counters, then gain 2 life
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If they were both triggered abilities, you'd get to pick the order to put them on the stack; see for example or (it's a fairly common question). – Jefromi Aug 14 '13 at 15:39
up vote 7 down vote accepted

Voracious Wurm has a replacement effect that modifies how it enters the battlefield; thus, it would come into play with 0 +1/+1 counters, and you will gain two life.

If Voracious Wurm had a triggered ability (such as "When ~ enters the battlefield, put X +1/+1 counters on it, where X is the amount of life you've gained this turn"), however, you would be able to place the triggers on the stack in whatever order you choose, meaning you could gain 2 life and put 2 counters on, or put 0 counters on and gain two life.

Relevant rules:

603.3b If multiple abilities have triggered since the last time a player received priority, each player, in APNAP order, puts triggered abilities he or she controls on the stack in any order he or she chooses. (See rule 101.4.) Then the game once again checks for and resolves state-based actions until none are performed, then abilities that triggered during this process go on the stack. This process repeats until no new state-based actions are performed and no abilities trigger. Then the appropriate player gets priority.

614.1. Some continuous effects are replacement effects. Like prevention effects (see rule 615), replacement effects apply continuously as events happen -- they aren't locked in ahead of time. Such effects watch for a particular event that would happen and completely or partially replace that event with a different event. They act like "shields" around whatever they're affecting. 614.1d Continuous effects that read "[This permanent] enters the battlefield . . ." or "[Objects] enter the battlefield . . ." are replacement effects.

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So, without the word "When" it is a replacement effect, but with "When" it is triggered? Is this the only difference? – bengoesboom Aug 14 '13 at 15:50
@bengoesboom CR 614.1c Effects that read "[This permanent] enters the battlefield with . . . ," "As [this permanent] enters the battlefield . . . ," or "[This permanent] enters the battlefield as . . . " are replacement effects. – ghoppe Aug 14 '13 at 16:03
@bengoesboom CR 603.1 Triggered abilities have a trigger condition and an effect. They are written as "[Trigger condition], [effect]," and begin with the word "when," "whenever," or "at." They can also be expressed as "[When/Whenever/At] [trigger event], [effect]." – ghoppe Aug 14 '13 at 16:04
replacement effects can also often be spotted by "instead" – Patters Aug 15 '13 at 8:21

Voracious Wurm's ability isn't a triggered ability. It's a replacement effect.

Instead of putting the Wurm on the battlefield, you put the Wurm on the battlefield and put counters on it, as one action. Only then do you check for triggers, like Trostani's ETB life-gain trigger.

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