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I was playing last night, and the following situation arose.

I had a creature out with Dragon Mantle on it, which allows me to spend a red mana to give it +1/+0. My opponent wants to swing in with his larger creature, but doesn't want to have his large creature die to me pumping up my small one with Dragon Mantle. He's holding a Destructive Revelry. Is there a time he can play it such that I fail to pump my creature?

My understanding is that

  • If he plays it before I start pumping, I can pump in response and I will succeed as my pumps will resolve before the enchantment is destroyed.
  • If he plays it after I start pumping, my pumps are already on the stack and will still resolve after the enchantment is destroyed. (I am not 100% sure about this)

Is this correct? Are there situations where he can succeed? (i.e. if the wording on the enchantment was slightly different)

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If he doesn't mind waiting until next turn to attack, he should destroy it at the end of your next turn. Then on his next turn he will be able to attack assuming the board state has not change significantly since then. Alternately, he can play Destructive Revelry before his attack phase, and only attack if you decide not to use the ability on Dragon Mantle. – Colin D Oct 25 '13 at 19:45
up vote 6 down vote accepted

He cannot prevent you from pumping it. As you say, you can either pump on your own or pump in response to the destruction, either way the pumps will resolve and his creature will die. The only way to prevent this is to kill the creature it's attached to.

If the enchantment was to read "R: Enchanted creature gets +1/+0 until end of turn as long as ~ is attached to it" then things would work as your opponent would want. Obviously this isn't the case, and I am not aware of a card that functions in this way.

Similarly, if he has priority and you have not pumped yet, he can prevent you from activating it with a card like Krosan Grip.

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Why is this the case? When a creature disappears, its abilities on the stack disappear too, right? Do the abilities stay around because the creature is still there and they're still valid, even if the creature will lose the Dragon Mantle-given ability before its effects resolve? – doppelgreener Oct 27 '13 at 6:49
@Jonathan Hobbs, Re "its abilities on the stack disappear too, right?", Not at all. "112.7a Once activated or triggered, an ability exists on the stack independently of its source. [...]" – ikegami Oct 27 '13 at 17:24

Both are correct. If you pump it all the way (no mana left), he can respond to it and destroy the creature. Every time you pump, the ability goes on the stack. If you react with a pump to a pump (before the firest pump resolves), it stays on the stack.

The best way to play this is pump 1 time, and let it resolve. Then pump another time, let that one resolve. If someone tries to burn the creature you can respond with the rest of the "pumps". This is your way to retain your creature.

If you say, "pump x times", it goes on the stack x-times, and they resolve one by one. After every pump that "resolves", your opponent can respond, so in that situation, your opponent can successfully destroy your creature (if the toughness is less or equal to the damage of course).

Your second understanding is correct. If the ability is on the stack, and the Dragon Mantle is destroyed, the abilities (pumps) are still on the stack, so they still resolve as long as the targeted creature is in the battlefield. If your creature left the battlefield before resolving, the remaining "pumps" fizzle.

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The pumps don't give you any toughness in this case, so playing around burn is a bit moot. – Alex P Oct 24 '13 at 15:13
Destructive Revelry would destroy the Dragon Mantle enchantment, not the creature. (If the opponent had a kill-creature spell, they could cast it any time and the creature would die.) There's no point in pumping one point at a time; the only time the creature is in danger of being destroyed is when it's blocking the opponent's large creature. – Paul Marshall Oct 24 '13 at 16:09
Also, in standard tournament policy, 'pump X times' is considered a proposal for a shortcut, not putting X activations on the stack without passing priority. (On the basis that making people sit there declaring each one individually in order to play 'correctly' is a stupid waste of time.) – Affe Oct 24 '13 at 18:18
Of course "pump X times" is a shortcut. What's relevant is that it's a different shortcut than what Ivo Geersen says it is. It's a shortcut for pumping and letting resolve X times. There's only one instance on the stack at a time. This means that if the opponent responds, only the mana already spent up until that point is wasted since the shortcut was shortened (interrupted). – ikegami Oct 24 '13 at 18:44

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