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Suppose I have an Illness in the Ranks out and my opponent has a Cathars' Crusade out. If 1/1 creature token comes into play under the opponent's control, does the token die due to the effects of Illness or does it get the counter first before Illness's effect activates?

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up vote 10 down vote accepted

It will die.

Illness in the Ranks creates a continuous effect, which applies constantly. From the moment the token enters the battlefield, it has -1/-1. Cathars' Crusade, on the other hand, has a triggered ability, signified by the word "whenever" in its text. When the token enters the battlefield, that triggered ability goes on the stack. Before it can resolve and add a +1/+1 counter, the token dies. (Players get priority, so state-based actions are checked first, and since the token has zero toughness, it dies.)

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It will die but Cathars' Crusaides ability will still trigger.

A ruling on gatherer for Illness in Ranks has this to say:

If an effect creates a creature token that normally has toughness 1, it will enter the battlefield with toughness 0, be put into its owner's graveyard as a state-based action, and then cease to exist. Any abilities that trigger when a creature enters the battlefield or dies will trigger.

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