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I'm curious as to how a card like Giant Growth works. I'm not sure if the effect on it is a one shot effect, a continuous effect, or something else.

If I had to guess, I think it works as follows: When Giant Growth (legally) resolves, a one shot effect is enacted. This one shot effect generates a continuous effect that lasts until end of turn and while the continuous effect lasts, the continuous effect gives the targeted creature gets +3/3.

Can one clarify as to whether or not I am correct, or if not, explain what really happens?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Not quite correct. It is just a simple continuous effect.

611.1. A continuous effect modifies characteristics of objects, modifies control of objects, or affects players or the rules of the game, for a fixed or indefinite period.

611.2. A continuous effect may be generated by the resolution of a spell or ability.

So Giant Grown resolving generates a continuous effect. No one-shot effect happens:

610.1. A one-shot effect does something just once and doesn’t have a duration. Examples include dealing damage, destruction a permanent, putting a token onto the battlefield, and moving an object from one zone to another.

"Getting +3/+3" is a continuous effect, not something that just happens at one moment in time. This can also be seen in the examples listed under the Continuous Effects section of the rules:

611.2c ... Example: An effect that reads "All white creatures get +1/+1 until end of turn"...

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Effects don't create continuous effects.

611.2. A continuous effect may be generated by the resolution of a spell or ability.

Abilities create effects. Giant Growth has a spell ability that creates a continuous effect.

112.3a Spell abilities are abilities that are followed as instructions while an instant or sorcery spell is resolving. Any text on an instant or sorcery spell is a spell ability unless it’s an activated ability, a triggered ability, or a static ability that fits the criteria described in rule 112.6.

You seem to think "one-shot effect" means "spell ability", but that's not correct.


So, does the spell have a one-shot effect or does it create a continuous effect? It definitely creates a continuous effect.

610.1. A one-shot effect does something just once and doesn’t have a duration. Examples include dealing damage, destroying a permanent, putting a token onto the battlefield, and moving an object from one zone to another.

611.1. A continuous effect modifies characteristics of objects, modifies control of objects, or affects players or the rules of the game, for a fixed or indefinite period.

(Emphasis mine.)

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Why the downvote? –  ikegami Feb 3 at 15:00
    
Probably because of your first line. Most people use "ability" to mean activated or triggered ability. While you were correct, your first line by itself would be not be under this definition. (Note: I am not the downvoter) –  Guvante Feb 3 at 20:23
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@Guvante, at the time, the first line was "Effects don't have or create effects. Abilities do. Giant Growth has a spell ability that creates a continuous effect." I injected the rule quote for clarity afterwards. I moved where the rule quote was injected to address your concern. –  ikegami Feb 3 at 20:35
    
Interesting, I didn't even know that "Ability" could refer to "spell abilities". I thought previously that "ability" was always a triggered/activated/continuous ability on a permanent. –  GendoIkari Feb 3 at 20:59
    
@GendoIkari, Everything in the text box that's not in italics is an ability. The proper term is "static ability", not "continuous ability. –  ikegami Feb 3 at 21:25
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