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I am looking into a new card for my deck and I was curious if instants could be used before an ability triggered 'at the beginning of your upkeep' resolves.

Here is the potential situation:

I control a Cryptoplasm and have a Sudden Spoiling in hand. My opponent controls an Archetype of Endurance, which gives my opponent's creatures hexproof - but its controller doesn't have hexproof.

I want to use Sudden Spoiling to suppress the Archetype of Endurance's hexproof, and I want Cryptoplasm's upkeep ability to trigger and make it a copy of the Archetype of Endurance whilst it does not have hexproof.

Can instants be used before a 'beginning of your upkeep' ability resolves, and is this play legal?

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Even if you could cast Sudden Spoiling before Cryptoplasm's ability triggers (which you can't do, as Jonathan explained), Cryptoplasm would just become a copy of a 0/2 creature with no abilities. –  ykb Mar 20 at 8:19

1 Answer 1

up vote 8 down vote accepted

No, you can't do what you're trying to do, unfortunately!

Yes, however, in general you can cast instants before a "beginning of your upkeep" triggered ability resolves. You cannot, however, do it before that ability gets triggered and goes on the stack, which is what messes up your plan.

The upkeep step is the first step in your turn when you receive priority (and can thus cast an instant), and it involves two steps:

503.1. First, any abilities that trigger at the beginning of the upkeep step and any abilities that triggered during the turn's untap step go on the stack.
503.2. Second, the active player gets priority. Players may cast spells and activate abilities.

What this means for the general case

The triggered abilities from 503.1 won't resolve before you have your chance to respond to them in 503.2, so in the general case, instants can be cast before "beginning of your upkeep" triggered abilities resolve.

What this means for your strategy

In your specific strategy, though, this isn't quite enough. You want Cryptoplasm to copy Archetype of Endurance. It can't do that, because things happen in this order:

  1. 503.1 happens. Cryptoplasm's triggered ability is placed on the stack. As part of this process, you choose your targets for that ability, which means choosing the creature Cryptoplasm will copy. At this point, Sudden Spoiling can't yet be cast, and Archetype of Endurance still has hexproof, so it cannot be legally chosen as a target.
  2. 503.2 happens. You receive priority and can cast instants. This is the earliest time you can cast Sudden Spoiling, but at this point it's too late to make Archetype of Endurance a legal target for your Cryptoplasm - a target's already been chosen.
  3. Eventually, your Cryptoplasm's triggered ability resolves, and it becomes a copy of the creature you chose in step 1.

Clever thinking, but the order of events prevents this strategy from working.

Since you're playing black/blue, your options include using Lazav, Dimir Mastermind and destroying the Archetype.

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Alternatively, he could use Sudden Spoiling with the Cryptoplasm ability on the stack and then use a misdirection effect like Willbender to change the Cryptoplasm ability's target to the Archetype. –  MatsT Mar 19 at 13:56
    
@MatsT, There's pretty much an option for everything in Magic (assuming a full card pool, as opposed to, say, only Standard-legal cards). –  Brian S Mar 19 at 14:09
    
Thank you Mr. Hobbs, that was exactly what I was looking for and you back up your information very well. –  Anthony Mar 19 at 14:41
    
@Anthony You're welcome! :) –  Jonathan Hobbs Mar 19 at 22:12
2  
@ykb Morph isn't actually an activated ability, it's just a static ability that allows to to morph up your morphs any time you have priority. You can actually respond to Split Second with morph effects. This isn't actually relevant in this case though as you would let the Sudden Spoiling resolve, removing hexproof, and then use the misdirect to re-target the Cryptoplasm. –  MatsT Mar 20 at 12:30

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