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I'm aware this is very much like this question, but that question's answer does not answer my question.

Brink of Disaster reads:

Enchant creature or land.
When enchanted permanent becomes tapped, destroy it.

What happens if the enchanted creature is already tapped when Brink of Disaster is played? Is it immediately destroyed?

Also, what if the enchanted creature was an untapped Steel Overseer? If I tap the Steel Overseer to put a +1+1 counter on my artifact creatures, does the ability work before the Overseer is destroyed?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

It's all in the rulings:

3/1/2010 Brink of Disaster may target and may enchant a permanent that's already tapped. It won't do anything until the enchanted permanent changes from being untapped to being tapped.

3/1/2010 When the enchanted permanent becomes tapped, Brink of Disaster's ability triggers. That permanent will be destroyed when the ability resolves, even if Brink of Disaster has left the battlefield or is somehow enchanting a different permanent by then.

3/1/2010 If the enchanted permanent is tapped as a cost to activate a mana ability, the mana ability resolves immediately, then Brink of Disaster's ability goes on the stack.

3/1/2010 If the enchanted permanent is tapped as a cost to activate an ability that's not a mana ability, Brink of Disaster's ability will go on the stack on top of that activated ability. Brink of Disaster's ability resolves first (destroying that permanent), then the permanent's activated ability resolves.

These rulings are all clarifications that follow from the card's own rules text:

  • "When X, do Y" is a triggered ability, meaning that the action will go on the stack after the triggering event occurs. If you tapped something to use its non-mana activated ability (like Steel Overseer's), then the effect is still on the stack when Brink's trigger goes on the stack -- on top of it.
  • The trigger text is "becomes tapped". It doesn't care about the current state of the permanent, only when a specific action occurs.
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I love when rulings are nice and concise - you don't really need comp rules here! –  Ian Pugsley Feb 21 '12 at 16:27

For your first question (what happens if Brink of Disaster is played on a tapped permanent) - nothing happens to the permanent enchanted by Brink of Disaster until it goes from untapped to tapped (via activating an ability, attacking, or something like Twitch). The game event of it becoming tapped is what triggers the ability.

603.2. Whenever a game event or game state matches a triggered ability's trigger event, that ability automatically triggers. The ability doesn't do anything at this point.

As for your second (what happens if a permanent's activated ability cost requires tapping, and you use it), events occur in the following order:

  1. The activated ability is put on the stack.
  2. The active player would receive priority - before this, the triggered effect is put on the stack on top of the activated ability.

    603.3. Once an ability has triggered, its controller puts it on the stack as an object that's not a card the next time a player would receive priority. See rule 116, "Timing and Priority." The ability becomes the topmost object on the stack. It has the text of the ability that created it, and no other characteristics. It remains on the stack until it's countered, it resolves, a rule causes it to be removed from the stack, or an effect moves it elsewhere.

  3. People respond normally (active player now has priority, can pass, lets things on the stack resolve normally).
  4. Unless something else is put on the stack causing Brink of Disaster, it resolves, destroying the permanent (unless it's indestructible).
  5. People respond normally.
  6. Unless the original activated ability was somehow removed from the stack, it resolve.
In the case of step 6, the activated ability will still resolve, putting a +1/+1 counter on each artifact creature you control.

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