I'm starting on mono blue mill deck and I saw Grindclock. I'm not sure about its ability.

{tap}: put a charge counter on Grindclock

{tap}: target player puts the top X cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard, where X is the number of charge counters on Grindclock.

If I just cast Grindclock and use its first ability, will the second ability take effect, or do I just put a charge counter on it? If there's already one charge counter on it and I use the first ability again, it will have two charge counters on it? Then the second ability will take effect with two cards being sent to graveyard?

If I use spells or ability to untap it after being used can I use its ability again on the same turn?


2 Answers 2


When a card has 2 separate sets of "cost: effect", these are 2 separate abilities. You can choose to activate either the first ability or the second ability. Because the cost of both abilities is "tap", you will not normally be able to activate both in the same turn.

If you do untap the card using another spell or ability, then yes, you can use Grindclock's same ability again in the same turn.


Short answer:

Each time it untaps, you may gain counters or mill, but not both. You may use its abilities even you've already used them this turn, as long as you can pay the cost (to tap the permanent while untapped).

"[cost]: [effect]" denotes an activated ability.

You seem to think that tapping activates the ability, but it doesn't. Activating the ability requires that you tap the permanent as a cost.

That means the first thing you do is chose to activate the ability, then you tap the permanent to satisfy the cost of doing so.

You cannot then choose to activate the second ability since you would be unable to pay its cost.

If it becomes untapped by any means, you are free to use the either of its abilities again, even if you've already used that ability. Only a Planeswalker's loyalty ability can't be used more than once per turn (and those which explicitly forbid it on the card). Any other ability can be used as many times as you can pay the cost.

"{Whenever|When|At} [condition], [effect]" denotes a triggered ability.

If these abilities were phrased "Whenever Grindclock becomes tapped, ...", then you would get both effects whenever Grindlock became tapped, no matter the reason it became tapped. You would need some external means of tapping it, though.

For example, attacking with a Fallowsage would give you to the option of drawing a card.

For example, tapping a land for mana while its enchanted by Contaminated Ground would cause its controller to lose two life (in addition to gaining mana). If that land was enchanted by two Contaminated Ground, its controller would lose a total of four life.

  • @user6555, Added to my answer. Fixed some English errors.
    – ikegami
    Jan 7, 2014 at 16:45

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