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I'm new to MTG and I'm quite confused about when exactly raid is triggered. For instance, say I have Mardu Hordechief (which creates 1/1 tokens) and I tapped, let's say, 2 creatures to attack.

What exactly is his ability going to happen? Is the raid ability triggered while/after the combat phase or even right after the declare attackers step?

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I think what's tripping you up is that there are two conditional statements involved — one is the trigger and the other is a condition that limits when the ability can work.

Raid — When Mardu Hordechief enters the battlefield, if you attacked with a creature this turn, put a 1/1 white Warrior creature token onto the battlefield.

The Raid ability is triggered "When Mardu Hordechief enters the battlefield." That's the only time you'll actually do any of the other stuff in that sentence.

The action, however, is conditional — you only do it "if you attacked with a creature this turn."

Intervening "if" clauses are checked both when the ability triggers and when it's placed on the stack[CR 603.4], so it goes like this:

  1. Attack with some creatures.
  2. Cast Mardu Hordechief on your second main phase.
  3. When the spell resolves, it puts Hordechief onto the battlefield. This triggers its ability, but only because you attacked this turn. (If you hadn't attacked this turn, it wouldn't trigger at all.)
  4. Its triggered ability goes on the stack.
  5. As the triggered ability is about to resolve, you check the intervening "if" condition again. For this particular ability, this check can't fail, so it goes on to resolve, and you get a token. (If the check were to fail, the triggered ability would be removed the stack without resolving.)
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    It could be helpful to specify that Raid is an ability word, which means it has no special rules associated with it at all - the card would function exactly the same without the word "Raid." – GendoIkari Feb 8 '15 at 21:14
  • thank you very much , it's already helping me a lot in understanding this ability (and the meaning of). However , you mention to cast Mardu Hordchief in the second phase. Does this mean : resolve the raid hability or place the creature during the second main phase ? I ask this one because I just read : mtgsalvation.gamepedia.com/Raid Raid abilities evaluate the entire turn to see if you attacked with a creature. So if I understand correctly , I can place the creature during the main phase and the "spell" will be activated during the second phase if I attacked. Is that correct ? – Smiless Feb 8 '15 at 21:22
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    @Smiless: if you play him on your first main phase, then the ability triggers (as Hordechief enters the battlefield), but it won't do anything as you haven't attacked yet. The only way to have him do something with his ability is to have him enter the battlefield after attacking, so in your second main phase. – RemcoGerlich Feb 8 '15 at 21:59
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    Actually, the ability only triggers if a creature already attacked. See rule 603.4: "When the trigger event occurs, the ability checks whether the stated condition is true. The ability triggers only if it is; otherwise it does nothing. If the ability triggers, it checks the stated condition again as it resolves." – murgatroid99 Feb 9 '15 at 0:08
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    @RemcoGerlich, No, it won't trigger at all if you didn't attack that turn. See updated answer. – ikegami Feb 9 '15 at 2:05

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