7

Let's say I control Narset, Enlightened Master and attack, exiling the top four cards of my library, including Rout (alt link). Rout's first ability states that I can cast it any time I could cast an instant by paying an additional {2}.

I think I've narrowed this down to two possible scenarios:

  • Rout's first ability defines an alternative cost (like Bestow or Overload) and thus can't be paid as I'm already casting it using an alternative cost ("without paying its mana cost").
  • Rout's first ability is an optional additional cost (like Kicker) and can be paid to allow me to cast the spell any time I could cast an instant.

Which, if either, of the above interpretations is correct?

  • @Gendolkari Thanks for the edit, but I deliberately didn't use the autocard markdown for this question since it doesn't open Rout properly, it only opens a search where Rout itself doesn't actually appear until the 4th item down. I'm guessing this is an issue with Gatherer where short searches aren't automatically matched but rather used as a search term, thus returning all names containing "Rout" instead of the only card with that as its full name. Is there a particular reason the autocard markdown should be used as opposed to a direct link to the card? – Aiken Mar 18 '15 at 14:30
  • 2
    In general you should use the autocard so that if for some reason they change Gatherer so links break only the autocard needs to be fixed rather than having to individually fix every link. Though in cases like Rout where it doesn't link directly to the card I generally use a direct link instead. – diego Mar 18 '15 at 14:55
4

It's a cost increase, so you may use it in combination with Narset's alternative cost.


The cost to cast a spell or activate an ability is calculated as follows[CR 601.2e]:

total cost to cast
= mana cost or alternative cost
+ additional costs and other cost increases
- cost reductions

Rout's ability adds to the total cost, so it's a cost increase. It's not an additional cost since it doesn't use the word "additional"[CR 117.8], so it's just an generic cost increase[1]. It's not an alternative cost since those replace the mana cost. Alternative costs usually include the phrase "rather than pay" or "without paying its mana cost"[CR 117.9].

So, the total cost to cast is {2}. (Alternative cost of free, plus a cost increase of {2}.)


Another example of a cost increase: Thalia, Guardian of Thraben.


  1. To my knowledge, there's nothing that distinguishes between additional costs and other cost increases. They're the same except in name.

601.2e [...] The total cost is the mana cost or alternative cost (as determined in rule 601.2b), plus all additional costs and cost increases, and minus all cost reductions. [...]

117.8. Some spells and abilities have additional costs. An additional cost is a cost listed in a spell’s rules text, or applied to a spell or ability from another effect, that its controller must pay at the same time that player pays the spell’s mana cost or the ability’s activation cost. A cost is an additional cost only if it’s phrased using the word “additional.” [...]

117.9. Some spells have alternative costs. An alternative cost is a cost listed in a spell’s text, or applied to it from another effect, that its controller may pay rather than paying the spell’s mana cost. Alternative costs are usually phrased, “You may [action] rather than pay [this object’s] mana cost,” or “You may cast [this object] without paying its mana cost.” [...]

  • Is there any functional difference between additional costs and cost increases? Thalia increases the cost by {1}, but it could have imposed an additional cost of {1}. Brutal Suppression has an additional cost of "sacrifice a land", but it could have increased the cost by "sacrifice a land" (although that would look funny written on the card). I'd be interested in a rule or example that highlights the functional difference between the two mechanics. If it isn't worth adding to your answer, but you want to respond, hit me up in chat and I'll delete my comment. – Rainbolt Mar 18 '15 at 14:07
  • @Rainbolt, Additional costs are cost increases ("plus all cost increases (including additional costs)"), so you're asking if anything distinguishes between additional costs and other cost increases. I don't know of any, and I can't imagine why anything would want to do distinguish between the two. I actually meant to note that in my answer. – ikegami Mar 18 '15 at 14:14
  • That makes sense (and now I see more clearly the careful wording you used in the answer). Thanks. – Rainbolt Mar 18 '15 at 14:16
2

It is actually neither of those options. It isn't an alternate cost because it isn't worded like "You may [action] rather than pay [this object's] mana cost," or "You may cast [this object] without paying its mana cost."[117.9] and it isn't an additional cost because it doesn't contain the word "additional"[117.8]

What it is is a cost increase.

117.8e Some effects increase the cost to cast a spell or activate an ability without using the word "additional." Those are not additional costs, and are not considered until determining the total cost of a spell or ability as described in rule 601.2e.

And we can use the cost increase with Narset's alternate cost because

117.9d If an alternative cost is being paid to cast a spell, any additional costs, cost increases, and cost reductions that affect that spell are applied to that alternative cost. (See rule 601.2e.)

1

According to Comprehensive Rules 117.8:

A cost is an additional cost only if it’s phrased using the word “additional.”

Therefore, Rout's extra cost of {2} is not additional.

Further in 117.8e:

Some effects increase the cost to cast a spell or activate an ability without using the word “additional.” Those are not additional costs, and are not considered until determining the total cost of a spell or ability as described in rule 601.2e.

And 117.9d:

If an alternative cost is being paid to cast a spell, any additional costs, cost increases, and cost reductions that affect that spell are applied to that alternative cost. (See rule 601.2e.)

To sum up, you are using an alternative mana cost of {0} due to Narset's ability, and you may increase this alternative cost by {2} to play Rout as an instant.

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