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Do the sacrifice triggers of Wake the Dead happen at the same time, or do I get to stack them?

As an example, say I cast Wake the Dead targeting Liliana, Heretical Healer and another creature. Assuming no other creature dies until it's time to sacrifice the two, can I "save" Liliana into her Planeswalker form by sacrificing the other creature first?

  • It's worth noting that in general, that's a relatively poor use of that card. Since you have the card in your deck it's clearly something you're considering actually using, which means you would want something like a Typhoid Rats in your graveyard or maybe a Skinrender so you get to keep Liliana. That spell exists to get temporary blockers and relive ETB effects. – corsiKa Aug 6 '15 at 16:33
  • Suggested title change: Does "sacrifice those creatures" happen all at once? – Rainbolt Aug 6 '15 at 18:13
  • @corsiKa of course you should try to have a creature die before it's time to sacrifice. My question was more whether I can, in theory, stack the sacrifices. – john_leo Aug 6 '15 at 19:32
  • That also answers @Rainbolt's comment, yes, I like your title better. – john_leo Aug 6 '15 at 19:33
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The sacrifices happen all at once. You cannot sacrifice them sequentially and use the death of the other creatures to flip Liliana. But it works a little differently than you think.

First, the sacrificing happens all at once (similarly to how board wipe cards like Wrath of God destroy all creatures at once). However, rule 603.6d applies here.

603.6d Normally, objects that exist immediately after an event are checked to see if the event matched any trigger conditions. Continuous effects that exist at that time are used to determine what the trigger conditions are and what the objects involved in the event look like. However, some triggered abilities must be treated specially. Leaves-the-battlefield abilities, abilities that trigger when a permanent phases out, abilities that trigger when an object that all players can see is put into a hand or library, abilities that trigger specifically when an object becomes unattached, abilities that trigger when a player loses control of an object, and abilities that trigger when a player planeswalks away from a plane will trigger based on their existence, and the appearance of objects, prior to the event rather than afterward. The game has to "look back in time" to determine if these abilities trigger.

This means that Liliana's ability will trigger and go on the stack! However, when the triggered ability resolves and tries to exile Liliana, she no longer exists on the battlefield and does nothing.

For reference see these other questions:

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