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On Disowned Ancestor it says

Outlast {1}{B} ({1}{B}, tap: Put a +1/+1 counter on this creature. Outlast only as a sorcery.)

Why do you pay the cost to activate it twice? Would it not be the same if it said

Outlast {2}{B}{B}, tap: Put a +1/+1 counter on this creature. Outlast only as a sorcery.

I don't understand what the point of paying the mana twice instead of doubled would be?

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14

You do not pay the cost twice. The part in parentheses is called reminder text, and doesn't actually do anything it just reminds you how Outlast works. The card would function exactly the same if it read "Outlast {1}{B}"

207.2a Reminder text is italicized text within parentheses that summarizes a rule that applies to that card. It usually appears on the same line as the ability it’s relevant to, but it may appear on its own line if it applies to an aspect of the card other than an ability.

702.106. Outlast

702.106a Outlast is an activated ability. “Outlast [cost]” means “[Cost], {T}: Put a +1/+1 counter on this creature. Activate this ability only any time you could cast a sorcery.”

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  • 1
    Your answer might be improved by explaining that Outlast is a keyword, which is why the reminder text is there: all keywords that aren't part of the basic few (like "flying" or "first strike") are printed with reminder text to ensure you won't have to break up the flow of the game by referencing a rulebook just to know what the card does.
    – Cronax
    Aug 18 '15 at 12:46
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You misunderstand. Everything in the parenthesis and italics is just reminder text.

Outlast {1}{B}

means

{1}{B}, {T}: Put a +1/+1 counter on this creature. Activate this ability only any time you could cast a sorcery.

So you only pay the mana once.

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