I want to clone Geist of Saint Traft without falling prey to the legend rule and without using Mirror Gallery. Are there any cards that allow you to copy a card's text without copying its name? I was unable to find any but might have failed to search the right wording.

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    Mirror Gallery is cool! Curious why you don't want to use that? – John Apr 17 '16 at 23:35
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    Mirror Gallery is cool, but it costs 5 mana. That's not competitive in my particular local meta. Game would be over before it was out long enough to be useful. I play Legacy. – temporary_user_name Apr 18 '16 at 0:20
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    FWIW it would be better to say that you want a cheaper alternative in the question, rather than just specifying "not Mirror Gallery". (Not that it really matters now.) – David Z Apr 18 '16 at 6:28
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    You can legally clone any legendary with any clone, it will however trigger the legend rule and cause you to remove one, that said you won't find anything that can do what you want for less than 4 mana, and if five is way too much in your meta you're probably going to be pushing it with Sakashima's cost. – Andrew May 7 '18 at 18:56

Sakashima the Impostor copies a creature except its name; Spark Double copies a creature or planeswalker except it loses legendary.

The rule that is responsible for preventing the existence of multiple identical legendaries is the so called "legend rule". It is a state-based action:

704.5j If a player controls two or more legendary permanents with the same name, that player chooses one of them, and the rest are put into their owners’ graveyards. This is called the “legend rule.”

There is also Lazav, Dimir Mastermind, but it only copies creatures that go to your opponent's graveyard, so the creature you want to copy has to go to your opponent's graveyard somehow, which requires either elaborate setup, or that your opponent also happens to play Geist.

Both creatures restrict you to one additional Geist each, because the legend rule still applies to Lazav and Sakashima, respectively.

Helm of the Host creates non-legendary token copies of the equipped creature. It costs 4 mana to cast and 5 mana to equip, but it lets you get any number of copies with only 1 reusable card invested.

If your group allows Un-sets, there is also Rules Lawyer, which makes state-based actions not apply to you and your creatures, which disables the legend rule check.

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  • Given that this is the top answer, Spark Double should be added so that people can see it as an option they might miss if they only read the selected answer. Likewise Mirror Gallery. – Soulus101 Apr 29 '19 at 11:34

Helm of the host.

Sorry, it also has a 5 mana cost to equip, but you keep getting them.

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Since the legend rule is state-based, Rules Lawyer would prevent it from taking effect. Of course, that would run into your "5 mana is too much" concern.

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Spark Double is now probably the best spell to do this and super cheap and can hit planeswalkers as well as creatures. If you are specifically looking to duplicate Geist of Saint Traft I suppose you can use Invocation of Saint Traft. But it seems like the real question was can you copy a triggered ability and yes you can with Strionic Resonator it drops right before Geist of Saint Traft for 2 and can be activated once he can attack.

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If what you care about is cost, you shouldn't be trying to copy the whole creature. It's much cheaper to copy just the ability you care about, such as with one of the following: Strionic Resonator, Tawnos, Urza's Apprentice, Illusionist's Bracers, or Rings of Brighthearth (Rings and Bracers are included for the general case; they won't work for Geist of Saint Taft, as its ability is a triggered ability, not an activated ability).

That said, there are three general mechanics that will let you have multiple copies of a legendary creature on the battlefield at the same time*:

  1. Things that make non-legendary copies of a creature: o:"isn't legendary". Currently, this is Spark Double and Helm of the Host

  2. Things that clone a creature with a different name**: o:copy o:"its name". Currently, this is Sakashima the Impostor, Lazav, Dimir Mastermind, and Lazav, the Multifarious (noting that the later two will require the creature you are copying to go the graveyard and back in the process).

  3. Things that ignore the legend rule: o:"legend rule". Currently this is Mirror Gallery (and Brothers Yamazaki, which creates an exception only for itself). I know you said you don't want to use Mirror Gallery, but I'm including it for completeness.

* You can use any old Clone on a legendary creature if you need it to exist quite briefly (such as to get the enter the battlefield trigger on Archangel Avacyn), but you will have to lose all but one of them the next time state based actions are checked.

** This works because the legend rule care about things with the same name:

704.5j If a player controls two or more legendary permanents with the same name, that player chooses one of them, and the rest are put into their owners’ graveyards. This is called the “legend rule.”

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Dark Impostor steals activated abilities for 6 mana.

4BB: Exile target creature and put a +1/+1 counter on Dark Impostor. Dark Impostor has all activated abilities of all creature cards exiled with it.

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  • Welcome to Board & Card Games! In case you are curious why your answer is getting so many downvotes, I suspect it's because Dark Imposter steals activated abilities, but Geist's is a triggered ability. Additionally, it's not clear how this clones Geist, or how you can use this to get multiple geist activations / turn. – John Jan 19 '19 at 18:31
  • Even if it would work that does not provide the solution that is being asked for in the question. What this would is just move the ability from one creature to another instead of finding a way to have multiple creatures on the board with the ability at the same time. – Joe W Jan 19 '19 at 22:23

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