# Why can't I play a card for its alternative cost after searching for it with Bring to Light?

According to the card rulings on Gatherer, I can't, say, fetch Reveillark from my deck with Bring to Light, and then cast it for its Evoke cost instead (which is what I was hoping to do). While this is applicable to all alternative costs, what rules prevent BtL from allowing this, when, according to the card text, all it seems to care about is whether or not the CMC is less than or equal to the number of colors used to play it?

I'm not trying to bring this ruling into question, as disappointing as it may be, I just want to understand the logic involved.

• There must be a duplicate around somewhere - if you poke around in the results for this query you might find it. (I skimmed a bit, but the ones I looked at were a little too different.) There's value in asking the question so directly like this, though. May 11, 2016 at 18:00
• Aren't there just 5 diferent colours? I'm curious anyway how you expect to go for an evoke that costs 6, where you could just accumulate 5?! May 12, 2016 at 9:29
• @Zaibis Because, Bring to Light only looks at the converted mana cost, not the cost of anything within the card's rules text. My rationale was that you could search for it, as its CMC is only five, and since you could then play it without paying its mana cost, perhaps that would include being able to play it for a free alternative cost, as BtL's rules text didn't specify otherwise (not overtly, anyway). It sounded suspect to begin with, so I read the rulings for BtL on Gatherer, which specifically mentioned not being able to pay alternative costs. At that point, I simply wanted to know why. May 12, 2016 at 12:40
• @Magnanimancer: out of curiousity: Didn't feel it selfexplanatory? I mean you pick a card by explicite refering to that cards cost but then want to trigger an effect tied to diferent costs? May 12, 2016 at 12:44
• @Zaibis As I've suggested, I figured at the start that something about my initial thought process was flawed, which is why I didn't just start trying to play with both of those under the assumption I was correct. The logic I had initially used was that BtL provides a card that you are able to play without paying for it, and if there are multiple ways that you would normally be able to pay for it, e.g. Evoke, BtL has made it free, regardless. It's not a trigger, I knew evoke was an alternate cost. I didn't know that playing it for free was also an alternate cost. May 12, 2016 at 12:57

It is because Bring to Light and Evoke are both alternate costs, and you can only choose one alternate cost when casting a spell. Since Bring to Light is what is giving you permission to cast the Revilark in the first place you have to use its alternative cost, you can't Evoke it (by paying mana) off of Bring to Light. Compare this to Omniscience which also gives your Revilark an alternate cost, in this case you could choose to cast it without paying its mana cost or pay its Evoke cost but not not both (paying no mana for its Evoke cost).

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.” Note that some alternative costs are listed in keywords; see rule 702.

117.9a Only one alternative cost can be applied to any one spell as it’s being cast. The controller of the spell announces his or her intentions to pay that cost as described in rule 601.2b.

702.73a Evoke represents two abilities: a static ability that functions in any zone from which the card with evoke can be cast and a triggered ability that functions on the battlefield. “Evoke [cost]” means “You may cast this card by paying [cost] rather than paying its mana cost” and “When this permanent enters the battlefield, if its evoke cost was paid, its controller sacrifices it.” Paying a card’s evoke cost follows the rules for paying alternative costs in rules 601.2b and 601.2f–h.

• Thank you for taking the time to answer, this is just what I needed in order to understand! May 11, 2016 at 18:15
• The other subtle bit here is that the "you may cast..." sentence on Bring to Light is also what's giving you permission to cast the spell at all. It's not in your hand, so you can't cast it outside of that one case. That's why you can't use the other alternative cost instead of the "free" one. You'd only be using one alternative cost, which in general is okay, but you're not actually allowed to cast the spell in that case. May 11, 2016 at 18:18
• @Jefromi: surely this point in your comment is the fundamental reason — that it’s exiled, and so it can’t be played for its normal or evoke cost unless something explicitly said it could be? Why not put that in your answer?
– PLL
May 12, 2016 at 1:19
• @PLL It is in my answer. But you do need both parts: you can't use both costs, and you can't use just the evoke one. May 12, 2016 at 2:22

Casting a spell without paying its mana cost is an alternative cost (as is Evoke), and you can only use one alternative cost. Bring to Light only allows you to cast it with that one specific alternate cost (i.e. "free"), so you can't use a different one, even if you wanted to use the Evoke cost instead of the free cost - you don't have permission to cast the spell that way.

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.” Note that some alternative costs are listed in keywords; see rule 702.

(emphasis mine)

117.9a Only one alternative cost can be applied to any one spell as it’s being cast. The controller of the spell announces his or her intentions to pay that cost as described in rule 601.2b.

• Okay, that completely makes sense, I hadn't considered Bring to Light's ability to be an alternative cost itself! Thank you for the swift answer! I'm likely going to choose @diego's answer, simply because it has information specific to Evoke as well, but I really appreciate your help! :D May 11, 2016 at 18:09