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Can you increase the power of a creature that entered the battlefield in response to the triggered ability of Selvala, Heart of the Wilds in order to draw the card? For example, suppose you have out Selvala and a 4/4, and you summon another 4/4 and cast Giant Growth in response to the trigger. Would that work and let you actually draw a card?

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Yes, you can change the creature's size in response to the ability in order to draw a card.

Rule 603.4 says

A triggered ability may read “When/Whenever/At [trigger event], if [condition], [effect].” When the trigger event occurs, the ability checks whether the stated condition is true. The ability triggers only if it is; otherwise it does nothing. If the ability triggers, it checks the stated condition again as it resolves. If the condition isn’t true at that time, the ability is removed from the stack and does nothing. Note that this mirrors the check for legal targets. This rule is referred to as the “intervening ‘if’ clause” rule. (The word “if” has only its normal English meaning anywhere else in the text of a card; this rule only applies to an “if” that immediately follows a trigger condition.)

The "if" condition in Selvala's ability appears at the end of the ability, so it is not an "intervening 'if' clause". This means that the creature's power is only checked when the ability resolves.

This is confirmed by a ruling about Selvala in the Conspiracy: Take the Crown release notes:

The new creature's power is compared to the power of each other creature on the battlefield as the first ability resolves. If another creature has the same or higher power than the new creature's power, no one may draw a card.

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    If there was any doubt Tabak has confirmed this in a very similar question asked by a user with a similar name to this questions OP. – Fr33dan Aug 23 '16 at 21:10
  • Wow, are there a lot of cards with this "When/Whenever/At {trigger event}, {effect} if {condition}" phrasing? I know it works within the rules but it's pretty awkward to depend that specifically on the wording... – Cascabel Aug 24 '16 at 3:50
  • This magiccards.info search finds cards like that. There are a lot of false positives (particularly, conditions that are dependent on the outcome of the trigger effect), but the first page of results gives us Abzan Beastmaster and Advice from the Fae, which follow that pattern. – murgatroid99 Aug 24 '16 at 3:58
  • Thank you for the answer, now I can build the deck I had in mind. – pfox Aug 25 '16 at 3:54
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Unfortunately no. The trigger checks as it activates, so the giant growth would turn it into a 7/7, but it would not enter as a 7/7. If you had something such as Zameck Guildmage and used it's ability to make the creature enter with a +1/+1 counter, then your 4/4 would enter as a 5/5 and Selvala's trigger would let you draw.

  • 1
    Unfortunately, this is incorrect. As my answer shows, the ability does not actually have an intervening "if" clause, so the creature's power is only checked when the ability resolves. – murgatroid99 Aug 23 '16 at 19:31

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