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e.g. you activate Orzhova, the Church of Deals, targeting yourself. Do life gain conditions trigger (like Ajani's Pridemate) or not?

(it's simultaneous, so you gain 0 net life, which triggers nothing, right?)

3 Answers 3

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You still get the life gain/loss trigger. Even though the net result of the ability is 0, triggers can be "created" (pending priority) in the middle of abilities resolving.

603.2. Whenever a game event or game state matches a triggered ability’s trigger event, that ability automatically triggers. The ability doesn’t do anything at this point.

603.2a Because they aren’t cast or activated, triggered abilities can trigger even when it isn’t legal to cast spells and activate abilities. Effects that prevent abilities from being activated don’t affect them.

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    It would mean that a life loss couldn't be prevented?
    – sinsedrix
    Feb 20, 2017 at 10:20
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    @sinsedrix Preventing life loss would be a replacement effect, which can happen in the middle of an ability resolving.
    – JonTheMon
    Feb 20, 2017 at 15:14
  • In fact, the effect can be prevented but triggers (happens) anyway?
    – sinsedrix
    Feb 21, 2017 at 7:44
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Ajani's Pridemate would trigger in this scenario. When Orzhova's ability resolves targeting yourself, you will lose life, then gain it back. The key there is that you do gain it back, meaning you did gain life - and that's all that Ajani's Pridemate cares about.

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In this situation I would take the card at face value. What it is telling you is that you can have any target player lose 1 life. Then it states you gain 1 life. Even if the player you chose is yourself, you lose one then gain one in that order. Any triggers that happen as a result of: first the life that was lost, then the life that was gained, will all still trigger regardless of the player that was chosen to lose 1 life.

I would add that I'm not certain of any reason why you would have yourself lose one life from this ability but I'm sure someone here will be able to think of a situation where the life loss would help you if triggers happened from it.

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    Couple examples: Gonti's Machinations, First Response
    – JonTheMon
    Feb 17, 2017 at 15:06
  • @JonTheMon Those are great examples Feb 17, 2017 at 15:09
  • I'm designing cards for a pair of ability words ("Hope - Whenever you gain life, ..." and "Rage - Whenever you lose life for the first time each turn, ..."), and wanted to be certain that life drain effects that target players (not just opponents) can enable both. e.g. "Rage - Whenever you lose life for the first time each turn, ~ deals 2 damage to target creature". Feb 21, 2017 at 23:28
  • (like how the recent Winding Constrictor enables both "+1+1 counters matter" and energy). Feb 21, 2017 at 23:34

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