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I was playing the game with my dad when I dealt one damage with Nettle Drone. In my untap step, I untapped it. My dad thought this wasn't allowed because it says "Whenever you cast a colorless spell, untap nettle drone". I argued that the card doesn't say it doesn't untap in the untap step.

Who was correct?

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You are correct. All permanents will always untap during the untap step UNLESS a continuous effect stops them from untapping. This continuous effect could come from

Nettle Drone's triggered ability lets you untap it when you cast a colourless spell in addition to the normal conditions where it would untap (that is, during your untap step).

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You are correct since the card does not prohibit it from being untapped during the untap step it will untap as normal. What the wording does is allow the card to be untapped during your turn if you meet certain conditions.

502.2. Second, the active player determines which permanents he or she controls will untap. Then he or she untaps them all simultaneously. This turn-based action doesn’t use the stack. Normally, all of a player’s permanents untap, but effects can keep one or more of a player’s permanents from untapping.

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  • Notably, a player may not choose not to untap a permanent without the respective ability. Apr 9 '17 at 19:25
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You are correct. The trigger is an if-then condition: if you cast a colourless spell, then you untap Nettle Drone. Your father is making the logical error known as negating the antecedent.

Nothing in the ability requires Nettle Drone to stay tapped during the untap step.

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  • 1
    The ability is a simple triggered ability. The way your answer is phrased makes it sound like you're suggesting that the ability is an intervening if-clause, which it isn't. Apr 9 '17 at 19:28
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    All triggered abilities are if-then clauses: if trigger, then ability. This is partly the cause of the asker's father's problem.
    – Nij
    Apr 9 '17 at 19:30
  • True, you could say that (though when seems much more appropriate then if here in either case), but since intervening if-clauses are a specific concept with their own special implications, I doubt its helpful to use this kind of wording in cases that don't have intervening if-clauses. Apr 9 '17 at 19:33
  • @TheThirdMan I am not sure what you are complaining about here since a triggered ability is pretty much an if-then clause. Breaking down the ability from the question. If a colorless spell is cast, untap this card.
    – Joe W
    Apr 9 '17 at 19:38
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    @Nij I agree that when/then is more accurate than if/then, especially because "when" or "whenever" is the word you'll actually see on the card. (The rules identify "when", "whenever", and "at".) Apr 9 '17 at 19:38

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