It is covered well in other questions that sacrificing one creature cannot fulfill the requirements for two abilities that are both activated abilities (have 'Sacrifice a creature: do something', like Falkenrath Aristocrat), or other costs ("As an additional cost to cast Altar's Reap, sacrifice a creature"), but can cause multiple triggered abilities (like Zulaport Cutthroat's).

However, there's one other type of sacrifice that some cards call for; when you're commanded to ("Target opponent sacrifices a creature" as in Cruel Edict), or optionally "may sacrifice" (like Brain Gorger).

Are those "commanded to" or "optionally may" actions costs (and therefore must have a creature sacrificed specifically to it and no other cost), or some other sort of trigger?

A complete example: I have a Falkenrath Aristocrat and a Bane Alley Blackguard in play. An opponent casts Cruel Edict on me. Can I sacrifice the Bane Alley Blackguard to the Falkenrath Aristocrat's ability (she gains indestructable for the turn and a +1/+1 token), and have fulfilled the requirements for what Cruel Edict needs me to do?

  • 1
    On Cruel Edict, "sacrifice" is an instruction, not a cost.
    – ikegami
    Apr 24, 2017 at 22:27
  • I'm not convinced this is a duplicate - the question is trying to confirm differences in terminology, even if the result is the same.
    – corsiKa
    Apr 25, 2017 at 14:15
  • @corsiKa From the other question: "if a card requires a creature to be sacrificed, but that creature has a 'Sacrifice this creature for X' ability, do you get the sacrifice benefit when you sacrifice it for the other requirement?" This is the exact thing being asked here. Though I think that the "different costs" question that the other one is marked as a duplicate of is not comprehensive enough, because it talks about "costs" in the title.
    – GendoIkari
    Apr 25, 2017 at 14:35
  • @GendoIkari Yes, but in this case the confusion is whether those "commanded to" or "optionally may" are the same as an ability. We know that they are, but if THAT piece of confusion was cleared up he wouldn't be asking, obviously.
    – corsiKa
    Apr 25, 2017 at 14:55
  • @corsiKa Using the example given by the OP: Cruel Edict has an instruction to sacrifice. Falkenrath has an activated ability with a cost of sacrifice. This combination of "spell instruction" and "cost" is the same combination of things asked about in the last paragraph of this question.
    – Rainbolt
    Apr 25, 2017 at 20:54

2 Answers 2


No, you can't do that, because it is still essentially the same "can't sacrifice creature twice for 2 things", even if only one if an activated ability.

One way to reason it is to think about it with the stack. When an ability or spell is resolving from the stack, it has to fully resolve before doing anything else and it resolves separately from anything else resolving.

So, here you have Cruel Edict on the stack. If you let it start resolving, you can't activate the Aristocrat's ability until it finishes. If you activate the ability in response, the creature is sacrificed to put the ability on the stack. It resolves, then the Edict wants to resolve, and it needs its own sacrifice.



Cruel Edict instructs you to sacrifice a creature when it resolves.

Falkenrath Aristocrat's ability instructs you to sacrifice a creature as part of its activation.

You must sacrifice a creature each time you are instructed to sacrifice a creature[1].

We might say "I sacrifice this creature to activate Falkenrath Aristocrat's ability", but that's not entirely correct. Sacrificing the creature doesn't activate the ability; sacrificing the creature is part of activating the ability. You must start to activate the ability before you pay the cost, so you must be in a position to activate the ability before you can pay the cost.

You can't activate Falkenrath Aristocrat's ability while Cruel Edict is resolving, so you can't pay the cost to activate the ability when Cruel Edict is resolving. It must be activated before or after.

If you let Cruel Edict resolve, the creature you chose to sacrifice to it will not be available to sacrifice should you later choose to activate Falkenrath Aristocrat's ability.

If you activate Falkenrath Aristocrat's ability before Cruel Edict resolves, the creature you sacrifice to pay the the cost to activate the ability won't be around to sacrifice to Cruel Edict when it resolves (forcing you to sacrifice your remaining creature, Falkenrath Aristocrat).

  1. Instructions must be followed it possible. That said, inability to pay costs render activations and castings illegal.

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