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Say I already have a Huatli, Radiant Champion out. If I cast a second Huatli, Radiant Champion can I use the original Huatli's plus 1 ability to target the new Huatli?
Or does the original, or whichever one I choose, die immediately?

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    Also worth noting that you can't ever target anything with the +1 ability... it doesn't target.
    – GendoIkari
    Jan 12, 2018 at 23:41
  • @GendoIkari That is not a duplicate of that question because in this case the card in question is a legendary planeswalker. Because of that it is not possible for a player to have two of them in play at as indicated in Adrew's answer.
    – Joe W
    Jan 13, 2018 at 0:46
  • @JoeW It's possible that I am misinterpreting the user's confusion; but it seems to me that the legend rule isn't even relevant considering his misinterpretation of what it means when a card uses its own name in its text.
    – GendoIkari
    Jan 13, 2018 at 2:18
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    Retracted my close vote. It's tricky to me because the user seems to be asking about the timing of something regarding the legendary rule, but the thing they're asking about isn't even a valid question due to another misunderstanding of how card names work.
    – GendoIkari
    Jan 13, 2018 at 15:46

3 Answers 3

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No you may not use one Huatli, Radiant Champion to put loyalty counters on a different Huatli, Radiant Champion.

As a refresher, the loyalty ability you referrer to in your question reads:

+1: Put a loyalty counter on Huatli, Radiant Champion for each creature you control.

There are several reasons that you can not place the loyalty counters onto the new Huatli. The main reason is that whenever a card uses its card name in the rules text box, it is only referring to that particular card and not other cards that might share a name with it. This is covered in the comprehensive rules here:

201.4.: Text that refers to the object it’s on by name means just that particular object and not any other objects with that name, regardless of any name changes caused by game effects.

Now beyond this rule there is one other that makes it so that you can not do this, State Based Actions and more specifically something called the legend rule.

704.5j: If a player controls two or more legendary permanents with the same name, that player chooses one of them, and the rest are put into their owners’ graveyards. This is called the “legend rule.”

State Based Actions (SBA) are special in magic in that they are checked automatically each time a player receives priority, they do not belong to any player, and they do not use the stack. This means that when SBAs are checked no player has a chance to respond to them, not even with instants or abilities.

So what that means for your example is that after you cast your second Huatli, Radiant Champion, you must immediately choose one of them and send the other to your graveyard. This will be done before you get the chance to use one of Huatli's loyalty abilities.
So even in the hypothetical situation Huatli had the ability:

+1 Put a loyalty counter on target Planeswalker for each creature you control.

You still would be unable to activate the ability before the other Huatli is put into your graveyard (and therefore not a valid target).

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  • @ Samantha if you like I could go over the timing restrictions as well using the card Ajani Steadfast to explain why it isn't possible to add loyalty counters to a planeswalker that will be sacrificed due to the legendary rule? or does this answer your question sufficiently?
    – Malco
    Jan 12, 2018 at 22:19
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    You might want to mention that one of them has to be put into the graveyard as a state-based action due to the legendary rule, which occurs instantly as soon as it enters the battlefield and before loyalty abilities can be activated (or before anything else at all can be done). Jan 12, 2018 at 22:35
  • @doppelgreener Agreed, I covered that part in my answer, though I agree 201.4 prevents it all the time where 704.5j has two exceptions, only one that can apply to Huatli.
    – Andrew
    Jan 12, 2018 at 22:40
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    You mention there's lots of reasons, and it's good to mention that the name only refers to oneself -- but the asker appears to have missed the fact they can't functionally ever have two, or do anything to save one of them. (Short of having Mirror Gallery out.) S'why that's probably also worth mentioning explicitly. Jan 12, 2018 at 23:31
  • @doppelgreener I wanted to keep things simple and focus down on the main reason why it wouldn't work since technically you could have a mirror gallery down and it still wouldn't work. Since OP hasn't responded and comments have asked for it I will add mention to the Legendary Rule as well.
    – Malco
    Jan 15, 2018 at 4:30
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No, both copies will never be on the battlefield while you have priority

You cannot use Huatli, Radiant Champion before the legend rule takes effect. The legend rule is evaluated as a state-based action, this causes all but one copy of Huatli to leave the battlefield after the second copy resolves, but before the active player has priority to activate any abilities or spells. Even if the legend rule used the stack, Planeswalker abilities are sorcery speed, so the legend rule would need to resolve before sorcery speed abilities can be put on the stack.

704.3. Whenever a player would get priority (see rule 116, “Timing and Priority”), the game checks for any of the listed conditions for state-based actions, then performs all applicable state-based actions simultaneously as a single event. If any state-based actions are performed as a result of a check, the check is repeated; otherwise all triggered abilities that are waiting to be put on the stack are put on the stack, then the check is repeated. Once no more state-based actions have been performed as the result of a check and no triggered abilities are waiting to be put on the stack, the appropriate player gets priority. [...]

704.5j If a player controls two or more legendary permanents with the same name, that player chooses one of them, and the rest are put into their owners’ graveyards. This is called the “legend rule.”

With the exception of using Mirror Gallery, and allowing both copies, there is no way for them to exist on your board at the same time. If you have Mirror Gallery, then the rule covering cards that refer to themselves prevents it.

201.4.: Text that refers to the object it’s on by name means just that particular object and not any other objects with that name, regardless of any name changes caused by game effects.

If it had allowed you to target it would likely have been worded as:

+1: Put a loyalty counter on target planeswalker for each creature you control.

This ability would have been incredibly broken, and likely been at least the - ability if not the ultimate, since it would allow you to power up any walker likely to set their ultimate off, and you would still be able to use that walker's ultimate. Even if it had specified target Huatli planeswalker, the ability would have been more powerful than a +1 should be, allowing you to set off Huatli, Warrior Poet for huge numbers, preventing all blocks then swinging in for massive attacks that either can't be blocked, or only blocked by what you want them to use to block, with the creatures that gave you the counters, and to do this every turn as long as you can keep both walkers alive.

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You seem to be misunderstanding what Huatli, Radiant Champion's first ability does. As explained in this question, when a card uses its own name in the text of an ability, that just means "this card"; you can't use that ability on a different card with the same name.

That being said, say you were asking about an ability that did work the way you think, such as Ajani Steadfast's -2 ability:

Put a +1/+1 counter on each creature you control and a loyalty counter on each other planeswalker you control.

In this case, the answer is still no, you cannot play a second Ajani and then activate the first Ajani's -2 ability to get an extra loyalty counter on the new Ajani (or activate the new one to get an extra loyalty counter on the old one).

This is because the "Legendary Rule" happens as a state-based action, which will take effect before you have priority.

704.3. Whenever a player would get priority (see rule 116, “Timing and Priority”), the game checks for any of the listed conditions for state-based actions, then performs all applicable state-based actions simultaneously as a single event. If any state-based actions are performed as a result of a check, the check is repeated; otherwise all triggered abilities that are waiting to be put on the stack are put on the stack, then the check is repeated. Once no more state-based actions have been performed as the result of a check and no triggered abilities are waiting to be put on the stack, the appropriate player gets priority. [...]

704.5j If a player controls two or more legendary permanents with the same name, that player chooses one of them, and the rest are put into their owners’ graveyards. This is called the “legend rule.”

Due to these rules, you cannot activate any abilities (or cast any spells) while both Ajani's are on the battlefield. You would need a card such as Mirror Gallery to do something like that. Of course Mirror Gallery will not help in the case of Huatli because his ability doesn't work that way.

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