Just made a colorless EDH deck and I am wondering if this would work

Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger attacks, triggers the exile 20, then activate the copy triggered ability with Strionic Resonator, then activate the copy activated ability with Rings of Brighthearth

Now they exile 60?

2 Answers 2


Yes, this will work as described. You can use those abilities together to exile a total of 60 cards in one combat.

The exact sequence of steps plays out like this:

  • You declare Ulamog as an attacker, and its ability triggers.
  • While that ability is still on the stack, you activate Strionic Resonator's ability targeting Ulamog's ability.
  • Activating Strionic Resonator's ability triggers Rings of Brighthearth's ability.
  • Rings of Brighthearth's ability resolves. You choose to pay the cost to copy Strionic Resonator's ability, and you don't change the target.
  • The copy of Strionic Resonator's ability resolves, creating a copy of Ulamog's ability.
  • The first copy of Ulamog's ability resolves, and the defending player exiles 20 cards from the top of their library.
  • The original Strionic Resonator ability resolves, creating another copy of Ulamog's ability.
  • The second copy of Ulamog's ability resolves, and the defending player exiles another 20 cards from the top of their library.
  • The original Ulamog's ability resolves, and the defending player exiles another 20 cards from the top of their library.
  • 1
    Thanks for the Edit, just made an account today so I knew nothing about being able to put links to cards. And thanks for the answer! I was wondering if it actually worked. Now I know! :D Commented Sep 13, 2018 at 17:41
  • Incidentally, if you use some unrelated activated ability, you can copy it three times: Once with Rings, and then copy the Rings with Resonator, and then copy the Resonator with Rings. You'll have to pay 8 mana though (2 for the Resonator and 2 for each Rings trigger). The first copy is 2 mana, the second is 2 more, and the third requires 4. Commented Sep 14, 2018 at 1:00

It works if you do it right.

The specifics are actually moderately intricate, but if you're clear about your intentions and don't hesitate to tell the table what you are going to do, then you shouldn't come into conflict with the rules.

First up, Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger does indeed have a triggered ability as defined in rule 603.1:

603.1. Triggered abilities have a trigger condition and an effect. They are written as “[When/Whenever/At] [trigger condition or event], [effect]. [Instructions (if any).]”

After the attack is declared, the triggered ability will go on the stack the next time any player receives priority:

603.3. Once an ability has triggered, its controller puts it on the stack as an object that’s not a card the next time a player would receive priority. See rule 116, “Timing and Priority.” The ability becomes the topmost object on the stack. It has the text of the ability that created it, and no other characteristics. It remains on the stack until it’s countered, it resolves, a rule causes it to be removed from the stack, or an effect moves it elsewhere.

The triggered ability will go on the stack once the active player has finished declaring attacking creatures:

  1. Declare Attackers Step

508.1. First, the active player declares attackers.


508.2. Second, the active player gets priority.

Outside of a single card that isn't legal in most games (Party Crasher), you will always be the active player on turns that you attack, so you get priority once Ulamog's trigger is on the stack. This is the time to use Strionic Resonator. Strionic Resonator has an Activated Ability:

602.1. Activated abilities have a cost and an effect. They are written as “[Cost]: [Effect.] [Activation instructions (if any).]”

The cost of the ability is "Pay 2 mana of any type and tap Strionic Resonator". Activated Abilities can be put on the stack when you have priority:

116.1b A player may activate an activated ability any time they have priority

Now, there's a concept called "Holding Priority" which basically says "if you want to respond to your own things, you need to be quick about it", but it's not strictly part of the rules. You should be able to handle this by saying the entire sequence without pausing, "Attack with Ulamog, Ulamog's ability triggers, activate Strionic Resonator." Since no other players get priority during this sequence, there isn't anything they can do about it.

After activating Strionic Resonator, you receive priority again:

116.3c If a player has priority when they cast a spell, activate an ability, or take a special action, that player receives priority afterward.

Which means that triggered abilities go on the stack, specifically Rings of Brighthearth's ability. Strionic Resonator's activated ability isn't a Mana Ability, so it triggers Rings of Brighthearth:

605.1a An activated ability is a mana ability if it meets all of the following criteria: it doesn’t have a target, it could add mana to a player’s mana pool when it resolves, and it’s not a loyalty ability.

You should mention to the other players that this happened, but you don't need to perform an action to put it on the stack. At this point, if you have nothing else going on, you should pass priority and hope that everybody else does as well. Once everybody passes priority in a row, the Rings of Brighthearth trigger resolves:

116.4. If all players pass in succession (that is, if all players pass without taking any actions in between passing), the spell or ability on top of the stack resolves or, if the stack is empty, the phase or step ends.

When the trigger resolves, you choose whether you want to pay 2 mana for the effect (in this case, you do), and if you paid then you get to copy the activated ability. Copying abilities is defined in rule 706.10:

706.10. To copy a spell, activated ability, or triggered ability means to put a copy of it onto the stack; a copy of a spell isn’t cast and a copy of an activated ability isn’t activated. A copy of a spell or ability copies both the characteristics of the spell or ability and all decisions made for it, including modes, targets, the value of X, and additional or alternative costs.

Rings of Brighthearth lets you choose a different target for the copied Strionic Resonator ability, but you can leave it at its current target. That Strionic Resonator ability copy itself copies Ulamog's triggered ability the same way. Ulamog's triggered ability doesn't have any targets to change even if you wanted to, but it's important to note that you can't choose a new player to mill because the ability refers to the "defending player". In this context, the defending player is defined in rule 508.5:

508.5. If an ability of an attacking creature refers to a defending player, or a spell or ability refers to both an attacking creature and a defending player, then unless otherwise specified, the defending player it’s referring to is the player that creature is attacking, or the controller of the planeswalker that creature is attacking.

And the copied abilities have the same source as the original, so they "see" the same defending player:

706.10b A copy of an ability has the same source as the original ability.

Thus, after the stack is built up to the Rings of Brighthearth trigger, these are the steps that happen, assuming no other abilities or spells are added to the stack:

  • Rings of Brighthearth's triggered ability resolves, copying Strionic Resonator's activated ability if you pay 2 mana.
  • The copy of Strionic Resonator's activated ability resolves, copying Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger's triggered ability.
  • The copy of Ulamog's triggered ability resolves, exiling 20 cards from the deck of whichever player it attacked.
  • The Strionic Resonator's original activated ability resolves, copying Ulamog's ability again.
  • The second copy of Ulamog's ability resolves, exiling 20 more cards.
  • Ulamog's original ability resolves, exiling a third set of 20 cards.

TL;DR: Yep

  • 1
    A couple of notes: I would advise not referencing silver-bordered cards; it's more likely to make things more confusing than anything. And "holding priority" isn't relevant here, because the active player gets priority by default at the beginning of the declare attackers step, and it doesn't matter whether you get priority after activating Strionic Resonator's ability.
    – murgatroid99
    Commented Sep 13, 2018 at 18:39
  • "Since no other players get priority during this sequence, there isn't anything they can do about it." I feel like an opponent holding a 'Destroy target artifact' Instant and enough untapped mana to cast it might disagree with that, and argue that they're entitled to intervene immediately after you declare 'Attack with Ulamog', which makes it clear that "now would probably be a good time to get rid of that resonator".
    – aroth
    Commented Sep 14, 2018 at 2:21
  • 2
    They don't get priority soon enough. They literally don't have an opportunity to cast a spell before the active player activates Strionic Resonator and Rings of Brighthearth triggers.
    – murgatroid99
    Commented Sep 14, 2018 at 6:41

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