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The text for Gadwick the Wizened (from Throne of Eldraine) says:

Gadwick, the Wizened XUUU
Legendary Creature - Human Wizard
When Gadwick, the Wizened enters the battlefield, draw X cards.

Whenever you cast a blue spell, tap target nonland permanent an opponent controls.

My understanding (largely based on others comments) was that the card won't remember the cost of X when it enters the battlefield?

So how will Gadwick know what the X was, when it was cast?

  • Based on this discussion on twitter and reddit, this will require a rules change. Specifically with an exception to rule 400.7: An object that moves from one zone to another becomes a new object with no memory of, or relation to, its previous existence. There are nine exceptions to this rule... – Pureferret Sep 13 '19 at 8:17
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Under current rules, the card would not work as intended with the current wording.

As the card Venarian Gold shows, it is, in principle, possible to refer to a self-chosen value of X for an enters-the-battlefield ability. However, as you might tell, it's quite an awkward wording and, if it got a functional reprint, would probably be handled more elegantly with a replacement effect ("As Venarian Gold enters the battlefield, [..]").

In any case, Gadwick, the Wizened's wording is different, makes no reference to "X as you cast [it]", and would not work under current rules. 107.3 and its subsections do not provide a definition of the value of a self-chosen X on an object outside the stack, because no currently released card would need it.

We have to expect a rules update for Gadwick, and, if they even remember the card, a change in Venarian Gold's oracle text.

Update from Eli Shiffrin, the Magic rules manager:

Now Gadwick, the Wizened gets a new 107.3k rule to clarify that its triggered ability looks at the value X that comes from the spell it was, not the permanent it is.

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    What about 400.7c? "An ability of a permanent can reference information about the spell that became that permanent, including what costs were paid to cast that spell or what mana was spent to pay those costs." Wouldn't this arguably cover remembering X for ETB effects? – Andrew Sep 12 '19 at 16:01
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    The mana paid is related to, but still distinct from the value of X, especially once reduction effects come into play. See also Quarantine Field's templating, to allow a triggered ability to infer X via a replacement effect. – Michael Snook Sep 12 '19 at 16:37
  • @Andrew The spirit of the "X" rules are that the value of X is (almost) always the same, and {X} in the mana cost is zero outside the stack, so presumably, X in card text is also zero unless defined. It's just not spelled out in the X rules. – Hackworth Sep 12 '19 at 18:10
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    @Aetherfox Creatures that enter the battlefield with X counters get their counters from a static ability with replacement effect that works on the spell that's on the stack, and X is the chosen value on the stack. Gadwick's ability is a triggered ability that works on the permanent that's already on the battlefield, where self-chosen X was always zero before the rules update. – Hackworth Oct 2 '19 at 13:46
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    @Aetherfox Yes, Krasis card draw and life gain is a triggered ability like Gadwick, but unlike Gadwick it triggers while Krasis is still a spell, so it always had access to the chosen value of X. And yes, countering Krasis does not prevent the card draw/life gain, unlike Gadwick. – Hackworth Oct 2 '19 at 13:55
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The Comprehensive Rules were updated

To encompass Gadwick's behavior, subsection 107.3k was added to the rules on Numbers and Symbols.

107.3k If an object’s enters-the-battlefield triggered ability or replacement effect refers to X, and the spell that became that object as it resolved had a value of X chosen for any of its costs, the value of X for that ability is the same as the value of X for that spell, although the value of X for that permanent is 0. This is an exception to rule 107.3h.

(Rule 107.3h is "Normally, all instances of X on an object have the same value at any given time.")

The note in the Update Bulletin about the change reads:

Chamber Sentry got 107.3j to clarify an object with X in its cost and in an unrelated activated ability. Now Gadwick, the Wizened gets a new 107.3k rule to clarify that its triggered ability looks at the value X that comes from the spell it was, not the permanent it is.

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