I have on the battlefield Will-o'-the-Wisp, and my opponent (it is his turn now) is going to attack in his combat step with his flying Air Elemental. I have to face this 4/4 creature and, in normal situations, I should not feel afraid of it. But I know – or I imagine that – my opponent has in his hand a Trickbind. The question is: may I sidestep this split second spell, by activating the regeneration ability of Will-o'-the-Wisp two times, in order to make sure it will survive the combat phase? In other words, I activate regeneration (B) one time, and then, retaining priority, I activate regeneration one more time (B again), sending to the stack two activations of the same ability.


Yes, that would work. After activating the regeneration ability, you get priority:

117.3c If a player has priority when they cast a spell, activate an ability, or take a special action, that player receives priority afterward.

so you can activate it again. Trickbind does not counter any (other) abilities of the permanent already on the stack.

  • Really great. I' m waiting for other possible answers before accepting it, but I know it is a good one. Nov 28 '19 at 15:48

Yes, you can do this.

After you activate an ability or cast a spell, you retain priority. If you activate the same ability again, the best your opponent can do is counter one of the two abilities on the stack (unless he has more than one Trickbind!) The other one will resolve and give you regeneration.

This works because although Trickbind prevents further activations of the same ability; with this method you are never trying to activate the ability after Trickbind resolves.

  • Ok, the first part of the answer sounds good. But I have some problem with the second. Let's imagine opponent has two trickbinds on his hands.It is correct to say that: the first trickbind counters the first regen; then, since it is resolved, the stack is filled with the second regen only - but no trickbinds - and the opponent can NOW cast another Trickbind to counter the second regen too. It is correct? Nov 28 '19 at 15:55
  • 2
    That’s correct.
    – GendoIkari
    Nov 28 '19 at 16:13
  • 3
    Also note in competitive play if you want to do this it needs to be done the way it's described in the question: tap two swamps and say "I activate Will o the wisp twice retaining priority". Waiting to see if your opponent starts to reach for an island and then saying "Wait I still have priority activating again!" is explicitly forbidden ;)
    – Affe
    Nov 29 '19 at 17:27
  • Absolutely correct. I agree with Affe's prohibition. Nov 30 '19 at 11:02
  • Much more than this,the ban Affe refers to,i think it should be formalized in the game in an even more"stiffy"way.Let me explain: how could someone specify that a player has unequivocally passed the priority,thus avoiding that a player can "cheat" by observing if the other"moves his hands"towards his lands to throw something?Perhaps,it is sufficient to say it verbally,at least in very delicate cases such as those concerning"fast"cards(such as trickbind),in fact;or like this:-"Ok, I'm passing priority!".Or,is anyone able to indicate another way of indicating this decisive passage of priority? Aug 4 '21 at 8:56

This answer does not cover the "sidestepping a split second spell" part of the question, but it does answer the "Possible way to counter" part of the question.

You can flip over a face down creature in response to a Split Second spell. So for example, if you had a Stratus Dancer face down on the field, you could flip it face up in response to counter the Split Second spell, protecting your Will-o'-the-Wisp, but that would be a bit excessive.

702.36e Any time you have priority, you may turn a face-down permanent you control with a morph ability face up. This is a special action; it doesn’t use the stack (see rule 116).

116.1 Special actions are actions a player may take when they have priority that don’t use the stack.

116.2b Turning a face-down creature face up is a special action. A player can take this action any time they have priority.

Split Second does not stop you from doing anything, it just prevents you from casting spells and activating abilities that are not mana abilities.

"The reason this behavior exists, is it prohibits your opponent from smoking your morphling with a lightning bolt when you declare you wish to unmorph. It makes morphing more useful." (Source: How can a Morph ability counter split second spells? Answer)

  • That's precisely what I am wondering, after the good answers I received. Using the Voidmage Apprentice - for example - is correct with reference to the rules of the game, but makes one doubt the goodness of the game with respect to the morph ability.In fact, since the latter has a cost,in my opinion it should be considered as an activated ability. But I know morph ability is NOT an activated ability. I only think morph ability SHOULD be an activated ability. this way it is possible to sidestep lots of things...but, ok... the rules allow it. Dec 5 '19 at 16:34
  • Another way to counter Trickbind may be Kheru spellsnatcher morph ability, too. Dec 5 '19 at 16:35
  • Yeah, it is an odd interaction, though I personally am glad it is in. Morph would be even worse than how it already is if it was a normal activation.
    – Shadow Z.
    Dec 6 '19 at 2:52
  • Here then is that my main intent-for which I also had "set a bounty",but without yet knowing its proper functioning mode well-is taking place.A lot of evidence is being gathered to clearly define the difference between"split-second spells"and "uncountering spells",which must be carefully distinguished,especially for novice players.My proposal to"set a bounty"to find more possible cases in which this can be seen well was rejected,because I am still a beginner,too:the many options of its operation prevented me from clarifying that my goal was precisely this. Dec 7 '19 at 10:17

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