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If I summon Crackling Drake while having only having a Giant Killer on my graveyard (or in exile) will my Drake be 0/4 or 1/4?

I got confused by some answers. Some say that when an adventure card is anywhere except the stack it's a Creature card. So it would be 0/1.

But there is this example from rule 601.3e:

Melek, Izzet Paragon says, in part, "You may cast the top card of your library if it's an instant or sorcery card." If you control Melek, Izzet Paragon and the top card of your library is Giant Killer, you may cast Chop Down.

In the case above Giant Killer (Chop Down) is considered a Instant Card, but there is also this example:

You won't be able to cast Chop Down with the ability of Torrential Gearhulk because in your graveyard, it is not an instant and it would thus be an illegal target.

So now Giant Killer (Chop Down) is not considered an Instant Card.

Can anyone explain what makes these cases different? Is it because it's being "targeted" or maybe because one is being cast from the library and the other one from the graveyard?

Thanks!

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No, an adventure card is an instant/sorcery only on the stack and only if it's being cast as such. At any other time, it counts as a creature object. You can cast the adventure part through Melek because of intricacies in the spell casting rules.

715.4. In every zone except the stack, and while on the stack not as an Adventure, an adventurer card has only its normal characteristics.

So for current adventure cards, they are only creature cards while in exile or the graveyard, and do not count for Crackling Drake.

So if Giant Killer is only a creature card in the library, why can you cast it with Melek? The example you gave is from rule 601.3e:

601.3e If a rule or effect states that only an alternative set of characteristics or a subset of characteristics are considered to determine if a card or copy of a card is legal to cast, those alternative characteristics replace the object’s characteristics prior to determining whether the player may begin to cast it.

Example: Garruk’s Horde says, in part, “You may cast the top card of your library if it’s a creature card.” If you control Garruk’s Horde and the top card of your library is a noncreature card with morph, you may cast it using its morph ability.

Example: Melek, Izzet Paragon says, in part, “You may cast the top card of your library if it’s an instant or sorcery card.” If you control Melek, Izzet Paragon and the top card of your library is Giant Killer, an adventurer creature card whose Adventure is an instant named Chop Down, you may cast Chop Down but not Giant Killer. If instead you control Garruk’s Horde and the top card of your library is Giant Killer, you may cast Giant Killer but not Chop Down.

The fact remains that Giant Killer is only a creature card while in the library. However, due to the rules around adventure cards, if you can cast Giant Killer, you may instead cast it as Chop Down, in which case it assumes its alternative characteristics, which include being an instant, so it's eligible for Melek.

715.3. As a player casts an adventurer card, the player chooses whether they cast the card normally or as an Adventure.

So Melek looks at the top card of your library and asks "Can I cast you as an instant or sorcery", and Giant Killer says "Yes, but only if you cast me as Chop Down". Therefore, you are allowed to cast Chop Down, but not Giant Killer through Melek.

So if you can cast Chop down with Melek, why can't you through Torrential Gearhulk? The difference is that the Gearhulk's ability requires a target card. Since, as we already established, Giant Killer is a creature card in the graveyard, the Gearhulk can not target it in the first place. The ability either has to target a different card or is immediately removed from the stack due to lack of targets, and you can't get permission to cast Chop Down that way.

  • Did not know about 601.3e! – JonTheMon Dec 5 '19 at 17:44
  • @JonTheMon I could be mistaken, but I think 601.3e was added along with Adventure cards; to address interactions just like this. – GendoIkari Dec 5 '19 at 18:09
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No, it would not count towards Crackling Drake

715.4. In every zone except the stack, and while on the stack not as an Adventure, an adventurer card has only its normal characteristics.

The reason that you can cast Giant Killer as an instant with Melek, Izzet Paragon but not with Torrential Gearhulk is because with Melek, you check the Adventure as an instant or sorcery, then determine whether any effects allow it to be cast. It seems counterintuitive, but I believe the relevant ruling would be

715.3a. When casting an adventurer card as an Adventure, only the alternative characteristics are evaluated to see if it can be cast.

The secret lies with Torrential Gearhulk being unable to target the card, as it isn't defined except as a creature in any zone but the stack, and so not being able to choose it in the first place, as opposed to Melek, who looks at a card, decides if any characteristics would allow it to be cast, and, if possible, utilizes these characteristics. The same trick appears to work with Kess, Dissident Mage, as it checks whether any relevant alternative properties/characteristics would allow you to cast any single card, and uses those characteristics in any way possible, in this case, casting the adventure. Gearhulk in particular can't cast it because it's not a valid target. It's trigger and subsequent target doesn't go through the same process of checking each card for possible characteristics like Kess and Melek.

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The existing answers use the full rules to explain the details behind the question. In search of simplicity, it is worth noting that the question is answered in the Rulings section of the Giant Killer card itself.

An adventurer card is a creature card in every zone except the stack, as well as while on the stack if not cast as an Adventure. Ignore its alternative characteristics in those cases. For example, while it’s in your graveyard, Giant Killer is a white creature card whose converted mana cost is 1. It can’t be the target of the triggered ability of Mystic Sanctuary.

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