Say Solemnity and a Nadir Kraken are play. Obviously you won't get the counter. But will get the token.

Basic FOL would suggest:

P = "put a +1/+1 counter on Nadir"
Q = create a 1/1 blue creature token"

Given that (basic rules of conjunction):

P & Q = 1 iif P = 1 && Q = 1

P = 0, than the conjunction P & Q == 0, so neither will be created.

Ovethinking? What would Garfield say?

  • 3
    I don't quite follow the logic here. We would, without the Solemnity, get both a counter and a token, i.e. token and counter. Solemnity says we don't get the counter, i.e. not counter. Thus we do have have not (token and counter). However, in no way does that imply not token.
    – Arthur
    Jan 22, 2021 at 18:39
  • This EXACTLY implies (not (token) OR not (counter)). Check DeMorgan rules on rewriting logical expressions. So you actually now make it possible to choose ;)
    – Learner
    Jan 22, 2021 at 19:47
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    I did not downvote, but I can guess what may have prompted people to do so. First, you asked this question using terminology and shorthand that is generally not used in the context of MTG, making the question a little hard to follow. Second, the basis of the question appears to be that in formal logic, (P and Q) and (not P) => (not Q), which is not true, so that makes the premise a little confusing. And third, instructions on Magic cards are imperative statements, which do not in general obey the rules of formal logic, making the question seem like a bit of a non-sequitur.
    – murgatroid99
    Jan 22, 2021 at 20:24
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    Nothing says P & Q must be 1. In fact, you are arguing that it should be 0 (since you're saying both P and Q should be 0), thus defeating your own argument
    – ikegami
    Jan 22, 2021 at 21:18
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    Downvoted because, while you've asked a question with a legitimate core, you've asked it in a bad way. It was entirely possible to ask your question in an open-ended way and trust our expertise on the MTG game rules, and yes, those rules even include a few lines about the English language as it relates to card text. Yet you decided to come in with a preconceived notion from an entirely unrelated field ("basic FOL would suggest") and tried to create a gotcha where there is none. In short, you did not come across a learner, as your handle would suggest, but at best a wanna-be teacher.
    – Hackworth
    Jan 22, 2021 at 21:34

4 Answers 4


You get the token.

609.3 If an effect attempts to do something impossible, it does only as much as possible.

You're allowed to create the token. You're not allowed to add the counter. So you do what you're allowed.

  • a big Jeej for ambiguity in language. Garfield was a mathematician.
    – Learner
    Jan 22, 2021 at 16:32
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    @Learner My experience from reading the original MTG cards, as well as other games Garfield has designed, leads me to believe he has some difficulty writing unambiguously. But this isn't one such case, as 1) It's not ambiguous, and 2) Garfield hasn't written this.
    – Arthur
    Jan 22, 2021 at 18:45
  • The conjunction and the use of natural language in general makes it ambiguous per definition ;)
    – Learner
    Jan 22, 2021 at 19:44
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    @Learner By pure logic and only your cards in isolation, one could possibly argue for the ambiguity you're claiming is there. But then you forget the rules. And the rules say that when something changes, anything else that can stay the same stays the same. So when you change the truth value of the statement "I get a counter", the truth value of the statement "I get a token" remains unchanged, because it is possible for it to remain unchanged. That's what "As much as possible" means: it can still give you a token even though the counter is prevented, so it does still give you a token.
    – Arthur
    Jan 22, 2021 at 20:00
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    @Learner, "Can you go to the store for fruit. And when you're there, grab some garbage bags too." If they're out of garbage bags, you still going to grab the fruit. The understanding applies here. The value of "bought fruit and bought towels" is meaningless, and so is the value of "created a token and added a counter". And no, it's not ambiguous. The rules clearly say how to follow the instructions on a card: You do as much as possible. The concept that you can't do any part if there's a part you can't do is entirely of your own making. This false preposition is why your logic is invalid.
    – ikegami
    Jan 22, 2021 at 21:17

You do as much as possible, which means you get the token.

First of all, you say you invoke first-order logic, but you actually use propositional logic.

Secondly, your propositions are wrong because one can't evaluate if they're true or not. They should be the following:

P = "A +1/+1 counter was placed on on Nadir"
Q = "A 1/1 blue creature token was created"

Finally, given ¬P and Q, we do get ¬(P ∧ Q) as you say. But that doesn't mean anything. Nothing says it P ∧ Q must be true. In fact, you're not even arguing that it should be true.

Say you are instructed to go to the supermarket to garbage bags and fruit.

Q = "I bought garbage bags"
P = "I bought fruits"

If they're out of garbage bags (¬P), then we can deduce ¬(P ∧ Q) just as we did above. Does that mean I didn't buy fruits? no. Does that means I can't buy fruits? no.

So we have a resolving ability. How is that handled?

608.2c The controller of the spell or ability follows its instructions in the order written. [...]

But we can't do that. So now what?

609.3 If an effect attempts to do something impossible, it does only as much as possible.

And that's your answer.


You can't apply symbolic logic so bluntly to this question first there is an implied "unless this is otherwise not legal" as rule 609.3 indicates (just because one part is impossible does not prevent other parts of an effect). Part of the purpose of having base rules is to create more concise cards, to not need to print every possibility on the cards themselves.

609.3 If an effect attempts to do something impossible, it does only as much as possible.

Lets define terms again:

P = "put a +1/+1 counter on Nadir"
Q = create a 1/1 blue creature token"

X = 1 mana is paid
Y = Counters cannot be placed
Z = Tokens cannot be created

Given these terms, 609.3 dictates that the following must be true:

X ⇒ (~Y ⊕ P) · (~Z ⊕ Q)

Y and Z are false by default, but Solemnity makes Y true.

Without rule 609.3 the card would have to be written as:

Whenever you draw a card, you may pay 1. If you do, put a +1/+1 counter on Nadir Kraken, unless some other effect prevents placing these counters, and create a 1/1 blue Tentacle creature token, unless some other effect prevents creating these tokens.

  • That wasn't was was wrong, but you fixed it. I would change "With these your actual statements are:" to "609.3 dictates that the following must be true:", but much better
    – ikegami
    Jan 22, 2021 at 22:20

According to gatherer:

If Nadir Kraken leaves the battlefield after its ability has triggered, you can still pay 1 and get a Tentacle, even though you won’t put a +1/+1 counter on Nadir Kraken.

While this doesn't apply to your specific example, it does demonstrate that it's possible to create only the token without the +1/+1 counter.

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