Let's say my board is 5 Mountains, Dryad of the Ilysian Grove, and Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle. Now I play a Plains. Because of the Dryad, the Plains is also a Mountain, so Valakut triggers. While the trigger is on the stack, opponent kills the Dryad. Which of the following is right:

  • Does Valakut deal 3 damage because I still control 5 real Mountains, or
  • Does Valakut not deal 3 damage because no Mountain entered the battlefield?

Relevant text of cards:

Lands you control are every basic land type in addition to their other types. (Dryad of the Ilysian Grove)


Whenever a Mountain enters the battlefield under your control, if you control at least five other Mountains, you may have Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle deal 3 damage to any target. (Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle)

1 Answer 1


Refering to rule 603.4.

A triggered ability may read “When/Whenever/At [trigger event], if [condition], [effect].” When the trigger event occurs, the ability checks whether the stated condition is true. The ability triggers only if it is; otherwise it does nothing. If the ability triggers, it checks the stated condition again as it resolves. If the condition isn’t true at that time, the ability is removed from the stack and does nothing. Note that this mirrors the check for legal targets. This rule is referred to as the “intervening ‘if’ clause” rule. (The word “if” has only its normal English meaning anywhere else in the text of a card; this rule only applies to an “if” that immediately follows a trigger condition.)

Note how only the condition is checked again as it resolves. Let's break these rules down to the text of Valakut.

Whenever a Mountain enters the battlefield under your control [trigger event], if you control at least five other Mountains [condition], you may have Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle deal 3 damage to any target.[effect] (Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle)

Therefore you playing the plains (which is also a mountain) causes the trigger event and the condition to be met. With valakut's ability on the stack, your Dryad is destroyed in response. This resolves with valakut's ability being on top of the stack as result.

Now look at the rulings from the gatherer.

If a Mountain you control leaves the battlefield between the time Valakut’s second ability triggers and the time it resolves, be aware if that was the Mountain that caused Valakut’s ability to trigger or not. If it was, Valakut’s count isn’t affected; if it wasn’t, Valakut’s count goes down by one.

According to this ruling, the condition on Valakut is met and the damage is dealt.

  • 4
    Which also means, notably, that if you didn't have five "real" Mountains (you just had five other lands that were Mountains because of Dryad's ability), it won't do the damage. This isn't the situation OP asked about but might be worth a note.
    – Draconis
    Commented Apr 29, 2021 at 17:45
  • While I agree with this answer, you might want to remove the Gatherer ruling, as it doesn't really matter for OP's question, and you've bolded it oddly. No Mountain has left the battlefield in the given example. The important part is that the trigger remains, even with changes to the thing that caused it (the original PlainsMountain) Commented Apr 29, 2021 at 20:55
  • 1
    IMO the gatherer ruling is quite important. This clarifies the vice versa case where OP already has 4 mountains and a plains on the battlefield and then plays another mountain.
    – bautista
    Commented Apr 29, 2021 at 22:22

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