If I would give the Fettergeist to someone with the effect of Jon Irenicus, Shattered One and they can't pay the price would they sacrifice it or would they just have to tap out?

1 Answer 1


Fettergeist's ability provides a choice for the player - they either pay a generic mana for each other creature, or will have to sacrifice Fettergeist. They are never required to pay any mana, and therefore do not have to tap out if they can't pay the cost, or even if they could pay the cost - they may simply opt to sacrifice Fettergeist.

118.12a Some spells, activated abilities, and triggered abilities read, "[Do something] unless [a player does something else]." This means the same thing as "[A player may do something else]. If [that player doesn’t], [do something]."

In this specific case, Jon Irenicus, Shattered One's ability will prevent the creature from being sacrificed - however this does in no way force the player to choose the "non-sacrifice" option. Instead, all it does is prevent the creature from actually being sacrificed if some effect said that it would be sacrificed.

In other words: Your opponent can choose to not pay the cost, and doesn't have to sacrifice Fettergeist in either case.

  • 3
    I think it's worth mentioning that even if the player chooses not to pay the cost, they don't actually sacrifice Fettergeist because of the "This creature can't be sacrificed." ability granted by Jon Irenicus's effect.
    – murgatroid99
    Commented Jul 28, 2022 at 13:49
  • 2
    I guess that might even be an operative part of the question: OP might consider that they can't sacrifice it so they must pay the cost. Commented Jul 28, 2022 at 16:28

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