I want to cast a copy of a card with Kicker from the third mode of Founding the Third Path:

Exile target instant or sorcery card from your graveyard. Copy it. You may cast the copy.

This weekend at a competitive tournament the Head Judge made an in-game ruling that I wasn't allowed to do this. Were they right, and which exact rules let me do it or prevent me from doing it?

  • 3
    Whether that's right or wrong, that's bad from the Head Judge - it's up to judges to know the rules and be able to make a ruling, they shouldn't be saying "please player, tell me what the rules are". Sep 12, 2022 at 8:54
  • @PhilipKendall Well floor judge made a ruling, I appealed, head judge agreed with floor judge and made the ruling in the game, which in end didn't affect the outcome of the game. After the game I asked can I appeal more or complain somewhere officially, and he told me if I can show him the rules he'll get it better next time, but he thinks he's correct. (And thank you for the edit)
    – Affaltar
    Sep 12, 2022 at 9:00
  • This question is similar: boardgames.stackexchange.com/questions/31798 I'd say the head judge was wrong and you can pay the kicker cost.
    – Dennis_E
    Sep 12, 2022 at 10:18
  • Casting a spell for free causes any X's in the mana-cost to be zero. Some might assume that the same logic applies to kickers (since they're similar). Maybe they misunderstood the effect as allowing you to cast it for free?
    – Nat
    Sep 22, 2022 at 3:41
  • @Nat They didn't make that specific mistake, they even knew I could use kicker with first mode that casts a spell for free. And more important problem, those "some" that might make a assumption like that shouldn't be head judges at a competitive events
    – Affaltar
    Sep 22, 2022 at 4:50

2 Answers 2


The judges were wrong, but it isn't possible to point to a specific rule which demonstrates this as it's a case of "it's not disallowed".

In general, Kicker is an additional cost (CR 702.33a):

Kicker is a static ability that functions while the spell with kicker is on the stack. “Kicker [cost]” means “You may pay an additional [cost] as you cast this spell.” Paying a spell’s kicker cost(s) follows the rules for paying additional costs in rules 601.2b and 601.2f–h.

CR 601.2 gives the precise details of when the decision to pay an additional cost is made (601.2b) and paying that cost (601.2f-h); the details are not too relevant here as everyone agrees additional costs can in general be paid.

There is now nothing in the rules which prevents paying an additional cost if casting a copy of a card, so this remains an allowable choice for you to make. I'd very much say the burden of proof should have been on the judges to point to the precise rule which prevented this, but it's too late to worry about that now.

As of September 2022, there are no Gatherer rulings on Founding the Third Path we can't refer directly to those but we can look for rulings on similarly worded cards. The best example here is probably Wizard's Spellbook which allows you to cast a copy of an exiled card while paying its mana cost if your d20 roll is 1-9:

Exile target instant or sorcery card from a graveyard. Roll a d20. Activate only as a sorcery.

1–9 | Copy that card. You may cast the copy.


and the ruling itself (my emphasis):

If your result is 1–9, you must still pay all costs to cast the copy. You may pay any additional or alternative costs the spell has. If it has any mandatory additional costs, those must be paid.

That seems pretty definitive to me.

  • 3
    Wizard's Spellbook, which (sometimes) allows you to cast copies of spells for their normal mana cost, is more explicit: "you must still pay all costs to cast the copy. You may pay any additional or alternative costs the spell has."
    – Cadence
    Sep 12, 2022 at 10:55
  • @Cadence Ah, that's perfect. I missed Wizard's Spellbook as I ruled out any cards with "without paying its mana cost" in the Oracle text... Sep 12, 2022 at 10:59
  • These rules are enough for me and for the head judge that said "ok, i know for next time"
    – Affaltar
    Sep 13, 2022 at 4:25

The simple answer is that the judges were wrong, and that the rules that allow you to do it are the same rules that allow you to pay a kicker cost when casting from your hand normally. There is no other rule to cite, because the reason those rules apply to this situation is that no rule exists that would prevent them from applying.

That is unlikely to be persuasive to your judges, however, and would not correct their misunderstanding that led to this ruling.

I think your judges missed or misunderstood these two crucial points:

  • An alternative cost and an additional cost are different things with different rules.
  • The clause "without paying its mana cost" is very common in effects that let you cast something, but is not universal or implied.

I think your judges read "You may cast the copy" and automatically appended "without paying its mana cost" in their heads out of familiarity with the many, many cards that say that, without realizing that this particular effect does not have that clause.

Casting something without paying its mana cost counts as an alternative cost. You can only use at most one alternative cost at a time, and when an effect lets you cast something and specifies an alternative cost, you are required to use that specific alternative cost. Casting something without paying its mana cost therefore prevents using any other alternative cost for casting it.

Kicker is an additional cost, not an alternative cost, so you could use it even if you were casting the copy without paying its mana cost. I think your judges also forgot about the distinction between alternative and additional costs, however, which combined with the above mistake would logically result in their conclusion.

I recommend pointing out these two points of potential misunderstanding to your judges as an explanation of how they might have based their ruling mistakenly on rules that do not apply, and showing them the first ruling on Wizard's Spellbook as evidence that your interpretation is correct.

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