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I would like to understand better how Melek, Izzet Paragon works in Magic the Gathering, I am building a blue/red deck, so the first question is about this effect:

Play with the top card of your library revealed.

You may cast the top card of your library if it's an instant or sorcery card.

Just to confirm, since it says "cast the top card" it means I need to pay for it's mana cost rather than casting it for free, right?

Second one:

Whenever you cast an instant or sorcery spell from your library, copy it. You may choose new targets for the copy

Let's say in the battlefield, I have Viashino Pyromancer as my creature, and the top card in my library revealed is Lightning Strike, since LS is an instant, I will cast it, now for You may choose new targets for the copy, how does that work exactly?

Does the target needs to be in the battlefield? If so, should I chose Viashino Pyromancer to be copied as Lighting Strike? if that is correct, what happens if I don't have mana to use for my clone Lighting Strike, it stays in the battlefield like an unused instant?

Or the copy effect means I need to choose a card from my hand, if so, let's say one of my cards is Nivix Cyclops, and I decided to replace Nivix to be Lightning Strike, would this be correct?

Or the copy effect means I can choose any create my opponent might have in the battlefield? it doesn't specify what targets I can choose

Also, it says you may choose, so the copy effect is not mandatory, right?

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    A single question post should focus on a single topic. In this case, questions about how Melek's abilities work are related enough, but the thing about legendary creatures and deck building restrictions is really a separate question, so I have edited it out of this question. If you would still like to ask it, you should make a separate post.
    – murgatroid99
    Commented Nov 27, 2022 at 3:40

1 Answer 1

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Melek's second ability allows you to cast instant and sorcery cards from the top of the library. It does not make any further modifications to the spell casting process, so you still have to pay the mana cost and do everything else that you normally do to cast a spell.

Melek's third ability copies the spell that you cast. The copy is another instance of the same spell. It is not represented by another card, it is just an object that you remember is there. The part that says "You may choose new targets for the copy" means that if the spell is targeted, then you can change what target the copy has, or you can choose not to change it.

For example, Lightning Strike deals 3 damage to any target. So, while casting the original spell, you choose a creature, player, or planeswalker to deal the 3 damage to. Then if Melek's ability makes a copy of it, by default the copy targets the same creature, player, or planeswalker as the original. You can change the copy's target, or leave it the same.

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    So as long as Melek remains in the battlefield, and every time I play an instant or sorcery from the top of my library, is like casting twice that top card right? If so, that is so powerful!, could you confirm this? Also, for the copy card, in order to use it, I should also pay for it's mana cost? In this case, 2 mana for Lighting Strike, and another 2 for my copy Lighthing Stirke, am I correct?
    – Andres2142
    Commented Nov 27, 2022 at 4:24
  • Yes, that is what it does. It is fairly powerful, which is why it costs 6 mana and still requires you to pay for the spells you cast from the library. You do not pay any mana for the copies because you are not casting them. The triggered ability just creates them.
    – murgatroid99
    Commented Nov 27, 2022 at 4:26
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    @Andres2142 Just a minor clarification, you said "is like casting twice that top card", indeed it is "like" that, but it's not exactly that, because the copy does not count as "being cast", it just appears on the stack. This difference is important because if you have any effect that says "whenever you cast a spell...", such effect will not trigger again with the copy (because the copy does not count as being cast).
    – Pedro A
    Commented Nov 27, 2022 at 15:27
  • Yep, I like to keep in mind that copying a spell happens after casting the spell, so when you copy a spell, you're copying an already-cast object. You don't have to (or get to) cast it again. That also explains why you don't pay the cost of the spell again, because paying the cost is part of casting it.
    – David Z
    Commented Nov 28, 2022 at 0:07
  • @Andres2142 Regarding ‘casting twice’, it’s not quite that. Some cards actually do this (for example, Arcane Bombardment, which copies cards and then lets you cast those copies), but unless the card says you cast the copy, it just creates the spell on the stack without casting it (the distinction is important in a number of cases). Regarding the cost, there is no cost for creating the copy in this case, though again some cards do have a cost (see for example Chandra's Regulator). Commented Nov 28, 2022 at 2:32

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