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How do twitch effects work with the stack vs activated tap abilities?

If I have a creature with a tap to activate ability, can my opponent use an ability to tap it in response to my tapping it to prevent it from being activated?

  • No. I believe the way it works is that, there is a distinction between the paying of the cost and the resolution of the effect. Tapping is the activation cost. By tapping first, you've already paid the cost. The ability is now on the stack. The opponents are thus reacting to that ability, not the cost paying. Apr 3, 2012 at 3:05
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    That was my understanding. You can tap them to force them to activate it early, but not to prevent it from being activated at all. Apr 3, 2012 at 3:07

2 Answers 2


No, this is not possible, for one of two reasons depending on the game state:

  • If you have priority, then you may choose to activate your creature's ability. If you do so, then everything involved in the activation of the ability (including the tapping of your creature to pay the ability's cost) happens immediately. Your opponent does not have any opportunity to interrupt this. Only after you are done activating your creature's ability does your opponent has a chance to play his tapping ability, but by that point your creature is already tapped, and tapping it won't have any effect.
  • If you do not have priority, then your opponent may choose to activate his tapping ability to tap your creature. However, in this case, the tapping is part of the effect of the ability, not the cost, so your creature does not become tapped right away. Your opponent's ability gets activated, goes on the stack, and then sits there for a while. You may choose to play abilities of your own in the meantime ("in response"), so for example you could use your own creature's ability before your opponent's ability resolves.

The process of activating an ability is described in rule 602.2, and the timing rules are described in rule 116. You may want to review those (although they're too long to quote here).


He can tap your creature in response, but it wont prevent your creatures ability to go on the stack.

Tapping your creature is part of the cost of playing the ability. So when it goes to the stack, costs are already paid and it is already tapped.

  • Can you provide a link to the specific rule? Apr 3, 2012 at 3:30
  • There is no "specific" rule. It is a bunch of events that you need to know what happen to each one of them. wiki.mtgsalvation.com/article/Stack Make sure you read everything for a better understanding. If you have questions, just ask. Apr 3, 2012 at 3:58
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    Actually, there are specific rules. See 110.6, 112.3b, and especially section 602. Most relevant to this question is 112.3b Activated abilities have a cost and an effect. They are written as "[Cost]: [Effect.] [Activation instructions (if any).]" A player may activate such an ability whenever he or she has priority. Doing so puts it on the stack, where it remains until it's countered, it resolves, or it otherwise leaves the stack.
    – ghoppe
    Apr 3, 2012 at 4:58
  • What I meant is that is no specific rule for those events. Because people often ask for rules of a specific issue or chain of events. Apr 3, 2012 at 13:24

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