When can creature abilities be activated?

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When can creature abilities be played?

For example the card "Obsidian Acolyte" has the ability [(Pay White mana):Target creature gains protection from black until end of turn.]

Can this ability be used when it's not the player's turn? Could it be played before declaring blockers?

Another example the card "Quagmire Druid" has the ability [(Pay green mana, Tap card):Sacrifice a creature: Destroy target enchantment]

Could this ability be used when an opponent plays an artifact on the oponents turn? (Assuming the card is untapped et.)

Have searched rules and forum for this seemingly basic rule and not getting anywhere.
Thanks!!!
Unless it says so differently on the card (for example, Brain Weevil's ability can only be activated when you could normally cast a sorcery), you can activate a card's ability any time you have priority. So you can play the ability of the Druid or the Acolyte on your opponent's turn.

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Questions don't have to make sense, but answers do.

Have searched rules and forum for this seemingly basic rule and not getting anywhere.

then perhaps you should improve your search skills
Some relevant points from the CompRules
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. See rule 602, “Activating Activated Abilities.”

112.5. Some activated abilities are loyalty abilities. Loyalty abilities follow special rules: A player may activate a loyalty ability of a permanent he or she controls any time he or she has priority and the stack is empty during a main phase of his or her turn, but only if no player has previously activated a loyalty ability of that permanent that turn. See rule 606, “Loyalty Abilities.”

116.1b A player may activate an activated ability any time he or she has priority.

302.6. A creature’s activated ability with the tap symbol or the untap symbol in its activation cost can’t be activated unless the creature has been under its controller’s control continuously since his or her most recent turn began. A creature can’t attack unless it has been under its controller’s control continuously since his or her most recent turn began. This rule is informally called the “summoning sickness” rule.

602.1b Some text after the colon of an activated ability states instructions that must be followed while activating that ability. Such text may state which players can activate that ability, may restrict when a player can activate the ability, or may define some aspect of the activation cost. This text is not part of the ability’s effect. It functions at all times. If an activated ability has any activation instructions, they appear last, after the ability’s effect.

602.5. A player can’t begin to activate an ability that’s prohibited from being activated.

602.5b If an activated ability has a restriction on its use (for example, “Activate this ability only once each turn” ), the restriction continues to apply to that object even if its controller changes.

602.5c If an object acquires an activated ability with a restriction on its use from another object, that restriction applies only to that ability as acquired from that object. It doesn’t apply to other, identically worded abilities.

602.5d Activated abilities that read “Activate this ability only any time you could cast a sorcery” mean the player must follow the timing rules for casting a sorcery spell, though the ability isn’t actually a sorcery. The player doesn’t actually need to have a sorcery card that he or she could cast.

602.5e Activated abilities that read “Activate this ability only any time you could cast an instant” mean the player must follow the timing rules for casting an instant spell, though the ability isn’t actually an instant. The player doesn’t actually need to have an instant card that he or she could cast.

605.1. Some activated abilities and some triggered abilities are mana abilities, which are subject to special rules. Only abilities that meet either of the following two sets of criteria are mana abilities, regardless of what other effects they may generate or what timing restrictions (such as “Activate this ability only any time you could cast an instant” ) they may have.

605.1a An activated ability is a mana ability if it meets three criteria: it doesn’t have a target, it could put mana into a player’s mana pool when it resolves, and it’s not a loyalty ability. (See rule 606, “Loyalty Abilities.” )

605.3. Activating an activated mana ability follows the rules for activating any other activated ability (see rule 602.2), with the following exceptions:

605.3a A player may activate an activated mana ability whenever he or she has priority, whenever he or she is casting a spell or activating an ability that requires a mana payment, or whenever a rule or effect asks for a mana payment, even if it’s in the middle of casting or resolving a spell or activating or resolving an ability.

605.3b An activated mana ability doesn’t go on the stack, so it can’t be targeted, countered, or otherwise responded to. Rather, it resolves immediately after it is activated. (See rule 405.6c. )

701.2. Activate

701.2a To activate an activated ability is to put it onto the stack and pay its costs, so that it will eventually resolve and have its effect. Only an object’s controller (or its owner, if it doesn’t have a controller) can activate its activated ability unless the object specifically says otherwise. A player may activate an ability if he or she has priority. See rule 602, “Activating Activated Abilities.”

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Rule 302.6 from above....

Does that mean I can summon a creature like captain of the mists and use his ability after my turn on my opponents turn, or wait till its my next turn for the summoning sickness to wear off?

I am Blue/White
 

summoning sickness wears off when a creature starts the turn under your control
that is your next turn, not (usually) the turn after you summon the creature
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Thank you all for your help. Again I have read the rules but they are mighty confusing or not answering the question directly.

Can a card be played if part of it's ability can't be done?

For example the card "Manic Vandal" has the text [When Manic Vandal enters the battlefield, destroy target artifact.]

If there are no artifacts in play, can this creature still be played and that ability ignored or does an artifact have to be destroyed to play this card?

Does this also apply to socery cards?

For example "Solemn Offering" says [Destroy target artifact or enchantment, you gain 4 life]

Could I play this card just to gain 4 life without destroying an artifact or enchantment?

I know this last question is not in the rules because I did I search for "Enchant creature" and it turned up with no results.

The card "Sun Clasp" is an enchant creature type card. Does this card have to be attached to a creature when it's played? Can I play it, then attach it to a creature later? Also can Enchant creature/Enchant aura cards be moved from permanent to permanent?

Than you all for your help with getting me back into the game of Magic!
it depends
you can cast Manic Vandal with no artifacts on the field (its ability will then simply fizzle), you cannot cast Solemn Offering with no artifacts on the field
the difference is one is a trigger that happens when the creature enters the battlefield, the other one requires a target to even cast it.

always read the Oracle text for cards, especially old ones
Sun Clasp has the type "Enchantment - Aura"
you cast an aura by targetting a valid target, in this case a creature. If the aura comes unattached (most likely because of the creature leaving the battlefield) it will be moved to the graveyard.
you cannot move Auras around, unless an effect tells you to
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For example the card "Manic Vandal" has the text [When Manic Vandal enters the battlefield, destroy target artifact.]

If there are no artifacts in play, can this creature still be played and that ability ignored or does an artifact have to be destroyed to play this card?




Yes. Manic Vandal will enter the battlefield, and you won't be able to put his ability on the stack if there are no artifacts to target.



For example "Solemn Offering" says [Destroy target artifact or enchantment, you gain 4 life]

Could I play this card just to gain 4 life without destroying an artifact or enchantment?




No. You need a legal target to cast the spell. Not that you don't need to know if the result will be successful.. e.g. you could target Darksteel Ingot with Solemn Offering, fail to destroy the artifact, and still gain 4 life.



I know this last question is not in the rules because I did I search for "Enchant creature" and it turned up with no results.

The card "Sun Clasp" is an enchant creature type card. Does this card have to be attached to a creature when it's played? Can I play it, then attach it to a creature later? Also can Enchant creature/Enchant aura cards be moved from permanent to permanent?

Than you all for your help with getting me back into the game of Magic!



The rules you're looking for are under "Aura". Sun Clasp and other auras are attached when they enter the battlefield, and if they were cast, their target is named when they were cast. There's cards like Aura Finesse to move Auras around, but otherwise they're pretty firmly attached to what they started with.
Note: some abilities need to be sated for you to cast a spell
eg. Fling has an additional cost of saccing a creature, no creature to sac means you can't cast it.

Enter the battlefield (EtB) triggered abilities like that on Vandal happen after the spell has been cast and resolved.
You have to choose a target for them after they've entered the field, not when you cast them.

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