Responding to costs of abilities

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Hi. I have a general question but I'm going to use some examples.

1: Can I respond to Ghost Council of Orzhova's ability by using a Humble? would that cancel the abillity in some way?

2: Could I respond to a Mortify targeting my Necrotic Sliver by sacrificeing the sliver and destroy something else?

3: Could I sacrifice Ghost Council of Orzhova with Ashnod's Altar and use the councils ability to save it?

4: Could I target my creature with a Momentary Blink and then sacrifice it with Ashnod's Altar before it is exiled by the blink, and then somehow save it?

how does this work, and is there some way to respod to the costs of abilities? 
1. no

2. yes

3. no, by the time you get the mana from Ashnod's Altar the Ghost Council is long dead

4. no


generally there is no way to respond to the payment of costs
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1. You can, but it won't help. The ability is already on the stack, and removing the source won't do anything to that ability. So the Council's ability will still resolve like normal.

2. Yes you can. You get priority before the Mortify resolves, so you can respond by sacing your Sliver.

3. No you cannot. The Council is only exiled if it's on the battlefield, not if it's in the graveyard or any other zone. So if you sacrifice the Council before its ability resolves, then the Council will remain in the graveyard, it will not get exiled.

4. No you cannot. The Blink can only target a creature, and a creature only exists on the battlefield (on the stack, they're creature spells. Everywhere else, they're creature cards). If the targeted creature is not on the battlefield when the Blink goes to resolve, the Blink is countered and none of its effects happen.

5. No. You cannot respond to costs being paid.

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

1. Yes, you can respond, but no, it won't do anything useful. The ability on the stack doesn't care about the creature's abilities, power or toughness.

2. Yes, you can respond. Mortify will end up being countered for lack of any valid targets.

5. (is there some way to respod to the costs of abilities?) No. Paying a cost does not use the stack. The cost is payed before you can do anything.

3. No. "Sacrifice a creature" is part of the cost (left of the ":") on both cards. You need to pay the cost to activate the ability, so you can only activate one of the two abilities.

4. No. "Sacrifice a creature" is part of the cost (left of the ":") of [C]Ashnod's Altar[/C]. You need to pay the cost to activate the ability, which would send the creature card to the graveyard. Since it's no longer a creature (on the battlefield), Momentary Blink can no longer target it and is countered.

What if I target Skirsdag High Priest with the Necrotic Sliver's ability? would the High Priest's owner be able to tap it and activate its ability?

What if I target Skirsdag High Priest with the Necrotic Sliver's ability? would the High Priest's owner be able to tap it and activate its ability?


Yes. A creature (the sacrificed sliver) died this turn already (it's part of the ability's activation cost).

[<o>]
What if I target Skirsdag High Priest with the Necrotic Sliver's ability? would the High Priest's owner be able to tap it and activate its ability?

yes, unless the Priest had "summoning sickness" and didn't have haste (or equivalent) or alternatively, unless something else isn't specifically preventing them from activating it.

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Whenever you cast a spell or play an Ability, you first pay the Cost. When that is finished (ie, all sacrificed Creatures are in the yard, all Lands (or Creatures) are tapped, Life was reduced, etc), the Ability goes on the Stack. THEN you get Priority again, can pass and THEN can your Opponent do anything. But the Costs have already been paid.
[c]Forest[/c] gives you Forest
So I can use Apprentice Necromancer's ability and target itself.
If so, can I repeat the ability every end step and keepit in play? 
you cannot
you need to select a legal target before you can activate and pay the cost of the ability and at that point it is still on the battlefield

if it said "return a creature from your graveyard to the battlefield" then it would work
proud member of the 2011 community team
Whenever you cast a spell or play an Ability, you first pay the Cost. When that is finished (ie, all sacrificed Creatures are in the yard, all Lands (or Creatures) are tapped, Life was reduced, etc), the Ability goes on the Stack. THEN you get Priority again, can pass and THEN can your Opponent do anything. But the Costs have already been paid.


Actually, putting the card or ability on the stack is the first thing you do after announcing the action. You then choose modes, the value for X, targets, etc. Then the total cost is determined and locked in, and you may activated mana abilities. Afterwards you pay the costs. And the last step is that the spell is considered cast or the ability activated, triggering whatever cares about that.