Are creature tap abilities instant speed?

18 posts / 0 new
Last post
For example

It's my turn, and they have a Bloodline Keeper.  I use Brimstone Volley on it.  Can they declare a tap and use Keeper's effect to put out a vampire before Keeper gets destroyed?

If the Vampire doesn't have summoning sickness, sure.

If there are restrictions on when you can use an ability, the card will say so. In the absence of anything saying otherwise, the default is that you can activate any ability any time you could cast an instant.

Come join me at No Goblins Allowed


Because frankly, being here depresses me these days.

what if I vapor snag instead?
what if I vapor snag instead?

No difference: bloodline keeper's ability can still be activated any time you could cast an instant.

If you want to counter an ability, you'll need to use something like Stifle
Any activated ability can be used with instant timing ("instant speed" is a somewhat misleading way of putting this, which we generally try to avoid here - instants aren't "faster" than sorceries in any meaningful sense, they can just be played at a wider variety of times), unless it says otherwise, or the rules do. Its cost has absolutely no bearing on this - abilities aren't any different from ones that cost only mana, or ones that involve sacrificing things. They all work the same.

Notable exceptions - abilities that are used with sorcery timing - include Equip and the loyalty abilities of Planeswalkers. Other than that, if an ability is an exception to the usual timing rules, it will explicitly say so.
Jeff Heikkinen DCI Rules Advisor since Dec 25, 2011
There's another exception: Mana abilities. They can be used even at times when one couldn't use an instant.
There's another exception: Mana abilities. They can be used even at times when one couldn't use an instant.


But still only when allowed: pay for a spell/ability, pay a "tax", etc...

Rules Advisor

The Basic rulebook, read it! A lot of basic questions are answered there!

How to autocard :
Type [c]Black Lotus[/c] to get Black Lotus.
Type [c=Black Lotus]The Overpowered One[/c] to get The Overpowered One.

Zoidberg, what exactly do you mean by that?
Zoidberg, what exactly do you mean by that?

activated abilities can be activated when you have priority unless otherwise stated

activated mana abilities can be activated when you have priority or when you are required to pay a mana cost
eg. you can tap your land for mana to pay for the Rings of Brighthearth trigger while it is resolving

DCI Certified Judge & Goth/Industrial/EBM/Indie/Alternative/80's-Wave DJ
DJ Vortex

DCI Certified Judge since July 13, 2013
DCI #5209514320


My Wife's Makeup Artist Page <-- cool stuff - check it out

 

Taking offers on my set of unopened limited edition full art judge foil basic lands, message me if interested.
 

You can generate mana with mana abilities while a Mana Leak targeting your spell is resolving, or while you're casting a spell.

You can also generate mana with mana abilities whenever you have priority - the same times you could cast an instant.

But you can't generate mana with mana abilities whenever you want - like while your opponent is casting a spell.
All Generalizations are Bad
You can activate a mana ability any time you have priority, or any time something is asking for a mana payment.  For example, you can activate them while in the process of casting a spell or activating an ability, while a spell or ability is resolving that's asking for a mana payment (e.g. Mana Leak, Nihil Spellbomb), or when some action requires a mana payment to complete (e.g. Ghostly Prison).

That makes means mana abilities can be activated at a lot more different times than non-mana abilities, but it's not just "whenever you want".
I did know that, but that statement would seem misleading to me if I were a new player.  Just reading the way that sentence is worded I would be under the impression that I can only tap mana abilities to pay for something and that is not true.  As long as I have priority I can tap my Elvish Archdruid even if the only reason is because I felt like tapping my elf to float mana and prevent it from having to attack.
The concept of "speed" is terribly outdated in Magic now that we have the stack. It comes with a lot of baggage from the pre-6th-edition rules that simply doesn't apply any more. (All that stuff about interrupts, mana sources, instants, batches etc).


All that you need to know about "speed" is the following:

Non-instant spells can only be played when it is your own main phase AND the stack is empty.
Instant spells and activated abilities can be added to the stack (empty or non-empty) at any time.


Note that all these is expressable without any reference to the "speed" of one thing being "faster" than another! Much easier!
Non-instant spells can only be played when it is your own main phase AND the stack is empty.

this is false

otherwise Wild Evocation, Omen Machine, Brilliant Ultimatum, Djinn of Wishes, cascade, suspend and other similar effects would never work

strike the word "only" and it's fine (other than it omits the impact of the flash keyword)

DCI Certified Judge & Goth/Industrial/EBM/Indie/Alternative/80's-Wave DJ
DJ Vortex

DCI Certified Judge since July 13, 2013
DCI #5209514320


My Wife's Makeup Artist Page <-- cool stuff - check it out

 

Taking offers on my set of unopened limited edition full art judge foil basic lands, message me if interested.
 

Non-instant spells can only be played when it is your own main phase AND the stack is empty.

this is false

otherwise Wild Evocation, Omen Machine, Brilliant Ultimatum, Djinn of Wishes, cascade, suspend and other similar effects would never work

strike the word "only" and it's fine (other than it omits the impact of the flash keyword)

No, the proper fix is to add "unless otherwise instructed by an effect" at the end of the sentence. But that's presumed to be present already.

Weird that you picked on only one of the two sentences missing that clause, because plenty of effects render the second false too (not to mention Split Second and priority).
@Ikegami: "can only" = restriction, "can" = permission

the rules follow the principle that to do something...
1) you need permission and
2) there mustn't be a restriction against that permission

his second sentence is true because it gives permission (and the rules agree)
the fact that there may be a restriction in place may invalidate the actual act, but the sentence is true itself in a vacuum

the same can not be said of the first sentence
his first sentence is false because it gives a restriction that doesn't exist
there is no rule that says you can't cast non-instants at times other than sorcery timing

DCI Certified Judge & Goth/Industrial/EBM/Indie/Alternative/80's-Wave DJ
DJ Vortex

DCI Certified Judge since July 13, 2013
DCI #5209514320


My Wife's Makeup Artist Page <-- cool stuff - check it out

 

Taking offers on my set of unopened limited edition full art judge foil basic lands, message me if interested.
 

I was trying to highlight differences between the old rules and new. Both systems are of course wrapped in a huge banner that says "unless a card or effect tells you otherwise...".
I did know that, but that statement would seem misleading to me if I were a new player.  Just reading the way that sentence is worded I would be under the impression that I can only tap mana abilities to pay for something and that is not true.  As long as I have priority I can tap my Elvish Archdruid even if the only reason is because I felt like tapping my elf to float mana and prevent it from having to attack.


Sorry for that, I forgot to add a "also" there. :P

Rules Advisor

The Basic rulebook, read it! A lot of basic questions are answered there!

How to autocard :
Type [c]Black Lotus[/c] to get Black Lotus.
Type [c=Black Lotus]The Overpowered One[/c] to get The Overpowered One.