Costing Abilities: A Discussion

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There are other people saying I can't do it too, but Imi was the last one to post before I realized I was eating up the Wording Clinic... heheh
56857718 wrote:
No, you actually can't do it within the rules:

112.4. Some activated abilities and some triggered abilities are mana abilities. Mana abilities follow special rules: They don’t use the stack, and, under certain circumstances, a player can activate mana abilities even if he or she doesn’t have priority. See rule 605, “Mana Abilities.”

116.2e Resolving spells and abilities may instruct players to make choices or take actions, or may allow players to activate mana abilities. Even if a player is doing so, no player has priority while a spell or ability is resolving. See rule 608, “Resolving Spells and Abilities.”

Even without actually going into 605, because mana abilities don't use the stack, they can be activated even if you don't have priority. To target something, you have to use the stack, or the whole system falls apart.

Even Morph (which I seriously dislike) gets around this by making the morph cost a special action and having any relative abilities trigger when the card is turned face up.

I also don't quite understand your reference to Moorland Haunt?


You are a few hours late Imi! I was expecting you (of all people) to correct me a long time ago!

I'm not trying to be argumentative (I know I'm coming across this way), but I literally just don't see it.
I did some research...

(Not that I haven't done any since this first came up, but this was the closest thing I got to changing my mind...)
114.1. Some spells and abilities require their controller to choose one or more targets for them. The
targets are object(s), player(s), and/or zone(s) the spell or ability will affect. These targets are
declared as part of the process of putting the spell or ability on the stack. The targets can’t be
changed except by another spell or ability that explicitly says it can do so.

That's the closest thing to convincing me that it isn't possible (besides the fact that costs really aren't mentioned at all). With some minor tweaking, why wouldn't that be possible. As of now th eonly flaws I see with having a cost target:
1) Can NOT be interacted with (countered, or anything. It simply happens.)
2) Tweak the rules to include costs wherever spells and abilities are mentioned in regards to targets.
3) Honestly, I see this as a "version" of split second. And split second exists, that's why I'm confused...
I keep referring to Moorland Haunt because:
1) I first thought that it was a targeted cost.
2) I feel like it should be a targeted cost (it practically is. What does the word target do, that the word a doesn't do [besides worry people]).

I honestly didn't even think this was an issue until everyone started saying I couldn't do it. I just never thought and/or noticed it before. Again, I'm not trying to be argumentative, I'm jsut trying to understand and/or find a rule that spells it out for me. I'm not going to go design cards jsut to spite people, this is something that actually piques my interest, and I'd like to konw more about

As an afterthought... I'll post this to another thread so we're not clogging up the Wording Help...

What is so bad about this?
City of Brass v2 --
Land (R)

:T:, City of Brass v2 deals 1 damage to you: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool.

That should be fine (it doesn't target)

City of Brass v3 --
Land (R)

:T:: Citt of Brass v3 deals 3 damage to target creature you control: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool.

This is completely absurd, according to the rules, but yet this isn't:

City of Brass v3.1 --
Land (R)

:T:, City of Brass deals 3 damage to a creature you control: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool.

I just don't get it... Regardless of whether this targets or not it's (cost) effect is unavoidable. Something is being dealt damage and nobody can do anything about it.
Moorland Haunt comes to mind again. It doesn't "target" but it essentially targets. Why does the word target get everybody worked up?

Moorland Haunt --
Land (R)

:T:: Add to yoru mana pool.
:WM::UM:, :T:, Exile target creature from your graveyard: Put a 1/1 white Spirit creature token with flying onto the battlefield.

There is no earthshattering difference about the word target... ugh, I'm jsut confused, by why does it really matter?
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I think the only reasons it would matter are for cards with shroud and protection, and I guess stuff that triggers when it's targeted. The way I see it, the word "target" implies a two step process: first, something is targeted, second, something happens to that target.
silasw: I'm not sure those are actually issues... If you can't target something because of shroud or protection, you can't target it to pay that cost.  And if you target Cephalid Illusionist with something, the trigger will wait until the land's ability has been put on the stack, similarly to how Eureka handles EtB triggers.  I think guess.  

That's actually an interesting question.  I know I've heard multiple times and in no uncertain terms (i.e., in RT&T) that costs can't target, but on an admittedly-quick readthrough of what looked like relevant bits of the rulebook I didn't see anything actually forbidding it.  Might be a good question to ask in Rules Theory and Templating, perhaps?  You're more likely to get a good answer there.

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I want to point out that there has never been an ability that dealt damage as part of its activation cost or a spell that dealt damage as an additional cost. It does work; it just has not been done before.

Can I move this thread to Rules Theory and Templating? I think you will get better answers there.
One of those things that you just accept. If it says target, then hexproof/shroud/protection can stop it. If it does not then those things cannot stop it.

Also, you cannot cast Hex if their is not enough legal targets on the board. But if it had the words "up to" or even "may" you could.
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I want to point out that there has never been an ability that dealt damage as part of its activation cost or a spell that dealt damage as an additional cost. It does work; it just has not been done before.

Can I move this thread to Rules Theory and Templating? I think you will get better answers there.


Sure. I would do it, but I don't know how other than simply quoting everything...

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58060728 wrote:
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"Target" has a very specific meaning in magic... it means more "to what" than it's original english meaning. When you are paying a cost, if it targets it would be a lot more like:
"I pay this to this, to do stuff."
while if it doesn't target it is a lot like:
"I pay this from this, to do stuff."

Does that make some amount of sense? 
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I'm not seeing what allowing the word "target" to appear in costs would accomplish other than making the entire concept of targeting more difficult to explain. Players can respond to spells and abilities that have targets after finding out what those targets are, and spell or ability is countered if all of its targets are illegal as it tries to resolve. Paying a cost simply doesn't work like that.

It's extremely unlikely that we would print a card that dealt damage as part of a cost. (If such a card exists, it's probably in Future Sight.) Damage-prevention and regeneration shields that were already in place would be applied, but players wouldn't not be able to respond to the paying of the cost with damage-prevention or regeneration effects. That's just a bad play experience. (Split second makes that functionality a feature rather than a bug, but the presence of the keyword makes a huge difference to players' perception of the situation.)

I can see the argument that Adarkar Wastes has a bad template, but we've been solving that problem for the past five years by not printing cards that work like that.

Is there anything I'm missing here?

Del Laugel

Editing manager, Magic TCG

Is there anything I'm missing here?

You got it. They just wanted to know why this was allowed.

, , Exile a creature card from your graveyard: Put a 1/1 white Spirit creature token with flying onto the battlefield.

And this was not.

, , Exile target creature card from your graveyard: Put a 1/1 white Spirit creature token with flying onto the battlefield.
The problem with using "target" in a cost is that it contravenes the implied semantics of the term.

Okay, that was unhelpful to the average reader. I'll try it again:

The whole idea of using "target" in an ability is that it forces you to commit to a decision when your opponent still has the opportunity to respond to it. One of the most basic lessons on timing in Magic is the distinction between decisions that are locked-in when a spell or ability is played, and decisions that are only locked-in on resolution. The decisions made on playing an object are ones to do with cost, and ones to do with targets - the former take effect immediately; the latter on resolution.

If you have a cost or a mana ability that targets, then that breaks that pattern - it changes "target" from "something chosen now so that everyone knows enough about what would happen next if nobody did anything to decide what to do about it" to "something chosen in a way that respects shroud, protection and hexproof."

If you really want that functionality in a way that doesn't break the current meaning of "target", then: ",, choose a creature card in your graveyard you could target and exile it: Put a 1/1 white Spirit creature token with flying onto the battlefield."
M:tG Rules Advisor
That wouldn't work. There's no such thing as just targetable in the abstract. There's only targetable as a specific target of a specific spell/ability.

There just shouldn't be an attempt to reproduce targeting-like functionality in activation costs.
I don't like it but you can't interrupt cost such as sacrificing, discarding, and life payment witch are all commonly used for additional payments for spells and abilltys. If you noticed everything like this functions the same. If it was part of the the ability and not the cost then you would have to target. Now why they did this to make it a cost not part of the affect I don't know, but it isn't abnormal.
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Del Laugel

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Which card are you wondering about, ChainedNBeaten?

I was trying to explain to adeyke that I express that is dosent feel right but the more you dig around the more it is normal for not to target for an activation cost.
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That wouldn't work. There's no such thing as just targetable in the abstract. There's only targetable as a specific target of a specific spell/ability. There just shouldn't be an attempt to reproduce targeting-like functionality in activation costs.




Okay, "...you could target with this ability..."

I agree it shouldn't be done - the gain from being able to use protection/shroud/hexproof to prevent a given ability's cost from being paid is pretty marginal (and a chunk of it comes from enabling costs to be used that need that as a safety valve - which is a very narrow design space between costs that are fine without being blockable this way, and costs that are too abusive when your opponent can't shut them down to be safe to print except in an environment where you can almost never target...) - the point is it could be done without having to break the word "target"...


M:tG Rules Advisor
That wording still wouldn't work. It's not enough for something to lack shroud/hexproof/etc. It also has to fit the targeting restrictions. An ability that targetsa creature can't target any non-creature object (even if they lack shroud/etc.), and an untargeted ability can't target anything.
That wording still wouldn't work. It's not enough for something to lack shroud/hexproof/etc. It also has to fit the targeting restrictions. An ability that targetsa creature can't target any non-creature object (even if they lack shroud/etc.), and an untargeted ability can't target anything.



It's a one-liner to add rules support:

"If a cost refers to 'an [object description] that you could target with this [spell/ability]' then it means an object that would be a legal target for that spell or ability if its effect used the phrase 'target [object description]'."
M:tG Rules Advisor
That wording still wouldn't work. It's not enough for something to lack shroud/hexproof/etc. It also has to fit the targeting restrictions. An ability that targetsa creature can't target any non-creature object (even if they lack shroud/etc.), and an untargeted ability can't target anything.



It's a one-liner to add rules support:

"If a cost refers to 'an [object description] that you could target with this [spell/ability]' then it means an object that would be a legal target for that spell or ability if its effect used the phrase 'target [object description]'."




Seeing the hoops you have to jump through and the horribly awkward wording of that last proposed addition to rules above... I think that awkwardness explains part of the reason why they'll never make a cost that targets.

It's not a case of "can't", its a case of "won't" and "shouldn't".
Of course, if you're willing to overlook the semantic violation involved, and the fact it would explode the heads of most players, there's something entertaining about the idea of an ability that reads:

"Sacrifice target creature and gain 1 life: You win the game."

The challenge to Johnny is to find a way of using the ability without it fizzling.


Targets in costs is one of those things that shouldn't even make it into an Un-set - it's not that it's technically impossible to do, it's that, like printing cards with purple in their mana cost but no cards that produce purple mana, it gains very little, and the cost to the game is significant.

Nobody still posting on this thread thinks that it's something that should be done.
M:tG Rules Advisor
There's nothing challenging about that ability. You pay the cost, which is relatively trivial and immune to interference, then you just get the effect, which has no targets and is incapable of fizzling--making it far too low of a hurdle.
rmsgrey is correct that it would be impossible to resolve that ability.

The definition of target doesn't specify that the word "target" has to appear in the effect; it just says the ability must use "target." Costs are part of abilities, so it works by a strict reading.

Since you select targets before paying costs, this can work. Had it been the other way around, we'd have some impossible logic to work through. (You'd have to sacrifice a creature that hadn't been determined yet, which possibly falls under the category of "unpayable.")

Then, when the ability tried to resolve, it would check if its targets were still legal, despite the fact that the targeted creature has already been affected. Since you had to sac it as part of the cost, it's not going to be legal.

Clearly, the targeting rules were not written with targeted costs in mind. However, they don't actually break the game. And of course it would be too counterintuitve to see print.
The ability would still have a function beyond a sacrifice outlet, it would just be screaming out from the railroad station. "Play Spellskite. Or Reroute."
Unlike spells, abilities do not have any costs associated with them: they are comprised of their effects only. So I dispute that the game would even recognize that that ability had a target which might need to be checked on resolution.

EDIT:
405.4 Each activated or triggered ability that's on the stack has the text of the ability that created it and no other characteristics.

"Proc" stands for "Programmed Random OCcurance". It does not even vaguely apply to anything Magic cards do. Don't use it.

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"Ability words are flavor text for Melvins." -- Fallingman

Hmm, I see what you mean. I'm not sure how to interpret the rules on that point. All I've got is that when teaching about the stack, I've written ability text on notecards -- and I just wrote the effect, not the cost.

So I can see what you mean when you say that the ability wouldn't "track" that it had a target. Sooo, I guess this would just work?

If it was an ability. And not if it was a spell. Ew.
Unlike spells, abilities do not have any costs associated with them: they are comprised of their effects only. So I dispute that the game would even recognize that that ability had a target which might need to be checked on resolution.

EDIT:
405.4 Each activated or triggered ability that's on the stack has the text of the ability that created it and no other characteristics.



That rule you quoted doesn't support your assertion.  The text of an activated ability includes both the effect and the costs, so the ability on the stack will know that it has a target.

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."

 
Here's the logic as I see it. Suppose instead that we're considering the activated ability of Blinding Mage, which I will quote in full.
:Wm:, :T:: Tap target creature.

For the moment, I will concede that the entire text of the ability (not just its effect) might be placed on the stack. It will make no difference to my conclusion.

The Mage's controller activates the ability. The text is parsed for targets; one is selected. The text is parsed for costs; they are found and paid. The entire text of the ability then becomes an object on the stack. Both players pass; the ability begins to resolve.

At this point, there are precisely two break points which the game (or a player interpreting the rules) has available to begin parsing the text for directions. The first is the colon, which the rules explicitly define as the character which separates the cost of an ability from its effects. The other option is the very beginning of the text. (I don't think anyone's going to argue that there are other break points.)

Suppose that the break point is the beginning of the text, as would be necessary for the "broken ability" to fizzle. Then the first thing the game (or the player) would encounter would be :Wm:. But this causes the parsing process to immediately stutter. :Wm: isn't a direction. It's not a keyword action. It's not a grammatically understandable English phrase. It's not even an impossible action --- because in order for an action to be impossible (whether in the sense used by the rules or not), it still has to be an action, which :Wm: certainly isn't. This isn't like dividing by zero in mathematics: I can write down expressions all day and all night in which I divide by zero without anyone or anything being able to stop me. Rather, this is like adding numbers by quoting Shakespeare --- there is just no demonstrable connection between the two activities.

Now we can say "Well, as thinking, reasoning human beings, we all know that :Wm: as a direction makes no sense; so we all know to skip that part." But means that we have accidentally uncovered a metarule, in particular, one that isn't easily derivable from the Rules --- since it's gone unnoticed for nearly ninteen years. But it's one which is essential in order that literally thousands of cards work properly. This is not to say that metarules don't exist in Magic: the best-known example is probably the [O] ruling on Caged Sun. But by and large, they shouldn't exist: they are always indicative of a problem or crack in the rules which causes blind execution of the relevant clauses to flatly contradict the manifest intent of the template.

Moreover, this metarule isn't easily definable. To do so would require researching the text of every card ever printed and effectively sorting out "by hand", if you will, which things "make sense" and which things don't. And suddenly every card with an activated ability is carrying an invisible [O] ruling "The following symbols and text strings are ignored when resolving the activated ability or abilities of this card." Personally, I find the need for such a thing pretty tough to swallow.

If you still doubt my argument, consider this alternative example. If I activate the ability of my Viscera Seer, is anyone really going to argue that I have to sacrifice a second creature when the ability resolves?

Of course not.

Taken together, these two examples pretty strongly imply that the only break point for parsing which is consistent with how the rules have been interpreted and developed over the years is at the colon. Since that text isn't parsed and the rule I quoted says that an ability on the stack doesn't have a "cost" characteristic -- defining which characteristic being the only other purpose putting that portion of the ability's text on the stack could have -- I feel pretty comfortable in concluding it's not even included at all in the object on the stack. Whether or not you believe the cost text exists on the stack, you should all agree that it is entirely ineffective, regardless of its content.

"Proc" stands for "Programmed Random OCcurance". It does not even vaguely apply to anything Magic cards do. Don't use it.

Level 1 Judge as of 09/26/2013

Zammm = Batman

"Ability words are flavor text for Melvins." -- Fallingman

You seem to be working on the assumption that when resolving an ability, targets are only checked when you performe an instruction involving those targets.  This is not the case.  When resolving an ability you first check for targets then you perform it's instructions.  There is no requirement that the targets be part of the instructions you are performing.  Example:  If you are resolving Faith's Shield and you have 5 life but the target has left the battlefield then the spell will be countered due to lack of targets even though the target was not part of the instructions you would have performed.
Relevant Rules

608.2b If the spell or ability specifies targets, it checks whether the targets are still legal. A target that's no longer in the zone it was in when it was targeted is illegal. Other changes to the game state may cause a target to no longer be legal; for example, its characteristics may have changed or an effect may have changed the text of the spell. If the source of an ability has left the zone it was in, its last known information is used during this process. The spell or ability is countered if all its targets, for every instance of the word "target," are now illegal. If the spell or ability is not countered, it will resolve normally. However, if any of its targets are illegal, the part of the spell or ability's effect for which it is an illegal target can't perform any actions on that target or make that target perform any actions. The effect may still determine information about illegal targets, though, and other parts of the effect for which those targets are not illegal may still affect them. Example: Sorin's Thirst is a black instant that reads, "Sorin's Thirst deals 2 damage to target creature and you gain 2 life." If the creature isn't a legal target during the resolution of Sorin's Thirst (say, if the creature has gained protection from black or left the battlefield), then Sorin's Thirst is countered. Its controller doesn't gain any life. Example: Plague Spores reads, "Destroy target nonblack creature and target land. They can't be regenerated." Suppose the same animated land is chosen both as the nonblack creature and as the land, and the color of the creature land is changed to black before Plague Spores resolves. Plagues Spores isn't countered because the black creature land is still a legal target for the "target land" part of the spell. The "destroy target nonblack creature" part of the spell won't affect that permanent, but the "destroy target land" part of the spell will still destroy it. It can't be regenerated.

608.2c The controller of the spell or ability follows its instructions in the order written. However, replacement effects may modify these actions. In some cases, later text on the card may modify the meaning of earlier text (for example, "Destroy target creature. It can't be regenerated" or "Counter target spell. If that spell is countered this way, put it on top of its owner's library instead of into its owner's graveyard.") Don't just apply effects step by step without thinking in these cases -- read the whole text and apply the rules of English to the text.


Lots of words
Here's the logic as I see it. Suppose instead that we're considering the activated ability of Blinding Mage, which I will quote in full.
:Wm:, :T:: Tap target creature.

For the moment, I will concede that the entire text of the ability (not just its effect) might be placed on the stack. It will make no difference to my conclusion.

The Mage's controller activates the ability. The text is parsed for targets; one is selected. The text is parsed for costs; they are found and paid. The entire text of the ability then becomes an object on the stack. Both players pass; the ability begins to resolve.

At this point, there are precisely two break points which the game (or a player interpreting the rules) has available to begin parsing the text for directions. The first is the colon, which the rules explicitly define as the character which separates the cost of an ability from its effects. The other option is the very beginning of the text. (I don't think anyone's going to argue that there are other break points.)

Suppose that the break point is the beginning of the text, as would be necessary for the "broken ability" to fizzle. Then the first thing the game (or the player) would encounter would be :Wm:. But this causes the parsing process to immediately stutter. :Wm: isn't a direction. It's not a keyword action. It's not a grammatically understandable English phrase. It's not even an impossible action --- because in order for an action to be impossible (whether in the sense used by the rules or not), it still has to be an action, which :Wm: certainly isn't. This isn't like dividing by zero in mathematics: I can write down expressions all day and all night in which I divide by zero without anyone or anything being able to stop me. Rather, this is like adding numbers by quoting Shakespeare --- there is just no demonstrable connection between the two activities.

Now we can say "Well, as thinking, reasoning human beings, we all know that :Wm: as a direction makes no sense; so we all know to skip that part." But means that we have accidentally uncovered a metarule, in particular, one that isn't easily derivable from the Rules --- since it's gone unnoticed for nearly ninteen years. But it's one which is essential in order that literally thousands of cards work properly. This is not to say that metarules don't exist in Magic: the best-known example is probably the [O] ruling on Caged Sun. But by and large, they shouldn't exist: they are always indicative of a problem or crack in the rules which causes blind execution of the relevant clauses to flatly contradict the manifest intent of the template.

Moreover, this metarule isn't easily definable. To do so would require researching the text of every card ever printed and effectively sorting out "by hand", if you will, which things "make sense" and which things don't. And suddenly every card with an activated ability is carrying an invisible [O] ruling "The following symbols and text strings are ignored when resolving the activated ability or abilities of this card." Personally, I find the need for such a thing pretty tough to swallow.

If you still doubt my argument, consider this alternative example. If I activate the ability of my Viscera Seer, is anyone really going to argue that I have to sacrifice a second creature when the ability resolves?

Of course not.

Taken together, these two examples pretty strongly imply that the only break point for parsing which is consistent with how the rules have been interpreted and developed over the years is at the colon. Since that text isn't parsed and the rule I quoted says that an ability on the stack doesn't have a "cost" characteristic -- defining which characteristic being the only other purpose putting that portion of the ability's text on the stack could have -- I feel pretty comfortable in concluding it's not even included at all in the object on the stack. Whether or not you believe the cost text exists on the stack, you should all agree that it is entirely ineffective, regardless of its content.



I find it worth noting that 608.2c says "The controller of the spell or ability follows its instructions in the order written." It does not say to read the entire text of the ability and treat every part of it as an instruction, no more than it specifies you should ignore the name, mana cost, etc. of a spell when resolving it. I see no reason to believe the costs get dropped from an activated ability on the stack, nor do I see any reason why they would attempt to be parsed when resolving it.

Would a target in the cost be checked during 608.2b? I don't know, because there's no rules support for it. I'm inclined to think it would check them (since 608.2b doesn't technically require the targets to be part of the instructions of the spell or ability), which would make Bowshewicz' interpretation correct, but I'm not sure.
Rules Nut Advisor
If cost text isn't parsed, how is the game supposed to know that the target of the fizzle ability is now illegal? But if cost text is parsed, how do we avoid either the Blinding Mage problem or the Viscera Seer problem?

"Proc" stands for "Programmed Random OCcurance". It does not even vaguely apply to anything Magic cards do. Don't use it.

Level 1 Judge as of 09/26/2013

Zammm = Batman

"Ability words are flavor text for Melvins." -- Fallingman

If cost text isn't parsed, how is the game supposed to know that the target of the fizzle ability is now illegal? But if cost text is parsed, how do we avoid either the Blinding Mage problem or the Viscera Seer problem?


Cost text is not parsed during 608.2c. It could be (not saying that it definitively is, but could be) parsed during other parts of resolving a spell or ability, specifically in 608.2b where targets are checked.
Rules Nut Advisor
I'd just like to add to this silly discussion that there are things like Airdrop Condor, Excavator and so on which demonstrate that information can be obtained about the costs that were paid to activate an activated ability.

I am amused by the amount of effort put into trying to figure out what would happen if a close-to-nonsensical rules text were ever printed, when everyone admits there's no way it would ever get printed.

Now if this had come up in a game, of course, this'd be a different matter. I wonder if R&D's Secret Lair can be invoked along with some old wording of some card that did happen to mistakenly use "target" for something that gets sacrificed/bounced as a cost? 
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I find it worth noting that 608.2c says "The controller of the spell or ability follows its instructions in the order written." It does not say to read the entire text of the ability and treat every part of it as an instruction, no more than it specifies you should ignore the name, mana cost, etc. of a spell when resolving it.


Cost text is not parsed during 608.2c. It could be (not saying that it definitively is, but could be) parsed during other parts of resolving a spell or ability, specifically in 608.2b where targets are checked.

I think my argument lost track of my point. First, assuming that all the text is parsed always:
-If the game interprets everything as an instruction, how does it not stutter on Blinding Mage? Answer: the game only interprets as an instruction only those things which clearly are instructions.

-If the cost of Viscera Seer's ability appeared after the colon it would definitely be interpreted as an instruction. Why doesn't it interpret it that way when it appears before the colon? Answer: precisely that --- the relative placement of the colon.

-Conclusion: cost text isn't parsed during resolution, with regards to 608.2c.

-Noted fact: 608.2b is ambiguously silent as to whether or not cost text is parsed.

-Resonable extrapolation of previous conclusion: it light of the precedent set by 608.2c and in the absence of a rule stating otherwise, cost text isn't parsed during 608.2b.

I'd just like to add to this silly discussion that there are things like Airdrop Condor, Excavator and so on which demonstrate that information can be obtained about the costs that were paid to activate an activated ability?

But the game doesn't necessarily need to know that the ability's cost text contains the string "Sacrifice a Goblin" in order to figure out which object is "the Goblin that was sacrificed to pay this ability's costs".

"Proc" stands for "Programmed Random OCcurance". It does not even vaguely apply to anything Magic cards do. Don't use it.

Level 1 Judge as of 09/26/2013

Zammm = Batman

"Ability words are flavor text for Melvins." -- Fallingman

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