flameblast dragon vs. quilled sliver

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I was in a multiplayer game the other day and a player attacked with a flameblast dragon. he payed the 9 mana it took to kill the other player and in response the other player tapped 5 slivers  (using a quilled slivers ability) to deal damage to the dragon before the effect could take place. My argument was that the flameblast dragons ability isn't an activated ability but rather something conditional to attacking since it has to be attacking to use the ability by the time the quilled slivers hit it it's ability should have already resolved as it's part of the declare attackers, and its already attacking in order for the quilled slivers to be able to hit it so it's ability already resolved. Which of us is right?
I was in a multiplayer game the other day and a player attacked with a flameblast dragon. he payed the 9 mana it took to kill the other player and in response the other player tapped 5 slivers  (using a quilled slivers ability) to deal damage to the dragon before the effect could take place. My argument was that the flameblast dragons ability isn't an activated ability but rather something conditional to attacking since it has to be attacking to use the ability by the time the quilled slivers hit it it's ability should have already resolved as it's part of the declare attackers, and its already attacking in order for the quilled slivers to be able to hit it so it's ability already resolved. Which of us is right?


I don't know what "conditional to attacking" is supposed to mean, but the following rule is probably relevant:
112.7a Once activated or triggered, an ability exists on the stack independently of its source. Destruction or removal of the source after that time won't affect the ability. Note that some abilities cause a source to do something (for example, "Prodigal Pyromancer deals 1 damage to target creature or player") rather than the ability doing anything directly. In these cases, any activated or triggered ability that references information about the source because the effect needs to be divided checks that information when the ability is put onto the stack. Otherwise, it will check that information when it resolves. In both instances, if the source is no longer in the zone it's expected to be in at that time, its last known information is used. The source can still perform the action even though it no longer exists.

No, I am not a judge. That's why I like to quote sources such as the rules that trump judges.
My argument was that the flameblast dragons ability isn't an activated ability but rather

... a triggered ability. Those are placed on the stack and resolve just like activated abilities.

so then the player can use quilled slivers to kill it before he can trigger the ability?

Flameblast Dragon, Quilled Sliver


Yes, you're right the Dragon's ability is not activated. But the rest of your reasoning is not quite right.


It is a triggered ability and also uses the stack (therefore the other player can respond with the Slivers' abilities); the ability triggers when the Dragon is declared as an attacker, but resolves a litter later (still before the declare blockers and the combat damage steps).



From Flameblast Dragon's rulings:



10/1/2008: You choose the target when the ability triggers. When the ability resolves, you choose a value for X and decide whether to pay {X}{R}. If you do decide to pay {X}{R}, it's too late for any player to respond since the ability is already in the midst of resolving.


So the player only needs to declare the other player as the target; actually paying the mana is done only after all players have passed the chance to respond.



But most importantly, removing the source of an ability doesn't prevent it from resolving; this is true for both activated and triggered abilities. Destroying the Dragon in response doesn't counter its triggered ability. The attacking player still can cause damage with the ability.

[<o>]
so then the player can use quilled slivers to kill it before he can trigger the ability?



No, the ability triggers when the dragon attacks (and the slivers can only deal damage to creatures already attacking or blocking). He can kill the dragon before the ability resolves, but that doesn't counter the ability itself.

[<o>]
So I was right, even if the language I used didn't fit into the framework of MtG rules.
so then the player can use quilled slivers to kill it before he can trigger the ability?

No, if the dragon attacked, its ability triggered, and the sliver can't use their abilities before the target attacks.


  1. The dragon attacks. Its ability triggers.

  2. The dragon's ability is placed on the stack targetting {a creature or player}.

  3. In response, the defender activates the ability of sliver 1 targetting the dragon.

  4. In response, the defender activates the ability of sliver 2 targetting the dragon.

  5. In response, the defender activates the ability of sliver 3 targetting the dragon.

  6. In response, the defender activates the ability of sliver 4 targetting the dragon.

  7. In response, the defender activates the ability of sliver 5 targetting the dragon.

  8. Sliver 5's ability resolves: It deals one damage to the dragon.

  9. Sliver 4's ability resolves: It deals one damage to the dragon.

  10. Sliver 3's ability resolves: It deals one damage to the dragon.

  11. Sliver 2's ability resolves: It deals one damage to the dragon.

  12. Sliver 1's ability resolves: It deals one damage to the dragon.

  13. The dragon is sent to the graveyard.

  14. The dragon's ability resolves: You may pay X. If you do, Flameblast Dragon deals X damage to the previously chosen target.

That's what I thought, but I was just getting verification.
If the Dragon isn't on the battlefield, wouldn't NO damage be dealt? I ask because it says the Dragon is the source of the damage.
it will deal damage, and will use LKI (Last Known Information) if it needs any information about the dragon

for example if the dragon had Lifelink before it died it will still gain damage
or protection from Red will still protect the target
proud member of the 2011 community team
Flavour-wise, his dying breath was one of fire
If the Dragon isn't on the battlefield, wouldn't NO damage be dealt? I ask because it says the Dragon is the source of the damage.


Abilities on the stack exist independently from their source.

@ ikegami; I like the imagery. 
STEP 1: Find your cousin STEP 2: Get your cousin in the cannon STEP: 3 Find another cousin
If the Dragon isn't on the battlefield, wouldn't NO damage be dealt? I ask because it says the Dragon is the source of the damage.


112.7a Once activated or triggered, an ability exists on the stack independently of its source. Destruction or removal of the source after that time won't affect the ability. Note that some abilities cause a source to do something (for example, "Prodigal Pyromancer deals 1 damage to target creature or player") rather than the ability doing anything directly. In these cases, any activated or triggered ability that references information about the source because the effect needs to be divided checks that information when the ability is put onto the stack. Otherwise, it will check that information when it resolves. In both instances, if the source is no longer in the zone it's expected to be in at that time, its last known information is used. The source can still perform the action even though it no longer exists.

No, I am not a judge. That's why I like to quote sources such as the rules that trump judges.
Flavour-wise, his dying breath was one of fire




Rules forum needs more posts like this.