Activated Creature Abilities Help

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Hey all! I'm a relatively new player, and I have a question about activating creature abilities. I tried to find something about it in the rules, but with nothing that gave me a confident answer (that may be my unfamiliarity with the game).

Can you activate creature abilities whenever you want? For example, let's say I'm playing with an Evernight Shade (gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Discussi...), and an opponent attacks me with a 3/3 basic creature. Would I then be able to tap 3 swamps during their turn, to make my Evernight Shade a 4/4, and then proceed to block with it?

Along those same lines, if the Reassembling Skeleton (gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details....) dies, would I be able to pay the mana cost to activate it's ability in the graveyard before my opponents turn ends, thus enabling to untap at the beginning of my upkeep, rather than wait until my turn to resummon it, thus having to wait until my next turn in order to use it?

Thanks all!
Can you activate creature abilities whenever you want?

You can activate activated abilities of any card (not only creatures) anytime you could normally cast an instant, which is basically anytime except during the untap and cleanup steps.

Activated abilities that have timing restrictions will say so. Also note that Planeswalkers' loyalty abilities can only be used "as a sorcery" (during your main phase when nothing is on the stack).
For example, let's say I'm playing with an Evernight Shade and an opponent attacks me with a 3/3 basic creature. Would I then be able to tap 3 swamps during their turn, to make my Evernight Shade a 4/4, and then proceed to block with it?

Yes.
Along those same lines, if the Reassembling Skeleton dies, would I be able to pay the mana cost to activate it's ability in the graveyard before my opponents turn ends, thus enabling to untap at the beginning of my upkeep?

Yes

Rules Advisor

Please autocard: [c]Shard Phoenix[/c] = Shard Phoenix.

Can you activate creature abilities whenever you want?

You can activate activated abilities of any card (not only creatures) anytime you could normally cast an instant, which is basically anytime except during the untap and cleanup steps.

Activated abilities that have timing restrictions will say so. Also note that Planeswalkers' loyalty abilities can only be used "as a sorcery" (during your main phase when nothing is on the stack).
For example, let's say I'm playing with an Evernight Shade and an opponent attacks me with a 3/3 basic creature. Would I then be able to tap 3 swamps during their turn, to make my Evernight Shade a 4/4, and then proceed to block with it?

Yes.
Along those same lines, if the Reassembling Skeleton dies, would I be able to pay the mana cost to activate it's ability in the graveyard before my opponents turn ends, thus enabling to untap at the beginning of my upkeep?

Yes

Awesome, thanks Shard_Fenix!
You can activate an ability at any time you have priority and can pay the cost. The cost is what comes before the : .

This distinction is important because many times paying the cost is problematic, and many times you may want to do something but do not have priority. One of the easiest costs that you may be unable to pay is the simple tap, you cannot use an ability with a tap symbol on a creature unless you had control of that creature at the begiining of your turn. (you cannot tap a llanowar elves the turn you summon them, or a dryad arbor for the same reason).

You also sometimes do not get priority when you want it. sudden shock stops a Will-o'-the-Wisp from regenerating.
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You also sometimes do not get priority when you want it. sudden shock stops a Will-o'-the-Wisp from regenerating.


To be technically accurate, you still certainly do get priority after a Sudden Shock is added to the stack, you just often can't do anything meaningful with it. Of course, sometimes you can, like putting a triggered ability on the stack (Counterbalance, Voidmage Apprentice).
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