Evoke, Blink, Bad Oracle Ruling

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The first time I saw someone use a blink to get around the Evoke sacrifice, I thought it seemed a little fishy, but I let it pass. When I saw it a second time, it really stunk of regenerating a sacrifice, so I did a little rules review.


The player’s defense of his actions was that it was OK’ed by a judge.  Initial review showed an oracle post from a few years ago that sanctioned the deed, but this does not comply with the comprehensive rules, which make it very clear that the sacrifice is PART of the casting cost, not a triggered effect.


Reference:


702.72a “Evoke [cost]” means “You may cast this card by paying [cost] rather than paying its mana cost” AND “… SACRIFICES it.” Paying a card’s evoke cost follows the rules for paying alternative costs in rules 601.2b and 601.2e–g.


601.2b ... If the spell has alternative or additional costs that will be paid as it’s being cast …, the player announces his or her intentions to pay any or all of those costs (see rule 601.2e).


These two references make it clear that the sacrifice is part of the casting cost and NOT a triggered ability.  Therefore, the post cast 601.2h and 603.1-10 (triggered ability) rules are not applicable, nor is the 608.2b (if target leaves zone) rule.


Consequently, if for any reason the full alternative casting cost (which includes putting the card into the graveyard from the battlefield,) is not paid, rule 601.2 applies:


601.2. … If, at any point during the casting of a spell, a player is unable to comply with any of the steps listed …, the casting of the spell is illegal; the game returns to the moment before that spell started to be cast (see rule 717, “Handling Illegal Actions.” ) Announcements and payments can’t be altered after they’ve been made.


So here’s my understanding:  if a player is unable to pay the announced payment due to an action or triggered effect controlled by another player, rule 717 applies and the evoke goes back to his hand and does not resolve.  However if the player that declared the evoke controls any spell or effect that prevents the full evoke cost from being paid, (such as by moving the creature to a zone other than the graveyard as it enters the battlefield,) the spell cannot resolve and it goes to the graveyard.


Am I correct in this? 

You're wrong. You quoted the rule but then replaced the relevant part with an ellipsis. That sort of quote-mining really gives the impression of dishonesty; if you want to emphasize part of the rule, you can use text-formatting to highlight it; don't just cut out part of the rule. Here's the full 702.72a:

702.72a. Evoke represents two abilities: a static ability that functions in any zone from which the card with evoke can be cast and a triggered ability that functions on the battlefield. "Evoke [cost]" means "You may cast this card by paying [cost] rather than paying its mana cost" and "When this permanent enters the battlefield, if its evoke cost was paid, its controller sacrifices it." Paying a card's evoke cost follows the rules for paying alternative costs in rules 601.2b and 601.2e-g.



It's two abilities. The first sets up an alternative cost. The second is a triggered ability that triggers on it entering the battlefield, if the alternative cost was paid. Sacrificing it isn't part of the cost of the spell, and that wouldn't even make sense (in order for the ability to trigger, it would need to have resolved already, which happens well after the process of casting it).

A card that changes zones becomes an entirely new object without any connection to its previous existance. So if the creature is flickered in response to the triggered ability, the triggered ability would do nothing on resolution, since the creature no longer exists to be sacrificed.

Lets try this again then.  What you think is relevant is obviously different than what I think is relevant.  To avoid such confusion, I’ll follow your lead.


702.72a. Evoke represents two abilities: a static ability that functions in any zone from which the card with evoke can be cast and a triggered ability that functions on the battlefield. "Evoke [cost]" means "You may cast this card by paying [cost] rather than paying its mana cost" and "When this permanent enters the battlefield, if its evoke cost was paid, its controller sacrifices it." Paying a card's evoke cost follows the rules for paying alternative costs in rules 601.2b and 601.2e-g.




As this is written, the static ability is the alternative evoke cost (including the sacrifice) while the triggered ability is the comes into play ability (not the sacrifice) on each of the evoke cards--which I believe was the intent of this ability.  In order for the rules to instead reflect your description of it, it would better be worded:


702.72a. Evoke represents three abilities: a static ability that functions in any zone from which the card with evoke can be cast and two triggered abilities that function on the battlefield. The static ability "Evoke [cost]" means "You may cast this card by paying [cost] rather than paying its mana cost."  The two triggered abilities are "When this permanent enters the battlefield, if its evoke cost was paid, its controller sacrifices it," and the permanent's comes into play ability. Paying a card's evoke cost follows the rules for paying alternative costs in rules 601.2b and 601.2e-g.



Still though, even with this rewording, the flicker won't work because you need priority to drop anything onto the stack--as the evoke is resolving, no player has priority, and although normally you would receive priority after the spell resolves, the evoke's resolution triggers the sacrifice ability onto the stack, and no player has priority until that resolves.

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.”

  

If a player could somehow get priority between the resolution of the evoke and the triggering of the ability, you could flicker out the targer creature, but that's not the way the rules are written, nor how I believe Evoke was intended.           
   

 
That's not right. Evoke consists of the alternative cost and the triggered ability that triggers when the creature enters the battlefield (if the cost was paid) and causes the creature to be sacrificed on resolution. Two abilities, not three. Creatures with evoke tend to also have an additional triggered ability besides evoke. For example, Mulldrifter has "When Mulldrifter enters the battlefield, draw two cards." This isn't part of evoke, though.

When Mulldrifter is cast for its evoke cost, both the "When Mulldrifter enters the battlefield, draw two cards." and evoke's "When this permanent enters the battlefield, if its evoke cost was paid, its controller sacrifices it." will trigger and be put on the stack. They can both be responded to. If it's flickered in response, the controller will still draw two cards (plus an additional two from the new Mulldrifter) but won't sacrifice anything.
I think Adeyke is right, but the way the cards are worded it is definitely confusing, because it doesn't actually specifiy which of those abilities gets put on the stack first. Obviously, for it to work, the sacrifice abilitiy has to go on the stack, then the draw ability (since effects on the stack resolve in 'last-in' order.') Therefore, the drawing ability resolves, then the player could blink it out before the sacrifice resolves. 

That's about the only way it could work, or it would be completley pointless.

But overall, I don't think this is one of their better mechanics – it seems rife for confusion.  
I think Adeyke is right, but the way the cards are worded it is definitely confusing, because it doesn't actually specifiy which of those abilities gets put on the stack first.

It doesn't specify an order because it behaves the same way it always behaves when multiple triggered abilities need to go on the stack at the same time: first the active player puts his abilities on the stack in any order, then the nonactive player puts his abilities on the stack in any order.
Obviously, for it to work, the sacrifice abilitiy has to go on the stack, then the draw ability (since effects on the stack resolve in 'last-in' order.')

Not true. Regardless of the order of the triggered abilities, blinking the creature can work. All that's important is to play the blink spell before the sacrifice ability resolves, so that when the sacrifice ability resolves it will have no effect (because the creature to sacrifice no longer exists).
The same player will control both, so they can choose the order in which they're put on the stack. However, the order doesn't actually matter for the flicker trick (unless they need the card draw in order to get their Cloudshift or whatever).
I think Adeyke is right, but the way the cards are worded it is definitely confusing, because it doesn't actually specifiy which of those abilities gets put on the stack first.

It doesn't specify an order because it behaves the same way it always behaves when multiple triggered abilities need to go on the stack at the same time: first the active player puts his abilities on the stack in any order, then the nonactive player puts his abilities on the stack in any order.
Obviously, for it to work, the sacrifice abilitiy has to go on the stack, then the draw ability (since effects on the stack resolve in 'last-in' order.')

Not true. Regardless of the order of the triggered abilities, blinking the creature can work. All that's important is to play the blink spell before the sacrifice ability resolves, so that when the sacrifice ability resolves it will have no effect (because the creature to sacrifice no longer exists).



So you mean that the creature doesn't actually have to still be in play because the draw ability is already on the stack, and it doesn't state the creature still needs to be in play for the draw to resolve?
Right. Abilities on the stack exist independently of their sources. They don't need for their source to still exist in order to resolve.
So you mean that the creature doesn't actually have to still be in play because the draw ability is already on the stack, and it doesn't state the creature still needs to be in play for the draw to resolve?

Correct. Once an ability triggers, it exists independently of the source of the ability.
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.[...]

Both the "draw 2" ability and the "sacrifice mulldrifter" abilities resolve in this scenario, it's just that the "sacrifice mulldrifter" ability happens to be impossible because the mulldrifter no longer exists (a similar looking creature exists, but the old one got exiled).

Neat. 

Evoke consists of the alternative cost and the triggered ability that triggers when the creature enters the battlefield (if the cost was paid) and causes the creature to be sacrificed on resolution. Two abilities, not three. Creatures with evoke tend to also have an additional triggered ability besides evoke. For example, Mulldrifter has "When Mulldrifter enters the battlefield, draw two cards." This isn't part of evoke, though.


There’s no ‘tend’ about it.  There are a total of 19 cards with Evoke.  Aside from the sacrifice, 12 of these have come into play abilities, The remaining 7 have leave play abilities.  Yes, all evoke cards have a triggered ability, even if not cast for their evoke cost.  This was the idea behind Evoke, to allow you to yield that triggered ability without ending up with a creature on the battlefield.  Therefore, if the sacrifice is an ability and not part of the cost then each evoke card has 3 abilities:  alternative casting cost, sacrifice and an additional triggered ability.  If the sacrifice is not part of the casting cost, then 702.72a needs to be rewritten.


Right. Abilities on the stack exist independently of their sources. They don't need for their source to still exist in order to resolve.


Yes, rule 112.7 and 112.7a.


In repeated reading of the rules, I find I made a mistake about priority, (clarified below) but as written, I still read the rules as stating that the sacrifice as part of the casting cost.   


601.2e states that sacrifice can be part of the casting cost.  The Word “And” under 702.72a under the description of the cost seems to make it clear that it IS part of the alternative casting cost for Evoke, not an ability.


But if it is an ability, it triggers on resolution of the evoke. (603.2)  603.2a “effect that prevent abilities do not effect triggered abilities.” does not apply because it is the sacrifice that goes to the stack to await resolution.

603.3b clarifies that once an ability goes to the stack, priority does resume.


603.3b If multiple abilities have triggered since the last time a player received priority, each player, in APNAP order, puts triggered abilities he or she controls on the stack in any order he or she chooses. (See rule 101.4.) Then the game once again checks for and resolves state-based actions until none are performed, then abilities that triggered during this process go on the stack. This process repeats until no new state-based actions are performed and no abilities trigger. Then the appropriate player gets priority.


So in other words, (assuming the sacrifice is a triggered ability, not part of the cost,) after the sacrifice is on the stack, players do receive priority and can target the same creature which the sacrifice targets, with such spells as Cloudshift to move that target out of range of the sacrifice ability on the stack.  Again, in order for this to function, the sacrifice must be defined as a triggered ability—but the use of the word AND in describing the evoke cost in 702.72a makes it clear that it’s part of the cost, NOT a triggered ability.    

The sacrifice is part of a triggered ability. The rule is clear about it.

702.72a Evoke represents two abilities: a static ability that functions in any zone from which the card with evoke can be cast and a triggered ability that functions on the battlefield. “Evoke [cost]” means “You may cast this card by paying [cost] rather than paying its mana cost” and
When this permanent enters the battlefield, if its evoke cost was paid, its controller sacrifices it.” Paying a card’s evoke cost follows the rules for paying alternative costs in rules 601.2b and 601.2e–g.

The world "When" makes it clear that it's a triggered ability.


603.3b If multiple abilities have triggered since the last time a player received priority, each player, in APNAP order, puts triggered abilities he or she controls on the stack in any order he or she chooses. (See rule 101.4.) Then the game once again checks for and resolves state-based actions until none are performed, then abilities that triggered during this process go on the stack. This process repeats until no new state-based actions are performed and no abilities trigger. Then the appropriate player gets priority.


So in other words, (assuming the sacrifice is a triggered ability, not part of the cost,) after the sacrifice is on the stack, players do receive priority and can target the same creature which the sacrifice targets, with such spells as Cloudshift to move that target out of range of the sacrifice ability on the stack.  Again, in order for this to function, the sacrifice must be defined as a triggered ability—but the use of the word AND in describing the evoke cost in 702.72a makes it clear that it’s part of the cost, NOT a triggered ability.    


The rules do define it as a triggered ability. Enter the battlefield abilities are triggered abilities by rule.

From Mulldrifter: "Evoke {2}{U} (You may cast this spell for its evoke cost. If you do, it's sacrificed when it enters the battlefield.)" WHEN signfies a triggered ability. The rule does not need an adjustment, its very clear.

The Sacrifice NEEDS to be a triggered ability and not part of the cost. You put the spell on the stack, make descisions, etc. pay costs. Then the spell is cast. After both players pass priority, it resolves. Only then does it enter the battlefield. It CAN'T be sacrificed until then:
701.14a. To sacrifice a permanent, its controller moves it from the battlefield directly to its owner's graveyard. A player can't sacrifice something that isn't a permanent, or something that's a permanent he or she doesn't control. Sacrificing a permanent doesn't destroy it, so regeneration or other effects that replace destruction can't affect this action.

110.1. A permanent is a card or token on the battlefield.

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601.2e states that sacrifice can be part of the casting cost. 

Yes, a sacrifice can be part of a total cost. See Fling for an example of this.
The Word “And” under 702.72a under the description of the cost seems to make it clear that it IS part of the alternative casting cost for Evoke, not an ability.

Note that the word 'and' is not inside the quotation marks, but rather is linking the two quoted sections together. This makes sense if you look at the beginning of the rule, where it says that "evoke represents two abilities, a static ability [...] and a triggered ability [...]." After telling you that evoke consists of two abilities, the rule then goes on to describe them. The static ability is described first as:


  • "You may cast this card by paying [cost] rather than paying its mana cost"


Then comes the "and" that you are concerned about, which is merely telling you that we have finished describing the first ability and are about to describe the second one. It then describes the second ability -- the triggered ability -- as:



  • "When this permanent enters the battlefield, if its evoke cost was paid, its controller sacrifices it."


It's fortunate that the sacrifice isn't a part of the cost. If it was, you could never pay it, because the creature is not on the battlefield at the time you cast it.

If the consensus is that the sacrifice in the case of evoke is a triggered ability and not part of the casting cost, then 702.72a needs to be rewritten to reflect this.


One word can make all the difference in the world.  E.g. Changing the word ‘may’ to ‘must’ completely changes the meaning of a sentence.  (BTW, Thank you Edriss for clarifying which words in the text strike you as crucial.) 


The sentence which provides the real point of dissention is:


“Evoke [cost]” means “You may cast this card by paying [cost] rather than paying its mana cost” and “When this permanent enters the battlefield, if its evoke cost was paid, its controller sacrifices it.”

  Specifically, the use of a conjunction (the word ‘and’ in this case) binds the second half of the sentence to the verb phrase in the first half—which in this case binds the second half of the sentence to the words ‘means’ and ‘cost’.  In order for the text to reflect the consensus, the word AND needs to be eliminated from this sentence, and the currently conjoined sentence fragment needs a new verb, or the entire rule needs to be rewritten. 

Looking at the complete extant rule


702.72a Evoke represents two abilities: a static ability that functions in any zone from which the card with evoke can be cast and a triggered ability that functions on the battlefield. “Evoke [cost]” means “You may cast this card by paying [cost] rather than paying its mana cost” and “When this permanent enters the battlefield, if its evoke cost was paid, its controller sacrifices it.” Paying a card’s evoke cost follows the rules for paying alternative costs in rules 601.2b and 601.2e–g.

Should be rewritten to

702.72a Evoke represents the static ability “You may cast this card by paying [cost] rather than paying its mana cost,” and the triggered ability “When this permanent enters the battlefield, if its reduced cost was paid, its controller sacrifices it.” Paying a card’s evoke cost follows the rules for paying alternative costs in rules 601.2b and 601.2e–g.


I hate being a grammar Nazi, but all rules need exactitude.

When you read the rule, you think "the way this is written, the 'and' means it's all part of the alternative cost". But if you follow through with that assumption, you are forced to believe that the first sentence of evoke is straight up lying to you when it says that evoke is two abilities, one of which is a triggered ability. I can imagine a mental train of thought that screams out "Where's the triggered ability i was promised!"

At this point, most people  would conclude "oh silly me, i've been lead down a bit of a garden path sentence" so now i need to back up and recognize what it is really saying. Once you parse it with the 2nd 'and' serving the exact same purpose that it did in the first sentence, it becomes clear what is meant.

But for some reason, you don't do that. You have a single immutable usage of the word "and" in mind -- one with the ability to leap tall quotation marks in a single bound -- and you don't reevaluate when a contradiction is discovered.
I agree that the rules need to be very precise in their wording, but you're just reading something into it that doesn't at all exist.

“Evoke [cost]” means “You may cast this card by paying [cost] rather than paying its mana cost” and “When this permanent enters the battlefield, if its evoke cost was paid, its controller sacrifices it.”



All this is saying is that the keyword evoke means both the static ability and the triggered ability. The word "and" is there because it means both of these. It doesn't bind the result of the resolution of triggered ability into the alternative cost created by the static ability, and nothing about the sentence would or could imply that it does that.

Your rewritten rule isn't wrong, but it's losing helpful information. Right now, the rule is specifying from which zones the two abilities function, and you're dropping that. That's less exactitude, not more.
Reminds me of when I made the mistake of playing double Demonic Taskmaster. So I have to sacrifice a creature other than Demonic Taskmaster? All I have is another Demonic Taskmaster, so I can't sacrifice that since the card states I can't, right? Wrong. Because it only applies to that specific Demonic Taskmaster card. Fair enough. So I can Detention Sphere your Detention Sphere, right? Wrong. Because that card applies to all cards named Detention Sphere. Oh, so there's a secret definition society that punishes players that don't know every single rule of the game at the time of the most recent updates.
What 702.72a is telling you is that you can replace the text "Evoke [cost]" on a card with the two pieces of text: "You may cast this card by paying [cost] rather than paying its mana cost" and “When this permanent enters the battlefield, if its evoke cost was paid, its controller sacrifices it” and you will get (almost) the right effect - the only difference is that it's no longer labelled as being Evoke, so anything that refers to Evoke (like the triggered ability) won't work quite right.

The rule doesn't talk about the other triggered ability that's actually printed on the card, nor any other abilities (flying for instance) that some Evoke creatures have, nor the type Creature, nor any of the other characteristics common to cards with Evoke - it just tells you what the Evoke keyword itself means - it represents two abilities - a static ability (that provides an alternate casting cost) and a triggered ability (that introduces a consequence to using the alternate casting cost)
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Reminds me of when I made the mistake of playing double Demonic Taskmaster. So I have to sacrifice a creature other than Demonic Taskmaster? All I have is another Demonic Taskmaster, so I can't sacrifice that since the card states I can't, right? Wrong. Because it only applies to that specific Demonic Taskmaster card. Fair enough. So I can Detention Sphere your Detention Sphere, right? Wrong. Because that card applies to all cards named Detention Sphere. Oh, so there's a secret definition society that punishes players that don't know every single rule of the game at the time of the most recent updates.

The secret definition there is that Detention Sphere specifies that it cares about things that aren't named Detention Sphere (because it expilictly says so), while Demonic Taskmaster cares about things that aren't it (because it fails to to explictly say anything about them---other than that they have to be creatures, that is).

"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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I hate being a grammar Nazi, but all rules need exactitude.




You're not being a grammar Nazi because you're wrong. The wording of the rule is perfectly fine as it is.

Look at the rule again; it is not saying [cost] means all that stuff. It is saying, "Evoke [cost]" means that--the phrase "Evoke [cost]" is a short phrase on a card that actually means the two other abilities that follow in the rule. The second ability is not at all connected to the first; the sacrifice is part of the triggered ability.

Please, don't insult those of us who do know the rules of English by pretending you understand them. It's annoying, especially when you're doing it to keep arguing a point that has been repeatedly refuted. 

MTG Rules Advisor
 

Still though, even with this rewording, the flicker won't work because you need priority to drop anything onto the stack--as the evoke is resolving, no player has priority, and although normally you would receive priority after the spell resolves, the evoke's resolution triggers the sacrifice ability onto the stack, and no player has priority until that resolves.

If a player could somehow get priority between the resolution of the evoke and the triggering of the ability, you could flicker out the targer creature, but that's not the way the rules are written, nor how I believe Evoke was intended.


Here's the breakdown, step by step

Alice has priority.
She casts Mulldrifter for its evoke cost. It's on the stack.
Both players pass priority and Mulldrifter resolves and enters the field.
Two triggers occur "Draw two cards" and "Sacrifice Mulldrifter" and are put on the stack in whatever order Alice likes. She puts the sacrifice trigger on first and the draw two on second.
Alice gets priority and in response to the two triggers casts Cloudshift targeting Mulldrifter. 
Both players pass priority and Cloudshift resolves exiling and returning Mulldrifter. Creating two new game objects and two game objects cease to exist.
Mulldrifter's "Draw two cards" trigger triggers and is put on the stack.
Both players pass priority and the "Draw two cards" trigger resolves.
Both players pass priority and the other "Draw two cards" trigger resolves.
Both players pass priority and the "Sacrifice Mulldrifter" trigger resolves doing nothing as the game object it applies to no longer exists.

Alice is left with a Mulldrifter on the field and has drawn 4 cards. 

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To be fair, would it really hurt if keywords that represent multiple abilities clarified exactly which ability is which?  Granted, the presence of the word "when" makes it clear that the second is a triggered ability, so there's no functional problem with the wording, but obviously there's some potential for confusion.

702.72a Evoke represents two abilities: a static ability that functions in any zone from which the card with evoke can be cast and a triggered ability that functions on the battlefield. “Evoke [cost]” means “You may cast this card by paying [cost] rather than paying its mana cost” and “When this permanent enters the battlefield, if its evoke cost was paid, its controller sacrifices it.” Paying a card’s evoke cost follows the rules for paying alternative costs in rules 601.2b and 601.2e–g.



-->

702.72a Evoke [cost] represents two abilities: a static ability that functions in any zone from which the card with evoke can be cast - “You may cast this card by paying [cost] rather than paying its mana cost” - and a triggered ability that functions on the battlefield - “When this permanent enters the battlefield, if its evoke cost was paid, its controller sacrifices it.”.  Paying a card’s evoke cost follows the rules for paying alternative costs in rules 601.2b and 601.2e–g.



Granted, it could be worded a bit better, but I hope this gets the point across.
To be fair, would it really hurt if keywords that represent multiple abilities clarified exactly which ability is which?




1 person out of all the people on the forum getting this confused through a lot of faulty logic is not 'a potential for confusion.'

You're right, it wouldn't hurt if it was clear which ability is which. It's a good thing it's perfectly clear here. 

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