Cradle of Vitality and New Lifelink Rules

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I assume that gaining life from lifelink now happens simultaneously, but I wanted to make sure.

The Example
I Control: Five 2/2 black Zombie creature tokens, Necromancer's Covenant, Cradle of Vitality

I attack with all the Zombies and they go on to deal 10 damage to my opponent. Then, I gain 10 life simultaneously, and Cradle of Vitality triggers once, targeting one creature and allowing me to pay to put ten +1/+1 counters on that creature.

Right?

IMAGE(http://steamsignature.com/status/default/76561197995631463.png) No longer a commander as of 7/29/13.

It's simultaneous, but as far as I can see it does not follow that there is only one instance of life gain here and not five.
Jeff Heikkinen DCI Rules Advisor since Dec 25, 2011
I'd assume you gained 5 lots of 2 life at the same time, for the same reason that your opponent loses 5 lots of 2 life.
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Does anyone have rules citation for this?
The closest thing I can find is this entry:

603.2c An ability triggers only once each time its trigger event occurs. However, it can trigger
repeatedly if one event contains multiple occurrences. See also rule 509.4.
[INDENT]Example: A permanent has an ability whose trigger condition reads, “Whenever a land
is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, . . . .” If someone casts a spell that destroys
all lands, the ability will trigger once for each land put into the graveyard during the
spell’s resolution.
[/INDENT]

:\

IMAGE(http://steamsignature.com/status/default/76561197995631463.png) No longer a commander as of 7/29/13.

I would actually have to agree with Jim here. Under the old rules, Lifelink in this scenario would cause the Cradle to trigger five times because they resolved separately. However, with the new rules, you gain life from all the lifelink damage at the same time (which is also at the same time that you and/or creatures and/or your opponent takes damage, depending on the scenario). Cradle triggers on whenever you gain life, and in this scenario, you gained 10 life at one time, not 2 life 5 times. One trigger of vitality, in this case, would result in 10 counters being placed.
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Although damage takes place at once, it's still five instances, for the same reason that Sharding Sphinx's "Whenever an artifact creature you control deals damage" clause triggers separately for each creature. I'm close to certain on this.

So you'd have to pay to get the full use out of your Cradle. Sorry.
Although damage takes place at once, it's still five instances, for the same reason that Sharding Sphinx's "Whenever an artifact creature you control deals damage" clause triggers separately for each creature. I'm close to certain on this.

So you'd have to pay to get the full use out of your Cradle. Sorry.

Your example is exactly why I disagree. Cradle doesn't care why you gained life, it only cares that you gained life. The Sphinx specifies that it cares about a creature dealing damage, so it triggers for each creature. If it said 'whenever your opponent is dealt damage,' it would only trigger once even for 10 creatures hitting your opponent at the same time.

I believe you'd only have to pay in this scenario, because you gained all 10 life at once. Cradle doesn't care that it was due to 5 instances of lifelink, one on each 2/2, or a 10/10 with lifelink. You gained 10 life all at one time, so Cradle triggers once.
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Does anyone have a more rigorous definition and/or insight to the mechanics and processes of lifelink? No one seems to be entirely certain of the answer here, and I'm definitely not convinced by either side yet.

From my understanding of it, rule 603.2c clarifies time stamp is irrelevant: multiple simultaneous events can trigger an ability multiple times. The real question seems to be whether lifelink grants you two life five times or ten life once. I haven't seen anyone cite something confirming one way or another.

This reminds me of a similar question I had but never bothered asking regarding Rite of Passage.
Does anyone have a more rigorous definition and/or insight to the mechanics and processes of lifelink? No one seems to be entirely certain of the answer here, and I'm definitely not convinced by either side yet.

From my understanding of it, rule 603.2c clarifies time stamp is irrelevant: multiple simultaneous events can trigger an ability multiple times. The real question seems to be whether lifelink grants you two life five times or ten life once. I haven't seen anyone cite something confirming one way or another.

This reminds me of a similar question I had but never bothered asking regarding Rite of Passage.

Actually, the Rite of Passage question makes me more sure of my answer. With Rite of Passage, 10 wolves dealing damage to a single creature would only trigger Rite of Passage once for that creature, because it's one event of being dealt damage, even if it's from 10 different sources.

By the same token, with the new way lifelink works, you're gaining 10 life all at once, not gaining 2 life then 2 life then 2 life then 2 life then 2 life. Because Cradle doesn't care how you gained life, only that you gained it, it'll trigger whenever you gain life--and if you gained 10 life all at the same time, Cradle doesn't care why you gained that life all at the same time, just that you did. So you can pay for 10 counters.
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Actually, the Rite of Passage question makes me more sure of my answer. With Rite of Passage, 10 wolves dealing damage to a single creature would only trigger Rite of Passage once for that creature, because it's one event of being dealt damage, even if it's from 10 different sources.

By the same token, with the new way lifelink works, you're gaining 10 life all at once, not gaining 2 life then 2 life then 2 life then 2 life then 2 life. Because Cradle doesn't care how you gained life, only that you gained it, it'll trigger whenever you gain life--and if you gained 10 life all at the same time, Cradle doesn't care why you gained that life all at the same time, just that you did. So you can pay for 10 counters.

Weirdly enough, it makes me more sure of mine, as well, if it's true that multiple simultaneous events can trigger an ability multiple times.
Weirdly enough, it makes me more sure of mine, as well, if it's true that multiple simultaneous events can trigger an ability multiple times.

The reason something like the Sphinx triggers multiple times is because it triggers on 'a creature dealing damage,' so it triggers for each creature dealing damage. As I said, if it was 'whenever your opponent is dealt damage,' it would only trigger once even if 100,000 creatures were dealing damage. That is how Rite of Passage works--multiple creatures dealing damage won't trigger it multiple times if the damage is all dealt at once. And in the case of Cradle of Vitality, it only cares that you gained life, and says nothing about caring that you gained life from different sources. Since it doesn't specify 'life from a [source],' it triggers once no matter how much life is gained from how many sources, as long as all the life is gained at the same time.
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I would actually have to agree with Jim here. Under the old rules, Lifelink in this scenario would cause the Cradle to trigger five times because they resolved separately. However, with the new rules, you gain life from all the lifelink damage at the same time (which is also at the same time that you and/or creatures and/or your opponent takes damage, depending on the scenario). Cradle triggers on whenever you gain life, and in this scenario, you gained 10 life at one time, not 2 life 5 times. One trigger of vitality, in this case, would result in 10 counters being placed.

This is not correct and my evidence is this. The Duels of the Planeswalkers Xbox 360 game uses the new Lifelink rules. When multiple instances with lifelink go through, you gain the life as it is dealt.

So if you have three 2/2's with lifelink, you hit for 2 damage, gain 2 life. Hit for 2 damage, gain 2 life, etc. The new rule of no damage on the stack simply means that all of this happens consecutively, that you can't deal 2 and gain 2 then play a spell or something. It is still different instances, they just all go through at once.
This is not correct and my evidence is this. The Duels of the Planeswalkers Xbox 360 game uses the new Lifelink rules. When multiple instances with lifelink go through, you gain the life as it is dealt.

So if you have three 2/2's with lifelink, you hit for 2 damage, gain 2 life. Hit for 2 damage, gain 2 life, etc. The new rule of no damage on the stack simply means that all of this happens consecutively, that you can't deal 2 and gain 2 then play a spell or something. It is still different instances, they just all go through at once.

Duel of the Planeswalkers is very misleading. All damage happens at once; the game only does it "one at a time" because that's the easiest way to make sure everything is clear as to what's happening.

Please do not use that rules-atrocity as a justification for something being right or wrong.

Using the actual rules of the game, I stand by my answer.
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Thinking more about RobinHood3000's example with Sphinx, it solidifies that it is 5 different instances of 2.
Thinking more about RobinHood3000's example with Sphinx, it solidifies that it is 5 different instances of 2.

No, it does not solidify that. Again, the Sphinx specifies a source along with the damage being dealt, so for each source of that type that deals damage, it triggers, even if the damage is all at once. Cradle does not specify a source of life being gained, only that it's gained. So, if you gain 10 life all at once, it triggers for that 10 life and will put 10 +1/+1 counters with a single payment of . This is how Rite of Passage works--1 creature or 100,000 creatures dealing damage to a creature will trigger Rite of Passage exactly one (1) time, and result in only one (1) +1/+1 counter being placed, because it doesn't specify a source dealing damage, only that damage is dealt (to a creature you control).
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But you are arguing that all damage from creatures counts as one source (thus allowing him to use Cradle only once) so using that argument Sphinx would only put one token into play no matter how many creatures are attacking.

If you disagree with that, and say it would put multiple tokens into play, then you are acknowledging that damage from each creature is a separate source and thus Cradle of Vitality would need to be triggered multiple times as well.

The issue here is whether the creatures deal damage as one source or as multiple. Sharding Sphinx clearly illustrates that damage is dealt multiple times.
But you are arguing that all damage from creatures counts as one source (thus allowing him to use Cradle only once) so using that argument Sphinx would only put one token into play no matter how many creatures are attacking.

If you disagree with that, and say it would put multiple tokens into play, then you are acknowledging that damage from each creature is a separate source and thus Cradle of Vitality would need to be triggered multiple times as well.

The issue here is whether the creatures deal damage as one source or as multiple. Sharding Sphinx clearly illustrates that damage is dealt multiple times.

No, I am not saying that all the damage counts as one source. I am saying that Cradle doesn't care about the source(s). It only cares that you gained life, and only looks at you gaining life--why you gained life doesn't matter. If you gained 10 life all at once, that triggers the Cradle once, and you get 10 counters for one payment of .
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No, I am not saying that all the damage counts as one source. I am saying that Cradle doesn't care about the source(s). It only cares that you gained life, and only looks at you gaining life--why you gained life doesn't matter. If you gained 10 life all at once, that triggers the Cradle once, and you get 10 counters for one payment of .

You are contradicting yourself here. In the first sentence, you are saying the damage does not count as one source. Then later you say that if you gain 10 life ALL AT ONCE. How could you gain the life all at once if the damage doesn't count as one source?
You are contradicting yourself here. In the first sentence, you are saying the damage does not count as one source. Then later you say that if you gain 10 life ALL AT ONCE. How could you gain the life all at once if the damage doesn't count as one source?

Because all damage is dealt at once, and one result of damage being dealt by a source with lifelink is that source's controller gaining that much life. If all damage is dealt at the same time, all life is gained at the same time, no matter how many creatures with lifelink are dealing damage.
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But you are arguing that all damage from creatures counts as one source (thus allowing him to use Cradle only once) so using that argument Sphinx would only put one token into play no matter how many creatures are attacking.

No, he's arguing that all combat damage is dealt simultaneously, thus resulting in only one damage-dealing event and therefore only one life-gain event. Certainly there are multiple sources involved - but Cradle of Vitality's trigger condition doesn't say anything about a source. (How could it? Life gain doesn't have a source, as defined in the rules.)
If you disagree with that, and say it would put multiple tokens into play, then you are acknowledging that damage from each creature is a separate source

Certainly, but Sharding Sphinx's trigger condition specifically looks for each source.

It's entirely possible for multiple sources to deal damage to one thing at the same time (think of any gang-block; the attacker deals damage to multiple blockers), or for one source to deal damage to multiple things at the same time (ex. Volcanic Fallout). Some triggered abilities may see these occurrences as one event, while others may see the same occurrence as multiple events, depending on the trigger condition.
603.2c An ability triggers only once each time its trigger event occurs. However, it can trigger repeatedly if one event contains multiple occurrences. See also rule 509.4.

and thus Cradle of Vitality would need to be triggered multiple times as well.

The one does not follow from the other; the trigger conditions are too dissimilar.
The issue here is whether the creatures deal damage as one source or as multiple. Sharding Sphinx clearly illustrates that damage is dealt multiple times.

No, Sharding Sphinx clearly demonstrates that damage is dealt from multiple sources. In fact, (barring first strike or double strike) it's very clear that damage is not dealt multiple times:
510.2. Second, all combat damage that's been assigned is dealt simultaneously. This turn-based action doesn't use the stack. No player has the chance to cast spells or activate abilities between the time combat damage is assigned and the time it's dealt. This is a change from previous rules.

Rule 510.2 is dealing with combat damage as assigned to blockers. I am not holding things against you guys for failing to grasp the M2010 rules changes but c'mon, please don't try to misrepresent rules and give the guy asking this question false information. The rules change removing damage from the stack means if you are blocked by two things, for example, you can't assign 3 damage to one and 2 damage to the other and then deal the 3 damage and wait to Giant Growth to end up dealing 5 to the other. You have to play Giant Growth before assigning damage.
Rule 510.2 is dealing with combat damage as assigned to blockers. I am not holding things against you guys for failing to grasp the M2010 rules changes but c'mon, please don't try to misrepresent rules and give the guy asking this question false information. The rules change removing damage from the stack means if you are blocked by two things, for example, you can't assign 3 damage to one and 2 damage to the other and then deal the 3 damage and wait to Giant Growth to end up dealing 5 to the other. You have to play Giant Growth before assigning damage.

What you've just brought up has absolutely nothing to do with the subject matter.

All damage is dealt at once. Period. It doesn't matter to what it's dealt. All damage is dealt at once. There is only one damage-dealing event, and as a result of the M10 changes, only one lifegain event, so Cradle only triggers once on the event of gaining life.

The reason this is different is because, when LL was a trigger, it resolved one at a time, so there were multiple life-gain events. Now, with it happening as a result of damage, all life is gained at the same time as life is lost as a result of being dealt damage.

Or are you saying that you think Rite of Passage would trigger 5 times if 5 creatures dealt damage to a creature you control?
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Rule 510.2 is dealing with combat damage as assigned to blockers.

Okay, now it's time for a blunt question: WTF are you talking about?

510.2 pertains to all combat damage:
510.1a Each attacking creature and each blocking creature assigns combat damage equal to its power.
...
510.1b An unblocked creature assigns its combat damage to the player or planeswalker it's attacking.
...
510.1c A blocked creature assigns its combat damage to the creatures blocking it.
...
510.1d A blocking creature assigns combat damage to the creatures it's blocking.

Every creature in combat assigns and deals its combat damage simultaneously, whether blocking, blocked, or unblocked.
I am not holding things against you guys for failing to grasp the M2010 rules changes

This particular question doesn't have anything to do with the rules changes; the answer would have been the same before M10. Here's the rule that was supplanted by 510.2, with bolding to match what I did when I quoted 510.2:
310.4. Combat damage resolves as an object on the stack. When it resolves, it's all dealt at once, as originally assigned. The combat damage object is then removed from the stack and ceases to exist. After combat damage finishes resolving, the active player gets priority.

The emphasis is on the fact that all combat damage is dealt simultaneously. That didn't change in M10; please don't insult us by claiming that we don't understand the new rules, especially when they don't have anything to do with the question.
The rules change removing damage from the stack means if you are blocked by two things, for example, you can't assign 3 damage to one and 2 damage to the other and then deal the 3 damage and wait to Giant Growth to end up dealing 5 to the other. You have to play Giant Growth before assigning damage.

I honestly don't understand what this example has to do with the question.
I still disagree that this:

All damage is dealt at once.

...necessarily leads to this:

There is only one damage-dealing event

Yes, damage happens simultaneously, but that doesn't mean the opponent takes a block of 10 damage, he/she takes 2 damage in five instances. Just because they happen at the same time doesn't necessarily mash all of the damage into one instance.

In my mind, at least. I suspect we'll have to wait for a ruling on it.
Yes, damage happens simultaneously, but that doesn't mean the opponent takes a block of 10 damage, he/she takes 2 damage in five instances. Just because they happen at the same time doesn't necessarily mash all of the damage into one instance.

Kedar is right, but you have to dig into how triggered abilities work to understand it.

Triggered abilities watch for changes between gamestates. When the five creatures do damage, the gamestate goes from the pre-event gamestate (attacking player on X life) to the post-event gamestate (attacking player on X+10 life) and measures the difference, which is 10. For it to be five separate events, you would deal 1 creature's damage, change the gamestate, then deal a second creature's damage, change the gamestate, and so on.

There is only one change in the gamestate, hence only one chance for the ability to trigger.
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Yes, damage happens simultaneously, but that doesn't mean the opponent takes a block of 10 damage, he/she takes 2 damage in five instances. Just because they happen at the same time doesn't necessarily mash all of the damage into one instance.

700.1. Anything that happens in a game is an event. Multiple events may take place during the resolution of a spell or ability. The text of triggered abilities and replacement effects defines the event they’re looking for. One “happening” may be treated as a single event by one ability and as multiple events by another.
[indent]Example: If an attacking creature is blocked by two defending creatures, this is one event for a triggered ability that reads “Whenever [this creature] becomes blocked” but two events for a triggered ability that reads “Whenever [this creature] becomes blocked by a creature.”[/indent]

A triggered ability with the condition "Whenever damage is dealt to a player" would see that damage-dealing as one event.

A triggered ability with the condition "Whenever a creature deals damage to a player" would see that damage-dealing as five events.

Which of those look more like the life-gain trigger?
No, I am not a judge. That's why I like to quote sources such as the rules that trump judges.
I assume that gaining life from lifelink now happens simultaneously, but I wanted to make sure.

The Example
I Control: Five 2/2 black Zombie creature tokens, Necromancer's Covenant, Cradle of Vitality

I attack with all the Zombies and they go on to deal 10 damage to my opponent. Then, I gain 10 life simultaneously, and Cradle of Vitality triggers once, targeting one creature and allowing me to pay to put ten +1/+1 counters on that creature.

Right?

Right. When answering such questions, you look at the set of actions that occured simultaneously, and look at the largest subset of them that fit the description in the trigger or replacement. Because there is no reason to subdivide it. (Which is to say, there is as many reasons to treat it as ten events as five: none.)
Cradle of Vitality's trigger ONLY specifies lifegain.

Pre-M2010: Lifelink triggered from damage dealt from a source with lifelink, causing separate lifegain events and each caused a separate trigger of Cradle.

M2010: Lifelink now has an additional effect for damage dealt, it deals damage AND also causes lifegain equal to that damage and it all happens as part of the same event of damage dealt which for combat damage is simultaneous.

Yes, the damage is from different sources but it and the lifegain all happen at the same time as one event. Cradle sees one event of lifegain and triggers.

I agree with Kedar on this one, though it is a change in functionality.

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Just tried it out on MTGO. I realize that MTGO is not an authoritative source, but since it IS (in theory) programmed with all the correct post-M10 rules interactions...

It triggered 4 times, once for each lifelink creature I swung with.
I agree that wizards may need to make a small clarification tweak to the rules over this one. However, I strongly believe this only counts as one event in the eyes of Cradle of Vitality. Here's my legalese backup.
118.4. Damage is processed in a three-part sequence.
[INDENT]118.4a First, damage is dealt, as modified by replacement and prevention effects that interact with damage. Abilities that trigger when damage is dealt trigger now and wait to be put on the stack.

118.4b Next, damage that’s been dealt is transformed into its results, as modified by replacement effects that interact with those results (such as life loss or counters).

118.4c Finally, the damage event occurs.
[INDENT]Example: A player who controls Boon Reflection, an enchantment that says “If you would gain life, you gain twice that much life instead,” attacks with a 3/3 creature with wither and lifelink. It’s blocked by a 2/2 creature, and the defending player casts a spell that prevents the next 2 damage that would be dealt to the blocking creature. The damage event starts out as [3 damage is dealt to the 2/2 creature, 2 damage is dealt to the 3/3 creature]. The prevention effect is applied, so the damage event becomes [1 damage is dealt to the 2/2 creature, 2 damage is dealt to the 3/3 creature]. That’s transformed into its results, so the damage event is now [one -1/-1 counter is put on the 2/2 creature, the active player gains 1 life, 2 damage is marked on the 3/3 creature]. Boon Reflection’s effect is applied, so the damage event becomes [one -1/-1 counter is put on the 2/2 creature, the active player gains 2 life, 2 damage is marked on the 3/3 creature]. Then the damage event occurs.

Example: The defending player controls a creature and Worship, an enchantment that says “If you control a creature, damage that would reduce your life total to less than 1 reduces it to 1 instead.” That player is at 2 life, and is being attacked by two unblocked 5/5 creatures. The player casts Awe Strike, which says “The next time target creature would deal damage this turn, prevent that damage. You gain life equal to the damage prevented this way,” targeting one of the attackers. The damage event starts out as [10 damage is dealt to the defending player]. Awe Strike’s effect is applied, so the damage
event becomes [5 damage is dealt to the defending player, the defending player gains 5
life]. That’s transformed into its results, so the damage event is now [the defending player loses 5 life, the defending player gains 5 life]. Worship’s effect sees that the damage event would not reduce the player’s life total to less than 1, so it is not applied. Then the damage event occurs.[/INDENT][/INDENT]

[INDENT]So if you attack with 5 2/2 Lifelinked Zombies. The final damage event would be:[/INDENT]

[The defending player loses 10 life, the attacking player gains 10 life]


[INDENT]This happens all in one event. There is nothing to describe any sub-event trigger. If Cradle of Vitality read "Whenever you gain life from a source..." Then it would be different. [/INDENT]
Just tried it out on MTGO. I realize that MTGO is not an authoritative source, but since it IS (in theory) programmed with all the correct post-M10 rules interactions...

It triggered 4 times, once for each lifelink creature I swung with.

This is incorrect and should be reported as a bug, then.
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This is incorrect and should be reported as a bug, then.

Is it, though? Personally, I think it's correct - but I'm not going to try and argue it further, as everything I could say has already been said.

Instead, I'll wait for an [O] response on this thread before I potentially report it.
It's simultaneous, but as far as I can see it does not follow that there is only one instance of life gain here and not five.

Although damage takes place at once, it's still five instances, for the same reason that Sharding Sphinx's "Whenever an artifact creature you control deals damage" clause triggers separately for each creature. I'm close to certain on this.

So you'd have to pay to get the full use out of your Cradle. Sorry.

There is no such thing as "instances of damage. That is the old "packet" theory, which was discounted long ago. Before 6E. All of the damage that fits a particular event description is one event, for the effect that uses that description.

A good example of this is Glarecaster, where the ruling is that all damage being dealt to you, and to the Glarecaster, by all sources, is included.
* If you and Glarecaster would be damaged at the same time, Glarecaster's ability will redirect all the damage that would have been dealt both to you and to it to the target creature.

All 10 damage triggers the Cradle once. I am 100% certain on this, and I am known for not being wrong.
I am 100% certain on this, and I am known for not being wrong.

Brag much?

I've discussed it with several other judges, and the consensus seems to be that you're wrong here. I posted it to the Rules mailing list as well. Hopefully between the list and here we'll get an [O]fficial answer soon.

*Edit* Also, quoting an eight year old FAQ doesn't exactly prove your case here, lots of things have changed since Onslaught came out...
Brag much?

I've discussed it with several other judges, and the consensus seems to be that you're wrong here. I posted it to the Rules mailing list as well. Hopefully between the list and here we'll get an [O]fficial answer soon.

*Edit* Also, quoting an eight year old FAQ doesn't exactly prove your case here, lots of things have changed since Onslaught came out...

Just Condor "known for not being wrong" I can see not being good enough, because hey, everyone makes mistakes, right?

But what about Condor and I both almost never being wrong? Not to toot my own horn, but if Condor and I agree on something about how the rules work, I think you can take it to the bank that we're right. It helps that Feigel hasn't jumped in to correct me yet.

Cradle will only trigger once in the OP's scenario.
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I am known for not being wrong.

QFT - it ain't bragging if it's true.
Not to toot my own horn, but if Condor and I agree on something about how the rules work, I think you can take it to the bank that we're right.

I reserve judgment until we get an [O] answer - but I'll start whipping up some humble pie for you guys just in case. ;)
I reserve judgment until we get an [O] answer - but I'll start whipping up some humble pie for you guys just in case. ;)

Save it for yourself. ;)
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QFT - it ain't bragging if it's true.

Actually it is.


v., boast·ed, boast·ing, boasts.

v.intr.

To glorify oneself in speech; talk in a self-admiring way.
v.tr.

1. To speak of with excessive pride.
2. To possess or own (a desirable feature): “[the] capital of a region in the southeast that boasts bountiful coal fields” (US Air).
3. To contain; have.

n.

1. The act or an instance of bragging.
2. A source of pride.

I am on the fence with this issue, I would like an [o] answer or at least a Feigel answer.
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For those "on the fence" or that think we're wrong:

Can you cite evidence of why it would see five different lifegain events instead of one? All 10 life is gained at the same time, regardless of why it's gained--lifegain doesn't have a source, so it can't come from five difference sources. You just gain life. And in this case, there has been proof cited that all damage is dealt at once, which means all life is gained at once. Since you gain all 10 life at one time, there is only one change in the game-state, which means the trigger could only possibly go off once.

Can you cite evidence to the contrary, that one change in the game-state can trigger one ability* more than once, or that the damage is not simultaneously dealt, or that lifegain looks at and has sources and, if it does have a source, that gaining life from different sources at the same time is different from gaining that much life from one source?

*Not sure if multiple creatures going to the graveyard at once is considered one game-state change overall, or one change "per creature," but if that's one game-state change over all, then... any ability that doesn't specify an object changing status, changing zone, or dealing damage.

Basically, I'm asking this:

Can you cite evidence that lifegain has a source, and that, if it does have a source, Cradle cares about the source from which you gained life instead of the fact that you gained life? All the game sees is you going from 20 life to 30 life, so you gained 10 life. There is no point at which you're at 22 life, 24 life, 26 life, or 28 life. You go straight from 20 life to 30 life in one event. If you only gained life one time, how can Cradle trigger five times? Cite evidence, please, that you gained life five times, not just one time.
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I've discussed it with several other judges, and the consensus seems to be that you're wrong here. I posted it to the Rules mailing list as well. Hopefully between the list and here we'll get an [O]fficial answer soon.

Have you asked those judges why 2 lifelinked creatures blocked by another creature trigger Cradle of Vitality twice but Rite of Passage only once? Because that is the example that convinced me, in conjunction with rule 118.3e, "Damage dealt to an object or player by a source with lifelink causes that source's controller to gain that much life, in addition to the damage's other results."

Rite of Passage triggering once seems to say that no matter how much damage is being dealt from any amount of sources, as long as its dealt at the same time it happens in one chunk. With lifelink damage doesn't just do damage, it does damage AND gains life at the same time, which for Cradle to trigger twice would imply that the damage is done in separate chunks even if the damage happens at the same time.

This comes from my assumption that, with lifelink, a creature's damage is inseparable from the life gain; much like how a creature with wither's damage IS the -1/-1 counters.