As Foretold rules clarification

@prn Well, Dang! I have found some sources that refer to Convoke and Delve as cost reduction, but that seems to be clearly incorrect so I won't even link to those. I find other sources like http://mtg.gamepedia.com/Convoke or http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/showthread.php?28957-trinisphere-and-omniscience that refer to Convoke of Delve as a "method of payment." Even magicjudges.org says "We can pay using Improvise, Convoke, or Delve after activating mana abilities as part of paying costs."

OTOH, the actual text in the comprehensive rules says:
702.50 Convoke
702.50a Convoke is a static ability that functions while the spell with convoke is on the stack.
"Convoke" means "For each colored mana in this spell’s total cost, you may tap an untapped creature of that color you control rather than pay that mana. For each generic mana in this spell’s total cost, you may tap an untapped creature you control rather than pay that mana." The convoke ability isn’t an additional or alternative cost and applies only after the total cost of the spell with convoke is determined.

The corresponding definition of Delve at 702.65 also refers to exiling cards from the graveyard rather than paying mana.

So I still don't see that I have an actual official ruling to the effect that Convoke (or Delve or Improvise) is a way of paying the costs so much as something you do "rather than" paying costs.

Even though the Comp rules say that Convoke (and same for Delve or Improvise) "isn’t an additional or alternative cost" the wording of "rather than" still makes it some kind of "alternative" according to the normal meaning of the word "alternative". That's just what "alternative" means -- something that is "rather than" something else.

I'm still looking, but so far, none of the places I'm finding explanations of how these abilities work with Trinisphere, for example, are "official", or at least not actually WOTC sites. When it comes down to it, I'm uncomfortable relying on anything other than WOTC for an "official" ruling. (Regardless of whether "alternative" as used in the official rules does or does not correspond to "normal" English.)

@H. I guess I was composing my later post with references an all while you posted your response. I sort of see the point of what you say. It does make sense. My problem is that a whole lot of other things that I thought made sense have turned out not to be the way things work according to the official rulings. I'll live with your explanation, but I'd just feel more comfortable if WOTC actually included a concrete example like that in their specific ruling, e.g., on gatherer.
Oh well, I rarely get everything I want. 🙂
Thanks,
Paul

@prn the issue with some of the "rulings" (which usually are not rulings at all, but rather are just examples) is that they can mislead people in some cases, since they don't explain why something is as it is.

I think a key to your understanding is to check out the comprehensive rules section that details the actual steps to "cast a spell." (601.2a-i)

When we consider that Trinisphere's effect will take place in 601.2f, that is, the step in which we are determining the spell's total cost, but Delve and Convoke apply in step 601.2g, because they are not "alternative costs" they are an alternative way to pay mana for a spell with that ability.

So, Delve and Convoke function in step 601.2g which, being after Trinisphere's effect is checked in step 601.2f, the key final sentence of that rule comes into play, "Then the resulting total cost becomes “locked in.” If effects would change the total cost after this time, they have no effect." There is no recursive check, once in step g, we never go back.

Is it intuitive? Not really, but it's just how it is.

EDIT: Here is a link to the current and correct rules document (third party ones are often outdated and wrong): http://media.wizards.com/2017/downloads/MagicCompRules_20170605.txt

last edited by H.

The reason Convoke and Delve pay for Trinisphere and other things do not is simply because Convoke and Delve are specifically written as exceptions to Trinisphere. Your confusion is well-founded.

@prn Delve used to function as cost reduction but it was changed around Khans. The current rules are below.

From Dig through Time:

Delve (Each card you exile from your graveyard while casting this spell pays for 1.)

From Gitaxian Probe

(Phyrexian Blue can be paid with either Blue or 2 life.)

Trinisphere cares about how much mana is paid for a spell, and the way Delve and Convoke are worded, removing a card or tapping a creature counts as paying mana. Phyrexian mana contains "or" so you are given the option of paying mana, which obviously satisfies 3Ball, or paying life, which does not. Alternate costs are paid instead of the spell's mana cost. You chose at the beginning whether or not you are going to pay 3UU of Remove a Blue Card and pay 1 life for your Force of Will. Delve, Convoke, and Phyrexian mana are not alternate costs, which is why with Snapcaster Mage , which grants Flashback equal to the spell's mana cost, you can use Delve, Convoke, and Phyrexian mana to pay for the Flashback.

last edited by Guest

Thanks, guys. Especially H. for the link to the current comp rules. The set of rules I linked to was from WOTC, but a year plus old. 😞

Cutlex says "Convoke and Delve are specifically written as exceptions to Trinisphere." Huh? The word "specifically", I guess, could have either the meaning that the definitions of Convoke and Delve actually reference Trinisphere by name, which they manifestly do not, or possibly that the writers had Trinisphere in mind when they wrote those definitions. I'm not sure how we would know the latter.

Also thanks to ChubbyRain for the further explanations. The Dig Through Time reminder text, though, just goes to illustrate why I continue to feel uneasy. That says, "(Each card you exile from your graveyard while casting this spell pays for 1.)" (Aside: How do you do blockquotes on this forum software? ) But the CR says:"you may exile a card from your graveyard rather than pay that mana.”

I know I'm just quibbling now. I agree we've established the correct answer to the interaction of Delve and Convoke with Trinisphere, but in a game where the comprehensive rules run to a couple of hundred pages, you'd think they would try to get their wording consistent. I guess I'm just feeling grumpy. I'll try to behave. 🙂

Anyway, thanks to everyone for your efforts to educate me.

@prn Unfortunately, reminder text is often not exactly correct in some cases, or can present a sort of simplified version that can sometimes be confusing (looking at you Soulbond). The language of remind text is unfortunately often neither as succinct as the Rules, nor as definite.

Relying on the comprehensive rules in all cases is always the best bet.

I'm curious about Hollow One's cost reduction now.

@John-Cox In regards to what? How it would work with Trinisphere?

@H. said in As Foretold rules clarification:

@John-Cox In regards to what? How it would work with Trinisphere?

You would have to pay at least 3.

@Khahan right, I was just trying to understand what he was getting at.

@H. just wondering if it would function like delve spells around Sphere of Resistance/Trinisphere.

@John-Cox It depends on which Sphere. For Sphere of Resistance, both both the Sphere and Hollow One's effect apply in the phase of casting a spell where you figure out and pay alternate/additional costs (Rule 601.2b and Rule 601.2f). So for example, if you discarded/cycled one card and there's one Sphere, it would cost 4. If you discarded three cards and there are three Spheres it would cost 2, and so on.

Trinisphere is a little different. It checks after additional/alternate costs and always makes sure you're paying 3 (Rule 601.2f again). So no matter how many cards you've discarded/cycled, Hollow One always costs 3 in the face of a Trinisphere. Hope that helps!

Source - Being a L2 Judge

last edited by DBatterskull

@DBatterskull
Thanks, thats exactly what I was trying to figure out.

@John-Cox No problem! Always happy to help

@DBatterskull said in As Foretold rules clarification:

If you discarded six cards and there are three Spheres it would cost 3, and so on.
Source - Being a L2 Judge

Is it really how that works? I mean, I always thought that in order to determine the cost of a card you'd first count cost increases then cost reduction. So Hollow One would cost 5 + 3 (three spheres) = 8. Then if you discarded 6 cards it would reduce its cost in 12, making it cost zero. Is it not like that?

last edited by fsecco

@fsecco well, I am not a judge, but I think you are correct, because 601.2b does not seem to apply to Hallow One, as far as I can tell.

last edited by H.

@fsecco Yes, you're right. I made a typo (meant to say reduced by six, but somehow I typed six cards). Whoops. Edited for clarity. Thank you for pointing that out!

last edited by DBatterskull
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