Cultivator of Blades will be our perfect example for a closer look on Fabricate mechanic and its second ability will help us answer a question when the value is calculated for that kind of effects.
Fabricate is an ability, which again reminds us that a reminder text (cursive text in parenthesis on a card) have indirect relevance to the rules. Let's figure out what is wrong this time.
There is a text on a card:
Fabricate N (When this creature enters the battlefield, put two +1/+1 counters on it or create N 1/1 colorless Servo artifact creature tokens.)
702.122a Fabricate is a triggered ability. "Fabricate N" means "When this permanent enters the battlefield, you may put N +1/+1 counters on it. If you don’t, create N 1/1 colorless Servo artifact creature tokens."
Let us agree that there is a difference. In a reminder text the very important word “may” is missing and a phrase “if you don’t”, which shows that putting +1/+1/ counters is a cost. It is a first time in Magic history when a player gets something useful for not paying a cost – Servo tokens to be exact. Usually, in this case something unexpected happens here: from Blood Crypt to losing a game because of Intervention Pact.
If you have missed a Fabricate trigger on Regular rules enforcement level, it means that you have decided not to pay a cost, which means that you automatically get Servo tokens.
On Competitive REL it is getting a way more fun. Your opponent will decide if they want to put this ability on the stack or not.
Let us colour Fabricate text into different colours and see what else we can learn about this ability:
«When this creature enters the battlefield, you may put N +1/+1 counters on it. If you don’t, create N 1/1 colorless Servo artifact creature tokens».
- When — маркер триггерной способности, is a triggered ability marker, which triggers when triggered event is happening:
- this creature enters the battlefield.
How exactly this creature entered, the battlefield does not matter to game machine. You can cast a creature or put it on the battlefield with some effect from any zone with a help from Acrobatic Maneuver, Dubious Challenge, Demon of Dark Schemes and ets.
- you may put N +1/+1 counters on it. If you don’t, create N 1/1 colorless Servo artifact creature tokens is a trigger’s effect.
We always get an effect from spells, activated or triggered abilities on their resolution. Therefore, we chose between counters and tokens on ability’s resolution. Fabricate is not modal ability, so you do not choose when the ability is put on stack. Thus, your choice will be unknown for your opponent before trigger’s resolution. It also means, that when you make a choice opponent cannot respond to it. If an opponent is asking about your choice it means, that they passed a priority resolved it.
If you decide to put +1/+1 counters on a creature, it will happen not right away when a creature entered a battlefield: trigger will work only on its resolution and it takes time. It means that a creature does not enter the battlefield with counters, it will get them later.
If you cannot put counters on a creature for some reason, you will have to choose to creature Servo tokens instead.
Finally, if a creature with Fabricate left the battlefield it will not affect its trigger. You will get Servo tokens anyway.
702.122b If a permanent has multiple instances of fabricate, each triggers separately.
If your creature somehow managed to get another Fabricate ability both of them will be triggered. Triggers will resolve one by one and you will have to choose twice — to put N counters or to create N Servo tokens. Captain Obvious reports, that N can be different for different Fabricate triggers.
Now let us look closely on the second Cultivator of Blades ability: «Whenever Cultivator of Blades attacks, you may have other attacking creatures get +X/+X until end of turn, where X is Cultivator of Blades's power».
- Whenever is a triggered ability marker.
- Cultivator of Blades attacks is a triggered event. Event “whenever a creature attacks” happens only when Cultivator of Blades is declared as an attacker. If it attacks for any other reason, for example because of Yore-Tiller Nephilim’s ability, this trigger will not work. Similar effects we have already figured using Hero of Bladehold and Geist of Saint Traftа.
- you may have other attacking creatures get +X/+X until end of turn, where X is Cultivator of Blades's power is the effect.
A word “may” in trigger’s effect means, that you have a choice: to pump other creatures up or not. Remember, that you have a choice only on trigger’s resolution. You do not have to tell your opponent about your decision when its ability is triggered.
Value of X also defines on trigger’s resolution. It means that it can be affected before the trigger is resolved.
If by trigger’s resolution Cultivator of Blades has already left the battlefield its trigger will resolve, using last known information about it.
Finally, if after trigger’s resolution Cultivator of Blades will change it will not affect other attacking creatures.
In examples below we suppose, that Cultivator of Blades is 1/1 and its controller has decided, that the effect will be used.
Translated by Aleskandra Ladygina