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.
Creature — Elf Artificer
Fabricate 2 (When this creature enters the battlefield, put two +1/+1 counters on it or create two 1/1 colorless Servo artifact creature tokens.)
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.
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.
Cunning opponent controls Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite. Your Cultivator of Blades enters the battlefield. Fabricate is triggered. SBA check is done and as a result, Cultivator of Blades which was -1/-1 is put on the graveyard. On trigger resolution you cannot put counters on Cultivator of Blades because it’s already on the graveyard, thus you need no create tokens. Tokens enter the battlefield and with upcoming SBA check, they are put on the graveyard, where they cease to exist with next SBA check.
If there is Essence of the Wild on the battlefield, Cultivator of Blades will enter the battlefield as its copy. Cultivator’s trigger will not work.
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.
If you cast Blossoming Defence targeting your Cultivator of Blades, its power will become increased for 2 and on trigger’s resolution all attacking creatures will get +3/+3.
After applying Downsize effect Cultivator of Blades power will became equal –3. According to new rules in this case X will be considered as zero, thus other attacking creatures will not get any bonus.
If in response to Cultivator of Blades it was turned into a pumpkin, for example with the help from Gift of Tasks, its power will be equal 3, which means, that other attacking creatures will get +3/+3.
After Grasp of Darkness effect Cultivator of Blades became -3/-3. That means, that on trigger’s resolution X=0 and attacking creatures will not get a bonus.
Cultivator, destroyed by Doom Blade had 1 power. Therefore, on trigger’s resolution all attacking creatures will get +1/+1.
If in response to the trigger your cunning opponent woke up and cast Disperse into your Cultivator of Blades, game machine will remember what power value it used to have.
Translated by Aleskandra Ladygina
Doubling Season is a best friend for creatures with Fabricate, because it doubles both – tokens and counters. On Cultivator of Blades’s Fabricate trigger resolution you will choose to put 4 +1/+1 counters and get a 5/5 creature or put 4 Sevo tokens. Suddenly, Cultivator of Blades is becoming a better card. :)
Cultivator of Blades enters the battlefield without counters on it. Abilities from Sigil Captain and Fabricate will trigger. Because of a fact, that Captain’s trigger is conditional, its conditions, which is P/T will be checked on its resolution, which means that we need to resolve it before Fabricate. First, we put Fabricate trigger on the stack and then Capitan’s trigger. On Sigil Captain’s trigger resolution Cultivator of Blades receives 2 +1/+1 counters and on Fabricate resolution you choose whether to put two more counters on Cultivator of Blades or two Servo tokens, which will trigger Captain again.
Try to imagine Cultivator of Blades entering the battlefield when you control Doubling Season and a Captain. I like it, do you?