How Magic Cards work
Floodtide Serpent

Floodtide Serpent Russian

Last Modified 01.06.2022

Floodtide Serpent has one and only static ability which restrict it to attack. When you declare attackers, you have to return an enchantment you control to its owner's hand. Let's find out how exactly it is happening and what you should take into consideration in order to get the result you expect.

Floodtide Serpent

Oracle Text:

Creature — Serpent

Floodtide Serpent can’t attack unless you return an enchantment you control to its owner's hand. (This cost is paid as attackers are declared.)

What does it mean to return an enchantment in Floodtide Serpent's text? It is not a condition when it can be declared to attack (as Arboria), it is the attack cost. It means that it should be paid in an exact moment for an exact creature. Just returning an enchantment into the hand with any other reason won't be considered as a payed cost.

That is what you should firmly know about the attack cost:

  • It has to be paid for each creature individually: if you attack with two Floodtide Serpents, you have to return two enchantments.
  • It has to be paid every time this creature is declaring attacking.
  • It is being paid only of the controller wishes.
Aurelia, the Warleader

If during one turn you attack with Floodtide Serpent twice, you have to pay its cost each time: return an enchantment you control to its owner's hand.

Bident of Thassa

You can ignore the effect with clear conscience, which prescribes Floodtide Serpent to attack necessarily, applying to the fact that you won't pay the attack cost.

When do you exactly have to pay the cost? If you attentively read the rules about declare attackers step, you will notice, that all actions have to be taken in the order. Now we care only about those 5 steps:

  • A player chose creatures which are able to attack.
  • The check for all requirements and limitations is being held.
  • Declared attacking creatures are tapping.
  • The attack cost is being identified and fixed. If the cost includes extra mana pay, that player have a chance to activate mana abilities. Then the cost is being payed.
  • Creatures are declared attacking. That is where the “whenever the creature attack” type of triggers works.
Messengers Speed

Floodtide Serpent, which has just come out under your control, enchanted with Messenger’s Speed, is able to attack, even if you will return this enchantment to your hand and it will lose Haste.

Utopia Vow

Floodtide Serpent enchanted with Utopia Vow cannot attack, even if you want to return Utopia Vow to your hand, because this action is taken before paying the attack cost.

Observant Alseid

Floodtide Serpent enchanted with Observant Alseid will attack untapped. That is because it loses Vigilance after attacking creatures will be tapped.

You pay the attack cost in the declare attackers step, so your opponent won't have a chance to bounce back the chosen enchantment, because no player has priority at that moment.

How does it work?

You return an enchantment you control to its owner hand as the attack cos t for Floodtide Serpent. This permanent can have any other subtypes like: Whip of Erebos, Thassa, God of the Sea or Boon Satyr.

If you decided to return Aura to the hand, you should remember that aura's controller and the enchanted object's controller is not always the same player. You can easily return your Pacifism, enchanting your opponent's creature or your Rancor, which enchanted creature that has been stealed by the cunning opponent. However, you can't return someone else's enchantment which is attached to your permanent.

Enchantments which you return as the attack cost of Floodtide Serpent can have various abilities.

  • Static ability effect stops its influence right after the enchantment leaves the battlefield.
  • Triggered abilities which triggers when the enchantment leaves the battlefield will be put on the stack right after you declare attackers and all SBA check will be done.
  • Triggers with “whenever the creature attack” type won't work. That is because the enchantment will leave the battlefield before the creature becomes attacking.
Courser of Kruphix

As soon as you return into the hand Courser of Kruphix you have to close the top card of your library.

Oblivion Ring

If you return Oblivion Ring into your hand, it will immediately triggers, but it will be put on the stack only after declare attackers step and resolved later.

Ordeal of Heliod

Observant Alseid's ability doesn't have an opportunity to trigger, because you will return an enchantment earlier, then the enchanted creature will become attacking.

  1. If the attack cost includes paying extra mana, you won't be able to get mana from Food Chain, and the return an enchantment into your hand.

Translated by Aleskandra Ladygina