Let us scrutinize the new Awaken mechanics by taking a look at Ruinous Path.
Ruinous Path is a black sorcery spell. Cast for its mana cost, it has only one target. This target is either a creature or a Planeswalker. I hope we don’t get any misunderstandings here. You have already grown out of believeing the marketologists that players are Planeswalkers, haven’t you?
There would be nothing else interesting about this card if it weren’t for the Awaken mechanic, which has already managed to engender a throng of town legends. In order to dispel those, let me explain step by step how it works.
701.112a. Awaken appears on some instants and sorceries. It represents two abilities: a static ability that functions while the spell with awaken is on the stack and a spell ability. “Awaken N—[cost]” means “You may pay [cost] rather than pay this spell’s mana cost as you cast this spell” and “If this spell’s awaken cost was paid, put N +1/+1 counters on target land you control. That land becomes a 0/0 Elemental creature with haste. It’s still a land.” Paying a spell’s awaken cost follows the rules for paying alternative costs in rules 601.2b and 601.2f-h.
As you undoubtedly know, a spell’s full cost consists of the mana cost or an alternative cost, plus all additional costs, plus all cost increases, minus all cost reductions. Compulsive additional costs are to be paid, optional ones are at your discretion.
So, Awaken provides a possibility to pay an alternative cost. Since we mention this, we need to remember at once that when there are multiple payable alternative costs, only any one may be used. It happens quite often that we don’t really have a choice:
702.112b. The controller of a spell with awaken chooses the target of the awaken spell ability only if that player chose to pay the spell’s awaken cost. Otherwise the spell is cast as if it didn’t have that target.
As soon as you choose the option to pay the Awaken cost of the spell, that spell gets an additional target. If the spell didn’t have a target before that, it becomes targeted. When casting such spell, you are bound to choose a legal object for each instance of the word “target”. A spell cannot be cast at Awaken cost if at least one of its targets is illegal.
The legality of the targets is checked once again as the spell resolves.
- If at least one target is still legal, the spell resolves and its effect is carried out as much as possible (related to all legal targets).
- If all of its targets become illegal on resolution, the spell is countered and produces no effect whatsoever!
If a spell cast for its Awaken cost resolves safely, first its normal effects are carried out, followed by the effect of Awaken, i.e. placing counters, animating the land and hasting it up.
A land animated through Awaken preserves all of its abilities, types, subtypes and supertypes.
Since most of the lands are colorless, and the Awaken effect doesn’t affect color in any way, most of the time the resulting creature will be colorless.
Dryad Arbor is green due to its color indicator. Should it get awakened, it will remain green.
A forest is colorless, so it will be a colorless creature. It favors Dominator Drone for example.
Finally, Awaken grants the land haste, so the resulting creature may be sent into attack. Its controller may use activated abilities that have a tap symbol in the cost, such as the mana abilities provided by the corresponding land subtype.
Translated by Witas Spasovski