How Magic Cards work
Tymaret, the Murder King

Tymaret, the Murder King Russian

Last Modified 29.03.2020

There would be nothing particularly surprising in Tymaret from Theros but his second ability.

Tymaret, the Murder King

Oracle Text:

Legendary Creature — Zombie Warrior

{1}{R}, Sacrifice another creature: Tymaret, the Murder King deals 2 damage to target player or planeswalker.

{1}{B}, Sacrifice a creature: Return Tymaret from your graveyard to your hand.

The hot question that worries the public is it possible to sacrifice the Tymaret using his second ability. The answer is hidden in the card's text. Let’s read it together.

The first things are first. A colon in the text, which separates the cost and effect indicates that both of Tymaret’s abilities are activated.

As you know common activated abilities may be activated any time you have priority, there are legal targets and you can pay the cost of the ability. Only the first ability of Tymaret has a target.

Tymaret himself is the source of damage, so if it receives lifelink or infect then the damage will have corresponding consequences: you will get 2 life in case of lifelink, or your opponent will get 2 poison counters in case of infect.

Since the ability is an independent object on the stack, after activation it is not interested in the Tymaret’s fate anymore. Even if it leaves the battlefield the ability will resolve successfully and the target player will be dealt two damage. If you are still in doubt take a look at Mogg Fanatic’s text.

The second ability of Tymaret brings it back from the graveyard to your hand. The text of its effect immediately tells us two things:

  1. It means the same Tymaret, whose ability is activated, and not another one because the object is mentioned by name. The name is shortened, because Tymaret is legendary.
  2. This ability works only when Tymaret is in the graveyard! If Yixlid Jailer is on the battlefield, Tymaret has no abilities in the graveyard and there is nothing to activate.

There is a special rule on this matter:

112.6k An ability whose cost or effect specifies that it moves the object it’s on out of a particular zone functions only in that zone…

The “particular zone” is your graveyard. You move Tymaret into your hand from your graveyard. So we can make the obvious conclusion: no, Tymaret cannot be sacrificed to his own ability because only a permanent can be sacrificed and Tymaret is in the graveyard when the ability is activated.

Now let's look at the activation cost of these abilities. Is it now clear why the first ability requires to sacrifice “another creature” and the second — just “a creature”? The game use word “creature” only if it meas a permanent, i.e. card or token on the battlefield. That's the whole point. How it works?

Utilization of a chump blocker

Zombie token
Tymaret, the Murder King

If a cunning opponent attacks you with big and scary Tarmogoyf you can block him with a chubby zombie and then after receiving priority sacrifice it for the first ability of Tymaret. Opponent will get 2 damage and Tarmogoyf will remain blocked and will not cause us any combat damage.

Tymaret, Tymaret and the opponent

Different Tymarets on the battlefield are “another creature" for each other. Is it possible to have a moment to sacrifice one for the ability of the other?

Please, never. NEVER use the phrase “to have a moment” in relation to Magic. Magic is not a game of speed. The player can do something only if it is allowed or prescribed. So you really want to activate abilities. This may only be done if you have priority.

What happens when the second Tymaret comes under your control? For example, you cast it and the spell is resolved. Tymaret number two enters the battlefield. After performing SBA, one of which called “the legend rule”, only one Tymaret remains on the battlefield. Then all the triggers which triggered up to this moment are put on the stack. Then SBA are performed once again and only after that you receive priority and may do something but it’s too late: there is only one Tymaret on the battlefield under your control.

Mirror Gallery

If suddenly you control Mirror Gallery the “legend rule” does not apply, and nothing can stop you from sacrificing one Tymaret to the ability of another!

Tymaret, the Murder King vs Scavenging Ooze

Assume that your Tymaret is in the graveyard.

Tymaret, the Murder King
Scavenging Ooze

1. You activate Tymaret’s ability, the cunning opponent responds by Scavenging Ooze’s ability targeting Tymaret. What happens?

The ability of the Scavenging Ooze goes on the stack after the Tymaret's one and resolves first: Tymaret is exiled, Ooze gets its counter, the opponent gains one life. As Tymaret's ability resolves there is nothing to return.

2. The cunning opponent activates Scavenging Ooze’s ability targeting Tymaret, you respond by Tymaret's ability. What happens now?

Now, vice versa: first, Tymaret's ability resolves and it returns to your hand. Now, Scavenging Ooze’s ability tries to find its the only target and fails. So it fizzles. The cunning opponent will not get a life and his Ooze will not get a counter.

Translated by George Marenkov