Strixhaven Missed Triggers Guide

Mages and Planeswalkers, judges and players, students all – welcome to Strixhaven! Home to five illustrious magical colleges and the greatest library in the multiverse, it’s certainly the right place to come to if you want to learn something new.
We’ve prepared a study guide below that highlights triggered abilities to keep an eye out for, with notes for each describing why they qualify or what makes their remedy stand out. Take your time with this guide: there’s no quiz after.


Seven cards have a trigger that upgrades when missed:


  1. Strict Proctor

“Whenever a permanent entering the battlefield causes a triggered ability to trigger, counter that ability unless its controller pays {2}.”

Most “enters the battlefield” triggered abilities are beneficial for their controller, so countering them is negative. Since the Proctor applies to triggers from any source, it ends up being symmetrical; it upgrades when a player forgets to counter their own triggers, and doesn’t upgrade if they forget to counter their opponents’.

Note that it won’t always be true that countering your own triggers is a bad thing: in just recent memory, Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger and Lotus Field are cards that see play and could benefit greatly from the Proctor’s intervention. But unless we’re investigating Cheating we don’t consider specifics like board state or archetype, just whether it’s generally helpful or not, and generally the Proctor will be detrimental.

  1. Dream Strix

“When Dream Strix becomes the target of a spell, sacrifice it.”

Dream Strix has a second trigger when it dies that provides some card advantage or card selection, but in most cases a 3/2 flier on the battlefield will close a game out faster than either a Lesson from the sideboard or a “discard, then draw”. Since the “dies” trigger doesn’t make up for the value of losing the creature, this trigger that makes the creature die more often will be generally detrimental.

  1. Lukka, Wayward Bonder

“[Return a creature, it gains haste]. Exile it at the beginning of your next upkeep.”

Lukka’s second loyalty ability creates a delayed triggered ability, and that delayed trigger is moving the returned creature card to another zone. That qualifies this for the “undoes a zone change” remedy; no matter how long ago this trigger was missed, it will be resolved either immediately or at the start of the next phase after it’s discovered.

  1. Daemogoth Titan

“Whenever Daemogoth Titan attacks or blocks, sacrifice a creature.”

This trigger is a clear drawback on a card that would otherwise be way too cheap for its size. Note that, if this trigger is missed but discovered again within the turn cycle, a player cannot choose to sacrifice a creature that would not have been a legal option when the trigger should have resolved.

  1. Daemogoth Woe-Eater

“At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice a creature.”

Similar to Dream Strix that we saw earlier, this card has a second trigger that blunts the cost somewhat if the player is forced to sacrifice it to its own trigger. Since the player only gets that value by sacrificing the Woe-Eater (rather than if they sacrifice any creature) and they would have an undercosted 7/6 creature if they were not forced to sacrifice it, this will still generally hurt a player’s position more than help.

  1. Strixhaven Stadium

“Whenever a creature deals combat damage to you, remove a point counter from Strixhaven Stadium.”

In almost every game out there, an opponent scoring more points than you will be detrimental, and this one is no exception. Note that this trigger doesn’t need to be indicated if nothing will happen from it; so if the Stadium has no points on it when the opponent’s creatures connect, we’ll assume that the triggers have resolved with no visible effect whether or not the Stadium’s controller verbally acknowledges it.

  1. Archway Commons

“When Archway Commons enters the battlefield, sacrifice it unless you pay {1}.”

Joining the illustrious likes of Rupture Spire and Gateway Plaza, there is a new card name for this trigger! It works the same as those two do; if this trigger is missed and then noticed soon enough to apply the remedy, its controller will get the option to pay {1}, not be forced to take the “default” action. But an enterprising opponent could, if they have the opportunity, wait until the Archway’s controller doesn’t have the resources to pay before reminding them.


Otherwise notable cards and mechanics:


  1. Wandering Archaic

“Whenever an opponent casts an instant or sorcery spell, they may pay {2}. If they don’t, you may copy that spell.”

Resolving this trigger appropriately requires the opponent to make a choice, not just the trigger’s controller. That means that players are obligated to prompt their opponent for the choice to pay {2} or not if it isn’t explicitly clear already – an opponent casting a spell without mentioning the Archaic is not enough information for the Archaic’s controller to assume they’ll get to copy that spell.

  1. Ward

The new evergreen mechanic this set, Ward, gives cards a weaker form of Hexproof to discourage (but not prevent) opponent interaction. “Ward [cost]” means “whenever this permanent becomes the target of a spell or ability an opponent controls, counter that spell or ability unless that player pays [cost]”. Those costs will usually be mana or life, but could be other resources in the future.

Despite being keywords, Ward abilities are no different than any other triggered ability, and are handled exactly the same if missed; the window for indicating a Ward trigger is closed when the spell that caused it to trigger resolves, but since it will almost always be in a player’s best interest to acknowledge their Ward triggers they won’t upgrade to a Warning if missed. And lastly, similar to the Archaic above, this trigger requires a choice to be made by the opponent while it’s resolving. Players will have to prompt their opponents for a choice and can’t just assume that Ward is or isn’t being paid.

We hope that you found this guide instructive (or at least not so boring that you snoozed at your desk). Class is dismissed for now, but be sure to check in again this summer for “Adventures in the Forgotten Realms”, Magic’s first foray into the Dungeons and Dragons universe. Time enough for the academic courses of Strixhaven to prepare us for some more practical, life-or-death magical lessons. Until then!