Welcome back to Tournament Tuesday, where we’re going to cover our favorite topic again: Missed Triggers! Today’s missed trigger discussion is going to be about an uncommon creature from Magic 2015, originally printed in Magic 2013: Roaring Primadox. Primadox has a trigger that makes you bounce a creature you control to its owner’s hand at the beginning of your upkeep. Perhaps this is because it’s fairly aggressively costed as a 4/4 for 4- but it mostly gets used to repeatedly enjoy the ETB triggers of fun creatures like our old friend Acidic Slime. But, enough strategy – let’s get to the meat of today’s discussion. We’ll talk about it both for Regular REL (Rules Enforcement Level) (Which is what you’d encounter at prereleases, FNMs, your shop’s Friday draft, stuff like that) and also at Competitive REL (for events like Pro Tour Qualifiers, Grand Prix Trials, and Grands Prix themselves).
So, Regular REL first. Regular is a more ‘relaxed’ environment – the focus is less on competition and perfect play, and more on community, learning, and fun. As such, we’re a lot more lenient with fixes and stuff, and there’s no real penalty system. Most things get fixed if possible (and the players are reminded to be more careful), and serious bad behavior is met with “Please leave the store.” If you’re at your local FNM and you untap, draw, and totally forget your Primadox trigger until your main phase (or even after combat), we can fix that! Effectively, if the judge feels that too much stuff has happened since you missed your trigger this turn, they’ll just tell you the trigger was missed and ask you to be more mindful of your triggers. If it was caught quick enough, though, we just add it to the stack right then – a lot of players actually do this without calling a Judge, in the sense of “Untap, upkeep, draw. Play a Forest – oh, dang, forgot my Primadox trigger! I’ll bounce this guy.” We would prefer you call a judge to be sure, though!
It’s a little hinkier at Competitive REL, because we actually give out penalties for infractions. We’ll go with the same situation – you just plain forget your Primadox trigger but then you remember it later. You call a Judge over. What he’ll do is give you a Warning for Game Play Error – Missed Trigger, because the trigger is ‘usually considered detrimental.’ Your opponent will then be asked if he’d like to have the trigger put on the stack. If they decide that you do, the ability is added where it SHOULD go on the stack, or more commonly onto the bottom of the stack. If they DON’T want you to get your trigger, you just don’t!
Now, you may be wondering what the timeframe is for you to remember your trigger before it becomes ‘missed.’ That varies from trigger to trigger, and you can read more about it in the Infraction Procedure Guide, or IPG (if you click that handy link, you’ll end up at the Annotated IPG, which is a fantastic project spearheaded by L3 Judge and general good guy Bryan Prillaman. The aim of it is to expand on the IPG itself, to help judges and players alike understand it better! Bookmark and share, kids). For now, though, we’re just gonna talk about the Primadox itself: this trigger falls firmly into the category of “Causes a change in the visible game state” – what creatures are on board is ABSOLUTELY part of the visible game state! For this kind of trigger, your window is pretty small – if you do anything you couldn’t have done with the trigger on the stack, you missed it. The most common way this will show up is by you drawing a card for your turn. You could untap, fire off an instant for some reason, and then remember your Primadox trigger – that’s fine! You legally could have cast that instant with the trigger on the stack, so you haven’t demonstrated that you forgot the trigger. But sorceries, non-flash/non-instant spells, playing a land, drawing a card, moving to combat, all of that? Absolutely you’ve missed it, sad to say. My suggestion for remembering your upkeep triggers? A dice! Put a dice or other small, non-card (and non-card-sized!) marker on top of your library. That way if you move to draw for your turn, you’ll stop for just long enough to remember you have triggers to declare.
An important note about this trigger at either Regular or Competitive REL is that there’s a special clause for triggers that require a choice on resolution. You can’t make a choice involving objects that weren’t in the appropriate zone referenced by the trigger at the time it was missed. Specifically, this means if you start your turn while controlling only Roaring Primadox and no other creatures, and you forget the trigger until after you cast a Runeclaw Bear, you don’t get to choose to bounce the Bear. You’ll have to make a choice that would have been legal at the time it was missed, which means bouncing your Primadox.
Today’s Tournament Tip written by Trevor Nunez