Last and certainly not least of the five clans, we have the Temur Frontier. They live in the coldest parts of Tarkir, and revere the savagery of the dragons. Their symbol is a set of dragon’s claws, and their mechanic certainly feels savage! Ferocious is another ability word, like Raid from earlier this week. It has no rules meaning itself, and if you took “Ferocious” off of all their cards, those cards would still work. The ability word is just there to group thematically similar abilities together for easy searching and remembering! Ferocious is similar to the Naya’s gimmick from Shards of Alara; your spells, abilities, and creatures get better if you control a creature with power 4 or greater. Most of the Ferocious cards are spells that normally do something, but then get better if you have a big guy. For example, Icy Blast normally taps down some creatures, but with Ferocious online, it keeps them from untapping next turn. Feed the Clan gains you 5 life, but if you have a 4 power or bigger creature, you gain 10. There’ll be two basic kinds of boosts with Ferocious: some of the cards will say “Instead”, and some won’t. If it says “Instead”, you get the ‘instead’ effect, NOT the original- with Feed the Clan, for example, you’ll gain 10 INSTEAD of 5, not in addition to. The ones that don’t say “instead” give you both effects, though- with Icy Blast, you tap the creatures AND they don’t untap. Ferocious is only checked once- as the spell (with two exceptions, which I’ll cover in a moment) tries to resolve. If you cast Icy Blast, and they respond by blowing up your only 4/4, you’ll just get to tap their creatures. Conversely, if you manage to get a 4 power creature between casting Icy Blast and resolving it, you’ll still get the lockdown-tap; it doesn’t matter that you didn’t have a Ferocious creature as the spell was cast, only that you do as it resolves.
So, those two exceptions I was talking about? The first is Heir of the Wilds, which has a Ferocious trigger on attacking. That trigger has what we call an “intervening ‘if’ clause”, which only triggered abilities can have. You can tell these because they’re worded “Whenever THING, if CONDITION, EFFECT”, and that’s how our Heir is worded! The thing about these clauses you need to know is that they’re checked TWICE: once as the trigger ‘would’ trigger, and again as it would resolve. If the condition is false at either of those times, no trigger. So, if you control two Heirs of the Wild and nothing else, you can’t declare attacks with them then toss a Giant Growth onto one of them and have them both trigger, because at the time you attacked, you did NOT control a creature with power 4 or greater. You’d have to pump them before you attack for the triggers to happen. And, as normal with the rest of the Ferocious stuff, if you don’t have a big enough creature as it resolves, you don’t get the effect. No +1/+1 for you!
The other exception is an aura called Dragon Grip, because the Ferocious ability that it has changes when you can cast it. When Ferocious is online, you can cast Dragon Grip as though it had flash! So, where the other Ferocious spells get an extra effect on RESOLUTION, this guy gets a bonus on CASTING, and that’s the only time it matters. If you cast it at the end of your opponent’s turn, and in response they blow up your big guy that’s enabling Ferocious, your spell still resolves. The ‘as though it had flash’ only matters as you cast it, and you’ve already cast it, so turning Ferocious off doesn’t do your opponent any good here!
That’s all 6 of the mechanics for this set, boys and girls. Have a safe, happy, and fun prerelease weekend, send your questions that may come up to us here at the Rules Blog via this handy little form, and tune in next week as we start answering some more specific and complex questions about the new cards!
Today’s Rules Tip written by Trevor Nunez