Welcome back to the Rules Tip Blog! Today we’ll be going over the interaction between Selfless Spirit and Kozilek’s Return. Spirit is a sort of update on an old favorite, Dauntless Escort; a creature you can pop to save the rest of your team if needed- but this time at half the cost. A lot of the time it’s straightforward; you can sacrifice it in response to your opponent’s targeted removal to save one specific creature, or you could sacrifice it in response to a board wipe like Planar Outburst to save your whole team; you lose some surprise factor having it on board, but just HAVING it can delay your opponent’s plans quite well. Against a normally-cast Kozilek’s Return, using one is pretty straightforward: since the Return will kill it anyway, you might as well sacrifice it even if the Return wouldn’t hurt the rest of your team. But what about when the Return… returns? Your opponent has just Emerged some big scary Eldrazi and has triggered the Kozilek’s Return in their graveyard. The trigger goes on the stack, and you have a chance to sacrifice your Selfless Spirit in response, to protect your team. But here’s the rub: Return’s trigger is optional. It goes onto the stack whether or not the controller plans to exile it, and they don’t make their choice of whether or not to exile it for the 5 damage until the trigger resolves. If you sacrifice your Spirit, they’re probably just going to not exile the Return and save it for later. If you DON’T sacrifice your Spirit, they’re free to exile Return and blast your team for 5, because “in response to the trigger” was your last chance to sacrifice Spirit. Unfortunately, you’re between a rock and a colorless place in this scenario!
Today’s Rules Tip was written by Trevor Nunez