Welcome back to Aether Revolt Prerelease Week! Today we’re going over another returning mechanic from Kaladesh (and boy is it a doozy): Energy. Lots of spells and abilities from this block will grant you Energy counters. These counters are put on you, the player (much like Poison or Experience counters), and can be spent in a variety of ways. And hey, since they’re counters, anything that interacts with counters on a player works on Energy (notably they can be Proliferated, and things like Maulfist Revolutionary). A lot of the Energy-centric cards give you both a source of Energy, and some way to spend it; for example, Thriving Rhino gives you two Energy upon entering the battlefield, and lets you SPEND two Energy when it attacks to give it a counter. The cards don’t care if you use their energy or energy from something else (mostly because the counters are all identical, and that would be a pain to track!) so you can keep that Rhino Thriving if you have Energy from something else to feed it. It’s very important to note that while you generate and spend energy for costs, it’s not mana! And unlike mana, Energy doesn’t go away if it’s not used. You can sit on your energy for as long as you like, across steps and turns. You also can’t spend Energy you don’t have- if an effect gives you the option to spend EEEE and you only have EEE, you can’t try to pay it.
Energy itself is honestly pretty simple. Sometimes you spend it as a triggered ability resolves (like our friend, Thriving Rhino), just like you do with mana on abilities like Akoum Stonewalker); the trigger fires whether or not you plan on paying (or are even able to!), and you don’t decide whether to pay or not until it begins resolving. Also like the ‘mana payment’ versions, you either pay that amount or you don’t. You can’t pour four Energy into Thriving Rhino’s trigger, it’s either EE or nothing. Sometimes you spend Energy to ACTIVATE an ability like Bristling Hydra; with those, you pay the cost as part of activating, and don’t get the effect until it resolves. For example, if someone hit your Thriving Rhino’s attack trigger with Disallow, you aren’t out any Energy because you pay as that resolves, but if someone hit your Hydra’s ability with Disallow, you paid EEE and got nothing. Sad times! Finally, some spells allow you to pay energy as part of their resolution, such as Die Young; this is similar to the triggers, in that you don’t pay the energy until the spell begins resolving. If your opponent wants to counter the spell, you won’t be out any Energy- and if they want to know how much Energy you’re spending, they don’t get that information until it’s too late to respond.
Finally, a logistical tip: Keeping track of Energy is very important, and just like keeping track of life totals, we recommend that you use pen and paper (rather than dice), and keep track of your opponent’s Energy as well as your own (the amount of energy a player has is free information, your opponent can’t hide it from you!). Verbally confirm every change in energy totals- “Thriving Rhino enters the battlefield, I get two Energy, putting me at 4”, or “I attack with Thriving Rhino, spending 2 Energy, going to 2”. Doing this will keep things clear and hopefully stop confusion of “Was I at 6 energy or 7?”, as well as alleviate the risk of someone accidentally bumping your table and knocking over the dice you were using for your Energy pool. You CAN use any mutually-agreeable method you like to keep track (that is, dice are allowed), but pen-and-paper is the Rules Tip Blog recommendation!
Tune in tomorrow when we’ll go over what you can expect from the Prerelease itself!
Today’s Energizing Rules Tip was written by Trevor Nunez