Aether Revolt Prerelease Week: Improvise (Whose Spell Is It Anyway?)

Welcome back to the Aether Revolt Prerelease Week! Today we’re going over the other new mechanic of the set: Improvise. For those of you that remember the Ravnica block, Improvise is basically “Convoke, except with artifacts”. For those of you who want more details, read on! Improvise is a neat ability present on several spells in the set (or ALL of your non-artifact ones, if you have an Inspiring Statuary) that allows you a new ‘way’ to pay for the spell: Tapping artifacts. You go through the normal steps of casting your spell (Announce it, put it in the stack, choose targets, all that good stuff) right up until you start paying your costs. With Improvise, you can pay for as much of the generic portion of the cost (up to ‘all of it’) as you like by tapping an artifact you control, rather than paying mana.

For example, if you were to cast Reverse Engineer, you could pay 3UU, or you could pay 1UU and tap two of your artifacts. Improvise won’t ever reduce the colored mana cost (and if you pair Inspiring Statuary with a colorless spell like Warping Wail, it won’t reduce the COLORLESS cost either, just generic!), and you can’t ‘overtap’; you max out at tapping 3 artifacts to help you cast that Reverse Engineer, for example, unless something’s making it cost more. You’re also able to tap brand-new artifacts, even if they’re creatures you just paid- you could drop an Ornithopter and immediately use it to help pay for an Improvise spell, because summoning sickness doesn’t apply here! Any artifact you control works, too, whether it’s a regular Artifact, or an Equipment, a Vehicle (crewed or uncrewed!), an Artifact Creature, or even an Artifact Land. That said, you can’t “double dip”; if you have a Darksteel Ingot you’re either tapping it for mana to spend on the spell, or tapping it to help with Improvise, you can’t do both (just like you can’t use one red mana to cast two Lightning Bolts). Your opponent also doesn’t have a chance to try and muck up your spell by destroying your artifacts- once you begin to cast a spell, nobody has priority until you’re done. By the time your opponent can respond, the spell is fully paid for and waiting patiently on the stack.

With all that in mind, tune in tomorrow when we start the refresher tips with a crash course on Vehicles!

Today’s Rules Tip was hastily Improvised by Trevor Nunez

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