Failing to Comply: Priority and Aftermath cards

Welcome back to the Rules Tips Blog! As of today, Amonkhet is legal for Standard (and Modern and Legacy), so next week we’re going to be going back to dealing with Standard questions and tips, but for today we’ll generally be covering the new Split cards from Amonkhet, all of which have Aftermath. As with the old split cards, these little beauties have two “spells” printed on them; UNLIKE the old ones, only one of those sides at a time is usually available to you. The ‘top’ half is what you can cast normally, while the ‘bottom’ half has Aftermath, meaning it can be cast from your graveyard, but ONLY from your graveyard. Also, the naming convention is different! The old split cards all had a silent ‘and’ between them (Breaking AND Entering, Fire AND Ice, Research AND Development). These ones instead have a silent ‘to’ between them (Failure TO Comply, Destined TO Lead, Never TO Return).

So what else is ‘normal’ with the Aftermath cards? Well, with Amonkhet’s release, the rules for all split cards were updated a bit. Rather than having two sets of characteristics and giving back one answer to some effects, and 2 answers to others, split cards now just have one combined set of characteristics while in any zone but the stack (ON the stack, you ignore whichever half you didn’t cast). Using our title card as an example, Failure // Comply is a blue-and-white Instant Sorcery with a converted mana cost of 3 while in your hand, graveyard, library, or exile. On the stack, Failure would be a blue instant with a converted mana cost of 2, and Comply would be a white sorcery with a converted mana cost of 1. If your opponent named Failure with a Nevermore, you could still cast Comply.

Normally, you’ll cast the ‘top’ half of these cards, and then be able to cast the other half from the graveyard via Aftermath (and after you do that, it’ll be exiled instead of going back to the graveyard, so you can’t just keep doing that over and over). As with Flashback, the spell will be exiled if it leaves the stack for any reason, so you can’t use Failure to return an Aftermath spell to your hand, for example, and a countered Aftermath spell will still be exiled. You can’t cast the Aftermath half from anywhere except your graveyard, but if something lets you cast it from your graveyard for free, you totally can. An example of that would be Torrential Gearhulk letting you cast Instants from your graveyard. IF either half of the Split card is an Instant (as with Failure!), the whole card is a legal target, and you can cast either half, because the Aftermath half is being cast from your graveyard! This is much better on the Split cards that have an expensive Aftermath side.

But what happens if you want to cast both halves in the same turn? For example, what if you have Destined // Lead and you want to slap it onto your Deathtouch creature to wipe your opponent’s board out so the rest of your team can get in unblocked… but you know your opponent has Scarab Feast. The fun thing is, that doesn’t matter! You cast Destined on your creature. Your opponent has no response, so it resolves. After that, you receive priority as Active Player (because it’s your turn), so you’ll be able to cast Lead from your graveyard right away. By the time your opponent has the chance to cast Scarab Feast, the card is no longer in your graveyard. Sad times for them, glad times for you!

Today’s Rules Tip was written by Trevor Nunez

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