Hapatra and Wither: Who’s Putting These Counters?

Welcome back! Today’s topic will be the new card, Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons and how she works. On the surface, pretty simply: Whenever you put some -1/-1 counters on a creature, you get a 1/1 deathtouching Snake as a bonus. That’s fairly simple with effects like Cartouche of Ambition or Baleful Ammit, which are effects that you control telling you “Hey, put a counter on that thing”. That’ll trigger Hapatra and grow your Ophiological family. You also only get one Snake per creature you’re shrinking; if you were to put 10 -1/-1 counters on a single creature, you’d only get one snake.

But how does Hapatra work when there’s not a clear controller of an effect? How does she work with creatures that have a replacement effect putting counters on them AS they enter (like Deity of Scars or Noxious Hatchling)? How does she work with Wither or Infect, which turn damage to creatures into -1/-1 counters, but don’t have a ‘controller’? Prior to Amonkhet’s release, the answer was “She doesn’t”- the rules simply hadn’t cared WHO puts counters on things, so it wasn’t really tracked. Now we do care (via things like Hapatra and Nest of Scarabs), so the rules got an update! The person who places -1/-1 counters onto something is the person who controlled the source that did it. If your Wither creature smacks up a 1/1 Soldier token and puts some -1/-1 counters on it, that was YOUR creature, so YOU put the counters, so Hapatra rewards you with a snake friend. Same for the replacement effects; it’s YOUR creature telling YOU to put counters on it, so you get a snake. Armed with this knowledge, go and spread snake friends among your battlefields!

Today’s Rulesssssss Tip was written by Trevor Nunez

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