Heart-Piercer Manticore and Reflexive Triggers

Welcome back to the Rules Tip Blog! Today is going to be a bit of a Tournament Tip as well as a Rules Tip- we’ll be going over an entirely new kind of trigger, introduced in Amonkhet. Heart-Piercer Manticore has a neat trigger- when it enters the battlefield, you can sacrifice another creature to have the Manticore deal damage to a target creature or player- basically, it’s Fling in Manticore form. What’s odd about it, though, is the wording- in the past, something like this would say “IF you do” (referring to saccing another creature), whereas Manticore says “WHEN you do”. This is because it has a Reflexive Trigger! Under the old system, that would all be one big trigger; you’d need to select a target before sacrificing a creature, so your opponent would have that information when they responded (for example, knowing you’re aiming at them so they don’t need to burn a protection spell to save their creatures, or knowing you’re aiming it at their utility creature and not needing a Giant Growth to save their big beater). With the new Reflexive Trigger though, it’s actually two different triggers! The first one fires off when Manticore enters the battlefield, and it doesn’t target. As that trigger resolves, you may sacrifice another creature. Should you choose to do so, the SECOND triggered ability (marked by “When you do”) nestled in there will trigger, and need a target. The big difference here is that you’re not giving away your choice of target before you sacrifice anything, as well as the fact that all players get a chance to cast spells and activate abilities TWICE: Once before the sacrifice happens at all, and again after the sacrifice, but before the damage. Plus, it just flows more naturally with the way people would play cards like this- you play Manticore, then sac a creature, then pick what it’ll hit. Look for more Reflexive Triggers in the future!

Today’s Rules and Tournament Tip was written by Trevor Nunez

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