Tournament Tuesday: Kalitas and Anointed Procession

EDIT: With the release of Ixalan, the rules regarding this interaction have changed. As of that set’s release, effects like Anointed Procession will also apply if a replacement effect  (such as Kalitas’ effect) is creating tokens, no matter why. Even if Kalitas’ ability is replacing a state-based action rather than the effect of a spell or ability, Procession will still apply. The original post below will remain for posterity, but it is no longer applicable.

Buckle up, because today’s topic is a bit of a doozy. On the surface, the interaction between Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet and Anointed Procession is a simple one- Kalitas makes tokens, Anointed Procession doubles tokens, therefore Kalitas makes double tokens? Right? Well, not quite!

See, Anointed Procession only kicks in if an effect would create some tokens for you. Kalitas’ ability is what we call a replacement effect- it replaces one event (something of your opponents dying) with another event (that thing being exiled, and you getting a Zombie token). Kalitas’ ability isn’t technically what’s making the token- it’s just replacing “this thing dies” with “This thing is exiled, and I get a Zombie”. Because of that, it’ll only interact with Anointed Procession SOME of the time! Specifically, if an effect is what’s killing your opponent’s creature. So what is an effect?

Here’s an example: You have a Kalitas and an Anointed Procession, and cast Murder on a creature of your opponent’s. Murder’s EFFECT is killing the creature, by destroying it; Kalitas replaces that death with ‘exile and token’, and since an EFFECT is creating a token, Anointed Procession will kick in and you get two Zombies for the price of one. What about a situation where Procession won’t work? Let’s change the Murder to a Fiery Temper. A common adage among Judges is “Damage doesn’t kill creatures- State Based Actions kill creatures”, and that applies here. Temper will do 3 damage to the target, but SBAs won’t get checked until Temper is done resolving. It resolves, goes to the graveyard, and then SBAs see a creature with lethal damage marked on it, and say ‘hey, destroy this’. In that instance, an EFFECT is not destroying the creature- State Based Actions are. Because of that, Anointed Procession won’t apply, and you only get one token. Ditto for combat damage- if they attack their Dread Wanderer into your Kalitas, you only get one Zombie, because SBAs killed it, not an effect. Or if they play a second copy of a Legendary creature they control- SBAs are what make them pick one and put the rest in the graveyard, so only one Zombie. A To the Slaughter WOULD work with Kalitas, because their creature is dying due to an EFFECT- To the Slaughter’s effect making them sacrifice something.

So, the short of it is “Why is this creature dying?”. If the answer is ‘the text of a spell or ability directly killed it’, then Kalitas and Procession will sing in har-mo-ny and make two Zombie tokens for you. If the answer is “because the rules of the game killed it”, then you only get one Zombie. Now go forth, armed with education!

Today’s Tournament Tip was written by Trevor Nunez

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