All About Hypothesizzle!

Good morning and welcome back! Today we’ll be talking about a new card from Guilds of Ravnica, and the interesting kind of ability it has. Hypothesizzle lets you draw 2 cards, and if you want to, discard a nonland card to dome a creature for 4 damage. Basically, it lets you pick a ‘dead’ nonland card in your hand and turn it into a Flame Slash for free. But wait- what’s that “When you do” wording in there? Normally, a card like this would say “IF you do” after the discard part, right? Why the different wording?

Well, that’s because Hypothesizzle has a new-ish kind of ability called a Reflexive Trigger. These abilities are nested inside of other abilities, and are specifically looking for whether or not an action earlier in that “parent” ability is taken. In this case, the discarding of the nonland card. In the case of Isareth the Awakener, the action being looked for is ‘You may pay {X}’. If you do take the action being looked for, then the reflexive trigger fires. If you don’t, it doesn’t. But why a reflexive trigger? Why not just the good old ‘if you do’? Because this way, Hypothesizzle isn’t a spell that targets. Hypothesizzle as a spell doesn’t target anything- but it can create a triggered ability which does target. This lets you cast Hypothesizzle onto an empty board, or where only YOU have creatures, or where your opponent’s creatures all have Shroud or Hexproof. With the “if you do” wording, choosing a target creature is part of Hypothesizzle, the spell, which limits when you can cast it in a way the Reflexive Trigger doesn’t. It also means your opponent can’t sacrifice their only creature to deny you your ‘draw 2’- since Hypothesizzle isn’t targeting anything, there’s no making it fail to resolve by removing its target. The reflexive trigger allows Hypothesizzle to do basically the exact same thing it would do under the old wording, but be more flexible to use! Reflexive triggers are just neat like that.

Today’s Rules Tip was written by Trevor Nunez

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