Chaining Mentor Triggers – Dos and Don’ts!

Good morning and welcome to the start of Boros Week here at the Rules Tips Blog! To kick things off, we’re gonna Mentor you with regards to Mentor itself. Mentor is the newest Boros Legion ability(and the first keyword!), following in the footsteps of Battalion and Radiance. Radiance could spread your spells across your whole board, and Battalion was all about sending in a team to attack together; fittingly, Mentor is an ability about your creatures teaching each other how to attack more skillfully!

Whenever a creature with Menace attacks, you target another attacking creature that has less power than the Mentor, and put a +1/+1 counter on that ‘smaller’ creature. You can keep that up, all the way through them having the same power. But what happens if you want to share some lessons down the line? Let’s say you have a Barging Sergeant, a Goblin Banneret, and a 1/1 Soldier token. You’d like to swing with everything, having the Sergeant grow the Banneret, and the Banneret then grow the Soldier- turn 6 damage into 8! Unfortunately, you can’t. Mentor needs the target attacking creature to have less power than the Mentor the second the ability goes on the stack; at the time you’re picking targets, the Soldier and the Banneret are both 1/1s, so the Banneret can’t Mentor the token. You’d need it to have 2 or more power before the trigger you attack, effectively- let’s say by activating the ability to pump up to a 3/1.

But it can also bite you going the other way- the target needs to be legal at the moment you select them, but it needs to still be smaller than the Mentor as the trigger goes to RESOLVE. Let’s change things up- you have a Goblin Banneret that’s currently a 4/4 from several Mentor triggers, as well as a 3/3 Soldier token, and a Barging Sergeant. You attack with everything, having the Banneret and the Sergeant’s triggers both target the Soldier; this is legal, since the Soldier is smaller than both of your Mentors. However, once one of those Mentor triggers resolve, the Soldier will be a 4/4 too, meaning the second trigger will have an illegal target as it goes to resolve! The Soldier got too big, too fast. You can get around this, though; the target legality is only checked those two times. The target can stop being legal a hundred times between those points, as long as it’s legal when you picked it, and as the ability resolves. So just activate your Banneret to pump up to a 6/4, and it’ll be bigger than the Soldier again as the Mentor trigger resolves, letting you get that well-learned little token all the way up to a 5/5!

Just remember: targets need to be legal only as you select them, and as the spell or ability resolves. Remember that and you’re golden!

Today’s Rules Tip was written by Trevor Nunez

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