Prerelease Primer: All About Afterlife

Hello all, and welcome to a very special week here at the Magic Rules Tip Blog! With Ravnica Allegiance on the horizon, we’re going to be posting a tip a day this week running through each of the Ravnica Allegiance set mechanics so you’re up to speed by the time you’re headed off to your prereleases! So, without any further ado, let’s begin.

Coming to you live (or not) from Orzhova, the Church of Deals, the Orzhov Syndicate are never ones to waste a perfectly good debt just because someone died. As such, they’ve brought along Afterlife as their mechanic for Allegiance. Afterlife is a keyword found on creatures, and comes with a number. When that creature dies, you create that many 1/1 Black and White Spirit tokens with flying- so a creature with Afterlife 1 will give you just a single spooky specter, but Afterlife 3 gives you a trio of grim grinning ghosts when that creature dies. So, that’s simple enough, but what are the tricky parts?

First up, the creature has to actually die, which means it needs to go to the graveyard from the battlefield. Being discarded or milled won’t get you your tokens, and neither will being returned to hand from the battlefield or exiled. Can’t die unless you lived first!

Second, the person who controlled the creature when it died is the one who gets the tokens. If someone steals your toys with an Act of Treason-type effect and then breaks them, they’re the ones who get to create the spirits, so watch out!

Next up, some bad news about first strike: if your creature with Afterlife dies in first strike damage, then the spirits will show up right away, before regular combat damage is dealt… but it’s after the declare blockers step, so they won’t be able to block anything. I’d call them lazybones, but that’s more of a skeleton thing than a spirit thing.

Finally, a word on clone effects- Afterlife doesn’t care if it’s on a clone or on a token, all that matters is that when it died it had afterlife. If you Replicate a creature with Afterlife, the token will still burst into ghosts when it dies! Same idea if Lazav decides to pretend to be someone with Afterlife- his soul is just the same as anyone else’s!

So that’s the lowdown on the Orzhov mechanic, Afterlife. Come back here tomorrow for a rundown of the next mechanic- I have it on good authority that it will be quite the sight to see! Until then, don’t go signing any contracts you haven’t read, and happy spellslinging!

Today’s Rules Tip was written by Alistair Crook

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