Riot: Not A Trigger!

Good morning and welcome back to the Rules Tips Blog! Today we’ll quickly be going over Riot, the new Gruul mechanic from Ravnica Allegiance. Riot is a replacement effect on creatures that modifies how they enter the battlefield: with your choice of Haste or a +1/+1 counter. You make the choice as the creature enters the battlefield, and there’s never a point where it has entered, but has not yet received your chosen boon. Your opponent also can’t respond to your choice- by the time they have priority, your choice is made and the creature is on board. So this means if you cast a Zhur-Taa Goblin and decide that you’d like it to be a 3/3, there’s never a point where it’s a 2/2. There’s never a window for your opponent to Shock it to death ‘before’ it gets the counter.

You also don’t make that choice until your creature is actually entering. Let’s say you cast the Goblin, and your opponent has a Shock and a counterspell. They want to counter your Goblin if you plan to make it a 3/3, but they’ll just Shock it if you want to swing with a hasty 2/2; so, they ask “+1/+1 or Haste?”, regarding Riot. You don’t have to answer that! It’s a choice you don’t have to make just yet. You can just tell your opponent “I make that choice as this spell resolves. Does it resolve?”, and that’s what I’d recommend at FNM. You also have the ‘meaner’ option: by asking you about a choice you don’t  make until this spell resolves, your opponent is assumed to have proposed a shortcut wherein they are passing priority and letting the spell resolve. You can technically make your choice here and they lose their chance to resolve to your spell. Personally, I’d recommend holding onto that line of play for Competitive events- at Regular Rules Enforcement events like FNM, do the ‘nice’ thing and just let them know you don’t have to  make that choice yet.


All of this hinkiness is specifically because Riot is a replacement effect that modifies how the creature enters. If it were a trigger, then your Goblin would come down as an unhasted 2/2, and your opponent could Shock it with the trigger on the stack. Also, since it’s not a trigger, it totally dodges things like Tocatli Honor Guard! It does also mean that if you’re playing some insane Temur pile with Naban, Dean of Iteration and Rhythm of the Wild for Rioting Wizards, Naban won’t let you double-riot. Your Wizards are too orderly for that! Until you play a second copy of Rhythm, anyway- then you can Double Riot all day long, because multiple instances of Riot are NOT redundant! Make all your creatures come in +2/+2 bigger, or +1/+1 bigger with haste. Happy Smashing!


Today’s Gruuls Tip was written by Trevor Nunez

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