Welcome back to another week at the Rules Tips Blog! Today we’re going to be talking about how multiple Forbidding Spirits (or multiple triggers from the same one!) interact. When our Spirit comes down, it brings a trigger that makes it cost 2 mana per creature to attack you or any of your Planeswalkers. It’s a temporarly Ghostly Prison effect that also covers your Planeswalkers! But does it ‘stack’? What happens if you’re flush with mana and drop two Spirits back to back, or drop a single one and then hit it with a Justiciar’s Portal? Does one apply to this turn and the other to next? Do they ‘stack’? Or did you just wast mana doing nothing? In either case, you’ll have two instances of that “shield” floating around until your next turn. Your opponent will have to pay 4 mana per creature they plan to attack you with- a payment of 2 mana won’t satisfy both Spirits’ abilities. It’ll also affect anything your opponent wants to declare an attack with- it’s not limited to the things that existed as the Spirit’s trigger resolved. Your opponent will still have to pay 2 mana if they drop a brand new creature and give it haste, for example!
The only way around this attacking tax is if you’re never declared as an attacker; Leonin Warleader for example will need the 2 mana toll paid, but the 1/1 white Cat creature tokens it creates aren’t declared as attackers. They’re put onto the battlefield already attacking, and don’t need to be paid for on that attack. The same is true of Warcry Phoenix and Tilonalli’s Summoner; the Elemental tokens and the Phoenix get to come down already attacking without you paying for the attack! This trick works for the more ‘permanent’ things like Ghostly Prison as well- but for those, be aware that you only get to duck the payment the turn the things are put onto the battlefield already attacking. On the next turn after you untap with them, you’ll be properly declaring them as attackers, so they’ll need to be paid for.
Finally, let’s talk about what happens if your opponent drops a Forbidding Spirit while you control something that must attack, like a freshly minted Goblin token from Legion Warboss, or a Relentless Raptor. They have to attack, but it costs mana to do so- are you forced to pay for them to attack? You are not! You’re never forced to pay to make an attack go through, even if you can. You could have 200 untapped lands, you could have 20 mana floating as you begin your Declare Attackers step, and you’d still not be forced to pay for the attack. You can pay if you want to, and if you do the creature will have to attack- but if you’d like to just sit back and let your Warboss build up a bunch more 1/1 Goblins while Ghostly Prison keeps them from attacking, you absolutely can.
Today’s Rules Tip was written by Trevor Nunez