Omnispell Adept and Timing

Welcome back to the conclusion of what is apparently Blue Is Rad week here at the Rules Tips Blog! Today we’re going to be talking about the Spellvish Piper herself: Omnispell Adept. For 4U, you get a sizable 3/4 Human Wizard- but that’s not the fun part. The fun party is that you can tap the Adept and pay 2U to cast an Instant or Sorcery card from your hand, gratis- free of charge. Obviously it’s great being able to cast a big 5/6/7 mana spell for only 2U, but let’s delve a little deeper into some of the quirks of the Omnispell Adept.

First, let’s talk about timing. The Adept says she can let you cast Sorceries- but does that only work on your own turn? It doesn’t! See, the reason you can’t normally cast Sorceries during combat, or during an opponent’s turn, or in response to something isn’t because the rules say you can’t; it’s because they don’t say you CAN. The rules for spellcasting define when you have permission to cast spells, and you need that permission to cast them. The only time you normally have permission to cast a Sorcery is during your own Main Phase, while you have priority and the stack is empty. But Omnispell Adept is giving you permission to cast a spell at a time you normally don’t have permission: during the resolution of her activated ability. You now have permission to cast your spell, so even a Sorcery is fine, no matter when it is! You can use Adept to cast a Sorcery during combat, or during your opponent’s turn, or in response to something if you so chose. Nifty, right? The exception here is if the spell has an actual timing restriction baked into it- for example, Master Warcraft says “Cast only before attackers are declared”. You can’t get around that with Adept, so you won’t be able to use her to free-cast Master Warcraft during an opponent’s End Step, for example (not that it would really do anything, anyway). This trick only lets you duck the “during your main phase while the stack is empty” timing that’s normally inherent to Sorceries as a whole.

Next up, let’s talk costs. Omnispell Adept lets you cast your spell without paying the mana cost- but that only gets you off the hook for the base cost up in the upper-right of the card. Additional costs are still on your dime- whether they be optional costs like Kicker, or mandatory costs like ‘sacrifice a creature’ on Blood Divination. The mandatory ones you HAVE to pay if you want to cast the spell, obviously, but things like Kicker you can CHOOSE to pay if you’d like, or just get the base spell, up to you. Omnispell Adept also doesn’t jive super well with X spells- since you’re casting the spell without paying the mana cost, and the method by which you’re doing that doesn’t define X, then X is automatically 0. Not super great unless you really need to get that card out of your hand and only have 2U available, really! Finally, alternative costs. They don’t work either! “Without paying its mana cost” is already an alternative cost that you’re using via Omnispell Adept, and you can’t pay two (or more) different costs at once. This won’t come up too terribly often in Standard, but for Commander it definitely means you’re not overloading a Cyclonic Rift by paying 2U and tapping Adept, because Overload is an alternate cost! So keep all this in mind, and hopefully your spell-slinging will be successful!

Today’s Rules Tip was written by Trevor Nunez

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