What’s A Tap Cost, Anyway?

Happy Monday, one and all! You know, if you’re anything like me- and I sincerely hope you are, given how many of these I’ve started with that sentence- then there is one thing that really gets you ready to go on a dreary Monday morning, without which you are barely functional: Bureaucracy. So where better to start our Monday with the relentless bureaucrats themselves, the Persistent Petitioners!

Now, like me (and you, as we have established), Persistent Petitioners have a little trouble getting off the starting block in the morning- in this increasingly tortured analogy, this is Summoning Sickness. But what does summoning sickness actually stop them doing? A creature that is summoning sick cannot attack, and cannot be tapped to pay costs represented by the tap symbol (this also applies to abilities with the Untap symbol as a cost, but those are pretty much entirely contained in the Lorwyn block). So in this case, a summoning sick Persistent Petitioners can’t be tapped for its first ability- but it can be tapped to its second ability. As long as the tap symbol itself isn’t there, summoning sickness doesn’t affect it! This is the same reason that Heritage Druid in older formats can tap down Elves that were just played to make some mana.

Persistent Petitioners aren’t the only examples of this in standard. Saruli Caretaker, for example, has an ability with both kinds of tap cost in it- so that means the Caretaker can’t be summoning sick, but the other creature you tap can be if you like. Similarly, Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca can tap himself down (along with two friends) to draw a card as soon as he enters the battlefield!

So that’s been a quick dive into tap costs. Hope you’ve found it useful, and see you again on Wednesday, when your summoning sickness will hopefully have worn off! Until then!

Today’s Rules Tip was written by Alistair Crook

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