Magic Ruling: The Power of Wits
You control the enchantment Durable Handicraft. You then cast Dawnfeather Eagle. Finally, you cast Champion of Wits from your hand and pay for the Durable Handicraft’s triggered effect to put a +1/+1 counter on the Champion.
How many cards are you able to draw with Champion of Wits’ enter-the-battlefield ability? Two, Three, or Four?
The answer is three cards.
The first question that needs answering is, when do we determine the Champion’s power for the purposes of its card-draw ability?
608.2g If an effect requires information from the game (such as the number of creatures on the battlefield), the answer is determined only once, when the effect is applied. If the effect requires information from a specific object, including the source of the ability itself, the effect uses the current information of that object…
609.1. An effect is something that happens in the game as a result of a spell or ability. When a spell, activated ability, or triggered ability resolves, it may create one or more one-shot or continuous effects.
So, the power will be determined when the ability resolves. For now, the Champion’s enter-the-battlefield ability is on the stack.
What about the Handicraft’s ability that also triggers when the Champion enters the battlefield? Where does that belong on the stack?
603.3b If multiple abilities have triggered since the last time a player received priority, each player, in APNAP order, puts triggered abilities he or she controls on the stack in any order he or she chooses.
Aha, so the order that these abilities will be added to the stack is entirely up to you. Let’s say you want more cards, so you first put the Champion’s draw ability on the stack, then add the Handicraft’s counter-adding ability on top of it.
Last big question. Does the Eagle’s blanket +1/+1 effect have any affect on the Champion, who entered after the ability was put into effect?
Unfortunately, it does not:
611.2c If a continuous effect generated by the resolution of a spell or ability modifies the characteristics or changes the controller of any objects, the set of objects it affects is determined when that continuous effect begins. After that point, the set won’t change.
Example: An effect that reads “All white creatures get +1/+1 until end of turn” gives the bonus to all permanents that are white creatures when the spell or ability resolves—even if they change color later—and doesn’t affect those that enter the battlefield or turn white afterward.
So those were the questions. What does our final answer look like?
- Champion enters as a 2/1. (Eagle’s effect does not influence Champion’s power)
- Champion’s ability triggers and goes on the stack.
- Durable Handicraft’s ability triggers, and you pay 1 mana to put in on the stack.
- Handicraft’s ability resolves, adding a +1/+1 counter to the Champion, which is now a 3/2.
- Champion’s ability resolves, counting its current power of 3. You may draw three cards. If you do, discard two cards.