Magic Ruling: Shocking the Crew

January 4, 2018

It’s been a while since we last discussed the Crew keyword ability, so it’s time for a quick refresher.

At the start of your turn, you control Fell Flagship. You have Daring Saboteur in hand.

Your opponent is at 3 health and has no non-land permanents in play.


During your first main phase, you cast Daring Saboteur.

Still during your main phase, your opponent casts the last card in their hand—Shock, targeting your Saboteur.

Is there a way for you to win the game this turn?


The answer is Yes!

And you’ll need to use a number of the rules associated with the Crew ability to do it.

First, it’s important to know that the Saboteur is going to die. You have no way to prevent that. But for now, Shock is still on the stack. Before it resolves, you can use the Flagship’s Crew 3 ability, which has a cost to activate: “Tap any number of creatures you control with total power 3 or more.”

Can the Saboteur be the “any number of target creatures?”

We’ll be looking way back at the Kaladesh Release Notes for our answers today:

  • “Any untapped creature you control can be tapped to pay a crew cost, even one that just came under your control.”

This is because the ability cost uses the word “tap,” rather than the tap symbol. So yes, the Saboteur is a creature with total power 3 or more (after the Flagship’s buff). And yes, you can tap it to pay for this ability.

Back to the stack! First, the Crew ability resolves, making your Flagship a 3/3 artifact creature.

Next, the Saboteur dies. Is the Flagship still crewed?

  • Once a player announces that he or she is activating a crew ability, no player may take other actions until the ability has been paid for. Notably, players can’t try to stop the ability by changing a creature’s power or by removing or tapping a creature.
  • Creatures that crew a Vehicle aren’t attached to it or related to it in any other way. Effects that affect the Vehicle, such as by destroying it or giving it a +1/+1 counter, don’t affect the creatures that crewed it.

So this outcome is pretty clear. Even if your opponent had saved their Shock in order to respond to your Crew activation, there was nothing they could do. The Flagship will have clear waters straight to their life total.

Missed last week’s ruling? Find it here!

Andy B

Andy B is our Master of Events and Online Wizardry, and that's why you see his picture at the bottom of most posts and events! You'll see him and his beard at all our locations, often with his nose at a computer, creating pages just like this one. His favorite games include The Grizzled, Guild Ball, Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle and Legend of the Five Rings.

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