Card of the Month - March 2012 - TrinisphereArticolo del 1-3-2012
Trinisphere is one of the few cards that were created for Eternal formats; in fact, it was never played in Standard or Extended, while it's so dreaded by Vintage players that it was necessary to add it to the restricted list; being able to cast it in the first turn of the game in a format full of spells that cost 1 mana is just devastating.
Another group of people who have been having nightmares about Trinisphere are the judges: this artifact is the only card that checks the total cost of spells. It's therefore important to review the precise terminology about costs, which are different in concept but with very similar names:
- Mana cost: formerly known as casting cost, it's what is printed on the upper right corner of each card. It contains all the mana symbols, both colored and colorless. For example, the mana cost of a Force of Will is , and it doesn't matter how is cast.
- Converted mana cost: formerly known as total casting cost, it's the sum of the values that appear in the mana cost, in the upper right corner of each card. For example, the converted mana cost of a is 5 (3 colorless + 2 blue = 5).
- Total cost: it's the result of all calculations to determine the cost to cast a spell:
Total cost = [ mana cost | alternative cost ] + cost increases – cost reductions
- Alternative cost: it's a cost that may substitute the mana cost (and only the mana cost), when we calculate the total cost. The alternative cost can be mana, life points, a different action or a mix of these; for example "1 and return a basic land you control to its owner's hand".
- Cost increases: these are the additional costs of the spell itself (like "An as additional cost to cast Fling, sacrifice a creature", or kicker, or buyback or similar) and additional costs caused by effects (like ).
- Cost reductions: These are all the effects that reduce the cost of a spell (like affinity for artifacts or the from Tempest).
Let's take a look again at our favorite guest: Force of Will; let's cast it as we always do, using its alternative cost.
- The total cost of this Force of Will is "Pay 1 life, exile a blue card from your hand".
- The mana cost of this Force of Will is .
- The converted mana cost of this Force of Will is 5.
- If we want to counter it with a , it should have 5 counters.
- If we want to counter it with a , we would have to pay .
When we cast a spell using an alternative cost, the alternative cost substitutes the mana cost in the formula to determine the total cost.
Such total cost may or may not include mana; Trinisphere will check the mana cost and will make sure that at least 3 mana will need to be paid.
For example, a Force of Will cast with its alternative cost will have a total cost of "3, pay 1 life, exile a blue card from your hand".
For example, a cast from the graveyard thanks to flashback (flashback is an alternative cost) will not be influenced by Trinisphere, because its total cost is ).
Spells with a variable cost are those with in their mana cost. In this case, the value of should be taken into account.
For example, a with = 0 (that is a normal way to cast it in a dredge deck) would cost only , but Trinisphere will change its cost to .
Cost increases and cost reduction
Trinisphere's effect is applied after all cost increases and all cost reductions.
Cost increases and cost reductions are taken into account to determine the total cost of a spell; only after that, Trinisphere applies.
For example, a cast with buyback would cost and will not be modified by Trinisphere.
For example, will never cost less than , independently on how many artifacts you control.
Hybrid mana and phyrexian mana
These mana symbols ask us to make a choice (in step ): after choosing which additional costs we want to pay, we need to choose what color of mana we want to spend for each symbol of hybrid mana (like ), if we want to spend a colored mana or 2 colorless mana for monocolored hybrid mana symbols (like ) and if we want to spend a colored mana or pay 2 life points for phyrexian mana symbols (like ).
These are not cost reductions, but rules associated to these mana symbols.
Trinisphere checks only the total amount of mana that we are spending to cast the spell.
For example, if we cast and we want to pay life points for both phyrexian mana, the total cost would be "1, pay 4 life points" and then Trinisphere will make it cost "3, pay 4 life points".
You can read the original article in Italian .
You can read the full article on Blackborder .