Welcome...‎ > ‎

Modern Triggers - PTQ Dragon's Maze addition

Hello everyone!
In preparation for PTQ Dragon’s Maze, which will be on the 9th of February, I have compiled a list of common triggers in Modern! (the format you will be playing) I have sorted them in to 3 categories for you: Detrimental, Non-Detrimental and Both.

Triggers in General

Triggers are lines of text on a card that traditionally begin with: “When,” “Whenever,” or “At.” They are invisible so players often miss them. Some triggers are beneficial like “Signal Pest” and some are detrimental like “Hellspark Elemental.” Multiple changes in policy in the last 12 months have meant that triggers have been more confusing for players. But do not worry, they are fixed now! Here is a brief set of rules to follow so you don’t get penalties:
You are not responsible for your opponents triggers and do not have to point them out, even if they are detrimental.
If you want one of your opponents triggers to happen, call a judge and ask them to put it on to the stack.
You may not skip past your mandatory triggers knowingly. This is Cheating – Fraud and will get you booted from any event.

Detrimental Triggers

These are triggers that a generally considered bad for you. The reason they get a special mention in the Magic: Infraction procedure Guide (MIPG) is that these are the only triggers that a judge will step in and point out that you missed this trigger and will issue you a Warning. Any trigger a player misses their opponent can point out (if the wish), call a judge and ask for the trigger to be placed on to the stack.
Here are some common Detrimental triggers:
Goblin Guide: 

Away you can quickly tell whether a card has a detrimental trigger or a non-detrimental trigger is imagine the card without the trigger and ask whether or not they would print it?

Hellspark Elemental

Vexing Devil

Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker: The sacrificing of the creature token is a delayed, detrimental trigger Kiki,-Jiki, Mirror Breaker creates.

Phantasmal Image


Pyromancer's Swath


Non-Detrimental Triggers

These are the vast majority of triggers and are generally considered good for you. If a judge happens to be watching your game when you miss one of these they will not say a word (unless they think you are doing it intentionally).

Rift Bolt: Suspend has two separate triggers. One is, “At the beginning of your upkeep remove a time counter” and “when the last time counter is removed, cast ~this~ without paying its mana cost.” Both triggers are considered to be Non-detrimental .

Raging Ravine

Dark Confidant: A controversial one! Yes this is considered to be Non-detrimental [period] If you are 400 life or if you are on 1 life. To keep the rules fair to everyone judges cannot,  I’ll repeat that, cannot take the current game state in to account when considering whether a trigger is detrimental or not. We assume you would not be playing Dark Confidant if he looked a little more like:


Batterskull: Living Weapon is a trigger.

Obstinate Baloth

Arcbound Ravager: Modular has a trigger.

Signal Pest

Deceiver Exarch

Eternal Witness

Glen Elendra Archmage

Kitchen Finks: Both Kitchen Fink’s triggers (Life gain and persist) are Non-Detrimental.

Noble Hierarch

Qasali Pridemage

Restoration Angel: this is similar to Dark Confidant whether you have a Phantasmal Image in play or something. This is Non-Detrimental for pretty much the same reason Dark Confidant is.

Zealous Conscripts

Emrakul, the Aeons Torn: Taking an extra turn and annihilator are Non-Detrimental.

Wurmcoil Engine

Chromatic Star//////Chromatic Sphere: I thought I would bring this up because there is an interesting distinction between these two cards. Chromatic Star has a Non-Detrimental Trigger but Chromatic Sphere doesn’t have a trigger at all! Please do not fall in to the trap of not telling your opponent to draw a card off their Chromatic Sphere (it is bad times).

Prophetic Prism

Disciple of the Vault

Nihil Spellbomb

Huntmaster of the Fells

Geralf's Messenger

Ichorclaw Myr


Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle

Snapcaster Mage

Elsewhere Flask

Lotus Bloom: Suspend has two separate triggers. One is, “At the beginning of your upkeep remove a time counter” and “when the last time counter is removed, cast ~this~ without paying its mana cost.” Both triggers are considered to be Non-detrimental .

Ichor Wellspring

Vendilion Clique

Wall of Omens

Rest in Peace

Grapeshot: Yes Storm is a trigger!

Pyromancer Ascension

Empty the Warrens: Read Grapeshot!

Murderous Redcap

Aether Vial

Cards that have Detrimental and Non-Detrimental triggers:

Thankfully this is a short list so as not to be confusing.


Detention Sphere: The first trigger is Non-Detrimental because it is generally considered good. The second trigger is Detrimental. “What if I have only my own card exiled with Detention Sphere?” Answer: It doesn’t matter! The second trigger “Cleans up” the rest of the card by having a linked ability and is considered Detrimental always! (This is true for Obivion Ring’s Second Trigger and Angel of Serenity’s second trigger.

Avalanche Riders: Echo = Detrimental. Stone rain ability= Non-Detrimental

Geist of Saint Traft: Putting an Angel in to play is a Non-detrimental trigger. Exiling the Angel at the End of Combat step is Detrimental.

Reveillark: Returning creatures to play is Non-Detrimental. Sacrificing Reveillark to Evoke is Detrimental.