MTG Keywords Explained: Demonstrate

Card Kingdom Strategy

In many cases, Magic is a zero-sum game: one player wins and the other loses. But that isn’t always so in multiplayer formats like Commander. When several people play together, it’s often advantageous for players to work together for mutual benefit. And in Magic‘s latest Commander decks, there are many cards that encourage and even reward cooperation.

Today, we’re going to take a look at a new mechanic from Commander 2021 that will help you demonstrate just how much you value other players’ help.

What is Demonstrate?

Demonstrate is a new keyword that appears on sorcery cards in Commander 2021. When you cast a spell with demonstrate, you have a choice: you can cast the spell as normal, or you can choose to copy it. If you copy the spell, you may choose new targets for the copy. And, most importantly, you must also choose an opponent to get a second copy of the spell. That’s three total copies of the spell: the original one you cast, your copy, and your opponent’s copy.

While you’ll certainly be helping out another player by giving them a spell to cast, you have two distinct advantages in this situation. Your first advantage is that you have two copies of the spell to cast, while your opponent only has one. But you’ll also have an advantage when it comes time for the spell and each of its copies to resolve.

When several spells go on the stack at the same time, Magic uses what’s called the “active player/non-active player” rule to determine whose spell will resolve first. The active player’s spell will always go on the stack first, meaning it will always be the last to resolve. So, your opponent’s copy of a spell with demonstrate will always resolve before the two spells you get to cast. This gives you a huge information advantage; you get to choose targets for your spells after your opponent has chosen theirs!

One last note: you make the choice to demonstrate or not when you cast the spell, so all the copies would go on the stack before anyone gets a chance to respond and counter any of the copies.

Demonstrate is an exciting new ability that will allow you to broker deals and form alliances at the Commander table. Be sure to check out all the newest cards from Commander 2021, and stay tuned for more Magic info!