Creatures with “enter the battlefield” abilities are great, but what if you don’t have enough mana to pay for them? Thankfully, there’s a mechanic that lets you take advantage of the creature’s ability at a fraction of the mana cost.
What is Evoke?
Evoke is an alternative cost that appears on creatures which is typically lower than that creature’s mana cost. If you pay the evoke cost, the creature will enter the battlefield, and you’ll immediately have to sacrifice it. However, you’ll still get any effects from that creature entering or leaving the battlefield — and, if you have the option, you can always just cast the creature normally.
Evoke first appeared in Lorwyn, where it appeared on creatures like Mulldrifter, Shriekmaw, and Reveillark. These cards have all become staples in formats like Commander and Cube; the strength of their effects, combined with the versatility of evoke, makes them especially valuable in singleton formats.
Now, evoke is returning in Modern Horizons 2, and Wizards of the Coast used the opportunity to experiment with different alternate costs. The cycle of mythic rare Elementals in the set all have evoke, but instead of paying mana to evoke them, you must exile a card of the same color from your hand. These creatures all have solid stats and abilities, so you’ll be just as happy to cast them as you will be evoking them.
Notes on Evoke
Here are a few additional rules to keep in mind when playing with evoke:
- Evoking a creature follows the normal timing rules for casting that creature.
- The total mana value of the creature doesn’t change if you evoke it.
- “Taxing” effects that normally apply to the card will still apply to the evoke.
- If you’re able to cast a spell “without paying it’s mana cost,” that only applies to casting it. You would still have to pay the evoke cost if you wanted to sacrifice the creature (for example, if you’re playing Reveillark and want to trigger its “leaves the battlefield” ability).
- If your creature has an “enter the battlefield” ability, it will go on the stack at the same time as evoke. Since you control both triggers, you get to choose what order they resolve, which can occasionally make a difference.
- If you blink a creature that has been evoked before it gets sacrificed, you won’t trigger the evoke sacrifice trigger again when it re-enters.
Creatures with evoke will make great additions to your decks, especially if you can trigger their abilities multiple times. Be sure to add some to your collection!