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Cleave
Keyword Ability
Type Static (1st ability)
Static (2nd ability)
Introduced Innistrad: Crimson Vow
Last Used Innistrad: Crimson Vow
Reminder Text Cleave (You may cast this spell for its cleave cost. If you do, remove the words in square brackets.)
Statistics
12 cards
{W} 16.7% {U} 41.7% {B} 25% {R} 8.3% {G} 8.3%
Scryfall Search
oracle:"Cleave"

Cleave is a keyword ability introduced in Innistrad: Crimson Vow. It can only be found on instants and sorceries, offering an alternative cost.[1]

Description[]

Cleave means “to cut”. The mechanic cuts text.[2] The introduction of cleave was foreshadowed in the 2020 Mystery Booster test card Graveyard Dig, which was first concepted by Linus Ulyssus Hamilton during the Great Designer Search 3.[3][4][5]

When casting a card with cleave, you can cast it for its mana cost as normal.[6] If you do, the spell's effect is processed as normal. That is, every single word of its rules text is followed, just like you'd expect.

But if you opt to pay the cleave cost rather than the mana cost, you can ignore all the words in brackets. This will change some key aspect of the effect. For most of them, cleaving the spell expands the range of impact by deleting their qualifying statement.

No matter how you cast a card that has cleave, the resulting spell's color and mana value are both based on the spell's mana cost. Specifically, Dig Up is a green spell with mana value 1, even if you choose to cast it for its cleave cost. As it always has, Innistrad offers you plenty of opportunities to cleave your troubles behind.

History[]

Ari Nieh designed Cleave in Streets of New Capenna exploratory design. As it didn’t end up in the final set, Mark Gottlieb suggested it to Adam Prosak for Crimson Vow’s use.[7][8]

Rules[]

From the glossary of the Comprehensive Rules (November 19, 2021—Innistrad: Crimson Vow)

Cleave
A keyword ability that allows you to pay an alternative cost to remove some of a spell’s text. See rule 702.148, “Cleave.”

From the Comprehensive Rules (November 19, 2021—Innistrad: Crimson Vow)

  • 702.148. Cleave
    • 702.148a Cleave is a keyword that represents two static abilities that function while a spell with cleave is on the stack. “Cleave [cost]” means “You may cast this spell by paying [cost] rather than paying its mana cost” and “If this spell’s cleave cost was paid, change its text by removing all text found within square brackets in the spell’s rules text.” Casting a spell for its cleave cost follows the rules for paying alternative costs in rules 601.2b and 601.2f–h.
    • 702.148b Cleave’s second ability is a text-changing effect. See rule 612, “Text-Changing Effects.”

Rulings[]

  • If you cast a spell for its cleave cost, that spell doesn't have any of the text in square brackets while it's on the stack.[9]
  • A cleave cost is an alternative cost that's paid instead of the spell's mana cost. Casting a spell for its cleave cost doesn't change the spell's mana value.
  • You can't cast a spell for both its cleave cost and another alternative cost. For example, if an effect gives an Alchemist's Retrieval in your graveyard a flashback cost of {U}, you can't cast it from your graveyard for its cleave cost.
  • If an effect allows you to "cast a spell without paying its mana cost," you can't cast that spell for its cleave cost.

Examples[]

Example

Dig Up {G}
Sorcery
Cleave {1}{B}{B}{G} (You may cast this spell for its cleave cost. If you do, remove the words in square brackets.)
Search your library for a [basic land] card, [reveal it,] put it into your hand, then shuffle.

References[]

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