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Prototype
MTGA Prototype
Keyword Ability
Type Static
Introduced The Brothers' War
Last used Modern Horizons 3
Reminder Text Prototype (You may cast this spell with different mana cost, color, and size. It keeps its abilities and types.)
Storm Scale 5[1]
Statistics
21 cards
{artifact symbol} 100%
By prototype cost:
21 cards
{W} 14.3% {U} 23.8% {B} 14.3% {R} 19% {G} 28.6%
Scryfall Search
keyword:"Prototype"
For the class of creatures with the same power and toughness and mana cost, see Prototype creature.

Prototype is a keyword ability introduced in The Brothers' War which allows an alternate version of a card to be cast for less than its normal mana cost. It is unique to artifacts and artifact creatures.[2][3][4] While technically colorless, prototype costs lean green and blue.

Description[ | ]

Phyrexian Fleshgorger

Prototype card frame

BRO Prototype markers

Prototype markers.[5]

Each prototype card has two sets of characteristics:

  • Its default mana cost, power, and toughness – printed in their normal positions on the card. The mana cost is entirely colorless and greater than 4.
  • A secondary set of color, mana cost, power and toughness printed in the prototype ability.

When a card is cast for its prototype cost, its secondary mana cost, power and toughness replace its default mana cost, power and toughness on the stack and, when it resolves, on the battlefield.

Prototype is similar to split cards, modal double-faced cards (MDFCs), and Adventure cards in allowing a spell to be cast two different ways. As with those mechanics, casting the Prototype version of a spell is not considered to be an alternative cost - the Prototype cost is simply considered to be the spell's base mana cost, and it can still be used in cases where an alternative cost applies, such as "casting without paying its mana cost". Prototype is also superficially similar to Emerge, as expensive colorless spells with a discounted colored cost.

The prototype reminder text uniquely refers to the "size" of the prototyped creature as a shorthand for "power and toughness". (The official rules for prototype still explicitly state power and toughness.) This is made possible by the special card frame showing the alternate characteristics, whereas most times an ability changes power and toughness, the text provides numbers for both attributes anyway. Similar special card frames, such as those for Level up or MDFCs, simply didn't mention the size in any reminder text.

History[ | ]

Prototype was reused in Alchemy: The Brothers' War and made a reappearance in Modern Horizons 3.

Rules[ | ]

From the glossary of the Comprehensive Rules (June 7, 2024—Modern Horizons 3)

Prototype
An ability which allows a prototype card to be cast with a secondary set of characteristics. See rule 718, “Prototype Cards,” and rule 702.160, “Prototype.”

From the Comprehensive Rules (June 7, 2024—Modern Horizons 3)

  • 702.160. Prototype
    • 702.160a Prototype is a static ability that appears on prototype cards that have a secondary set of power, toughness, and mana cost characteristics. A player who casts a spell with prototype can choose to cast that card “protoyped.” If they do, the alternative set of its power, toughness, and mana cost characteristics are used. See 718, “Prototype Cards.”

From the glossary of the Comprehensive Rules (June 7, 2024—Modern Horizons 3)

Prototype Card
Cards with a two-part card frame (one part of which is inset under the type line) on a single card. See rule 718, “Prototype Cards.”

From the Comprehensive Rules (June 7, 2024—Modern Horizons 3)

  • 718. Prototype Cards
    • 718.1. Prototype cards have a two-part frame, with a smaller frame inset below the type line of the card. The inset frame contains the prototype keyword ability as well as a second set of power, toughness, and mana cost characteristics.
    • 718.2. The mana cost, power, and toughness in the inset frame represent alternative characteristics that the object may have while it is a spell or while it is a permanent on the battlefield. The card’s normal characteristics appear as usual.
      • 718.2a The existence and values of these alternative characteristics are part of the object’s copiable values.
    • 718.3. As a player casts a prototype card, the player chooses whether they cast the card normally or cast it as a prototyped spell using the prototype keyword ability (see rule 702.160, “Prototype”).
      • 718.3a While casting a prototyped spell, use only its alternative power, toughness, and mana cost when evaluating those characteristics to see if it can be cast.
      • 718.3b Both a prototyped spell and the permanent it becomes have only its alternative set of power, toughness, and mana cost characteristics. If that mana cost includes one or more colored mana symbols, the spell and the permanent it becomes are also that color or colors (see rule 105.2).
      • 718.3c If a prototyped spell is copied, the copy is also a prototyped spell. It has the alternative power, toughness, and mana cost characteristics of the spell and not the normal power, toughness, and mana cost characteristics of the card that represents the prototyped spell. Any rule or effect that refers to a prototyped spell refers to the copy as well.
      • 718.3d If a permanent that was a prototyped spell is copied, the copy has the alternative power, toughness, and mana cost characteristics of the permanent and not the normal power and toughness characteristics of the card that represents that permanent. Any rule or effect that refers to a permanent that was a prototyped spell refers to the copy as well.
    • 718.4. In every zone except the stack or the battlefield, and while on the stack or the battlefield when not cast as a prototyped spell, a prototype card has only its normal characteristics.
    • 718.5. A prototype card’s characteristics other than its power, toughness, and mana cost (and other than color) remain the same whether it was cast as a prototyped spell or cast normally.

Rulings[ | ]

  • A prototype card is a colorless card in every zone except the stack or the battlefield, as well as while on the stack or the battlefield if not cast as a prototyped spell. Ignore its alternative characteristics in those cases. For example, while it's in your graveyard, Blitz Automaton is a colorless creature card with mana value 7. It can't be the target of Recommission, a spell that targets an artifact or creature card with mana value 3 or less in your graveyard.
  • When cast as a prototyped spell, that spell has the mana cost, power, and toughness characteristics shown in its colored, secondary text box rather than the normal values of those characteristics. Its color and mana value are determined by that mana cost. The permanent that spell becomes as it resolves has the same characteristics. If the spell leaves the stack in any other way, or the permanent it becomes leaves the battlefield, it immediately resumes using its normal characteristics.
  • Regardless of how it was cast, a prototype card always has the same name, abilities, types, and so on. Only the mana cost, mana value, color, power, and toughness change depending on whether the card was cast as a prototyped spell.
  • The prototype ability functions in any zone that the spell could be cast from. For example, if an effect allows you to cast artifact spells from your graveyard, you could cast a prototyped Blitz Automaton from your graveyard.
  • Casting a prototyped spell isn't the same as casting it for an alternative cost, and an alternative cost may be applied to a spell cast this way. For example, if an effect allows you to cast an artifact card without paying its mana cost, you could either cast Blitz Automaton normally, or as a prototyped spell.
  • When casting a prototyped spell, use only its prototype characteristics to determine whether it's legal to cast it. For example, if Blitz Automaton is exiled with the last ability of Chandra, Dressed to Kill, you would be able to cast it for {2}{R} (because it's a red spell), even though you wouldn't be able to cast it as a colorless spell for its normal cost.
  • If an effect copies a prototyped spell, that copy (as well as the token it becomes on the battlefield) will have the same characteristics as the prototyped spell. Similarly, if an effect creates a token that's a copy of a prototyped permanent or causes another permanent to become a copy of it, the copy would have the same characteristics as the prototyped permanent.

Example[ | ]

Example

Phyrexian Fleshgorger {7}
Artifact Creature — Phyrexian Wurm
7/5
Menace, lifelink
Ward—Pay life equal to Phyrexian Fleshgorger's power.
//
{1}{B}{B}
Prototype (You may cast this spell with different mana cost, color, and size. It keeps its abilities and types.)
3/3

References[ | ]

  1. Mark Rosewater (2023-11-15). "Hi Mark, Where is Prototype on the Storm Scale?...". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  2. Matt Tabak (October 27, 2022). "The Brothers' War Mechanics". Magicthegathering.com.
  3. Mark Rosewater (October 31, 2022). "Act of War, Part 1". Magicthegathering.com.
  4. Jess Dunks (November 7, 2022). "The Brothers' War Release Notes". Magicthegathering.com.
  5. Mark Rosewater (December 12, 2022). "Odds & Ends: The Brothers' War". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
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