Cranial Insertion Wee Madness!
or, I Suddenly Find Myself Needing
To Know the Plural of Ultimus
By Eli Shiffrin, Tom Fowler, and Ted Dickinson
Before we jump into this week's article full of questions from the firstname.lastname@example.org mailbag, as a public service we'll briefly recap the changes to the Banned/Restricted lists that were announced last Friday. Most of you competitive players are probably already hard at work on tweaking your decks, but for those who may have missed the announcement, here are the changes:
Now that we have that out of the way, on to your questions!
Q:If I have Mindlash Sliver in play and used its ability to make players discard a card, could I discard Call to the Netherworld and pay its madness cost to return the same Mindlash Sliver to my hand?
A: Absolutely. When you discard the Call to the Netherworld, it will be removed from the game instead. At that time madness triggers, but the triggered ability won't go on the stack until the Mindlash Sliver's ability has finished resolving. When the madness trigger resolves, you can play the Call to the Netherworld. Since the sliver is now in your graveyard, it will be a legal target for the Call.
Q: Can Smallpox trigger a madness ability? Because the order of the resolution is lose life, then discard a card, then sacrifice a creature, and lastly, sacrifice a land. Will you wait for the whole resolution of the spell before playing triggered effects?
A: Yes, Smallpox can cause madness to trigger. Both players are discarding a card, after all. And as we covered in the previous question, if an effect causes you to discard a madness card, but does other things as well, you must finish resolving all of that effect before the madness trigger goes on the stack.
Q: If I have a Wee Dragonauts in play and play a Fatal Frenzy targeting it, do the Dragonauts get the +2/+0 before or after the +X/+0 from the Frenzy?
A: There are a lot of triggered abilities out there, like that of Wee Dragonauts that trigger when someone plays a spell. The event of "playing a spell" is following the steps laid out in what I like to call Formula 409 (i.e. Section 409 of the Comprehensive Rules) for putting a spell on the stack, choosing targets, paying costs, etc. As soon as that event is complete, the triggered ability goes on the stack on top of the original spell. Therefore the triggered ability will always resolve first, before the spell that caused it to trigger. In this case, the Dragonauts will be 3/3 when the Fatal Frenzy checks its power.
Q: If I attack with Spectral Force and my opponent has no black permanents, will I be able to untap the Spectral Force two turns later, or it will it be tapped forever?
A: When something says it "doesn't untap during your next untap step," it means only that; it won't untap during the next untap step you have after whatever effect saying that resolves. If you attacked with the Spectral Force on your sixth turn, you will be able to untap it normally on your eighth turn. If an ability truly keeps a creature tapped in perpetuity, the word "next" won't be in it. (See Colossus of Sardia's first sentence as an example.
And you can always just circumvent this whole untap step silliness with cards like Scryb Ranger. Spectral Force's triggered ability doesn't stop you from untapping it through unusual means.
A: Even though Premature Burial has some unusual targeting requirements, it's still a targeted spell. Since Giant Solifuge has Shroud (the ability formerly known as "can't be the target of spells or abilities"), you'd have to figure out some way to make it lose Shroud, such as Sudden Spoiling, before you could ever even target it with Premature Burial.
Shroud is a lot less catchy than that symbol Prince used. Maybe WotC should use symbols instead of keywords for abilities. . . .
No, terrible idea. Next question!
Q: I play Spelljack on my opponent's Cyclical Evolution. If I play the Spelljacked spell will I get to suspend the spell and replay it later? Or will they get to play the suspended spell?
A: Your opponent will be the one to play the Cyclical Evolution the next time around.
While there are plenty of effects that cause objects to change controllers, there are none that can cause an object to change owners (with the exception of ante cards like Jeweled Bird that haven't been legal in sanctioned tournament play for over a decade).
Only an object's owner can play that object, unless some effect specifically allows otherwise. This is what lets you play the spell once using Spelljack, but it doesn't grant you permanent ownership of the card. When suspend's "play this without paying its mana cost" triggered ability is resolved, that instruction is for the card's owner, regardless of who controlled it when it was suspended.
Damn it feels good to be a gangster.
Wait... I'm not a gangster!?
Q:Mirror Gallery and Coat of Arms are in play. I have two Mistform Ultimus's under my control. How many times will they get +1/+1? In other words, can you count for me how many (non-Unglued/Unhinged) creature types Magic the Gathering has at the moment?
A: These are two different questions that, surprisingly, don't have a strong connection. To answer the first question: just once. Coat of Arms only checks to see if the two creatures share a creature type, not how many creature types are shared. With two creatures in play, the most either one can gain from a single Coat of Arms is +1/+1.
That said, there are:
different creature types in Magic as of the release of Future Sight. (Take a guess before clicking that spoiler button.)
And since we here at Cranial Insertion are just obsessive enough to list them, here they are.
The up-to-date list of creature types can always be found by looking in the Glossary of the latest Comprehensive Rules under "creature type."
Q: How do cost increasers or cost reducers affect a card's converted mana cost? If my opponent controls a Sapphire Medallion and plays an Air Elemental, then I Mana Drain the Elemental, how much mana will I get?
A: The short answer to the first question is that they don't. A card's converted mana cost is always calculated using what's printed in the upper-right corner (or middlish-left for those futureshifted cards). Cost increasers or reducers can't change a card's converted mana cost.
From that, we can answer that no matter how an Air Elemental is played, Mana Draining it will always give you exactly five mana; no more, no less.
BONUS: There are a few ways in which a card's converted mana cost can change. These include:
Spells with X in the mana cost. On the stack, X equals whatever was chosen for it when the spell was played, and will add to the spell's converted mana cost accordingly. In any other zone, X equals 0.
Face-down status. A face-down object has no mana cost, and therefore a converted mana cost of 0, regardless of what the face-up object would have.
Q: When Onslaught etc rotates out of Extended in 2008 (the fall, I believe?), will 8th Edition still be in Extended, or still it rotate out as well?
A: Unfortunately the official announcement as to the 2008 Extended rotation hasn't been made yet, so we can't say for certain whether it will be. We will certainly keep the readership posted with any such announcements as we get them.
And yes, the rotation will be in the fall of 2008—October 20, to be exact, presuming the current schedule remains.
Q: Let's say a creature with an equipment attached is phased out. From Rule 502.15i, the equipment will phase out "indirectly" alongside the creature. If there is a Faith's Fetters enchanting the equipment, what will happen to the Faith's Fetters?
A: First off, let's show the rule to which the questioner is referring:
502.15i When a permanent phases out, any Auras, Equipment, or Fortifications attached to that permanent phase out at the same time. This alternate way of phasing out is known as phasing out "indirectly." An Aura, Equipment, or Fortification that phased out indirectly won't phase in by itself, but instead phases in along with the card it's attached to.
This rule applies twice in this situation: the equipment phases out because it's attached to the creature, and the Faith's Fetters phases out because it's attached to the equipment. When the creature phases in, both the equipment and the Fetters should also phase back in, attached as they were before they changed zones.
Apologies to the Buffy the Vampire Slayer writing team for the adaptation of this week's subtitle, and brownie points to those of you who know 1)who said the original line and 2)what word I replaced.