Cranial Insertion: Into the Deep End



Cranial Insertion
Into the Deep End
or, Don't Drown in the Knowledge Pool!

By Eli Shiffrin, Brian Paskoff, and Carsten Haese




Can you swim in knowledge?
Welcome back to Cranial Insertion! The Mirrans and the Phyrexians have successfully defeated the unexpected bee invasion that we reported last week, and now they're back to fighting each other to see who gets to claim the credit for defeating the bee invasion. While it's not clear yet who will win this war, one early victor has already emerged: Moko. Mirrodin Besieged has introduced lots of tricky card interactions that turn players' brains into delicious dip that our zombified simian friend just can't resist. To prevent this from happening to you, please send your rules questions to [email][email protected][/email]. We'll send you an answer by email, and your question might even appear in a future article.

Now, please put on your bathing suits, jump into the Knowledge Pool with me, and check out this week's selection of Magic rules questions.




Q: Do creatures that regenerate count towards the X/X token that Phyrexian Rebirth makes?

A: Nope. Phyrexian Rebirth only counts creatures that were actually destroyed by it. If a creature wasn't destroyed due to being indestructible, due to regeneration, or some other destruction replacement effect such as totem armor, it doesn't count.




Q: Can Genesis Wave put lands onto the battlefield?

A: Certainly! Lands don't have a mana cost, but every object has a converted mana cost. The converted mana cost of an object that has no mana cost is 0, and that is lower than any useful value of X you could choose for Genesis Wave.




Q: Is imprinting a Rusted Relic onto Clone Shell a good idea if I control three or more artifacts?

A: Probably not, unless you have some use for a Rusted Relic that's stuck in the exile zone. Rusted Relic's metalcraft ability is not a characteristic-defining ability because it is conditional, so it only works when Rusted Relic is on the battlefield. In the exile zone, Rusted Relic is only an artifact card, so Clone Shell's ability won't be able to put it onto the battlefield.




Q: How do two Galvanoths work together? Do I get to look at the top two cards of my library and cast any instant or sorcery cards from those two?

A: No, you don't get to look at the top two cards of your library together. Each Galvanoth's ability triggers and resolves separately, and each one lets you look at the top card of your library. If the top card of your library changes between those triggers, for example because the first trigger let you cast it, then the second trigger will show you a different card that you might be able to cast, too.




Q: If I imprint Prototype Portal on Myr Welder, can Myr Welder produce new Prototype Portals?

A: Nope! Myr Welder only acquires Prototype Portal's second ability, and that ability is linked to Prototype Portal's first ability. "The exiled card" in the Portal's second ability refers only to cards that were exiled by its first ability, and Myr Welder doesn't have that ability.




Q: I just cast a Precursor Golem and he brought his two token buddies along. Can I cast Act of Treason on Precursor Golem to give all my Golems haste even though I already control them and they're already untapped?

A: Sure, that works just fine. When Act of Treason resolves on an untapped Golem you control, it does as much as it can. It creates a redundant change-of-control effect, fails to untap that Golem, and then gives it haste. Go ahead and hit your opponent with 9 points of surprise combat damage!




Q: My opponent controls a Knowledge Pool and he casts a spell. Knowledge Pool's ability triggers and exiles the spell my opponent just cast. My opponent claims that he can now cast that card because it changed zones, so it is now another object. Is that true?

A: No, that's not true. Knowledge Pool's "another card" means "a card other than the one that was just exiled." Your opponent will have to choose a card that was already in the pool.





Nobody looks good under black light.
Q: Can Black Sun's Zenith put -1/-1 counters on a creature with protection from black?

A: Absolutely! A creature that has protection from black only gets four very specific benefits from protection: Damage that would be dealt to it by black sources is prevented; black enchantments and equipment can't be attached to it; black creatures can't block it; and black spells and abilities from black sources can't target it. Black Sun's Zenith isn't trying to do any of those things, so protection doesn't interfere with it.




Q: What's up with the "if the player does" condition in Knowledge Pool's second ability? Exiling the spell is not optional, and attempting to counter it would just trigger the Pool's second ability again. How could a player ever fail to exile the card that triggered the second ability?

A: You're right, exiling the spell is not optional, so if it's still on the stack when the second ability resolves, it'll get exiled. It is possible to counter the spell in response to the triggered ability, but you have to do it in a roundabout way. For example, if a counterspell is already in the Pool, you can use it to counter the first spell by casting some throwaway spell. You could also counter the first spell with a triggered ability or with an activated ability, which wouldn't trigger the Pool's second ability again.




Q: If I control an active Pyromancer Ascension, can I use Æther Tradewinds to bounce one of my permanents and two of my opponent's permanents?

A: Yup, that's not a problem. When Pyromancer Ascension creates the copy of Aether Tradewinds, you're not required to change all the targets, so the copy is allowed to target the same permanent of yours that's targeted by the original. The copy resolves and bounces that permanent and one of your opponent's things. Then, the original checks whether it still has at least one legal target. It does, so it resolves and does as much as it can, happily bouncing your opponent's second thing.




Q: Is there any way to shut down a land's activated abilities with Phyrexian Revoker?

A: No, there's no way, and that's a fact, not a challenge. Phyrexian Revoker's second ability is linked to its first ability, which means that only a name that was chosen as a result of the first ability can be used by the second ability. Even if Phyrexian Revoker somehow gained an ability that allows you to name a land card, the second ability won't use that name.




Q: I hit my opponent's 1/1 dork with Virulent Wound, and in response he Giant Growths it. What happens in the cleanup step when the Giant Growth bonus ends?

A: Your opponent's creature becomes 0/0 and dies. Continuous effects with durations of "until end of turn" and "this turn" have just ended, but the delayed triggered ability that was created by Virulent Wound's resolution is still awake until the game enters another turn, since it doesn't use "this turn" to denote the duration of a continuous effect. It uses "this turn" to mean "during the same turn," and it's still the same turn, so the ability triggers and gives your opponent a nasty poison counter.




Q: I attack with Rot Wolf and my opponent blocks it with a 3/3 creature, so my Wolf is toast and the blocker becomes 1/1. If manage to deal another point of damage to the blocker to finish it off later in the same turn, do I get to draw a card from Rot Wolf's ability?

A: Nope, sorry. Unlike Virulent Wound's trigger, Rot Wolf's ability is not a delayed triggered ability. It's a perfectly normal triggered ability with the slightly unusual condition "a creature dealt damage by Rot Wolf this turn is put into a graveyard." As such, the ability only works on the battlefield, so in order for it to trigger, Rot Wolf must be alive to see the damaged creature go to the graveyard. The ability does trigger if Rot Wolf and the damaged creature die at the same time because creatures that leave the battlefield at the same time see each other leaving, but that's not the case here.




Q: The Mirrodin Besieged FAQ says that Spine of Ish Sah can't be sacrificed. What's up with that?

A: I'm afraid you're misunderstanding what the FAQ says. It doesn't say that you're forbidden from sacrificing Spine of Ish Sah. It says that the Spine's last ability doesn't allow you to sacrifice it, and that much is true. If all you have is Spine of Ish Sah, you can't spontaneously sacrifice it just because you want to. However, if you also control something like Throne of Geth, you're certainly allowed to sacrifice Spine of Ish Sah to activate the Throne's ability.




Q: I control a Myr Battlesphere and its four token friends, and I attack with the Battlesphere. Can I respond to the attack trigger by blinking the Battlesphere with Master Transmuter to get an untapped Battlesphere and four more Myr to tap for the attack trigger?

A: I like the way you think! Yes, that's legal, and you'll deal 9 damage to your opponent's head. When the attack trigger resolves, you control nine untapped Myr that you can all tap for that ability. The Myr that's dealing the damage doesn't exist any more and it's not attacking anymore, but that's not a problem. Your opponent is still the defending player, and the damage is dealt by Myr Battlesphere's last-known-information ghost image.





"Are you hurt? I can end your pain."
Q: So, my opponent controls Gideon Jura and activates its animation ability. In response, I shoot it with a Lightning Bolt. After the Bolt and the animation ability have resolved, I flash in Final-Sting Faerie with the help of Leyline of Anticipation. Can I destroy Gideon with Final-Sting Faerie's ability?

A: This may surprise you, but yes, that works. Even though Lightning Bolt didn't mark any damage on Gideon, Gideon was dealt damage. The target of Final-Sting Faerie's ability needs to be a creature, and it needs to be an object that was dealt damage during the current turn. The fact that Gideon was not a creature at the time it was dealt damage is irrelevant. Well played!




Q: If I cast Mutilate, will the -X/-X effect apply to creatures that enter the battlefield later during the same turn?

A: Nope, those creatures will be safe. Mutilate's resolution creates a continuous effect that affects the characteristics of a certain set of creatures. That set is locked in when Mutilate resolves, and creatures that enter the battlefield later won't be affected by the effect.




Q: What happens if an indestructible creature such as Blightsteel Colossus gets Doom Bladed and then loses its indestructibility to Humble later in the same turn?

A: Nothing happens. Unlike damage, destruction is not marked on a creature. Destroying a creature is a one-shot effect that moves the creature from the battlefield to the graveyard, if possible. In the case of an indestructible creature, that's not possible, so the effect is simply ignored.




Q: If I have a Dryad Arbor, seven Forests, and a Coat of Arms, how big will Dryad Arbor become when I tap out for an entwined Rude Awakening?

A: Only 2/2, I'm afraid. Rude Awakening turns your Forests and Dryad Arbor into 2/2 creatures, but they don't share a creature type with Dryad Arbor, because Forest is not a creature type. It's a land type, which Dryad Arbor is allowed to have because it's a land. The fact that Dryad Arbor is also a creature doesn't make Forest a creature type.




Q: How does Doubling Season interact with living weapons such as Skinwing?

A: It interacts strangely. Living weapon tells you to put a Germ token onto the battlefield and attach Skinwing to it, but Doubling Season changes the single Germ token into a pair of identical twin Germs. Attaching Skinwing to both of them is impossible, so you do as much as possible. You choose one Germ and attach Skinwing to that, and the other Germ will die shortly thereafter for being 0/0 when state-based actions are checked. Weird!




Q: So, I'm playing a game of Commander, and I cast Distant Memories to search for my commander that was Condemned earlier in the game. Instead of exiling it, I choose to put my commander into the command zone. Can my opponents still choose to have me put it into my hand, or is that an impossible action because the card didn't get exiled?

A: Distant Memories talks about "that card," not "the exiled card," so it's irrelevant whether the card actually ends up in the exile zone. Distant Memories tracks the card wherever its effect puts it, and the command zone replacement effect changes where the card goes, but it doesn't change the fact that the card goes there due to Distant Memories' effect. This means that Distant Memories can find the card and put it into your hand if that's what at least one of your opponents wants.




Well, my skin is starting to turn pruny, so I think it's time for us to get out of the Knowledge Pool for now. Please join us again next week for another helping of delicious rules questions.

- Carsten Haese

Comments

Posts Quoted:
Reply
Clear All Quotes