Cranial Insertion: Mirrodin Bee Sieged

Cranial Insertion
Mirrodin Bee Sieged
or, Bzz Bzzzz Bz Bzz Bzzz

By Eli Shiffrin, Brian Paskoff, and Carsten Haese

Bees! All over me!
Welcome back to the metallic plane of Mirrodin. Where we last left off, the Phyrexians were about to lay siege to the plane and conquer it from within. However, now both sides have a new enemy:


Hence the new set, Mirrodin Bee Sieged. Some may say that I simply have not looked at the packaging where the spelling is clearly different, but to them I say that WotC has obviously made a blatant typographical error and the plane is obviously being invaded by Africanized honey bees traveling through an interplanar portal around that gigantic Christo Redemtor statue in Rio de Janeiro. The native Mirrans and the befuddled Phyrexians both lay down arms in bafflement at the tiny flying menaces swarming their battlefield. Who will emerge victorious? Only time will tell!

In the meantime, I've got a bundle of questions from the Prereleases that are sure to whet your appetite! Don't forget to read the official MBS FAQ for more frequently asked questions – this article is intended to supplement the FAQ, hitting some of the most frequently-asked of those frequently asked questions but mostly covering other questions. It's not a replacement for all the work that went into the FAQ!

Do you still have more questions buzzing around? I'm sure you do! Luckily, Moko has protection from bees and he's willing to field your questions. Just send them over to [email][email protected][/email] and we'll get back to you with an answer, and your question may show up in a future article! Even if your question has nothing to do with the brand-new set or bees at all.

Q: If I attack with two Hero of Bladehold, can I get four 3/1 tokens, or do I have to do the triggers in order?

A: Well, you have to resolve triggers in some order, but luckily, since you control all four triggers that trigger at the same time, you can choose what order that is! Just add the battle cry triggers to the stack first, then the token-making triggers, and the stack will resolve last-in-first-out: you'll get two tokens, get two tokens, then your attacking creatures including those tokens get +1/+0 and +1/+0 again.

Q: Can I use Glamerdye to make living weapon make, say, green tokens instead of black?

A: Glamerdye may be glamorous, but it's not quite shiny enough to dig down into a keyword ability and change its rules text. It can only change text that is printed in on the card, and even if reminder text is changed, that's only a reminder and it wouldn't affect the rules text of the living weapon keyword. (Don't even bother trying to start an argument over whether or not it can change reminder text – it matters in exactly zero situations.)

Q: Does Spread the Sickness get rid of the Equipment, too, when I destroy a living weapon creature?

A: Nah. Don't think of living weapons as the creature's body – think of them as exoskeletons, or shells, like hermit crabs. If you give a hermit crab bubonic plague (can crabs get plague?), the crab dies, but its shell is still lying around for someone else to pick up and smack someone with.

Q: Won't two Consecrated Sphinxes, one on each side, make an infinite loop until one player runs out of cards and loses?

A: That would be the case, except that our Sphinx friend has the magical word "may" on it – you don't have to draw two cards. So, a public service announcement for new cards: Read The Friendly Card! Especially with newer cards, make sure that you don't skim over the text and think you know what it does. Read every word.

Fire kills lots of bees.
But never all of them...
Q: I target a 4/4 with Kuldotha Flamefiend's enter-the-battlefield trigger and sac an artifact, then my opponent Disperses it in response. Is that legal?

A: Well, that's not quite legal, but you're the one who made a mistake. You choose your target for the Flamefiend's trigger as that trigger is put on the stack, but you don't sacrifice an artifact until it resolves. If your opponent bounces the targeted creature, then the trigger is countered since its only target is illegal, and you don't have an option to sacrifice an artifact.

Q: How can Flensermite have lifelink and infect? I thought creatures with infect didn't actually deal damage since that's replaced with counters.

A: Infect doesn't stop the creature from dealing damage; it just modifies what it means to deal damage. Normal creatures deal damage and that results in damage being marked on the other creature; infect creatures deal damage and that results in -1/-1 counters being put on the other creature. Since it's still damage being dealt, even if the result of it is weird, it's good enough for lifelink to do its thing.

Fun fact: a flenser is something that tears away strips of skin or fat tissue. This thing is gaining your opponent life by devouring your skin. Don't ask me how it works on Skeletons, though.

Q: Can I activate Brass Squire on my opponent's turn? I don't think so since you can equip only as a sorcery.

A: "Equip only as a sorcery" means that you can only activate an equip ability at a time you could normally cast a sorcery. It doesn't mean anything in terms of when you can attach stuff – and Brass Squire has you attaching an Equipment without activating an equip ability, so there's no restriction on when that can happen. You can do it on your opponent's turn, or even in the middle of combat.

Q: Can I copy Myr Welder with Cryptoplasm to imprint various cool artifact cards, and then copy something else with imprint to use those cards I previously imprinted?

A: That won't work. The rules for linked abilities come into play here: Myr Welder's tap ability can only power up its own static ability, and its static ability can only be powered by its tap ability. If you tap it to exile something else, and then tap it to exile a Prototype Portal, the exiled card isn't linked to Prototype Portal's activated ability, so the new Portal won't do anything.

Similarly, if you imprint both Molten-Tail Masticore and Prototype Portal on Myr Welder, the Masticore is not linked to the activated ability gained via Prototype Portal; you can't make copies of it. If you exile something with the ability gained via the Masticore, it won't be linked to Myr Welder's static ability, since it wasn't exiled by Myr Welder's first ability.

Linked abilities basically say "no, you can't hack imprint cards to do things they aren't meant to do."

Q: What happens if I equip Myr Welder to something after imprinting Sword of Feast and Famine?

A: Then your Myr Welder will get all ready to hop on your other creature, only to realize that being a big fat creature, it cannot be wielded. No, your Glint Hawk cannot pick it up by the feet and fly over enemies smacking them with Myr Welder's head – that just can't happen. A permanent that isn't an Aura or an Equipment can never be attached to a creature.

Q: Is there a way to use Liquimetal Coating on a planeswalker so I can yoink it with Myr Welder and teach the Welder how to walk the Blind Eternities?

A: Man, let's add another item to the list of things that Myr Welder is just not cool enough to learn. No, you can't weld a spark onto it. Frown Upon leaving the battlefield, your planeswalker becomes an entirely new object with no relation to the one on the battlefield that was an artifact; it won't ever be an artifact card in your graveyard at all.

Q: What about Liquimetal Coating and Mirrorworks? Can I copy any creature I feel like with some sort of trick?

A: I guess now we'll move on to the stuff that Liquimetal Coating is just not cool enough to do. Mirrorworks cares whether the permanent is an artifact at the moment it enters the battlefield – if it enters and then becomes an artifact afterward, it's not good enough. You'd need a continuous effect that's applying sooner, such as Mycosynth Lattice.

Since the question is bound to come up, Inkmoth Nexus has the same problem. You can't pay to make it an artifact until it's too late for Mirrorworks to care.

Q: I use Liquimetal Coating to turn Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas into an artifact... and then Tezzeret turns himself into a creature! Does this do anything weird with a creature-walker? Will he stay a creature after the turn?

A: Tezzeret's ability doesn't have a duration listed, and the phrase "becomes an artifact creature" inherently includes "in addition to its other types" (it's weird like that), so Tezzeret will remain an artifact creature planeswalker after the turn's over. This isn't any weirder than the March of the Machines/Mycosynth Lattice combo to make walkers into dudes. Tezzeret can be attacked and block the creature attacking him; damage dealt to him will result both in damage being marked on him, or -1/-1 counters if the source has infect, and he will also lose loyalty counters. He'll be amusingly safe from both Doom Blade and Go for the Throat, but Spread the Sickness will kill him just fine, as will Shatter.

Q: I animate Inkmoth Nexus and then make it beefy with Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas. Does it still fly? Does it stay a creature after end of turn when it's no longer an artifact?

A: After the turn ends, Inkmoth's own effect making it an artifact wears off, but Tezzeret's effect keeps it as an artifact and a creature – and a 5/5 one at that! However, since the Inkmoth effect wore off, it won't have flying or infect anymore. It will be a big fat earthbound healthy former-Blinkmoth (remember, it has no type now, so it's like a reverse cocoon). You can animate it again on your turn, but the new "is 1/1" effect overwrites Tezzeret's effect, so you'll have a plain old 1/1 flying infect Blinkmoth once again. For extra amusement, it'll "revert" to 5/5 when that turn ends!

Why did no one think to name this
"Insanity Pool"?
Q: After I cast Knowledge Pool, do we only get the six cards we exiled with it, or do all the spells we exile later also go into the Pool?

A: Knowledge Pool does something new and weird with linked abilities: it has an ability that is not only linked to a preceding ability, but also linked to itself! As such, any cards exiled by the enters-the-battlefield trigger and any cards exiled by its when-a-player-casts-a-spell trigger will be able to be found by the latter trigger.

Q: When I cast my opponent's card from Knowledge Pool, does it actually go to my graveyard?

A: Not even for a split second nor a momentary blink. A card you don't own can never ever be in your graveyard at all; it will just go to its owner's graveyard if it tries. Luckily, most rules such as the rules for resolving a spell do say to put it into its owner's graveyard rather than yours, so this rule doesn't even particularly need to be invoked, but it's a good rule of thumb so you know the answer to all sorts of questions like this.

Q: Can I activate Glint Hawk Idol and block after I got hit with Concussive Bolt?

A: Your statuesque bird will be cowering in fear of the little bolt that hit you in a head. Since Concussive Bolt doesn't modify the creatures' characteristics, it modifies the game rules instead. Effects that modify the game rules aren't locked in upon resolution; the set of what they apply to is constantly updated. So once your feathered friend shakes off its granite, it'll be a creature and suddenly fall under the Bolt's effect.

Q: Distant Memories doesn't say I have to reveal the card I find, but my friend thinks he gets to know what it is. Does he?

A: He does. Cards are exiled face up by default, and Distant Memories doesn't say to exile the card face down.

Q: Leonin Arbiter says that I can't search my library, so I cast Distant Memories. I just draw three cards now, don't I?

A: Yup. Since there's no exiled card, no opponent can legally choose to have you put it into your hand, so Distant Memories' final clause kicks in and you draw three cards. Note that you can't just force this without the Arbiter – you're searching for "a card" with no specific characteristics, so you can't fail to find one.

Q: I pay 2 to attack with Hero of Bladehold into a player with Propaganda. Do I have to pay for the babies, too?

A: Much like many museums, but unlike Disney World, kids get in free! Propaganda and its bleached cousin Ghostly Prison only affect the declaration of attackers. Anything simply put onto the battlefield attacking will get right past it.

Q: Can I attack my opponent with Hero of Bladehold and let the tokens finish off his Koth of the Hammer? Can I have the tokens attack another player, even, if this were a multiplayer game?

A: When a creature is put onto the battlefield attacking, it's lost and confused and doesn't know where to go. It needs you to point it in the right direction to wiggle its sword/claws/feather duster! You can pick any defending player or planeswalker controlled by a defending player to point that creature out, and let them wreck some havoc away from where Hero of Bladehold is heading.

Q: Does anything special happen if I use Decimator Web to kill my opponent twice who's at 1 life and nine poison?

A: You get to do the evil villain laugh. BWAHAHAHA! Other than that, no. You don't win two games, and it's so exactly the same as winning once that Lich's Mirror will even stop both losses with one replacement. The poison counters would still be there though--I guess that lich wasn't as prepared as he thought.

Q: I Gruesome Encore up an Argent Sphinx and luckily I have metalcraft and a Silver Myr! Can I flicker the Sphinx and keep it forever, or will Gruesome Encore still make this the final curtain?

A: Gruesome Encore only stops effects that would put the returned creature somewhere other than exile. Like flashback and unearth, it won't interact at all with other effects that want to exile the creature and then do other things with it. You'll get your opponent's Sphinx back for keeps.

The bees have buzzed through for this week. Join us next week when we return with a lot more Bee Sieged questions, as well as some fun questions entirely unrelated to the new set.

Until next time, bee safe!

- Eli Shiffrin
Tucson, Arizona


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