Cranial Insertion: Plutonium Myr

Cranial Insertion
Plutonium Myr
or, It Taps for Blue, Not Green

By Eli Shiffrin, Brian Paskoff, and Carsten Haese

[This article is available in Italian here.]
[This article is available in Spanish here.]

It's also not purple.
Yes, Hollywood lies – radiation glow is generally a really awesome shade of blue rather than lime green. What other lies will we be fed? Flying cars in 2015? Global ruin in 1997? Will they try to say that Santa Claus isn't real?!

Anyway, we'll concern ourselves here with more mundane arcane questions about our favorite cardboard crack. Our zombie chimpanzee secretary has selected only the finest of our inbox for your enlightenment this week! If you don't feel quite enlightened enough, you can send your questions in to [email][email protected][/email] and we'll shed some light, or fissionable material, on the subject.

Q: Venser, the Sojourner flickers Volition Reins – can it come back on a Sphinx of Jwar Isle?

A: It sure can! Auras only target when they're spells – an Aura simply dropped onto the battlefield can go on anything it can legally enchant. Shroud only stops targeting, not enchanting, so you can have that Sphinx.

Q: With Myr Battlesphere and a Myr Galvanizer, is there any way I can tap my Myr twice for the Battlesphere's trigger?

A: Nope. You have to tap all of the Myr you want to hop onto the katamyri at the same time; you can't tap some, untap them all, and then tap them again. You can, however, attack with all your Myr (other than the Galvanizer), untap them (which does not remove them from combat!), and then tap them to hop on the ball – even the Battlesphere itself! If you have two Battlespheres, you can untap the Myr to hop on each, defying some law of being in two places at once.

Q: Does Progenitus' protection from everything extend to emblems?

A: "Protection from everything" means something slightly different than protection from (quality). It means, among other things, that it can't be the target of anything, period. Even though emblems are a non-permanent, non-token object with no color or card type, their trigger can't target Progenitus.

Q: Frost Titan attacks and targets my opponent's only Plains. Can he use the Plains to Condemn my Titan?

A: Frost Titan's "tap that and stay tapped" trigger is a triggered ability like any other. It can be responded to by Condemning the Titan, or he can get the white mana and Condemn it after you're done doing stuff in the declare attackers step. On the bright side, killing your Titan won't stop the Plains from not untapping next turn since the effect exists independently of the source.

This is the grimmest flavor text
for a "party" card ever printed.
Q: I want to turn my opponent's fetchland into an artifact with Liquimetal Coating before he sacrifices it so I can draw a card with Viridian Revel. Can I?

A: Only if he's very, very nice. If you try to make it an artifact first, he can just respond by sacrificing it. Once he announces that he's cracking his fetchland, it's sacrificed as part of the cost to do so, and you can't interrupt or respond by making it an artifact.

Q: I control Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle and my opponent controls two Tunnel Ignus. We're both at 6. Is there any way I can use Harrow to win?

A: Aside from giving your opponent a thousand paper cuts, there is indeed a simple way to win! The Ignus and Valakut triggers will go on the stack in APNAP order – that is, the player whose turn it is puts his triggers on, then the other, and then the stuff on the stack resolves top down. If it's your turn, your opponent's Ignus triggers will resolve first and kill you. But if it's your opponent's turn, then yours will resolve first and he'll die a horrible death!

Q: Can Molten-Tail Masticore exile creature tokens before they vanish?

A: Well, there are two problems with that. For one, you need priority to activate the ability, and tokens vanish before anyone receives priority. Secondly, tokens aren't ever cards, and Mister Masticore only noms on cards.

Q: If I have shroud, can my opponent still proliferate poison counters on me?

A: He can. Nothing on proliferate says "target" anywhere, as much as people seem to be mentally inserting that word! "Target" has a very specific meaning in Magic, and so does "shroud." A target is chosen as part of casting a spell, activating an ability, or putting a triggered ability on the stack and will always specifically use the word "target." Shroud only cares and stops targets, not any other sort of choices.

Q: If Liquimetal Coating makes Carnifex Demon an artifact and then Rust Tick taps it down, will it stay tapped after it stops being an artifact?

A: Rust Tick only needs its target to be an artifact as the target is chosen and as the ability resolves. After that, the only duration condition is "for as long as Rust Tick remains tapped." Your poor fleshy demon will sit there remaining tapped out of confusion that a rust-eating tick is sucking on its neck.

Q: Quest for the Holy Relic is about to drop an Argentum Armor on one of my opponent's Memnites. Can I blast away the one he wants to equip before the Armor hits?

A: Nope. The Quest's activated ability fetches, puts, and attaches the Equipment all during its resolution, and you can't interrupt that with anything. If he only had one creature, you could kill it in response to the activation, but if he has a few, he'll still get one equipped.

Q: Can I double up on Venser, the Sojourner's emblems to exile two things per spell?

A: Yup! While emblems aren't permanents of any sort, their abilities work just like as though they were enchantments: if it's a triggered ability, each triggers separately.

Q: So if I make a second emblem with Koth of the Hammer, do my Mountains deal 2 damage when I tap them?

A: Similar to the last question, the two emblems will give two activated abilities to your Mountains. But you can't tap a Mountain to activate two abilities at once, so you can only activate one ping at a time and only deal 1 damage per tap.

Q: My opponent put Relic Putrescence on my Equipment. Does that mean I get poisoned if the equipped creature attacks?

A: It pretty much means you'll never get poison from it. Attacking does not cause equipped Equipment or enchanting Auras to tap. Many players just tap the whole stack since it's easier to physically move it like that, but it's technically wrong.

Still the poster boy for
planeswalker rules questions.
Q: If I have Jace Beleren on the battlefield with one loyalty counter on it, can I redirect 9 damage from my opponent's fireball to Jace? Can I redirect combat damage?

A: You can't redirect anything. Planeswalkers aren't damage sponges for you to toss in harm's way – your opponent's the one that gets to choose to redirect damage or not. If he does redirect the damage, it's all or nothing; Jace can take 9 points of serious overkill damage, or none. That only applies to noncombat damage, though. For combat damage, he has to attack your planeswalker directly. A creature attacking you deals damage to you and that can't be redirected.

Q: Can I see what my opponent is naming with Memoricide before I counter?

A: Nope! The card isn't named until Memorice resolves, at which point it's too late to do anything. Remember that if you ask your opponent what he's naming, you're implicitly allowing the spell to resolve, and then you can't counter it or dump instants from your hand in response.

Q: Can I block with Fume Spitter and then sac it to put a -1/-1 counter on another creature?

A: You can do that, but then Fume Spitter won't deal combat damage. We're still dealing with fallout from people who chose to misrepresent the year-old M10 rules changes out of spite, so it's about time to cover this again: after blocking, both players do get priority. A blocked creature remains blocked if the blocking creature leaves; it won't deal damage unless it has trample. The only change is that the now-departed blocking creature can't deal damage despite being gone.

Q: Will my opponent lose life if I Mindslaver him into casting Exsanguinate for me?

A: You're still his opponent, and Exsanguinate is still his spell; you just get to tell him what to do. Nothing of his becomes yours, and your player-vs-opponent relationship doesn't change. If you have him cast Exsanguinate for more than 0, you'll be the one to lose life and he'll gain it.

Q: Engulfing Slagwurm is blocked by an indestructible creature. Do I gain any life?

A: You'll gain life equal to that creature's toughness. The lifegain isn't dependent on there being an actual destruction – it would say so more clearly if that were the case. So the ability will do as much as possible, fail to destroy the creature, and then gain you some life.

Q: My opponent was using notes for sideboarding! Isn't that cheating?

A: It was for a long time, but it's okay now. Outside notes may be referenced between games, but not during games. The theory is that if you need notes that badly, you'll have much deeper problems with your deck, and if you know your deck well enough, having to stress over memorizing every possible sideboard option isn't a skill we want to test.

Q: Can I sneakily tap five lands for Jace, the Mind Sculptor with two more lands untapped so I can pay if my opponent Mana Leaks?

A: When mana burn went away, this was a bit of a concern. So now the rules are very clear: If you float mana when you pass priority, you must say how much of what colors you are floating. None of this sneakiness. The infraction is the same as that for deliberately breaking any other game rule: Cheating—Fraud, DQ and get out.

Q: I attacked with a Steppe Lynx and Goblin Guide and the Guide was blocked by a 2/2. I said "okay, so they trade," and put the Goblin into my graveyard as I said "and I crack my fetchland so you take 2." My opponent says that's not okay. Help?

A: There are some variables on exactly how much time passed where in here, but assuming you declared the creatures dead and cracked the fetchland at the same time, most judges will consider this "out of order sequencing," or OOOS. OOOS means that you took some actions that are technically out of order or illegal, but result in a legal final result and you can back up a bit if your opponent wants to interrupt you while you do it correctly. It doesn't cover "oops, I forgot, let me go back and do that," but it does cover things like casting Harrow and putting it in the graveyard before searching.

Q: Will Platinum Emperion save me from general damage in EDH?

A: Nope! Remember, you're still taking damage with a Platinum Emperion, you just won't lose life as a result. The general damage will still accumulate and eventually kill you.

Now that we've all got a pleasant Smurf-like glow, it's time for us to stop answering questions and get to the decontamination chambers. I hope you learned a bunch this week.

Until next time, may you have all the lead you need!

- Eli Shiffrin
Tucson, Arizona


Posts Quoted:
Clear All Quotes