Cranial Insertion: Nim Deathmetal

Cranial Insertion
Nim Deathmetal
By Eli Shiffrin, Brian Paskoff, and Carsten Haese

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

There'll be plenty of
metal puns when the set
settles in!

Well if you're reading this, you've survived not only the Scars of Mirrodin prerelease, but the release weekend as well, and are probably swimming in poison counters. Last week Eli answered a bunch of your Scars questions, but surprisingly you're still sending in questions about the 249 cards in the set! Of course, this Scars-mania won't last forever, and we're still getting in a lot of questions not related to the new set, and we're just as happy to answer those as the ones about the exciting new pieces of colorful cardboard.

It's always easy to identify problem cards in the set we'll be getting questions about time and time again. This time it's my favorite new EDH toy, Nim Deathmetal... er, Deathmantle.

Whatever questions you have, send them in to [email][email protected][/email]!

Q: How does Venser, the Sojourner's first ability work? If I use it on him, does he come back with his starting loyalty? If I use it on a leveler, does that leveler lose all its level counters?

A: A permanent that changes zones is treated as a new object. So when it goes into exile, the game's memory of that object is wiped, and when it comes back, it enters as a fresh new card, free of anything it used to have like counters (unless it enters the battlefield with those counters, such as Venser or any other planeswalker), pump effects, and anything else temporarily granted to it.

Q: I saw a decklist today that ran a number of cheap artifacts, Kuldotha Rebirth, and Reverberate. The deck's creator used Reverberate to copy the Rebirth, but only sacrificed one artifact. Is this correct, or would you have to sacrifice two artifacts?

A: You'll only have to sacrifice one artifact. Sacrificing an artifact is a cost to cast the spell, just like paying R is. The copy isn't being cast, it's just being put onto the stack, you don't need to pay any of its costs.

Q: Can I pop a Grafted Exoskeleton over onto my opponent's creatures, then pay to equip it onto mine to kill their creature?

A: You can't graft an Exoskeleton onto your opponent's guys. The equip ability must target a creature you control. There are other ways with some older cards to stick an Exoskeleton onto your opponent's creatures by attaching them in other ways than using the equip ability though!

Q: My Perilous Myr is equipped with a Grafted Exoskeleton and gets destroyed. Does the 2 damage it deals count as infect damage?

A: Yep! The last time Perilous Myr was on the battlefield, it had infect. So when the game looks back to see what was dealing the damage, it sees a creature with infect and makes the damage it deals extra nasty.

Q: If Grafted Exoskeleton is attached to one of my creatures and the Exoskeleton is destroyed, does that count as being unattached?

A: I'm afraid so. Having your skeleton destroyed is usually fatal, unfortunately. It doesn't matter how the Exoskeleton is removed; it can be destroyed, bounced, or equipped to a different creature, but it was attached and now it's unattached, so whatever was wearing it last is dead.

Q: Can a Snapsail Glider equipped with Nim Deathmantle block a Tel-Jilad Fallen? At the prerelease, the argument was due to the existence of black artifacts in Alara, the Snapsail Glider adds black to its properties, instead of becoming (only) black.

A: Nim Deathmantle changes a creature's subtypes and colors, but doesn't change the actual card types. Having a color doesn't stop an artifact from being an artifact, and that was true even before Alara block, though much rarer.

Feeding exploding rats rat
poison can be bad for your health
as well.
Q: When I give my Crypt Rats infect somehow and activate it for 10. Do we all die?

A: Yep. All the damage is dealt simultaneously, so each player gets ten poison counters, and then state-based actions cause them all to lose.

Q: If an animated Mutavault is destroyed in combat, what happens if I pay to bring it back with Nim Deathmantle?

A: Your Mutavault will come back, though as an unanimated, new object. Nim Deathmantle will try to attach itself, but since Mutavault won't be a creature, it won't work. You don't get priority between Nim Deathmantle bringing the creature back and it trying to attach, as it's all part of the same ability.

Q: When I crack a Horizon Spellbomb and pay G to draw a card, which do I do first?

A: You'll draw a card first. It'll probably be the land you wanted to search for, because that's always what happened to me. Frown Er, anyway, the first step to activating an ability is to put it on the stack, then after that you'll be paying the costs. The cost includes sacrificing the Spellbomb, which triggers the ability that lets you pay G to draw a card. That triggered ability goes on the top of the stack, so it'll resolve first.

Q: How does Bounty of the Hunt work with proliferate? Are all the counters removed at the next clean-up step, or just the ones actually put on by Bounty of the Hunt?

A: Just the ones from the original Bounty of the Hunt. The counters don't have a unique identity, but Bounty of the Hunt's effect tells you to remove the counters it puts on at the beginning of the next cleanup step.

Q: If Chimeric Mass is blocked by a creature with infect, does it lose charge counters instead of getting -1/-1 counters?

A: It'll keep its charge counters and get -1/-1 counters, though they sort of cancel out. The only counters that remove each other due to state-based actions are +1/+1 and -1/-1 counters; all charge, time, and some of those old wacky +1/+2 and +0/+1 counters will stick around. For the sake of being clear though, make sure you use different markers for different types of counters!

Q: Say I control a Gideon Jura and Venser, the Sojourner. I activate Gideon's +2 ability, then next turn he's attacked, but not enough to remove all his loyalty. On my turn, can I activate his +2 again, then blink him out with Venser to reset Gideon's counters?

A: This sounds like an amazing tag-team combo, but it really doesn't work how you'd like. When Gideon makes his journey into exile, he returns as a new object, and so not the one the ability is telling your opponent's creatures to attack. Since his creatures lost scent of Gideon, they're free to attack you or any of your other planeswalkers.

Q: I've got a Nim Deathmantle and a Silver Myr out, but then the board is wiped with a Planar Cleansing. Do I get to bring anything back, and if so, does Nim Deathmantle come with it?

A: You'll get your creature back, but Nim Deathmantle won't be coming along for the ride. Everything is destroyed at once, so the game will look back in time to see what should've triggered. A creature went to the graveyard, so Nim Deathmantle will trigger. When it resolves, the ability will do as much as possible: your creature will come back, but since Nim Deathmantle isn't on the battlefield anymore, and is a new object since it changed zones into the graveyard, it won't be able to be attached.

Q: I put a Rusted Relic under a Clone Shell, but now I'm thinking that might've been a mistake. Will it get put onto the battlefield when Clone Shell dies?

A: Sadly, no. Rusted Relic might be a creature while it's on the battlefield, but it's not a creature card, which is all that matters. Rusted Relic will be rusting away in exile.

Q: I've got a Renegade Doppelganger and cast a Putrefax. Does my Doppelganger go back to being a Doppelganger before it's killed at end of turn?

A: Your shapeshifted Putrefax would go back to being a Renegade Doppelganger during the cleanup step, but right before that is the end of turn step... where it'll die. Unless you can find a way to counter the triggered ability, you'll have a dead Doppelganger in your yard.

Alright, boys, now watch how this
is done. The key is to
put it all in your groin
and your back. Take your legs
totally out of the equation.
Lift with your lower back in
a jerking, twisting motion. AHHHHHH!
Q: I put a Heavy Arbalest on my creature, then tap it to shock my opponent. Can I pay the equip cost again to make it drop it, so that the creature untaps next turn?

A: Not unless you have another creature to pass the Arbalest onto. The equip ability needs to target a creature you control, and can't just be used to make your creature drop it. Besides, he'd probably just drop it on his foot.

Q: I control a Mimic Vat, and Day of Judgment away an Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. Can I put Emrakul in the Vat?

A: Depends whose turn it is! If you manage to wipe the board on your opponent's turn, your Mimic Vat will let you cook up fresh Eldrazi. But if it's your turn, Emrakul will get shuffled away before your Mimic Vat's trigger resolves because of the Active Player/Non-Active Player rule that says the active player's triggered abiltiies will go on the stack first when multiple things trigger at the same time, because the active player's triggers go on the stack first, then the non-active player's. If you do manage to cast Day of Judgment on your opponent's turn, you'll nab the Eldrazi just before the rest of your opponent's graveyard gets shuffled in.

Q: Can I pay Everflowing Chalice's kicker cost with mana generated by Grand Architect's ability?

A: Yup! Kicker is an additional cost to play the spell, which happens to be an artifact spell, which is kind of Grand Architect's thing.

Q: Can I tap a Grand Architect for mana the first turn he comes out?

A: Sure! The only restriction on using an activated ability of a creature that you haven't controlled since the beginning of your most recent turn is on the T symbol. If you're tapping the creature to pay the cost of an ability and it doesn't have the tap symbol, it's good to go as soon as you'd like.

Q: What happens with poison counters in EDH? Is it still ten, or is it doubled like life totals?

A: It's still just ten poison counters to lose the game. This may change if the EDH rules committee thinks that's too quick for the same reason players don't start at twenty life, but for now just treat it as normal.

And that's it for me this week! Keep sending in questions and we'll keep answering them, even if they don't show up here!


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