Cranial Insertion: Fling Kiln Fiend for 1 Damage

Cranial Insertion
Fling Kiln Fiend for 1 Damage
or, Hey, That Can Win the Game!

By Eli Shiffrin, Brian Paskoff, and Carsten Haese

[This article is available in Spanish here.]

I believe I can see the future
San Diego ComicCon is over and done with, and SCG Denver and GP—Portland are on the horizon. Lots of events this year for me! If you're headed to either of those, stop by and say hi.

Speaking of major events, some of you might have run into Carsten at GP—Columbus this weekend. Well, now he's cooler than ever, and not just because he's encountered our readers in the wild. He also tested for level 2, and passed with flying colors! Congratulations! Grin

As for now, we've got a lovely bunch of questions from the [email][email protected][/email] mailbox for you to gorge yourself upon. Got your own questions? Send them in for an answer, and they may even show up in a future article. The first question is related to the title, since we've gotten this one quite a lot in the last couple weeks!

Q: How much damage will Fling do if I Fling a Kiln Fiend?

A: Unless you've cast another instant or sorcery beforehand, only 1 damage. Kiln Fiend triggers after you've completed the process of casting a spell; part of that process is paying costs. The Fiend is sacrificed as a cost, so it won't be on the battlefield to trigger at all – and even if it did trigger, it hasn't resolved at the time it was sacrificed.

Q: What if I Fling a Fire Servant?

A: Then you get to deal 4 damage. Not 8. Fire Servant is gone by the time you finish casting Fling, and it has to be there later as Fling resolves and deals damage in order to actually double it.

Q: We're both at 2, he attacks and 4 damage gets through, but I can only use Vengeful Archon to send 2 of that damage back at him. Who wins?

A: Me. You two have drawn the game. The Archon deals damage immediately after the combat damage is dealt and partially prevented, before state-based actions are checked. When SBAs get checked, you're both at 0, so you both lose, and the game's a draw.

Q: What happens if I use Gideon Jura's ability to make creatures attack Gideon, and then I use Alluring Siren to make a creature attack me?

A: The other creatures have to attack Gideon, obviously. The Allured creature, though, gets a choice (Yes, the creature chooses, not you. Ask politely.): attack Gideon, or attack you. Either way, it'll meet one requirement, and the other can't possibly be met. Meeting combat requirements doesn't use timestamps or anything, it's just whatever the player wants to do so long as it meets as many requirements as possible.

You're a kitty!
Q: How does Diminish interact with Warlord's Axe?

A: You get an itty bitty kitty wielding a big spiked axe. Like most cats wielding deadly weaponry, it will be 4/2. Similar to the Giant Growth question last week, you always, always apply setting effects like Diminish before plus or minus effects like the Axe or Giant Growth, regardless of timestamps.

Q: Alluring Siren says that my Infantry Veteran has to attack. Is there any way I can use its ability to tap it so it can't attack?

A: Nope. Attacking creatures are all declared attacking at the same time. If there's an attacking creature for the Veteran to target, the Veteran itself has to be attacking and is already tapped and can't have its ability activated. And you can't activate the ability without a legal target, so that's right out.

Q: My Nantuko Shade has an Ice Cage on it and I don't like that. Can I ping it with my Prodigal Pyromancer and pump it in time after the Cage is gone so it won't die?

A: That works! Sneaky sneaky. With the Prodigal ping on the stack, Ice Cage triggers. Once this trigger resolves, the ping ability is still on the stack, but Ice Cage is gone! Now you can activate the Shade's pump so that it will survive.

Q: I Clone my opponent's Baneslayer Angel, and he sacrifices it to Viscera Seer in response so I get a 0/0 dead guy. Can he do that?

A: Maybe, but it's not as bad as you think; you guys have a lot of stuff confused there. Clone does not target on the stack, and the choice of what to copy is made when Clone actually enters the battlefield. As that choice is made, no one can respond – if your opponent lets Clone resolve with no responses, you will get a Baneslayer.

However, it's an acceptable shortcut to say "Clone your Baneslayer." In that case, you've made the choice ahead of time, but if he responds in any way (especially by, say, sacrificing the Baneslayer and making your choice illegal), you don't have to abide by the choice you made earlier. In fact, in cases like this where the creature you wanted is gone, you can't choose it. So if he does respond, you can copy his Seer instead, so at least your Clone is not dead.

Q: A 3/3 indestructible creature with 1 deathtouch damage marked on it from earlier in the turn blocks a 6/6 with trample. How much damage can be assigned to the defending player?

A: Deathtouch only matters until the first time state-based actions are checked after damage is dealt from a source with deathtouch. After that, it's just damage marked on the creature. The 6/6 will need to assign 2 damage to the creature and the rest to the defending player or planeswalker, even though that damage won't kill the creature.

Q: Can Maelstrom Pulse take down Gaea's Revenge, or is it too black?

A: It matters not how black the spell, only that the spell is green. Something can't be both green and nongreen, and due to the green mana symbol, Pulse is quite surely green. Whatever other colors it may be are entirely irrelevant.

Q: Will a 4/4 Protean Hydra survive an encounter with a Greater Basilisk?

A: It will survive. The damage is prevented entirely, and then counters are removed. Since the damage is prevented, it was not dealt. And since the Basilisk didn't deal damage, deathtouch doesn't do anything.

Q: If I have Raid Bombardment out, and my opponent has Leyline of Sanctity, does the Raid Bombardment deal damage to my opponent?

A: It sure does. Raid Bombardment doesn't say "target" on it, and that word has a very specific meaning in Magic – if it doesn't say "target" in the text (or in the rules explanation for keyword abilities), it does not target.

Q: Will Tajuru Preserver protect me from Destructive Force, or will it die soon enough that I still have to sac lands?

A: Two things are going on here that protect your lands. For one thing, damage dealt doesn't result in immediate destruction – you have to wait until the spell's done resolving for destruction to happen. Also importantly, spells do things in the order written, so the sacrifice would happen before any damage is dealt at all! Your opponent's Force will be not so very destructive against you. Aside from your poor creatures that are all going to explode in great balls of fire.

Blue players can stop
complaining now, right?
Q: If I Mana Leak a spell, but he pays the mana, can I fire a second Mana Leak at the same spell?

A: Sure! Spells don't all resolve at once after the stack starts to clear; they resolve one at a time, with priority being passed in the middle and more chances to cast more spells.

Q: I control a Soul's Attendant and cast Ajani's Pridemate. Does the Pridemate get bigger?

A: Well, the Pridemate has to have entered the battlefield for the Attendant to trigger, so it'll be on the battlefield (assuming it doesn't die beforehand) when the trigger resolves – so yup, it will trigger and become a 3/3 right fast!

Q: If I use Leyline of Anticipation to flash out a Spreading Seas on an attacking Raging Ravine, will it still be attacking?

A: It will. Becoming an Island doesn't negate the effect that's making it a creature, so nothing's removing it from combat. It loses the ability to animate, but that's already been activated and the effect persists for the turn independent of the ability.

Q: Can a creature with summoning sickness be tapped to fulfill the cost of an activated ability like that of Captivating Vampire?

A: Yes, summoning sickness only prevents the actual t symbol from being paid – you can still tap them for anything that says "tap a creature."

Q: If I have Leyline of Punishment out and my opponent has Leyline of Sanctity, does the "can't be prevented" ability stop his Leyline from preventing my Lightning Bolt from targeting him?

A: "Prevent" has a very specific meaning in Magic, too. An effect must use the exact word "prevent" in order to be preventing anything. Things that stop you from targeting at all (such as the Leyline), counter a spell, replace the damage without preventing it (Phytohydra), or cause the creature to become blocked are not damage prevention as far as the game's concerned.

Q: If I Naturalize Leyline of the Void, where does my Naturalize go?

Q: If I Solemn Offering a Leyline of Punishment do I gain the 4 life?

A: For both of these questions, it's very important to note that destruction happens immediately when a spell says to destroy something. It happens while the spell's still resolving, before any of its later effects happen. So the Leyline is destroyed, and then you can gain 4 life or put Naturalize into your graveyard since the Leyline is gone and not stopping you.

Q: If I get a decklist penalty Game Loss but then get the bye, does that make my bye 2-1, or do I lose the first game of the next match?

A: You'll lose the next game you would actually play. Game Losses and Match Losses are a penalty that actually affect a game or match, not something that happens with no consequence.

Q: I have not seen any official rule that Rune-Tail, Kitsune Ascendant's flipped form changes from requiring 30 life to 60 life in EDH, and yet I still have opponents complain about the life requirement being doubled. Is that a rule?

A: There's no such rule. In the dim days of EDH, there was a slew of format-specific errata, but it all vanished quite a while back when the format became more standardized.

However, as we've said a few times, EDH is a casual format. If your playgroup finds that Rune-Tail, Serra Ascendant, and Test of Endurance are too dumb with starting at 40, then double the requirement. We won't break down your door and feed you to Moko.

That's all for this week, but we'll be back next week with another twenty-some questions as always, ready to cram them tenderly into your brainmeats.

Until next time, have fun throwing around creatures!

- Eli Shiffrin
Tucson, Arizona


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