Cranial Insertion: Tapped Creatures Deal Combat Damage

Cranial Insertion
Tapped Creatures Deal Combat Damage
By Eli Shiffrin, Brian Paskoff, and Carsten Haese

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

Yes, tapped creatures deal combat damage. Strangely, after years of it working that way, we've been getting an onslaught of questions both in our inbox and in person about whether or not tapping a creature after it's declared as a blocker will still allow it to deal combat damage back to the creature it blocks. After roughly thirteen years of it working this way, players seem to be getting confused about this Sixth Edition rules change. (Sixth edition rules changes will kill Magic.) We're not sure where this came from, but some players seem to be under the impression that tapped creatures don't deal combat damage. Many, many years ago they didn't, but tapped blocking creatures have dealt combat damage for a long time now. We used to joke about all the Warp World questions we got, but recently there's been a massive influx of questions about whether tapped creatures deal combat damage, and we can't figure out why! It's too far after the M10 rules changes to still be confusing.

Tapped Eldrazi deal combat damage too, and that's a good segue if I ever heard one! We've gotten a few more questions about the new set than questions about whether the creatures in them deal combat damage when tapped, so let's get to 'em! And keep sending in your questions to [email][email protected][/email]!

More Warp World questions, less tapped
blocker/combat damage questions!

Q: If I use Spawnsire of Ulamog to bring in a bunch of Eldrazi, and then a Warp World is cast, do the previously-outside-the-game Eldrazi get shuffled into my library?
A: Yup, the cards you bring in will be cards you "own" (at least for the purposes of the current game) and will function like any card that started the game in your library. If they were from your sideboard, remember to make it 15 cards again before you start the next game, or you'll be playing with an illegal number of cards in your sideboard!

Q: What exactly is meant by "outside the game" for Spawnsire of Ulamog's big 20 ability?
A: Depending on which format you're playing, or if you're not even playing a format, it could mean something different: in casual, "outside the game" is literally any Eldrazi card you own outside the game, so you can raid your binder. If your friends let you, that is - your playgroup might set certain limitations on what you can grab. In any sanctioned constructed format, you can only pull Eldrazi from your sideboard. In limited events, it's the same deal - but everything you drafted or got in your sealed pool that isn't in your deck is considered your sideboard. In EDH, you're out of luck totally since there's no sideboards. You can never get any Eldrazis that have been exiled, since that's a game zone now. (And no, you couldn't use your prerelease Emrakul, the Aeons Torn at the prerelease, even if it was the only Eldrazi card you owned.)

Q: I have a Renegade Doppelganger out and cast a Shapesharer. On my turn, if I use my Renegade... Shapesharer to turn it into a copy of an Ulamog's Crusher, what happens when the turn ends?
A: Renegade Doppelganger's copy effect wearing off doesn't make the copy effect given to it when it was a Shapesharer wear off. It'll be a Crusher until your next turn!

Q: Does Avenger of Zendikar play with Warp World the broken way I think it does? Which is to say, you get X plant tokens with X +1/+1 counters, where is X is equal to the number of lands Warp World turned up, based on stacking the triggers as the active player starting with the landfall and then ending with the Avengers's enter-the-battlefield triggers, and thus getting the tokens first, and then loading them up with counters?
A: Yup! You can put the triggers on the stack in any order, so put the "add counters" on the stack first, then "get plants" above it, and you'll get lots of beefy plants.

Q: If I regenerate a creature with a Drake Umbra on it, can I save the Umbra from falling off?
A: Yep, that'll work. When your creature would be destroyed, there'll be two competing replacement effects: regeneration and the Umbra's totem armor. If the destruction event is replaced with regeneration, then the totem armor's replacement effect will have nothing to replace anymore! Your dude will be tapped and removed from combat (if it was in combat before), but your Aura will be safe.

Q: So if that creature with a Drake Umbra on it isn't regenerated, it'll still be in combat?
A: Yep! Regeneration and totem armor both serve the same purpose of keeping your creature alive, but the ends to their means is different. Totem armor doesn't tap the creature or remove it from combat, which can be slightly disappointing if you thought you were attacking with a 5/5 flier and are suddenly charging into the red zone with a 2/2 Glory Seeker.

Q: If I steal my opponent's Gloomhunter with Traitorous Instinct and slap a Demonic Appetite on it, who'll have to sacrifice a creature his next upkeep?
A: Your opponent's Gloomhunter will only be hungry for your creatures. You still control the enchantment, so you're the one who'll be sacrificing creatures while fending off a 5/4 flier.

(Edit: Do note that it's all moot since Demonic Appetite can't enchant a creature you don't control, so it'll actually fall off as soon as you lose control of the creature and no one actually has to sacrifice anything. An important point on what "you" means, ruined by fine details!)

Warp World can even put
Emrakul on Guard Duty!
Q: What exactly does Emrakul, the Aeons Torn have protection from? I know I can't Path to Exile it, but what about Oblivion Ring, bouncing it with Jace, the Mind Sculptor, or enchanting it with Guard Duty?
A: Emrakul has protection from colored spells, and that only matters while they're on the stack. Cards like Oblivion Ring or Journey to Nowhere have abilities that target only while on the battlefield, so they can get rid of Emrakul. Jace's abilities aren't spells, so they can too. Trying to put Emrakul on Guard Duty won't work normally, because Auras target while on the stack. But if something's just putting the Aura onto the battlefield, for example Warp World, it can be attached since it's not being cast.

Q: If I cast Might of the Masses on my creature that was stolen with Domestication to bring its power up to five, which effect will happen first at end of turn?
A: Domestication's will, but that's because it happens at an entirely different time than Might of the Masses's effect wears off. Domestication will trigger at the beginning of its controller's end step, and Might of the Masses will wear off afterward in the cleanup step - and by then, your creature's yours again!

Q: I put an Armored Ascension on my Umbra Mystic, and then my opponent puts her on Guard Duty. If she blocks and would be destroyed, who gets to choose which Aura takes the hit instead?
A: You will! As the controller of the affected object - that is, the Umbra Mystic the destruction event is happening to, you get to choose the order of replacement effects. So you can pop that Guard Duty right off!

Q: If I enchant a Hellkite Charger with a Bear Umbra, does that means I get infinite combat phases?
A: Not quite infinite: eventually, everyone will be dead! But until then, you can keep on swinging by putting Hellkite Charger's ability on the stack first, and then the Bear Umbra's. The Umbra's trigger will resolve, untap your lands, and you can use them to pay for the Dragon's ability. This'll keep happening every time you attack!

Q: If Hellcarver Demon's triggered ability resolves once normally and some of the playable cards are left in exile, and on the next turn the ability again triggers, can the cards still in exile from the previous trigger be played? Or can only the six cards exiled by the current trigger be played?
A: Nope, you'll cast them all at once as the trigger resolves or never at all. "This way" in the card's text means "by this ability right now". If you could store them up for future swings, it'd say you could play "cards exiled by Hellcarver Demon".

Q: With a Sphere of Resistance out and a thousand green Saproling tokens on the battlefield, can my Khalni Hydra ever cost less than 1?
A: Yes, it can! And the brand-spankin'-new rules 116.7a and b tell us why:
116.7a. If a cost is reduced by an amount of colored mana, but its colored mana component doesn't contain mana of that color, the cost is reduced by that amount of generic mana.

116.7b. If a cost is reduced by an amount of colored mana that exceeds its mana component of that color, the cost's mana component of that color is reduced to nothing and the cost's generic mana component is reduced by the difference.

Q: I cast Dregs of Sorrow and pay 6 for the X. Shenanigans happen in response that make four of the target creatures disappear. On resolution, do I draw two cards, six cards, or none?
A: Would you believe it's still six? Dregs needs X number of targets to be cast, so you can't just sink ten mana into it an draw ten cards without ten legal targets. But once it goes to resolve, as long as there's one legal target, it'll do as much as possible: destroying what it still can, and drawing X cards.

This guy's going in my UR EDH deck.
Which also plays Warp World.
Q: I had a friend claim recently that if you have a fully leveled Echo Mage, then cast a Tome Scour, Twincast the Tome Scour, and then use Echo Mage to create two copies of the Twincast targeting the first Twincast, you can somehow create an infinite loop of Twincasts until you have enough Twincasts to resolve and fully mill the opponent all at once. Is that true? I can't come up with more than four copies.
A: Your friend is silly and also bad at math! When you copy Twincast, it doesn't do much at all, since eventually you're just going to point a copy at something else you could already copy.

Q: If I have a Wind Zendikon on my Stirring Wildwood and then animate it, does it have reach and flying?
A: Yup, it'll be a 3/4 with flying and reach - a bit redundant, but gaining abilities doesn't take away the abilities granted by the Zendikon.

Q: Is this card worth any money? (Holds up the rare in a draft pack.)
A: Many times at a prerelease, release, or shortly after a new set comes out, players will try to ask me how much a card's worth while they're drafting. I can't answer, and no one else can either. If you're worried about accidentally passing some cash money, take a look at the general values before you start drafting.

Q: Me and my opponent each have a creature in play. He plays Oblivion Ring. Can I play a Vines of Vastwood to protect my creature?
A: Yep! And normally we don't give strategy advice, but I think it's important to do so here because you, like many players, might be confused about when Oblivion Ring targets. If you Vines your dude while Oblivion Ring is on the stack, he'll need to pick a different target (possibly his own creature, if it's the only legal target!) when it enters the battlefield. This is because Oblivion Ring, the spell, doesn't target - its ability does when it enters the battlefield. If you wait for the Oblivion Ring to resolve and then Vines your creature, the ability will just fizzle and Oblivion Ring will just sit on the battlefield with nothing exiled.

Q: What happens if I hard-cast Chronomantic Escape through a Cast Through Time?
A: Chronomantic Escape will exile itself before it finishes resolving, so it won't get to rebound. You'll have to wait more than a turn to get away from being attacked, sorry!

Q: I use a Surreal Memoir to get a Staggershock from my graveyard back, then cast the Staggershock. Next turn, can I use the rebounded Surreal Memoir to get the Staggershock back from my graveyard?
A: If you stack it right, you can! At the beginning of your upkeep, the rebound triggers of both Surreal Memoir and Staggershock will trigger and go on the stack in the order you choose. If Staggershock's resolves first, it'll get cast from exile, go on the stack, and resolve and wind up in your graveyard. All this happens on top of Surreal Memoir's trigger, so when that resolves, it can randomly get back Staggershock.

And that's it for me this week! Tune in next week when Eli gets to more of your Eldrazi questions!


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