Cranial Insertion: Kicking It



Cranial Insertion
Kicking It
By Eli Shiffrin, Brian Paskoff, and Aaron Stevenson


Goodbye, old friend!
Stop plaguing our inbox!

Hey hey, welcome to the last Cranial Insertion before we do our whole Zendikar thing! While I'm forbidden from answering rules questions in this article about Zendikar cards themselves, next week Eli will be going on a quest to answer all the questions that will be trapping players once Zendikar makes landfall. In the meantime, I'm going to fetch a bunch of questions that you and all your player allies have been sending to our mailbox, as well as some spicy new questions regarding the new Elder Dragon Highlander Command Zone and mulligan rules.

And before we kick things off, let me remind you that you can send in questions to [email][email protected][/email] and we'll answer them!




Q: When can I start using Zendikar cards in my EDH decks?

A: As soon as you get them! Well, as soon as you get them legally, which is the day of the prerelease. Some of you might have gotten a few of them from Planechase, and official word is that there's no problem playing them in your EDH deck already.




Q: How does cascade interact with kicker? Can I pay the kicker cost on a Desolation Angel I cast with Enlisted Wurm?

A: Indeed. You're casting the Angel without paying its mana cost, but you're still casting it, so you can pay any additional costs you need to/want. Have fun kicking angels!




Q: If I put a Skizzik onto the battlefield with Incandescent Soulstoke, can I pay the kicker cost so it sticks around?

A: You can't pay the kicker cost, but it wouldn't stay around even if you did. You're not casting it, so you're bypassing that whole "paying for the spell" thing and therefore you're unable to pay additional costs. But Incandescent Soulstoke would make you sacrifice it at the beginning of the next end step anyway, and Skizzik's kicker wouldn't stop both end-of-turn triggers, just its own.




Q: If I Plow Under two of my opponent's lands, one that enters the battlefield tapped and one that doesn't, can I put the one that enters the battlefield tapped on top, so he draws it next turn?

A: That'd be nice to add insult to injury, but it doesn't quite work that way. Since your opponent owns the cards being put on top of his library, he chooses the order.




Q: The new EDH rules have the general in the command zone instead of starting/being put into exile. But if I'm being Mindslavered and my general gets exiled, can I still choose to put him into the command zone?

A: When your mind isn't your own, you can't make any decisions on your own, including to use the replacement effect that would put your general into the command zone if he or she would be exiled.




Q: If my general gets Path to Exiled, but I put it into the command zone instead of exile, do I still get to search for a land?

A: You do! The land search isn't dependant on the general actually being exiled; if it was, it'd probably say something like "If it's exiled this way, it's controller may... yadda yadda yadda." (Yadda yadda yadda isn't proper templating according to our resident templating expert Eli Shiffrin.)




Q: Do I still get one "free" mulligan in EDH - that is, can I exile two cards from my hand, then draw two, but just the first time?

A: Not really. The new EDH mulligan rules* (and let me remind everyone, they only apply to EDH, not any other formats) are there to help eliminate mana screw and flood in multiplayer games while not aiding any degenerate combo decks. Give the new mulligan rule a whirl, and if your playgroup doesn't like it, you can always do whatever you like!

* Instead of regular mulligans, a player may exile any number of cards in their hand and draw that many cards minus one. They can keep doing this as many times as they like, and when they finally get a hand they want to keep, all the exiled cards are shuffled back into their library.




Q: My opponent has the Painter's Servant/Grindstone combo going, but I have a Gaea's Blessing in my library. Will I lose the game, or will Gaea's Blessing save me?

A: You don't lose the game for having zero cards in your library, you lose the game from trying to draw a card from an empty library. It's a common misconception, one your opponent might be having if you scoop before Gaea's Blessing's trigger resolves. But Gaea's Blessing will trigger, then it will go onto the stack after Grindstone finishes resolving. Your graveyard will be shuffled into your library, and you'll continue playing.




Q: Can Lion's Eye Diamond be Stifled?

A: Just because you can activate Lion's Eye Diamond any time you could play an instant doesn't make it a non-mana ability. It's still a mana ability... just one with a fairly unusual restriction on when it can be activated.




Q: If I Clone a Kitchen Finks and it dies, does it come back? What as?

A: It does come back with a -1/-1 counter on it, but it comes back as anything you want. You can copy anything that's on the battlefield, but keep in mind it still has that -1/-1 counter even if it copies something with persist.





Hey, it kills generals again!
Q: Does Clone kill an EDH general? I've heard conflicting things from many different people.

A: It does now, for sure - it's in the official rules. The EDH rules committee decided that being able to replay your general more than makes up for the fact that a copy effect can kill it, so they're not "super-legendary" any longer.




Q: Zendikar's release date is on a Friday, and that means FNM. But my store's having their release event on Saturday, so does that mean we can still play with our Kithkin and Faerie decks at FNM?

A: Yes, but it's going to be hard to play them without any Kithkin and/or Faeries. Even though your store might be having their release event the day after, the worldwide release date is Friday, October 2nd, and that's when Lorwyn, Morningtide, Shadowmoor, and Eventide leave Standard for good and Zendikar comes in. If you're store's running a Standard event that night, it might be a good idea to go down and try some other Magic-related things to get yourself hyped for the release the next day. May I interest you in some Elder Dragon Highlander?




Q: What happens if someone does show up with a now-illegal Lorwyn, Morningtide, Shadowmoor, or Eventide card in their deck on Friday?

A: Well, hopefully they realize it before they sign up! But if they don't, it'll be a game loss for an illegal deck, and a judge will make them replace the card(s) in their deck with a basic land of their choice.




Q: Under the new rules, a permanent phasing out doesn't change zones. So does that mean a morph creature, which normally gets put face-up when it changes zones, doesn't flip up anymore upon being phased out?

A: Nope! But actually, it never did - there was a "ignore this change-of-zones face-up thing for phasing out" clause in the Comprehensive Rules. One more reason why the new phasing rules are cleaner!




Q: My opponent attacks me with a Phantom Warrior and an Illusionary Servant. If I use Harm's Way to prevent the damage from Phantom Warrior and redirect it to the Servant, do I take 2 damage?

A: Unfortunately, you will. As part of announcing Harm's Way, you choose the Illusionary Servant as a target. This triggers its ability, and once the spell is fully cast, the triggered ability goes onto the stack above it, resolves, and makes Illusionary Servant go poof into a cloud of disbelief. Then Harm's Way goes to try to resolve, but its only target is illegal. You never even get to choose Phantom Warrior as a source, since you choose the source on resolution, and, well....





0th pick in draft.
Q: Do the lands come out of the packs in a draft? The Zendikar lands are pretty sweet lookin' and I don't want to risk losing them.

A: That depends on your head judge. The lands are inconsequential and not strategically relevant at all, so there's no harm in taking them out. The important thing is that everyone either takes them out or leaves them in, otherwise you get some confusing things going on like getting passed four cards twice in a row because one pack had the land taken out and the other didn't. Foil lands though always stay in the pack, because they replace a common and if taken out that also disrupts the number of cards in the pack.




Q: What happens if I open a pack in a draft, and it's all mythic rares?

A: This situation is rare, even mythically so, but abnormal product distribution does sometimes happen. If you get something out of the ordinary like this, call a judge. He'll discuss it with the tournament organizer, and they'll either give you a new pack to draft with or let this one go around the table.




Q: If I Mind Control my opponent's Serra Angel, can I attack with it this turn?

A: Not unless it has haste. A creature needs to be under its controller's control since hte beginning of the turn in order to be able to attack or use abilities that require a :symtap:.




Q: If I accidentally flip over the top card of my library while drawing a card, can I just slide it on the bottom?

A: That's a common "fix" in casual (non-sanctioned) games, but In Real Life it's a Looking at Extra Cards infraction. You'll get a Caution or recorded Warning depending on the REL level of the tournament, and then that card will be shuffled into the random portion of your deck. Oh, and call a judge to do this, we're trained professionals!




Q: I noticed my opponent forgot to gain a life off of Soul Warden, but I don't exactly want to remind him since it's not in my best interest to do so.

A: But it is in your best interest to do so! Actually, you don't have to - you should call over a judge and have them remind the player. It's a Missed Trigger, and that gets him a Caution or Warning depending on the REL level and he'll gain the life if it was caught within a turn cycle. But not saying anything can be Very Bad for you; if you notice an infraction but don't say anything because it's to your advantage, that's Fraud, you could find yourself unable to keep playing all due to a mere point of life.




Next week Eli gets down to all the fun Zendikar stuff, including all your questions from the prerelease!

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