Cranial Insertion: Dominoes



Cranial Insertion
Dominoes
or, One Right After Another

By Eli Shiffrin, Brian Paskoff, and Aaron Stevenson


This man does not like Magic.
I hope you like Magic, because we've got a lot of that this week, last week, next week, and almost all of the surrounding weeks. From new ways to explore the Multiverse, to our regular dueling on new planes, to extra-shiny stuff from ages past, it's a veritable explosion of new Magic products. Planechase and From the Vault: Exiled are the latest offerings, but there's more to come; in addition to Zendikar next month, there'll soon be a new Duel Deck: Garruk vs. Liliana, as well as Premium Deck Series: Slivers. They're coming fast and furious now, and it's a challenge to keep up!

Got questions? Of course you do! Send them to [email][email protected][/email], and we'll send you a hand-crafted reply, and maybe even feature your question with our answer right here in this column!




Q: Last week you said that players couldn't use Cliffside Market to exchange life totals with an Everlasting Torment on the battlefield. But what if we had a Sulfuric Vortex in place of the Torment?

A: Then the Market will try to perform the exchange, because there's nothing to say that it can't happen. The player who has the higher life total loses some life, and the player with a lower life total would gain some life, so instead his total remains the same.




Q: What happens if I control Guile and I counter a spell with Remand? Do I still draw a card, or does Remand get countered because its target got exiled?

A: You'll get to draw the card. The spell has to have at least one legal target when it starts to resolve, or else it gets countered. But once it starts to resolve, it'll do everything it possibly can, no matter what happens to its targets in the meantime.




Q: Do I have to untap every permanent during my untap step, or can I choose not to untap my Tattermunge Maniac so it doesn't have to attack?

A: The untap step, and the untapping that goes with it, is all mandatory. There might be effects that stop a permanent from untapping, or give you a choice in the matter, but without one of those, your Maniac will have to untap.




Q: I have Radha, Heir to Keld, and I've just cast Lovisa Coldeyes. If I attack with Radha and use her mana to play a Blades of Velis Vel those two, will Lovisa be able to attack now that she gives herself haste?

A: Too late, hot plate. Declaring attackers is a single action, so you'll have to send them all at once. As soon as you attack with Radha and move on to what follows, your declaration is finished. Lovisa can't join in this turn; latecomers aren't welcome in the red zone.




Q: I used Azusa, Lost but Seeking to play three lands this turn. Can I Momentary Blink her so I can play another two lands?

A: Yes, that works. Even if you've used the two extra land drops you get from her, she's a new object when she leaves the battlefield, so she'll grant two additional land drops on her return.





Steam-powered Magic!
Q: Say I'm currently slinging spells around in the Izzet Steam Maze, and I cast a spell with kicker, like Orim's Thunder. Does the copy get kicked too, or do I have to pay the kicker cost?

A: You don't get a chance to pay the kicker cost, because you're not casting the copy, it's just inserted directly on the top of the stack. Fortunately for you, "kicked" is a copiable characteristic, so if the original spell was kicked, the copy is too.




Q: I used Alluring Siren to make my opponent's only creature attack. Can it attack my planeswalker?

A: No! The Siren says that the creature "attacks you" and your planeswalker isn't you. That's not a bad strategy if you have some extra life and really need your planeswalker to stick around.




Q: What happens if I cast Banefire, then my opponent casts Wild Ricochet, and then I cast Wild Ricochet on Wild Ricochet? Can I keep copying Banefire + Wild Ricochet and make infinite copies of Banefire?

A: Whoa, hold on there. You've gotten pretty excited about your infinite loop, but you haven't noticed that it's not doing exactly what you seem to think. A Wild Ricochet targeting another Wild Ricochet will make a copy of Wild Ricochet, and then you're right back where you started. You haven't made a copy of Banefire, nor will you, until you target it with your Wild Ricochet, at which point your infinite loop stops. You can't get more than one copy of Banefire.




Q: Oh. So then there's really no point in even casting my Wild Ricochet on my opponents, is there? I might as well just point it at the Banefire and save the time and confusion.

A: Actually there is! The Wild Ricochet lets you change the target of the spell it targets, so you can point your Wild Ricochet at your opponent's, change his Wild Ricochet to target yours, and make a new Wild Ricochet targeting the Banefire. When your opponent's Wild Ricochet goes to resolve, its target is illegal (because the spell it's targeting has already resolved and left the stack) so you get two Banefires and your opponent gets none! It's not infinite damage, but it's probably an amount not to be sneezed at, either.




Q: At the beginning of my upkeep, can I put an Ichorid trigger on the stack even if I have no other black creatures in my graveyard? I have a couple of Golgari Grave-Trolls in my graveyard, and I was hoping to use those and Bazaar of Baghdad to dredge a black creature card into the graveyard.

A: As a matter of fact, you don't have a choice. Ichorid will trigger if it's in your graveyard at the beginning of your upkeep. Because the black creature card isn't targeted, it doesn't have to be there for the ability to go on the stack. You'll only worry about having the black creature card when the ability resolves, and you can try to dredge one up before then, just as you described.




Q: If I control a Boggart Shenanigans and my opponent has an Opalescence does that make the Shenanigans a Goblin creature? Does my Goblin Assault make it have to attack each turn?

A: Yes and yes. It's a creature with the Goblin subtype, so that makes it a Goblin Creature. The fact that it's also a Tribal Goblin is irrelevant.




Q: I have a Lion's Eyes Diamond and one Swamp on the battlefield. Can I use the Diamond to pay for the Ill-Gotten Gains in my hand? I think I can but my opponent disagreed.

A: Your opponent has it right. The Diamond has errata that says you can activate the mana ability only when you could cast an instant. That stops you from using it while you're in the middle of casting another spell. You could activate it first, but then your Ill-Gotten Gains is in the graveyard, where you probably can't cast it.




Q: My opponent cast Lignify on his Vigean Hydropon and then attacked with it. I don't think the Hydropon should be able to attack after it loses its abilities; being unable to attack or block doesn't seem like an ability.

A: It might not seem like one, but in Magic an ability is just a bit of text that can affect the game. Normally removing a creature's ability is a bad thing for the creature, but the Hydropon's ability is what's holding it back. Once it loses that, he can come charging at you just fine.

Quote from Rule 112.2a. »
Abilities can be beneficial or detrimental.
Example: "[This creature] can't block" is an ability.






He's no Chuck Norris.
Q: Can my opponent use a single Palace Guard to fend off a hundred 4/4 Elephant tokens with trample? He thinks that each attacker has to assign lethal damage to the Guard before trampling over to him, but I'm not so sure.

A: The Guard is pretty awesome in that he's able to engage a hundred different enemies at once, but he can't fend off the rampaging elephant horde. The first elephant to assign damage will assign enough to squash him into the ground, and then its brethren, seeing that their obstacle is taken care of, will assign and deal their damage directly to your opponent.




Q: If I use Puppeteer Clique to snag a creature with persist, would I be able to stack its persist trigger on top of the "exile me" trigger at the beginning of the end step, thus keeping the creature for many turns to come?

A: No, for two reasons. First, there is no persist trigger this turn, because persist triggers on the creature going to the graveyard. Exiling the creature doesn't send it to the graveyard, so its persist ability just shrugs and hums an indifferent tune. Second, if you do manage to kill the creature before it gets exiled, persist puts it back on the battlefield under its owner's control. The Puppeteers pilfered your opponent's graveyard, so your opponent gets the creature back when it dies. The creature won't even be exiled, since that "exile me" ability lost track of the creature when it died. On the whole, the result is a rather poor exchange for you.




Q: Can I play my EDH general for WUBRG every time if I control a Fist of Suns?

A: You can pay WUBRG instead of paying the general's mana cost, but you're still on the hook for any additional costs. You'll have to pay an additional 2 for each time you've cast your general from the command zone previously.




Q: My opponent has a Krosan Cloudscraper. I make a token copy of it with Spitting Image, and the token promptly gets turned face-down by a Backslide. What happens with the token?

A: Nothing special. It's turned face-down and becomes subject to the rules on face-down permanents. It's underside is still a copy of the Cloudscraper, complete with the morph ability, so you can turn it face-up for 7GG. It's still a token, with all that that implies. The only thing you really need to be careful about is making sure everybody has a clear understanding of what that permanent is.




Q: Does a Painter's Servant change the color of plane cards in the command zone and planar decks?

A: It does! Plane cards are indeed cards that are not on the battlefield, so the Servant paints them right up. I can't think of a single instance where it matters, but the Servant is a perfectionist, and won't leave even those cards untouched.




Q: I want to try some experiments with Experiment Kraj. With March of the Machines and a Panoptic Mirror, can Kraj start imprinting cards on himself?

A: Yes, he can do that. That won't do anything other than making Kraj fatter and your hand thinner. Kraj gains activated abilities, and the part of the Mirror that lets you cast the imprinted cards is a triggered ability, which Kraj doesn't have, and can't get.




Q: Ah! But now I'll add an Isochron Scepter to the mix. Now that Kraj has an activated ability to let me play the imprinted card, I'm all set, right?

A: Wrong! The pairs of abilities that appear on the Mirror and the Scepter are linked abilities. The abilities that let you cast spells work only with cards exiled by the abilities printed on the same card. You can't mix and match the abilities with your crazy experiments; it just won't work.

Quote from 606.2a. »
If an object has an activated or triggered ability printed on it that exiles one or more cards, and another ability printed on it that refers either to "the exiled cards" or to cards "exiled with [this object]," these abilities are linked. The second ability refers only to cards in the exile zone that were put there as a result of the first ability.





Q: Hey, Zendikar will be here soon, and I can't for the life of me remember when everything is rotating.

A: No problem. When Zendikar releases on October 2, Lorwyn, Morningtide, Shadowmoor, and Eventide all rotate out of Standard. Tenth Edition already went out when Magic 2010 was released. Onslaught, Legions, and Scourge, as well as Eighth Edition rotate out of Extended with the coming of Zendikar.

If you find yourself struggling to recall what's in or out, that information can always be found in the Magic Tournament Rules, available at the DCI Document Center.




As always, we here at Cranial Inserion wish you a Magical day! See you next week!

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