Cranial Insertion: Fun in the Sun



Fun in the Sun
or, 6000°K in the Photosphere

By Eli Shiffrin, Brian Paskoff, and Aaron Stevenson


Try to set the night on fire.
(It has pro-red.)
[This article is available in Spanish here.]

Ah, Magic Regionals. That means it's that time of year where the college kids are all going home, the high school kids are all camping at the store playing video games, and the thermometer is stalking me like a loony with a machete. It also means an upheaval in deck popularity, more questions, and the last major Standard tournament with Tenth Edition unless you're Austin PTQ is before M10.

This is also a Monday (for most of you) so that also means it's time for another edition of Cranial Insertion to answer your questions! Send 'em in to [email][email protected][/email] and we'll send back an answer with or without monkeys, and maybe your question will even appear in a future CI.

So, let's start this week with a closer look at something from last week's.



Q: Last week you answered a question about Lord of Extinction and Kresh the Bloodbraided. What if I hit the Lord of Extinction with a 10-point Banefire with ten other cards in the yard? How many counters does Kresh get then?

A: Now we have a much, much more interesting situation. The first question is, how many cards are in the graveyards before Banefire resolves?

If there are ten cards, the Lord is a 10/10 and gets hit with a 10-point Banefire... and then becomes 11/11 as the Banefire is put into the graveyard before state-based effects are checked. Remember this lesson from Sudden Shocking a Tarmogoyf? Kresh won't get any counters since the Lord didn't die at all.

If there are only nine cards, the 9/9 Lord takes 10 damage, then becomes 10/10, and then state-based effects yoink it down. Kresh will get ten counters now despite the Lord being 9/9 when Banefire started to resolve.

Be careful using damage-based creature kill on Lord of Extinction when the numbers matter post-mortem!



Q: If I Terminate an attacking creature with Mage Slayer attached in response to the Mage Slayer's trigger, does it still deal damage to me even though it's dead?

A: It will. The triggered ability wants specific information about a specific object – the power of the equipped creature – and that object is no longer there, so rule 413.2f kicks in: Last Known Information! [insert dramatic music here]



Q: I played Hypergenesis and had a creature with devour in my hand. Can he devour the guys that came into play with him?

A: The awesome part about Hypergenesis is that no creatures will come into play "with" the devour creature – they'll come into play before or after it. Everything that comes into play via Hypergenesis comes into play sequentially because of the "starting with you" clause, so anything you put into play will be fully in play before the next object comes into play and so on.

This is unlike Tempting Wurm – that mean wurm puts everything into play at once, so you can't devour other things you put into play at the same time with the devourer.



Q: For Maelstrom Nexus, is 0 on Tormod's Crypt greater than a null mana cost on Hypergenesis?

A: A mana cost of 0 and a null mana cost both work out to a converted mana cost of 0. Cascade cares about the converted mana cost because mana costs are a real nightmare to fuddle with; you won't be able to cascade into Hypergenesis off of a Crypt.



Q: My attacking creature gets Snakeformed after blockers are declared. Does it keep the bonuses from exalted?

A: The +1/+1 from exalted won't matter anymore; the creature will be 1/1. Continuous effects from triggered abilities like exalted apply in layer 6b, and any continuous effects that set power and/or toughness are also applied in layer 6b. The stuff here is applied in timestamp order, so the setting will overwrite all the pumps.

For more on the absolute joy of layers, see rule section 418.5 and our Order of Operations article.




Doot doot doot.
Q: Will Maelstrom Pulse get rid of all tokens at once; or do they have no name, so nothing happens?

A: Well, something is certainly going to happen. At the very least, one token will explode in a great ball of techno music.

Whether anything else dies is the real nub of the issue. A token's name is set by the effect that makes it; whatever creature types the effect says it is, that's its name unless otherwise specified. So Siege-Gang Commander makes tokens named "Goblin," and Cloudgoat Ranger makes tokens named "Kithkin Soldier."



Q: If I Violent Outburst into a Jund Hackblade, does the Hackblade get +1/+0?

A: It will indeed! This is one of the trickier things with cascade; you put the Outburst on the table first, but it does stuff last. (This is especially confusing with Bloodbraid Elf since you put a permanent card on the table, but it's not in play yet in case you cascade into an Aura!) The Outburst is really on the stack while you remove cards from your library, and the Hackblade goes on the stack on top of the Outburst. The stack resolves last-in-first-out, so the Hackblade comes into play, and then it gets extra Violent.



Q: Can I sacrifice Rings of Brighthearth to Time Sieve's ability and still copy it?

A: No such luck. Section 409.1 in the rulebook describes the steps of playing an activated ability: you'll pay the costs before the game considers the ability played, so at the time that the ability becomes played, there are no Rings to trigger.



Q: Does Meddling Mage's effect continue after it dies?

A: Nah. Just like any other static ability, the ability stops mattering as soon as the object it's on leaves play. This one just confuses people a lot; it does look sort of like it's saying "Name a card. That card can't be played." as one ability that would create a free-floating continuous effect rather than a static ability creating that effect, but it's not the case.



Q: When Crystallization removes the creature from the game, does Crystallization go with it, or does it go to the graveyard?

A: An Aura attached to a creature won't go with the creature to wherever it goes. When the creature leaves play, it'll hang around for a second crying about how it's so alone, and then it'll be put into its owner's graveyard as a state-based effect once the game hears its pitiful cry for help. If that creature's going to the same graveyard as the Aura eventually will, it's common practice to pick them both up and move them at once, but this is technically not what happens.



Q: Can I redirect the 2 damage from my Volcanic Fallout to my planeswalker?

A: Nope; you can only redirect damage from a source you control that would be dealt to an opponent to a planeswalker that player controls. Players keep telling me they heard from some pros that this can be done – please help fight this misinformation. :/ Planeswalkers are not damage sponges for your own sadistic purposes. They are living, breathing creatures with feelings!



Q: When I sacrifice the stolen creature for Slave of Bolas, whose graveyard does it go to?

A: The glory of rule 217.1a tells us that if anything would go to the graveyard of anyone other than its owner, it goes right to its owner's graveyard instead. Since you don't own the stolen creature, you horrible thief, it won't go to your graveyard.



Q: Sower of Temptation steals an animated Mutavault and then dies a couple turns later while Mutavault is just a land. What happens now?

A: Now the Sower's control-change effect ends. It doesn't matter that Mutavault has fewer legs and creature types (not to mention the card type "creature") – it's the same object, and the previous controller gets it back.




Ice cream man!
Ice cream man!
Q: I play Phyrexian Dreadnought and toss a Protean Hulk in from Mosswort Bridge with the Dreadnought's trigger on the stack. Can I sacrifice just the Hulk before the Dreadnought's trigger makes me sacrifice it since I didn't sacrifice enough power?

A: You have to sacrifice at least 12 power worth of creatures, or sacrifice the Dreadnought itself. Fortunately, the Dreadnought has 12 power and there's no limit to how many creatures you sacrifice or how high their combined power can be as long as it's over 12... so you can sacrifice both the Hulk and Dreadnought rather than just the Dreadnought!



Q: My Grixis Sojourners dies in combat. Can it remove itself from the game so my opponent can't Necrogenesis it away next turn after he untaps? If not the Sojourners, what about the creature that killed it?

A: Both are legal targets. State-based effects will put them into the graveyards after combat damage is dealt, and then the Sojourners's trigger goes on the stack. There's nothing saying that the Sojourners can't remove itself, and the other creature is also in the graveyard, so you can remove either.



Q: I play Filigree Fracture on my opponent's blue artifact creature, but Metallurgeon regenerates it. Do I get to draw a card?

A: Sure. The card draw isn't contingent upon there actually being destruction, even though Fracture uses the word "was" – that's just because you're usually going to have to use last known information anyway and has no functional difference than "if that permanent is blue or black."



Q: Murderous Redcap comes into play and hits my opponent for 2, then I sacrifice it to Marsh Flitter and it returns and triggers again, and so does my Sigil Captain. How much damage is dealt? Can I keep doing this over and over?

A: The Redcap comes into play with a -1/-1 counter; that's definite. Then the Sigil Captain triggers because it's 1/1, and its own ability triggers to deal more damage. You can resolve these in any order and either deal 1 damage or 3 damage. Either way, after both triggers have resolved, you'll be left with a Redcap with one +1/+1 counter on it and no -1/-1 counters – remember that +1/+1 and -1/-1 counters remove each other as a state-based effect! So if you sacrifice the Redcap again, you'll repeat the process, giggling maniacally the whole while.



Q: We're playing Emperor, and I Threaten an opponent's creature. Then I deploy it to my Emperor. Does he keep it forever now?

A: He does! The "deploy creature" option creates a funky invisible activated ability on every creature that says ":symtap:: Target teammate gains control of this creature. Play this ability only any time you could play a sorcery." There isn't any duration on this, so it lasts for the rest of the game or until one of two people leave the game: your Emperor leaves (game's over anyway) or the General you stole it from (it goes back into his deck as he leaves). Threaten's change-of-control effect ends, but that doesn't matter because a later effect is giving control.



Q: In a game with different spell ranges, such as Emperor, what happens if I'm being targeted by a player from out of my spell range? Can I counter this spell, or do I have to let it happen since it's out of my range?

A: You'd think a spell coming at your face would be something you can target, but no. Rule 601.2d says that an object is only in your range of influence if its controller is, and there aren't any exceptions for spells on the stack that just happen to be hurtling at your dome. Now, if you're playing casually (which I suspect you are as Emperor isn't a DCI-supported format), your group is more than welcome to overturn this rule and say that you can target spells targeting you regardless of range of influence.



Q: In a multiplayer game, I play Phage the Untouchable and sacrifice her to something-or-other with Endless Whispers also in play. So the next guy gets Phage, I kill Phage in response to her trigger, and the player dies. Who chooses who gets her next, though?

A: Endless Whispers gives the triggered ability to the creature, so the player that controlled Phage picks a target for Phage when it dies. However, since that player would control the end-of-turn trigger and that player is no longer in the game, the trigger isn't put on the stack. Phage ends up in its owner's graveyard and doesn't return for shenanigans.



Q: After I attacked, I realized that I hadn't drawn for the turn after resolving my Dark Confidant trigger. Do I draw a card or not?

A: You do. This isn't an optional thing, and failing to draw for the turn follows the same rules as a missed trigger even though the draw isn't a trigger at all. As long as you catch it before your next draw step ends, you must take it.

But don't just apply the fix; call a judge and let that judge apply it. Call the judge on your own mistake for extra brownie points and possibly a less-severe penalty!



Q: I attached Behemoth Sledge to my Naya Hushblade, and only a few turns later did we realize that was illegal. Now what?

A: Once again, call a judge. However, here's what the judge will say if this judge is well-versed in the DCI Penalty Guide:

The current game state is legal. Shroud doesn't prevent something from being equipped to it. It came about illegally, sure, but that was many turns ago, and we do not rewind very much, and definitely not over a few turns. Both players get a warning, one for Game Rules Violation and one for Failure to Maintain Game State, and the game continues exactly as it is.

So if you're the opponent there, now you know why you should watch to make sure that your opponent doesn't accidentally commit any rules violations.



That'll do for this week. Join us next week as we continue to poke at cascade, which is quickly becoming Magic's most questionable ability.

Until next time, break out your red decks!

- Eli Shiffrin
Tucson, Arizona

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