Cranial Insertion: Spring Break Goyfapalooza




Spring Break!

I hope you enjoyed our little mid-term exam last week, but now it's back to your usual articles. We're still busy calculating your test grades as I write this, but don't worry, there's an extra credit assignment. To submit it, just send in a rules question to the CI mailbag at [email][email protected][/email], and we'll add ten points onto your grade!

Of course, now that your Cranial Insertion mid-term is over, it's time to party for Spring Break, and no one parties harder than your friendly neighborhood Goyf! (Just ask foreign exchange students Hans and Saffi!) So put down your number two pencils, and let's celebrate Spring Break by cracking open a nice cold case of rules questions.




Q: Is there any way I can wait and see what creatures my opponent is going to attack with before I decide whether or not to tap his guys down with Cryptic Command?

A: Not unless he's kind enough to tell you way in advance. Once you both pass priority in the beginning of combat step, he'll immediately move to the declare attackers step and turn his guys sideways on his own accord before you can do anything - and then it'll be too late for you to tap them!




Q: Does a creature with double strike deal damage twice to players, or is it just creatures in combat with it?

A: There's a common misconception that double strike only works when it's a creature with double strike dealing damage to another creature. A creature with double strike will deal damage in both the first-strike and regular combat damage steps no matter what it's dealing damage to in combat, whether it be another creature, a player, or a planeswalker.




Q: Two Hunter Slivers are attacking me, and one of them provokes my face-down Willbender and the other provokes my Saproling token. Can I legally flip up my Willbender and change the target to the other Hunter Sliver?

A: "Provoke" means "Whenever this creature attacks, you may choose to have target creature defending player controls block this creature this combat if able. If you do, untap that creature."

So no - you can only change the target to another creature you, the defending player, control. For example, if you wanted to keep your Saproling alive by forcing your opponent's Slivers to beat up on your Willbender.




Q: Dovescape counters any noncreature spell played and turns it into Bird tokens, but Volcanic Fallout can't be countered. So what happens when I play Volcanic Fallout with Dovescape in play?

A: Well, it certainly isn't countered! However, Dovescape's triggered ability will do as much as possible, so it'll still make bird tokens. Too bad the Fallout will resolve after the triggered ability and wipe out your freshly hatched birdies.





Juggling Angels is a cute party
trick, but it won't help you win.
Q: I have a Platinum Angel and a Master Transmuter in play, and I'm at -43 life when my opponent tries to Path to Exile my Angel. If I bounce it with Master Transmuter and put it back into play, do I get to keep playing?

A: Sadly, no. Once you play the Transmuter's ability, which bounces the Angel to your hand as part of the cost, the "you may put an artifact from your hand into play" ability is on the stack and the active player would get priority, so state-based effects are checked and you die.




Q: If I have multiple copies of Dark Suspicions on the field, will each trigger separately (doubling others' displeasure and my fun)?

A: As for your dark suspicions regarding Dark Suspicions, you suspect correctly. Each will trigger and resolve individually, darkening your opponents' day with double the life loss.




Q: If I play Feudkiller's Verdict with Cradle of Vitality in play, and get a 5/5, can I pay 1W to put ten +1/+1 counters on the newly created token?

A: You sure can! Cradle will trigger when Verdict makes you gain life, but won't go on the stack until the spell is finished resolving. By that time, the token's already in play, before you even pick a target for the triggered ability of Cradle of Vitality.




Q: If a Predator Dragon devours a Child of Alara, will the Dragon avoid the destruction?

A: Nope, the dragon won't be able to survive the Kid's temper-tantrum. Predator Dragon devours Child of Alara as it comes into play, triggering the Child's ability - but it doesn't go on the stack yet. Then once the dragon comes into play, the "destroy everything" trigger will go on the stack and wipe out everything, Predator Dragon included.




Q: I have a Mycosynth Lattice, a Darksteel Forge, and a planeswalker in play. My planeswalker has 3 loyalty, and my opponent deals it 3 damage. What happens?

A: Planeswalkers are probably the least useful of all permanents to make indestructible - they're the only indestructible things that damage will get rid of! This is because a planeswalker with zero loyalty counters is put into its owners' graveyard as a state-based effect; it's not destroyed.




Q: I have a March of the Machines in play, and a Followed Footsteps on a Darksteel Ingot. My opponent plays Tranquility, destroying both enchantments. What happens to all the copies of Darksteel Ingot created with Followed Footsteps - are they still creatures since they were when they were created?

A: The tokens created were copies of Darksteel Ingot, but they only copied the printed characteristics of the Ingot. March of the Machine's effect wasn't copied by Followed Footsteps, so once it leaves play, you just have a lot of indestructible mana-producing tokens.




Q: I'm at 2 life and play Sharuum the Hegemon with Magister Sphinx in my graveyard. Is there a way my opponent can time playing Smash to Smithereens to kill me before Sharuum's comes-into-play ability brings Magister back and sets me to 10 life?

A: Sure, he can play Smash to Smithereens with Sharuum's "return an artifact to play" trigger on the stack or when Magister Sphinx's "set target player's life total to 10" trigger is on the stack. As soon as it resolves and puts you at -1, you'll go to get priority back and promptly die with the trigger waiting.




Q: Can a Quietus Spike on a Birds of Paradise kill you if it continues to go unblocked?

A: Not unless that Birds of Paradise is a Noble Heirarch (or has one to back it up). A creature with zero power assigns no combat damage, and Quietus Spike needs combat damage to trigger.




Q: If my opponent controls Hostility and tries to cast Earthquake, but in response I sacrifice Burrenton Forge-Tender to prevent the damage, does he still get the tokens?

A: You'll get to choose how this plays out: since you're the player that would be dealt damage, you can choose whether to apply the Forge-Tender's prevention effect or the Hostility's effect first. If you prevent the damage, Hostility won't make babies, and you'll probably be a much happier camper.





Vesuva is a popular vacation
spot for Dominarian college students.
Q: How does Vesuva interact with Warp World? Let's say a Vesuva is revealed and put into play. Can I copy any of the other lands coming into play at the same time?

A: As Vesuva is coming into play, there's nothing already in play for it to copy, so it'll just be plain ol' Vesuva. It's nowhere you've ever been. :>




Q: If my opponent keeps my Reflecting Pool tapped with his Ajani Vengeant, and in response I Boomerang Ajani, does my land still stay tapped next turn?

A: Yep, it will. An ability exists independently of its source, so the effect set up by Ajani's ability will stick around even though he's gone. Strangely enough, a spell cast by a real planeswalker (you) will leave the stack if you leave the game, but Ajani's "spell" won't if he leaves the game.




Q: If I use my Vein Drinker to kill a Kederekt Creeper, will the Creeper's deathtouch trigger? I can't tell if it's Vein Drinker's own ability doing the damage to itself based on the Creeper's power, or if the Creeper's actually doing the damage.

A: Bant creatures might be the kings of one-on-one duels, but everyone's a loser in this Grixis one. Vein Drinker will kill the Creeper, but the Creeper is the one dealing damage back to Vein Drinker, so deathtouch will trigger. If it's any consolation, if it's your turn, your Vampire will get a +1/+1 counter before it dies.




Q: I have Mark of Asylum in play, and my opponent has Everlasting Torment in play. He goes to Magma Spray my Kitchen Finks. Do I choose which replacement effect takes precedence?

A: One oft-overlooked rule in Magic is that "can't" effects always win. So there are two effects, one which says to prevent damage and one which says damage can't be prevented, and negativity prevails! Your Finks will be very dead.




Q: I control a Web of Inertia and a Tormod’s Crypt and my opponent has an empty graveyard. If he enters his combat phase and plays an instant to get a card in his graveyard, can he remove it to pay for the Web’s cost before I can remove it with Tormod’s Crypt?

A: The Web's ability is a triggered ability, so he can't decide when to put it on the stack - it goes on as the combat phase begins. If he responds with an instant, you can let it resolve and then remove it, all while the Web trigger is still on the stack. He'll need more instants if he wants to swing!




Q: I have a Firemane Angel in my graveyard, and I activate its self-resurrecting ability during my upkeep before I gain the life. My opponent is trying to tell me that now I don't gain the point of life, but why is that?

A: Firemane Angel has what's called an intervening-if clause. It'll only trigger if its trigger condition is true, and it'll only resolve if its trigger condition is still true when it goes to resolve. By changing the zone Firemane Angel exists in after its trigger goes on the stack, you've made it a new object - one that doesn't remember it triggered in the graveyard. The beginning of your upkeep is past, so you'll need to wait until the next one to gain that life. Note that you can always wait until the life gaining trigger resolves, and then when you get priority again, play the "return me to play" ability.




Q: Is Heartless Hidetsugu the best Elder Dragon Highlander general ever? Doesn't he automatically win the game in two turns, since he deals about 20 general damage with just one tap?

A: Mono-colored problems aside, H.H. is good, but the rule in EDH that says a player loses the game if they've taken 21 general damage from a single general is only for combat damage. You can win by your general dealing damage to a player in a non-combat fashion, but you'll have to do it by reducing their life total to zero or less the old fashioned way.




Q: Can I use either planeswalkers or non-creature legendary permanents as generals in Elder Dragon Highlander?

A: Neither planeswalkers or non-creature legendary permanents are legendary creatures, which is basically what makes a card general-worthy. There's lots of legendary creatures to choose from, though!




Until next time, this is your favorite Goyf signing off! Party responsibly!

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