Cranial Insertion: Snake in the Mirror



Snake in the Mirror
(Or, Weaveform?)

By Eli Shiffrin, Tom Fowler, and Diane Colley


Fun Fact: Eli's mother is terrified
of snakes. Many judges are
terrified of Snakeform.
And we're back! For those in the North America (and France, Ireland, Italy, Thailand, and, of course, our beloved Estonia) who went, we hope you had a good Nationals weekend. Urchin's up in Canadia, and I'm sure she'll have plenty of stories for us next week. As for now, we're going to dive into the mailbag and-

Ew, there's monkey drool in the mailbag.

Anyway, read on for another grab-bag week of random, wacky questions! We've got a pile of questions about two certain cards that you might be able to guess from the title – lucky Ireland, all their snakes are gone. As always, you can send your own questions off to [email][email protected][/email] for an answer, and your question may show up in a future article! Once we learn how to bend time to our will, it may even show up in a past article.




Q: What happens if a green/white creature with Shield of the Oversoul is hit by Snakeform?

A: Judging by Snakeform's art, its clothes fall off, and it'd be arrested for public indecency. Luckily, a card's function isn't based off the art.

In layer 5, your creature will become green and no other colors. Since this changes how the "if it's white, it flies" part of Shield of the Oversoul affects the creature, the Shield's effect is dependent on Snakeform. So it'll become green and won't have flying in layer 5. Then in layer 6d, it'll get +1/+1 for being green. The "enchanted creature is indestructible" part isn't an ability that the Shield gives the creature, so it won't be removed and the creature will still be indestructible.

End result: 2/2 Snake that just won't die, no matter how hard you hit it with a whip.




Q: So does Sapling of Colfenor stay indestructible if I make it a Snakeling of Colfenor?

A: In this case, your little snake will be very destructible. The Shield makes the creature indestructible in the last question; in this case, it's an ability of the Sapling that makes it indestructible. Once Snakeform strips away that ability in layer 5, it won't be indestructible anymore.




Q: If my opponent doesn't block Hearthfire Hobgoblin, will he take damage twice?

A: He sure will! Double strike means that the creature deals first-strike damage and then deals regular damage; it doesn't matter whether it's dealing this damage to a creature or not.

You might be confused with a different situation: Hearthfire Hobgoblin blocked by Grizzly Bears. In that case, once the Bears are asploded from first-strike damage, there won't be anything left for the Hobgoblin to poke at.




Q: If Spitemare gets hit by a creature with wither, does it trigger?

A: Wither only changes the result of damage. It doesn't change how much is dealt, whether it's dealt, or anything like that. So Spitemare hit by a Smoldering Butcher is dealt 4 damage in the form of four -1/-1 counters and then deals 4 damage to something.





It seems destiny ends with a
million Mirrorweave Qs.
Q: I control a fully-evolved Figure of Destiny, and then I hit it with Mirrorweave. What do my other creatures become?

A: They'll all be Figures of Destiny whose destiny is yet unfulfilled - that is, little baby 1/1 Kithkin. Figure of Destiny's abilities function in layer 4, 5, and 6b, and only copiable values - the effects applied in layer 1 - are copied over by Mirrorweave.




Q: What happens if I hit another creature, like Grizzly Bears, instead of my Figure?

A: Then your Figure of Destiny becomes Grizzly Bears... with a destiny! The copy effect is applied in layer 1, but then the four types are added in layer 4, flying and first strike are gained in layer 5, and it becomes 8/8 in layer 6b. It'll still be a green creature named Grizzly Bears, it it'll look a whole lot like a Figure of Destiny.




Q: If I Mirrorweave a Mutavault while I control a maxed-out Figure of Destiny, what does it look like?

A: A freak of nature.

In layer 1, it becomes a Mutavault - an unanimated land. Then in layer 4, it tries to gain creature types, but since it's not a creature, it can't gain those. Then in layer 5, it does gain flying and first strike, since those abilities aren't restricted to creatures. Lastly, in layer 6b, it tries to become 8/8, but since only creatures can have power and toughness, it doesn't.

You end up with a normal-looking Mutavault with flying and first strike, in defiance of the laws of nature.




Q: If my opponent has a whole lot blue mana, is there any way I can get rid of Oona's Grace with Faerie Macabre?

A: The only thing you can do is wait for him to run out of mana, then zap it. If he plays Oona's Grace, it's no longer in the graveyard and you can't target it. If you do target it while he has mana open, he can play it in response, and then it won't be the same object that you targeted when the Macabre's ability resolves, so it won't be removed.




Q: Does a creature with a -1/-1 counter on it die immediately if I Snakeform it?

A: I'll be a 0/0 or less, so yes - it goes straight to the graveyard when state-based effects are checked, which is before any player receives priority.




Q: Why doesn't Lurebound Scarecrow trigger again after it's triggered and keep on triggering until the game explodes? That's obviously not how it works, but why?

A: This is the glory of state triggers! State triggers trigger on a condition being true rather than triggering on an event occurring. Once they trigger, they can't trigger again until the ability on the stack leaves the stack, either by resolving (in which case the state is usually changed or the object is gone) or by being countered (which is pretty useless since it just triggers again).

If the state remains true, you've got a problem. For instance, if I control a Darksteel Reactor with twenty counters on it, but you control a Platinum Angel, I can't win when the trigger resolves. Normally, I'd win so the ability wouldn't trigger anymore - game's over. But I didn't win, and the condition is still true, so Darksteel Reactor triggers again. And again. And again and again and again. Ad nauseum. And thus is the game a draw.




Q: After I attack with Silkbind Faerie, can I untap it to tap a potential blocker before it blocks?

A: Sure. After you declare attackers, both players have to agree that they're not doing anything before your opponent can declare blockers. You'll have plenty of time to tap down his blockers, and he'll have plenty of time to untap them if he wants to foil your nefarious plans.




Q: Manabarbs plus Runed Halo – combo or bombo?

A: It's a pretty good combo. Part of protection from foo is "Prevent all damage that would be dealt to you by a foo source." Manabarbs causes damage, so protection from Manabarbs will gleefully prevent all that damage and let you tap your lands with impunity.




Q: If my Necroskitter blocks Ashenmoor Liege, will I get the Liege?

A: You will. Both creatures are put into the graveyard at the same time - the Necroskitter has lethal damage on it, and the Liege has 0 toughness. Since things that trigger specifically on a creature leaving play, like Necroskitter, look back in time and use last known information, it'll see the Liege dying, and it'll see the counter on it, and so it will trigger.





That whole "bright colors drives
away predators" thing won't stop the
dragon coming at you, you know.
Q: Can I Glamerdye Shriekmaw to "destroy target nonblue creature" after he targets my Mistbind Clique?

A: Once the triggered ability is put on the stack, it's too late - you can't change what it does by changing the object it triggered from.

What you can do, though, is Glamerdye Shriekmaw while it's still on the stack as a spell and turn "nonblack" into "nonblue." If you have any nonblue creatures, he can still blow them up, but your Clique will survive. In fact, if you don't have any nonblue creatures, he'll have to target one of his own creatures, possibly even the Shriekmaw itself!




Q: Can I use Glamerdye to make Shorecrasher Mimic trigger when I play a spell that's "both blue and blue"?

A: That sounds funny, but it works. Note that Shorecrasher Mimic won't trigger on the Glamerdye itself, though, since it still says "both green and blue" at the time that the spell's played.




Q: Now that my Mimic triggers on blue and blue spells, can I play Glamerdye from the graveyard and target something without any color words just to trigger the Mimic?

A: That's fine. The only targeting requirement is "spell or permanent." It doesn't check for whether or not that spell or permanent has a color word, much less the one you choose. If you use Glamerdye to replace all instances of "blue" on a Plains with "green," it will just do a bit fat nothing.




Q: If I play Mirrorweave on a black Faerie token, do all other creatures become tokens?

A: The tokeniness or nontokeniness of a creature is not a characteristic, much less a copiable value; the other creatures won't be tokens unless they normally are. Similarly, your Faerie token won't become a nontoken by copying.




Q: The Tips & Tricks cards say that a creature dies for having 0 toughness before counters are removed. Aren't all state-based effects checked at once, though?

A: You're right - SBEs are all checked at once. What the Tips & Tricks cards say is technically incorrect, but persist, which the card is written for, uses last known information and looks back to before SBEs are checked. It's easier to understand these as sequential than trying to fit the intricacies of LKI and SBEs and TLAs on one tiny card.




Q: How does Divinity of Pride work in Two-Headed Giant games?

A: Any time an effect in 2HG cares about "your" life total, it uses half of the team's life total, rounded up. So if your team has 49 or 50 life, you have 25 life and the Divinity is a happy Divinity. If the team has 48 or less, it's a saaaad panda.




Q: Can I choose for a creature I control with wither to deal normal damage to my opponent's creature instead?

A: Nope, wither isn't optional. R&D has been good about putting words like "may," "target," "when," and ":" (wait, that isn't really a word...) in reminder text when it's relevant to the ability at hand.




Q: What happens if I play Pyrrhic Revival with a Canker Abomination in my graveyard, and my opponent has one creature in play and three in his graveyard?

A: As Pyrrhic Revival resolves, before any of the creatures actually come into play, you determine how many counters the Abomination will come into play with. Your opponent only has one creature, so it'll only get one counter from its ability, plus the one from the Revival.




Q: My opponent removes Deity of Scar's last -1/-1 counter during his main phase, and swings. I block with 8 power worth of creatures. What happens if I Skred it?

A: That depends - did you put combat damage on the stack yet or not? If you didn't, the Deity will regenerate and leave combat and your creatures will survive, as well as the Deity. If you did put combat damage on the stack, the Deity will be removed from combat, and then when combat damage resolves, it - as well as your creatures - will explode into a fine mist.




That's all for this time. Stay tuned for next week's monkey-laden rules extravaganza! Maybe Urchin can get through the article without a single Mirrorweave or Figure of Destiny question! (I wouldn't put any money on that, though, oh, not at all.)

Until next time, have fun with your shape-changing shenanigans!

- Eli Shiffrin
Tucson, Arizona

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