Cranial Insertion: Fast Falls the Eventide

Cranial Insertion
Fast Falls the Eventide
or, Moar Hybrids!

By Eli Shiffrin, Tom Fowler, and Diane Colley

I has a flavor!
Welcome to the awesomeness that is Eventide! It's time for another bout of strange, mythological creatures that you've never heard of, including the noggles, the duergar, the selkies, and the nucklavee!

Nucklavee is fun to say.

And, of course, with a fun new set come fun new questions. Here's a sampling of what came up from the WotC previews and from our prereleases – but I'm sure you have lots more. Send all your questions to [email][email protected][/email], and you'll not only get an answer hand-delivered to your email inbox by Moko, you'll also have a chance at getting it printed in the column!

And now, on with the dusk.

Q: Can I play Raven's Crime any time I could play an instant by retracing it?

A: Nope. Retrace only allows you to play a card from a zone that you normally can't play cards from. It doesn't change or grant any other permissions, so you're still restricted to playing Raven's Crime only when you could play a sorcery.

Q: Wait, so I can play a spell with retrace over and over and over?

A: Spells that resolve tend to go to your graveyard, and retrace does not remove them from the game like flashback does. So barring graveyard hate, you can retrace to your heart's content.

Q: My opponent wants to retrace a Spitting Image of my fattie. Can I eat the Image card with my Creakwood Ghoul it in response to stop him?

A: Not in response, no – the first step of playing a spell is to take the card from its current zone and plop it on the stack. By then, it's too late to creak it out of existence. If you know that your opponent is planning to spit on your fattie, though, you can always remove Spitting Image from his graveyard during his upkeep or draw step.

Q: Magus of the Future is showing me a land on top of my library. Can I discard it to retrace?

A: Magus of the Future only lets you play the card on top of your library. You can't discard it, remove it from the game, Boomerang it, or eat it.

Well, I suppose you can eat it if you really want to. But then you'll have an illegal deck.

You know that thing cats do
where they knead with the claws?
Guess where its paws are.
Q: Does W/B mana count as a black mana symbol for Umbra Stalker?

A: W/B mana is, just like the card it's on, both white and black. It's not a white mana or a :symb:, but it's a white mana symbol and a black mana symbol. Stalk away!

Q: If I sacrifice Clone copying Demigod of Revenge to Fiery Bombardment, how much damage will it deal?

A: A whoppin' 5 damage. Fiery Bombardment looks at the sacrificed creature's mana cost, which means it uses that creature's last known information as it existed in play. Once in the graveyard, it's not a creature anyway, just a creature card.

Q: What mana symbols are in the cost of tokens? The same as the spell that made them? What about face-down creatures?

A: Tokens and face-down critters have much in common. In fact, you can even mistake them for each other when bad players use face-down sideboard cards as tokens...

But assuming one of you lovely loyal readers, who know perfectly well not to use cards that look like morph dudes for tokens, is in this situation.

A token normally has no mana cost. The same is true of a face-down creature. A face-down creature will never have a mana cost, but a token might. Check out Spitting Image again! It copies a creature, and the mana cost is a copiable value, so a Spitting Image token of a Demigod of Revenge will have a mana cost of :symbr::symbr::symbr::symbr::symbr: even though it's a dinky little token.

Q: How do counters and Auras work with Nightsky Mimic?

A: Mmm, layers. If only we had written a comprehensive article on layers for your enlightenment.

You can read that article later; I'll answer this now. All of the Mimics, as well as Figure of Destiny and Snakeform, change the creature's power and toughness in layer 6b. Counters are applied after that in layer 6c, and an Aura granting a creature a power and/or toughness boost will be applied in layer 6d. These are always applied later, regardless of timestamps involved.

An Aura setting power and toughness, like our dear friend Lignify, is applied in 6b just like the Mimic/Figure/Snakeform setting, so you have to go by timestamp on that. The last one to resolve wins.

Q: Will Riverfall Mimic trigger if I play a red spell and then turn it blue while it's on the stack?

A: played a red spell. You even said it yourself! The fact that said spell becomes blue later won't matter; as it became played, it was only a red spell.

Q: If my Spitemare blocks a Krosan Cloudscraper, how much damage will my opponent take?

A: Your little Spitemare is prancing happily in the field. Then Krosan Cloudscraper walks over and steps on it. The Cloudscraper doesn't pinch its cheeks and deal a couple measly damage to it. No, the Couldscraper bears all its weight down and turns Spitemare into a fine jelly which is then scraped up, processed, and marketed by Kraft Foods as the exciting new Spite-flavored Jell-O™.

Creatures in combat don't pull their punches. They assign and deal the full amount of damage equal to their power, even if this is shockingly overkill. Your opponent will take a fantastic 13 damage while you enjoy your delicious chilled gelatin dessert.

Q: I played a green spell, but my opponent countered it. Can I still play Talara's Battalion?

A: It's distinctly hard to counter a green spell that hasn't been played – and countering a spell does not negate the fact that you did actually play one. Talara's Battalion only cares that you played a green spell, not that one resolved, so your poor countered green spell is enough to make it happy.

Q: I've got Deathbringer Liege and I play Unmake. Can I target an untapped creature to destroy, and target the same creature to tap it, and stack it so it'll become tapped and then be destroyed?

A: Yup. Deathbringer Liege's "destroy" ability doesn't say to destroy "target tapped creature" – if it did, you'd have to pick a target that's already tapped as it triggers. Instead, it destroys the creature "if it's tapped," which means that you can target any creature at all, and the ability might just do nothing.

Q: If Deity of Scars is blocked by four Oona's Gatewardens, can I rip some counters off to regenerate him before they all wither him to death?

A: Your Deity is about to go on a diety. All of the Gatewardens' combat damage is dealt at once, resulting in eight -1/-1 counters trimming off all of the excess (and required) body fat (and bone tissue) from the Deity of Scars. Before you get priority to play any abilities, state-based effects come along. They see a creature with less than 1 toughness (and, I suspect, some rather squished Gatewardens with lethal damage), and cart them all off to their respective graveyards. Then you get priority, and it's far too late to save the Deity.

Q: What happens if I don't have any creatures with Doomgape's trigger resolves?

A: If you don't have any creatures at all, then nothing happens. There's no sort of penalty attached to not being able to follow Doomgape's instructions.

But do note that Doomgape is a creature. As its flavor text implies, it'll happily munch on itself if you don't have anything else to feed it.

Q: If my opponent plays Oblivion Ring on my Endless Horizons, and then I destroy his Ring, can I put the Plains I removed into my hand again?

A: No such luck. An object changing zones becomes a new object. As soon as Oblivion Ring removes your Endless Horizons from the game, it forgets about all those poor, helpless Plains it forced into the RFG zone against their will, and it can never remember them.

Q: Can I pay WW to bring back Evershrike and then Momentary Blink it before I remove it from the game?

A: Evershrike returns to play and either gets fitted for a snazzy new Aura or gets blasted into the Blind Eternities all during the resolution of its activated ability. No player can play any sort of spells or abilities during this period, so you can't do anything between the time it comes into play and the time it either gets an Aura or gets removed.

Q: Can I activate Idle Thoughts a whole lot in response to each other then draw a bunch of cards?

A: Yes and no. You can play Idle Thoughts' ability until the cows come home, but as each ability resolves, you won't draw a card if you have any cards in hand. This is because the "if you have no cards in hand" part is only checked on resolution, but it's not a play restriction.

Q: I have a Curse of Chains on my opponent's creature, and I play a Springjack Shepherd. Do I get a Goat for the Curse, or not?

A: You will. Your Chains may be lying on someone else's creature, but they're still your Chains. Make sure to count up your Auras on the other side of the table when dealing with chroma abilities!

Q: If Stigma Lasher leaves play after damaging me, can I gain life again?

A: Nevar! When Stigma Lasher says "for the rest of the game," it really means that. Meddling Mage only stops the named card while it's in play because it has two abilities, one to name the card and one to stop it, while Stigma Lasher has just one triggered ability that creates a continuous effect of unlimited duration.

Q: My opponent plays Jaws of Stone with six Mountains, and he's dealing 1 damage to one creature, 2 to another, and 3 to me. If I copy it with Mirror Sheen, and I control only two Mountains, what can I do with the damage?

A: First of all, the number of Mountains you control won't matter at all. The division of damage (1/2/3 here) is a copiable value of spells, so Mirror Sheen will copy that for you. Thanks, opponent!

However, since this division is copied, you can't re-divide it. You can change any of the three targets, but you'll still be choosing one target to take 1 damage, another target to take 2 damage, and a third target to take 3 damage – and no, you can't target the same creature or player multiple times here.

Q: Who chooses which card is removed when I use Merrow Bonegnawer?

A: Since the Bonegnawer just instructs a player to remove any old card from his or her graveyard, it's that player who will make the decision. So the player you target (your opponent, I presume) will choose.

Q: I control Militia's Pride and swing, making two Kithkin Soldier tokens. Then I play Waves of Aggression. Will my tokens untap to attack again?

A: They won't. They were attacking, but they never attacked. A creature that "attacked" is one that you declared as an attacker during the declare attackers step. An "attacking" creature is one that attacked, or one that somehow, completely innocently ended up in the middle of the battle looking around confused.

(This may not be an acceptable legal defense ("I didn't kill her, I was just killing her, Your Honor!") outside of Magic. Please do not commit crimes and expect the CompRules to save you.)

Q: Do I get to put the card revealed for Sapling of Colfenor into my hand if it's not a creature card?

A: The little Sapling does not love you that much. Frown All of its side effects – life gain, life loss, and card-in-hand-ness – are contingent upon the revealed card being a creature.

And now that we've just scratched the surface of Eventide, we've reached the page limit for this article! Come back next week for another bevy of juicy little questions from our favorite plane of eternal night, and send in your questions to [email][email protected][/email] so we can help you survive in the darkness.

Until next time, watch out for the Hag right behind you OH MY GOD AAAH-

- Eli Shiffrin
Tucson, Arizona


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