Cranial Insertion: Waiting for Moko

Cranial Insertion
Waiting For Moko
(This Is Your Brain On Urchin)

By Eli Shiffrin, Tom Fowler, and Diane Colley

Beebles and Wizened Cenn, Children of Korlis of all ages, welcome to another week of rules and “humor” at Cranial Insertion!



This week we have a delightful assortment of questions spanning from the mild to the maddening, but fear not, for all have been handled by our expert question tamers, and are unlikely to cause bodily harm to readers.*



As always, if you’d like to see your question in lights, send it to [email][email protected][/email] where the lovely Moko will assist us in perfecting it for publication! Now, without further dilatory remarks, let the questioning begin!



*Neither MTG Salvation nor its authors are liable for psychological trauma associated with the reading of Cranial Insertion: Waiting For Moko. Readers are advised to proceed only at their own risk.

Painting the objects red,
We're painting the objects red.
We dare not stop
Or waste a drop,
So let the paint be spread!

Q: With Painter's Servant in play set to Red, will Chill cause everything to cost an additional 2?

A: Yes. The first step in playing a spell is declaring it and putting it on the stack. This means that Painter’s Servant will paint them red before their costs are locked in, so Chill will add the extra 2.

Quote from 409.1a »
The player announces that he or she is playing the spell or activated ability. If a spell is being played, that card (or that copy of a card) physically moves from the zone it's in to the stack. It has all the characteristics of the card (or the copy of a card) associated with it, and its controller is the player who played it.

Q: I control Wasp Lancer and Sickle Ripper. My opponent controls a tapped Leech Bonder and an untapped Island. His Murderous Redcap persists back into play and he targets my Wasp Lancer with its ability. Can he kill both of my creatures?

A: Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but yes he can. When Murderous Redcap comes into play, its triggered ability goes on the stack. However, it will not check for Murderous Redcap’s power until it resolves, giving your opponent time to move the persist counter onto your Sickle Ripper while the Redcap’s comes-into-play trigger is still on the stack.

Murderous Redcap is murderous.

Q: I control a Contamination and Trinisphere and my opponent announces that he's playing Engineered Explosives for 0, after which he taps 3 land to pay for the sphere. Will the Explosives come into play with a sunburst counter or not?

A: In figuring out the cost of Engineered Explosives, you select X, find that the would-be converted mana cost of the spell is less than 3, and bump the cost up to 3 for the sphere. Since your opponent is paying BBB for it, he can’t avoid giving it a sunburst counter.

Q: With my opponent’s Mistbind Clique’s champion trigger on the stack, can I cast Sudden Spoiling on him to keep him from tapping my lands? Will he still have to champion a creature?

A: Mistbind Clique’s tapping ability triggers on championing a creature, therefore, if it no longer has the ability when the champion trigger resolves, it can’t trigger. Your opponent will still have the option of championing a creature, since the champion ability was already on the stack and remains unchanged by Sudden Spoiling. If he doesn't champion a creature, he'll have to sacrifice the Clique.

Quote from 402.6 »
Once activated or triggered, an ability exists independently of its source as an ability on the stack.

evryday iz Caturday!
Q: I cast Tower Above on my Caterwauling Boggart and attack. I target one of my opponent’s two creatures with the triggered ability granted by Tower Above. Is he forced to block with both of his creatures?

A: Yes, he is. Tower Above sets up a requirement for blocking, while Caterwauling Boggart has a restriction on what can block it. A player is compelled to fulfill as many requirements as possible without violating any restrictions. Double blocking fulfills both the requirement without violating the restriction, while not blocking fills no requirements (though it is in-line with the restriction).

Quote from 500.4 »
A restriction conflicts with a proposed set of attackers or blockers if it isn't being followed. A requirement conflicts with a proposed set of attackers or blockers if it isn't being followed and (1) the requirement could be obeyed without violating a restriction and (2) doing so will allow the total number of requirements that the set obeys to increase. If there are multiple scenarios in which all restrictions are being followed and the maximum possible number of requirements are being followed (even if not all of them are), then any of those scenarios are legal.

To caterwaul is to cry like a cat, says The Internet. The boggarts must be celebrating Caturday.

Q: If I Stifle my opponent’s activation of Chimeric Coils, will he still have to sacrifice it at end of turn?

A: No. Sacrificing Chimeric Coils happens on the resolution of the delayed triggered ability set up by Chimeric Coils’ activated ability. If you Stifle the activation, the delayed triggered ability is never put in place.

More simply, no, they’re all part of the same ability.

Q: If I use Makeshift Mannequin to reanimate my Grizzly Bears, then target them with Cauldron of Souls, will they persist?

A: Cauldron of Souls cannot save your Grizzly Mannequin. When you target the Makeshift Bears with the Cauldron, their ability will trigger and be put on the stack on top of the Cauldron’s ability. The destruction trigger will resolve before the Cauldron can give the Bears persist.

Q: I control Opalescence, Meddling Mage naming Hyalopterous Lemure and Runed Halo naming Island. If I cast Mirrorweave

[Thank you for writing in! Moko will soon be dispatching a letter bomb to your return address! As always, send your questions to [email][email protected][/email]! -ed]

—targeting my Meddling Mage, can I prevent anyone from playing Islands? Please don’t kill me…

A: Haven’t we had enough Mirrorweave? I guess not. This trick does work. Runed Halo has the choice “Island” stuck on it, even when it gets Mirrorwoven into a Meddling Mage. That choice will carry over when it becomes a Meddling Mage, and no one will be able to play this “Island” card of which you speak.

Also, using Opalescence and Mirrorweave in the same question is now the 8th deadly sin. I just need to get all the paperwork signed so it’s official.

Q: I survived your letter bomb, but it blew up my Runed Halo. Now I control Opalescence, Meddling Mage naming Letter Bomb, and Shimmer naming Island. If I Mirrorweave targeting Meddling Mage, can I still keep anyone from playing Islands? (Can’t get me now!)

A: (Just you wait.)

This trick will not work like the previous one. While Shimmer will retain the choice that was made for it, that choice is inapplicable to it when it is a Meddling Mage. The Shimmer choice was a land type, and Meddling Mage needs a card name. It does not matter that “Island” is both a land type and a card name.

Think of them as different types of data. If your operation is looking for a Boolean variable, it won’t accept an integer, even if the integer in question is “1,” for example.

Q: Since the rules changed, Tarmogoyf's Characteristic-Defining Ability works in all zones. By this logic, can I use a Bloodstained Mire to search for my Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth because its ability makes it a Swamp in all zones?

A: No. Urborg does not have a Characteristic-Defining Ability. It has a plain old static ability. Like most other plain old static abilities (POSes for short. Okay, not really), Urborg's ability only functions in the in-play zone.

Quote from Glossary »
Static abilities create continuous effects, which are active as long as the permanent with the ability remains in play and has the ability, or as long as the object with the ability remains in the appropriate zone.

You can recognize Characteristic-Defining Abilities (or CDAs (for serious this time)) by the fact that they define characteristics of a card that are normally defined outside of its text box. In the case of Tarmogoyf, its power and toughness are not defined in the lower-right hand corner as usual. Because its ability defines its power and toughness, it is a CDA.

Another example of a card with a CDA is Crimson Kobolds. Before the change in the CDA rules, Crimson Kobolds outside of the in-play zone weren’t crimson at all. With the change, you can Douse them.

Enchanted Evening never returns
my calls anymore…
Q: With Opalescence in play, I resolve Enchanted Evening. Will Opalescence “override” the power and toughness of things that were already creatures?

A: Yes. Enchanted Evening and Opalescence both apply in layer 4 of rule 418.5a, however they do not apply in timestamp order. What we have here is a dependency interaction, because Opalescence only applies if Enchanted Evening has already applied. In situations like this, the dependent effect (Opalescence, in this case) will apply last.

Quote from 418.5d »
An effect dependent on one or more other effects waits to apply until just after all of those effects have been applied.

P.S. You just Armageddoned the board. Just so you know.

P.P.S. Rule 418.5d does not apply to dependency in relationships.

Q: I reanimate my Kinsbaile Borderguard using Makeshift Mannequin. If it gets killed, will it count the Mannequin token for its leaves play trigger?

A: Yes, it will. Kinsbaile Borderguard will count any sort of counter, including (but not limited to) +1/+1 counters, -1/-1 counters, time counters, charge counters, divinity counters, ki counters, fate counters, cube counters, blood counters, growth counters, polyp counters, infection counters, fungus counters, plague counters, pain counters, scream counters, doom counters, and (more relevantly) mannequin counters!

(Withering the Borderguard to death is highly recommended. All SBEs check at once!)

Q: Does Puresight Merrow remove things face up or face down?

A: Face up. The removed-from-game zone is always face up unless a card specifically states otherwise.

Quote from 217.7b »
Cards in the removed-from-the-game zone are kept face up and may be examined by any player at any time. Cards "removed from the game face down" can't be examined by any player except when instructions allow it.


Q: How exactly do tiebreakers work in Magic tournaments?

A: In a single-player swiss tournament, rankings are based on the following. First, it’s based on match points (you get 3 match points for every match win, 1 for each draw, and 0 for each loss). After that, players with the same number of match points are ranked based on their opponent’s match win percentage. This is the percentage of matches won by their previous opponents in that tournament. After that, ties are broken using your game win percentage. The final tiebreaker is the game win percentage of your previous opponents in that tournament. You can think of the tiebreakers this way:

1. How much you’ve pwnz0rd.
2. How hard your opponents were to pwnz0r.
3. How hard you pwnz0rd them.
4. How hard they pwnz0rd other people.

Note that these get jostled a bit in the pairing process sometimes to avoid having two players face off twice in the swiss portion of the same tournament.

The official explanation of the swiss system can be found in the Tournament Organizer’s Handbook, which can be downloaded here. My explanation is far better, though.

Did you all have fun today?


Editor’s Note: I think you guys should stop clapping…the Urchin appears to be irritated.
Good! Thank you for reading! As always, send your questions to [email][email protected][/email], and if Moko really likes them, maybe he will send you a cookie in return! Or a bomb! Yay!

Diane Colley
DCI Level 3 Judge
Oberlin, Ohio

(She makes the children afraid.)


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