Cranial Insertion: Conspiracy to Commit Delay

Cranial Insertion
Conspiracy to Commit Delay
or, Guilty on All Reckless Charges

By Eli Shiffrin, Tom Fowler, and Ted Dickinson

It's been quite the week for us here at CI. I was unfortunately unable to attend Nationals, however Tom and Eli were both there and I'm sure we'll be hearing of their experiences in the coming weeks.

Our devoted readers have also heard the call for more questions to the [email][email protected][/email] mailbag; we received so many this week that there wasn't even room to fit them all in! This week we're mostly sticking to the Comprehensive Rules questions, with a quick foray into the Universal Tournament Rules. We received some great "procedural" questions that will be featured in upcoming articles.

Q: My Island, decked out with sweet Living Terrain threads, is hit with a Lightning Axe. My opponent then Naturalizes the Living Terrain and Animate Lands the Island. Is my now-3/3 Island buried in its (definitely not sweet) 5-damage funeral suit, or has it shed the damage in the split second it was not a creature?

A: Damage sticks on permanents until the cleanup step, even if that permanent stops being a creature. This is covered by rule 212.1b:

212.1b. When an object’s type changes, the new type(s) replaces any existing types. Counters, effects, and damage affecting the object remain with it, even if they are meaningless to the new type. Similarly, when one or more of an object’s subtypes changes, the new subtype(s) replaces any existing subtypes from the appropriate set (creature types, land types, artifact types, enchantment types, or spell types). If an object’s type is removed, the subtypes correlated with that type will remain if they are also the subtypes of a type the object currently has; otherwise, they are also removed for the entire time the object’s type is removed. Removing an object’s subtype doesn’t affect its types at all.

So your Island will indeed be sent to the graveyard in its funeral suit. Getting the Island into the coffin is the tricky part: not only is it huge, but with an electrified suit, many Goblins would have to be sacrificed to get that job done.

Q: Since Conspiracy does not say ''in addition to their other creature types'' that means that it gets rid of their old types? Does that work for legendary creatures?

A: Yes, and kind of. When an effect changes a permanent's type or subtype, it "overwrites" whatever the permanent might have already had unless the effect specifies otherwise. (See Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth for an example of adding a subtype to a card without removing its old ones.)

Interestingly, this is covered by the exact same rule as the previous question: 212.1b.

As for the second part of the question, yes it will work on Legendary Creatures. However, since "Legendary" is no longer a subtype, but rather a supertype, Conspiracy can't cause a Legendary Creature -- Human Wizard to become, say, a non-Legendary Sliver.

Q: I have the following cards in play: 1 Conspiracy (naming Zombie); 4 Undead Warchiefs; 1 The Hive. Would my Undead Warchief lower the cost to make the token from the hive?

A: Unfortunately those zombies aren't too smart when it comes to operating Wasp generators. Effects that say certain spells cost less to play only matter when you're actually playing a spell; they don't reduce the cost of an activated ability that would happen to put the right kind of object into play when it resolves.

In other words, the Warchief's effect is only good if you're playing a creature spell that has the Zombie subtype at the time you determine the total cost of the spell.

Q: If I give Jaya Ballard, Task Mage lifelink, such as equipping Loxodon Warhammer, then activate its "deal 6 damage to each creature and each player" ability, will I get buckets of life?

A: Only if a "bucket" is a unit of measure equal to "six life for each creature or player." Lifelink doesn't care how the creature deals damage:

502.68a Lifelink is a triggered ability. “Lifelink” means “Whenever this permanent deals damage, you gain that much life.”

So you'll get a lifelink trigger for each player or creature it damages.

Q: I was told when I was first learning to play that I can't put things on my deck to remind myself of triggers. Just recently I was told that WotC had changed the rules in response to the "if you don't, you lose the game" Pacts. What are the current rules?

A: This is indeed a rules change that came in with the Pacts (such as Pact of Negation). Previously you could not place any object on top of your deck as a "reminder" of anything . . . but that was before forgetting to resolve an upkeep trigger would result in you losing the game. So to give players a break, the DCI changed Rule 37 in the Universal Tournament Rules:

37. Game Markers
Game markers, such as tokens or reminders of a game effect, may not be designated by cards with identical backs as the cards in a player’s deck if the deck is unsleeved. If the deck is sleeved, game markers may not have sleeve backs identical to those on the cards in the player’s deck.

Small items (i.e. Glass beads, dice, etc . . .) may be used as markers and placed atop your library (for example, as a reminder for upkeep effects). Cards may not be used. These markers may not disguise the number of cards remaining in a player’s deck or completely obscure the top card of the deck.

A judge may disallow the use of game markers that may cause confusion with regard to the state of the game, or that are deemed inappropriate or offensive.
In short, you can use a token on top of your deck as long as it meets the following criteria:
1)It's not a card.
2)It's not big enough to hide the size or top card of your deck. (So bananas are right out.)
3)It's not something being used elsewhere in the game to stand for something else. A coin is fine if nobody's using coins for tokens, but if you're using glass beads for your Sliver tokens, you shouldn't use a glass bead for your Pact reminder.

Q: If I Delay a spell, then someone Commandeers my Delay, do they get the delayed spell as well? If they Commandeer the spell Delay is delaying, do they get the spell?

A: First question: assuming they don't change the target of Delay when they Commandeer it, there's really not much reason to play Commandeer. This is because Suspend instructs "you" to remove time counters and play the spell:

502.59a Suspend is a keyword that represents three abilities. The first is a static ability that functions while the card with suspend is in a player’s hand. The second and third are triggered abilities that function in the removed-from-the-game zone. “Suspend N—[cost]” means “If you could play this card from your hand, you may pay [cost] and remove it from the game with N time counters on it. This action doesn’t use the stack,” and “At the beginning of your upkeep, if this card is suspended, remove a time counter from it,” and “When the last time counter is removed from this card, if it’s removed from the game, play it without paying its mana cost if able. If you can’t, it remains removed from the game. If you play a creature spell this way, it gains haste until you lose control of the spell or the permanent it becomes.”

"You" refers to an object's controller when it's in play or on the stack, and refers to the object's owner when it's in any other zone (such as removed-from-game).

So regardless of who controls the Delay, it's the spell's owner (the player who started the game with that spell in his/her deck) that will play the spell when the last time counter is removed.

As for your second question, the answer is no different. The spell will still get removed from the game by Delay and be associated with its owner, not its new controller.

Q: If I Momentary Blink my Phage the Untouchable, would I lose because I'm not playing the new Phage from hand?

A: Not only are you not playing it from hand, you're not playing it at all. You will have a quite pesky "lose the game" triggered ability to contend with shortly after your Momentary Blink resolves.

Q: Can I Chord of Calling out a morph creature for GGG? The converted mana cost of a face-down creature card is 0 after all. . . .

A: While the converted mana cost of a face-down creature is indeed 0, the problem is that you only get to pay 0 as an alternate cost to play the creature when you're actually playing the creature face-down. Effects that put creatures directly into play don't give you an opportunity to pay any of that creature's costs, including alternate costs. So you'll still have to pay the "printed" converted mana cost of the creature you're looking for with Chord.

Q: I have a Porphyry Nodes in play. It's my upkeep and the triggered ability goes on the stack. There's only one creature in play. What happens if my opponent Momentary Blinks the creature after the trigger goes on the stack? Will Porphyry Nodes be destroyed for lack of creatures in play? Will the creature be destroyed or will it survive because it is a different object?

A: First off, the Nodes will be gone. That triggered ability of the Nodes is what's called a "state trigger." It will trigger at any time the game state meets the described condition, even during the middle of resolving another spell or ability. When this happens the trigger waits until the next time a player would gain priority (in other words, right after the Blink finishes resolving) to go on the stack. So the Nodes will indeed be sacrificed (not just destroyed) after the Blink resolves.

However, that won't be enough to save the creature in play. The Nodes don't "lock in" which creature will be destroyed when the ability triggers; this isn't done until the ability is resolving. The fact that the creature is a new object won't save it; nor will the fact that the Nodes are no longer in play, as that triggered ability can still resolve even if the Nodes are gone.

More on state triggers:

410.11. Some triggered abilities trigger on a game state, such as a player controlling no permanents of a particular type, rather than triggering when an event occurs. These abilities trigger as soon as the game state matches the condition. They’ll go onto the stack at the next available opportunity. These are called state triggers. (Note that state triggers aren’t the same as state-based effects.) A state-triggered ability doesn’t trigger again until the ability has resolved, has been countered, or has otherwise left the stack. Then, if the object with the ability is still in the same zone and the game state still matches its trigger condition, the ability will trigger again.

Example: A permanent’s ability reads, “Whenever you have no cards in hand, draw a card.” If its controller plays the last card from his or her hand, the ability will trigger once and won’t trigger again until it has resolved. If its controller plays a spell that reads “Discard your hand, then draw that many cards,” the ability will trigger during the spell’s resolution because the player’s hand was momentarily empty.

Q: Last week you mentioned that a Willbender can change the target of a Sudden Shock to that player's Troll Ascetic. I understand that the Willbender itself doesn't target the Troll (or does it?), but when the Sudden Shock resolves, won't it have to check if the target is still legal?

A: Yes, it will. However, Willbender only targets the Sudden Shock, not the new target for the Shock, so there's no illegal target there. And since Troll Ascetic can still be targeted by spells or abilities controlled by its controller, and that player also controls the Sudden Shock, the target is still legal.

That's all for this week. Be sure to keep those questions coming, and let us know what you think of the new front page and article system too!


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