Cranial Insertion: Tempus Fugit

Cranial Insertion
Tempus Fugit
or, Millennium Hand and Shrimp!

By Eli Shiffrin, Tom Fowler, and Ted Dickinson

How quickly time goes - it's almost time for Future Sight, and there are still so many fun questions with Time Spiral and Planar Chaos to answer! Moko's trying to travel through time and jam more questions into our older articles. I don't feel like telling him that he can just edit them, since then you'd miss the questions. If he does succeed, you'll miss the questions anyway, but we'd have bigger worries if a carnivorous, zombified chimpanzee develops time travel.

Be afraid.

Be very afraid.

Email your questions to [email][email protected][/email] to keep him busy and save the universe as we know it.

Q: If I remove a land card from my library with Intet, the Dreamer, can I play it if I've already played a land this turn? What if it's not even my turn and I got Intet to trigger somehow?

A: Luckily, Intet doesn't break many rules. Intet only alters from where you can play a card, not any normal restrictions on when you can play it. So you won't be able to play additional lands if you can't otherwise, and you can't play a land at a time you couldn't otherwise play it.

Q: I have a Dormant Sliver in play. How many cards will I draw if I play another one?

A: Two! Right after the second Dormant Sliver comes into play, the game will check for triggers that should have triggered. At this point, your new-found Sliver has at least two abilities that say "When this creature comes into play, draw a card," and both will gleefully trigger and fill your hand.

Q: Can I keep a creature with vanishing around forever by Ovinizing it in response to its "remove a counter" trigger when it's down to its last counter?

A: Alas, nothing is forever. But your trick works, yes. The trigger will still resolve and remove the last time counter, but since the creature no longer has vanishing, its "When the last time counter is removed, sacrifice" trigger won't exist.

Let's play dress-up!
Q: How does Svogthos, the Restless Tomb interact with Humility?

A: Humility? RUN AWAY!!!


Let's look at this in layers

In layer 4, Svogthos becomes a creature and Humility starts grinning.

In layer 5, you have two things: "Loses all abilities" from Humility, and "Gains ability that will set power/toughness in layer 6" from Svogthos. These are not dependent on each other, since applying Humility won't remove the existence of the ability that grants the p/t-setting ability. Applying it second would indeed remove the actual setting ability, but not the ability that grants it, and that's what matters.

Where in layer 6 does Svogthos' setting ability fall? It's not a characteristic-setting ability, since it's not intrinsic to the object, and it sets power and toughness, so it must be layer 6b – where you just happen to find Humility's 1/1 ability. This comes down to timestamp, and Svogthos wins.

Svogthos will not, however, have the mana ability, nor the capability of using its P/T-setting ability.

Q: Can I discard three cards, including Phantasmagorian, to bring that same Phantasmagorian back to my hand?

A: Sadly, you cannot. Because Phantasmagorian's ability references returning it from the graveyard, its ability can only be played if it's already in the graveyard before you announce the ability.

Q: What happens if I remove a creature with suspend from the game using Safe Haven? Can I give it a time counter with Timecrafting to get it back?

A: No can do. A card is only suspended if 1) It has suspend, 2) It is removed from the game, and 3) If it has a time counter on it. Safe Haven only makes the creature fit two of those three requirements, and Timecrafting can only target something that fits all three (or is in play).

Q: Will a flashed-back spell get counters if I hit it with Ertai's Meddling, or will flashback's replacement effect remove it without counters?

A: Flashback only cares about spells that try to go somewhere other than removed from the game. Since Meddling removes that spell from the game, it will happily do so and flashback will cheerfully wave as it gets counters, all ready to come back

Look, Legacy cards!
Q: My opponent has a Smokestack and I have Sacred Ground. Can I just sacrifice my lands and get them back?

A: You can indeed. You're selecting the lands to sacrifice, but it's still his ability that's causing them to be put into the graveyard. As long as the soot counters stay under your land count, you're safe.

Q: Can I Krosan Grip Standstill without giving my opponent cards?

A: Nope. Split second won't stop Standstill's triggered ability, so that's still going to go off and fill your opponent's hand.

Q: Can I sacrifice Saffi Eriksdotter to save herself from Wrath of God?

A: No such luck. Saffi's ability can target herself, but it will be countered when it resolves since she's a nonexistent target – she's busy taking a dirt nap in the graveyard.

Q: My opponent has four Gossamer Phantasms and I have one Electrolyze. Can I target all four of his Phantasms to kill them?

A: When you have to divide something among targets, each target must receive at least one of what is being divided. In this case, you have two damage to divide.

Since we're not in Silver-Bordered Land, where half-damage exists, you can only pick two targets to receive one damage each, and two Phantasms will survive.

Q: Can colorless creatures block creatures with fear?

A: If the creature is an artifact creature, yes. If it's a plain old creature that's somehow colorless – possibly because it's face down – then no. Just being colorless doesn't make the morph-creatures artifacts.

Q: Can I shrink my Viscid Lemures so that they'll untap under a Marble Titan?

A: Only if you get priority during your untap step before stuff untaps. Luckily, no one ever receives priority during the untap step, so that's not going to happen. Ever.

The Lemures' ability wears off during the cleanup, which repeats until nothing is left to clean up, so you can't get the -1/-0 to carry over from your opponent's turn, either.

Sorry, but those Lemures are going to be tapped for a while.

Q: If I Commandeer Careful Consideration when my opponent plays it during his main phase, how many cards do I have to discard?

A: Three. When Careful Consideration resolves, you draw four cards, then it asks you "Did you, my controller, play me during your main phase?" Now, not only it is not your main phase, you didn't even play it! You stole it! So Careful Consideration is a sad, sad spell and you discard three cards.

Q: What if I Commandeer a Vigor Mortis after my opponent pays G for it?

A: Unlike Careful Consideration that cares about what you do, Vigor Mortis only cares if a Green mana was spent to play it – so your creature will get a +1/+1 counter.

Q: Can I sacrifice both Annex and the land I stole to Greater Gargadon's ability?

A: No, you can't sacrifice enchantments to Greater Gargadon.

If you could, though, you still couldn't sacrifice both. After you sacrifice one to play the ability once, you get priority again. Before you get priority, though, either the Annex is in the graveyard (if you sacrificed the land) due to state-based effects, or the land is no longer yours (if you sacrificed the Annex).

This is different with Phyrexian Totem, since you don't get priority and state-based effects aren't checked between sacrifices for him. You can sacrifice the land and then the Annex to the Totem.

Q: Can I Trickbind Radha, Heir to Keld's RR trigger, or is that a mana ability?

A: A mana ability is an activated ability that produces mana, or a triggered ability that produces mana and triggers on a mana ability. Radha's ability is a triggered ability that produces mana, but not on a mana ability – so counter away!

Q: Does Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir completely hose suspend?

A: Not completely, but pretty much. Card such as Detrivore will still trigger to do nasty things, but when the final counter is removed and the trigger says "Play me!", Teferi will say "There's something on the stack" – the triggered ability – "so you can't play anything." And thus does the suspended card remain removed from the game for a long time.

Q: On turn two, I play Shahrazad. I start the subgame with Leyline of the Void in play and proceed to mill my opponent for 30 cards before I die. Those 30 cards stay removed from the game, right?

A: They do. Any cards removed from the game as part of a subgame will stay removed from the game when you return to the main game and won't be shuffled back into the library.

Q: Can Outrider en-Kor redirect damage from an Excruciator?

A: Sure – the Outrider isn't preventing the damage, he's just shoving it somewhere else. Effects only prevent damage if they specifically say "prevent."

Q: My opponent Phthisised my Wall of Stone, so I hit the wall with a Last Gasp in response. How much life do I lose?

A: 2. Your Wall is -3/5 now, and when the total is evaluated, the total is 2 – the -3 doesn't count as a zero unless something wants to know that specific value. Anything asking for a total will happily use negative numbers (such as the popular Wild Pair questions.)

That's all the time we have for today. I've got to go and stop a monkey from ripping the fabric of the space-time continuum. We'll be back next week with a look at the wackiness of the new set.

Until next time, enjoy your Future Sight prerelease!

- Eli Shiffrin
Tucson, AZ


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