Cranial Insertion: Easter Eggs, Dingus Eggs



Cranial Insertion
Easter Eggs, Dingus Eggs

By Eli Shiffrin, Tom Fowler, and Ted Dickinson

It's bunny season for a lot of people right now, but a look at our banner will show you that we always have bunnies on the brain at CI. Happy Easter, or whatever holiday you might have celebrated. If you didn't celebrate any holidays, then, as the Bangles taught us, it's just another manic Monday. The 2HG PTQ season is in full swing, but we're going to cover questions from all over the Magical landscape.

As always, send us your rules questions to [email][email protected][/email]. Not only will we send you the answer, we will shamelessly steal your question and use it in a future edition of CI. Then, when you and your friends are huddled around your monitor, basking in the knowledge found in this column, you can proudly point to your question and claim it as your own. Or not. Whichever you prefer.

On with the queries!




Q: I activate Fa'adiyah Seer, and choose to replace the draw by dredging a card. Do I still have to discard that card?

A: No, you don't. If you replace the draw part of the Seer's ability, the rest of the ability no longer applies, so you don't do anything else for it. The dredged card goes to your hand, the appropriate number of cards go into your graveyard, and the Seer gets on with her life.


Q: How is that different from dredging for Phyrexian Arena's draw? Don't I still lose 1 life?

A: You do. The difference is, Phyrexian Arena's triggered ability tells you that two things will happen at the beginning of your upkeep: (1) you draw a card, and (2) you lose 1 life. The second is not dependent on the first, so if you replace the draw with dredge or something like Words of Worship, Arena still dings you for 1. With the Seer, if you replace the draw with dredge, you can't reveal the card you drew, and you can't discard it. So if the Seer's draw is replaced, the rest of the ability doesn't apply.



This bunny likes puny apes.
Q: I have two Stomping Grounds, a Karplusan Forest, and two Kird Apes in play. If my opponent plays Blood Moon, do my Apes become puny?

A: They will. Blood Moon will turn the ape-empowering Stomping Grounds from "Land – Mountain Forest" to just "Land – Mountain." Since they no longer have the Forest subtype, they don't provide a boost to your Kird Ape. Perhaps bananas can help.


Q: My opponent flashes back Dread Return, targeting the Akroma in his graveyard. Can I flip up Willbender to make him reanimate a Birds of Paradise in his graveyard instead?

A: Diabolical! You certainly can. Dread Return is a spell or ability with a single target, making it a legal target for Willbender, so you can turn him face-up and give your opponent the most overcosted Bird ever.


Q: Since equipping is an activated ability, can I use Willbender to change the target of Umezawa's Jitte's equip ability to something less threatening, like a Birds of Paradise?

A: Poor Birds. They were capable swordsmen, but they just can't do much with a Jitte. Because equip is an ability with a single target, Willbender can change it to another target of your choosing. Note, however, that this bending of wills goes only so far: you can't make your opponent equip his pointy stick to one of your creatures, since the equip ability specifies that it can only target a creature that player controls. Willbender can't change targets to anything that would be illegal.

Bonus: Also, if your opponent had the mana to pay the equip ability again, he could do so once Willbender had temporarily foiled his plans.


Q: I play Endless Swarm, then play Quicken without passing priority, then play another Endless Swarm. Will I get two copies of Endless Swarm each turn?

A: Yes, you will. Because you cunningly managed to play a second epic spell before the first one resolved, the Magic gods will reward you for your resourcefulness. At the beginning of each of your upkeeps, each Endless Swarm's epic will trigger and give you an epic copy on the stack.

Bonus: You'll also be twice as unable to play spells for the rest of the game, for whatever that's worth.


Q: Does Voidstone Gargoyle stop Vesuvan Shapeshifter shenanigans?

A: Let's look at what the Gargoyle does. Once you've named a card, that card can't be played. Activated abilities of permanents with that name, and cards not in play with that name, can't be played. Vesuvan Shapeshifter has no activated abilities. Turning a creature face-up is a special action that doesn't use the stack, so the Gargoyle can't stop a player from turning the Shapeshifter face-up. The Shapeshifter also has a triggered ability that lets you turn it face-down at the beginning of your upkeep. The Gargoyle only shuts down activated abilities, so it's no good there. While Voidstone Gargoyle would prevent a spell named Vesuvan Shapeshifter from being played, it can be played face-down and avoid that fate.

I would have to conclude that Voidstone Gargoyle is quite ineffective against Vesuvan Shapeshifter.


Q: How do Boom // Bust and Magnivore interact? Rule 505.2 says that split cards have two sets of characteristics everywhere but the stack, so does Boom // Bust in the graveyard give Magnivore +2/+2?

A: While it's true that split cards have two sets of characteristics unless they're on the stack, the fact remains that Boom // Bust is only one card. Magnivore will only count it once.


Q: If I have a Paradox Haze attached to me, how does that work with the older cantrips ("draw a card at the beginning of the next turn's upkeep")? Because I get an additional upkeep step, do I draw twice?

A: Just once. The "slowtrips" set up a delayed triggered ability when they're played. They will trigger at the beginning of the next turn's upkeep and that will be it. You'll get one card, regardless of how many upkeep steps you might actually have.

404.4b A delayed triggered ability will trigger only once—the next time its trigger event occurs—unless it has a stated duration, such as "this turn."



Q: I have a Knight of the Holy Nimbus, and my opponent taps out to play two Sulfur Elementals. Since he can't pay to prevent my Knight from regenerating, does it live?

A: Unfortunately, your Knight has met his match here. While it's true that your opponent can't pay to stop the regeneration, that doesn't matter here. The two Elementals will team up to make your Knight a 4/0, and a creature with 0 toughness is put into its owner's graveyard as a state-based effect. This is not a destruction effect, so regeneration can't stop it.



We hope you don't feel this way about
the rules after reading Cranial Insertion...
Q: I play Accumulated Knowledge with none in my graveyard. Instead of drawing a card, I dredge a Golgari Grave-Troll. In the process of dredging 6, I flip two copies of AK into my graveyard. What happens now?

A: You completely resolve Accumulated Knowledge, following the instructions in the order written. Draw a card (replaced by dredge), then draw a card for each AK in your graveyard. So if you put a pair of AKs in your graveyard while dredging back your Troll, you'll draw two cards. Note that if you replaced the first of those two draws by dredging something else back and flipped over your last remaining AK, you wouldn't draw an additional card. You're still following the instructions in the order written. First you draw a card, then you draw N cards. Once you begin drawing N cards, the value of N can't be changed.


Q: I know you have to discard down to 7 cards during the cleanup step. I have 8 cards and discard Call to the Netherworld. I pay its madness cost of 0 and get a black creature card back in my hand. Do I still have to discard down to 7 cards?

A: You will. Interesting things rarely happen during the cleanup step, so players rarely get priority to do anything. Madness cards are a good example of players getting priority during the cleanup step. The cleanup step, however, will continue to repeat until Interesting Things stop happening, so after you finish your madness spell, the cleanup step will prod you about discarding again.

314.3. If the conditions for any state-based effects exist or if any triggered abilities are waiting to be put onto the stack, the active player gets priority and players may play spells and abilities. Once the stack is empty and all players pass, another cleanup step begins. Otherwise, no player receives priority and the step ends.


Bonus: Technically, you discard down to your maximum hand size. This is normally 7, but doesn't have to be. Something like Thought Devourer, for example, can modify your maximum hand size.


Q: If I use Sunforger to play a spell with buyback, can I pay the buyback cost?

A: Yes. And you must pay the cost if you want to use buyback. Sunforger only takes care of the spell's normal mana cost. You're responsible for any additional costs the spell might require. Those additional costs can be mandatory (Sphere of Resistance) or optional (buyback).


Q: Pull from Eternity can target suspended cards, right? What happens to the time counters?

A: Suspended cards are in the removed from game zone, so they are legal targets for Pull from Eternity. The suspended card will be moved from the RFG zone to the graveyard. Its time counters will simply fail to move with it.


Q: I play Chain of Plasma targeting my opponent. He tries to discard multiple cards to get multiple copies to throw back at me. Can he do this?

A: No. How do you throw a copy of a spell? In Magic, we ignore the impossible.

. . .

Oh, you were probably asking if he could discard a bunch of cards and end up with that many copies of Chain of Plasma. No, he can't. Chain allows your opponent to discard one card and get one copy of the spell. He can choose to discard no cards and not have a copy of his very own, or he can discard one card and have one copy of the spell. That's it.


Q: I have Wild Pair in play and I play Whitemane Lion. Do I search for a creature before I have to "rescue" one?

A: Not necessarily. Wild Pair and the Lion both trigger when the Lion comes into play. Because you control both of these triggers, you choose the order in which they go onto the stack. If you want to search first, you stack Whitemane Lion's ability first, then Wild Pair's ability. You'll then search your library for a creature card, put it into play, and then deal with Whitemane Lion's ability.


Q: Does that mean I could play Whitemane Lion, search out Avalanche Riders, destroy a land, and then return the Riders to my hand?

A: Yes, that works. The stack would be this:

(top)
Wild Pair ability
Whitemane Lion ability
(bottom)

You resolve the Wild Pair ability and put Avalanche Riders into play. Since that has its own triggered ability, it has to go onto the stack.

(top)
Avalanche Riders ability
Whitemane Lion ability
(bottom)

You resolve the Riders' ability and destroy a land. Whitemane Lion's ability is still waiting to resolve at this point. When it does, you choose a creature you control and return it to your hand. As long as you still control Avalanche Riders when the Lion's trigger resolves, you can return it to your hand.


Q: Does Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth hose the Urzatron lands by making them Swamps?

A: If you're wondering if it removes their ability to produce crazy amounts of mana, no. Urborg makes lands Swamps in addition to whatever they are already. So Urza's Mine becomes a "Land – Urza's Mine Swamp." It gains the ability to tap for :symb:, but it retains its own mana ability as well. Thus, if your opponent has the Urzatron, he can choose to tap the Mine for 2 mana or for :symb:.


That's all for this week of Cranial Insertion. Future Sight looms on the near horizon, and we'll be covering the newest set in great detail when the time comes!

Next week: Two-Headed Dragon challenges Two-Headed Giant for the format name.


-Tom Fowler

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