Cranial Insertion: Questions of Climate Change



Cranial Insertion
Questions of Climate Change

By Eli Shiffrin, Thijs van Ommen, and Tom Fowler


Welcome back to Cranial Insertion, where we are slowly recovering from the recent icy temperatures. Today, we bring you a mix of Cold Snap questions and, well, other questions. And answers. So let's go.




If there is such a thing as too many
Auras, I have not discovered it.
Q: I attack with my Zur the Enchanter which already has Favorable Destiny on it from a previous attack. If I get another Aura from my library, can I put it on Zur again despite the Destiny (I have another creature in play)?

A: Sure, Zur can have another Aura if he wants. Aura spells target, but Auras that weren't played as spells don't. This means that Zur can also put Pillory of the Sleepless on a Simic Sky Swallower that's been trying to bite you. Creatures with protection are still off-limits: protection not only stops targeting, but simply disallows enchanting (and equipping) as well.



Q: If I have a creature with protection from white, say Stromgald Crusader for instance, and my opponent plays Wrath of God, will he die?

A: Your Stromgald Crusader will die to Wrath. Protection stops four things: damage, enchanting/equipping, blocking, and targeting. (The acronym DEBT may help you remember these things.) Wrath doesn't do any of these things, so it's unaffected by protection.



Q: I have a rules question concerning Rabble-Rouser: My friend says that if he activates Rabble-Rouser in his first main phase, creatures that attack in the combat phase still get the bonus.

A: Not true: the ability will only pump creatures that are attacking as it resolves. If a spell or ability generates a continuous effect that modifies characteristics of a thing, it only hits what's in play as it resolves. Your friend is likely thinking of things like Plaxmanta, which do not affect characteristics but rather set up a game rule - they apply to newcomers as well.




The Balduvians would often catch
their enemies by surprise with their
superior word counts.
Q: I have Balduvian Warlord out, but my opponent played Master Warcraft this turn. Will that also affect the Warlord's ability? That is, will he get to choose the attacking creature to be blocked by the targeted creature?

A: No. The Boros Legion is outsmarted by the Balduvian tacticians in this battle. The Warlord specifies that you choose the attacker to be blocked.



Q: My opponent tries to Surging Flame my Martyr of Ashes. Can I sacrifice it in response, without revealing any cards, to counter the ripple effect?

A: That part about not revealing cards is of course perfectly legal; it just means that X=0. However, it won't counter the ripple ability, just the original Surging Flame spell. Ripple is templated as a triggered ability that triggers when the spell it's on is played. The spell and the ability will exist on the stack independently (with the triggered ability on top). Removing the spell's only target will cause that spell to be countered later on, but the ability (which doesn't have a target) will still resolve and try to ripple up more Flames.




Who needs a body when
they've got me around?
Q: Lets say I have a Bramble Elemental with a Flickerform enchanting it. Then, I play Copy Enchantment targeting another Aura and attach it to my Elemental. What will happen when I Flicker him away? Can Copy Enchantment come back even though it's not an Aura now that it's removed from the game? If it does come back: 1) Do I get to pick a new enchantment to copy? 2) Does it still have to enchant the Elemental (see Flickerform)?

A: Copy Enchantment will come back with the Flickerform and the Elemental. The text "Those Auras" on Flickerform actually means "Those other objects I just removed." Because Copy Enchantment is coming back as a new permanent, you get to choose a new enchantment for it to copy from the enchantments that were already in play. No matter what you copy, it will be attached to Bramble Elemental - even if you copy a non-Aura enchantment! However, in that case, state-based effects will make sure it becomes unattached again right away.



Q: We've run into a little problem with the interaction between Enduring Ideal and Voidslime. Our problem is when you play Enduring Ideal, can the epic ability be countered? Now we don't mean the epic ability putting copies of the spell on the stack at the beginning of upkeep. What we mean is can we counter (using Voidslime's Stifle side) the epic ability as the card is played so that it never starts doing things like making copies and not allowing the playing of spells?

A: Unlike ripple, the epic ability happens simply as part of the spell resolving. There's no trigger involved, so the only thing on the stack is the spell itself. You can counter it or let it the entire thing resolve.



Q: It seems the effect from Adarkar Valkyrie is quite similar to regeneration. Could you list the differences please?

A: Let's put the two next to each other for comparison:
From Adarkar Valkyrie:
When target creature other than Adarkar Valkyrie is put into a graveyard this turn, return that card to play under your control.
From the CompRules glossary under Regenerate:
The next time [permanent] would be destroyed this turn, instead remove all damage from it, tap it, and (if it's in combat) remove it from combat.
The differences are now mostly easy to spot:
  • The Valkyrie can be used to steal your opponent's creatures. Regeneration doesn't meddle with who controls the permanent being regenerated.
  • With the Valkyrie, the creature goes to the graveyard and then comes back shortly after, possibly triggering comes-into-play abilities. With regeneration, it never leaves play, so effects, counters and enchantments remain.
  • A creature brought back by the Valkyrie will usually be untapped, while a creature that just regenerated will be tapped.
  • The Valkyrie's ability will save any creature that goes to the graveyard for whatever reason. Regeneration can only help against destroy effects. (Note that lethal damage causes the creature to be "destroyed" by state-based effects, so regeneration helps against lethal damage, too.)
The fundamental difference between the two from a rules perspective is that the Valkyrie's ability is triggered, while regeneration works as a replacement effect. The Valkyrie lets a creature die, then the ability triggers and goes on the stack to bring the creature back soon after. A creature protected by regeneration never dies: the destruction event is replaced by another event. This means that a creature protected by both the Valkyrie's ability and a regeneration shield wouldn't touch the graveyard if it got hit by a destruction event: regeneration saves the creature, while Adarkar Valkyrie never realized the creature was in danger.



Q: If I have Night of Souls' Betrayal in play along with Endless Whispers when I play Bronze Bombshell, will the Bombshell do 7 damage to the opponent at the end of each of my turns?

A: Sorry, but this combo won't work. Putting the Bombshell under your opponent's control with Endless Whispers will trigger its ability, but the Shell will be killed off by state-based effects for having 0 toughness before that triggered ability resolves. When it does resolve, your opponent can't sacrifice the Shell, so he doesn't take any damage from it.

Instead of using Night of Souls' Betrayal, you should find a way to kill the Bombshell each time it pops up on your side, for example by sacrificing it.



Q: I have a Leyline of the Void in play, which will remove anything going into my opponent's graveyard from the game instead. My opponent has Annexed a land I own. Then he plays Wildfire and sacrifices that land and three others. We couldn't decide where that land would go: would it try to go to my opponent's graveyard but end up being removed by the Leyline instead (before the rules could tell it that it was supposed to go into my graveyard because I own it), or would it know right away that it should be heading for my graveyard, avoiding the Leyline altogether.

A: You're trying to determine the result of a sacrifice, so let's look in the CompRules glossary for more details:
From the CompRules:
Sacrifice
To sacrifice a permanent, its controller moves it from the in-play zone directly to its owner's graveyard. ...
Because the land is being moved to your graveyard, there's no need to invoke rule 217.1a which deals with keeping your permanents out of your opponent's zones.




Playing with lightning is certainly
a lot harder than playing with fire.
Q: Does Lightning Storm's ability work like any other activated ability While Lightning Storm is on the stack? For example, if I play Lightning Storm and my opponent says "I have no responses", do I now get to discard 8 land cards to it, or does he get to respond every time I discard a land?

A: To play this card properly, you need to know all about priority. The main pitfall when playing with lightning is the following. If you play Lightning Storm and ask your opponent if he wants to put any counters on it, you've implicitly passed priority to him. If he also passes priority, you'll both have passed priority in succession, and the spell will resolve, dealing 3 damage and leaving you with the lands you wanted to discard still in your hand.

After a spell or ability resolves, the active player receives priority. You can use this to your advantage when using the spell on your opponent's turn. Play the spell, activate its ability once, then pass priority. Your opponent will most likely also pass priority: if he wants to discard land cards of his own, he's better off letting your activation resolve first, or he'd just be letting you have final say over the Storm's target. So let's say he passes priority, and your activation resolves. Now your opponent will be in the position you were in previously: every time he passes priority to you, you get to decide between activating again or letting the Storm hit.



Wow, that last one got pretty big. Better stop now. Keep your questions flowing at [email][email protected][/email] and don't leave home without your coat!

-Thijs van Ommen, The Netherlands

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