Cranial Insertion: Live (On Tape) From Charleston



Cranial Insertion
Live (On Tape) From Charleston
By Eli Shiffrin, Thijs van Ommen, and Tom Fowler

Last weekend, a record 525 players, representing 175 teams, descended on Charleston, SC for the first ever Team Constructed Pro Tour. Ravnica Block was the format, and if you’ve read the coverage, you’re already aware of the decks that emerged. CI had its two certified writers, as well as its editor, onsite in Charleston, working both the Pro Tour main event and some side events. The questions you’ll read this week were taken from the floor of the PT itself, and some of the side events.

This week, we’re going to do something a little different with the format. You’re still going to get the Q&A you expect, but I’m also going to add in some stories from Charleston, and some spiffy digital photos from the event. NOW how much would you pay? (Um . . . the column is free, dummy.) Oh, right. [You can pay us if you want, though. -Ed]

We don’t just take questions from the floor of major events, though: we take a bunch of them from you, the readers. So keep sending them in at [email][email protected][/email]. We’ll answer the question, and we’ll probably use it in a future edition of CI. The only easier way to get your name in lights is to lead the US Soccer team to another abysmal finish in the World Cup!

Q: If Copy Enchantment is copying an Aura, does it become an Aura itself?

A: Yes. Copy Enchantment will copy all subtypes of the enchantment it is copying. This is what the Comp Rules tell us about copy effects:

503.2. When copying an object, the copy acquires the copiable values of the original object’s characteristics (name, mana cost, color, type, supertype, subtype, expansion symbol, rules text, power, and toughness) and, for an object on the stack, choices made when playing it (mode, targets, the value of X, whether a kicker cost was paid, how it will affect multiple targets, and so on). The “copiable values” are the values that are printed on the object, as modified by other copy effects, “comes into play as” abilities, and abilities that caused the object to be face down. Other effects (including type-changing and text-changing effects), status, and counters are not copied.



Q: So a Copy Enchantment that’s copying a Dream Leash has a converted mana cost of 5. I guess my Punishment for 3 won’t do much to it?

A: Nope. It will destroy permanents with CMC of 3, but it won’t affect the Copy Enchantments which are copying Dream Leash, since they will have a CMC of 5.

Bonus: A Copy Enchantment which, for whatever reason, isn’t copying anything, will be destroyed by a Punishment for 3.


Q: I use my Simic Guildmage, targeting an aura to move from creature A to creature B. In response, my opponent manages to kill both the Guildmage and creature B. What happens to the aura?

A: Technically, you don’t choose the permanent to move the aura onto until the ability resolves. When you play the ability, you have only one target to declare: the aura to be moved. In this case, you still have to resolve the ability as best you can. If there is another legal creature for the aura to attach itself to, you will have to move it onto that creature. If not, it will remain attached to creature A.


Charleston Interlude #1: We took shuttles from the airport to our hotels, so we didn’t get a chance to experience the taxi service in Charleston until we wanted to go to dinner Thursday night. The concierge recommended a mall that has several restaurants near it, and there were 14 of us ready to go. A few people had cars, so five of us needed to catch cabs to get there. It quickly became apparent that Charleston has the WORST TAXI SERVICE EVER.


Charleston Head Judge Sheldon Menery, giving us his best imperious
look at Saturday's judge dinner.
It took a while, but one of the cabs we called showed up to take us to the mall. Three of us got in, and were treated to a very interesting ride by our cabbie, who was clearly a drug addict. My bet was on meth, and I’m pretty sure I was right. Two other people were waiting for the next cab. It must have taken a while, because they got to the restaurant 25 minutes later than everyone else. Maybe they had the same cabbie, and he had to stop and pick up some drugs before catching his next fare.

If you think getting to the restaurant was bad enough, stay tuned for the debacle that ensued when we had the nerve to want to go back to our hotels.


Q: I have switched my Windreaver’s power and toughness. What happens if I later use his ability to increase his toughness?

A: The result is that you will end up increasing your Windreaver’s power. P/T-switching effects are always the last things you apply when you’re trying to determine a creature’s power and toughness. Here is the progression:

a. Characteristic-setting abilities.
b. Anything that doesn’t get applied in c, d, or e.
c. Counters.
d. Effects from static abilities that modify P/T but don’t set it to specific values.
e. P/T-switching.

So, we start with Windreaver as a 1/3. If you switch the power and toughness, we skip down to e and make it a 3/1. Now you decide to give it +0/+1 four times. We now need to calculate Windreaver’s power and toughness again. From the base of 1/3, we add +0/+4 (step b) to get 1/7, then apply the switching in step e to get a 7/1.

Bonus: With all the grafters running about, let’s add some counters to the mix. Windreaver has 2 +1/+1 counters, meaning we start with 1/3 and then add the counters, making Windreaver a 3/5 normally. Then you use the +0/+1 ability four times, then switch the power and toughness. So, we have 1/3 (base) +0/+4 (b) (1/7 so far), +2/+2 from the counters (c), making 3/9, then the switch in step e to get a final value of 9/3. If that’s the intuitive answer, then the new layering rules are doing their job.


Q: My opponent plays Castigate on me, and I respond with Odds // Ends, choosing Odds. If I end up with a copy of Castigate, can I play it on my opponent, since Castigate says “target opponent?”

A: Yes. Odds, a spell you control, created a copy of Castigate. This means you control the copy. You will make any choices the spell would call for, including targets. That’s an easy decision in a one-on-one game, but in a multiplayer game, you could choose any of your opponents who could be targeted.


Q: If I choose to dredge a card, will that trigger my opponent’s Psychic Possession?

A: Dredge will allow you to be free of the binds on your psyche. When you choose to dredge a card, you’re replacing the card draw with the dredge. Because you didn’t actually draw the card, Psychic Possession is blissfully unaware of what’s happening and will not trigger.

419.5. If an event is prevented or replaced, it never happens.



Charleston Interlude #2: So, we’ve finished dinner and now we’re ready to leave. Gluttons for punishment that we are, five of us call for cabs again. It’s a nice night out, so we pass the time shooting the breeze outside the mall while waiting. And waiting.

And waiting.


Some of the MD crew (l-r): Paul Morris, Yr Humble Scrivener, Cari Foreman,
and John Carter, who trained us all before he moved to the West Coast.
The ponytail behind us belongs to Judge Manager Andy Heckt.
A couple subsequent calls to the cab company don’t get things moving any faster. We even call another cab company, recommended by the restaurant, and things don’t get any better. After another call to the first company, we’re told they have two cabs in the area, and that we’re close to getting onto the waiting list.

Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.

By this point, the restaurant had closed, and our waitress had left, after stopping to wonder what we were still doing there. I think she was about to offer us a ride (she was walking toward an SUV that would have fit us all), but someone in the group told her we were fine. We were, but only after calling one of the judges who had a car, and only after he was gracious enough to drive the five miles back to the mall to pick us up.

This presented us with a slight logistical problem, however: we had to fit five people in enough space for four. I ended up sitting in the front passenger’s seat. We put three across the backseat, and Brian, the fellow who helps us edit this column, laid across their laps. I think you can imagine the off-color humor that resulted from this situation, so at least the ride back to the hotel was an interesting one. [What happens in the back seat of another judge's car while in Charleston, SC stays in the back seat of that judge's car. -Brian]


Q: I drew my opening hand of seven cards, and while I was setting them face-down on the table, one of them flipped face-up. What do we do?

A: Nothing needs to be done. The card was going to be in your hand anyway, so you haven’t looked at extra cards. There’s also nothing illegal about revealing cards in your hand to your opponent. You’ve given some information away, which might be suboptimal from the strategic side of things, but no rules infraction has been committed.


Q: I played Coiling Oracle, and its ability revealed a Breeding Pool. Do I have the choice of paying 2 life to put it into play untapped?

A: Everyone loves choices. In this case, you can love them, too, because you do get to choose. You will have the option to pay 2 life, which will cause Breeding Pool to ignore its own "comes into play tapped" effect. This is a replacement effect, and it applies whenever an event puts Breeding Pool into play.

419.1b Effects that read “[This permanent] comes into play with . . . ,” “As [this permanent] comes into play . . . ,” or “[This permanent] comes into play as . . . ” are replacement effects.



Q: I played Electrolyze, splitting the damage as 2 to a creature and 0 to my opponent. If that creature becomes an invalid target before Electrolyze resolves, do I still get to draw a card?

A: You won’t, and it’s because the entire announcement of Electrolyze was illegal. You cannot split it 2 and 0. You can assign 2 damage to one target, or one damage to each of two targets. Those are your only options. When you’re dividing something among a number of targets, each target must receive at least 1 of whatever is being divided.

409.1e If the spell or ability affects several targets in different ways, the player announces how it will affect each target. If the spell or ability requires the player to divide or distribute an effect (such as damage or counters) among one or more targets, or any number of untargeted objects or players, the player announces the division. Each of these targets, objects, or players must receive at least one of whatever is being divided.



Charleston Interlude #3: At the end of Friday, I was pretty tired, but still wanted to get some food. One of the judges with a car proposed a trip to Sticky Fingers, which sounds like it should be a strip club, but is really a rib house. I didn’t care where we went, so long as I didn’t have to put up with Charleston’s hideously awful taxi service. So four of us (Brian Spencer, Ingrid Lind-Jahn, Jeremy Smith, and I) headed to Sticky Fingers, which was a stone’s throw from the mall we had gone to the previous night.

If you’ve never been to the southern states in the US, then you’re unfamiliar with their custom of sweet tea. Southern sweet tea is a lot more than just iced tea with sugar, and it’s served with everything. Being a northeasterner, I’m used to the waitress coming up to the table and saying, “Can I start you with some drinks?” Instead, we were greeted with, “Can I get y’all some sweet tea?” It was great. The sweet tea was, too, and we all ordered a glass. When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

When it came time to order our dinners, I wanted to get something more than just a burger. I can get a burger anywhere; I wanted something I couldn’t easily find back home. I ended up getting a pulled pork sandwich with special BBQ sauce, served “Memphis style:” coleslaw on top. When in Rome . . . It was quite good. For dessert, we split a huge piece of peach cobbler, which is something I haven’t seen around these parts in years. Our waitress was very friendly and checked on us often, so we left her a nice tip. Southern cooking and hospitality really are all they’re cracked up to be.


Q: My opponent plays Copy Enchantment. Can I ask what he’s copying before I decide if I want to respond?

A: Thunk! That’s the window of opportunity, closing on you. Better get your fingers off the windowsill. Copy Enchantment has an "As ~this~ comes into play . . . " ability. If your opponent is naming something to be copied, then the Copy Enchantment spell has resolved and become a permanent. If you want to respond to the spell, you’ll have to do it before he names an enchantment to be copied. And your opponent must give you time to ponder a response; he can’t simply just blurt out an enchantment to Xerox when he plays Copy Enchantment.


Q: I played Putrefy on my opponent’s Dimir Signet. This started a chain of responses. A couple turns later, we both noticed that we forgot to actually destroy the Signet. Now what?

A: Currently, the [O]fficial DCI policy for resolving situations like this is still being formulated. And there are a few possible ways to solve this, so not all judges may choose to handle it the same way as there isn't an official policy yet. Possible solutions include leaving the Signet in play as it could have possible impacted decisions that were made, to putting the Signet in the graveyard in order to try to account for the Putrefy. So, different judges may evaluate this differently (and even more specific circumstances can impact this).

However, should a judge rule in a way that you're not sure is appropriate, you have the right to appeal the ruling to the head judge of the tournament. The head judge is the final decider of how to apply DCI policy in an event, and can choose to uphold the ruling or overturn it. In many respects, this is because the head judge may consider this in relation to other similar circumstances that have occured during the event, and the head judge may be trying to ensure that these kind of situations are handled the same for consistancy's sake. Once the head judge has made his or her decision, then you have to accept the resolution of this situation.

Likely, in this scenario, since both players are responsible for the game state, both players could receive a Warning of some kind (as this falls in the realm of a Procedural Error). How the game state is corrected... well, that's up to the individual judge. Once the official policy is announced, we'll make sure to let you all know what it is, so that you know what to expect in future events!


Charleston Interlude #4: Sunday evening, were trying to get a group together for dinner again. Our tales of woe involving the cabs had spread, so no one was very eager to go anywhere beyond walking distance. A group of us decided to go to the Sportz Cafe. Yes, they really spell it with a Z at the end. It was Eli, Ingrid, Jeremy, John Carter, and I this time. The walk to the restaurant was highlighted mainly by Carter’s spotty cell phone connection, which had the appearance of making him unable to walk and talk at the same time. If he moved, the signal would worsen. If the wind picked up, the signal would worsen. If some loudmouth – who may or may not be the author of this column -- pointed out that a Level 4 judge should be able to walk and talk at the same time, then he couldn’t hear the person on the other end. To get back at me, Carter tried to trip me up by stomping on my untied shoelace, but my kung fu was stronger than his.


Carter holding the most emaciated pickle spear ever at the Sportz Cafe.
The Sportz Cafe wasn’t crowded, and we ordered sweet tea and a few appetizers. Now, I’m used to fairly good waitresses at restaurants. While the appetizers are coming out, she should come back and take our dinner orders. Instead, she brought out the appetizers and walked away. A few minutes later, we had empty appetizer trays and an empty pitcher of tea on our table, and no waitress in sight (and she was easy enough to spot, in her Dale Jr. jersey). Finally, we got her to come to the table and take our dinner orders. After she explained what “chippers” were (and was honest enough to say they came in a big bag and were nasty), we all ordered fries with our burgers, and got another pitcher of sweet tea.

The waitress moved and wrote slowly, and I could see Carter glaring at her with a “why are you so stupid?” look whenever he looked at her. I had to look away and laugh whenever she came to the table. (Having worked many events, and been to many restaurants, with Carter over the years, I have seen him glare at people in this way plenty of times. It’s always funny.) Of course, when our burgers came out, two of us somehow had onion rings instead of fries. Since we didn’t want to wait an hour to get that fixed, we just dealt with it. Carter got the most emaciated pickle in history on his plate, which I had to snap a picture of.

The moral of the story is that we should have gone to Sticky Fingers again. Frown We still had a good time, though.


Q: I sacrificed my Orzhov Pontiff to my Nantuko Husk, choosing one of my opponent’s creatures to be haunted. If he returns the creature to his hand, what happens to the Pontiff?

A: It won’t be very spooky. In this case, the single target for the haunt triggered ability is invalid when the ability is trying to resove, so it will be countered. The Pontiff will remain in the graveyard.

Quote from Guidpact FAQ »
* If there are no legal targets for the haunt ability, the card with haunt stays in the graveyard rather than being removed from the game.



Q: Firemane Angel is in my graveyard at the beginning of my upkeep, so I put its lifegain ability onto the stack. I respond by paying the 10 mana to return it to play. My opponent says I don’t gain the life now. Is that right?

A: It is. This is similar to the situation Thijs covered last week. Firemane Angel’s ability refers to itself; in better Magicese, it means “this object.” When you return your Firemane Angel to play, it is treated as an entirely different object. When the lifegain ability then tries to resolve, it will be looking for the original Firemane Angel object, but that object no longer exists. In order for you to gain the life, Firemane Angel will need to be in the same zone it was in when its ability triggered, and it will have had to remain in that zone the entire time its ability was on the stack.


Charleston Interlude the last: I love the South.

Join us next week for more rules questions and general awesomeness, and remember that Coldsnap questions will start appearing in just a few weeks.

-Tom Fowler

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