Cranial Insertion: Emptying the Mailbox



Cranial Insertion
Emptying the Mailbox
or, Mail Me More Cookies.

By MOKO FTW!!!

Eli, Thijs, and Tom have spent the last three weeks babbling about this new-fangled "Dissension" stuff, so our mailbox at [email][email protected][/email] has been sadly neglected. Oh, fine, I'VE been sadly neglected. And now I'm a sad monkey.

So I stole Eli's laptop while he went off to Regionals, deleted his article on loops, and started my own! Wheee!

***Eli would like to apologize for the lack of a comprehensive article on loops, which has been a very popular topic lately. He was going to recreate his article, but Moko peed on his head when he tried. We apologize in advance for any trauma that this article may cause, but we can assure you that it will not be as bad as a zombie chimpanzee peeing on your head.
-CI Management
***





Who plays walls, anyway?
Q: If you have a Wall of Roots with 4 -0/-1 counters on it, what happens when you use Wall of Mulch's ability, using the Wall of Roots to pay both costs?

A: You get a card! Yay!

Remember, when playing a spell or activated ability, you play mana abilities and then after you're done doing that you pay all costs. After playing the Wall of Root's mana ability, it exists as a 0/0 since state-based effects are not checked until a player would receive priority. But that won't happen to it, since you sacrifice it during the payment step of playing the ability.




Q: When does Trinisphere check costs?

A: After everything else messes with it. At the end of step 409.1f (where mana cost reductions and additions are applied), Trinisphere examines what you're supposed to pay. If it doesn't like it, it'll add on a little more to make it total 3.




Q: Let's say I just played Kill-Suit Cultist and then I attack with a 2/1 creature and they block with a 3/3. Can I sac the Cultist to kill the creature and let my 2/1 live?

A: You can sacrifice the Cultist so the 3/3 will die, but so will your 2/1. Since the Cultist's ability does not include the tap symbol, you can play it even though you've just played the Cultist.

However, its ability won't cause pain and misery to the 3/3 until damage would be dealt. That'll be after your 2/1 has been assigned 3 damage and the 3/3 has been assigned 2 and the combat damage assignments resolve. Everyone diiiies!

If your 2/1 has first strike, though, it'll come out smelling like a rose. Yuck.




Q: If I make a token with Flash Foliage during the declare attackers step, can I block another creature with it during the declare blockers step?

A: Not without some outside help. A creature can not block more than one creature, so if it's already blocking something when the declare blockers step starts, it's done its job for the day.




Q: What do I do if I open a booster pack in a sealed deck tournament with two of the same common?

A: You do a little dance of glee. Unless the duplicate common is really crappy.

Then you call a judge.

Packs with two of the same common (neither being foil) are extremely rare, but they do exist. Unfortunately, this looks more like cheating, so you'll want to alert the tournament officials to the abnormality as quickly as possible. The same goes for tournament packs with duplicate commons, uncommons, or rares.




Q: What the heck is an LCQ?

A: A Last-Chance Qualifier. It's like a normal PTQ, but it's held at the location of the Pro Tour on the day before it starts and usually runs from late afternoon until ungodly o'clock. It's literally a player's last chance to qualify for the Pro Tour before it starts a few hours after the LCQ ends.




Q: What happens when you have both Psychic Network and Yet Another Aether Vortex in play?

A: Your group has to decide if you get a really funny mess or if you just get funny.

Psychic Network makes you reveal it on your forehead and says that that does not allow you to see it – but YAAV just reveals it, so you can see what you're holding up.

The option is to have to guess if you can attack or block with your forehead. You can set a penalty for if a player guesses wrong to make it more interesting.




Q: Can we sanction Ice Age / Alliances / Coldsnap drafts after Coldsnap is released?

A: Sure, sounds like fun! For a sanctioned draft, the only requirement is that all players receive the same product to draft with. You could run an Ice Age / Apocalypse / Ninth draft for those painlands if you really wanted to.

Be sure to bring sleeves! Ice Age and Alliances cards have a noticeably lighter back than recent cards.




Q: When filling out a decklist, can I abbreviate Szadek, Lord of Secrets as just Szadek?

A: You absolutely should not. It's not a serious issue with Szadek, since his card's the only one with his name, but what about Akroma? Or Kamahl? Or Razia, to be a little more recent?

You are required to write out the card's full name, though this will occasionally be overlooked when there is no ambiguity whatsoever. Don't count on that, though, and write some more.





A Phyrexian elf?
Q: I have a Faith's Fetters and so does my opponent. I also have Simic Guildmage. Can I attach his Fetters to my Fetters and attach my Fetters to his Fetters attached to my Fetters so we end up with a Fetterball floating in space?

A: You can do that if you're enchanting each other's creatures at first. Each Aura will be attached to a legal permanent, so they're both happy off on the sidelines on their own.

The DCI does not recommend playing football with Fetterballs.




Q: If I activate Windreaver's ability to switch power and toughness, and in response my opponent Shocks it, is there any way to save it with toughness-raising spells or the Windreaver's abilities?

A: Nope, it dies, dies, DIES! If you don't do anything else, Shock makes Windreaver a 1/3 with 2 damage then its own ability makes it a 3/1 with 2 damage and it kicks the bucket. If you activate the p/t switch ability again in response, it becomes a 3/1, then Shock deals it 2 damage and it bites the dust.

If you raise Windreaver's toughness, it'll become a 1/N, and then a 1/N with 2 damage, and then an N/1 with 2 damage and still feeds some worms. Remember that power and toughness switches are always applied after every other modifier.

You'll need something to raise its power to save it.




Q: Is there any way at all that I can get my opponent's cards in my hand without ante involved?

A: Never!

Quote from "CompRules 217.a" »
217.1a If an object would go to any library, graveyard, or hand other than its owner's, it goes to the corresponding zone of its owner's instead.


Unless, of course, you're playing with Letter Bomb.




Q: What happens if I play Animate Dead and target Akroma, Angel of Wrath?

A: You get Akroma and Akroma laughs a lot. Animate Dead can indeed target her while she's six cards under since her protection abilities don't apply then, but when it turns into an Aura and tries to jump her, she screams like a little girl and her protection from black stops Animate Dead from attaching to her.

Since Animate Dead is now an Aura not attached to anything, it'll be put into the graveyard as a state-based effect. Its leave-play ability triggers, but since there is no "enchanted creature", the ability shrugs, does nothing, and goes off to have a drink.




Q: What will Research // Development do in Two-Headed Giant?

A: It'll give you tokens or let you draw cards. Or, you can fetch cards you own that have been removed from the game. That's it. In a Two-Headed Giant game, even Limited, you have no sideboard at all.





Because fiery doom rocks my gloves.
Q: If I play Kindle the Carnage with Anthem of Rakdos on my side, can I discard my entire hand, stacking the damage for each card so it'll all be doubled when it resolves?

A: Whoa there cowboy, damage does not use the stack! It's dealt as soon as the spell, ability, or object that deals it resolves.

Since you must complete the process of "discard, burn, yay" before you can start it again, you can only discard one card at a time. For each card except the last, it'll only deal damage equal to its converted mana cost. When you discard the last card to Kindle the Carnage, the Anthem goes hellbent and will double the damage dealt from looking at that one card.




Q: I removed a hand of seven good cards with Bottled Cloister, then my opponent blew it up. Will he know what I shuffle back in with Research // Development

A: No, he won't. Here's the funny part – neither will you!

Since they're removed from the game face-down, no player may look at them. So if you use Research to pick some back up, you must shuffle them and then pick four. This ruling is the same as the one made for Death Wish.




Q: What do I do if I'm playing with some really old cards and I'm not 100% positive if one little word's been changed on the Oracle?

A: You ask the judge. That's a pretty common answer, isn't it?

It is required for the head judge to have access to a copy of the Oracle text so that that text can be given to any player who requests it. At smaller Standard events like Friday Night Magic, it's common for this to just be the store's binder – it's not hard for a judge to memorize all of the errata issued for cards in the Standard format.




Q: I was looking up Volrath's Shapeshifter on the Gatherer, and it says that it's legal in Two-Headed Giant. Does that mean that I can play it in any 2HG tournament?

A: No. Card legality for 2HG has two checks – it has to check the 2HG legality list, and the legality list for the format currently being played. For example, Volrath's Silly-Putty is legal in 2HG Tempest Block Constructed, but not in 2HG Standard. Black Lotus is restricted in 2HG Vintage but banned in 2HG Legacy. This shortcut is made on the Gatherer view because it'd take up way too much space to list all of the permutations of 2HG and the formats.




Q: What happens if I sacrifice Phyrexian Broodlings to put a counter on itself? Can I even do that?

A: You can try, but the ability won't do anything. There's nothing at all stopping you from sacrificing Broodlings to play its ability, but when it resolves, it won't be able to put a counter on a nonexistent permanent.




Q: How do I tell if a keyword ability is activated, triggered, or static?

A: Read the happy shiny Comprehensive Rules!

http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=magic/rules/tourneyplayer

For each ability (or the ability of which it's a variant), it'll say in the "a" section "Ability is a blank ability", like "Banding is a static ability" or "Cumulative upkeep is a triggered ability." On newer cards, the reminder text always includes some magic words to help you tell quickly – they'll say "when", "whenever", "at", or have a colon ( : ) to signify triggered and activated abilities, or the "if-would-instead" combo for replacement effects. Otherwise it's just a static ability.




And the mailbox is empty! You can help fill it up again by emailing [email][email protected][/email] – Eli, Tom, or Thijs will answer as quickly as possible and then your question may appear in an upcoming column! The only way to get your name in lights faster is... um... by writing cursive with the organs of your victims! Yes!

I'm hungry and Regionals isn't over yet. I'm going to go snack on some players.

-Moko, Zombie Chimpanzee

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