Cranial Insertion: That Pacty Thing Between all Them There Guilds

Cranial Insertion
That Pacty Thing between All Them There Guilds
or, Guildpact. Duh.

By Eli Shiffrin, Thijs van Ommen, and Tom Fowler
Edited by Goblinboy Sock-Puppet (Wielded today by Goblinboy)

Here I am at the Guildpact prerelease, and I should be doing something useful, but instead I'm writing Cranial Insertion. I'm sure my organizer is thrilled with me.

* Woapalanne ducks a flying tournament pack

First, I'd like to express my extreme disappointment in this set. Not because of the power levels. No. But because there are no Monkeys, no Apes, not even Beasts with simian names. I mean, come on Wizards. You need a quota of at least one monkey-like creature in each set. THE LACK OF MONKEY WILL KILL MAGIC.

That was Moko. Anyway.

Card questions.

I desire... broken replicate cards!
Q: How many spells have I played if I replicate a spell three times?

A: That would be a grand total of one spell! Replicate creates copies, much like storm. These copies are put directly on the stack, do not pass go, do not collect 200 mana. They are never played.

Q: If a replicated spell is countered, what happens with the replicas? Can i counter a replica?

A: This one's also much like storm. Countering the base spell will not stop the triggered ability that creates the copies, so you're stuck there. The copies, however, are spells - they can be countered till the cows come home. The triggered ability that creates the copies can also be Stifled.

Q: If my opponent uses Healing Salve to prevent the damage from my Shock, and then I play a Scab-Clan Mauler, will my Mauler still get counters for bloodthirst?

A: The Mauler must continue to thirst. Damage that is prevented isn't dealt.

Q: If I use Recoup to flash back a Cry of Contrition, can I haunt with it?

A: Very sneaky, but no. The comprehensive rules for haunt on a spell say:

Quote from "CompRules" »
"When this spell resolves, remove this card from the game. As long as this card remains removed from the game this way, it haunts target creature."

With flashback, if the Cry would go anywhere from the stack, it's removed from the game instead. Since the haunting is triggered, it doesn't just happen - it has to go on the stack. Meanwhile, the Cry has already wandered off across the table like a snail hopped up on steroids into the Removed from Game Zone. When the haunt trigger resolves, you are unable to remove the Cry from the game, so it does nothing since it was not removed "this way".

Q: How do the Leylines work?!

A: With a whole new set of rules! After all players are done deciding whether or not to mulligan, there is a time to do something where nothing could ever be done before. Each player, in turn order, decides if they're going to put anything into play, such as Leylines or the planned "Snap" card "Unluckyman's Paradise". There is potential for other things to happen here with future cards, but as for now, only these 5 Leylines will do anything.

After everyone's decided what to drop into play, the Leylines actually do come into play. Presto chango, not a spell, can't be counter-o-ed! (Take that, Force of Will.)

Q: Can I mulligan to get a Leyline then plop it into play?

A: Sure. When the Leylines say "in your opening hand", they mean the hand with which you start the game, not the initial 7-card hand you drew.

Q: What happens if both my opponent and I put into play a Leyline of Singularity? Which ones comes into play last?

A: All of the Leylines come into play at the same time; in the rare case that their relative timestamps matter, whoever played first was supposed to choose the timestamps.

Not that this matters. New "Legend Rule" and all that, everything legendary with the same name dies, yadda yadda. It sounds like you're thinking of the *old* "Legend Rule", where only the newest one died. In that case, they would still both die.

Q: Can I wait until blockers are declared and then pump Witch-Maw Nephilim to have him trample over them?

A: Nope, that won't work. Witch-Maw triggers when it's declared as an attacker. When that triggered ability resolves, it gets trample right then and there if it's fat enough. If not, no trample. The ability won't recheck later.

Singing in the rain...
Q: Does Djinn Illuminatus and Seething Song make an infinite combo?

A: Sadly, no. It doesn't even make an unbounded combo (since, as we all know, Magic abhors infinity). For replicate, you must pay all the mana at once as you play the spell. It's an additional cost to play a spell much like buyback, splice, and kicker.

Q: Can Izzet Guildmage copy a Lava Spike with Desperate Ritual spliced on? Will that copy the mana part, too?

A: Splicing cards adds their text onto the other spell, so anything that copies that spell will get the spliced goodies, too. So if Izzet guy copies Lava Spike - which he can, since Lava Spike's mana cost is only ever R, and not 1RR even though that's what you paid for it - the copied Spike will bash your opponent for 3 and then dump RRR into your mana pool.

Gee, whatever could you spend that on?

Q: Can I Crash Landing Meloku to death with three Forests and a Stomping Ground?

A: Always a popular question. Remember boys and girls, if something looks for a Forest, it's looking for anything with the subtype Forest, which Stomping Grounds does appear to have! But if it's looking for a "card named Forest", it'll only find your plain old run-of-the-lumber-mill Forests.

Q: Why does it say "Wreak Havoc can't be countered by spells or abilities" instead of just "Wreak Havoc can't be countered"?

A: Because Wreak Havoc can be countered! Shocking! "But the card says it can't!"

But what happens if you try to wreak my Sensei's Divining Top and I put it on top of my library in response? The Wreak Havoc "fizzles" - that is, it's countered upon resolution for lack of a legal target. That's still countering as far as the game is concerned, but that's being countered by game rules, not by a spell or ability.

Q: If I turn Gruul War Plow into a creature, will it have trample?

A: Indeed it will. You may be thinking about that thing where turning a Sacred Foundry into a Mountain with Blood Moon makes it lose the ability to produce white mana, but this isn't the same. Turning something into an artifact won't change anything else about that card except that it loses its other types. (And in this case, the Plow keeps its artifact type (as well as any other types it has) since the ability keeps it an artifact instead of replacing any types (see rule 212.1c for more details (on parenthesis abuse))).

Anyway, the Plow won't lose anything at all, including its ability that gives all of your critters trample, and since it's one of your critters, it gets trample, too.

Q: Can I replicate a Mimeofacture once, both targeting my opponent's Umezawa's Jitte, so that his dies and I get one?

A: Nope, no evil Jitte-stealing. The replicate copy of Mimeofacture will resolve, fetch a Jitte, and then both explode. When the original Mimeofacture tries to resolve, it finds that its target has shuffled this mortal coil, and is countered.

Q: If I use Nivix, Aerie of the Firemind on my opponent's turn and I flip over a sorcery, can I play it right then?

A No, you can not. Niv-Mizzle's abizzle (I promise never to do that again) merely grants you the power to play the card during a certain time span. If it said "you may play that card." (note the period there!), then you would have to choose to play it, even if it's a sorcery, at that point as part of the resolution, or you could never play it. However, since Nivix merely sets up a duration, it does not give you the option to play it at special times.

Rally the Math Majors
Q: What happens if I Rally the Righteous on an Ink-Treader Nephilim with three other Red creatures and three other Black creatures in play?

A: Lots of obscene pump. Despite Rally's radiance ability, it only ever targets one thing - Mr. Inky. And say hey, it's a spell that targets only Mr. Inky! So he explodes.


And then there are 6 more copies of Rally, each one targeting a different one of those six creatures. Much like Radiate. So for those 7 copies, Inky will get +8/+0, the red guys get +8/+0, and the black ones get +6/+0. Assuming, of course, that those are only red and only black. Otherwise, the math gets nastier.

Q: I have Killer Instinct and March of the Machines in play. If I turn up a Loxodon Warhammer, does it come into play?

A: Not happening; the Warhammer isn't a creature. Sure, if it were to somehow set a toe into play, that toe would become a creature (do Warhammers have toes?) but at the point where it's revealed, it's only an artifact Equipment card.

Q: Can't I just sacrifice Ghost Council of Orzhova to itself to remove it from the game and bring it back?

A: Well, no. Given the nature of the Orzhov, I can't think of a single flavor-based argument that's valid, so let's skip to a rule-based answer.

The activated ability of the Council will, upon resolution, look for the permanent from which it came. But if you've sacrificed the Council, the ability won't find them since it's looking for the permanent and not the card in the graveyard. The ability then fails to do anything, and the Council sits around the graveyard waiting for the train.

Q: When Borborygmos hits my opponent, will he put a counter on my Giant Solifuge?

A: *reads Borborygmos*

I don't see the word "target" on him anywhere, do you? Looks like the one-eyed monster does not target, so your big bug will get a counter.

Q: Can I play Quicken even if I don't play a sorcery spell?

A: You can even play Quicken with no other cards in your hand. The game doesn't care whether or not you ever play a sorcery spell in your life. It's still giving you permission to play one with different timing restrictions (oh, and a free card).

Q: Can I activate Drowned Rusalka if my hand is empty?

A: Yup. Note that the discard is part of the ability and not part of the cost. If you are unable to discard a card, you'll just ignore that part and go on to draw a card.

Q: If I Zombify a Shrieking Grotesque, will it make my opponent discard?

A: While you spent B to cause the Gargoyle to come into play, you did not pay B to play it. Not discarding here, either!

Q: Will Conjurer's Ban stop me from playing an Island if my opponent names Island?

A: It will, but only for one turn. Lands aren't put on the stack like spells, but they're still played, and the Ban stops the named card from being played.

But you can still play Steam Vents because it's not a card named Island and all that.

Q: Can Frazzle counter Glimpse the Unthinkable?

A: Is Glimpse blue? It doesn't matter whatever else it may be, if it's blue, then it is not nonblue. Frazzle can't touch it.

Q: Does Aetherplasm die when it blocks a 2/2?

A: No, it dies when the 2/2 punches it in the mushy face.

The question is, are you going to let that happen? If you switch it out for another critter, then no, Aetherplasm won't die.

Q: If I have two Wild Cantors in play and I play Ulasht, the Hate Seed, how many counters will Ulasht get? This looks like the same thing with Coat of Arms, so I think it'd only be 2 but I want to be sure.

A: This is not like Coat of Arms, so go wild! Coat of Arms just looks for creatures that share a type, but Ulasht is more mathy. He counts the number of red creatures in play, then pauses, then goes back to the beginning of the table, counts the number of green creatures, and then adds them together.

Q: Can I tap Droning Bureaucrats and pay no mana to stop a thousand Saproling tokens from swarming me?

A: Yes, that's one way to shut down the Selesnya (HAH.). Tokens, unless they're a copy of something, have a converted mana cost of zero. You wouldn't just tap the Bureaucrats for the ability, but you'd declare X to be 0, and then pay 0 and tap. All of the Saprolings cry.

I'll stop there, but we're far from done. I've heard a lot of questions today that we'll cover more over the next month as my cohorts look in-depth at the ways that the whimsical, manipulative, and violent ways that Guildpact's guilds try to confuse you all.

Until next time, remember: Dragons are for life, not for Christmas.

-Eli Shiffrin, L2 DCI Judge, Tucson, AZ


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