Cranial Insertion: Rotten to the Core





Cranial Insertion
Rotten to the Core
or, You Look Familiar

By Eli Shiffrin, Thijs van Ommen, and Jeff Vondruska
Edited by Goblinboy & Moko


Welcome back to an exciting Cranial Insertion article! This Friday past (aka the coming Friday as I write this article) Ninth Edition was released, making players go “woohoo” and “meh” all over the world, except in Russia where they went “обезьяна атакует меня!” Since this is only a core set, we’ve all seen these cards before. Many of them have been around since before you started playing. But let’s spend a little time looking over some of the common questions on these cards and some new rules. First, a retraction!




Q: The Saviors of Kamigawa Player’s Guide says that if you splice Evermind onto a Glacial Ray, the Ray is blue. But I read somewhere else that that’s not true. Which is correct?

A: Originally, it was ruled that characteristic-setting abilities like "Evermind is blue" would not be copied when spliced, and this change would be added to the CompRules as soon as possible. We were to rule that Glacial Ray would not be blue. However, opinions have changed, and the rules were not: Your Ray will be blue. Take that, Silver Knight!




Q: Is Spirit Link an Enchantment? It doesn’t say that, just “Enchant Creature.”

A: Ah, but now that has been fixed! Spirit Link was always an Enchantment, but now it’s explicated, stated on the card’s type line: Enchantment - Aura. There is virtually no functional change, but this helps to avoid this question for future cards. All “Enchant X” cards have received errata to line them up with this streamlined template.





The player who reads
1000 CI columns is wise.
The player who memorizes
1000 CI columns is a time traveler.
Q: How can you win with Battle of Wits if you have to have a 60-card deck?

A: Simple: You’ve been misinformed! Your deck in a constructed tournament (Standard, Legacy, Vintage) must be *at least* 60 cards, but there is no maximum. The only caveat is that you must be able to shuffle your deck without assistance within a reasonable amount of time. I’d suggest aiming for one minute.




Q: Can I play Blackmail if my opponent only has two cards in his hand?

A: Sure, though he’s not going to be happy about it. Whenever a spell or ability tells you to do something that is not possible, you do as much as is possible. In this case, you can’t reveal three cards, but it’s possible to reveal two, one, or zero cards. (Note: Blackmail on a player with no hand is really pointless, but legal.)




Q: My opponent sacrifices a Bloodfire Colossus and I use a Shining Shoal for 8 in response. How does the Shoal work here? Will it protect me, and then my creatures, or only one?

A: It’s all up to you. When a replacement effect can prevent more than one thing, the player who has the replacement shield or the controller of the objects with the replacement shield chooses how to use it. In this case, you and your creatures have a replacement shield for 8 damage, and you can split that up however you like: all 8 spread among your creatures to keep them alive, 6 to keep you alive and 2 for a creature, 3 for you and 5 for a creature, and so on. But you’ll have to have a creature to redirect 8 damage – if you’re alone, there will only be 6 damage to redirect.




Q: With March of the Machines and Coat of Arms in play, will all of my Equipment get big? What if I could animate my Auras somehow?

A: Nope, doesn’t work. Equipment and Aura are Artifact and Enchantment subtypes, respectively. They are never ever creature types, which is what Coat of Arms looks for.

And those Auras? They die right away if they become creatures. An animated Equipment/Aura can not be attached, and an unattached Aura is put into the graveyard as a state-based effect.




Q: I have a Booby Trap naming Condescend and my opponent plays Counsel of the Soratami drawing two of them! Does he take 20?

A: Sadly not. Booby Trap will only deal damage if you sacrifice it. You can’t sacrifice it more than once, so after one trigger resolves and whacks your opponent for 10, the second will resolve and do nothing since you can’t sacrifice the Trap.




Q: My opponent said that I have to reveal the card I get with Diabolic Tutor. Is he right?

A: He is wrong! He’s thinking about several other cards that tell you to reveal the searched-out card, but Diabolic Tutor does not include this line. The logic behind this is that you only have to reveal cards that you tutor out with a criteria – a land card, a creature card, a legendary card, etc – so there’s no question of cheating and getting a different card. Searching for “a card,” though, any card is valid, and you do not need to reveal it because there’s nothing to prove. You’ve picked a card.





Now they just need to print Captain Hook.
Q: During my upkeep, I sacrifice Hell’s Caretaker to itself to bring a creature out of my graveyard. The problem is, I also control an Emperor Crocodile. I say that the Croc doesn’t die because state-based effects aren’t checked until he ability resolves, but my friend disagrees.

A: The Crocodile will trigger and die. At any moment that you control no other creatures, it will trigger – but the ability won’t go on the stack until a player would receive priority, which is when state-based effects are checked. Since this isn’t a case of the intervening if clause, having a new creature out won’t save him, either.




Q: Can I pay RR to give my Flowstone Shambler +2/-2 so it’ll die?

A: Sure, knock yourself out. The Shambler doesn’t have any self-preservation instincts.




Q: When a Hypnotic Specter hits, how do we decide a random card?

A: In any way that is random. Many players just shuffle around the cards in their hand and present it to an opponent, but that’s not really random. The best way is for the player to lay out all of his cards on the table and declare them 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. Then roll a 10-sided die (a 6-sided die will work if the player has less than 7 cards in hand; if the player has more than 10, you’ll need a D20). On any roll that is not a number assigned to a card, reroll. When a card’s number is rolled, that’s the card to discard.




Now that we’re halfway through this article, let’s switch to some tournament questions. One of the best things about the 9th Edition rules changes is section 600 of the Comprehensive Rules, which includes multiplayer rules and options for formats!

One part of team play that people enjoy is passing creatures to teammates. This is now set as an ability, “deploying.”

Quote from CompRules »
Deploy Creatures Option

603.2. Each creature has the ability “{T}: Target teammate gains control of this creature. Play this ability only any time you could play a sorcery.”
Q: If I have an Ivory Mask in play, can my teammate deploy a creature to me?

A: Not anymore! Before these rules, deploying was done very informally, and you can still override this rule for casual play. But now, in a real tournament that uses the Deploy Creatures Option, the deploy ability targets, and you can not receive a creature if you have Ivory Mask out.




Q: In a Two-Headed Giant game, will Beacon of Immortality put us from 40 to 80 life?

A: Nope, it won’t actually do anything at all if you’re at 40.

Quote from CompRules »
606.9a If an effect needs to know the value of an individual player’s life total, that effect uses the team’s life total divided by two, rounded up, instead.

606.9c If an effect would set a single player’s life total to a number, that player’s team’s life total becomes that number.
Beacon of Immortality asks for your life total – which is seen as 20 here – and doubles it. Then because of 606.9c, it’ll set the total to 40. This is far from optimal, and future rules releases or erratum on the Beacon might change this, but this is how it is for now.




Q: My opponent has a Control Magic on my creature in a three-player game. If I lose, does he keep my creature?

A: Nope. When you lose, you take everything you own and go home. Well, maybe you don’t go home quite yet, but you see the logic behind this rule.

Bonus fun! Remember, you own tokens created by an object you control, even if you never controlled the tokens. So if your Genesis Chamber can make your opponents a zillion tokens, and if you die, they’re left without their nice chump blockers.




Q: Wow, all of this multiplayer stuff sounds great! Can we run a Friday Night Magic with sanctioned Emperor?

A: Not yet, but soon enough. Now that the rules support them, it’ll only be a matter of time until Emperor, Two-Headed Giant, and Grand Melee are sanctioning options... but until then, you cannot run a DCI-sanctioned multiplayer tournament.




And some other stuff without multiple players involved...

Q: Can I sleeve my deck in toploaders so the cards won’t be damaged at all?

A: (For those who don't know, toploaders are two pieces of stiff plastic sealed together on three sides. They're intended to protect rare cards.) I’d very strongly advise against it. As I’ve said before, the DCI does not ban any sleeves, but the head judge can declare that certain types of sleeves are cheating for marked cards. Toploaders protect the card, but they are very easily damaged, and all of these little marks will make them very quickly marked. They are also usually cut slightly differently, and these differences can be used to cheat. Lastly, they’re a pain to shuffle.




Q: How do I get a DCI membership card?

A: If a location is running a sanctioned tournament, they must have blank DCI cards available, and you can sign up on the spot. There’s no waiting time.




Q: How much do tournaments cost?

A: That’s a very open-ended question. WotC and the DCI don’t set tournament prices, though, so there’s no quick answer. WotC does set a maximum price, though.

The tournament organizer or the hosting location will set a price that covers any cards provided (for sealed and draft tournaments), prizes awarded, and use of space. The standard seems to be $5 for a normal tournament, $15 for a draft, and $25 to $30 for sealed deck, but these prices can vary – especially if a high-stake prize is on the line! Make sure to check with the tournament location in advance.




Q: I won my first match, but then I got paired up with someone who lost his first match. Aren’t pairings supposed to keep you playing against people with the same win/loss record as you?

A: As much as possible, yes. But if the number of players divided by 2 is odd – that is, if there were an odd number of matches – one winning player is going to end up playing someone who lost that round. This is known as “pairing down,” or “pairing up” depending on which player you are.




Q: How can we get our tournaments sanctioned?

A: To sanction tournaments, you’ll need a tournament organizer. Your store owner or a local judge can become one, if you don’t have one already, by taking the test here:

http://wizards.com/default.asp?x=dci/totestsignin

Remember, you need to take and pass the TO test one month before the first tournament you’re going to have sanctioned. Your best bet would be to find a local sanctioned tournament and ask who their TO is.




That just about wraps it up for this week. Now that multiplayer is sanctioned, all of those questions that we had to say “There’s no official answer” to can be answered – send 'em in! Hopefully we can work a full article on multiplayer soon.

Until next time, have fun with old favorites!

-Eli Shiffrin, L1 DCI Judge, Tucson, AZ

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