Cranial Insertion: Casual Mayhem Week

Cranial Insertion
Casual Mayhem Week
or, The Lost Lotus of Atlantis

By Eli Shiffrin, Thijs van Ommen, and Jeff Vondruska

Eli: Welcome to a very special Cranial Insertion! For casual week, we decided to do something a little different – Thijs, Jeff, Moko and I all got together to write the article as a group! We decided on this after Jeff had paid a Leviathan deposit, so we had to chase the beast to the sea, but it all worked out. We found Atlantis. The Atlanteans play Magic, too.

Moko: Ook!

Thijs: Sorry about the cake. I promise I didn’t make it.

Jeff: I’m sure it wasn’t revenge for the Dutch ninjas.

Thijs: No, not at all...

Jeff: Anyway, since this is Casual Week, please keep in mind that none of these questions deal with tournaments. All of these rules issues are considered from the standpoint of your kitchen table, basement table, or whatever flat surface you play Magic on.


Question: If I Mindslaver my opponent and make him play a Cunning Wish, do I get to search his house for any instant cards?

Jeff: I see we’re off to a lovely start.

Eli: Well that’s an off-the-wall question. Unfortunately, you can only search as much as he allows you to search. Remember, actual laws always take precedence over Magic rules, and actual laws frown heavily on rummaging through a person’s property without permission. If he lets you, feel free to search to your heart’s content.

But you may not like what you find.


Question: My opponent and I are playing a casual game and he just tried something really tricky. He has Isochron Scepter in play with Fire/Ice imprinted on it, Mirror Golem with Bottle Gnomes imprinted on it, and March of the Machines in play. Then he casts Vesuvan Doppelganger, copies Mirror Golem, and imprints Searing Wind on it. During his upkeep he uses the Vesuvan's ability to change into Isochron Scepter and then pays two and taps the Vesuvan to put Searing Wind on the stack targeting me. Is that legit?

Thijs: You get a gold star for our longest question yet. And that is one convoluted combo, but it works.

Quote from ”Oracle Text” »
Isochron Scepter. 2.
Imprint - When Isochron Scepter comes into play, you may remove an instant card with converted mana cost 2 or less in your hand from the game. (The removed card is imprinted on this artifact.).
2, T: You may copy the imprinted instant card and play the copy without paying its mana cost.

When you activate the stick, you can copy any instant imprinted on it. It doesn’t matter that the converted mana cost is too high – only that it’s an instant. So if you used this trick to get a sorcery on the scepter, you couldn’t copy that, but any instant you can get on is fair game.


Question: I have a Soul Foundry imprinted with Elvish Spirit Guide and my opponent wants to use Withdraw to remove two of my tokens by bouncing them. After one is returned, can I remove it from the game to get mana to pay for Withdraw?

Eli: Who in the world imprints ESG on a Soul Foundry...?

Jeff: Amazingly enough, yes, you can do that. Withdraw opens a narrow window to play mana abilities so you can pay 1, and state-based effects are not checked until the spell has finished resolving. A token only ceases to exist once state-based effects are checked, so the token will still be in your hand while Withdraw is sitting there like a playground bully demanding your lunch money. It still has the “remove from game” ability, and that’s a mana ability, so you can remove it from the game.


Question: What if I have a Wonder on the Foundry instead, and a Student of Elements in play, and I sacrifice a Wonder token? Will he flip?

Jeff: You like off-the-wall questions, don’t you? Yes, the Student will flip into Tobita. Wonder will exist in the graveyard until state-based effects are checked, which probably won’t be very long at all. But it’s long enough to shoot the Student up into the air, where he learns to like it and flips out.

Thijs: Next thing you know, he’s turned the skies into his personal party pad, and invited all of his friends up to hang out. Kids these days, no respect for the elements.


A government by the fish, of
the fish, and for the fish?
Question: If I have three Lord of Atlantis in play, are they all 5/5? It says that it’s a “Lord”, but I’m wondering if it’s a Merfolk, too.

Random Atlantean: I was wondering when you’d get around to talking about us.

Eli: Hey, you’re not on cast. Shush!

Random Atlantean: No one loves us.

Thijs: This is like the flying Thief of Hope question a while back. While it is clearly a Merfolk, it isn’t. Surprise! As far as the game is concerned, it’s only a Lord.


Question: If I have R&D’s Secret Lair out and I use a Fourth Edition Terror on my opponent’s creature, can I take it outside and bury it?

Eli: Coffee, meet monitor. Let’s see if the rules allow “bury” anymore.

Quote from ”CompRules” »
Bury (Obsolete)
Some older cards were printed with the term “bury,” which meant to put a permanent into its owner’s graveyard. In general, cards that were printed with the term “bury” now read, “Destroy [a permanent]. It can’t be regenerated.”

Note that “bury” is not defined, even in the glossary, except to say “It used to do this.” So “bury” is no longer a defined game term. Your play group has three options here: 1) Terror does nothing. 2) Terror does what it’s supposed to – destroy the creature, no regeneration. 3) Actually go and bury the card. Bonus points if it’s an Earthshaker or a Zombie. If it’s a rare card, I suggest burying it in a plastic bag or another suitable coffin.

Since this is a casual game, your opponent may decide to not allow you to bury his precious, precious cards. If so, it falls under the “Don’t Be a Jerk” rule and the fact that legally, you can not make him bury his property. But your group really should decide in advance what to do about older cards that don’t work anymore if anyone has a Secret Lair in his/her deck.


Question: Player A is at 2 life, player B is at 1 life, and player C is at 31415 life. Player A plays Shock on player B, who responds with a Shock. I know that B’s Shock resolves first, killing A, but what happens with A’s Shock? Does C win?

Jeff: I have a hunch that C is going to win eventually, but not quite yet.

Thijs: Here’s another one where your play group needs to set some rules before the game starts. WotC doesn’t have official multiplayer rules out yet, but the draft we’ve seen says that when a player loses, he takes everything with him – all cards in play, everything on the stack, etc. If you go by that, B survives.

Moko: Ook! *glare*

Thijs: Oh, and a lot of people think that it makes more sense for the spell to resolve, just like Shocking a Prodigal Sorcerer won’t stop his ability. If your group uses this method, B will crash and burn, and C wins.

Even if Wizards had finished up with multiplayer rules, your group could override those rules. Remember, this is casual, so your group can alter the rules if you want.


Question: Can I regenerate a creature that I sacrifice to Diabolic Edict?

Thijs: No.
Eli: Nope.
Moko: Ook.
Random Atlantean: Noooo!

Jeff: Like the chorus said, no, you can not. Regeneration can only prevent destruction. It can’t save a creature from sacrifice or from having toughness less than 1, since neither of those are destruction. Think of destruction as “hit by a car” dead, 0 toughness as “hit by a plane” dead, and sacrifice as “hit by a house” dead.


Question: Can I play a Conspiracy to make all of my creatures Shrines to power up the Honden? What if I animate a Honden with Opalescence first?

Eli: Nope again. No matter what you do, Shrine is never a creature type, only an enchantment type. With Opalescence in play, the Honden is an Enchantment Creature with the enchantment type Shrine, and no creature type.

Jeff: The same is true with Locus – it’s always a land type, so you can’t get superdupercloudposts either.

Thijs: So it’s also true of Lair, Urza’s, Mine, Power-Plant, and Tower. Not that those subtypes would do you much good.


Question: If a Searing Spear Askari is blocked by a Devoted Retainer, does the Retainer die before Bushido pumps it up?

Thijs: It looks like it’s APNAP time! We have two simultaneous triggers going on the stack – they both trigger off the Retainer blocking the Askari. Whenever multiple things trigger at the same time, they go on the stack in APNAP order – Active Player, NonActive Player. Since the Askari’s controller is attacking, it must be his turn, so the flanking ability goes on the stack first. Then the bushido goes on the stack, so it resolves first.

Bushido resolves, making the Retainer 2/2, and then flanking resolves, making him 1/1 again. The poor Retainer is now staring down a 2/2 Askari, who smushes him.


Question: My opponent plays Battlegrowth on his 1/1 creature. Is there any time after the +1/+1 counter is put on that I can give the creature -1/-1 to kill it?

Eli: Not a chance. Power and toughness counters are applied continuously in layer 6 (see Thijs’ big long article on continuous effects for more on layers), so as soon as the counter’s on, the 1/1 is a 2/2. You’ll have to kill it in response to the Battlegrowth.


Question: What happens with a Man of Measure if my opponent and I are the same height?

Jeff: Not much. First he asks “Are you shorter?” and you say “No.” So he gets nothing. Then he asks “Are you taller?” and you say “No again.” So he gets nothing again. And he ends up as a 2/2 for 1WW, which is a pretty bad deal.

Eli: I don’t want to consider why a shorter Man of Measure will always kill the taller one...

Confetti, anyone?
Thijs: Note that the probability of you and your opponent being *exactly* the same height is roughly 0.


Moko: Oook ook!

Random Atlantean: He bit me! He bit me!

Eli: He does that. Just let him eat your brains for a little and he’ll leave you alone. What did you do to provoke the chimpanzee?

Random Atlantean: I just gave him this question.

Thijs: Ah, I see. This question is already answered, so it made him very unhappy. But it’s such a good one, we’ll put it here.

Moko: Pffft.

Quote from Ben Bleiweiss »
“You play Chaos Orb, and then animate it with a Xenic Poltergeist. On top of all this, you then play a Dance of Many copying the Chaos Orb, and want to use a pillow as the token. Can you flip the pillow onto your opponent’s play area in an attempt to destroy all his permanents?”

The answer it yes. Under strict tournament rules, a token must be something which doesn’t disturb the field of play, but Chaos Orb is banned in DCI tournaments, so that point is kind of moot. In casual play, feel free to flip the biggest pillow you can find to take out your opponent’s permanents. (Warning: Flipping a cup of coffee as your Chaos Orb token might result in bodily harm.)

Eli: If you flip a coffee cup with coffee in it, I’LL give you bodily harm! Such blasphemy against the poor, poor coffee...

Thijs: Hey, look what I found over at Crystal Keep:

Quote from "Questions Asked Sometimes" »
701.Ruling.3 - Some cards have a picture and no text. These are intended for use to represent token creatures for you so you don't have use coins, glass beads, kittens, pick-up trucks, or other handy objects. [QAS 1998/09/09]

Kitten: Meow? o_O


Eli: Well, that’s all for this week, which means I’ve looted Atlantis enough, so we should run away very fast before they catch us.

Thijs: You... what?

Eli: Aw, I’ll give you a split of the bounty.

Moko: Ook?

Eli: You can have this hovercraft I found. The keys were in the ignition.

Moko: Ook! Kekeke

Eli: So we’ll see you next week when Thijs and I are back home. Thijs is going to make up a great article for you all, and the following week will feature our Saviors of Kamigawa Prerelease FAQ. That’ll wrap up May for us, so stay tuned for lots of fun questions!

Until next time, have fun playing casually without us meddling judges!


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