Published on 11/11/2013

This Article Is Brought To You By The Number 11

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Note: This article is over two years old. Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes. Proceed with caution.

Happy Veterans Day!
Greetings and welcome to another issue of Cranial Insertion. Today is the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 2013, which is not only an appealing alliteration of numbers, but it is also an important date in history. On this date in 1918, the Allies of World War I and Germany signed an armistice to end the war's hostilities, so this date is commemorated in many countries as Armistice Day, Remembrance Day, or Veterans Day. Of course, here at Cranial Insertion we celebrate the day the same way we celebrate any other day: By answering Magic rules questions!

If you have questions you'd like us to answer, please email them to or tweet @CranialTweet. We will give you a direct answer, and your question might appear in a future issue, possibly accompanied by a terrible pun or an obscure pop culture reference.

Q: Can I still activate Armistice's ability if I control Erebos, God of the Dead?

A: Absolutely! When you activate the ability, all that matters is whether you can target your opponent, which is always possible unless your opponent has hexproof, shroud, or some similar ability. The fact that your opponent is unable to gain life doesn't make him an illegal target for Armistice's ability. When the ability resolves, it does as much as it can, which means that you'll still draw a card while your opponent gets nothing out of it.

Q: Do I need a basic Mountain for Chained to the Rocks? Can Chained to the Rocks enchant a Boros Guildgate?

A: You don't need a basic Mountain for Chained to the Rocks, but you do need a Mountain, and the ability to produce red mana does not make something a Mountain. A land is a Mountain if it has the subtype Mountain on its type line, but you may have to look at the Oracle text to make sure. Mountain is a Mountain, Plateau is a Mountain, and Sacred Foundry is a Mountain, so Chained to the Rocks can enchant any of those. Boros Guildgate is a Gate, which is not sufficiently rocky for Chained to the Rocks.

Q: I have a follow-up question to question 8 from last week's issue: If my devotion to black is 3, can I Animate Dead an Erebos, God of the Dead and keep it?

A: Sure, that works. In that case, your devotion to black is 5 as soon as Erebos is returned to the battlefield, so it is a creature at the time Animate Dead tries to attach itself to Erebos, and everything is all right with the world as long as you remain sufficiently devoted to black.

Q: If I control a Warden of Evos Isle, how much mana do I have to pay to bestow Celestial Archon onto a creature?

A: At the time you determine the total cost for the spell, Celestial Archon is not a creature spell with flying; it's a noncreature spell with flying. As such, it doesn't qualify for the Warden's discount, so you have to pay .

Q: Let's say I control a creature that's enchanted with Ordeal of Nylea and my opponent destroys the creature. Does this trigger the "When you sacrifice Ordeal of Nylea" ability?

A: Nice try, but no. An Aura that's not attached to anything is simply put into its owner's graveyard. Even though this looks just like a sacrifice, it's not a sacrifice, so it doesn't trigger the Ordeal's ability.

Q: Let's say I exile a cipher card such as Hidden Strings with Jeleva, Nephalia's Scourge, cast it with the "when Jeleva attacks" trigger and then encode it on Jeleva. Can I cast the card again in later turns when Jeleva attacks again?

A: No, that's not going to work. The phrase "an instant or sorcery card exiled with it" in Jeleva's attack trigger only refers to cards that were exiled with her enter-the-battlefield ability. Once you cast Hidden Strings with the attack trigger, it goes to the stack and it becomes a new object that doesn't remember having been exiled by Jeleva. Even when the card goes back to the exile zone by being encoded on Jeleva, it is no longer a card that was exiled by her enter-the-battlefield ability, so the attack trigger can no longer find it and cast it.

Q: Is there any difference between Tajic, Blade of the Legion saying "Tajic, Blade of the Legion is indestructible" and the Theros Gods like Heliod, God of the Sun just saying "Indestructible?"

A: There is no difference between Tajic and Heliod. At the time Tajic was printed, indestructible wasn't a keyword ability; it was a quality of a permanent, and Tajic had an ability that asserted that Tajic has that quality. Since then, indestructible has become a keyword ability. The Theros Gods have been printed with that keyword ability, and Tajic has received errata so that its Oracle text also just says "Indestructible."

Darkly Dreaming Daxos
Q: My commander is Daxos of Meletis and he hits my opponent, exiling a black card from his library. Can I cast that card even though my commander is not black?

A: Sure, that works. The commander rules say that you couldn't put that card in your deck, but you're not trying to do that, and if you were to make black mana it would turn colorless instead, but you're not trying to do that either. You can simply make the appropriate amount of mana of any type, and then you cast the exiled black card while pretending that some of the mana you made is black.

Q: So, if Daxos exiles a Firespout from my opponent's library, can I get it to deal damage to both flying and nonflying creatures by making and spending it as though it were ?

A: No. "As though" effects only allow you to reject reality and substitute your own for a very specific, explicitly stated purpose. In the case of Daxos, that purpose is to pay the cost of the exiled card as you're casting it. For all other purposes, the real reality remains in effect. When Firespout resolves, it sees that you didn't spend or to cast it, so it does a whole lot of nothing.

Q: My opponent controls a 4/4 indestructible creature and I deal 3 damage to it with Lightning Strike. If I then cast a Golgari Charm to give it -1/-1 effect, will that send the creature to the graveyard?

A: No, it won't. Some -X/-X effects will send indestructible creatures to the graveyard, but that's because they lower the creature's toughness to 0 or less. In this situation, the creature's toughness is still greater than 0. It's a 3/3 with 3 damage marked on it, which is lethal damage, but it ignores lethal damage because it's indestructible.

Q: If I use Rescue from the Underworld to bring back a creature, can that creature attack on the turn it comes back?

A: Only if it has haste. Otherwise it'll need some time to readjust after being pulled from an untold hell dimension. Rescue from the Underworld returns the creature and its rescuer in your upkeep step, which happens after you begin your turn, so you didn't control them at the time you began the turn and they are subject to the "summoning sickness" rule.

Q: I control a Mycoloth with twelve +1/+1 counters on it and I copy it with Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker. What do I get?

A: You get a token of Mycoloth that looks exactly how a Mycoloth would look straight out of your trade binder: A 4/4 without any counters on it. This is because copy effects only copy what's printed on the card (with very few exceptions, none of which apply here). In particular, the twelve counters on the original aren't copied. However, the copy has a devour ability, too, so if you have the creatures to spare to feed it, you could do that to give it some counters of its own.

Q: Can Rapid Hybridization destroy a Boon Satyr that's bestowed onto another creature?

A: Nope. While Boon Satyr is bestowed, it is not a creature, so it can't be targeted with Rapid Hybridization.

Q: Can Ratchet Bomb destroy an animated Mutavault?

A: No. An animated Mutavault is a land and a creature, and Ratchet Bomb only destroys nonland permanents. Since Mutavault is a land, it can't be a nonland permanent, so Ratchet Bomb leaves it alone.

Moon. Glorious moon.
Full, fat, reddish moon.
Q: I control a Mutavault, animate it, and attack my opponent with it. My opponent, who controls a Leyline of Anticipation, casts a Blood Moon. Does my Mutavault stop attacking?

A: No, your opponent now has an angry Mountain coming his way. While Blood Moon's effect removes Mutavault's abilities, it does not remove the effect that the resolution of the animation ability already created. Your Mutavault continues to be a 2/2 creature with all creature types, and Blood Moon's effect simply adds the subtype Mountain into the mix. Mutavault does not stop being a creature, so it has no reason to stop attacking.

Q: I control Furnace of Rath and I attack with Garruk's Companion, which gets blocked by 3 1/1 tokens. Can I trample over the tokens for 3 damage?

A: No. The Furnace's damage doubling effect only applies when damage is dealt. Before the damage is dealt, it has to be assigned, and the damage assignment process doesn't know or care about the damage doubling effect. Assuming that you want to kill the three blockers, you'll assign 1 damage to each of them, and that's all the damage you can assign, so you don't have any damage left over to assign to your opponent.

Q: So, I control a Batterskull that's attached to a Germ token, and my opponent phases out the Germ with Reality Ripple. He claims that my Batterskull goes with it and remains phased out for the rest of the game. Is that true?

A: I'm afraid so. There are two kinds of phasing: direct and indirect. Direct phasing happens when a thing phases out itself or something tells it to phase out. Indirect phasing happens when a thing is attached to another thing and that other thing phases out, and an object that phased out indirectly only phases back in together with that other thing. In the situation you described, Batterskull phases out indirectly because the Germ phases out, but the token ceases to exist as soon as it phases out, so the Batterskull loses its ride back to reality and its stuck in the phased-out state.

Q: If I control Merieke Ri Berit, steal my opponent's commander, and then flicker it with Cloudshift, can he move his commander to the command zone to prevent me from permanently stealing that creature?

A: Your opponent can move it to the command zone, but it'll still be returned to the battlefield under your control. Cloudshift can see the commander in the first zone it goes to due to being exiled as long as that's a public zone — which the command zone is — and Cloudshift doesn't say that it cares which zone that is.

Q: If I play a Two-Headed Giant match and the game is a draw due to something like an Earthquake that's lethal to everybody, does that end the match in a draw or do we play another game to decide the match?

A: You would play another game. Just like in a duel, which is a race to two game wins where draws don't count towards the two-game goal, a Two-Headed Giant match is a race to one game win, and drawn games don't count towards that goal. Since there's still time left in the round, you go on to play another game.

Q: Can we sideboard for that second game?

A: No. First of all, in Constructed Two-Headed Giant tournaments, sideboards aren't allowed in the first place. In Limited Two-Headed Giant tournaments, the team has a shared sideboard that consists of all cards in the team's pool that aren't used in their decks, but you still can't do any sideboarding between games because the Magic Tournament Rules don't include a sideboarding step in the pregame procedure. The purpose for that sideboard is realistically only relevant at Regular REL tournaments without deck lists, where you have continuous construction, which means that you're allowed to improve your deck between rounds.

And that's all the time we have for today. See you next time!

- Carsten Haese

About the Author:
Carsten Haese is a former Level 2 judge based in Toledo, OH. He is retired from active judging, but he still writes for Cranial Insertion and helps organize an annual charity Magic tournament that benefits the National MS Society.

For the Mycoloth/Mirror-Breaker question. Suppose I do devour some creatures with the copy and get some counters. Is there any way I can arrange for those counters to produce saprolings using the copy's upkeep trigger?
#1 • Date: 2013-11-11 • Time: 14:25:46 •
@Mahk, Yes. Since Kiki's ability can be activated at instant speed, you can make the token copy when you get priority during your opponents' end step. The "sacrifice at the beginning of the next end step" doesn't trigger yet, since that end step has already begun. It rolls to your turn and you get the saprolings during upkeep, and sac the mycoloth token at the beginning of _your_ end step. Make sure it's clear that you're activating "Kiik the Jiik" during his END STEP, not at the end of his Main Phase.
#2 • Date: 2013-11-11 • Time: 17:15:57 •

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