Published on 01/23/2014

Colorless Blue Ideas Dream Chimerically

or, Wasing the Where of Previewing

Cranial Translation
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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 Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes.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.

What is this I don't even
No one ever has rules questions about Runeclaw Bear (even though our ursine friend may feature in many such questions in a supporting role). No one ever has rules questions about Sanctuary Cat (other than how it can defeat every single Soldier token in combat). That's why we don't preview them. Oh, no, we get to preview the weird things like the slightly-confusing Psychic Spiral and the much-more-confusing Possibility Storm.

This time, Wizards of the Coast has really upped the ante.

Behold the awesome Melvin glory of Perplexing Chimera:


Q: After I give my opponent my Perplexing Chimera, won't he just give it right back to me?

A: In the future? Probably! That's the fun of the card. Right away? Nope. It won't trigger again.

Q: So if my opponent casts a creature spell, I put it onto the battlefield and put Perplexing Chimera on the stack?

A: The spell stays on the stack and the Chimera stays on the battlefield. All that's exchanged is control of them - nothing changes zones or any other characteristics. That would push Perplexing Chimera from merely perplexing to brain-dissolvingly insane.

Q: Can I exchange Perplexing Chimera with a spell that doesn't target?

A: You sure can! Once you've chosen to make the exchange, the game prompts you to change targets of the spell. If the spell has no targets, there's nothing to do, so you just raise an eyebrow at the game and let it continue on its merry way.

Physics is confused, too.
Q: Perplexing Chimera is tapped - will it untap when my opponent takes it? If so, can it attack right away?

A: The Chimera's status will remain unchanged. If it was tapped, tapped it shall remain. If it was untapped, it'll be untapped and ready to block and/or party. However, it will not be ready to attack. The "summoning sickness" rules require you to have continuously controlled the creature since your most recent turn began, and gaining control of it during your turn won't fall under that umbrella. Your opponent's shiny new Chimera will just have to party somewhere other than the red zone.

Q: Can I sacrifice Perplexing Chimera in response to the trigger and just steal the spell?

A: If you so cruelly sacrifice your little Chimera, the game's going to have an issue when you're asked to exchange control of it with the spell. While the exchange doesn't necessarily have to be fair ("I'll take that Progenitus, have this Chimera instead."), an "exchange" instruction requires an actual exchange to take place, not blatant thievery. With the exchange impossible to make, you're never even given the option to do so. With the option not taken, you can't change the targets, either.

Q: What happens if the spell gets countered before or after the trigger resolves?

A: If it's countered before the trigger resolves, then you can't make the exchange - see above about exchanges having to actually exchange something. After the trigger resolves, though, nothing guarantees that the spell and/or the Chimera will be safe under their new owner's control. Yet another way that you - or your opponent - can make a decidedly unfair exchange.

Q: My opponent casts a spell that I like, and I control Prophet of Kruphix. Can I flash in Perplexing Chimera and yoink?

A: You'll need to control the Chimera at the time that the spell becomes cast in order to get it to trigger. Putting it onto the battlefield after that spell's been cast won't do the trick. Remember, you can't interrupt the process of casting a spell to try to cram a Chimera in the middle there, so realistically you'll need to have cast the Chimera pretty well in advance.

Q: If I take a spell with storm or cascade, do I get the trigger? Or does it happen before I take it?

A: Storm and cascade - as well as anything else that triggers when a spell becomes cast - will trigger at the same time that your Chimera triggers. The trigger from the player whose turn it is resolves last, but even if the Chimera trigger resolves first, that won't change control of the other trigger on the stack. Your opponent still gets to cascade or storm.

If he cascades while you still control the Chimera, fun things happen! The spell he cascades into is also cast, which makes the Chimera trigger again, running around the room with its tongue hanging out like an overexcited puppy. If you exchange the Chimera with this new spell, you can't exchange control of the Chimera and the first spell since they have the same controller, but you'll get to choose which of your opponents spells you want to steal!

Q: If I trade Perplexing Chimera for my opponent's commander, can I smack him to death with his own commander?

A: Well now, let's take a look at the rule:
704.5v In a Commander game, a player that's been dealt 21 or more combat damage by the same commander over the course of the game loses the game.

The rule's entirely agnostic as to who controls the commander and who's having his face stomped in relative to that commander's controller, so yes! You can coerce your opponent's commander to your side with cookies and candy and proceed to have it commit the ultimate act of treason.

Q: In response to Perplexing Chimera's trigger, a third player stole my Chimera with Djinn of Infinite Deceits. What just what?

A: I mentioned earlier that an exchange needs to actually be an exchange - but you don't have to be involved in it! The third player gains control of the spell, the second player gains control of your stolen Chimera, and then you get to choose new targets for the spell, if it has any, even though you don't control the spell. Whatever other permanent Djinn of Infinite Deceits exchanged remains under the control of whoever got it in exchange for your Chimera. The Chimera, having been spun all over the place, needs some Dramamine.

Do you have more questions? Oh, I'm sure you do! Send them over to or contact us on Twitter for short questions at @CranialTweet for answers. If you're new to the site, remember that you can follow us on Twitter or our RSS feed for notices when we have a new article - normally every Monday at midnight US Eastern, but then strange perplexing things like this pop up.

We'll be back on Monday with our last article before Born of the Gods hits. Hope to see you all then!

Until next time, may all your perplexity be chimeric.

- Eli Shiffrin

About the Author:
Eli Shiffrin is currently in Lowell, Massachusetts and discovering how dense the east coast MTG community is. Legend has it that the Comprehensive Rules are inscribed on the folds of his brain.


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