Published on 04/14/2014

Hold on to the Feeling

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 Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes.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

Feel free to sing while you cast this
Yes, we're in the middle of previews for a Journey... a Journey into Nyx, that is. And some will win and some will lose, and some will be born to sing the blues. And as with every set, we'll have to refrain from answering questions about the new cards until it's closer to the prerelease. But fear not — we still have plenty of rules questions from already-printed cards to keep us going for another week.

Though of course we can't do that without your help, so if you've got questions, please send them to us by using the handy "Email Us" button, by sending an email to , or by tweeting at @CranialTweet.

Q: Suppose I have a creature enchanted with a Sunbond, and I also control a Staff of the Sun Magus. If I cast another Sunbond on the same creature, how many counters will it get?

A: Just one. When you cast the second Sunbond, Staff of the Sun Magus triggers and you gain a life, which triggers the ability of the Sunbond that's already on the battlefield. But since the Sunbond you're casting is still on the stack at this point, it can't and doesn't trigger.

Q: In a Commander game, I use Spin into Myth to put my opponent's commander on top of his library, then attack with Daxos of Meletis. Supposing my opponent chooses to put his commander into the command zone instead of exile when Daxos' ability resolves, do I still gain life or get a chance to cast it?

A: Yes, and yes! When a card specifically cares about something going to (and staying in) exile, it will refer to "the exiled card" or "cards exiled with" its ability. But Daxos doesn't do that, which means he doesn't care so much which zone the card goes to, so long as it's a public zone and once the card gets there it stops moving. So a move to command instead of exile, and staying there, is just fine with Daxos, who will gain you the appropriate amount of life and let you cast the card.

Q: So how about if I use Ertai's Meddling when someone casts their commander? Will that still work if they want to send it to the command zone?

A: As always with older cards, it's useful to consult the current text. Which, for Ertai's Meddling, now includes the phrase "if that card is exiled". Since the card went to the command zone instead, it's not exiled and Ertai's Meddling won't do anything further to it.

Q: I've heard that Meddling Mage doesn't stop Isochron Scepter's ability. But I thought Isochron Scepter specific said to cast, and that's what Meddling Mage forbids!

A: There's a small but important bit of wording here: Meddling Mage forbids casting cards with the chosen name. Isochron Scepter never casts any cards; instead, its ability creates a copy of its exiled card, then lets you cast the copy. Since the copy isn't a card, Meddling Mage (which is surprisingly literal about what it does) will not interfere with that.

Q: In a Two-Headed Giant game, if I cast a True-Name Nemesis and choose one of the players on the opposing team, can the other player block it, target it, and so on?

A: Yup! Very few things are actually shared in Two-Headed Giant, and existence isn't one of them. So although they work together as a team, the players on the opposing team are still two individual people who happen to be different from each other — and in this case, an important part of the difference is that one of them is the player chosen for True-Name Nemesis' ability, and the other one isn't.

I'm sure it's nothing.
Q: Would Animar, Soul of Elements reduce the cost to kick a Mold Shambler? What about other alternative/additional costs?

A: Yup! When determining what you'll need to pay to cast a spell, you always start with the mana cost, or with the alternative cost you plan to pay, then apply any effects that increase costs, then any that decrease costs, then any that apply to the total cost. So as long as what you were casting was a creature spell, Animar will happily reduce the cost you end up paying for it, no matter what alternative or additional costs you've plugged in ahead of that.

Q: What happens if I put Pariah on, say, Heliod, God of the Sun and then my devotion to white drops below 5? Does damage still get redirected to Heliod or not?

A: Damage won't be redirecting to Heliod because Pariah won't be there anymore — Pariah specifies "enchant creature", so if the thing it's attached to stops being a creature it will promptly fall off and be put into the graveyard. Which means if you want to make a Pariah of Heliod, you'd better also make sure you keep your devotion up!

Q: If I control a Nivmagus Elemental and my opponent casts a spell, can I use Wild Ricochet, and have my Nivmagus Elemental eat both the copy Wild Richochet makes and the original spell?

A: Your Nivmagus Elemental is going to have a bit less food than you'd hoped for. You will be the controller of the copy created by Wild Richochet, so the Elemental can eat that one. But changing the targets of the original does not give you control of the original (compare to Commandeer, which does). So all you'll get to do to the original is select some new targets; your poor Elemental will have to stare hungrily and be unable to eat it.

Q: I tap two Swamps and cast Doom Blade to destroy my opponent's Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger. Will my Swamps untap during my next untap step?

A: Nope! Although Vorinclex isn't around at that point, he was when you tapped those Swamps for mana, which set off his second triggered ability. And since abilities, once triggered or activated, exist on the stack independently of their sources, the ability still resolved and ste up the "doesn't untap" effect for your next untap step.

Q: Suppose I control Thassa, God of the Sea, Ephara, God of the Polis and a Frostburn Weird, so my devotion to blue is 4. If I cast a second Thassa, and choose to let her die to the legend rule, will Ephara still trigger to draw me a card in the next upkeep?

A: She will. Ephara cares that a creature entered the battlefield; she doesn't care about how long it stuck around or anything else. And for the brief period of her existence on the battlefield, that second Thassa was a creature (since your devotion to blue was 5). So Ephara saw a creatrue enter, and her ability will trigger and draw you a card.

Q: My opponent cast Fireblast by sacrificing two Mountains. How many Faeries would I need in order to counter that with a Spellstutter Sprite.

A: At least 6 Faeries. Your opponent didn't pay any mana to cast Fireblast, but that's not what Spellstutter Sprite looks at — the Sprite just looks at what the converted mana cost of the spell is, and that's always going to be 6 (CMC is always just the sum of the symbols in the mana cost, and is unaffected by how much or how little mana you actually pay to cast the spell).

Q: My opponent controls a currently-2/2 Cosi's Trickster. If I use Birthing Pod to fetch a Murderous Redcap, will I be able to kill the Trickster before it gets a counter and goes to 3/3?

A: Unfortunately this basically won't ever work. After you've finished resolving Birthing Pod's ability, both the Redcap's ability and the Trickster's ability will trigger. Since it's your turn, your trigger goes on the stack first... which means it resolves last. Your opponent's trigger will always go on the stack last and resolve first, meaning the Trickster will get to 3/3 before the Redcap deals it any damage.

Q: I control a Leyline of Anticipation, and I attack my opponent (who has 8 poison counters) with a Runeclaw Bear. If he doesn't block the Bear, can I then flash in a Corrupted Conscience to make the Bear deal its damage as poison counters and kill my opponent?

A: This will work! Although it's true that changing control of a creature mid-combat will cause it to be removed from combat, this Runeclaw Bear didn't actually undergo any control changes; its controller was the same player the whole time. So now it's just an attacking and unblocked creature with infect, which your opponent may find difficult to bear.

Q: What if instead I flash in a Sphere of Resistance in response to my opponent casting a spell? What will happen if he can't or won't pay the extra mana?

A: Nothing, because he won't be required to pay any extra mana. The cost a player has to pay to cast a spell locks in and gets paid during the process of casting the spell; once players can respond to the spell, it's too late to try to impose additional costs like this (compare to the wording on "counter unless you pay"-type spells like Force Spike or Mana Tithe). So the Sphere will only affect spells your opponent casts after it has entered the battlefield.

On the other hand, Goblins usually have that stinking feeling.
Q: If I put Lightning Greaveson a Standard Bearer, and I have no other Flagbearer creatures, does that effectively give all my creatures hexproof since my opponent can't target anything else without targeting the Standard Bearer?

A: That's kind of neat flavor-wise, but unfortunately doesn't work out how you want rules-wise. Standard Bearer's ability says your opponents have to choose a Flagbearer as a target if able, but thanks to the Lightning Greaves they're not able to do so. Which means that they can target any of your other stuff and they'll have fulfillfed the "target a Flagbearer if able" simply by being unable :)

Q: I've heard that countering a Demigod of Revenge doesn't work in Commander. But I don't see how its ability could do anything — I thought you weren't allowed to have multiple copies of a card?

A: Well, in all formats countering a Demigod of Revenge may not work out how you want it to, unless you're careful about the timing. The main issue is that if you counter a Demigod before its own trigger has resolved, the trigger will return the Demigod you just countered to the battlefield. Since that's almost certainly not what you want, you should always clearly state that you're countering it after its own trigger has already resolved. That way it will head to the graveyard and stay there (unless/until another one comes along).

Q: So I understand that when I cast a Sphinx's Revelation with Courser of Kruphix out, I have to reveal each card before I draw it. But what if instead I cast a Magma Jet and scry? Do I still have to show my opponent everything?

A: Well, not everything. Your opponent knows what card was on top before you started the process of scrying, and your opponent will know what card is on top after you've finished. But in between, the order or your library isn't changing — during a scry, you look at the cards in-place, effectively. So your top card doesn't change until you've finished scrying and decided what to do with the cards, at which point you just reveal whatever your new top card is and move on.

Q: So, I have a bunch of old cards that are Walls, and I've heard that now the keyword for that is "Defender". Does that mean my old cards that affect Walls will affect anything the has defender?

A: Well, it's true that back in the early days of Magic, creatures that couldn't attack were generally given the creature type Wall, and the rules defined Walls as being unable to attack. And it's also true that now there's a keyword for "can't attack", which is "defender". But the question here goes the wrong way around: all cards which were originally printed as Walls now have the defender ability, but not everything that has the defender ability is now a Wall. So spells and abilities that affect Walls still only affect actual Walls.

Q: In control Quest for the Nihil Stone and Liliana of the Veil. I activate Liliana's +1 ability, but in response my opponent casts the last card in his hand. Will the Quest still get a counter when Liliana's ability resolves?

A: Nope. Since your opponent had no cards in hand when Liliana's ability resolved, he didn't actually discard any cards (when a spell or ability tells someone to do something impossible — like discard from an empty hand — they just don't do the impossible thing). And since he didn't discard, Quest for the Nihil Stone won't trigger.

Q: Can Pillar of Flame actually get rid of Epochrasite?

A: It can! Although Epochrasite's ability normally sends to to exile right after it's put into a graveyard, it does have to get to the graveyard first in order for its ability to trigger and suspend itself. Since Pillar of Flame replaces going to the graveyard with going straight to exile, Epochrasite's ability never triggers, it never suspends itself, and it just ends up exiled for good.

That's all I've got for this week, but be sure to check back next week as Callum hops on a midnight train goin' anywhere... and then two weeks from now as we roll out the CI Journey into Nyx special issue!

- James Bennett

About the Author:
James Bennett is a Level 3 judge based out of Lawrence, Kansas. He pops up at events around Kansas City and all over the midwest, and has a car he can talk to.

So how is Demigod's trigger enforced in competitive REL? If my opponent plays Demigod of Revenge, then pauses and waits for my response, can I just counter it? He didn't put the trigger on the stack, but should I just ask him if he is putting his trigger on the stack to be safe? Would I have any recourse if he tries to "get" me?
#1 • Date: 2014-04-14 • Time: 12:36:58 •
@ #1

As wizards puts it, you don\'t have to point out your opponents triggers but since they don\'t need to be acknowledged till they would make a difference it may be beneficial or necessary for you to bring light on if a trigger exists before your opponent does.

So yes and yes. You should ask about the trigger, and if you don\'t and counter it he will most likely \"get\" you

Last edited on 2014-04-14 14:57:32 by tronclock
#2 • Date: 2014-04-14 • Time: 13:39:47 •
The onus is on you as the person who wants to counter it to clarify when you'll be countering it. If you don't clarify, in most cases it will be assumed you are responding to the topmost thing on the stack (the trigger), and your opponent will get his countered Demigod back.
#3 • Date: 2014-04-15 • Time: 11:23:20 •
About question #6. If I\'m reading the reader\'s question right, he\'s asking if Animar directly reduces the kicker cost of Mold Shambler. If that\'s correct, the answer is actually no. Animar will reduce the total cost of the spell, but he won\'t reduce the 1G kicker cost. So, the total cost to cast a kicked Mold Shambler will be 3GG, not the 2GG it would be if Animar effected each component of the cost seperately.


Edit: ...assuming Animar has one counter as its controller begins to cast Mold Shambler

Last edited on 2014-04-20 17:46:00 by kevashida
#4 • Date: 2014-04-20 • Time: 17:38:07 •
kevashida: You are incorrect. Kicker is an additional cost to casting the spell. Since it's part of the cost, it can be reduced by things like Animar. So Animar can reduce the cost of the spell, including the kicker cost.
#5 • Date: 2014-04-21 • Time: 11:37:19 •
Okay, so if Animar has one counter, a kicked Mold Shambler's total casting cost will be 2GG, because Animar (And similar effects) will reduce both base cost and each instance of additional costs separately, correct?

So, hypothetically, if Mold Shambler had Multikicker, and I kicked it three times, I would pay a total of 2GGGG?
#6 • Date: 2014-04-21 • Time: 21:13:35 •
Gnarlid Pack is a 1G creature with a multikicker of 1G. If you wanted to kick it three times, the cost would be 4GGGG. Animar would reduce the cost by 2. So you would end up paying 2GGGG to multikick the Pack 3 times.
#7 • Date: 2014-04-21 • Time: 22:53:28 •

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