Published on 04/28/2014

The Brotherhood of the Traveling Puns

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 Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes.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

I'm sailing away...
Greetings, and welcome back to another issue of Cranial Insertion! The Journey into Nyx prerelease happened last weekend, so it's time for our Journey into Nyx prerelease special! Of course, with the word "Journey" in its name, this set practically rolls out the red carpet for pop culture references to songs by Journey, songs about travelling, and puns involving travel. I predict that the next few months will be very punny indeed.

If you have questions you'd like us to answer, please send them to us by email at , or tweet short questions to @CranialTweet. We'll always send a direct answer, and your question might make it into a future article.

Now, let's begin our journey into Journey into Nyx!

Q: Suppose I cast Launch the Fleet on three of my creatures and then I copy it with Meletis Charlatan. How many targets does the copy have, and do I have to pay anything for the copy?

A: Well, you have to pay the Charlatan's activation cost, but that's it. The additional strive cost doesn't apply since that's only for casting the spell, and the copy isn't being cast. The copied spell copies all choices you made for the original, including the choice of how many targets it has, so the copy has three targets, too. By default, the copy targets the same three creatures as the original, but the Charlatan's ability lets you choose new targets if you'd rather target other creatures. You can't change the number of targets, though.

Q: If I cast Twinflame with Oracle of Bones' ability, can I target all my creatures for free?

A: That would be awesome, but it doesn't work that way. Oracle of Bones lets you cast Twinflame without paying its mana cost, and Twinflame's mana cost is . Additional costs and cost increases still have to be paid for. This means that the first target is free, but you still have to pay the additional for each target beyond the first.

Q: Does Ragemonger make Gnarled Scarhide cheaper to cast?

A: That depends on how you're casting it. If you're casting it as a creature, sure. If you're bestowing it, not so much. As you cast Gnarled Scarhide, you choose whether to bestow it before you calculate the cost to cast it. Once you choose to bestow it, it is no longer a creature spell, so it can't be a Minotaur spell either, and Ragemonger is suddenly no longer interested in making it cheaper.

Q: Can I bestow Gnarled Scarhide on an opponent's creature?

A: Certainly, and that might be a splendid idea to get a pesky would-be blocker out of the way. Bestow turns Scarhide into an aura with "enchant creature", so the aura doesn't care one bit who controls the creature you're enchanting with it. As an added bonus, you still control the Gnarled Scarhide, so once the enchanted creature dies for some reason, Gnarled Scarhide becomes a creature you control, ready to fight and die for you.

Q: If I steal my opponent's Nyx-Fleece Ram with Hypnotic Siren, does that trigger constellation abilities?

A: Yes, but maybe not as many as you're hoping. Hypnotic Siren is an enchantment, and it's entering the battlefield under your control, so that certainly triggers constellation abilities. If you were hoping for the Ram to trigger those abilities a second time, you'll be disappointed. The Ram is not leaving and re-entering the battlefield, it's only changing controllers.

Q: When the Ram dies and my bestowed Hypnotic Siren falls off, does that trigger constellation abilities?

A: Still no. When a bestowed Aura becomes unattached, it doesn't leave the battlefield and re-enter as an enchantment creature. It stays on the battlefield and simply changes some of its characteristics.

Q: What happens if I kill my opponent's Brain Maggot in response to its ability?

A: The ability on the stack is independent from its source, so it still resolves and does as much as it can. In this case, this means that you simply reveal your hand and your opponent chooses a nonland card from it for no real purpose. The chosen card won't be exiled because the duration of the exile effect already ended before it even began.

Hail Hydra!
Q: Let's say I control a Heroes' Bane with four +1/+1 counters on it that my opponent has pinned to the earth. What would happen if I were to activate its ability?

A: A whole lot of nothing happens. The ability looks at Heroes' Bane's current power, including all modifications to it. This means that it sees a power of -2. While there are some effects that use actual negative numbers, this is not one of them. Rather than put on a negative number of +1/+1 counters or putting on 2 -1/-1 counters, the effect uses zero instead and nothing happens.

Q: I control a Sigiled Starfish that has a Sightless Brawler bestowed on it. If my opponent hits my Scryfish with Silence the Believers, does the Brawler fall off fast enough so that it won't get exiled along with it?

A: Nope. Silence the Believers doesn't exile the creatures first and the Auras second. It exiles all targeted creatures and the Auras that are attached to them at the same time, so the Brawler is exiled along with the Starfish and doesn't have any time to fall off to save itself.

Q: If I cast Eidolon of Rhetoric, can I cast another spell that turn?

A: Only if you cast it in response to your own Eidolon. Once the Eidolon resolves, its effect is on and it asks the game whether you've already cast a spell that turn. It prevents you from casting a second spell even though it wasn't around to witness your first spell that turn.

Q: I control Athreos, God of Passage and get a creature with Whip of Erebos. When the creature dies, does it return to my hand if my opponent doesn't pay 3 life?

A: Nope. The Whip replaces your creature's trip to the graveyard with a trip to the exile zone instead, so your creature didn't actually die. This means that Athreos' ability doesn't trigger and your opponent doesn't even get asked to pay 3 life.

Q: Can Godsend exile creatures with hexproof?

A: Absolutely! Hexproof prevents targeting, and outside of certain keywords that contain the word "target" in their definition, an ability only targets if it uses the word "target." The phrase "one of those creatures" doesn't target, so it has no problem grabbing a hexproof creature.

Q: If I use Godsend in a Commander game to exile my opponent's commander and he puts it into the command zone instead, can he still cast it?

A: Yup! Godsend only prevents casting cards with the same name as cards that are currently exiled with it. Since your opponent's commander didn't end up in the exile zone, it's not currently exiled with Godsend, so it's not affected by Godsend's effect.

Q: I control a Sage of Hours that has ten +1/+1 counters on it, and I activate its extra turns ability. In response, my opponent Bioshifts the counters onto another creature I control. How many extra turns do I get?

A: You still get two extra turns, because your opponent didn't actually move any counters onto your Plant. You removed the counters to pay the cost of the ability, and costs can't be responded to. By the time your opponent responded with Bioshift, the counters were already gone. When the ability resolves, it determines that you removed two sets of five counters, and you get two extra turns.

But I would walk five hundred miles
And I would walk five hundred more
Just to be the giant who walked a thousand miles
To bring death to your shore
Q: Can I cast Colossal Heroics on an untapped creature just to give it +2/+2?

A: Certainly! Colossal Heroics targets creatures, and it doesn't care whether the creatures are tapped or untapped at the time you cast the spell. When Colossal Heroics resolves, it does as much as possible. Untapping an untapped creature is impossible, but giving it +2/+2 still works.

Q: I activate my Hydra Broodmaster's monstrosity ability for X=0, and in response I use Polymorphous Rush to turn it into a Ravenous Leucrocota. How many counters does it get?

A: None at all, unfortunately. When you activated the ability, an ability went on the stack that's separate from its source. Even if you give the source a "monstrosity 3" ability in response, the ability that was put on the stack is a "monstrosity 0" ability, and that's what will resolve.

Q: Can I make my opponent concede with Worst Fears?

A: Nope, that would be too easy. Controlling another player gives you the ability to compel them to perform legal game actions, but conceding is explicitly excluded from what you can compel the player to do:
712.6. The controller of another player can't make that player concede. A player may concede the game at any time, even if he or she is controlled by another player. See rule 104.3a.

Q: Can I see my opponent's sideboard with Worst Fears?

A: Yup! Controlling another player gives you the right to see all hidden information the player has access to, which includes the player's sideboard.

Q: When does a new set become legal for Standard tournaments?

A: Core sets and expansion sets become legal for Standard tournaments on the day of their release. Journey into Nyx will be released on May 2nd, so that's when you're allowed to include Journey into Nyx in your Standard deck.

Q: I'm playing in a PTQ, I control Keranos, God of Storms, and I just drew a card without revealing it. What happens?

A: Revealing the card is mandatory, so you've broken the rules of the game by not doing so. As soon as you notice your error, you should call a judge. At Competitive Rules Enforcement Level, this is a Game Play Error—Game Rule Violation, for which the judge will issue a Warning. (Note that the infraction is not Missed Trigger because the reveal isn't a triggered ability, and the trigger condition for the ability that would have been triggered by the reveal wasn't met.) The judge would then decide whether to leave the game state as is or to back up the game to the point of the error by returning a random card from your hand to the top of your library. If the game state is left as is, neither of the "whenever you reveal" abilities trigger for the card you drew, and the game moves on. If the game is backed up, you reveal and draw whatever card was put back, and then you get the corresponding trigger.

And that's the end of our journey for this week. Please join us again next week when James presents another selection of Magic rules questions and travelling puns!

- 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.

In regards to the worst fears and sideboard question. Is it also true, lets say in a sealed GP, that you can look at the rest of your opponents sealed pool while you control their turn?
#1 • Date: 2014-04-28 • Time: 10:34:53 •
@#1: Yes. In a Limited tournament, all cards in a player's pool that are not used in a player's deck function as that player's sideboard.

The only thing to be aware of in this context is not to Slow Play by spending too much time reviewing his or her pool.
#2 • Date: 2014-04-28 • Time: 12:42:17 •
Also for Worst Fears. You ask for their sideboard, can they concede before you look at it? Or is that information yours at that point and you'll be able to see it regardless if they let it go to their turn?
#3 • Date: 2014-05-03 • Time: 09:09:19 •
Yes, they can concede before you can look at their sideboard. Here's what Scott Marshall had to say in a similar situation:

Q. In game 1, Abel has nearly milled Nora out. Abel requests the contents of Nora's graveyard, wanting to know what he is facing. In response, Nora concedes. Abel calls a judge. Has any violation occurred here?

A. No, this is not an infraction; players may concede at any time, and can do so in exactly this sort of scenario, for exactly this sort of reason. An even more common variant involves things like a Mindslaver lock, or a Bribery that can't be countered – players will simply concede, rather than let the opponent see cards that are (so far) secret tech.
#4 • Date: 2014-05-04 • Time: 20:23:39 •

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