Published on 05/19/2014

Are We There Yet?

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 Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes.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

"Are we there yet?"
Welcome back to another episode of Cranial Insertion! It's only been a few weeks since Journey into Nyx has come out, and yet there's already the next release visible on the horizon. In fact, this is my last issue before Conspiracy is out, and I'm glad about that because I'm already scraping the bottom of the barrel for travel-related puns.

As always, if you have questions you'd like us to answer, please send them by email to , or tweet short questions to @CranialTweet. We'll answer your question directly, and your question might appear in a future issue.

Q: I control Thassa, God of the Sea, and my opponent targets her with Deicide. In response I make her a Weird with Turn. Does Deicide fizzle?

A: I'm afraid not. Deicide targets an enchantment, and Turn doesn't remove any card types from Thassa. Thassa is now a 0/1 Weird enchantment creature, so she's still a legal target for Deicide. Even worse, once Thassa is exiled she becomes a new object that has no relation to the Weird she was on the battlefield. Deicide looks at her in exile and sees that she's a God, so it proceeds to let your opponent exile the remaining Thassas from your graveyard, hand, and library, too.

Q: I control Courser of Kruphix and I cast Read the Bones. Which cards do I have to reveal?

A: You always have to reveal the top card of your library, but note that while you're scrying for Read the Bones, the top card is one of the two cards you're looking at. There's certainly no reason to reveal the third card down at that time. Once you're done scrying, there will be a new top card (which may or may not be the same as the old top card) that you'll have to reveal. The two cards you draw are drawn one at a time, so you draw a card, reveal the next card, draw it, reveal the next card, and that's it.

Q: If I use Spreading Seas on my opponent's Urza's Mine, does it still count for his combo with Urza's Power Plant and Urza's Tower?

A: Nope. The Urza lands check the land types of the lands your opponent controls, not the names. Your opponent's Urza's Mine is still named Urza's Mine, but it is no longer an Urza's or a Mine, so it won't count for your opponent's Tower or Power Plant.

Q: I cast Shardless Agent and cascade, hitting Stifle. Can I cast the Stifle targeting the cascade trigger?

A: Yes, that's legal. Removing an ability from the stack is the final step of resolving it. While it's resolving, even if you're casting a spell in the middle of it, that ability is still on the stack and is a legal target for that spell. Of course, by the time Stifle tries to resolve, the cascade ability will have left the stack, so Stifle is countered on resolution and goes to the graveyard, but that might still be more useful than not casting Stifle and sticking it on the bottom of your library.

Q: I cast Riddle of Lightning, targeting my opponent who controls three planeswalkers. Can I wait until I know how much damage I'll deal to decide which one takes the hit?

A: Absolutely. The planeswalker redirection rule is a replacement effect that's applied just in time as the damage is about to be dealt. This means that you'll first scry and reveal the top card of your library, and then you choose whether and where to redirect the damage.

Q: I control two basic lands and a Gold token. Can I cast the Frogmite I have in my hand?

A: Sure, that's not a problem. During the process of casting the spell you go through a series of steps in a very specific order. The steps that matter here are that you first determine and lock in the total cost of the spell, then you activate mana abilities, and then you pay the total cost. At the moment you calculate the cost, you control one artifact, so the total cost gets reduced to . That cost gets locked in, so it won't change when you sacrifice your Gold token to make of the mana you need to pay that cost.

Q: I target a creature card in my opponent's graveyard with Beacon of Unrest, and in response my opponent feeds it to his Scavenging Ooze. Does my Beacon still get shuffled into my library?

A: Sad to say, no. Beacon of Unrest only shuffles itself back into your library if and when it resolves. In this case, it won't resolve because its target has become illegal. Beacon of Unrest is countered on resolution, none of its effects happen, and it goes to rest in your graveyard.

Fear cuts deeper than swords
Q: Can an animated Mutavault block a creature with Fear?

A: No. A creature with fear can't be blocked except by black creatures or artifact creatures, and an animated Mutavault is neither. The animation effect doesn't give it a color, so it's a colorless creature. The animation effect does give it all creature types, but artifact is a card type, not a creature type.

Q: Do I get to draw a card if I Mind Control my opponent's Eidolon of Blossoms?

A: Yup! The constellation ability is a regular enter-the-battlefield trigger, so it looks at the game state immediately after something has entered the battlefield to see if should trigger. Immediately after Mind Control has entered the battlefield attached to your opponent's Eidolon of Blossoms, you now control an Eidolon of Blossoms, and it sees that a Mind Control just entered the battlefield under your control. The Eidolon is very excited about this and gives you a card draw trigger.

Q: I equip my Charging Badger with Godsend and attack. My opponent thinks it's a good idea to block it with his Blood Baron of Vizkopa. Is he right?

A: No, that's actually a pretty bad idea. Godsend's ability doesn't target the Blood Baron, deal damage to the Baron, or do anything else that protection would stop, so the fact that the Blood Baron has protection from white is hilariously irrelevant. The ability exiles the Blood Baron in the declare blockers step, so by the time combat damage is dealt, your trampling Charging Badger has nothing standing in its way to smacking your opponent for 4. Even worse, your opponent can't cast any more Blood Barons, so he would have been better off not blocking your Badger.

Q: My opponent used AEtherling's ability to make it unblockable and attacks with it. If I Turn it, can I block it?

A: No. AEtherling's ability creates an effect that imposes a blocking restriction on the game. The effect doesn't grant an ability to AEtherling, so it's not something that Turn can remove. Turn removes the activated ability, of course, but the effect that has already been created is independent from the ability that created it, so the effect sticks around and continues to impose its blocking restriction.

Q: I control a Courser of Kruphix and there's an Overgrown Tomb on top of my library. If I play the Tomb from the top of my library, do I get to see the next card before deciding whether to pay 2 life for the Tomb?

A: Nope. When you play the land from the top of your library, it goes straight from your library to the battlefield without being anywhere else in between. You have to decide how the Tomb enters the battlefield before it enters the battlefield, so at the time you do that, it's still on top of your library.

Q: My opponent is trying to blast my two Birds of Paradise with an Electrolyze. No other creatures are on the battlefield. Could I Redirect the spell and deal 2 damage to my opponent?

A: No, you can't do that. Redirect lets you choose new targets, but it doesn't let you change the number of targets. Also, since Electrolyze has only one instance of the word target, you can't point both targets at one thing. You can change one of the targets to your opponent, but not both. The other target has to target one of your Birds, or yourself if you prefer taking the damage instead.

Q: I control Paradox Haze and cast Ray of Erasure during my opponent's turn. Do I get to draw two additional cards on my next turn?

A: You only get one additional card. Ray of Erasure creates a delayed triggered ability without a duration, so it only triggers once, the next time its trigger event occurs. This happens during the first of your two upkeeps. After that, the delayed trigger is used up and it won't trigger again in your second upkeep.

Q: My opponent controls a Boon Satyr that's bestowed on a random creature. If I Copy Enchantment the Satyr, can I attach it to one of my creatures?

A: No, that doesn't work. Copy Enchantment only copies the Boon Satyr as it enters the battlefield. On the stack, it's a Copy Enchantment, so you never get the opportunity to pay the bestow cost. Also, Copy Enchantment only copies the printed characteristics of Boon Satyr. It doesn't copy the effect that turns Boon Satyr into an Aura, so it simply enters the battlefield as a standalone enchantment creature.

Q: How useful is Riot Control in Two-Headed Giant?

A: It depends. Damage is dealt to individual players even in Two-Headed Giant, and Riot Control only prevents damage that would be dealt to you. It won't prevent damage that's aimed at your teammate. If your opponents are hitting your team with, for example, Fanatic of Mogis's ability, Riot Control will be 50% effective against it. If your opponents are sending attackers your way, they can assign all the combat damage from unblocked attackers to your teammate, in which case Riot Control is entirely useless.

Q: Can I use one of the Theros block Gods as my commander?

A: Certainly! The commander rules require that your commander be a legendary creature, which the Theros Gods certainly are. They have an ability that sometimes makes them not be creatures, but that ability only functions on the battlefield, during a game. It doesn't function during deck construction or when the legality of your deck is determined, so the God is enough of a creature to be your commander.

Q: Can I use Riftsweeper to shuffle my opponent's commander into his library from the command zone?

A: Unfortunately for you, and fortunately for him, you can't do that. Riftsweeper can only target cards in the exile zone, while commanders reside in the command zone, which is an entirely different zone. Once upon a time, when the Commander variant was still named for a region in Scotland and the commander was called general, the command zone didn't exist and the general resided in the exile zone, but those days are long gone.

Q: I'm in a commander game with my friends Arya and Bran. Arya controls Hive Mind and casts a Pact of Negation, which forces Bran and myself to get copies of Pact of Negation. Can I use my Pact to counter Bran's Pact to keep him alive so he can beat Arya later?

A: That depends on whose turn it is and what the turn order is. The Pact copies are put on the stack in turn order, starting with the active player and skipping Arya because she cast the original spell. You can only target a spell that's already on the stack at the moment your copy is put on the stack. This means that you can definitely do this if it's Bran's turn, and you definitely can't do this if it's your turn. If it's Arya's turn, you can do it if Arya's on your left, and you can't if Arya's on your right.

Q: I'm playing in a Pro Tour Qualifier, and my opponent just tried to counter my Abrupt Decay with Syncopate. If I call a judge, will he get a Warning for a Game Rule Violation?

A: No. What your opponent did was entirely legal, albeit not very useful. Abrupt Decay doesn't make it illegal to target it with a spell that would try to counter it. Abrupt Decay only makes it impossible to counter it when such a spell resolves. Syncopate simply resolves and fails to counter your spell, and the game goes on.

And that's all the time we have for this issue. Please come back next week when it really is Callum's turn, and I'll see you in four weeks!

- 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.

On the Aetherling question, it's worth pointing out that the oracle text was changed recently from "is unblockable" to "can't be blocked," to make it clear that "unblockable" is not a keyword ability.
#1 • Date: 2014-05-22 • Time: 15:35:38 •

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