Published on 11/17/2014

Pumpkin Color Pie

or, Red Tastes the Best

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 Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes.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

The jack-o'-lantern is so horrified
because it recognizes its friends...
after eating the pie.
Halloween was a couple weeks ago, but this was the only card I could think of with a pumpkin on it. Whatever's on Incremental Blight and the Lorwyn version of Incremental Growth aren't any sort of pumpkin I've ever seen. I bet they don't taste half as delicious. Although to be fair, "pumpkin" flavor includes vanilla and spices and it's not pure pumpkin either, so maybe they'd also taste awesome. Except not all rotted like on Incremental Blight. Ew.

So gather 'round and cut a slice of pie, guaranteed free of monkey hairs. I locked Moko outside the entire time I made it. We've got some more questions to top off the pie, fresh from Commander 2014 and Khans of Tarkir and one terrifying visitor from Alliances.

You can send in your own ingredients for future pies - columns, I mean columns - to , or tweet quick questions to @CranialTweet.

Now, pick up your Fork and dig in!

Q: I control Raiders' Spoils and three Warriors hit my opponent. Do I have to decide how much life to pay before I draw any cards, or can I pay 1, draw one, and then decide?

A: You'll have to pay 1 at a time, draw one at a time, and decide each time. You don't pay in one lump sum because there's no prompt to pay a bunch - you get three triggers, each saying "you can pay a life for a card," and each resolves one at a time.

Q: Will Living Plane combo with Containment Priest to exile all the lands ever?

A: When performing enters-the-battlefield events, first apply continuous effects that affect only their parent object, then apply replacement effects, then all continuous effects, and then check for triggers. Containment Priest falls into step two there, as the if-would-instead construction is a sure sign of a replacement effect. Living Plane falls into step three, since it doesn't affect only and specifically itself. With the entering lands not being creatures during step two, Containment Priest will leave them alone to enter the battlefield.

Q: When my opponent casts Show and Tell, can I stop his creature by putting out Containment Priest?

A: Nope! Containment Priest needs to be on the battlefield before the other creatures try to enter in order to stop them, and Show and Tell puts them down simultaneously. For a chaotic Legacy situation where Containment Priest can shut down "fair" free things, see Eureka where the objects do enter sequentially, and will be stopped once a Priest is put out with Eureka.

Q: Can I put Song of the Dryads onto Emrakul, the Aeons Torn off of Show and Tell?

A: If Emrakul is already on the battlefield, you can do that. In that case, the Aura is not a spell, so Emrakul's protection has no meaning against it, and Show and Tell does nothing that protection stops.

However, if Emrakul is entering at the same time as Song of the Dryads, which is what I suspect you're really wondering, then Emrakul can't get the Aura. Before moving any of the cards that Show and Tell says to move, you have to determine where the Aura will sit, and Emrakul isn't on the battlefield yet to be designated as a comfy cushion for Auras to sit upon.

Friday, Friday...
Q: If Ob Nixilis of the Black Oath has got his emblem out, can dryads sing at it?

A: Sadly for your karaoke-loving Dryads, an emblem is not a permanent, and thus can't be enchanted by Song of the Dryads. They'll have to settle for singing at Ob Nixilis himself and hoping to damage his brain so badly that you concede to put him out of his misery. I recommend "Chia Pet" by The Indestructible Huxtables for maximum carnage.

Q: You said that Song of the Dryads doesn't stop copy effects from copying the original thing. Does that mean I can Clone my legendary creature after it's been turned into a tree and keep both?

A: You can't keep both, but you can keep the non-tree one. Song of the Dryads overwrites card type, subtypes, color, and abilities, but it doesn't touch the name or supertypes - so you'll have a legendary Forest with the same name as your Cloned legend, causing the legend rule to kick in.

Q: I control Maelstrom Nexus and Diluvian Primordial paired with Deadeye Navigator. I flicker the Primordial without having cast any spells this turn. How do I tell which opponent's spell is cast first for the Nexus?

A: You get to choose, which is the best outcome of them all! It's impossible to cast multiple spells simultaneously, so you do them in some order, and with no order specified, you get to choose what that order is. The first one you cast will be the one that triggers cascade, and then you get to cascade after casting all of the spells from yards you're going to.

Q: I have a Frogmite wearing an Assault Suit. I activate Arcum Dagsson's ability targeting it. Do I get a free Darksteel Forge or Akroma's Memorial or something?

A: You'll get a free something. Dagsson's ability doesn't care whether or not the creature is actually sacrificed, only that the ability resolves with a legal target, and there's nothing at all illegal about targeting a creature that can't be sacrificed.

Q: Can I choose "Artifact" for Obelisk of Urd?

A: Artifact and creature are both card types; creature types are things like Elf, Goblin, Squid, Anteater, and Ninja. Artifact can't possibly be a subtype of creatures, since it's a card type unto itself, and so artifacts can sadly not get together for a party around the Obelisk.

Q: Wingmate Roc and Brimaz, King of Oreskos attack together. Do I gain 3 life or just 2?

A: You can choose whether to gain 2 or 3. If you want 3, just say that you resolve Brimaz's trigger first. You get a little kitty purring happily while it valiantly waves a sword, and then the Roc's trigger asks how many creatures are attacking. It's not asking how many creatures attacked - only two creatures filed the proper paperwork and attacked, but three are currently attacking because cats are just sneaky like that. If you resolved the triggers in the other order, you'd gain 2 life and then get a Cat token asking why you did a silly thing like that as it nonchalantly knocks your deckbox off the table.

Q: Can Daretti, Scrap Savant's second ability bounce an artifact out of and back onto the battlefield?

A: Targets must always be chosen in step three of activating an ability. Sacrificing things as a cost is step seven, and Daretti doesn't even do it that early! Daretti waits until the ability resolves, far, far in the future. For a very relative value of "far" because it's probably like two seconds in real time. Regardless of how timey wimey you look at it, it's several actions after the target has to be chosen, so whatever you wish to sacrifice can't be that target.

Q: Do I have to choose opponents for Infernal Offering who can do that stuff? Like, choose one opponent with no creatures and another with no dead creatures?

A: You're making a deal with the devil. What fun would it be if you had to make a fair deal? The only instruction you're given is to choose an opponent, and if the opponent can't follow the later instructions given to him or her, well, that's not your fault, is it? Nothing about Infernal Offering targets, or filters the list of opponents you can choose, so you're golden for making the deal profoundly unbalanced.

Q: My opponent blocked with a Goblin, then tapped it to cast Crowd's Favor on that Goblin! Is that legal?

A: Yup! Both players get priority at least once more between blocker declaration and combat damage. Tapping a creature once it's been declared as a blocker doesn't remove it from combat, prevent any damage, or cause the attacker to deal damage to anything else. Whether or not a Goblin can truly be a crowd's favorite is a separate question from the rules discussion, but Squee was pretty popular.

The hands are chainsaws.
Now you can't unsee it, either.
Q: I have a Spiny Starfish wearing an Assault Suit and an Oracle of Mul Daya. Can I offer up the Starfish if an opponent casts Crackling Doom even though it won't actually be sacrificed?

A: Your Starfish can't be chosen because there isn't a sequentially separate choice. If you had to choose a creature, and then as an entirely separate instruction sacrifice it, like with the Infernal Offering question up a bit, then you could do that. But the only choice here is implicit in "sac a thing" and you can't sac a thing that can't be sacrificed. Your Oracle will have to meet its doom while your Starfish laughs manically and rubs its five hands together.

Q: Why does Sorin, Solemn Visitor's [+1] ability not buff creatures that I get later, but Barrage of Boulders's ferocious effect stop creatures that enter later from blocking?

A: Sorin affects the characteristics of objects, namely power and abilities. Barrage of Boulders doesn't. It just modifies the rules of the game for what creatures can do. When characteristics are modified, the affected objects are locked in as the effect is created and apply continuously. Effects that don't modify characteristics only kick in when they have to and only check what's affected when they do their thing.

Q: I have another question about Containment Priest!

A: I have a feeling that's a statement we're going to be hearing a lot for the next few years.

Q: My opponent's running Oath of Druids. Is there any point in the Oath stuff that I can flash in the Priest so that he has to mill and exile a creature and can't choose not to do it?

A: There isn't. All of the steps Oath says to take (including the "may" decision) are part of one resolving triggered ability, and no player may take any voluntary actions while a spell or ability is resolving. You can only do what the resolving object says, and it doesn't say "you may toss hatebears onto the board with a triumphant yodel" so you can't. You'll have to settle for only removing the unfair advantage from the Oath player rather than ruining the deck entirely.

Q: In a five-player game, I have Abyssal Persecutor out, and all four of my opponents are down to negative life. If someone kills me, does that player win?

A: If your playgroup wants to say that that player wins, that seems entirely reasonable. As far as the game's concerned, though, the game's a draw. First you lose the game and then the other four players all lose simultaneously, which is a draw condition. Whether that is a satisfying ending to the game and how to resolve it if it's not goes beyond the standard game rules and into "have fun, people!"

Q: Are creatures "nonattacking" before combat, so I can steal them with Domineering Will and attack thanks to Temur Ascendancy?

A: "Nonattacking" really does just mean "is not attacking," with no checks on whether it's even possible for anything to be attacking. That's totally not how the card was intended to be played, but it's legal.

Q: If Siege Behemoth lets me assign damage as though my creatures weren't blocked, are my creatures still dealt damage?

A: "As though" conditions match exactly what they say they do for the event they present false information to and for the facts they present falsely. They cover only exactly what's stated - so you may assign damage pretending that the creature is unblocked, but nothing else thinks the creature's unblocked, including opponents assigning damage.

Q: What does Commander's Sphere do if I cast it in Legacy?

A: It looks pretty. From the art, it probably lights up the room a bit and makes a conversational centerpiece. And if you get tired of it, you can throw it under a bus and draw a card. But that first ability? It's as pointless as a ball of butter. If you decide to activate it for some silly reason, it'll try to present you with a list of colors to choose from to add to your mana pool, find an empty list since you have no commander, and finish resolving without doing anything at all. It won't even be so kind as to add colorless mana to your pool, since a null list doesn't include that as an option. How rude.

Q: Arcane Lighthouse doesn't say that creatures can't "gain" shroud later like the Born of the God Archetypes did, so I can I activate Morphling's ability again to give it shroud back after the Lighthouse takes it away?

A: No, the shorter template is not functionally different. "Can't have or gain" is spelled out longer for utter clarity, but the rules actually only refer to effects stating that an object "can't have" an ability. In fact, the rule even says that "lose hexproof and shroud" is redundant, and that "can't have" also causes the abilities to be lost!

Q: Is there a difference between how Sprouting Phytohydra's trigger and Giant Adephage's trigger resolve? If not, why are they worded differently?

A: Other than the obvious difference in the trigger condition, the trigger effects are the same with an extra "may" slipped in. There are many cases where multiple valid templates exist, and the set's editor picks the one that seems best. Sometimes they're later consolidated with errata, sometimes not.

That's enough pie for today. Join us next week for another color pie, or color of pie, or perhaps no pie at all if James is particularly cruel and does not bring pie.

Until next time, enjoy the turning of the seasons, whether you're sliding into winter or springing into summer!

- 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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