Published on 03/23/2015

Future Perfect

or, Bold Outcomes

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 Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes.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

This was a triumph!
I'm making a note here:
Welcome back to another issue of Cranial Insertion. Sarkhan has done it! He went back in time and changed the fate of Tarkir, and now he's gone back to the future — or back to the present? Time travel is so confusing — where things are markedly better or worse depending on your point of view. It's better if you're a Dragon or a powerful planeswalker with a fondness for Dragons, but it's worse if you're neither of those and you suddenly find yourself a link lower on the food chain.

Fortunately for us, we're outside observers that are safe from Tarkir's Dragons, and from this vantage point we can comfortably take a look at some of the rules questions that have come up so far in Dragons of Tarkir. If you have questions for us, please email them to or tweet short questions to @CranialTweet. One of our writers will get back to you with a direct answer, and your question might appear in a future issue.

Q: If I cast Tormenting Voice and for some reason it has rebound, for example because of Narset Transcendent, will I have to discard a card when it rebounds?

A: Yes. Rebound only gets you out of the mana cost of the spell. You still have to pay any additional costs to cast the spell, or pay for any cost-increasing effects which would apply to it.

Q: If I give Temporal Trespass rebound with Narset Transcendent, will it rebound?

A: No, it won't. Rebound only creates the delayed trigger for casting the card again if the spell would go to the graveyard at the end of its resolution. Since the card exiles itself, the "cast it again" trigger won't get created.

Q: Can I give a spell with rebound a second instance of rebound with Narset Transcendent?

A: You can, but it won't do any good. Once the first instance of rebound replaces the card's trip to the graveyard with a trip to the exile zone, the second instance of rebound no longer applies because the card is no longer going to the graveyard.

Q: When a card with rebound is exiled, can I put it on top of my library so I won't forget to rebound it on my next turn?

A: No, you can't do that. While the tournament rules allow you to put small objects as reminders on top of your library, such objects must not obscure the top card of your library, so they have to be smaller than a Magic card.

Q: I control Dragonlord Kolaghan and my opponent casts a Clever Impersonator to copy an Ancient Carp while another Ancient Carp is in her graveyard. Does she lose 10 life?

A: Nope. Kolaghan's ability looks at the name of the spell on the stack and checks if it has the same name as a card in your opponent's graveyard. Clever Impersonator won't copy anything until it resolves and enters the battlefield, so the name is "Clever Impersonator," which means that your opponent won't lose life unless there's another Clever Impersonator in her graveyard.

Q: Can Ultimate Price kill a face-down creature?

A: No, it can't. "Monocolored" means having exactly one color, and colorless is not a color. A colorless creature has no colors at all, which is exactly one color short of being monocolored.

Q: If I control a face-down Stormwing Dragon, can I use the colored mana from Haven of the Spirit Dragon to turn it face up?

A: Sorry, that doesn't work. The colored mana can only be spent to cast a Dragon creature spell, and turning a face-down creature face up is a special action that has nothing to do with casting a spell.

Q: Let's say I control a manifested Dragonlord Dromoka and during my turn my opponent casts a spell I don't like. Can I turn Dromoka face up in response to counter the spell?

A: I'm afraid not. You can turn Dromoka face up in response, but your opponent's spell has already been cast by the time you can respond. Dromoka's ability stops your opponent from casting more spells, but it won't stop the spell he already cast from resolving, and it won't counter the spell.

Q: When I cast one of the Commands, in which order do the chosen effects happen?

A: The effects always happen in the order in which they're printed on the card, even if you want the effects to happen in the reverse order for some reason. Note that the cards are designed with that rule in mind, so you'll usually want the effects to happen in their printed order.

Too many Dragons?
No such thing!
Q: I control Dragon Tempest and use Sarkhan Unbroken's -8 ability to tutor up six Dragons. What happens?

A: Your opponent is getting fried extra crispy. Sarkhan's ability puts the six Dragons on the battlefield all at the same time, and then Dragon Tempest's ability notices that six Dragons just entered the battlefield under your control. Six instances of the "deal X damage" ability go on the stack, and when each resolves, it counts how many Dragons you control. Unless something sudden and tragic happens to your Dragons in response to those abilities, you control at least six Dragons — the six new ones plus any Dragons you already controlled — so you'll deal at least 36 damage.

Q: Does Myth Realized get a counter for itself so it'll always be at least a 1/1?

A: No. While you cast Myth Realized, it's still on the stack. Like any ability of a permanent that doesn't state otherwise, Myth Realized's ability only works while it's on the battlefield, so it won't see itself being cast.

Q: If I control two Myth Realizeds, will they both get counters if I cast a noncreature spell? What about if I pay ?

A: Yes and no, in that order. The first ability is a triggered ability, and casting a noncreature spell triggers each Myth Realized's ability independently. The second ability is an activated ability, and paying the cost for one Myth Realized's ability won't automatically activate the second Myth Realized's ability.

Q: If I control Circle of Elders and Qal Sisma Behemoth, can I attack with both an then tap Circle of Elders to make the mana to pay the Behemoth's attack cost?

A: Sure, assuming that you control another creature with power 1 or greater to satisfy the formidable condition. Declaring attackers is a process that involves choosing your attackers, tapping the chosen attackers that don't have vigilance, determining the total cost to attack, activating mana abilities if needed, and finally paying the total cost. Since Circle of Elders has vigilance and a mana ability, you can tap it in that brief window of time between choosing your attackers and paying the Behemoth's attack cost.

Q: Can I control both Dromoka, the Eternal and Dragonlord Dromoka at the same time?

A: Yup, that's not a problem. Unlike the planeswalker uniqueness rule that looks at the planeswalker type, the legend rule looks at the full card name. "Dromoka, the Eternal" is a different name than "Dragonlord Dromoka," so the two versions manage to coexist without throwing the multiverse into a catastrophic time travel paradox.

Q: Hedonist's Trove doesn't say that I can only play one land per turn with it, so does that mean that I can play as many lands as I want with it?

A: No. Hedonist's Trove doesn't have to limit the number of lands you play with it, since the number of land plays is a restriction that's built into the rules, and the lands you play with Hedonist's Trove are subject to the same land play limit that governs all your land plays.

Q: Can I cast spells with Hedonist's Trove for free?

A: That's also a no. If Hedonist's Trove wanted you to cast spells with it for free, it would have to say so. Having to pay the normal costs for a spell is the usual state of affairs, so an effect that wants to allow you to cast something for free has to state so explicitly. Hedonist's Trove lets you cast spells from an unusual zone, but everything else about casting those spells is normal.

Q: If I cast Dragonlord Silumgar and my opponent destroys it in response to its ability, do I still gain control of the creature or planeswalker I targeted?

A: Not even for a nanosecond. Silumgar's ability wants to create a continuous effect, but the duration of that effect has already ended by the time the effect would begin, so the effect isn't even created in the first place.

"And then I caught a Fish that was this big!"
Q: If I control Skywise Teachings, can I pay multiple times for a spell to make multiple tokens?

A: No, that's not possible. Skywise Teachings doesn't have an activated ability that you can activate as often as you want. It has a triggered ability that triggers once for each noncreature spell you cast. When that triggered ability resolves, you're given a choice between paying for one token or not paying at all.

Q: If I control two Enduring Scalelords and one of them gets a +1/+1 from some effect, do they both make each other insanely big?

A: Yes, that works. While Enduring Scalelord doesn't trigger its own ability by putting a counter on itself since that would be just silly, two Scalelords can help each other splendidly. Unless your opponent has a way to stop this loop, the two abilities will keep triggering each other until you decide that the Scalelords are big enough and you choose not to put any more counters on them.

Q: When my opponent casts a creature with exploit, can I respond to the exploit trigger by destroying the creature he wants to sacrifice to force him to sacrifice a different creature?

A: Kind of, but not really. Your opponent only chooses whether to sacrifice a creature and which creature to sacrifice when the exploit ability resolves, and you can't respond to that choice. You can respond to the trigger by killing the creature that you think your opponent is likely to sacrifice, but your opponent can change his mind when the trigger resolves. He can either choose to sacrifice a different creature, or he can choose not to sacrifice a creature at all.

Q: Can Sidisi, Undead Vizier exploit itself?

A: Yes, it can. When Sidisi enters the battlefield, you choose a creature to sacrifice, and Sidisi is a creature you control, so it's eligible to be sacrificed. If you do, its "when I exploit a creature" ability still triggers and resolves, since this trigger is a special case of a death trigger, and creatures see themselves dying. By the same token, Sidisi sees itself being exploited by its own exploit ability.

Q: If I have both creatures with morph and creatures with megamorph in my deck and I cast something face-down, do I have to differentiate whether it's being cast with morph or megamorph?

A: No, that would kind of defeat the purpose of hiding the card's identity by casting it face-down. Morph and manifest have to be distinguished because they are fundamentally different methods of getting a face-down creature, and they have different methods for turning them face up. Morph and megamorph on the other hand are essentially the same thing, so there's no need to differentiate morph from megamorph while they're face-down.

And that's all the time we have for this week. Please join us next week when Eli presents his special tenth anniversary episode. You won't want to miss it!

- 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.


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