Published on 05/18/2015

Modern Remastered

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 Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes.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

Darling, I'm a daydream
dressed like a nightmare.
Welcome to the Modern Masters 2015 edition of Cranial Insertion! The card image gallery is up, the Release Notes have been posted, and Magic fans are getting excited about the complex limited environment that has been created with this set, so this is a good time to take a look at the interesting interactions that can happen when you're playing with Modern Masters 2015.

As always, if you have questions about Modern Masters 2015, about Modern, or any other format, please email them to or tweet short questions to @CranialTweet. You'll get a direct answer from one of our writers, and your question might appear in a future issue alongside some pun or obscure pop-culture reference.

Q: Can I cast Waking Nightmare on my opponent if she only has one card in her hand?

A: Sure, that's legal. Waking Nightmare targets a player, which your opponent definitely is. The number of cards in the target player's hand is irrelevant when you cast Waking Nightmare, and when it resolves it does as much as it can. If your opponent still only has one card in her hand at that time, she simply discards that one card.

Q: If a creature that's enchanted with Daybreak Coronet loses all other Auras, does the Coronet get removed, too?

A: Yup. An Aura almost constantly checks the legality of what it's attached to, as part of the game's state-based action check. After whatever removed the other Auras has finished resolving, a state-based action check is performed and Daybreak Coronet notices that it is no longer attached to a "creature with another Aura attached to it," so Daybreak Coronet is put into its owner's graveyard.

Q: My opponent controls an Apocalypse Hydra with two +1/+1 counters on it. Can I kill it by putting a -1/-1 counter on it with Grim Affliction and then proliferating the -1/-1 counter?

A: Yes, that works. While +1/+1 counters and -1/-1 counters physically annihilate each other, this only happens as a state-based action, and those aren't checked during resolution of a spell or ability. This means that immediately before you get to the proliferate instruction, the Hydra has two +1/+1 counters and one -1/-1 counter on it and you can choose to proliferate the -1/-1 counter.

Q: Can I proliferate ki counters?

A: Absolutely. Proliferate lets you choose any type of counter that's already on the permanent. It's not limited to just power/toughness modifying counters. As long as there's already a ki counter on the permanent, you can put another ki counter on it, and the same is true for charge counters, loyalty counters, or any other type of counter you might encounter.

Q: Can I proliferate Plagued Rusalka's -1/-1 effect?

A: No, that doesn't work. Proliferate only works on counters, and Plagued Rusalka's effect is not represented by a counter. It's simply a continuous effect that lasts until end of turn.

Q: Does Spectral Procession trigger Waxmane Baku's ability?

A: Nope. Waxmane Baku's ability triggers when you cast a Spirit spell or an Arcane spell, so the spell you cast must have "Spirit" or "Arcane" on its type line, and Spectral Procession has neither. The fact that it makes Spirits when it resolves doesn't mean that it's a Spirit spell.

Q: Does casting Mirror Entity trigger Waxmane Baku's ability?

A: Yes. Even though you don't actually see the word "Spirit" printed on the type line, it is there nevertheless. Mirror Entity has changeling, which means that it has all creature types at all times and in all zones, which means that it's a Mutant Ninja Turtle Spirit (among others) spell, so it's good enough to trigger Waxmane Baku's ability.

Q: Does casting Mirror Entity trigger Myrsmith's ability?

A: It does not. While it's true that Mirror Entity has all creature types, "Artifact" is not a creature type. It's a card type, and Mirror Entity doesn't have it.

The monsters turned out to be just trees.
Q: Can I sacrifice an Eldrazi Spawn token and convoke it to help cast Scatter the Seeds?

A: No, you can't do that. When you cast a spell, you have to activate mana abilities before you pay the total cost. Squeezing mana out of Eldrazi babies is a mana ability, while tapping creatures for convoke is part of paying the total cost, so you'd have to sacrifice the Eldrazi Spawn before you'd get to tap it, and tapping a creature that's no longer there is not possible.

Q: I cast Cryptic Command to bounce my opponent's Vampire Outcasts and draw a card. In response, my opponent sacrifices the Outcasts to her Bloodthrone Vampire. Do I still draw a card?

A: No. With those modes chosen, Cryptic Command is a spell with a single target, and your opponent has suddenly made its target illegal by sacrificing it. When Cryptic Command goes to resolve, it discovers that it has no legal targets, so it's countered on resolution and none of its effects happen.

Q: If I evoke Mulldrifter and respond to the sacrifice trigger with Otherworldly Journey, do I draw a total of four cards and I get to keep the Mulldrifter?

A: Yup, that's what happens. When the Mulldrifter comes back from its Journey as a 3/3, it's a new creature that doesn't remember anything about being evoked, so it doesn't have to be sacrificed. Of course, it did enter the battlefield again, so its "draw two cards" ability still triggers.

Q: I control Guile and I counter my opponent's Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite with Remand. What happens?

A: You get an Elesh Norn for free if you want! Both Remand and Guile create a replacement effect that want to change what happens when Elesh Norn gets countered. Remand's effect is a self-replacement effect, so it's applied first, which changes the pending event from "Counter Elesh Norn" to "Counter Elesh Norn and if it's countered this way, put it into its owner's hand." Guile's replacement effect is still applicable, so it's applied and changes the pending event to "Exile Elesh Norn and you may play it without paying its mana cost, and if it's countered this way, put it into its owner's hand." Since Elesh Norn is not being countered anymore, there's no way it'll end up in its owner's hand. It'll get exiled and you get to cast it for free, and if you don't want it for some reason, it'll stay in exile.

Q: Does Telling Time trigger Lorescale Coatl's ability?

A: No. Lorescale Coatl's ability only triggers when you follow an instruction that tells you to draw a card. Telling Time lets you put a card from your library into your hand, which is very similar to drawing, but it's not a draw because it doesn't use the word "draw."

Q: Can I cast Terashi's Grasp on a Darksteel Axe just to gain life?

A: Certainly. Terashi's Grasp's target is "target artifact or enchantment" without any further restrictions, so Darksteel Axe is a legal target. Similarly to the Waking Nightmare question above, at the time you cast a spell, the game doesn't look ahead to what might or might not happen when the spell resolves. Terashi's Grasp resolves and fails to destroy the Axe, but you still gain 1 life, and you really must have needed it if you were willing to spend for it.

Q: Does playing Darksteel Citadel trigger Glassdust Hulk's ability?

A: Sure. Glassdust Hulk's ability triggers when an artifact other than itself enters the battlefield under your control. Darksteel Citadel is an artifact and it entered the battlefield, so the ability triggers.

Q: Does Darksteel Citadel trigger Myrsmith's ability?

A: No. Unlike Glassdust Hulk's ability, Myrsmith's ability triggers on casting an artifact spell. Even though Darksteel Citadel is an artifact, it's also a land, and lands can never be cast as spells.

Baby, I'm just gonna snake,
snake, snake, snake, snake!
I Snake it off! I Snake it off!
Q: Can I cast Mystic Snake even if there is no spell to counter with it if I'm really desperate for a surprise blocker?

A: Yup. Mystic Snake has an enter-the-battlefield that goes on the stack after the Snake has entered the battlefield. If you can't choose an appropriate target for the ability, the ability is simply removed from the stack, but the Snake already entered the battlefield and there's no reason for it to go away.

Q: Can I play Vendilion Clique immediately after my opponent draws for turn?

A: Sure, that's no problem. After your opponent draws for turn, both players get priority before the game moves on to the next step, which gives you the opportunity to cast Vendilion Clique. However, note that if your opponent drew an instant, she could cast it in response to Vendilion Clique in order to keep you from taking it out of her hand.

Q: My opponent just sacrificed three Spirits to cast Devouring Greed and he claims that his Bloodthrone Vampire also gets +6/+6 from this. Is that true?

A: No, that's not true. Bloodthrone Vampire doesn't have a triggered ability that triggers whenever its controller sacrifices a creature. It has an activated ability that has to be activated by announcing it and paying its cost. The payment of Devouring Greed's cost doesn't automatically pay other costs, and trying to sacrifice the same creature to pay two costs is just like trying to put the same dollar bill into two different vending machines, it just doesn't work.

Q: Can I counter Reassembling Skeleton coming back from the graveyard with Stoic Rebuttal?

A: No, that's not possible. Reassembling Skeleton has an activated ability that returns it from the graveyard to the battlefield. That ability doesn't involve casting Reassembling Skeleton, so Reassembling Skeleton is never on the stack as a spell during this process.

Q: My opponent's Thunderblust is about to come back with persist. Can I exile it with Surgical Extraction?

A: Yup. Persist is a triggered ability that uses the stack, so it can be responded to. While the ability is waiting to resolve, Thunderblust is chilling — or more accurately, fuming — in the graveyard, so you can target it with Surgical Extraction to surgically remove all copies of Thunderblust from your opponent's graveyard, hand, and library.

Q: Can I use Horde of Notions's ability to cast an Elemental creature card from my graveyard like an instant?

A: Yes, you can do that. The ability is an activated ability that doesn't state otherwise, so you can activate any time you could cast an instant. When it resolves, it gives you permission to play the targeted card during its resolution, which is at a time when you normally couldn't even cast an instant, so the fact that the card is a creature card is quite irrelevant.

Q: Can I use Horde of Notions's ability to cast Nameless Inversion from my graveyard?

A: Absolutely! Horde of Notions's ability targets an Elemental card in your graveyard, and it doesn't say that the card has to be a creature card. Nameless Inversion is a Mutant Ninja Turtle Elemental card (among other subtypes), so it is in fact an Elemental card.

Q: If I enchant my opponent's creature with Pillory of the Sleepless, whose responsibility is it to remember the trigger?

A: Pillory of the Sleepless gives the triggered ability to the creature, so the ability is controlled by your opponent, so it's her responsibility to remember the trigger. However, nothing is stopping you from reminding her of the trigger or calling the judge if she forgets the trigger. Since the trigger is good for you, it's in your best interest to make sure that the trigger resolves, but it's not your responsibility.

And that's all the time we have for today. See you next time!

- 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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