Published on 11/02/2015

Fright Club

or, Belated Happy Halloween!

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 Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes.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

Welcome back to another issue of Cranial Insertion! This past weekend was Halloween, the day that gets celebrated by children of all ages getting dressed up and accepting candy from strangers. If you went trick-or-treating, maybe you have some leftover Halloween candy to chew on while your brain chews on this week's selection of rules questions.

If you have questions you'd like us to chew on, please email them to or tweet short questions to @CranialTweet. You'll get a treat in the form of an answer by one of our writers, and your question might appear in a future article to educate readers like yourself.

Now, don't be afraid and step into our haunted house, I mean, proceed into this week's selection of rules questions!

Q: My opponent casts Burn Away, targeting my Nantuko Husk. I sacrifice Nantuko Husk in response to fizzle his spell, but he claims that my graveyard still gets exiled. Is that true?

A: Not so much. Exiling the cards from your graveyard happens as a delayed triggered ability that only gets set up when Burn Away resolves. At the time you sacrifice your Nantuko Husk, Burn Away hasn't even tried to start resolving yet, so this delayed triggered ability doesn't exist yet. Also, it won't ever exist, because Burn Away will get countered on resolution once it tries to resolve, so none of its effects happen.

Q: I control a Jace, Telepath Unbound and a Soulfire Grand Master. I -3 my Jace and target a Wild Slash. I activate my Soulfire Grand Master, and then I cast the Wild Slash from my graveyard. Where does my Wild Slash go upon resolution?

A: I'm afraid you wasted the mana for the Grand Master activation, since Wild Slash ends up exiled. Soulfire Grand Master's effect only applies to the next instant or sorcery you cast from your hand. Wild Slash is being cast from your graveyard, so the Grand Master's effect doesn't apply to it. As soon as Wild Slash tries to leave the stack, Jace's effect exiles it.

Q: I know that cloning an animated land normally causes the Clone to enter as an unanimated version of that land. I'm wondering if Noyan Dar, Roil Shaper's effect is different because it doesn't state a duration. Is Noyan Dar's effect a copy effect?

A: No, Noyan Dar's effect is not a copy effect. Only effects that actually use the word "copy" are copy effects. Noyan Dar's ability creates an animation effect pretty much like any other, except that it lasts longer, but that doesn't change how it interacts with copy effects. Noyan Dar's effect is not copiable, so if you copy a land that was animated with it, you still get an unanimated land.

Q: How does Stand or Fall work with multiple combat phases? For example, let's say my opponent controls four creatures, A, B, C, and D. In my first combat phase I divide them into A+B and C+D, and she chooses A+B. In the second combat phase I divide the creatures into A+C and B+D. If she chooses A+C, which creatures can block?

A: Only creature A can block. Each resolution of Stand or Fall's ability creates a blocking restriction that prohibits creatures that weren't in the chosen pile at the time from blocking for the turn. The first resolution created an effect that prohibits C and D from blocking, and the second resolution created an effect that prohibits B and D from blocking, so only creature A is left as a potential blocker.

Q: Does Liliana, Heretical Healer's ability trigger if she and another creature die at the same time?

A: Technically yes, but the ability won't do anything useful. Creatures that die at the same time see each other dying, so they can trigger each others' death triggers, so that's not the problem. The problem is that Liliana's ability refers to the Liliana as it existed on the battlefield, and that creature is no longer on the battlefield to be exiled when the ability resolves, so the ability resolves and does a whole lot of nothing and you won't even get a Zombie token to console you.

Q: My opponent cast a spell I don't like, so I tried to counter it with Silumgar's Scorn, revealing a Dragon card from my hand. She responds with Dispel on Silumgar's Scorn. If I have another Silumgar's Scorn in my hand, can I cast it by revealing the same Dragon card again to counter Dispel?

A: Yes, that works. To reveal a Dragon card means to show it to all players, and the revealed card stays in your hand. It also stays revealed until the first Silumgar's Scorn leaves the stack, but there's no rule that a revealed card can't be revealed again, so it's perfectly legal to reveal the same Dragon card for two different spells.

Q: I turned Gideon, Ally of Zendikar into a creature and attacked with him. Is he still tapped at the end of my turn?

A: Yup. The animation effect ends at the end of the turn, but nothing is telling you to untap Gideon, so he stays tapped. Planeswalkers are permanents, and any permanent can be tapped, so it's certainly possible for a planeswalker to be tapped. The game is unlikely to care about the difference, but Gideon will be tapped until you get to untap it somehow, probably in your untap step.

You want a treat? Have a banana.
Q: If I managed to get my Tasigur, the Golden Fang manifested, can I use delve to make the cost to turn it face up cheaper?

A: Nope. The manifest rules demand that you pay the mana cost, the whole mana cost, and nothing but the mana cost, to turn the manifested creature face up. Delve only applies when you cast Tasigur as a spell, but that's not what you're doing here. Tasigur's mana cost is , so that's what you have to pay to turn it face up.

Q: I cast Magmatic Chasm to stop my opponent's ground crew from blocking and swing for the win. My opponent flashes in a Bounding Krasis and claims that she can block with it because it wasn't on the battlefield when Magmatic Chasm resolved. Is that right?

A: No, that's not right. It's true that her Bounding Krasis wasn't on the battlefield when Magmatic Chasm resolved, but that doesn't matter. Magmatic Chasm creates a continuous effect that changes the rules of combat for the turn. Specifically, it creates a blocking restriction that prohibits creatures without flying from blocking. That restriction is checked at the time blockers are declared, and it's not locked in to specific creatures at the time Magmatic Chasm resolved, so it also affects creatures that weren't on the battlefield at that time.

Q: How useful is it to fetch another converge spell with Bring to Light?

A: Depending on the exact spell, the answer lies somewhere between "not at all" and "narrowly useful." Since you're not spending any mana to cast the spell, the number of colors of mana spent to cast it, which measures how much of an effect the spell has, is 0. If the spell is, say, Painful Truths, the most you can hope for is to trigger something like a prowess trigger. Infuse with the Elements won't make any +1/+1 counters, but at least it'll give the target creature trample. Finally, Exert Influence would allow you to steal a creature with power 0 or less. Whee!

Q: If I use Ojutai's Command to return Orator of Ojutai to the battlefield, do I get to draw a card if I control a Dragon?

A: I'm afraid not. The card drawing bonus only applies if you controlled or revealed a Dragon at the time you cast Orator of Ojutai. In this case, Orator of Ojutai is moving directly from the graveyard to the battlefield, and you never cast it as a spell, so the condition that allows you to draw a card can't possibly be true.

Q: If I give Beacon of Unrest flashback with Snapcaster Mage and cast it, what happens when it resolves?

A: After doing its thing, Beacon of Unrest wants to shuffle itself into your library, but the replacement effect from casting it with flashback notices that Beacon of Unrest is trying to leave the stack for somewhere other than the exile zone. Beacon of Unrest is getting exiled instead, but you'll still shuffle your library.

Q: I use Oblivion Sower to put my opponent's Windswept Heath on the battlefield under my control, and then I sacrifice the Windswept Heath to fetch a land. Where does Windswept Heath go?

A: It goes into your opponent's graveyard. Your opponent owns the card because it started the game in his or her deck, and a card that goes to the graveyard always goes to its owner's graveyard.

Q: If I Defiant Strike my Seeker of the Way and my opponent destroys it in response, do I still draw a card?

A: Sadly, no. Defiant Strike is a spell with one target, and that one target has become illegal due to its sudden and tragic demise. Since Defiant Strike has no legal targets left when it tries to resolve, it's countered on resolution and none of its effects happen.

Let's go trick-or-treating!
Q: My opponent attacks me with Drana, Liberator of Malakir. If I use Brood Butcher's ability to shrink Drana to 0/1, would Drana's ability still trigger if I don't block it?

A: No, it won't trigger. Drana's ability triggers when it deals combat damage to a player, but a creature with power 0 doesn't assign combat damage at all, so it won't deal any combat damage.

Q: Can cards that get played from the exile zone with Outpost Siege still be countered?

A: Sure! To play a card means to cast it as a spell if it's a nonland card, so the card gets cast like any other spell, except that it's being cast from the exile zone rather than from a hand. It ends up on the stack as a spell, so it can be targeted with countermagic like any other spell.

Q: I control a Nissa, Vastwood Seer and put two more Nissas onto the battlefield with Collected Company, do I get any of the land search triggers? If so, how many triggers do I get?

A: Nissa's ability triggers when Nissa itself enters the battlefield, not when any creature named Nissa, Vastwood Seer enters the battlefield. Two Nissas are entering the battlefield, so you get two triggers. Before those triggers are put on the stack, you have to get rid of two Nissas, but even if you get rid of the new Nissas, the triggers are independent from their source, so they'll still go on the stack and resolve.

Q: My opponent controls a Leyline of Sanctity and I want to enchant her with Curse of the Bloody Tome. Can I?

A: Nope. While Curse of the Bloody Tome doesn't explicitly use the word "target," it is a targeted spell because it is an Aura spell, and Aura spells are always targeted spells, targeting whatever their enchant ability specifies. Since your opponent has hexproof, she is an illegal target for your Curse of the Bloody Tome.

Q: I attack my opponent with two creatures. He uses Provoke to untap one of my creatures, and he wants to block the other creature with it. Is that legal?

A: Not even a little bit. Provoke untaps the creature and sets up a blocking requirement that the creature must block if able, but Provoke doesn't actually give your opponent control of the creature. You still control the creature, and only creatures that are controlled by the defending player can be declared as blockers, so the creature is simply not able to block.

Q: If I attack with Zur the Enchanter, can I use it to fetch enchantment creatures such as Nighthowler?

A: Absolutely. Zur only cares about two things: 1) Is it an enchantment card? 2) Is its converted mana cost 3 or less? As long as the answer is yes to both questions, Zur is fine with it. Nighthowler is an enchantment, and its converted mana cost is 3, so it fits both of Zur's criteria.

And that's all for now. Have a great week, and I hope you'll come back next week for another helping of Magic rules questions.

- 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.

So with the Curse of the Bloody Tome and Leyline of Sanctity interaction. If Curse enters the battlefield by any other effect instead of casting, you could enchant the player with Leyline, right?
#1 • Date: 2015-11-02 • Time: 00:27:25 •
@mahaffeyg: Yes, as per 303.4f, \"If an Aura is entering the battlefield under a player's control by any means other than by resolving as an Aura spell, and the effect putting it onto the battlefield doesn't specify the object or player the Aura will enchant, that player chooses what it will enchant as the Aura enters the battlefield. [...]\"
That effect doesn\'t target, so hexproof doesn\'t protect from it.

Last edited on 2015-11-02 05:00:25 by BlueScope
#2 • Date: 2015-11-02 • Time: 03:53:50 •

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