Published on 07/11/2016


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 Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes.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

Counting your permanents every turn?
That's crazy!
Hi everyone, and welcome back to another week here at Cranial Insertion! We have a moon rising on the horizon, and that moon's name is Eldritch Moon. As we all know, moons drive people crazy (I read that on the internet, so it must be true). Luckily, I think most of us here in the CI offices are immune to the effects of the moon - answering all of these rules questions is enough to drive you crazy! Hey, maybe these new moons will negate some of the craziness and drive us closer to sanity. We can only hope....

If you have a rules question of your own, you can send them in to us. You can tweet short questions at @CranialTweet, or, if you question is a bit longer than 140 characters, you can e-mail us at . You might even see your question used in a future article!

Q: During my opponent's main phase, I cast Hydrolash. Will that affect the creatures my opponent attacks with later in the turn?

A: Nope. When Hydrolash resolves, it will look for any creatures that are currently attacking, and will give them -2/-0. But since we're in the main phase, there's no attacking creatures, and nothing will get -2/-0. But hey, at least you'll draw a card, right?

Q: My opponent has a Kytheon, Hero of Akros on the battlefield. I attack with a 6/6 with trample, and my opponent makes Kytheon indestructible and blocks. Can I trample over any damage to my opponent?

A: Yes you can. Combat damage assignment works the same way whether or not the blocker is indestructible. The trampler has to assign what would be lethal damage to all creatures blocking it before it can start assigning damage to the defending player. You don't take effects that would reduce or prevent the damage into account, and you don't take the fact the creature won't be destroyed into account either. The 6/6 can assign 1 damage to Kytheon, and the remaining 5 damage to the defending player.

Q: Can I counter my opponent's Conifer Strider when they cast it? It has hexproof, so does that make it immune to counter spells?

A: It can be countered just fine. Hexproof, like most abilities, only works while the card is on the battlefield, not the stack or any other zone. While the Strider has hexproof, it doesn't do anything while the Strider is on the stack, so you can counter the Strider just fine.

Q: Can I redirect the damage from my Fevered Visions to my opponent's planeswalker?

A: Yep, you can. The damage from the Visions is noncombat damage that would be dealt to an opponent. Since it's noncombat damage, you can choose to deal that damage to a planeswalker that player controls instead of the opponent themselves.

Q: My opponent controls a Magus of the Moon. I play Cavern of Souls. I know that the Magus will remove all of the Cavern's abilities, but do I still get to pick a creature type?

A: Yes you do! You pick a creature type as the Cavern enters the battlefield, which means you would be picking a type before the Cavern enters the battlefield (and before the Magus can affect it). You'll be able to pick a creature type, and the Cavern will remember that choice, even while it's affected by the Magus (just in case you get rid of the Magus in the future).

Q: My opponent cast a Lightning Storm and discarded enough lands to make it lethal. What happens if I use Aether Vial to put Kira, Great Glass-Spinner on the battlefield, then change the target of the Storm to Kira? Does anything change if they then change the target of the Storm back to me?

A: That's a sneaky way of dodging your opponent's Storm. When you changed the target of the opponent's Storm to Kira, since Kira has been targeted for the first time this turn, its ability will trigger to counter the Storm. Even if your opponent changes the target away from Kira, that won't stop the trigger that's already on the stack from resolving, and Kira will still counter the Storm.

Q: I attack with a 5/5 equipped by a Mage Slayer. When is the last chance I get to pump up my creature before the slayer deals its damage?

A: When you attack with the 5/5, the Slayer's trigger goes on the stack. When that trigger resolves, it checks the creature's power to know how much damage is dealt. Your last chance to pump up the 5/5 (and deal more damage with the trigger) is during the declare attackers step, after the creature has attacked but before the trigger has resolved.

Q: I have 2 life left. Can I still activate Spellskite's ability by paying 2 life?

A: Sure! You have 2 life, and the cost involves paying 2 life, so you can pay that cost. Note that unless something is preventing you from losing the game, you'll lose the game right after you're done announcing Spellskite's ability. Since you lost the game, Spellskite and its activated ability will leave the game with you, but at least it's a stylish way to go out.

Q: I have a Gemstone Mine on the battlefield, with two mining counters on it. My opponent uses their Vampire Hexmage to remove those counters. What happens to my Mine?

A: You have a pretty pointless land. Gemstone Mine only checks the number of counter on the Mine as part of the mana ability resolving. It doesn't go to the graveyard as soon as it has zero counters on it. However, to activate the Mine's ability, you need to tap it and remove a mining counter. But since Gemstone Mine doesn't have any mining counters on it, you won't be able to activate its ability, so it will just sit on the battlefield, not really able to do anything.

Looks like your lands are looking a little pale...

Q: My opponent casts Reveillark for its evoke cost. With the evoke trigger on the stack, I gain control of Reveillark. Will I get the trigger when Reveillark is sacrificed?

A: Yes you will. When the evoke trigger resolves, its controller is instructed to sacrifice the creature. Since you now control Reveillark, you'll sacrifice it. And since you controlled Reveillark when it left the battlefield, you'll control its leave the battlefield trigger, and you'll get the benefits of its trigger, not your opponent.

Q: I have a Kalitas, Bloodchief of Ghet on the battlefield, and my opponent has a Grizzly Bears that he pumped up with a Giant Growth. I use Kalitas' ability to kill the Bears. How big is my token?

A: You get a 5/5 token. Kalitas cares about how big the creature was when it was last on the battlefield, not how big it is in the graveyard. When the Bears were last on the battlefield, they were a 5/5 creature, so the token that Kalitas makes will also be a 5/5.

Q: I activate Necropotence, exiling a few cards. Later on in the turn, my opponent does something mean, which requires me to cast Time Stop and end the turn. When do I get the cards exiled by Necropotence?

A: That depends. It could be next turn, or it could be never! Necropotence returns the exiled cards at the beginning of your next end step. If you ended the turn before the end step, then the delayed triggers from Necropotence won't go on the stack that turn (since that turn won't have an end step), but they will go on the stack during your next turn's end step.

But if you cast it during your end step, with those triggers on the stack, then those cards won't ever come back. The delayed trigger will only go on the stack once - at the beginning of your next end step. If the trigger is already on the stack, but then leaves the stack, the delayed trigger won't trigger again, and those exiled cards will remain exiled face down for the rest of the game.

Q: Can I activate my Glen Elendra Archmage's ability, even if there are no noncreature spells on the stack?

A: Nope. The ability has a target (a target noncreature spell), and to activate the ability, you have to choose a legal target. If there are no noncreature spells on the stack, there's no legal targets for the ability, and you can't activate the ability.

Q: I'm attacking with a 2/2 equipped with a Sword of Fire and Ice and another 2/2. My opponent casts Remedy, choosing to prevent the next 5 damage that would be dealt to my opponent. Who gets to choose which damage is dealt? Can I get a Sword trigger out of this situation?

A: That's entirely up to your opponent. All of the combat damage is being dealt at the same time. Since they would be dealt a total of 6 damage, but the damage prevention effect from Remedy only prevents 5 of the damage. Your opponent, being the player that would be dealt the damage, gets to choose which of that damage is going to be prevented. They can choose to prevent 4 of the damage from the 2/2 with the Sword equipped, and 1 damage from the other creature. Since your creature equipped with the Sword doesn't deal any combat damage, the Sword's ability will not trigger.

Q: I just activated Chandra, the Firebrand's -6 ability. Can I target my opponent all six times and deal them 36 damage?

A: Nope, sorry, that doesn't work. Chandra's ultimate requires up to six different targets, since it only uses the word 'target' once. You can choose for your opponent to be one of those targets, but you can't target them more than once. You can deal them 6 damage, but you can't deal them 36 damage this way.

The four scariest words you can say to a judge:
Nonbasic lands are Mountains.

Q: I have a Phantasmal Bear and a Stitcher's Apprentice on the battlefield. I want to activate the Apprentice's ability, but sacrifice the Bear and keep the Homunculus around. Can I do that, or will the Bear be sacrificed to its own ability?

A: Yep, that's a legal play. The Apprentice's ability does not target what creature will be sacrificed. You just make that choice when the Apprentice's ability resolves, and doesn't target the creature. If you'd rather have a slightly sturdier Homunculus around, you can make the token, then sacrifice the Bear and keep the token.

Q: I cast Wormfang Manta. After it enters the battlefield, my opponent kills it with a Doom Blade. What happens with the extra and skipped turns?

A: The whole thing is a wash. Wormfang Manta's leave the battlefield trigger gives you an extra turn, and the enter the battlefield trigger tells you to skip your next turn. It doesn't matter in what order the triggers resolve in, you'll end up skipping the next turn you would take. That next turn would be the extra turn you would have gotten from the leave the battlefield trigger, so you'll end up skipping the extra turn you would have gotten and turns will be taken as normal.

Q: My opponent has a Serra's Blessing and a creature enchanted with Guardian's Magemark. They claim that because of the Blessing, all of their creatures are enchanted and they'll all get +1/+1 from the Magemark. Are they right?

A: They are wrong. In order to be enchanted, they have to an aura attached to them. Just being affected by an enchantment does not mean they're enchanted by it. The creature enchanted by the Magemark will get +1/+1, but other creatures that are just affected by the Blessing and don't have an aura attached to them will not get the bonus.

Q: I cast Diplomatic Immunity on one of my creatures. Will that get rid of any other auras or equipment attached to it?

A: No it will not. Once attached to the creature, it's not targeting it anymore. An aura or equipment that's attached does not target the permanent, so giving the creature shroud with the Immunity won't do anything to auras and equipment already attached to it (but it will stop you from casting future auras or equipping more equipment in the future).

Q: I'm attacking with Kaalia of the Vast and a Aegis Angel, who has made Kaalia indestructible. My opponent blocks each of them with a Baleful Strix. Will I lose the Angel and Kaalia?

A: Aegis Angel will die, but Kaalia will survive. When we check state-based actions, we only care if the creature was dealt damage by a creature with deathtouch since the last time state-based actions were checked. During the first pass after combat damage was dealt, both the Angel and Kaalia were dealt damage by a source with deathtouch, but since the Angel is still on the battlefield, Kaalia is indestructible, so only Aegis Angel dies. Then, we check state-based actions again. But Kaalia has not been dealt damage by a source with deathtouch since state-based actions were checked a moment ago, and Kaalia survives.

That's all I have for next week, but don't worry: we'll have plenty of coverage of Eldritch Moon starting next week!


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