Published on 01/23/2017

A Consular matter

Cranial Translation
简体中文 Deutsch Español Français Italiano

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 Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes.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 Cephalid ambassador was always milling
around in the embassy lobby.
Aether Revolt is here, the first weekend with the new cards officially released has come and gone, and... I don't actually know what did well, since I'm writing this in advance and don't know how the first tournaments came out. But I do know the Consulate is on the back foot, the aether has revolted, and soon we'll know how things turn out for the residents of Kaladesh. In the meantime, I'm here and happy to answer your rules questions — about cards from Aether Revolt or any other set — in this week's issue of Cranial Insertion!

And remember that if you've got a rules question you'd like answered, whether you're a rebel or a supporter of the Consulate, you can send it to us by using the handy "Email Us" button, by sending an email to , or by tweeting at @CranialTweet, all of which will get you answers and possibly even get your question featured in a future article!

Q: I control Panharmonicon and just cast a Combustible Gearhulk. Will I get two triggers when it enters, or three?

A: Just two; although the Gearhulk is both an artifact and a creature, Panharmonicon is just asking "are you one of these types, yes or no", rather than "how many of these types are you", and so will give you only one additional trigger.

Q: So if my opponent chooses to have me draw for the first of those two Gearhulk triggers, do I get to draw six cards?

A: Only if your opponent also chooses to have you draw for the second trigger. Combustible Gearhulk's trigger isn't modal, and Panharmonicon doesn't copy the trigger (it just causes an additional, separate trigger to happen), so this isn't like copying a modal spell or ability; the opponent can make a different choice for each trigger.

Q: If I don't have any untapped creatures but really need to block, can I remove a loyalty counter from my Gideon, Ally of Zendikar to crew Heart of Kiran during my opponent's turn?

A: You can. Although you can only activate the loyalty-powered abilities of your planeswalker during your own turn (and only during the main phase, when the stack is empty), there's no such restriction for other abilities that might ask you to do something to your planeswalker, so you can pop a counter off a planeswalker any time it's legal to activate Heart of Kiran's crew ability.

Q: Can I crew Heart of Kiran multiple times in order to kill one of my planeswalkers and set up revolt?

A: Your opponent might find it revolting, but sure! There's no restriction on how many times per turn you can activate a crew ability of a Vehicle, so if you really need revolt and don't mind sacrificing a planeswalker for the cause, you can just drain all its loyalty into repeatedly crewing your skyship.

Ambassador Oak felt it unfair that its professor
cousin got all the attention in the family.
Q: Does transforming a double-faced card give me revolt?

A: It depends! If you're simply transforming a card, then no; that doesn't cause the card to leave and re-enter the battlefield, it just turns over a new face in-place. However, some cards — like the five creature/planeswalker cards from Magic Origins, like Jace, Vryn's Prodigy — exile themselves and return transformed, which will get you revolt. Also the meld cards from Eldritch Moon meld by exiling both cards and then returning as the melded abomination, which will similarly set up revolt for you.

Q: How does Chalice of Death affect what I pay to cast Metalwork Colossus?

A: It will reduce the cost by . Metalwork Colossus cares about converted mana costs, and the converted mana cost of Chalice of Death is 3 — a double-faced card which has transformed has the CMC of its front face (this was a recent change; when Innistrad first introduced double-faced cards, a transformed card instead was defined to have a CMC of 0).

Q: I control Inspiring Statuary and six artifacts, along with seven lands. How big a Dark Salvation can I cast?

A: Assuming all your lands and artifacts start out untapped, and that at least one of your lands produces black mana and the rest produce only one mana apiece, you can do it for X=6. The process is first to plug in the chosen value for X, which tells you you need to pay + + . Then you tap lands and artifacts to pay that cost; you can tap one of your lands for the black mana, then your other six lands to pay and your six artifacts to pay the remaining .

Q: If I have a Cryptolith Fragment to go with my Inspiring Statuary. Can it pay by improvising and making mana?

A: No. You can tap Cryptolith Fragment either for its own mana-producing ability, or for improvise, but you only get the effect you tapped it for; tapping it doesn't cause the other effect to also happen.

Q: Since Changeling means every creature type, can I choose that for Metallic Mimic to pump all my creatures?

A: While the changeling ability causes a creature to have every creature type, "Changeling" itself is not a creature type, and so isn't something you can choose for Metallic Mimic's ability.

Q: I haven't had anything leave the battlefield this turn, and I cast Yahenni's Expertise and choose Fatal Push as the spell I'll cast for free. Can it kill something with CMC 4?

A: As long as at least one of your creatures dies to the Expertise, yes. Fatal Push doesn't check for revolt when you cast it; it checks when it resolves, and by that time anything Yahenni's Expertise was going to kill is long dead.

Q: OK, so if I cast Vengeful Rebel and immediately sacrifice it to Yahenni, Undying Partisan, will I get to give something -3/-3?

A: No. Fatal Push gets to delay checking revolt until its resolution because revolt doesn't affect targeting (or modes, or any of the other choices made during the casting process). Vengeful Rebel, on the other hand, has a triggered ability worded with an "intervening if" — it never triggers at all unless you have revolt at the time the Rebel enters the battlefield, and there's no way to cause it to retroactively trigger by sacrificing something after the Rebel is on the battlefield.

Q: I'm about to reduce my opponent to zero life, but there's a pesky Exquisite Archangel in the way. Can I Disallow the Archangel's ability?

A: Triggered abilities are easy to recognize because they always use one of these words to indicate their trigger event: "When", "Whenever", or "At". Exquisite Archangel's ability doesn't use any of those words, so it isn't a triggered ability and Disallow can't counter it (it's a replacement effect, and has to be — when a player loses the game due to rules, like being at zero life, a triggered ability could never be "fast" enough to prevent that).

Q: If I control one Felidar Guardian and a Decoction Module, then cast another Guardian, can I have the two Guardians blink each other over and over to make infinite energy?

A: A Felidar Guardian can't target itself, but it can and happily will target another Guardian, which gives you a nice little loop of Guardians flickering on and off the battlefield. So you can make any amount of energy you want this way (but you'll have to declare a finite number — there's no "infinite" in Magic).

Don't let them get near the Gremlins.
Q: If I have artifacts totalling a converted mana cost of 8, can I cast Whir of Invention for X=3 and fetch up a Metalwork Colossus?

A: No; although you'd be able to cast the Colossus for , the amount you'd pay to cast it doesn't change its mana cost and converted mana cost, which are always and 11, respectively.

Q: Am I missing something, or can I sacrifice Hidden Stockpile's tokens to itself in order to have revolt every turn and always get another token?

A: There's no hidden meaning here: as long as you have a creature to feed it to get started, Hidden Stockpile will happily eat its own Servo token to let you scry, then make a fresh token for you in your end step.

Q: If I've activated the -7 ability of Tezzeret the Schemer, how long will my animated artifacts stay animated?

A: For as long as those artifacts stay on the battlefield. The ability from Tezzeret's emblem doesn't specify a duration, so it doesn't have a duration and doesn't wear off like some other artifact-animating effects (such as a crew ability of a Vehicle, which wears off at the end of the turn).

Q: I attacked and dealt damage with Hope of Ghirapur this turn. Now I'm trying to cast Noxious Gearhulk, and my opponent just hit it with a Disallow. Can I response by sacrificing Hope of Ghirapur to stop the Disallow?

A: You can sacrifice Hope of Ghirapur, but it won't do what you want. Casting is the process of getting a spell onto the stack by paying its costs, and by the time you can respond to Disallow, that process has already happened for it. So all you can do is prevent your opponent from getting any more spells onto the stack, not counter ones which are already there (or which are cast in response to you activating Hope of Ghirapur's ability).

Q: I put a Gremlin Infestation on my opponent's Bomat Courier, and then she sacrificed Bomat Courier to activate its ability. Who gets the Gremlin token?

A: You do; instructions in a spell or ability's text are carried out by its controller (that's you, since it's your Gremlin Infestation) unless the instructions specifically say otherwise.

Q: Can I use Mobile Garrison to untap the creature that crewed it, then attack with that creature as well as the Garrison?

A: No; you have to declare all of your attacking creatures at once, and can't interrupt that process to do something else and any abilities which trigger during the declaration wait until after you've completed declaring attackers to go onto the stack. So at the time your creature becomes untapped, it's too late to declare it attacking.

Q: Why do I see multiple versions of Tezzeret and Ajani, and a bunch of other cards I don't recognize, when I search for what's legal in Standard?

A: There are several cards — among them Ajani, Valiant Protector and Tezzeret, Master of Metal — which appear in a supplemental product called the Planeswalker Decks. These are pre-built decks, two for each expansion released, intended to help introduce newer players to the new cards and mechanics of a set, and include cards which don't appear in booster packs but are considered part of the set for format legality purposes.

That's all I've got for this week, but be sure to check back next week for another issue of Cranial Insertion!

- James Bennett

About the Author:
James Bennett is a Level 3 judge based out of Lawrence, Kansas. He pops up at events around Kansas City and all over the midwest, and has a car he can talk to.


No comments yet.


Follow us @CranialTweet!

Send quick questions to us in English for a short answer.

Follow our RSS feed!