Published on 02/06/2017

The Peasants are Revolting!

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 Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes.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

I can't figure which of the dozen things we've done to
the neighborhood over years finally caused them to snap.

Hi everyone, and welcome back to Cranial Insertion! Revolt is in the air, and not just because of the release of Aether Revolt. Apparently, the neighbors have had enough of our shenanigans over the years and have finally banded together to drive us out of house and home. They've taken their pitchforks, scythes, axes, and other farming implements (which is actually kind of weird, because they're not farmers. Where did they even get this stuff?) and are pounding on our doors, demanding we come out. Unfortunately for them, those doors aren't coming down any time soon (we keep a zombie monkey around. Of course our doors are near-indestructible), and I imagine if we just give them an hour or two, they'll get tired of pounding and go away. But, in the meantime, since I'm not going anywhere anyways, I might as well answer a few of your rules questions!

Remember, if you have a rules question you'd like to ask us, you're free to contact us. We might even use your question in an upcoming article. If you have a short question that could be answered in 140 characters or less, you can tweet it at us at @CranialTweet. Or, if you have a question that's a bit longer than 140 characters, you can e-mail us at .

Q: Can I activate Conviction's ability if it's in my graveyard?

A: Nope. Conviction's ability, like most abilities, only works if Conviction is on the battlefield, not the graveyard or any other zone. Since Conviction doesn't say otherwise, you can only activate its ability to return it your hand if it's in play, not if it's in the graveyard.

Q: I have Captured by the Consulate attached to an opponent's creature. My opponent casts Hungry Flames, targeting my creature and me. Will Captured by the Consulate trigger and force them to target their creature?

A: Nope, it won't trigger. Captured by the Consulate will only trigger if they cast a spell with a single target. Hungry Flames has two targets, not one target, so the Consulate will not trigger and they will not be forced to change one of the targets to their own creature.

Q: I cast Decommission targeting my own servo token. Will I gain three life?

A: Yes you will. You follow the instructions in the order they're printed on Decommission. First, you destroy the target artifact or enchantment. Then Decommission checks to see if a permanent you controlled left the battlefield. Since the servo token was just destroyed, you've fulfilled the condition for Decommission, so you'll gain 3 life.

Q: I have a Greenwheel Liberator in play, and I don't have revolt active. I cast Acrobatic Maneuver targeting the Liberator. Will it get two +1/+1 counters when it returns?

A: Yes it will! The Maneuver exiles and returns the Liberator. As the Liberator returns to the battlefield, it checks to see if any permanent you controlled left the battlefield that turn. The Liberator itself count, since it went from the battlefield to exile, so when the Liberator returns to the battlefield, it will return with two +1/+1 counters on it.

Q: I cast Yahenni's Expertise, and as my free spell, I cast Yahenni, Undying Partisan. Will Yahenni get +1/+1 counters from my opponent's creatures dying?

A: Nope. In order for Yahenni to trigger, they have to be on the battlefield when the opponent's creatures die. But Yahenni is still on the stack, waiting to resolve, when state-based actions will kill the opponent's creatures after the Expertise is done resolving. So Yahenni will not get any counters from creatures that died to the Expertise.

Q: Instead of casting Yahenni, Undying Partisan when resolving Yahenni's Expertise in the previous question, I cast Eldritch Evolution. Can I sacrifice one of the creatures that would die to the Expertise to cast the Evolution?

A: Yep, that one works. State-based actions aren't checked in the middle of Yahenni's Expertise. Any creatures that have a toughness of three or less haven't died quite yet, so they'll still on the battlefield when you're casting the Evolution. You'll be able to sacrifice one of the creatures that would have died anyways to cast the Evolution.

Q: I just cast Metalwork Colossus at a massive discount, spending only two mana to cast it. My opponent tries to destroy it with Natural State. Can they do that?

A: Nope, that's not a legal play. No matter what you actually pay for the Colossus, its converted mana cost remains the same - 11. Since 11 is not three or less, the Colossus isn't a legal target for the State, even if you paid three or less mana to cast the Colossus.

For safety reasons, please stay near the back of the mob

Q: I have five energy, and I cast Greenbelt Rampager. Can I choose not to pay two energy and return it to my hand instead?

A: Nope, you can't do that. When the trigger resolves, you have to pay two energy if you're able to. Paying two energy is not optional. Since you have at least two energy, you must pay it to keep the Rampager in play.

Q: I have an Ornithopter in play, and I enchant it with Tezzeret's Touch. Does it still have flying?

A: Yes it does! Tezzeret's Touch just makes the artifact into a creature and sets the base power and toughness of that artifact at 5/5. It doesn't say to remove any of the abilities the artifact has, so it will keep its abilities. Enchanting Ornithopter with the Touch means you now have a 5/5 flying artifact creature.

Q: I have an Aetherworks Marvel in play, and cast a second Aetherworks Marvel. Since I'm losing one of the Marvels to the legendary rule, how much energy will I get?

A: You get a total of two energy. The surviving Marvel will see the other Marvel going to the graveyard. The other Marvel sees itself going to the graveyard as well, and it will also trigger from it going to the graveyard, meaning you have a total of two triggers, one from each Marvel. Pretty handy if you're sitting at four energy and need just a bit more energy to activate your Marvel.

Q: I put a Walking Ballista in play with Refurbish. Can I activate the Ballista's ability to put a +1/+1 counter on it to save it?

A: Negative. Right after Refurbish resolves, before you get priority, state-based actions are checked. Since the Ballista doesn't have any counters on it, its toughness is zero, and the Ballista will die before you get a chance to activate its ability.

Q: I have a single creature in play, and my opponent casts To the Slaughter targeting me. Can I use Blossoming Defense to save my creature?

A: No you cannot. To the Slaughter targets the player. It doesn't target the creature or the planeswalker to be sacrificed. You're free to cast the Defense in response to the Slaughter, but since your creature isn't being targeted, having hexproof will not save it. You'll still have to sacrifice your creature.

Q: I have an Inspiring Statuary and another artifact in play. Can I tap both artifacts to cast Warping Wail?

A: No you cannot. Improvise only lets you tap artifacts to pay for the generic part of the spell's casting cost. It can't do anything about the colorless requirement to cast the Wail. You can tap one artifact for Improvise to help pay for it, but you still need to pay one colorless mana to cast it.

Q: I have a Call for Unity in play, and I cast Kolaghan Skirmisher for its dash cost. Assuming nothing else leaves play that turn, can I stack my triggers so I return the Skirmisher to my hand, then trigger the Call for a counter?

A: Nope. The Call has an intervening if ability, meaning it will only trigger if its condition (a permanent that you controlled) left the battlefield when the end step began. While the creature with dash is about to leave the battlefield, it hasn't left the battlefield quite yet, so the Call won't even trigger and it won't get a counter.

Rabble rabble rabble!

Q: My opponent has exiled my Rashmi, Eternities Crafter with Fairgrounds Warden. I have a second Rashmi, Eternities Crafter in play. My opponent uses the ability of Eldrazi Displacer on their Warden. Will I know which Rashmi they're going to target with the Warden's trigger before I get rid of one to the legendary rule?

A: Nope, quite the opposite. After the Displacer's triggered ability has resolved, before we put the Warden's trigger on the stack, we check state-based actions. Since you have two copies of Rashmi in play, you have to choose one of them to keep, then the other copy will go to the graveyard. After we've done that, we put the Warden's triggered ability on the stack. Since there's only one Rashmi in play now, they'll be able to exile the surviving Rashmi with the Warden's trigger.

Q: I cast Ojutai's Command, targeting my Baral, Chief of Compliance with the first mode and my opponent's creature spell with the third mode. Will Baral's ability trigger?

A: Yes it will! When you resolve the Command, you follow the instructions in the order they're printed on the card. The first thing that happens when the Command resolves is Baral is returned to the battlefield. Then, we counter the creature spell on the stack. Since Baral is in play when the creature spell is countered, his ability will trigger and you'll be able to loot with his trigger.

Q: My opponent has five artifacts in play. I cast Release the Gremlins, targeting all five artifacts. In response, they cast Retract, returning all of their artifacts to their hand. What happens when Release the Gremlins resolves?

A: When Release the Gremlins goes to resolve, it checks to make sure its targets are still legal. But, when it checks its five targets, it sees all five targets are illegal, so the spell is countered and none of its effects will happen. You won't get any tokens.

Q: What if I cast Release the Gremlins targeting their five artifacts and one of my own?

A: Well, that's a completely different situation. When Release the Gremlins goes to resolve in this case, there's still one legal target: your own artifact. Since there's at least one legal target, Release the Gremlins will resolve as best as it can. You destroy your artifact...and get six tokens! Release the Gremlins doesn't care how many artifacts were destroyed when it resolves, you get X tokens, based on the value of X you chose when you cast it. Since X was 6 (five of their artifacts and one of yours), you'll get six tokens.

Q: I have a Panharmonicon in play, along with an Ephara, God of the Polis. On my previous turn, I played a Bastion Enforcer. How many cards will I draw from Ephara, one or two?

A: Just one card. Panharmonicon only applies to abilities that trigger when a creature or artifact enter the battlefield. While it may seem like Ephara fits into that mold, it doesn't: it's a beginning of upkeep trigger, triggering based on a condition that happened the previous turn. Since it's an upkeep trigger, Ephara's ability will only trigger once, not twice, even if you have a Panharmonicon in play.

Q: My opponent casts Harnessed Lightning targeting my 2/2 creature, and I ask how much energy they're going to pay. They say they're going to pay two energy. Is it too late for me to cast Ornamental Courage to save my creature?

A: Yes it is. There's a tournament shortcut that says if you're asking about a choice that's made when a spell resolves, you are assumed to passing priority back to your opponent and letting their spell resolve. Since you asked how much energy they're going to pay, and they don't decide on how much energy to pay until the Lightning resolves, you've missed on your chance to respond to the Lightning. If you wanted to respond to the Lightning, you'd have to do so before the Lightning resolves and before knowing how much energy your opponent is going to pay.

Note that if the player casting the Lightning announces how much energy they're going to pay ("I cast Harnessed Lightning, dealing two damage to your creature", that's a slightly different situation. They've given you information that they didn't need to give, but they're locked in to that announcement unless you choose to respond. But if you do respond, then they're no longer locked into their choice (and can choose to pay more or less energy when it resolves).

Well, that's it for this week. We'll see you all next week!


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