Published on 06/12/2017

Commander Anthology of Interest

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 Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes.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

Hopefully, they don't have a Master of Cruelties in hand.
Hi everyone, and welcome back to Cranial Insertion! This past weekend, many commander players, new and old alike, probably traveled to their local gaming store to pick up the Commander Anthology collection. This isn't a new commander product, but it's a reprint of four decks from Commander sets in the past. So this week, we're going to take a break from Amonkhet to take a look at this product, and answering some questions that you may have run into while playing with it this weekend.

And if you have a rules question (even if it's not a Commander-releated rules question), we have you covered! If you have a short rules question, you can contact us on Twitter at @CranialTweet, and if you have a longer question, you can send us an e-mail at . You might even see your question featured in a future article!

Q: I attack with Kaalia of the Vast, putting Reiver Demon into play. Do I get to destroy all nonblack, nonartifact creatures?

A: No you don't. The Demon's ability will only trigger if you cast it from your hand. While the Demon certainly entered the battlefield from your hand, you did not cast it - it was put onto the battlefield. Since you put it onto the battlefield, the Demon's ability will not trigger and other creatures will be safe (well, ignoring the 6/6 flyer that's now attacking).

Q: I have an Eldrazi Monument in play, but I kind of like my creatures more than my Monument. Can I choose to not sacrifice a creature and sacrifice the Monument instead?

A: Sorry, that's not an option. Unlike other cards, the Monument tells you to sacrifice a creature, then says what to do if you can't sacrifice, not if you won't sacrifice a creature. The only choice is what creature to sacrifice (if you have one to sacrifice), not whether you want to sacrifice a creature or not. Even if you'd rather keep the creature instead of the Monument, you'll have to sacrifice the creature.

Q: What happens if I cast Unexpectedly Absent on a permanent with X=0?

A: The Absent puts the permanent below the top X cards of their library. If X happens to be zero, that means that you'll put it beneath the top 0 cards of their library, or, laymans's terms, you'll put it on top of their library.

Sneaky Derevi, dodging the commander tax.

Q: I have an Emerald Medallion in play. Will it reduce the cost of a multicolored spell, like Mazirek, Kraul Death Priest?

A: It will have its cost reduced by , so you'll end up paying to cast it. Mazirek is a black and green card. Since it's a green card, the cost to cast it can be reduced by the Medallion. It's also a black card, but Emerald Medallion only cares if it's a green spell, not if it's other colors, so the cost can be reduced by the Medallion.

Q: I cast Wash Out, naming "green". Will that bounce all of my opponent's Forests too?

A: No it won't. Lands are naturally colorless. Just because a Forest taps for green mana doesn't make it a green permanent: it would have to have a green mana symbol in its mana cost, a green color indicator, or an ability that made it green to count as a green permanent. Outside of Dryad Arbor, lands are colorless and won't normally be affected by Wash Out.

Q: My opponent activates Silklash Spider's ability, destroying my Extractor Demon and some flying Spirit tokens. Will the Demon trigger for each of the Spirit tokens that just died?

A: Yep, it will. The Demon will see other creatures that are leaving the battlefield at the same time as itself, and it will trigger for them. It doesn't matter that the Demon is leaving the battlefield at the same time as the creatures, the Demon sees that they're leaving play along with him, and it will trigger for each of them.

Q: I just cast Azami, Lady of Scrolls. Can I immediately tap Azami to draw a card?

A: Yes you can. "Summoning sickness" only prevents a creature from attacking or using abilities with the tap or untap symbol. While Azami's ability does involve tapping, it doesn't involve the tap symbol, so you can activate it as soon as Azami enters the battlefield, even tapping Azami itself to activate the ability.

Q: I have an Eternal Witness and a Champion of Stray Souls in play, with no creatures in my graveyard. Can I activate the Champion's ability, sacrificing Eternal Witness and returning that same Eternal Witness?

A: No you may not. Targets are chosen before costs are paid. When you're choosing targets, you have to choose a creature card that's currently in your graveyard. You haven't sacrificed Eternal Witness yet (that won't come until a bit later), so it's not a legal target for the ability. You won't be able to return the creatures you sacrificed with the Champion's ability.

Turns out that a planeswalker that
can be your commander is pretty good.

Q: If I have a Razorjaw Oni in play, will that prevent my opponent's black creatures from blocking?

A: Yes it will. Since the Oni doesn't say "creatures you control", that means it affects everyone's black creatures, not just your own. That means if your opponent left an army of black creatures to block, you can drop this, and swing at them, and their black creatures won't be able to block thanks to the Oni.

Q: I cast Kirtar's Wrath with six cards in my graveyard. Will I get the two spirit tokens from the threshold effect?

A: No you won't. The Wrath won't go to the graveyard until the final step of resolution, which is after the Wrath checks the number of cards in your graveyard. At the point the Wrath is checking to see if you have threshold or not, the Wrath is on the stack, not in the graveyard. Since it's not in the graveyard yet, you don't have threshold, and you won't get the spirit tokens.

Q: What if Kirtar's Wrath destroys some of my creatures, and those creatures dying will give me threshold. Now will I get two tokens?

A: Nope, you still won't the tokens. If you have threshold, then the second paragraph completely replaces the first paragraph: instead of just destroying all creatures, you destroy all creatures, then you get two Spirit tokens. You don't destroy the creatures, then check the number of cards in your graveyard to see if you have threshold. Unless you have threshold before the Wrath resolves, you won't get the tokens.

Q: I attack with a Kessig Cagebreakers. Do the Wolf tokens have to attack the same player that the Cagebreakers is attacking?

A: No they don't. The Cagebreakers put the tokens on the battlefield tapped and attacking. It doesn't specify which opponent they have to attack, so you (the attacking player) gets to choose which opponent they're attacking. You can even split them up, and have some of them attack one opponent and some of them attack a different opponent.

Q: I have a Joraga Warcaller with one +1/+1 counter on it, and an Imperious Perfect in play. How big of a bonus will my elves get from Joraga Warcaller?

A: Just +1/+1. The Warcaller only looks at +1/+1 counters on the Warcaller to determine how big of a bonus it should give your other elves. While it's getting +1/+1 from the Perfect, that bonus isn't a counter, it's just a static +1/+1 bonus, so the Warcaller's effect won't count it. The Warcaller only has one +1/+1 counter on it, so it will only give your elves +1/+1 (but they'll also get +1/+1 from the Perfect, so they'll get a net +2/+2 bonus from the two creatures).

Q: I enchanted my opponent's Winged Coatl with Song of the Dryads. Then I cast Wave of Vitriol. Will my opponent's Coatl be sacrificed?

A: Yes it will. The Song doesn't make the Coatl into a basic land, just a land. And the Wave causes everything to be sacrificed at the same time. At the same time the Song would be going to be the graveyard, since the Coatl is a nonbasic land, it's also sacrificed. While your opponent will lose their Coatl, at least they'll be able to search for a basic land.

Q: My opponent has an Angelic Arbiter in play. In my first main phase, I cast Terminate and kill the Arbiter. Can I attack with my creatures this turn?

A: Yes you can. The Arbiter's ability, like most abilities, only works while it's on the battlefield. You cast Terminate to kill the Arbiter, and had the Arbiter hung around, it would have prevented you from attacking, since you cast a spell this turn. But since the Arbiter died, its effect ends, and you'll be able to attack like normal this turn.

The more things die, the more dangerous it becomes.

Q: I just stole my opponent's commander, Meren of Clan Nel Toth with Rubinia Soulsinger. At the end of my turn, I targeted Meren with my Conjurer's Closet trigger. If my opponent chooses to put their commander in the command zone instead of exile, will it still return to the battlefield under my control?

A: It will. The Closet's trigger will track the card to the first public zone it goes to after the battlefield. Almost every time, that's going to be the exile zone. But if your opponent chooses to put their commander in the command zone instead of exile, since the command zone is the first public zone it went to after the battlefield, the Closet can track Meren to the command zone and will still return it to the battlefield under your control from the command zone. And since it's a new permanent, you can safely untap your Rubinia and you'll still control their Meren.

Q: Akroma, Angel of Fury is my commander, and I cast it face down. If that face down creature deals combat damage to a player, does it count as commander damage?

A: It sure does! Being face down doesn't change the fact that the card is still your commander. That means if it deals combat damage to a player, it counts towards the 21 or more points of combat damage that would cause them to lose the game, and if it would die while face down, you can still put it in the command zone instead. But keep in mind that when your face down Akroma deals combat damage to them, you have to point out that it's damage from your commander - you can't keep quiet about it, since they need to be able to track it too.

Q: I cast Skullwinder, and when its enter the battlefield trigger resolves, I choose an opponent with no cards in their graveyard. What happens?

A: When the trigger resolves, you choose an opponent. There's no requirement that you have to choose an opponent with a card in their graveyard. If they have no cards in their graveyard, then they won't be able to return anything, but you'll still get your card back. So, just like an Eternal Witness, except with deathtouch.

Q: I activate Roon of the Hidden Realm's ability, targeting an opponent's creature. Afterward I exile their creature, I lose the game. When does the exiled creature return to the battlefield?

A: Never! The creature would have returned due to Roon's delayed triggered ability that would trigger at the beginning of the next end step. But that trigger can only go on the stack if you're still in the game at the beginning of the next end step. Since you're no longer in the game, Roon's delayed ability cannot trigger, and the exiled creature will remain in exile for the rest of the game, never to return.

Q: I have a Bloodspore Thrinax entering the battlefield at the same time as some other creatures, due to Champion of Stray Souls's ability. I choose to devour three creatures, so my Thrinax enters with three +1/+1 counters. Will the other creatures entering along with the Thrinax also enter with three +1/+1 counters?

A: Nope, they won't get any bonus counters. For the Thrinax's ability to work, it has to be on the battlefield when the other creatures are entering. It doesn't work if it's entering the battlefield at the same time as those other creatures, so the creatures entering along with the Thrinax won't get three bonus counters.

Well, that's all we have for this week. Happy Commandering!


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