Published on 09/25/2017

Welcome to Ixalan Park

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 Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes.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

You did it. You crazy son of a- you did it.

Hi everyone, and welcome back to Cranial Insertion! Finally, Ixalan has arrived, and with it, a bunch of dinosaurs, pirates, merfolk, and vampires. While I'm sure every tribe has their fans, it's probably the arrival of dinosaurs (sorry, Old Fogey. You don't count) that has most Magic players excited. Hopefully, all of you attended your local prerelease this time and got to smack your opponents a few times with your favorite dinosaur. But after duking it out at the prerelease, you might have a few questions about Ixalan, and that's what we're here for: to answer your rules questions.

Remember, if you have a rules question (or just want to talk about dinosaurs), you can contact us. We might even use your question in an upcoming article. If you have a short question, you can send us a tweet at @CranialTweet. But if you have a longer question, feel free to e-mail us at .

Q: So I hear there's been a rules change, and now planeswalkers are legendary. How does that work?

A: Yep, there's been a rules change that affects planeswalkers. It used to be that the legendary rule and the planeswalker uniqueness rule, while similar, were different rules. The legendary rule cares about the name of the card, while the planeswalker uniqueness rule cared about the planeswalker subtype.

But no more! Now, all planeswalkers are now "legendary planeswalkers" and the planeswalker uniqueness rule no longer exists. That means that you can control multiple planeswalkers with the same subtype, just as long as they don't have the same name. So now you can control a Nissa, Vital Force and a Nissa, Steward of Elements at the same time, and you won't have to get rid of one of them.

Q: I activate Treasure Map's ability, adding the third landmark counter to it and transforming it into Treasure Cove. Is it tapped or untapped?

A: It's still tapped. The act of transforming a card doesn't affect whether it's tapped or untapped. It will keep the same status after it transforms. Once the Map transforms into the Cove, it's still tapped, so you won't be able to use either of its activated ability until it untaps (likely during your next untap step).

Note that something like Conqueror's Galleon works a little differently - since it exiles itself, then returns to the battlefield transformed (similar to the flip planeswalkers from Magic Origins), it will return to the battlefield untapped, so you'll be able to activate one of its abilities right after it returns to the battlefield.

Q: I cast Merfolk Branchwalker, but in response to the explore trigger, my opponent kills it with Lightning Strike. Do I still get to explore?

A: Yes you do! Even if the Branchwatcher isn't on the battlefield when the trigger resolves, you still get to explore. If it's a land card, you can put it into your hand. If it's not a land card, you won't be able to put a +1/+1 counter on the Branchwatcher, but you can still choose to put it into your graveyard or back on top of your library. And cards likes Wildgrowth Walker will still trigger when you explore, even though the creature with explore is no longer on the battlefield.

Q: I attack with a Ravenous Daggertooth, and my opponent blocks and kills it with Deadeye Tormentor. Do I still gain 2 life?

A: Yes you do. The Daggertooth's ability triggers when it's dealt damage. It doesn't matter if it survives the damage or not. Even though the Daggertooth died from the combat damage dealt by the Tormentor, the Daggertooth was still dealt damage, so its ability will trigger and you'll gain 2 life.

Q: I attack with a Ripjaw Raptor, and my opponent blocks with five 1/1 Vampire tokens. Will I draw one card or five cards?

A: You'll only draw one card. The Raptor's ability triggers when it's dealt damage. But unless first or double strike is involved, all combat damage is dealt at the same time. While multiple sources are dealing damage to the Raptor, all of that damage is dealt at the same time, so the Raptor's ability will only trigger one time, not five times, and you'll only draw one card.

Q: Can I cast Costly Plunder by sacrificing a Treasure for mana and to satisfy the additional cost to cast the Plunder?

A: No you cannot. You cannot sacrifice one thing to satisfy two costs. You can sacrifice the Treasure for mana to help pay for the Plunder, or you can sacrifice it to the additional cost to cast the Plunder, but you cannot sacrifice the same Treasure to try to do both at the same time.

Clever girl.

Q: Let's say I have an Angrath's Marauders in play, I'm attacking with a Charging Monstrosaur, and my opponent blocks with a Blossom Dryad. How does damage get dealt?.

A: When it comes time to assign damage, you have to assign what would be lethal damage to the Dryad that's blocking the Monstrosaur before you can start assigning damage to the defending player. You don't take effects that would decrease or increase the damage dealt, like the Marauders, into account. Even though the damage will be doubled once you deal it, you can't take that into account when assigning the damage.

The Monstrosaur has to assign at least 2 damage to the Dryad, and can assign the remaining 3 to the defending player. When it comes time to deal that damage, the Mauraders will double that damage, so the Dryad ends up taking 4 damage instead of 2, and your opponent ends up taking 6 damage instead of 3 damage.

Q: Can my opponent cast Walk the Plank targeting my Kumena's Speaker?

A: Nope, they can't. Walk the Plank has to target a non-Merfolk creature, and to be a non-Merfolk creature, it can't have the Merfolk creature type. While the Speaker is a Shaman, it's also a Merfolk. Since it's a Merfolk, it's not a legal target for Walk the Plank, no matter what other creature types it has.

Q: I activate Steadfast Armasaur's ability targeting the Wind Strider blocking it. In response, my opponent Shocks my Armasaur. How much damage does the Strider take from the Armasaur's ability?

A: It still takes three damage. Dealing damage to a creature doesn't reduce that creature's toughness - it just results in that much damage being marked on it. In this case, Shock resolves, and it deals 2 damage to he Armasaur. That makes the Armasaur a 2/3 with 2 damage marked on it, not a 2/1. Since its toughness is still 3, when the ability resolves, the Strider will be dealt 3 damage.

Q: Can I cast New Horizons even if I don't control any creatures?

A: Yep, you can. New Horizons (the spell) has a single target since its an aura - a target land. That land is all your need to be able to cast it. After the Horizons resolves and enters the battlefield, the Horizon's triggered ability will trigger. But if you don't have any creatures on the battlefield, the trigger will simply be removed from the stack since there's no legal targets for it. Despite the trigger being removed from the stack, the Horizons will remain on the battlefield.

Q: Can I attack with Vona, Butcher of Magan and use its ability to kill a potential blockers before blockers are declared? And will Vona still be an attacking creature?

A: Yes and yes. The restriction on Vona's ability says you can only activate it during your turn. But since Vona has vigilance, it can attack, and then still activate its ability to destroy an opponent's creature. And tapping Vona after it's been declared as an attacker won't remove it from combat or prevent any damage that would be dealt to it or by it. So you'll be able to attack with Vona, destroy an opponent's creature with its ability, and still have an attacking Vona that your opponent will have to deal with.

Q: I attack with Sanctum Seeker and three other vampires. Does the Seeker's ability trigger one time or four times?

A: You get four triggers. The Seeker's ability triggers each time you attack with a vampire. If you attack with multiple vampires, the ability will trigger multiple times. In this case, since you attacked with a total of four vampires, the Seeker's ability will trigger four times, and before your opponent can even consider their blocks, they've lost four life and you've gained four life from those triggers.

Q: My opponent just destroyed all of my creatures by casting Wakening Sun's Avatar. After they're destroyed, I cast Bloodcrazed Paladin. Can my opponent kill it with Dual Shot before it gets the counters?

A: No they cannot. The Paladin enters the battlefield with counters equal to the number of creatures that died this turn. It's not a triggered ability, so there's never a time that the Paladin is on the battlefield and it doesn't have the +1/+1 counters on it. Since it enters with the counters, there's not going to be a point where your opponent can cast Dual Shot to try to kill it before it gets those counters.

When dinosaurs ruled the earth.

Q: Can I respond to Priest of the Wakening Sun's trigger by sacrificing it to find a dinosaur to reveal to it trigger?

A: Yes, that works. You don't choose a dinosaur card to reveal from your hand until the trigger resolves. You can respond to that trigger by activating and sacrificing the Priest to its activated ability, finding a dinosaur, then revealing that dinosaur that you just searched for to the trigger when it resolves and gaining 2 life.

Q: Assuming I have the mana, could I return Repeating Barrage to my hand with its raid ability, cast it, then return it to my hand again, all during the same turn?

A: Yep, you can do that. The Barrage's ability can be activated as long as you've attacked with a creature this turn. It's not a one time thing; it just requires you to have attacked with a creature that turn. Since you've attacked with a creature this turn, you'll be able to activate the Barrage's ability multiple times if you so desire.

Q: Can I use the ability of Siren Stormtamer to counter the triggered ability of Wakening Sun's Avatar and save my pirates from destruction?

A: Nope, that's not going to work. A spell or ability only targets if it uses the word "target" or is an aura on the stack. While your pirates will be affected by the Avatar's trigger when it resolves, it's not targeting them, so you can't use the Stormtamer's ability to counter the Avatar's trigger. Your pirates are going the way of the dinosaurs.

Q: I have a Sunbird's Invocation in play, and I cast Thrash of Raptors. Among the cards that I revealed to the Invocation's trigger is Insult // Injury. Can I cast Insult?

A: No you cannot. Thanks to the rules change that happened in Amonkhet, the converted mana cost of a split card anywhere but the stack is the sum of the two sides. In this case, the converted mana cost of Insult // Injury is six. Since the converted mana cost of the Thrash of Raptors is four, the converted mana cost of the split card is six, and not castable via the trigger.

Q: I have an Ajani's Pridemate in play, and I cast Sanguine Sacrament with X=5. How many counters does the Pridemate get?

A: Just one counter. You're not gaining X life twice, you're gaining twice X life. That's one instance of life gain, not two. You're gaining 10 life, and because that's one instance of life gain, the Pridemate's ability will trigger one time, not two times.

Q: What's the converted mana cost of Treasure Cove?

A: Some of your probably jumped and said "0", but you'd be wrong. Its converted mana cost is 2. Normally, the converted mana cost of a land is zero, since it has no mana cost. But in the case of a double-faced card, the converted mana cost of the back side is derived from the converted mana cost of the front side of the card. While Treasure Cove is a land, the front side is Treasure Map, and the Map's converted mana cost is 2. Therefore, the back side of the Map also has a converted mana cost of 2, even though the back side is a land.

Q: Duress was reprinted in Ixalan. Can I play the Urza's Saga version of Duress in a standard tournament?

A: Yep, you can. As long as a card with that name is printed in a legal set, and as long as the version you're using has a normal Magic back and border, you can use any version of the card. Because a card named Duress is printed in a standard-legal set, you can use any version of Duress, even the version from Urza's Saga.

Thanks for taking a walk through Ixalan Park, we'll see you all next time!

The converted mana cost of the Thrash of Raptors is FOUR.
#1 • Date: 2017-09-24 • Time: 23:09:04 •
Oops, that's what I get for writing the article before Gatherer is updated. Fixed.
#2 • Date: 2017-09-25 • Time: 00:23:07 •

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