Published on 10/09/2017

The Road to El D'Orazca

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 Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes.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

"It's the map! To El Dorado!"
"You drank the sea water, didn't you?"
It's time! Time to blaze a trail! What trail, you ask? That trail! That trail that we blaze!

Ixalan is here, bringing with it a panoply of awesome new cards and mechanics and I'm here this week to be your guide through this crazy new world of merfolk, treasure, vampires, pirates, and dinosaurs. (But sadly, no pirate dinosaurs. *sigh*) Anyway, let's get onto the questions before anything distracts us from our quest.

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: If I control Arcane Adaptation naming Eldrazi in a game of Commander and then I activate Spawnsire of Ulamog's second activated ability, I can just cast every creature card I own that's not in my deck, right?

A: Not quite. Cards that reference "outside the game" refer to cards in your sideboard if you're playing a tournament. If you're not playing a tournament, their meaning must be agreed upon by your playgroup. In commander, if no such agreement exists, these cards can't access any cards.

Also, Arcane Adaptation doesn't change the creature type of cards you own outside the game since they're not in a game zone. So even if your playgroup was OK with you casting a thousand random creature cards you own, you still would only be able to cast the ones that are printed as Eldrazi (or have Changeling).

Q: I know that the copies made by Jace, Cunning Castaway's -5 ability aren't legendary, but the original Jace is still legendary, so I'll lose him to the legend rule if he survives to see the tokens created, right?

A: Jace will be just fine. The legend rule only applies if a player controls two or more legendary permanents with the same name. Only the original Jace is legendary and so the legend rule isn't applicable here. Your legendary Jace can coexist with any number of his non-legendary dopplegangers.

Q: If I have a token copy of Treasure Map with two landmark counters, and I activate it, I know I won't get to flip it but do I get the Treasure tokens?

A: Yes. When you're resolving the ability, you'll do as much as possible even if some of the instructions are impossible.

When your token Treasure Map's third activation resolves, you'll scry 1, add the third landmark counter, and then remove all landmark counters from it. You can't transform it because tokens and non-double-faced cards can't transform, but you will skip this and continue on to create three Treasure tokens.

Yes, this means that you'll be able to continue to scry with the map on your next turn, and eventually make more treasure tokens...
Honestly, this map kind of seems better than the original, even if it doesn't lead you to Treasure Cove...

Q: I have Sunbird's Invocation on the battlefield. I cast Approach of the Second Sun. In the top 7 cards of my library, I find another Approach of the Second Sun and cast it. When the original Approach of the Second Sun resolves, do I win?

A: Yes.

The Approach of the Second Sun you cast with Sunbird's Invocation wasn't cast from your hand, so it won't win you the game. It will gain you 7 life and go back into your library. When the Approach of the Second Sun cast from your hand resolves, it will see that you cast another Approach of the Second Sun (the one cast with Sunbird's Invocation) and cause you to win the game.

"Apparently, El Dorado is native for... great big ROCK!"
Q: I sacrifice my Reassembling Skeleton, and reanimate it with its ability, then repeat this process three more times. Then I cast Bloodcrazed Paladin. How many +1/+1 counters will Bloodcrazed Paladin have when it enters the battlefield?

A: Bloodcrazed Paladin will enter the battlefield with four +1/+1 counters. A creature that returns to the battlefield from the graveyard is a new creature. If it dies multiple times in the same turn, each death is counted separately for Bloodcrazed Paladin.

Q: I know that Oath of the Gatewatch has rotated out of Standard,
but can I still play Wastes in my Standard deck?

A: No, you can't. Wastes is only legal in formats where Oath of the Gatewatch is a legal set. Since Oath of the Gatewatch is no longer a Standard-legal set, Wastes is no longer a Standard-legal card, even though it's a basic land.

The snow basic lands from Coldsnap and Ice Age rotated out of Standard too, and it would also happen to the normal basic lands like Plains or Mountain if they stopped being printed in Standard-legal sets.

Q: If I attack with a 3/3 Dire Fleet Interloper and it is blocked by a 2/2 Ixalli's Keeper and a 2/3 Ranging Raptors with enrage, could I assign all of damage to the creature without enrage to avoid the enrage trigger or am I forced to assign the extra point of damage to the enrage creature?

A: Yes, avoid giving your opponent an enrage trigger here. Once blockers are declared, just put Ixalli's Keeper first in the Interloper's damage assignment order. You never have to assign damage to creatures beyond the first creature in a damage assignment order if you don't want to.

Q: Can you explain why multiblocking an enrage creature, e.g.
Ripjaw Raptor, only triggers it once but a "when you gain life" trigger, e.g. Archangel of Thune, triggers once for each creature with lifelink that deals combat damage?

A: Combat damage is all dealt simultaneously in each combat damage step. This means that even if multiple creatures are dealing damage to Ripjaw Raptor, all that damage is happening due to the same event and so it's only being dealt damage once and thus only triggers once.

Life gain triggers only count each source separately because there's a special rule that says so. (CR 118.9: Some triggered abilities are written, "Whenever [a player] gains life, …" Such abilities are treated as though they are written, "Whenever a source causes [a player] to gain life, …")

Q: Does Kopala, Warden of Waves's first ability increase the cost of counterspells targetting Merfolk spells? The wording seems like it does.

A: No. "A Merfolk you control" means a Merfolk permanent you control on the battlefield. It doesn't include merfolk cards in other zones, including the stack. If Kopala's ability was going to include Merfolk spells on the stack, it would say "a Merfolk or Merfolk spell you control" or something similar.

Q: Do the double-faced enchantments and artifacts from Ixalan trigger landfall abilities when they transform into lands?

A: Usually no. Nine out of the ten double-faced cards in Ixalan remain on the battlefield when they transform. They're not changing zones, just some of their characteristics, and thus won't trigger landfall.

Conqueror's Galleon is the exception. It exiles itself and then returns to the battlefield transformed as Conqueror's Foothold. This will trigger landfall abilities since the card is returning to the battlefield as a land.

Q: What is the interaction between Gideon of the Trials and Thunderbreak Regent? Is the damage from the Regent's ability prevented as soon as Gideon pokes it, or does the Regent get to zap me first?

A: You're going to get zapped.

Whenever something triggers from a spell being cast or an ability being activated, that triggered ability goes on the stack above the spell or ability that triggered it and resolves first. So when Gideon goes to put that bubble around Thunderbreak Regent, the Regent gets mad and gets off a shot at you before Gideon can work his magic.

Q: I use the mana from Primal Wellspring to cast both halves of Turn // Burn. What does the copy look like?

A: The copy of a spell created by casting a spell with Primal Wellspring's mana is created directly on the stack as a copy of the original spell as it was cast. Since Turn//Burn was cast fused, the copy is also fused and you'll get the effects of both halves of the card.

Q: Please explain the interaction between Trinisphere, delve, and Phyrexian mana. I'm given to understand that delve gets around Trinisphere but Phyrexian mana doesn't and was wondering if you could explain why that is.

A: When you cast a spell with Trinisphere on the battlefield, it will look at the spell's cost once any alternate costs, cost increases, and cost reductions have been applied and then increase the total cost to three mana if it's not already three mana or more.

Phyrexian mana falls afoul of Trinisphere because the choice for whether to pay mana or life for each Phyrexian mana symbol in a spell's cost is made before its final cost is determined. This means that if you choose to pay 2 life instead of U to cast your Gitaxian Probe, Trinisphere isn't going to like that and will make you pay 3 in addition to the 2 life. If you had chosen to pay U, then it would increase the total cost to 2U.

Delve, convoke, and improvise get around Trinisphere's shenanigans because they're payment mechanics that aren't applied until after the total cost of the spell has been determined. So when you cast Gurmag Angler, Trinisphere sees that its total cost is seven and leaves it alone, even if you end up paying for it by only spending B and by exiling six cards from your graveyard.

"Both?" "Both." "Both." "Both is good."
Q: I have a 4/6 Marionette Master and five treasures tokens on the battlefield. Assuming my opponent is at 20 or less life, is there anything they can do to stop me from winning at any time by sacrificing all five Treasures just to float mana?

A: While your opponent can't stop you from sacrificing the treasure tokens any time you have priority, they can still respond to Marionette Master's triggers. The amount of life your opponent will lose from each trigger isn't determined until it resolves, at which point it will look at Marionette Master's current power (or its last known power if it has left the battlefield since the trigger when on the stack.) What this all means is that your opponent can either stop individual triggers with spells like Disallow or reduce Marionette Master's power with spells like Torment of Venom in order to lose less life. No, these aren't great options, but they are options nonetheless.

Q: My opponent attacks me with four creatures and I cast Settle the Wreckage. When my opponent searches their library, they only find three basic land cards. Can they still put them onto the battlefield or do they have to find exactly four?

A: Whenever a player is searching a library for cards with any specific characteristics, i.e. anything more specific than "a card" or "N cards", they can always find fewer cards than instructed to this way. This is also known as "failing to find".

For Settle the Wreckage, this means that the player can find any number of basic lands from their deck up to the number creatures that were exiled.

Q: If Ixalan's Binding exiles someone's commander and they move it to the command zone instead of exile, can it be cast again while Ixalan's Binding is still on the battlefield?

A: If the card moves to the command zone instead of going to exile, then nothing is ever exiled with Ixalan's Binding and its second ability doesn't do anything. Similarly, if a card is exiled and then moved somewhere else, e.g. with an Eldrazi Processor, then cards with that name will be able to be cast again.

Q: If Tilonalli's Skinshifter copies something with Exert, can it Exert?

A: No, this doesn't work.

Tilonalli's Skinshifter's attack trigger triggers at the same time that you would need to choose to exert it, if it were copying something like Emberhorn Minotaur. By the time that its triggered ability resolves, Tilonalli's Skinshifter has already attacked and missed its chance to be exerted.

The same is true for copying any creature with a "when this creature attacks" trigger. Tilonalli's Skinshifter won't be a copy of the creature in time for those abilities to trigger. It will benefit from any "attacks and isn't blocked", "becomes blocked", or "deals combat damage" triggers though.

Q: Axis of Mortality's "Exchange life total" effect will technically cause players to gain or lose life, correct? Does this mean if I exchange life totals with an opponent with Leyline of Punishment in play, we simply both go to the lower of our life totals?

A: Yes, the players are gaining or losing life, but they also must be able to gain or lose life as appropriate for the exchange to happen at all.

If a player can't gain life, that player can't exchange life totals with a player with higher life total.

If a player can't lose life, that player can't exchange life totals with a player with a lower life total.

In either of these cases, the exchange can't be completed and so nothing with happen and neither player's life total will change. (The players are still legal targets for the exchange, but the exchange just doesn't happen because of the requirements of the "exchange" keyword action.)

Note that this only applies to effects that say that gaining or losing life can't happen. Effects that replace gaining or losing life with something else, e.g. Tainted Remedy, will allow the exchange to happen but modify its results appropriately.

Q: I use Gonti, Lord of Luxury to steal a Gideon of the Trials from my opponent's library. After I've cast that gideon, my opponent casts Cast Out and exiles it. If the Cast Out is later destroyed, who will control the Gideon?

A: Gideon will return to the battlefield under its owner's control, so your opponent will get it back.

By default, permanents enter the battlefield under their owner's control. The only exceptions to this are if another player controlled the spell that became that permanent or another effect specifies that the permanent enters the battlefield under another player's control.

Q: The fourth Gatherer ruling for Revel in Riches says "If the second ability of Revel in Riches causes you to win the game, please refrain from throwing your Treasure tokens into the air as this may distract or injure other players." Is this an actual rule or more of a guideline?

A: It's a guideline, but please respect your fellow players and do your best to revel responsibly.

I've taken us as far as we can go for this week, but Carsten will be with you all again in a week for the next leg of the journey. Until then, remember to revel responsibly!

- Charlotte

Question: is the Gatherer ruling for Revel in Riches better than the ruling for Island of Wak Wak, which is "This is not an Island"?
#1 • Date: 2017-10-08 • Time: 22:21:11 •

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