Published on 11/06/2017

Autumnal Reflection

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 Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes.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

"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower."
― Albert Camus
November is here, Halloween has passed, and now we in the northern hemisphere find ourselves in the crisp and colorful grip of autumn. As the days grow shorter and the leaves drift down to the ground, I find myself in a quiet and reflective state of mind. This week, in addition to the usual assortment of questions, I offer you a selection of quotes about autumn. So grab a warm cup of tea, put on a cozy sweater, and get ready for some fresh Q&A.

Remember, if you have a rules or policy question, or just want to share your favorite fall dessert recipe, 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: Judge! Is there any interaction between Trove of Temptation and Ghostly Prison? Do my opponents have to pay the mana or can they choose not to attack?

A: Your opponents can never be forced to pay mana to attack you when you control Ghostly Prison, but they can if they want to. (Being unable to attack unless a cost is paid is considered the same as not being able to attack at all if the creature's controller doesn't want to pay.) If you control a planeswalker, your opponents are still required to at least attack it, since Ghostly Prison doesn't impose a tax to attack your planeswalkers, but they can pay to attack you instead even if you do control a planeswalker.

Q: Spell Swindle has a ruling on it saying you still get treasures when you target an uncounterable spell with it. Is the same true for Plasm Capture? Will I still get mana from targeting an uncounterable spell with it?

A: Yes, you'll still get mana. Plasm Capture's delayed trigger doesn't care if Plasm Capture countered the targeted spell, and so you'll get your mana as long as the spell was still a legal target when Plasm Capture resolved.

Q: My opponent casts Tinker and says "Tinker for Blightsteel Colossus?" I say sure. Is my opponent required to pull out a Blightsteel Colossus? What if they don't have one? Can they claim to not have one if they do?

A: Yes, they're required to get a Blightsteel Colossus for that Tinker. One of the tournament shortcuts outlined in section 4.2 of the Magic Tournament Rules says, in part: "If a player casts a spell or activates an ability and announces choices for it that are not normally made until resolution, the player must adhere to those choices unless an opponent responds to that spell or ability." When your opponent says "Tinker for a Blightsteel Colossus", what they're really saying is "Cast Tinker. If it resolves, get Blightsteel Colossus with it." If they don't have a Blightsteel Colossus in their deck or get something else with it, then they've violated the shortcut rules and the game can be rewound to when the Tinker was announced so that you can respond to it without the shortcut requiring your opponent to find a specific card. However, if you respond to the Tinker at all, even if it's just to float mana, then your opponent is no longer bound to their proposed choice of Blightsteel Colossus.

Q: At what point would a creature you're looking to copy with Vizier of Many Faces need to be killed to prevent you from copying it? Also, if this does happen are you able to choose another creature or does it enter as a 0/0?

A: The choice of which creature to copy with Vizier of Many Faces or any similar clone effect is made when it's about to enter the battlefield. You don't make the choice when you cast it, though if you announce your intended choice at that time, it follows the shortcut rules laid out in the previous answer. When Vizier of Many Faces enters the battlefield, it's too late for anyone to stop you from copying what you want to copy. If you stated that you intended to copy a particular creature when you cast Vizier but that creature is no longer a legal choice when Vizier enters the battlefield, then you're able to choose another creature to copy.

"Autumn is the hardest season. The leaves are all falling,
and they're falling like they're falling in love with the ground."
― Andrea Gibson
Q: How does melee and multiple combat steps interact? Do I get the triggers again at the second combat step?

A: It works pretty well! Let's say you attack one opponent with Combat Celebrant, which you exert, and another opponent with Deputized Protester. Deputized Protester will get +2/+2 from its melee ability, and this bonus will last until end of turn. In the second combat phase you got from Combat Celebrant, you attack with just the Deputized Protestor. It gets a further +1/+1 until end of turn from its melee trigger, for a total of +3/+3.

Q: My opponent and I both forgot to put a permanent back into play when Flickerwisp's delayed trigger should have gone on the stack. The mistake isn't noticed until a full turn later. Is there a fix or does the game simply continue with the exiled permanent remaining in exile?

A: Delayed triggers that only cause a card to change zones cannot be missed. If such a trigger is found to have been missed, then the opponent of that trigger's controller chooses whether or not the trigger will go on the stack immediately or at the beginning of the next step or phase. This happens no matter how long ago the trigger was missed.

Q: Hi! I don't understand Search for Azcanta's ruling: "If a seventh card is put into your graveyard by something other than resolving Search for Azcanta's triggered ability, you won't transform it yet. You'll have to wait until your next upkeep." Why can't I Though Scour myself in response to the trigger? Thanks!

A: First of all, Gatherer rulings aren't rules. They're explanations that cover common interactions and questions. Because of this, they're written generally and won't cover every possible case exactly.
The specific rule you cite is just saying that Search for Azcanta can only transform as part of the resolution of its ability which triggers in its controller's upkeep and that adding a seventh card to your graveyard doesn't cause Search for Azcanta to transform or otherwise trigger.
You can indeed Thought Scour yourself in response to Search for Azcanta's trigger to add more cards to your graveyard and speed up Search for Azcanta's transformation into Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin, but it won't transform until that trigger resolves.

Q: If I use Kess, Dissident Mage to cast Hanabi Blast from my graveyard while I have an empty hand, will the Hanabi Blast end up in my graveyard or in exile?

A: Hanabi Blast will end up in your graveyard. Kess's replacement effect on applies to Hanabi Blast until it leaves the stack, and it doesn't stop Hanabi Blast from going to your hand. Once Hanabi Blast has entered your hand, it's a new object and no longer subject to Kess's replacement effect that would exile it. When you discard Hanabi Blast it just goes to the graveyard normally.

Q: Can paying the costs of abilities like Ashnod's Altar or Heritage Druid be responded to? Can someone respond to me sacrificing my board or tapping my creatures by killing them?

A: No, these abilities are mana abilities and they can't be responded to. Any activated ability that could produce mana, doesn't have a target, and isn't a loyalty ability is a mana ability. Mana abilities don't use the stack and just resolve immediately.

Q: If my opponent's commander would die while I'm controlling their turn, do I make the decision about whether to put that card in the command zone?

A: Yes. The decision about whether to apply the command zone replacement effect is made by the commander's owner. Since you're controlling the player who is that card's owner at the time the decision would be made, you get to tell them what decision to make.

Q: In a game where someone casts Shahrazad, can a player concede the subgame without conceding the main game?

A: Yes, you can concede the subgame, just like you can concede the main game or the match. When it comes to concessions, you have full control over exactly what you're conceding.

Q: I'm confused by the wording on Snowfall. When it says, "Spend this mana only to pay cumulative upkeep costs," what mana is it referring to? Is it any additional mana produced due to Snowfall, or only the extra UU for Snow lands?

A: Some cards are best left alone and forgotten in the mists of time, and Snowfall is one of those cards. But to answer your question, the last sentence refers to any mana produced by Snowfall's triggered mana ability, be it from you tapping snow or non-snow islands.

Q: How does Sylvan Library and Alms Collector interact? Say I have Sylvan Library on the battlefield and choose to draw two extra cards. Can my opponent flash in Alms Collector so that I only draw one card?

A: If your opponent is letting you choose to draw cards for Sylvan Library's trigger, then they're allowing the trigger to resolve and won't be able to cast Alms Collector at that time. If they cast Alms Collector befor Sylvan Library's trigger resolves, then you're still allowed to choose to not draw cards for it when it resolves. If you still choose to the draw the cards with your opponent's Alms Collector on the battlefield, then both you and your opponent will draw a card when the trigger resolves and you'll have to choose two cards you've drawn this turn (i.e. the draw for your turn and the card you just drew) and either put each back on top of your library or pay 4 life for each one you want to keep in your hand.

"Autumn is as joyful and sweet as an untimely end."
― Rémy de Gourmont
Q: If my opponent searched their library this turn and I Archive Trap them for , could I then use Snapcaster Mage to flashback Archive Trap for ?

A: Unfortunately, you can't pay to cast Archive Trap from your graveyard here. Snapcaster Mage gives Archive Trap a flashback cost equal to its mana cost, so Archive Trap's flashback cost is and that's the cost you have to pay to cast it from your graveyard. Flashback is the only thing allowing you to cast Archive Trap from your graveyard, and so if you want to do so, you have to pay its flashback cost. You can only pay one alternate cost for a spell, so the alternate cost from Archive Trap's own ability loses out. (Note that you would be able to cast Archive Trap for off of an effect like Jace, Telepath Unbound's -3 ability since that ability just gives you permission to cast the spell from the graveyard without imposing an alternate cost.)

Q: If I'm below zero life and still alive somehow, if I'm going to take damage and I play Angel's Grace, will I gain life and go to 1?

A: No. Angel's Grace only stops damage from reducing your life total below 1 if it was already 1 or higher. If this isn't the case, then you'll lose life normally from damage this turn.

Q: I have a Reflecting Pool and a Calciform Pools with no counters on it, can I tap the pool for white or blue mana?

A: Yes, you can. The type/color of mana a land "could produce" is any type/color of mana any of its mana abilities would generate were they to resolve at that time. You don't have to be able to actually activate those mana abilities.
For example, you could tap Reflecting Pool for colorless mana or mana of any color if you controlled only it and Cascading Cataracts, even though there is no way you could activate the ", : Add five mana in any combination of colors to your mana pool." ability with your current resources.

Q: I saw a thread on Reddit that said that Banishing Light can return commanders from the command zone. Is this true?

A: Yes, this is true, but only under specific circumstances. In order for the commander to be able to be returned to the battlefield when Banishing Light leaves the battlefield, its owner has to have chosen to send it to the command zone instead of to exile when Banishing Light's trigger first resolved. Also, the commander has to have remained in the command zone since that time. If it left the command zone and later returned, then it's a new object and Banishing Light won't recognize that it was the card its trigger moved from the battlefield.
So, in summary, if a commander gets put in the command zone when Banishing Light's trigger resolves, and it stays there until Banishing Light leaves the battlefield, then it will return to the battlefield when Banishing Light leaves the battlefield.

Q: My friend and I were stumped with this one. I have a Leyline of Punishment in my opening hand, and he has Providence in his opening hand. I was thinking the player going first would get priority to do his opening hand actions but I'm unsure of the exact ruling here.

A: Your opponent won't gain any life and will stay at 20 life. Pre-game actions, such as putting Leylines onto the battlefield or revealing Providence from your hand, are handled starting with the player who will take the first turn (a.k.a. in APNAP order). This doesn't matter for this situation, though, since both you and your opponent will both have taken your pre-game actions before the trigger from revealing Providence can go on the stack. Since your opponent can't gain life, the trigger won't have any effect. (This is assuming you're playing a 20 life format. If you're playing a format where starting life totals are greater than 26, then your opponent will lose enough life to set their life total to 26.)

Q: If I were to use God-Pharaoh's Gift to make a token of Vona, Butcher of Magan, and Anointed Procession made two tokens instead, would I be able to use the activated ability of one of the tokens before the legend rule forces me to get rid of one of them?

A: No, this doesn't work. The legend rule is a state-based action, and state-based actions are checked immediately before any player would get priority. This means that they'll be checked after God-Pharaoh's Gift's trigger resolves and makes the two token Vonas. The legend rule then forces you to put one of them into your graveyard before you get priority and a chance to activate Vona's activated ability.

Q: If I played a Banisher Priest and sacrificed it in some way before its enter-the-battlefield trigger resolves, would the creature targeted with Banisher Priest's ability still leave the battlefield, even if it just returns immediately afterward?

A: No, the creature you targeted won't leave the battlefield at all. What's happening here is that the duration of the exile effect from Banisher Priest's triggered ability is ending before it can even begin. In such a case, the effect in question never happens at all.

Q: If Capsize is countered by Cancel, and you paid Capsize's buyback cost, does the buyback part of the spell still resolve?

A: No, no part of Capsize resolves. When you pay the buyback cost of a spell, the spell gains a replacement effect that puts it into its owner's hand instead of their graveyard as it resolves. A countered spell doesn't resolve, so Buyback's replacement effect never gets a chance to do anything and Capsize just sinks into its owner's graveyard.

That's all for me this week, but join us again next week when Carsten will be talking about... more rules stuff, I guess.
- Charlotte

Typo: "Though Scour" should be "Thought Scour".
#1 • Date: 2017-11-09 • Time: 06:51:07 •

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