Published on 11/13/2017

Release the Icons!

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 Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes.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

My wish is your command
Greetings, and welcome back to another issue of Cranial Insertion! Iconic Masters is coming out in a few days, so for those of you who are looking forward to playing with this set, today's issue focuses on that release. Iconic Masters contains awesome cards from Magic's long history and some advanced mechanics, so it's sure to make players' brains smoke. Moko considers smoked brains a delicacy, so he's very excited about Iconic Masters.

If you have rules questions for us, please email them to or take advantage of the increased 280-character limit and tweet questions to @CranialTweet. One of our authors will respond to you directly, and your question might appear in a future article to educate readers like yourself.

Q: Does suspend help build up my storm count?

A: That depends on what exactly you mean. Suspending a card, i.e. exiling it with a number of time counters on it, is not the same as casting a spell, so this action does not increase your storm count. However, at the other end, when the last time counter is removed in your upkeep, you do get to cast the card for free at that time. Even though you're casting it from an unusual zone for an unusual cost, you're casting it, so that adds to your storm count for that turn.

Q: Does rebound add to my storm count?

A: Absolutely, and it does so twice. When you cast the card from your hand, it is a spell you cast, and then when you cast it a second time from the exile zone, it is a spell you cast. Just like with suspend, you get to cast it for free from the exile zone, but you're still casting it when it rebounds, so it adds to your storm count.

Q: If I control Hypersonic Dragon and my opponent controls Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir, can I cast sorceries as though they had flash?

A: No. Your Hypersonic Dragon wants to allow this, but your opponent's Teferi prohibits it. One of the Golden Rules of Magic is that an effect that prohibits something from happening overrides any effect or rule that allows it to happen, so Teferi wins this interaction.

Q: If my opponent casts an instant, say Disenchant on my turn, can I counter that spell by responding with Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir?

A: Nice try, but that doesn't work. By the time you get to respond to your opponent's spell, they've already completed the process of casting it. Introducing an effect that prohibits them from casting spells doesn't affect any spells they've already cast. What you're trying to do is like closing the barn door after the cow already left, and it won't bring back the cow.

Q: My opponent's Ancestral Vision is about to come out of suspend. Can I stop that by flashing in Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir in their upkeep?

A: Yes, that works. In this situation, you're introducing Teferi's effect before Ancestral Vision's ability allows your opponent to cast it. By the time that ability resolves, Teferi's effect is in place and forbids your opponent from casting it.

Q: Can I tap an attacker with Blinding Mage to stop its attack?

A: Not really. Once your opponent has declared attackers, the chosen creatures are attacking, and they're already tapped unless they have vigilance. Even if the attacker has vigilance, tapping it won't stop its attack. You can only use Blinding Mage to stop a would-be attacker by tapping it before your opponent declares attackers, but then they can choose to attack with something else.

Q: My opponent controls a Genesis Hydra with five +1/+1 counters on it. Can I Diminish it?

A: Well, you can cast Diminish on it, but that won't have the effect you're hoping for. Diminish sets the Hydra's base power and toughness to 1/1, but its base power and toughness starts out as 0/0. The five counters apply on top of the new base, for a total power and toughness of 6/6, so you actually managed to make your opponent's Hydra a little bit bigger. Whoops.

Hail Hydra!
Q: If I cast Genesis Wave for and I reveal Genesis Hydra, how many counters can I put onto the Hydra?

A: Sadly, none at all. Despite their similar names, Genesis Wave does not play nicely with Genesis Hydra. Since you didn't cast Genesis Hydra, you never got the chance to choose an X for it, so the X in Genesis Hydra is 0, and it enters the battlefield as a feeble 0/0 that'll die right away if you choose to put it onto the battlefield.

Q: My opponent has enchanted my Serra Angel with Claustrophobia. Can I get rid of it by enchanting my Angel with Pentarch Ward naming blue?

A: Sure! One of the benefits of protection from a color is that the protected permanent can't be enchanted by Auras of that color. This not only prevents Auras of that color from being attached to it in the first place, but there's a state-based action that checks whether a permanent is enchanted by something that can't enchant it. With the Angel's newly gained protection, Claustrophobia is now illegally enchanting the Angel, and the state-based action throws Claustrophobia into the graveyard.

Q: Can Auriok Champion block Lord of the Pit because it has protection from black?

A: Nope. Protection from black means only four specific things: Damage that would be dealt to Auriok Champion by black sources is prevented, black Auras and Equipment can't be attached to it, it can't be blocked by black creatures, and it can't be the target of black spells or abilities of black sources. Protection does not mean that Auriok Champion gets to ignore Lord of the Pit's flying ability.

Q: I attack with a creature that has protection from white thanks to Pentarch Ward, and my opponent casts Wing Shards. Do I have to sacrifice it?

A: I'm afraid so. Wing Shards is targeting you, not your creature, and it's not doing any of the aforementioned four things that protection helps with, so you're going to have to sacrifice that attacker.

Q: If Claustrophobia is revealed with Genesis Wave, can I attach it to a creature with protection from blue?

A: No. Even though the Aura isn't targeting anything while it's entering the battlefield off of Genesis Wave, it still has to be attached to something that it can legally enchant. A creature with protection from blue can't legally be enchanted by a blue Aura, so you'll have to attach Claustrophobia to something else if you choose to put it onto the battlefield.

Q: If Genesis Wave reveals Dragon Tempest and a bunch of Dragons, and X was big enough that I can put all those cards on the battlefield, does awesomeness ensue?

A: If by "awesomeness" you mean a bunch of damage, yes, awesomeness does indeed ensue. Genesis Wave puts Dragon Tempest and the Dragons onto the battlefield at the same time, and permanents that enter the battlefield at the same time see each other entering. This means that Dragon Tempest's ability triggers once for each Dragon that you're putting onto the battlefield, and then each of those abilities counts how many Dragons you control, including the newcomers.

Q: Does Day of the Dragons count as a Dragon for Dragon Tempest?

A: Not directly. It's not a Dragon just because it has "Dragon" somewhere in its name. However, Day of the Dragons has an enter-the-battlefield ability that can create a lot of Dragons, and that will definitely trigger Dragon Tempest's ability a lot of times.

Q: My opponent casts Glimpse the Unthinkable on me and I have fewer than ten cards in my library. Do I lose the game?

A: Probably soon, but not right away. Running out of cards in your library is not a reason to lose the game, and failing to put a card from your library into your graveyard isn't a reason to lose the game, either. However, attempting to draw from an empty library will cause you to lose the game, and that will happen as soon as your next draw step, so you have only a very small window of opportunity to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Q: Does Corpsejack Menace double the effect from Enlarge?

A: That would be amazing, but unfortunately that doesn't work. Corpsejack Menace changes the number of +1/+1 counters that are put onto creatures you control, and an effect only puts counters if it uses the word "counter." Enlarge just creates an effect that increases the creature's power and toughness for a while, and it does so without putting counters on the creature, so Corpsejack Menace does not interact with that.

Q: I'm trying to kill my opponent's Furnace Whelp with Reave Soul, and in response she uses its ability to increase its power to 4. She says that this stops Reave Soul from killing it. Is that right?

A: I'm afraid so. Reave Soul is a targeted spell, and the game checks the legality of Reave Soul's target twice: First when you cast it, and second when it starts to resolve. The creature's power is part of the targeting requirement, so by increasing its power, your opponent has rendered the Whelp an illegal target for Reave Soul. Since Reave Soul's only target is now illegal, it is countered on resolution by the game rules.

Q: What happens if both my opponent and I control Abyssal Persecutor?

A: Nothing much out of the ordinary happens, except that neither of you can win or lose the game now. Until one of you gets rid of their Abyssal Persecutor, the game will continue even if both of you go to 0 or less life or if both of you run out of cards. If both of you manage to run out of cards without finding a way to get rid of their Abyssal Persecutor, the best thing to do would be to end the game in an intentional draw and move on to the next game. For the next game, you should sideboard in a few more sacrifice outlets for your Abyssal Prosecutor so you can avoid this outcome in the next game.

Q: How should I randomly choose a card for Surreal Memoir?

A: Let's start with the easiest case first: If there's only one instant card in your graveyard, that's the one you're choosing, and you're done.

If there are more than one, you have to use some randomization method to choose one randomly. You could use a coin or a die with at least as many outcomes as instant cards in your graveyard, and assign each outcome to a different card. (If there are more outcomes than cards, assign "reroll" to the excess outcomes.)

If you're playing in a format that doesn't care about graveyard order, such as Iconic Masters limited, you could also just pull out the instant cards out of the graveyard, shuffle them up, have your opponent pick one at random, and put the other cards back into your graveyard in any order you like. If you choose to use this method in a format in which graveyard order matters, such as Legacy or Vintage, you'll have to keep track of where each card came from and put each card back into its proper place, which is a lot of hassle so you're probably better off just using a die.

Q: Can I play with Iconic Masters cards in a Standard tournament?

A: No. Much like the Commander products, Iconic Masters is a supplemental product, not a Magic expansion set. As such, being printed in Iconic Masters doesn't make a card legal in Standard.

And that's all the time we have for this week. Thanks for reading and please come back next week when Nathan presents us with another helping of Magic rules questions and answers.

- Carsten Haese

About the Author:
Carsten Haese is a former Level 2 judge based in Toledo, OH. He is retired from active judging, but he still writes for Cranial Insertion and helps organize an annual charity Magic tournament that benefits the National MS Society.


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