Published on 10/01/2018

Return to Return to Ravnica

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Good news! You've been promoted to front-line duty!
Hi everyone, and welcome back to Cranial Insertion! This week, we're heading back to one of Magic's most popular planes, Ravnica. We'll be taking a closer look at the Boros, Izzet, Dimir, Golgari, and Selesnya guilds, the featured guilds in Guilds of Ravnica. I'm sure a lot of your enjoyed playing your favorite guild at the prelease last weekend and are looking forward to brewing new standard decks for the new standard format, but we're going to look at some of the more common questions that we've seen pop up over the last few weeks.

Didn't see your question answered here? Feel free to contact us with your question. It might even be featured in a future article. If you have a short question, you can Tweet it to us at @CranialTweet. Or if you have a longer question, you can e-mail us at moko@cranialinsertion.com .



Q: I attack with a Light of the Legion, Sunhome Stalwart, and a Ledev Guardian. Can I stack the mentor triggers so that the Stalwart gets a counter from the Light's trigger and the Guardian gets a +1/+1 counter from the Stalwart's trigger?

A: Nope, that won't work. When you're putting the mentor triggers on the stack, you have to choose a legal target for the trigger. That means you need to choose an attacking creature with a lesser power than the creature with mentor. At the point when we're putting triggers on the stack, the Guardian and the Stalwart have the same power - two. Since the Guardian doesn't have a lower power, you can't target it with the Stalwart's trigger. It doesn't matter that the Stalwart will get a counter from the Legion's trigger, all that matter is that when you're putting the Stalwart's trigger on the stack, the Guardian doesn't have a lesser power, so the trigger can't target the Guardian.



Q: I attack with two Wojek Bodyguards and a Tenth District Guard. If I target the Guard with the mentor triggers from both Bodyguards, does my Guard end up as a 4/4?

A: Nope, it'll get one counter, but not two. Mentor checks its target twice to make sure the target is legal: once when we're putting the trigger on the stack, and again when the trigger goes to resolve to make sure the target is still legal.

Here, when we're putting the Bodyguard's mentor triggers on the stack, the Guard is a legal target for both triggers, since its power is two, which is less than three. When the first trigger resolves, the Guard gets a +1/+1 counter, making it a 3/3. But when the second trigger goes to resolve, the Guard no longer has a lower power than the Bodyguard - both have a power of three. Since three is not less than three, the second mentor trigger won't do anything and the Guard will not get a second counter.



Q: I have a Platinum Angel in play, and I cast Chance for Glory. At the of my extra turn, I haven't finished off my opponent, so the Glory's delayed ability triggers. What happens?

A: When the trigger resolves, you would lose the game - except Platinum Angel steps in and prevents you from losing the game. That means you'll continue playing.

But what about the effect that makes your creatures indestructible? That effect doesn't have a duration - because in most cases, you're either winning the game during your extra turn or you're losing the game to the Glory's triggered ability. But since you found a way to not lose to that trigger, the effect from the Glory continues, and your creatures will still be indestructible as long as they remain on the battlefield.

However, keep in mind that the Glory locks in which creatures are indestructible when the Glory resolves. It won't affect a creature that enters the battlefield after the Glory resolves, so you'll need to keep track of which creatures are indestructible and which ones are not (although having an indestructible Platinum Angel is probably going to be fairly handy).



Q: If I have a split card like Integrity // Intervention, can I cast both sides at the same time?

A: Only one side at a time. With split cards, you can only cast one half of a split card at a time. The last time we were in Ravnica, we had split cards with the ability fuse (for example, Wear // Tear), which gave you the ability to cast both halves of a split card at the same time. But the new split cards in Guilds of Ravnica don't have fuse, so you can only cast one side or the other at a time, not both halves at once.



Q: If I cast Beacon Bolt, will it count itself as a card in my graveyard or exile and deal an extra point of damage?

A: Nope, it won't count itself, whether you're casting it like normal or via Jump-start. The final step of an instant or sorcery resolving is going to the graveyard (or, if it was cast via jump-start, to exile). While the Bolt is resolving, it's still on the stack. Since it's not in your graveyard or exile zone, it will not count itself for its own effect.



Q: I have two Beamsplitter Mages in play and I cast Maximize Velocity targeting one of them. Can I make the copy from the first Mage's trigger target the second Mage, triggering the second Mage's ability, and keep bouncing spells back between them to make them both extremely large?

A: The Izzet are crazy, but not that crazy. Beamsplitter Mage's ability only triggers if you cast an instant or sorcery targeting it. The spell made by the Mage's trigger is put on the stack, not cast. While you can make a copy of the Velocity targeting the other Mage, that copy wasn't cast, so the second Mage's ability won't trigger and you won't be able to make a second copy targeting the first Mage - you'll just end up giving your two Beamsplitter Mages +1/+1 and haste for the rest of the turn.



Q: I have a Runaway Steam-Kin with no +1/+1 counters on it in play, and I cast Sonic Assault. Will the Steam-Kin get a counter?

A: Yep, the Steam-Kin gets a counter. The Steam-Kin's ability triggers when you cast a red spell, and the Assault is a red and blue spell. The Steam-Kin doesn't care if the card is other colors besides red, just as long as the spell is red. Since the Assault is red, the Steam-Kin's ability will trigger and it will get a +1/+1 counter.


Looks like the guilds have a lot to talk about today.


Q: I have an Omnispell Adept in play. Can I use the Adept's ability to cast a sorcery (like Gravitic Punch) at the end of my opponent's turn?

A: Yep, you can. When the Adept's ability resolves, it gives you permission to cast an instant or sorcery from your hand. This gets around normal timing restrictions (since you aren't normally allowed to cast a spell while an ability is resolving), so it doesn't matter if the card you want to cast is a sorcery and that it's not your turn - the Adept's ability will let you cast the Punch during your opponent's turn.



Q: What if I cast Mission Briefing on my opponent's turn and choose Thought Erasure? Can I cast the Erasure on my opponent's turn?

A: Nope, the Briefing doesn't change when you can cast the spell, just from where. If you cast the Briefing on your opponent's turn, you should make sure that you choose an instant, because if you choose a sorcery, you won't be able to cast the card.

Some of you might be thinking "Wait, why does the Adept let me cast a sorcery on an opponent's turn but not Mission Briefing?" The difference is the wordings of the cards. Mission Briefing gives you a time frame to cast the spell - "this turn". Since the Briefing is giving you a time frame in which you can cast it, it doesn't change when you can cast it, meaning you can still only cast a sorcery during one of your main phases when the stack is empty. The Adept is different - it doesn't give you a time frame to cast it, you cast it while the ability is resolving. Which means you can get around normal timing restrictions, like being a sorcery.



Q: I attack my opponent with Etrata, the Silencer. After it's dealt combat damage, can I bounce it back to my hand so it isn't shuffled into my library? And will their creature still be destroyed?

A: Yes and yes, both of those work. When Etrata's ability resolves, you exile the targeted creature and shuffle Etrata into its owner's library. This happens even if Etrata is no longer on the battlefield, since the ability exists independent of the source that made it. You could even use something like Siren's Ruse on Etrata to exile and return it in response to the trigger, since the Etrata that's on the battlefield now is a different permanent than the source of the original trigger (even if it's represented by the same card). In short - remove Etrata from the battlefield before its trigger resolves, and you won't shuffle it into your library.

As a side note, if Etrata is your commander, you can also choose to put it in your command zone instead of shuffling it into your library when the trigger resolves. You'll have to pay the commander tax to cast Etrata again, but you also don't have to wait until you draw it again before you can replay it.



Q: I have Lazav, the Multifarious in play, and I make it a copy of Nightveil Sprite. If I attack with Lazav, do I get to surveil 1? Its name isn't Nightveil Sprite, it's Lazav, the Multifarious.

A: Yep, the ability works just fine. When a card uses its name in its text box, it means that the card is referring to itself. Even if a card with a different name gains the ability, the ability will still function like normal, since the ability is referring to itself, not a card named "Nightveil Sprite". If the Lasav Sprite attacks, the ability will trigger like normal and you'll be able to surveil 1.



Q: Earlier in the game, I discarded Disinformation Campaign to my graveyard. Later on, I played Dimir Informant. Since I surveiled, can I return the Campaign from my graveyard to my hand?

A: Nope, you can't. The Campaign's second triggered ability, like most abilities, only works if the Campaign is on the battlefield. It doesn't work if the Campaign is in your graveyard (if it could return itself from your graveyard to your hand, then it would say so on the card, similiar to how Kraul Swarm's ability lets you return it from your graveyard to your hand). For the Campaign to return to your hand, it has to be on the battlefield when you surveil, it won't trigger if it's in your graveyard when you surveil.



Q: I cast Assassin's Trophy targeting my opponent's Grappling Sundew. In response, my opponent activates the Sundew's ability, making it indestructible. What happens when the Trophy resolves?

A: The Trophy's target is still legal, so it will still resolve like normal. The Trophy tries to destroy the Sundew, but doesn't since it's indestructible. Then your opponent may search their library for a basic land card and put it onto the battlefield. Searching for the land is not reliant upon the target actually being destroyed, so if the Trophy doesn't destroy the permanent because of something like indestructible, they will still be able to search for a land.



Q: If I have two Underrealm Lichs in play, what happens when I draw for the turn during my draw step?

A: The same thing that would happen if you had just one Underrealm Lich on the battlefield. Underrealm Lich has a replacement effect that replaces you drawing with looking at the top three cards of your library, putting one into your hand, and the rest in your graveyard. This effect completely replaces the draw, so you're no longer drawing a card once you've applied the Lich's replacement effect. Having two Lich in play isn't very useful, since one Lich will replace the draw with its own effect, and the other Lich's ability won't apply since you're no longer drawing a card.


If you look closely, you'll see
Fblthp in the background.


Q: I have five creature cards in my graveyard, including a Rhizome Lurcher. I cast Rise from the Grave targeting the Lurcher. Does it enter the battlefield with four or five counters?

A: It enters the battlefield with five counters! The Lurcher has a replacement effect that lets it enter the battlefield with +1/+1 counters on it equal to the number of cards in your graveyard. We check this number before the Lurcher enters the battlefield, since it's a replacement effect. Since it's not on the battlefield yet, that means the Lurcher is still in your graveyard when we're figuring out how many counters it should enter with. The Lurcher will count itself as a creature card in your graveyard, and the Lurcher enters the battlefield with five +1/+1 counters since you have five creature cars in your graveyard.



Q: I have an empty graveyard andI attack with Plaguecrafter. My opponent blocks with an Arclight Phoenix. Can I cast Necrotic Wound on the Phoenix to exile it instead of having it go to the graveyard when it dies?

A: Yep, you can do that. Even if you have no creature cards in your graveyard, the other part of the Wound's effect will still apply to the creature. In your case, the Wound gives the Phoenix -0/-0, since you have no creature cards in your graveyard, but if the Phoenix would die this turn, it's exiled instead of going to the graveyard. Which is convenient for you, since the Phoenix would have traded in combat with your Plaguecrafter if you hadn't cast the Wound first. Now the Phoenix heads to exile, not the graveyard, which will prevent it from returning in the future.



Q: I have ten token creatures in play. I want to cast Venerated Loxodon, but I want all of my tokens to get a +1/+1 counter. Can I tap all ten tokens to pay for the Loxodon, so they can all get counters?

A: This used to be possible years ago, but isn't possible any longer. Convoke used to be a cost reducing effect, but now it's not reducing the cost - you're just tapping your creatures to help pay for the spell (just like how you spend your mana to help pay for your spell). And no matter how badly you want to, you cannot "overpay" a spell. The Loxodon costs , which means that, barring other effects that increase the cost, you won't be able to tap more than five creatures to convoke to pay for the Loxodon (and since you can only tap five creatures to pay for it, only those five creatures will get a +1/+1 counter from the Loxodon's ability).



Q: I cast Knight of Autumn, and with its enter the battlefield trigger, I choose to put two +1/+1 counters on the Knight. In response, my opponent activates Goblin Cratermaker's ability and kills the Knight. Since the Knight is no longer on the battlefield, can I change modes and gain 4 life instead?

A: No taksies backsies here. When you put the enter the battlefield trigger on the stack, you have to announce which mode you're choosing. Once you've chosen that mode, you can't change your mind later on. Since that mode is locked in when you put the trigger on the stack, you can't change your mind later on, even if your opponent kills the Knight in response and it's no longer worthwhile to put counters on something that doesn't exist.



Q: On my opponent's previous turn, they stole my Impervious Greatwurm with In Bolas's Clutches. On my turn, I cast Trostani Discordant. What happens at the end of turn? Do I get my Greatwurm back, or do they just regain control of it because of the Clutches?

A: You get the Greatwurm back and you keep it. When Trostani's trigger resolves at the end of the turn, we set up a change of control effect that gives you control of the Greatwurm back, since you're the owner of the Greatwurm. Your opponent's Clutches will remain attached to your Greatwurm, but since the effect from Trostani has a later timestamp than the effect of your opponent's Clutches, the effect from Trostani overrides the effect from the Clutches and you retain control of it.

It doesn't matter that the Clutches is an aura and Trostani is a triggered ability. What matters is the timestamp of the two effects: the timestamp for the Clutches is set when they become attached to the Greatwurm, and the timestamp from Trostani is set when the trigger resolves. While your opponent's Clutches will stay attached to your Greatwurm, Trostani will ensure that you regain control of the Greatwurm



Q: I control a Divine Visitation and I attack with Nacatl War-Pride. What happens with the War-Pride's triggered ability? Are the Angels tapped and attacking? Are they exiled at the end of turn?

A: The Visitation changes effects you control that would create creature tokens by making 4/4 Angel tokens with flying instead of the normal token that would be created. Everything else is the same. So when the War-Pride's triggered ability resolves, you will create X 4/4 Angel creature tokens with flying that are tapped and attacking, where X is the number of creatures the defending player controls. They aren't copies of the War-Pride, so your opponent isn't forced to block them.

At the end of turn, those Angels will be exiled by the War-Pride's triggered ability. That's because the War-Pride's triggered ability still made the tokens. They ended up looking a little different thanks to the Visitation, but those tokens were still made by the War-Pride's triggered ability, and thus are still affected by the War-Pride's triggered ability and end up exiled at the end of turn.



That's it for this week. We'll see you again next week!


 

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