Published on 10/14/2019

A Night at the Opera

Cranial Translation
Deutsch Español Français Italiano



Here comes that singing feeling.
Thunder and lightning. Enter Carsten and Moko.

Greetings, and welcome to another issue of Cranial Insertion. I recently went to the opera to see a performance of Verdi's adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth, and it was an awesome experience. The atmospheric set design, intricate costumes, and emotional performances all came together to tell the story of Macbeth in a way that was truly inspiring, and now I am inspired to sing this article to you. Of course, we're a print-only medium, so you'll have to imagine me singing to you, which is just as well because I'm not a great singer.

As always, if you have questions you'd like us to answer, please email them to moko@cranialinsertion.com or tweet short questions to @CranialTweet. One of our authors will reply to you, and your question might appear in a future article.

And now, let's get to our first aria, I mean question.



Q: I'm confused by the new rule 601.3e for Throne of Eldraine. It says that if I control Melek, Izzet Paragon, I can cast Chop Down from the top of my library. I don't see how that's possible, since the card is a creature card in the library, so Melek's ability shouldn't apply to it.

A: Let's break it down. When you cast a card, there are cases in which only a subset of the card's characteristics or alternative characteristics are considered to determine if it's legal to cast the card. Notably, this applies when you're casting a split card, or a card with morph face-down, or when you're casting an adventurer card as an adventure. In those cases, the rule tells you that those alternative characteristics replace the card's normal characteristics before you determine whether you may begin to cast it.

What this means is that you begin by proposing to cast the Chop Down adventure page of Giant Killer. Rule 601.3e kicks in and tells the game to look at the characteristics of Chop Down to determine if you can begin to cast this card. It now sees that you're trying to cast a sorcery card from the top of your library, which is allowed because of Melek's effect, and everything is hunky-dory.




Q: Okay, so can I cast an adventurer card from my graveyard as an adventure with Finale of Promise, Torrential Gearhulk, or Past in Flames?

A: No, none of those will work. Unlike Melek's effect, which applies to the top card of your library by virtue of its physical location, these effects all depend on the card (or cards) being instants and/or sorceries in the graveyard in order for their effect to apply in the first place. Since the adventurer card in the graveyard is a creature card, you can't target it with Finale of Promise or Torential Gearhulk's ability, and Past in Flames ignores it during its resolution.



Q: Under previous rules, I could cast either half of Commit // Memory from the graveyard with Torrential Gearhulk. Can I still do that now?

A: Sure. Commit // Memory is an instant card (among other things) in the graveyard, so it's a legal target for Torrential Gearhulk's ability, so the ability gives you permission to cast that card. Once that permission has been established, it's not contingent on the card type anymore, so it doesn't matter which half of the card you choose when you cast it.



Q: Can I cast Beck from my hand for free with Kari Zev's Expertise?

A: Yup! Casting a split card makes rule 601.3e kick in, so you replace the card's characteristics with the characteristics of the half you want to cast before determining if you're allowed to begin casting it. Beck is a card with converted mana cost 2 or less in your hand, so you're allowed to cast it.



Q: So, just to make sure I got it: If I control Muldrotha, the Gravetide and there's a Giant Killer in my graveyard, I can cast the Giant Killer, but not Chop Down?

A: Exactly! You choose which "part" of the card you want to cast before you check if you're allowed to begin casting it. If you choose the creature part, Muldrotha allows it; if you choose the instant part, Muldrotha doesn't allow it, and nothing else allows it, either, so you can't begin to cast Chop Down.



Q: Can I cast an adventurer card directly as a creature from my hand, or do I need to send it on an adventure first?

A: You can cast it directly as a creature. Going on an adventure first is an option that's available to you if you need it, but it's not mandatory.




Is this a dagger which I see before me,
The handle toward my hand?
Q: If an adventurer card gets exiled with something like Never Happened, can I cast the card from exile?

A: No. The effect that allows you to cast an adventurer card from exile only gets set up if the card is exiled as part of the resolution of its adventure page. Being exiled for any other reason doesn't set up that effect, so your card will just be stuck in exile indefinitely.



Q: If I enchant a non-flying creature with Trapped in the Tower and it later gains flying, what happens?

A: Auras constantly check what they're attached to via state-base actions, and Trapped in the Tower can only enchant a creature without flying. If the thing Trapped in the Tower is attached to stop being that, either by becoming something other than a creature or by learning how to fly, Trapped in the Tower goes to the graveyard for being attached illegally, and the creature will no longer be trapped in the tower.



Q: If I cast Clockwork Servant for three colorless mana, do I get to draw a card?

A: No. Clockwork Servant checks if three mana of the same color was spent to cast it, and colorless is not a color, so its trigger condition is not met.



Q: I control Thrumming Stone and cast Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, and there's another Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger among the four cards I reveal for the ripple effect. Do I get to exile four permanents?

A: Assuming that you choose to cast the Ulamog that you reveal, sure. Ripple allows you to cast the revealed card without paying its mana cost, which is different from just putting it onto the battlefield. Casting the revealed Ulamog triggers it's "exile two permanents" ability, as well as another ripple 4, so you'll even get to look for a third Ulamog (and a fourth if you find a third in the next four cards).



Q: I control Unbound Flourishing and cast Hydroid Krasis for X=2. How many cards do I get to draw?

A: That depends on how you arrange the two triggers on the stack. Hydroid Krasis's ability uses whatever value its X has at the time the trigger resolves. If you let Unbound Flourishing's ability resolve first, X will be doubled to 4 and you'll draw half of four, so two cards. If for some reason you let Hydroid Krasis' ability resolve first, you'll draw half of two, so only one card.



Q: Let's say I activate Wishclaw Talisman and then respond with Teferi's Protection to phase it out. What happens?

A: Wishclaw Talisman phases out, and then the ability resolves and does as much as it can, so you search your library for a card, put it into your hand, and shuffle your library. Then, the game wants to give control of the Talisman to an opponent of yours, but the Talisman is phased out, so the game treats it as though it didn't exist. Therefore, no control-changing effect is created, and during your next untap step the Talisman will phase back in under your control.



Q: My opponent casts Finale of Devastation and I flash in Aven Mindcensor in response. What do they get to search?

A: Aven Mindcensor's replacement effect applies to Finale of Devastation and replaces the part of the effect that lets your opponent search their library. It doesn't care about the graveyard part and leaves that alone. The end result is that your opponent gets to search the top four cards of their library and their entire graveyard.



Q: If I don't control any creatures, can I cast Silver Drake and return a white or blue creature card from my graveyard to my hand?

A: Sadly, no. Silver Drake's ability asks you to return a white or blue creature, which by default means a creature on the battlefield. The only such creature you control is Silver Drake itself, so it ends up returning to your hand right away.




Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
Q: I control Leyline of Combustion and my opponent has an Ancestral Vision coming out of suspend. When they cast it targeting themselves, I use Ricochet Trap to redirect it to target me. Does the Leyline trigger to deal 2 damage to my opponent?

A: It sure does. You have become the target of a spell an opponent controls, which matches what the Leyline is looking for. It doesn't matter that you weren't the spell's original target or that you caused the target to change.



Q: I control Containment Priest and my devotion to white is four. If I resolve Show and Tell and choose Heliod, God of the Sun, will Heliod enter the battlefield or will it be exiled?

A: It will enter the battlefield. Containment Priest checks what's about to enter the battlefield to determine if its replacement effect should apply, and for that it uses rule 614.12, so it checks the characteristics of Heliod as it would exist on the battlefield. To do this, it considers Heliod's ability as if it were on the battlefield, but Heliod's not actually on the battlefield yet, so your devotion is still four and Containment Priest concludes that Heliod isn't a creature, so its replacement effect doesn't apply to it. Once Heliod is on the battlefield, it counts towards your devotion and promptly becomes a creature, but that's too late for Containment Priest to do anything about it.



Q: Does Murderous Rider contribute four to my devotion to black?

A: Nope. While Murderous Rider is on the battlefield, the game only sees the characteristics of Murderous Rider, so it doesn't see the two mana symbols in Swift End.



Q: If I control Narset, Parter of Veils and cast The Great Aurora, would my opponent be prohibited from drawing more than one card?

A: No. When The Great Aurora resolves, first each player shuffles all cards from their hand and all permanents into their libraries, and then they draw a bunch of cards. You shuffled away your Narset in the first step, so there's nothing stopping your opponent from drawing more than one card in the second step.



Q: So, since the new Brawl decks include Command Tower, does that mean Command Tower is now legal in Standard?

A: Yes, although the way you're asking the question kind of swaps the cause and the effect. Being included in a supplemental product or in a preconstructed deck doesn't automatically make a card legal in Standard. Command Tower is legal in Standard because it's being reprinted in Throne of Eldraine, which is a Standard-legal set, and being Standard-legal allows the card to be in a Brawl deck. However, note that in a game without a commander, Command Tower won't produce any mana (not even colorless mana), so there's very little reason to include it in a Standard deck.




And that's all the time we have for tonight's performance. I hope you've enjoyed it, and please come back next week for more!

Exeunt.

- 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.


 
Alfy
I honestly don't understand the difference between Commit//Memory and Torrential Gearhulk on one side, and Giant Killer and Muldrotha on the other.

First case, I target Commit//Memory and it works because it's the right type of card, and then I can cast another type. But the Gearhulk says I can cast an instant, But once Commit//Memory is on the stack, it's a sorcery.
So why does it not work in the second case? Giant Killer is the right type, creature, so why can't I then choose to cast the instant part?

I have to say I similarly don't understand why I can cast an adventure with Kess, but not with Snapcaster. I have read 601.3e, and I don't understand why determining which characteristic works in one case and not the other.
#1 • Date: 2019-10-21 • Time: 06:30:54 •
Carsten
Quote (Alfy):
I honestly don't understand the difference between Commit//Memory and Torrential Gearhulk on one side, and Giant Killer and Muldrotha on the other.

First case, I target Commit//Memory and it works because it's the right type of card, and then I can cast another type. But the Gearhulk says I can cast an instant, But once Commit//Memory is on the stack, it's a sorcery.
So why does it not work in the second case? Giant Killer is the right type, creature, so why can't I then choose to cast the instant part?

I have to say I similarly don't understand why I can cast an adventure with Kess, but not with Snapcaster. I have read 601.3e, and I don't understand why determining which characteristic works in one case and not the other.


There are two fundamentally different ways here to get permission to cast a card. Torrential Gearhulk and Snapcaster Mage target a particular card, and you're obtaining permission to cast that particular card. Kess and Muldrotha on the other hand create continuous effects that you use "on the fly".

With Gearhulk and Snapcaster Mage, you have to be able to target the card you want to cast, which is why you can't Snapcaster Mage an adventure, because it's a creature card in the graveyard. The Gearhulk can target a split card as long as one half of it is an instant, and it gives you permission to cast the whole card. When you do cast it, you can choose whichever half you want, because the permission isn't tied to the card type. (The card type was only relevant when you were targeting the card.)

With Kess and Muldrotha, you establish permission to cast the card on the fly, and that's where rule 601.3e kicks in when you cast a split card or an adventurer card: You replace the card's characteristics with the characteristics of the part you want to cast before you check whether you're allowed to begin casting it. In order for Muldrotha's effect to apply, you have to choose the creature part. In order for Kess's effect to apply, you have to choose the instant or sorcery part.
#2 • Date: 2019-10-21 • Time: 07:14:18 •
Alfy
Thanks for taking the time to answer!

What confuses me is the wording of 601.3e: I don't understand why I don't look at the alternative characteristic (say, Instant) when looking at whether my Snapcaster can target the card or not. Note that the wording specifically states: "[...] prior to determining whether a player may begin to cast it". It would seem the ruling should apply, I want to target, I replace the adventure card Creature type by the Instant type, and voilà.

Still, I understand the logic of the answer now.
#3 • Date: 2019-10-21 • Time: 09:19:23 •
Rhadamanthus
Quote (Alfy):
What confuses me is the wording of 601.3e: I don't understand why I don't look at the alternative characteristic (say, Instant) when looking at whether my Snapcaster can target the card or not.


The reason 601.3e doesn't apply here is because that rule is about how to determine whether it's legal to cast a spell, not about how to determine whether an object is a legal target for something. You're not casting the spell when you choose it as a target for Snapcaster's trigger, you're just choosing a target for a triggered ability.
#4 • Date: 2019-10-21 • Time: 10:25:13 •
Alfy
Ah, thanks, that makes it crystal clear now!
#5 • Date: 2019-10-22 • Time: 04:29:27 •
 

Follow us @CranialTweet!

Send quick questions to us in English for a short answer.

Follow our RSS feed!