Published on 08/10/2020

Doubling Season's Greetings!

Cranial Translation
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Double your tokens,
Double your fun
Greetings and welcome to another issue of Cranial Insertion. While summer has traditionally been the seemingly endless abyss between the spring set and the fall set, this year we have an almost overwhelming abundance of summer releases, so today we present to you the third release special in seven weeks! That's right, just three weeks ago we talked about Jumpstart, and now it's already time to talk about Double Masters. It's almost enough to give you mental whiplash, but fortunately we have the mental fortitude to handle it, and we hope you do, too.

Double Masters is quite a deep set and in this article we'll just barely scratch the surface of what the set has to offer, so I'm sure you'll have questions that aren't answered here. If you have rules questions for us, about Double Masters or anything else, please email them to or tweet short questions to @CranialTweet. One of our authors will send you a reply, and your question might appear in a future article.

Finally, those of you who are paying attention to our author rotation will have expected an article from Charlotte today. Charlotte has made the difficult decision to leave the Cranial Insertion team to focus on other priorities. We're grateful for the contribution she made to Cranial Insertion over the years, and we wish her the best for her future endeavors.

Now, without further ado, let's take a look at some of the rules questions that Double Masters has brought up!

Q: I control Doubling Season and cast a Walking Ballista for X=3. Does it enter with six +1/+1 counters?

A: Yup! Effects that pay attention to counters being put on a permanent not only work when a counter is put on a permenent that's already on the battlefield, but they also work when a permanent is entering the battlefield with counters on it, so Doubling Season doubles the number of counters with which Walking Ballista enters the battlefield.

Q: If I control Doubling Season and cast Arixmethes, Slumbering Isle, does Arixmethes get ten slumber counters on it?

A: Unfortunately for you, yes, Arixmethes will slumber twice as long as normal. Doubling Season applies to any kind of counter, not just +1/+1 counters or counters that are good for you, so it applies to Arixmethes's slumber counters for the same reason as in the previous question. Also, Doubling Season's effect is mandatory, so you can't choose not to apply it.

Q: I control Doubling Season and attack my opponent with Geist of Saint Traft. What happens?

A: Doubling Season applies and changes the number of Angel tokens you create, but doesn't change anything else about those tokens. This means that you create two Angel tokens that are tapped and attacking, and the delayed triggered ability to exile "that token" applies to both tokens. Since the effect that creates the tokens doesn't specify what they attack, you choose for each one independently whether it attacks your opponent or a planeswalker they control.

Q: I control a planeswalker, a Bioessence Hydra, and Doubling Season. If I proliferate the planeswalker and the Hydra, what happens?

A: Proliferate wants to add one loyalty counter to the planeswalker and one +1/+1 counter on the Hydra, and Doubling Season doubles both, so the planeswalker gets two loyalty counters and the Hydra gets two +1/+1 counters. The two loyalty counters being put on the Hydra triggers its last ability, which wants to put two more +1/+1 counters on the Hydra. Doubling Season doubles that to four, so the Hydra gets four more +1/+1 counters on it, for a total of six +1/+1 counters.

Q: I phased out my opponent's creature with Oubliette. What happens if she uses Time and Tide?

A: The creature that was phased out by Oubliette is a phased-out creature, so it phases in, since that's what Time and Tide tells it to do. The fact that Oubliette would eventually phase it in itself doesn't mean that Oubliette is the only effect that can cause it to phase in. When Oubliette leaves the battlefield, there is nothing to phase in since the creature already phased in, so nothing happens and the creature doesn't get tapped.

Q: I use Stonehewer Giant to fetch a living weapon. Which creature does the equipment end up getting attached to?

A: In the end, it'll be attached to the Germ token. You start by resolving Stonehewer Giant's ability, so you fetch an equipment card and put it on the battlefield. This triggers the living weapon ability, but it has to wait to go on the stack. Next, you attach the equipment to a creature you control and shuffle your library. Now that the Giant's ability is done, the living weapon ability can go on the stack and resolve, so you create a Germ token that yoinks the equipment away.

Q: I have a Sword of the Meek in my graveyard and cast Flayer Husk. Does the Flayer Husk Germ get the Sword?

A: Nope. Flayer Husk enters the battlefield as an unattached equipment, then you create a 0/0 Germ token, and then you attach Flayer Husk to it, which turns it into a 1/1 creature. The Germ was a 0/0 when it entered, so it didn't trigger the Sword's ability.

There's always room for Jell-O!
Q: If my opponent casts Cyclonic Rift with overload and I respond with Dualcaster Mage to copy it, is my copy overloaded as well?

A: Yup. A copy of a spell copies all the choices that were made for the original spell when it was cast, including the choice of alternative cost, modes, and so on.

Q: I control Blightsteel Colossus and announce that I sacrifice it to Greater Good's ability. In response, my opponent uses Cyclonic Rift to return the Colossus to my hand. Do I still draw a bunch of cards?

A: Certainly, since your opponent can't even do what they're trying to do. You sacrifice Blightsteel Colossus to pay the activation cost of Greater Good's ability, which happens before your opponent gets the chance to respond. By the time your opponent gets priority to cast Cyclonic Rift, Blightsteel Colossus has already been sacrificed and shuffled into your library, so it's not on the battlefield to be targeted with Cyclonic Rift.

Q: If I imprint Cyclonic Rift on Isochron Scepter, can I use the Scepter's ability to cast an overloaded Cyclonic Rift?

A: No, that doesn't work. Overload is an alternative cost to cast Cyclonic Rift, and so is Isochron Scepter's "without paying its mana cost" instruction. You can't apply multiple alternative costs to a spell, and the only cost that allows you to cast the copy at all is the "without paying its mana cost" alternative, so you can't choose the overload cost.

Q: If I use Thespian's Stage ability to copy a Forest, can Sundering Titan's ability destroy the Stage?

A: Sure. It's now a Forest, albeit with an additional activated ability that a Forest normally doesn't have, but doesn't mean it's not a Forest. It copies the Forest basic land type from the original, so it can be chosen as a Forest for Sundering Titan's ability.

Q: I control Avacyn, Angel of Hope and it loses indestructible because of Soul Sear. If my opponent casts Wrath of God, does Avacyn save my other creatures?

A: Yes. Soul Sear robs Avacyn of her own indestructibility, but it doesn't deal enough damage to her to destroy her, so she sticks around for now and continues to give your creatures indestructible. When Wrath of God resolves, it attempts to destroy all creatures in one simultanoeus action. At the time that happens, only Avacyn can be destroyed, so only Avacyn is destroyed and your other creatures survive.

Q: Is equipping Spellskite with Lightning Greaves a good idea or a bad idea?

A: It might be a good idea if you want to make a bold fashion statement, but in terms of gameplay it's a pretty bad idea. Spellskite can only redirect a spell or ability to itself if it would be a legal target for that spell or ability. Since the Lightning Greaves gives it shroud, it can't be a legal target for anything, so it can't redirect anything.

Q: I control Mana Reflection and Heartbeat of Spring, and I tap Wooded Bastion for its second ability. How much mana do I get?

A: You get a total of five mana from this. Wooded Bastion wants to add two mana, which Mana Reflection doubles to four. Heartbeat of Spring has a triggered ability that adds one more green or white mana, and this mana doesn't get doubled by Mana Reflection because it wasn't produced by tapping a permanent for mana.

Q: I've heard that it's possible to use Sharuum the Hegemon, Sculpting Steel, and Disciple of the Vault to make an infinite loop that kills all opponents. Does that work, and how?

A: Yes, that's a pretty well-known combo, and I'm sure it's not an accident that all the pieces of this combo are in Double Masters. You start with Sharuum and the Disciple on the battlefield, and then you cast Sculpting Steel to copy Sharuum. When it resolves, the copy's enter-the-battlefield ability triggers, but before it goes on the stack, state-based actions are checked and you have to put one of the Sharuums into the graveyard. Regardless of whether you choose the original or the copy, it will be in the graveyard by the time you choose the target for the enter-the-battlefield ability, so you can return it right away, and this cycle repeats as often as you want it to. The Disciple's ability triggers as often as you go around that loop, so you can drain all the life from all your opponents unless they can interfere with your plan somehow.

Who ordered the angry salad?
Q: There's a Vengevine in my graveyard and I cast a creature spell that gets countered. Then I cast another creature spell. Does Vengevine pop out of the graveyard?

A: Yup! Even though the first spell didn't resolve, you did cast it, so you are in fact casting your second creature spell this turn, which triggers Vengevine's ability.

Q: If I use Kaalia of the Vast to attack my opponent's Jace, the Mind Sculptor, does the Angel, Demon, or Dragon I put onto the battlefield from my hand attack Jace as well?

A: Sadly, there is no Angel, Demon, or Dragon coming from your hand at all. Kaalia's ability only triggers when she attacks an opponent, so it doesn't trigger when she attacks a planeswalker.

Q: My creatures have double strike thanks to Rage Reflection and I overload Weapon Surge to give them first strike, too. Will they deal double damage in the first combat damage step now?

A: No, it doesn't work like that. First strike means that the creature deals combat damage in the first combat damage step, while double strike means that it deals combat damage in the first and second combat damage step. In other words, giving it first strike on top of double strike doesn't make it do anything it wouldn't already do with just double strike. Your creatures still get +1/+0 though, so your two mana wasn't wasted entirely.

Q: I control Disciple of the Vault and a bunch of artifacts. If I cast Austere Command and choose the first and third modes, does the Disciple's ability trigger for the artifacts that are getting destroyed by Austere Command?

A: Sure. You follow the instructions on Austere Command in the order they're written, so you first destroy the artifacts and then the creatures with converted mana cost 3 or less, so Disciple of the Vault is around to see the artifacts getting destroyed.

Q: I control Mazirek, Kraul Death Priest and a bunch of creatures that don't have +1/+1 counters on them on. If I sacrifice an artifact to Throne of Geth's proliferate ability, do my creatures get +1/+1 counters in time to proliferate them?

A: Yup! You put Throne of Geth's ability on the stack and pay for the ability by sacrificing an artifact. This triggers Mazirek's ability, which goes on the stack above Throne of Geth's ability. Mazirek's ability resolves first and gives your creatures +1/+1 counters. Then, the proliferate ability resolves and it sees +1/+1 counters on your creatures to proliferate.

Q: In which formats are Double Masters cards legal?

A: Similar to Jumpstart a few weeks ago, Double Masters is a supplemental product, not a core set or expansion set, so it doesn't enter into the Standard rotation. The cards from Double Masters are legal in Double Masters Limited, as well as in whichever constructed formats each individual card was already legal.

Q: The French version of Twilight Mire has been misprinted with the wrong mana symbol in the activation cost for it second ability. Is it tournament legal, and if so, what's the activation cost?

A: Yes, a misprinted card is tournament legal as long as it's a genuine card and the card is recognizable, and a French Twilight Mire seems to pass both tests. For the activation cost you go by the official Oracle text in Gatherer, regardless of what the printed text says, so the activation cost is ",."

And that's all the time we have for today. Thanks for reading, and please come back next week for more 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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