Published on 07/04/2011

WURBG, but More WUR Today

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 Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes.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

Oooo! Ahhh!
Hey there! Today happens to be the 4th of July, and that's Independence Day in the US. While we're celebrating our country by blowing up a small part of it with fireworks, blowing up our stomachs with bad BBQ food (as is tradition) and drinks, and for some reason watching Twilight Zone marathons (an Independance Day tradition dating back to 1776), the Cranial Inserting doesn't stop just because it's a holiday! We've got a whole bunch of explosive rules questions from our inbox, and we're going to set them off below, so get ready to "Oooo" and "Aahh" at the show!

Once you recover from any festivities you may or may not be involved in, be sure to send in your rules questions to , or tweet them to @CranialTweet. You'll be glad you did!

Q: Does the additional management cost for commanders affect things like morph? For example, if I'm casting Akroma, Angel of Fury from the command zone face-down and she was already cast once before, does she cost or ?

A: . Even while face-down, your commander's still your commander, and he or she is still subject to the commander tax.

Q: I attack with Kaalia of the Vast and drop in a Dragon Mage. I don't like my new seven cards, so I flashback a Seize the Day and untap my Dragon Mage and try to swing again, but someone else in the game told me I couldn't attack with it again. Why not?

A: Strangely enough, just because something has been attacking doesn't mean it can attack. In most games it won't matter, but it does when it comes to untapping creatures and extra combat steps. Dragon Mage was put onto the battlefield tapped and attacking, but that's something special that Kaalia gives her heavenly, demonic, and/or firebreathing friends. What she doesn't give them though, is haste, so they can't attack that turn again.

Q: If there's a Dueling Grounds out and I attack with Kaalia of the Vast, can I even drop anything onto the field attacking?

A: Sure! Dueling Grounds only puts a restriction on more than one creature attacking at a time. It doesn't stop anything from being put onto the battlefield already attacking.

Q: If I block an attacker with Loyal Sentry, can I bounce my Loyal Sentry with, for example, Whitemane Lion before he dies?

A: Yes! It might seem wrong, but unlike combat damage, triggers like this do go on the stack. When Loyal Sentry's trigger resolves, it'll do as much as possible, which means destroying the creature it blocked while Loyal Sentry itself escapes destruction in the safety of your hand.

Q: So let's say I have a Butcher Orgg, but my pesky opponent has a Teferi's Moat on the battlefield, preventing my Orgg from giving him a big 6 damage hug. But if he foolishly attacks me, can I block with my orgg, then since I'm the defending player, assign his combat damage among my creatures, specifically my convenient Stuffy Doll I have set on him?

A: Sneaky, but it works! You can assign Butcher Orgg's combat damage to creatures defending player controls, and now you're the defending player! So you can have your Butcher Orgg take out its aggression on your Stuffy Doll all you want.

Q: Let's say I have five creatures on the field, the same number in the graveyard, and control a Grave Pact. Then I play Living End. I think that we exile all the creatures in our graveyards, then sacrifice all creatures we control (which puts the Grave Pact triggers on the stack) and then the spell finishes resolving with all the exiled creatures entering the battlefield. I'm wondering though, when does my opponent have to sacrifice all his new creatures?

A: That's pretty close to correct, but although things can trigger during the resolution of a spell, those triggers don't go on the stack until after that spell has finished resolving. So when Living End resolves, there'll be five fresh Grave Pact triggers waiting for your opponent, and he'll have to sacrifice five of his creatures.

Q: If someone destroys Karmic Justice, do I get to destroy a permanent?

A: Yup! As long as Karmic Justice isn't a creature, it'll be a "non-creature permanent you control" and so it'll trigger its own ability.

Zedruu is very patriotic, but
Numot, the Devastator
realyl brings the fireworks!
Q: I use Nomads en-Kor to target my Cephalid Illusionist a billion times, then donate the Cephalid Illusionist with Zedruu the Greathearted in response to the mill triggers. Does my opponent mill their entire library?

A: Not even one! You control all the triggers from Cephalid Illusionist, so you're the one that's milling your own library while your Illusionist watches from the other side of the table.

Q: If Phyrexian Ingestor chose an active Rusted Relic as a target, would it get +5/+5 or nothing?

A: It'll get nothing. While in exile, Rusted Relic is just an ordinary artifact, not a creature, so it has no power or toughness for Phyrexian Ingestor to ingest.

Q: With regards to the new bans, Is the War of Attrition event deck still considered "intact" if I move some of the sideboard cards to the maindeck instead and shifted the maindeck cards to the side?

A: Officially, the War of Attrition deck is only legal if you follow the exact decklist provided in the box. That means the sixty cards in the maindeck and fifteen cards in the sideboard must be exactly the same for game one of every match. You can still sideboard for games two and three!

Q: So if I have Karador, Ghost Chieftain and Skullclamp in play, can I pay one green to summon Veteran Explorer, equip it with Skullclamp, have it die and search two Forests, draw two cards, and repeat until I run out of Forests in my deck?

A: Karador lets you cast one creature card from your graveyard each turn, and that's the limit - once per turn. And to top if off, once Veteran Explorer leaves your graveyard, it's changing zones and is no longer the same card. You can get two basic lands and draw two cards each turn if you want though!

Q: With Karn Liberated's ultimate, are any cards I start the game with in play before or same time as any Leylines?

A: Neither! Leylines are put onto the battlefield as part of the pre-game procedure. After all the pre-game stuff is out of the way, Karn's ability finishes resolving and puts all the exiled permanents onto the battlefield under your control just before the untap step, and then you start your turn.

Q: Does that mean I can attack and use abilities that cost with creatures Karn gives me the first turn?

A: It does! You've controlled these creatures since you started your turn, so they can attack and tap to pay costs for their abilities as normal.

Q: If I start with Chancellor of the Spires and Leyline of the Void in hand, do each of my opponents get their top seven exiled or just in the graveyard, or do I get to choose?

A: Leyline of the Void starts on the battlefield way before the first upkeep when Chancellor of the Spires's ability triggers, so the cards will get exiled. It's not optional, the cards are headed straight to exile!

Q: Can I evoke a creature such as Shriekmaw or Mulldrifter for free when Aluren is out?

A: Nope! Just because you can cast Shriekmaw or Mulldrifter for three mana or less doesn't change that their converted mana cost - defined by the mana cost at the top right of the card - is five for each of them. Besides, Aluren is an alternative cost, and so is evoke. You can't pay two different alternative costs for one spell, so you wouldn't be able to use Aluren to flash in an evoked Offalsnout.

Flurk's crude goblin language didn't
differentiate between "I watch the
fireworks show" and "I am the
fireworks show."
Q: How does Melira, Sylvok Outcast, interact with effects like Phyresis and Tainted Strike?

A: They give her infect! Oh, I see - your opponent's playing them on their creatures! That all boils down to timestamps. If your opponent's creatures gain infect after Melira's hit the field, they'll have infect. Of course, good luck having them do anything relevant to you or your creatures as long as Melira's around to stop them!

Q: Say I play Necropotence and pay life for some cards on my next turn. What happens if Necropotence gets destroyed before my next turn comes? Would I still get the cards?

A: Don't worry, you didn't pay all that life for nothing. Necropotence's activated ability sets up a delayed triggered ability, and that trigger will go on the stack at the beginning of your next end step even if Necropotence is gone.

Q: I target my opponent's Precursor Golem with Titan's Revenge, and copy the spell so it targets the other two Golems on his side. Do I clash three times as well? If so, as long as I win one clash, do I return Titan's Revenge to my hand?

A: You will clash for each copy of Titan's Revenge as it's part of the spell's effect, but only one of those clashes actually matters in the long run. The "return Titan's Revenge to its owner's hand" text refers to that Titan's Revenge, not any others on the stack. And if you win a clash with a copy of the spell, the copy will return to your hand... and then cease to exist, since it's not an actual card. But since the actual Titan's Revenge will resolve last, you can use the previous clashes to try to improve your odds!

Q: How does Aura of Silence affect artifact lands?

A: Aura of Silence lets them use their mana abilities to pay the additional cost to cast artifact and enchantment spells! It can even be sacrificed to blow them up! Otherwise, it doesn't do anything to them, as artifact lands aren't spells.

Q: If Karn Liberated has activated his ultimate and exiled enough cards from a player's deck to cause that player to have less than seven cards in their library after restarting the game, does that player lose the game because they are unable to draw an opening hand of seven cards?

A: After what must've been an excruciatingly long game (especially if this is Commander, or a Legacy/Vintage/Modern Battle of Wits deck is involved), your opponent will restart the game and your opponent will promptly lose the first time state-based actions are checked. (Bonus points if you post in the forums telling us when exactly the first time state-based actions are checked is!) Each draw at the start of the game is performed seperately, much like any other multiple-card-draw instructions, and that handy state-based action that says "If a player attempted to draw a card from a library with no cards in it since the last time state-based actions were checked, he or she loses the game." will make them lose the game.

Well that's it for me, I'm gonna go enjoy some fireworks! Eli will be here next week for some Magic 2012 questions!

About the Author:
Brian Paskoff is a Level 2 judge based in Long Island, NY, and frequently judges in NY, NJ, and PA. You can often find him at Brothers Grim in Selden or Friendly Neighborhood Comics in West Islip. He runs a newsletter for Long Island Magic players called Islandhome, which can be signed up for by contacting him.


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