Published on 05/24/2021

Ode to the Judgecast

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If you ever need a generic vanilla creature,
Bear Cub is there.
Hiya everyone, and welcome back to Cranial Insertion! Today, I thought we'd talk about another judging resource that's available on the internet - the Judgecast. The Judgecast is a podcast that's been around since around 2010. It's had a wide variety of hosts over the years, and they cover a variety of judge-related topics. They've had a wide number of hosts over the years, but it's currently hosted by Bryan Prillaman and Samantha Harr. While the rules of Magic are a frequent topic, they'll also discuss policy or tournament related issues. It's an excellent source of rules and judging knowledge, and they've recently returned from a hiatus and started putting out episodes again. They've called us out a few times on some of their episodes, and it only seems fair to return the favor, since they are also an excellent resource for judges and judging. So if you have a slot in your podcast-listening schedule, and you're not listening to them already, give them a listen. Besides their website, their podcast can be found on many popular podcast services like iTunes or Spotify.

And once you're done with their latest podcast and done reading our latest article, if you still have questions, you can send them to us. We may even use them in a future article. If you have a short question, you can send it to us via our Twitter account at @CranialTweet, and you can send us longer questions at .

Q: I cast Study Break targeting my opponent's only creature - an Overgrown Arch. In response, my opponent sacrifices the Arch to its activated ability. Will I still get to learn?

A: Nope, your Study Break has been interrupted and you won't learn anything. When Study Break goes to resolve, it checks to see if its target or targets are still legal. In this case, the Break's only target is illegal since your opponent sacrificed the Arch, so none of the spell's effects will happen and you will not get to learn. If you want to ensure that your Break resolves, you could choose a second target for the Break to make it harder to counter like this (you could even target a creature you control as the second target), or you could choose zero targets, since "up to two target creatures" includes zero targets.

Q: I activate Codie, Vociferous Codex and cast a Field Trip. The card I exile to Codie's trigger is Tormenting Voice. Since I can cast it without paying its mana cost, does that mean I don't have to discard a card either?

A: No, you still need to discard a card to cast the Voice. Casting a spell without paying its mana cost just gets around the mana cost of the spell. If there are any additional costs to casting the spell, you still need to pay them. So while you won't have to pay to cast the Voice, you'll still need to pay the additional cost of discarding a card if you want to cast the Voice.

Q: I control Blex, Vexing Pest. If I play a creature with changeling like Masked Vandal, will the Vandal get +5/+5 from Blex's ability?

A: Nope, it only gets +1/+1. While the Vandal is all creature types, Blex has a single ability that will pump Pests, Bats, Insects, Snakes, and Spiders. Blex's ability doesn't care if the creature has two or more of the listed creature types (it would have to be separate abilities, like how Glen Elendra Liege is worded, to pump it multiple times), so while the Vandal has all of the types that Blex cares about, it still only gets +1/+1 from the ability.

Q: I cast Journey to the Oracle. Can I choose to put Beyeen Coast onto the battlefield?

A: No you cannot. With modal double faced cards, you only get access to the back face if you're casting or playing the card. You don't get access if you're putting the card onto the battlefield. The Journey puts the lands onto the battlefield, it does not play them, meaning you only get to look at the front face, and the front face is Beyeen Veil - an instant, not a land - so you cannot put it onto the battlefield.

Q: I cast Skyclave Apparition, and target my opponent's Edgewall Innkeeper. In response, my opponent Shocks the Apparition. What happens?

A: Your opponent misses out on getting a 1/1 token. If the Apparition leaves play before its enter the battlefield trigger resolves, that causes the leave the battlefield ability to trigger, and that trigger goes on the stack above the enter the battlefield trigger of the Apparition. When the leave the battlefield trigger resolves, nothing happens, since there's no exiled card to reference (since the enter the battlefield trigger hasn't resolved yet). Then, the enter the battlefield trigger resolves and the Innkeeper is exiled. By not letting the enter the battlefield trigger resolve before casting Shock, your opponent has missed out on a 1/1 creature.

Q: I control a Forest that's a 2/2 Fractal because I put it onto the battlefield with Emergent Sequence with two +1/+1 counters on it. Then I decide to mutate onto it with Migratory Greathorn. If I put the Greathorn on top, what does my creature look like?

A: You're probably not going to like this, since your mutate creature is a 2/2 creature. Those of you who were mutating onto a land animated by Nissa, Who Shakes the World last summer will know the pain here. With mutate, everything that happens with mutate happens in layer 1, while the effect from the Sequence is applied much later, in layer 7 (along with the bonus from the counters). By putting the Greathorn on top, it starts out as a base 3/4. When we get to layer 7, we apply the effect from the Sequence, and now it's a base 0/0. Then we apply the bonus from the two counter, and the Greathorn is a 2/2 creature.

And, as an additional quirk to mutate, your Greathorn doesn't have the ability to tap for green mana. That's because since the Forest isn't on top, the Forest only contributes its text box to the mutate. It doesn't contribute its type line, meaning that the mutated creature doesn't have the Forest subtype. And since it doesn't have the Forest subtype, that mean it doesn't have the ability to tap for green mana, and so the Forest isn't actually going to contribute much to the mutated creature.

Have you hear the story of the
Slowest. Bolt. Ever?

Q: If I cast a Mizzix's Mastery via overload, but my opponent controls a Drannith Magistrate, will that interfere with my Mastery at all?

A: The Magistrate will completely shut you down. The copies made by the Mastery are not put on the stack - you cast the copies from exile. But since the Magistrate says you can only cast spells from your hand, your opponent's Magistrate will prevent you from casting the copies made by the Mastery, since the copies are not being cast from your hand.

Q: I control Tymaret Calls the Dead and a Hex Parasite. Can I let the chapter III trigger go on the stack, then remove a lore counter from the saga and keep it around?

A: Yep, you can do that! The saga will be sacrificed when state-based actions are checked once the final chapter ability is no longer on the stack (because it has resolved, or because it was countered, among other reasons). The chapter III ability of Tymaret Calls the Dead can be responded to, so you can use Hex Parasite's ability to remove a lore counter. Once the final chapter ability is done resolving, it's a saga with two lore counters on it, not three, so the saga will not be sacrificed.

Q: If I put Spirit Link on a creature that has lifelink like Blood Glutton, will I gain twice as much life when the Glutton deals damage?

A: You will! It may feel like a card like Spirit Link gives the creature lifelink, but it actually doesn't - it's a triggered ability that triggers when the enchanted creature deals damage. A creature having lifelink won't stop Spirit Link from triggering as well when the creature deals damage, so if the Glutton deals four damage in combat, you'll gain four life because the Glutton has lifelink, and then you'll gain four more life from Spirit Link's triggered ability, for a total of eight life gained.

Q: I control a Primal Empathy, and the only creature on the battlefield is a Birds of Paradise that I control. Do I draw a card or do I put a +1/+1 counter on my Birds of Paradise?

A: You get to draw a card. You control the creature with the greatest power on the battlefield, since you control the only creature on the battlefield. It doesn't matter that the creature has a power of 0, your Birds have the highest power, so you'll draw a card from the Empathy trigger.

Q: My opponent controls a Phyrexian Obliterator that I really need to get rid of, but the only removal spell I have in my hand is Deem Worthy. If I cast Deem Worthy on the Obliterator, will I sacrifice five permanents or seven permanents?

A: You have to sacrifice seven permanents. Deem Worthy deals seven damage to the targeted creature, not just enough to kill the creature. While the Obliterator has a toughness of five, it will still take seven damage from the Worthy, so while you've gotten rid of your opponent's Phyrexian Obliterator, you'll have to sacrifice seven permanents in return.

Q: I cast a random spell that my opponent decides to counter with Pact of Negation. I respond by activating Vexing Shusher's ability targeting my spell. Does my opponent still need to pay during their next upkeep?

A: Yep, they still need to for the Pact's upkeep trigger or they'll lose the game. Vexing Shusher makes it so the spell can't be countered, but it can still be targeted. When the Pact resolves, it won't counter the spell because of the Shusher's ability, but since the Pact still resolves, the delayed trigger is still set up and your opponent will have to deal with the Pact trigger during their next upkeep or lose the game.

Q: I'm at -9 life, but I'm being kept alive by my Platinum Angel. My opponent attempts to Shatter my Angel, so I respond with Teferi's Protection. What happens?

A: You'll lose the game. Once Teferi's Protection resolves, all of your permanents (including Platinum Angel) phase out. Since you Angel is now phased out, it's treated as though it doesn't exist, so it's no longer stopping you from losing the game. While you won't lose the Angel to your opponent's Shatter, you are losing the game since the Angel is no longer protecting you while it's phased out.

Still have questions about Two-Headed Giant?
They probably answer them here

Q: I want to cast Volcanic Offering, but one of my opponents controls a Waterfall Aerialist, whose ward tax I can't pay for. If one of my opponents chooses the Aerialist as a target for the Offering, do I have to pay for the ward trigger?

A: Yes, you need to pay. While an opponent gets to choose some of the targets for the spell, you are the player who is ultimately casting the spell. If the Aerialist is chosen as a target for the spell (even if it's the controller of the Aerialist that's choosing to target it), since it's your spell, the ward ability will trigger, and if you don't pay for the ward trigger, the entire spell will be countered.

Q: My opponent controls a Bronze Guardian. If I cast Into the Core targeting two of my opponent's artifacts, do I have to pay for one ward trigger or two ward triggers?

A: If you want Into the Core to resolve, you need to pay for both ward triggers. When you cast Into the Core targeting your opponent's two artifacts, the ward ability of both artifacts will trigger. You need to pay for both triggers to make sure your spell won't get countered - paying for one trigger isn't enough. So it would end up costing you eight mana total to exile your opponent's two artifacts - four mana to cast Into the Core, and four more mana to pay for both ward triggers.

Q: If I have a Blood Sun in play, will I still take damage if I tap my Ancient Tomb for mana?

A: Yep, you'll still take two damage. Blood Sun will remove the land's abilities except for mana abilities. But taking two damage is part of the Tomb's mana ability. Since taking two damage is part of the mana ability, it won't be removed by Blood Sun, so you'll still take damage when you're tapping the Tomb for mana.

Q: I attack with a Veinwitch Coven and a Leech Fanatic. My opponent blocks my Coven with a pair of 2/2 creatures. Do I still get the Coven trigger? Could the Coven return itself?

A: Yes and yes! All combat damage is dealt at the same time, so at the same time the Coven is taking lethal damage, the Fanatic is dealing its damage and you're gaining life. That causes the Coven's ability to trigger, but we don't put it on the stack yet. The next thing we do is we check for state-based actions. The Coven has lethal damage marked on it, so the Coven is put into the graveyard. Then, once we're done with state-based actions, we put any triggered abilities that are waiting to go on the stack onto the stack. Even though the Coven is no longer on the battlefield, we can still put its trigger on the stack, and since the Coven itself is in the graveyard, the Coven could even target and return itself to your hand.

Q: My opponent casts Oversimplify. Is there a chance for me to flash in Bold Plagiarist so my Plagiarist gets counters equal to the number of counters my opponent's fractal token gets?

A: Nope, you can't do that. If you cast the Plagiarist before Oversimplify resolves, then the Plagiarist ends up exiled along with all of the other creatures. If you let Oversimplify resolve, then you won't get priority again until after the spell is completely done resolving, and flashing in the Plagiarist at that point won't give it any counters, since it wasn't on the battlefield when the opponent's fractal token got its +1/+1 counters.

Q: I control an Angel of Serenity. I cast Cursed Mirror, choosing to copy my Angel when it enters the battlefield and exile three of my opponent's creatures. If the turn ends and later my Mirror leaves play, will my opponent gets their creatures back?

A: Nope, they've lost their creatures permanently. Once the turn ends, the Mirror stops being a copy of the Angel and goes back to being Cursed Mirror. If it leaves play as the Mirror, it doesn't have the Angel's leave the battlefield trigger, so the creatures that the Mirror had exiled when it was a copy of the Angel remain exiled. If your opponent wants their creatures back, they have to kill your Angel Mirror the turn you play it - otherwise, it turns back into the Mirror and they'll lose those creatures for the rest of the game.

Q: My commander is Extus, Oriq Overlord. If I cast Stinging Study, can I choose to use the back side of Extus and draw 8 cards instead of 4 cards?

A: You cannot. Unless you're playing or casting the back side, we only care about the front side of a modal double-faced card. Stinging Study will only look a commander you own on the battlefield or in the command zone, and it's not possible to have Awaken the Blood Avatar in either one of those zones - at best, you could have it on the stack, but the Study won't look for a commander you own on the stack. This would work a little better if your commander was Valentin, Dean of the Vein, since you could cast the back side (Lisette, Dean of the Root), and then, once Lisette is on the battlefield, cast the Study and you'll draw four cards since your commander's mana value is now 4, but it does not work with Extus.

That's all I have for you this week. Until next time, I'm your writer Nathan Long, and I keep it fair. And I also keep it fun.


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