Published on 06/14/2021

Postmodern Horizons

Cranial Translation
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Harvesting an abundance
of rules questions
Greetings and welcome to another episode of Cranial Insertion! Prereleases for Modern Horizons 2 are in full swing and the paper release is imminent, which would normally be the cue for our first look at a new set. However, we already did that last week because the paper release was delayed by a week. Fortunately, there's still plenty of Modern Horizons 2 to talk about, along with our usual selection of rules questions from all over Magic, so I still feel justified in using the article title I had planned to use for this week, since Andrew went in a different direction for his article title. This means that you're getting two puns on Modern Horizons 2, which is objectively better than one pun, and also thematically fitting for a set with a "2" in its name.

As always, if you have rules questions for us, email them to or tweet short questions to @CranialTweet. One of our authors will respond to you, and your question might show up in a future article!

Q: Is the Strixhaven Mystical Archives version of Abundant Harvest legal in Modern now?

A: Yes, or rather, it will be once Modern Horizons 2 is officially released on June 18th. When a card is legal in a constructed format, any legal printing of that card can be used in that format, so you don't have to use its most recent printing if you don't want to.

Q: Can I use Urza's Saga's chapter III ability to fetch an artifact land or Sol Talisman?

A: No. A cursory reading of the ability might suggest that you search for an artifact card with converted mana cost 0 or 1, but "converted mana cost" is no longer a thing; that concept is now known as mana value. Also note that the numbers 0 and 1 in the text are actually the mana symbols and , which can be a little hard to make out because of the gray background of the card. Urza's Saga's ability looks at the actual string of mana symbols on the card, and mana costs like , , or "no mana cost at all" don't match the criteria of "mana cost or ."

Q: I want to name Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar with Pithing Needle, but I don't think I'll remember the name right in a tournament. What should I do?

A: First off, you should absolutely not practice her name by chanting it repeatedly. I tried that, and now she's in my kitchen making gargoyle soup.

Anyway, As long as you can uniquely describe the card, it doesn't matter whether you remember the name exactly. In a tournament, you're always allowed to ask a judge for the Oracle text of any card, and the card name is part of its Oracle text. Just pick any unique description such as "that black/red Wizard with the ridiculously long name" or "the MH2 card whose name starts with Asmora", and if your opponent doesn't accept that description, you can use the description to get the card name from the judge and then say, "yeah, that."

Q: My opponent controls a Wastes and a Reflecting Pool. Can I target Reflecting Pool with Break the Ice?

A: Absolutely. Because your opponent controls a Wastes, Reflecting Pool could produce , so it is a legal target for Break the Ice.

Q: I control a Mimic Vat that has Gingerbrute imprinted on it, and I control an Academy Manufactor. What happens if I activate Mimic Vat's ability.

A: Mimic Vat wants to make a Gingerbrute token, which is a Food token even though it's not named "Food". Academy Manufactor cares about the type, not the name, so its replacement effect kicks in and you'll create a Clue, a Food, and a Treasure token instead. However, the remainder of the Vat's ability still happens, so those tokens gain haste and, more importantly, you'll have to exile them at the beginning of the next end step.

Q: I control a Necrogoyf that's 5/4 because there are five creature cards in all graveyards. I use Exponential Growth to double its power once. If my opponent discards a creature card later that turn, does the Goyf's power grow to 12?

A: No. Doubling a creature's power just gives it +X/+0, where X is its power at that time, so your Goyf just gets +5/+0 until end of turn. Once your opponent discards a creature card, its base power goes up to 6, but the boost from Exponential Growth stays the same, so it'll be 11/4.

Q: I control Killian, Ink Duelist and cast Baleful Mastery to exile a planeswalker. Does Killian reduce the cost by ?

A: No. Killian's ability doesn't care whether the spell could target a creature; it checks whether the spell does target a creature. When you cast Baleful Mastery, you choose targets before you calculate the cost, so Killian's ability knows if you're targeting a creature or not, and the cost reduction applies or doesn't apply accordingly.

Oozing for a bruising
Q: If Aeve, Progenitor Ooze is my commander and I cast it with mana from Opal Palace, do the storm copies of Aeve enter the battlefield with extra +1/+1 counters from Opal Palace's effect?

A: No. The storm copies aren't being cast, and the effect that Opal Palace gives the original spell isn't a copiable effect, so it doesn't apply to the copies.

Q: My opponent casts Thassa's Oracle, and in response to its ability I flash in Dress Down. Does the Oracle's ability still resolve?

A: If you responded to the ability, then yes, the ability still resolves. Once an ability is on the stack, it's an independent object on the stack that will resolve regardless of what happens to its source. However, you could have responded to Thassa's Oracle itself. If you do that, then Dress Down is on the battlefield when Thassa's Oracle resolves, so Thassa's Oracle doesn't have an ability that could trigger, so its enter-the-battlefield ability never even triggers in the first place.

Q: If I use Moritte of the Frost to copy a legendary creature, say Garth One-Eye for example, do I have to get rid of one of them?

A: I'm afraid so. Some copy effects remove the legendary-ness of the copy, but Moritte's effect is quite the opposite and makes sure that the copy is legendary even if the original isn't. Since Moritte copies Garth's name, you now control two legendary permanents with the same name, so you have to get rid of one of them.

Q: My opponent casts Intuition and in response I flash in Opposition Agent. What happens?

A: You control your opponent while they're searching their library, so you get to see their library and you decide which cards they find. In practice this means that you'll search their library, except as far as the game is concerned, it's still your opponent doing it. Any cards that they find, per your decision, will get revealed, but they will get exiled instead of being put anywhere else, and then you get to play those exiled cards later.

Q: In a multiplayer game, my opponent's Zaffai, Thunder Conductor's magecraft ability goes off for 10 damage and it randomly chooses me. Can I use Willbender to point the ability at a different opponent?

A: I'm afraid not. Zaffai's ability does not target, which you can tell from the fact that it doesn't use the word "target", so you can't use Willbender — or anything else, for that matter — to influence the outcome. The recipient of the damage is chosen when the ability resolves, and once it starts to resolve, it has to finish resolving before players can do anything else.

Q: If a Trygon Predator attacks a planeswalker and deals combat damage, does its ability trigger?

A: Nope. Players and planeswalkers are different entities to the game, and the Predator's ability only triggers when it deals combat damage to a player.

Q: My opponent controls Sanctum Prelate with a chosen value of 3. Can I cast the Stomp part of Bonecrusher Giant?

A: Absolutely. When you cast a card that has an adventure page, you choose whether to cast the creature or the adventure page before you check any effects that would stop you from casting it. Once you choose to cast Stomp, the game only sees the characteristics of Stomp, which has a mana value of 2, so Sanctum Prelate's effect won't stop you from casting it.

Q: My opponent has two cards in their hand and activates Fodder Tosser to deal damage to me, and I want to avoid the damage. Can I respond by making them discard their hand with Esper Charm so that they can't pay the cost to activate Fodder Tosser?

A: You can respond with Esper Charm, but it won't help you. By the time you get priority to respond to your opponent's activation of Fodder Tosser, they have already paid the cost and discarded one of their cards. Esper Charm would force them to discard their remaining card, but it won't undo the activation of Fodder Tosser's ability.

Q: I control a Body Snatcher that has a Brokkos, Apex of Forever mutated onto it. If it dies, can I keep Brokkos in the graveyard while exiling Body Snatcher for its ability?

A: No. When the mutate pile dies, Body Snatcher's ability tells you to exile the creature that died, which in the graveyard consists of all the cards that made up the mutate pile, so you'll exile both Brokkos and the Body Snatcher from your graveyard.

Q: Does Valkmira, Protector's Shield protect me from the damage from Chandra, Awakened Inferno's emblem?

A: Nope. Even though it comes into existence as a result of your opponent's actions, you control the emblem yourself because you are the player who puts it into the command zone. The emblem is the source of the damage, so the damage is not dealt by a source an opponent controls. Instead of protecting you from the damage, the Shield simply wonders why you keep hitting yourself.

Q: If I cast Out of Time and then somehow sacrifice Out of Time in response to its enter-the-battlefield ability, do all creatures phase out indefinitely?

A: No. Normally, Out of Time would create a one-shot effect to phase out all creatures and schedule a second one-shot effect that phases them in immediately after it leaves the battlefield. However, if the event that causes the second effect happens before the first effect, the first effect never happens. This is similar to a continuous effect with a duration that ends before the effect is created, except that "phase out until [event]" has its own rule to cover this, which is rule 610.4c.

Q: If I control Solemnity and then cast Out of Time, does that phase out creatures indefinitely?

A: Kind of, where "indefinitely" means "until someone manages to get rid of Out of Time." Because of Solemnity, Out of Time enters the battlefield without any time counters on it, so there are no time counters to remove and no way to trigger the ability to sacrifice it when the last time counter is removed. This means that all creatures will phase out and they will stay phased out as long as Out of Time remains on the battlefield.

Speaking of Out of Time, it seems that we're out of time for this week. Thanks for reading, and I hope you'll phase in 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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