Published on 05/21/2012

Calling All Angels

or, Sorry, Wrong Number

Cranial Translation
简体中文 繁體中文 Deutsch Español Français Italiano Pусский

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 Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes.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

"Want to go out for ice cream?"
Since Entreat the Angels blew out the Pro Tour last weekend, lots more of you are calling all the Angels to help you beat down. But the Angels haven't been the source of the most confusion since then! Perhaps they can walk us through this one.

If you've got more questions, and looking at our inbox lately I'm sure you do, click the email button on the left or send us a tweet! We may not have any angels on staff, but we do have a zombie chimpanzee who loves your brains very much.

So on with the answers!

Q: I have a Cavern of Souls naming Giant, and I cast Phyrexian Metamorph copying Inferno Titan. Can I make it uncounterable?

A: You won't be able to. Your Metamorph doesn't become a copy until it's about to enter the battlefield, and that's during its resolution. While it's on the stack still, it's just a Shapeshifter and not a Giant, and can be countered.

Q: With Sudden Disappearance, do cards come back all at the same time? Would Cathar's Crusade have any effect if it was also exiled and came back?

A: They'll all come flying in at once! And they'll all see each other entering, so all of your creatures will trigger Cathar's Crusade and get quite big.

Q: Is Leonin Arbiter's ability an activated ability?

A: It's not. It's just a static ability that creates a special action: pay a cost to ignore a continuous effect. You do still need priority to take that special action, but no one can respond to it and it doesn't use the stack.

Q: If I Ghostly Flicker two Stonehorn Dignitary, does my opponent skip two combat phases?

A: Each Rhino sets up "That guy skips his next combat." When your opponent's combat phase comes up, one says "SKIP IT!" and the other one can't say anything since that combat is being skipped now. It'll wait around for the next combat phase that player would have, and have him skip that one, too.

"Sure, I'd love ice cream!"
Q: With Ghostly Flicker, Do I have to pick two creatures or two artifacts or two lands, or can I pick one artifact and one creature?

A: You can mix-and-match. You're choosing two targets, each of which must be "target artifact, creature, or land." If you had to pick both targets of the same type, it'd be worded in a much more convoluted way to say so!

Q: What does the on cards like Entreat the Angels mean? One X is how much I pay, the other is how many Angels I get?

A: Both values for X have to be the same - what the double X in the cost means is that you pay that value twice. So, let's say you choose X = 2. Now you pay ++, and you get two Angels.

Q: I attack with Silverblade Paladin and another paired creature, and my opponent blocks the paired creature then uses Zealous Strike on his blocker. Does the Paladin still deal regular combat damage now?

A: Nope. After a first-strike damage step, the following combat step has damage dealt by creatures that either have double strike now, or that didn't have double or first strike as the first combat step began. Silverblade Paladin had double strike, and doesn't now, so it doesn't get to deal damage.

Q: Can I respond to my own Faithless Looting with Dangerous Wager? I would say yes but some MTGO guys at my store claim you can't respond to your own spells online so you can't do it on paper either.

A: You can - the player who casts a spell or activates an ability gets priority back after doing so. However, in real life and on MTGO, the default is not to take advantage of that and to pass priority; players tend to explicitly say "Do X, and in response do Y." So both in real life and MTGO, you need to express that that's what you're doing. In real life, just say so. In MTGO, hold down CTRL as you cast/activate.

Q: My opponent controls Consecrated Sphinx, and in response to it triggering, I cast Plagiarize. Can he just deck me now?

A: Sadly, there is no place safe to cast Plagiarize here. Its replacement effect only applies to an event once, but Consecrated Sphinx's trigger creates two new events for it to apply to, and each of those causes the Sphinx to trigger again... and each time, your opponent can choose to draw a card, and then you have to draw a card since Plagiarize isn't optional.

Q: Can I do the trick with Sun Titan to bring back an Oblivion Ring and exile Thrun, the Last Troll?

A: That "trick" works with Auras: since you're not casting the Aura as a spell, you can put it onto the battlefield enchanting Thrun, and it doesn't target at all. However, O-Ring is not an Aura - and I've seen way, way too many players treat it like one. It's a plain ol' enchantment, and it has an enters-the-battlefield trigger that targets the thing it's going to exile. You can't target Thrun, so you can't O-Ring him.

Q: Dark Impostor exiles Stonewright - can he pump now? Or if Dark Impostor gets paired?

A: No matter what, your Impostor won't be that imposing. Stonewright doesn't have an activated ability naturally; it has a static ability that gives it an activated ability. That ability only functions on the battlefield, so a Stonewright outside the battlefield can never have firebreathing, and your Impostor can't take it.

Q: If Restoration Angel flickers Fiend Hunter, can it re-exile the same creature?

A: Since Fiend Hunter leaves and returns before a player would get priority, the two triggers can be ordered in any way. However, no matter what you do, you have to choose a target for its enters-the-battlefield trigger when you put that trigger on the stack. At that point, its leaves-the-battlefield trigger hasn't resolved yet, so that creature is still exiled, and you can't target it again.

Q: If Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas makes Batterskull a 5/5, can Batterskull equip itself?

A: My brain... it hurts trying to picture this. Ow ow ow. Luckily, it'll never happen. An Equipment that is also a creature can't be attached to anything, much less itself.

"You know, you don't look
at all like your picture."
Q: How does an "Enchant world" card work?

A: World is a supertype, like legendary - note that these cards are now "world enchantment". It also works much like how legendary used to work, but in reverse: if there are ever two world permanents on the battlefield, the one that was there the longest goes to its owner's graveyard. In the normal situation, this means that casting one world enchantment replaces the old one.

Q: When my opponent Shocks me, will I know whether he wants to redirect it to my planeswalker in time to decide whether to use Spellskite to change the target?

A: You won't. He doesn't choose whether to redirect or not until the spell's dealing damage, which is as it resolves; you can't activate Spellskite in the middle of a resolving spell.

Q: Can I cast Chancellor of the Spires and cast Ancestral Vision from the graveyard?

A: You can! It's impossible to pay a null mana cost, but you're not paying the mana cost when you Chancellor it up. With the effect letting you ignore the mana cost, you get right around the only thing making it impossible to cast (much in the same way suspend does).

Q: How does Torpor Orb interact with undying creatures? Treacherous Pit-Dweller in particular.

A: Torpor Orb has no interaction with undying itself. Undying is a leaves-the-battlefield trigger, not enters-the-battlefield, and putting a counter on it isn't a trigger at all, just part of the effect.

Treacherous Pit-Dweller, though, does have an enters-the-battlefield ability! It should trigger, but it can't due to Torpor Orb, and you get to keep your cheap Demon.

Q: Can I sacrifice Throne of Geth to itself and proliferate?

A: You sure can. Whenever you're instructed to sacrifice something, you can sacrifice anything you control that meets the sacrificing requirements, even the object with the ability.

Q: If a 2/4 lifelink blocks a 1/1, do I gain 1 life or 2?

A: You'll gain 2 life. Creatures don't pull their punches or show mercy to little 1/1 creatures. They stomp them over and over until they're a sad little blotch on the battlefield.

Q: My opponent has a Terror in his Standard FNM deck! Game Loss?

A: Day by day, through the years, the view on penalties at Regular-level events, including FNM, has changed. Due to demand for a "casual" environment, Regular REL doesn't have Game Losses anymore other than for repeatedly ignoring instructions or making the same mistakes. For an illegal deck, you make the deck legal. Take out all the illegal cards, replace them with basic lands where you took the illegal ones from. The game continues.

Q: What should we do at FNM if someone draws eight cards in his opening hand? Forced mulligan to six?

A: "Forced mulligans" aren't a thing anymore. At Competitive events, the fix is to shuffle away the extra cards plus one as a penalty, and then the player may mulligan from that; at Regular, the penalty is to just shuffle away the extra card and then they can mulligan. The "extra" card or cards are chosen at random from the hand.

Q: While searching his deck, my opponent put his hand on top of his deck by accident. What's the penalty for that?

A: This seems like a big deal, but it's just a Game Rules Violation. The penalty is a warning... and he doesn't get his hand back.

That's all for this week. Hopefully I'll see some of you at Grand Prix—Anaheim this weekend where I'll be judging. The rest of you... maybe I'll appear in coverage pictures!

Until next time, may all your calls reach their intended recipient!

- Eli Shiffrin

About the Author:
Eli Shiffrin is currently in Lowell, Massachusetts and discovering how dense the east coast MTG community is. Legend has it that the Comprehensive Rules are inscribed on the folds of his brain.

Finally got my spoiler tag set, and I got all the card rules questions right. I really like that you can do that now, and it\'s making me want to take the judge test more and more.
#1 • Date: 2012-05-20 • Time: 22:11:10 •
I don't understand the last question, can someone explain further? If an opponent is searching their "deck" (sideboarding?) or "library" (fetch land?), how can they do that without touching the top?

RE: Q: While searching his deck, my opponent put his hand on top of his deck by accident. What's the penalty for that?
#2 • Date: 2012-05-21 • Time: 05:36:40 •
Quote (lastrhino):
I don't understand the last question, can someone explain further? If an opponent is searching their "deck" (sideboarding?) or "library" (fetch land?), how can they do that without touching the top?

RE: Q: While searching his deck, my opponent put his hand on top of his deck by accident. What's the penalty for that?

The deck is the library, and "hand" refers to the game zone, not the body part.
#3 • Date: 2012-05-21 • Time: 06:31:04 •
Thanks Carsten, I figured I was missing something obvious.
#4 • Date: 2012-05-21 • Time: 08:37:09 •
+1 on concealing the answers. Great feature.
#5 • Date: 2012-05-21 • Time: 09:07:29 •

Follow us @CranialTweet!

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

Follow our RSS feed!