Published on 10/22/2012

Dead Man's Party

or, Leave Your Body at the Door

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 Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes.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

In the last seven and a half years, we have one, one article with "party" in the title. About time we fix that! I'm even using the one single emoticon I actually set up when I made the site, that's how seriously unserious this is. The goblin chips and dripping sauces may also have given that away.

So put on your funny hats and dance if you want to, because it's time for our Rakdos article!

If you've still got questions and can remember them after the party, mail them over to or tweet us at @CranialTweet, or possibly spray-paint them onto a bridge in one of our cities.

Now, let's get this party started!

Q: Does Corpsejack Menace double unleash counters?

A: It sure does! A creature entering the battlefield with counters on it is one of the definitions of "placing a counter" on a creature, so the unleashed creature will be even more of a menace.

Q: If I give a Carnival Hellsteed undying, can I have it come back with two +1/+1 counters?

A: Yes. Each ability, undying and unleash, functions individually. Neither cares that the other also wants to add a counter.

Q: Can I Redirect Dreadbore from my planeswalker to my opponent's creature, or is the mode locked in?

A: You can redirect it precisely because there isn't any mode involved. A modal spell always uses "Choose..." and then something like "one," "one or more," "one or both," "two," or possibly in the future "your own adventure." Because Dreadbore isn't modal, its target only has to fit the criteria - creature or planeswalker - and it never cares which it's targeting.

Q: I have Rakdos, Lord of Riots on the battlefield during a multiplayer game. If one or more of my opponents are dealt lethal damage, would the life they lost still apply towards Rakdos's cost reduction ability for the remainder of that turn?

A: Hey, just because they're dead doesn't make them not players. Rakdos's ability cares about all the life lost, even if (and flavorfully perhaps especially if) that loss of life killed a player.

Q: What happens if there's a Rain of Gore during my Havoc Festival?

A: Your punch bowl will be extremely interesting. Meanwhile, Rain of Gore wants to replace lifegain, but Havoc Festival says that lifegain simply can't happen at all. Since it can't happen, there's nothing for Rain of Gore to replace, and no life is gained or lost. Only the food is lost, unless of course your guests are hematophages.

Q: How does Rakdos Charm's last mode work against my opponent's planeswalkers?

A: It doesn't. Even though Rakdos Charm is causing damage to be dealt, the source of the damage is what's being told to deal it: your opponent's creatures. Since he controls the source of damage, you can't redirect it to his planeswalkers.

Q: Can I cast Rakdos Keyrune and then animate and attack with it right away since it didn't enter as a creature?

A: It didn't enter as a creature, but that's actually irrelevant. When you go to attack, you look at whether it's a creature, whether it's untapped, and whether you've controlled it continuously since your turn started. If it fails any of those conditions, it can't attack.

It's important to note that "summoning sickness" isn't a thing that creatures have. It's not even a thing. It's just a casual term to reference that third point noted above, as well as a similar point for checking on using the symbol.

Q: What happens if I give my opponent's Palisade Giant a Treacherous Link and smack it?

A: The smack damage gets to bounce around between the giant and your opponent... once. It is a very short-lived bounce. A replacement effect can only apply to an event once, so the Link's effect applies once, then the Giant's effect applies since it's now applicable, and then it stops. The Giant takes smack damage and explodes if smack is greater than or equal to its toughness.

Q: What can I use as a token copy for casting Heat Shimmer on a Xenic Poltergeist-ed Chaos Orb?

A: Anything that doesn't obstruct the playing area or interfere with the game. This is always a fun question to answer, so let's look at a few examples of each.

Good: Coins, playing cards, waffles, iPod Minis, ears.

Bad: Rai stone coins, kittens, Luftwaffe, iPads, kidneys.

Q: My opponent sacrifices a token to tap my Desecration Demon. If I untap it with some effect, can he sacrifice another creature to re-tap it?

A: Nope, Desecration Demon's trigger triggers once each combat phase, and exactly one creature may be sacrificed by each opponent, and that's that. It's not an activated ability that can be activated multiple times, nor does untapping cause it to re-trigger.

Q: How does it work if three out of four players each have Grave Betrayal and a creature dies? Let's say that A, B, and D have Grave Betrayal.

A: The fun answer should be tug of war, which may result in some players controlling parts of that creature. Unfortunately, the rules to handle parts of creatures were too unwieldy and never made it to print.

So the sensible, boring answer is: the player whose turn it is puts any triggers from that death onto the stack, and then you go around the table in turn order doing the same. Whichever is added last resolves first and gets to decide the dead creature's fate.

Q: Does Shrieking Affliction check my opponent's hand before or after he draws for the turn?

A: The upkeep step is after the untap step but before the draw step. You'll deal with Shrieking Affliction well before the draw-for-turn happens.

Q: Can I make artifact creatures pay the Ultimate Price for annoying me?

A: Only if you hit it with a Purelace or something first. Now I've suggested an actual use for a Lace card and feel like a horrible person, thank you very much.

"Monocolor" means exactly what it says, though I suppose some languages such as German are much more precise on this: "one color." Zero isn't one, nor is "grey" a color as far as Magic is concerned.

Q: If I redirect Bonfire of the Damned's damage to Jace, Architect of Thought, do my opponent's creatures take any damage?

A: They do! Bonfire only cares about the player that was the target, not what was actually dealt damage, so the targeted player's creatures will all burn in a cheerful fire of doom.

Q: Will I have time to sacrifice Hellhole Flailer for damage after hitting it with Auger Spree?

A: Your Flailer will flail its last as soon as Auger Spree resolves, dying before any player has priority to do anything. There's no chance to cast a spell while its power is boosted before it dies for its toughness being lowered.

Q: Does Rakdos, Lord of Riots reduce colored mana after it's done reducing colorless mana?

A: Questions about the same card normally belong together, but we're just that zany this week!

Rakdos's ability only reduces generic mana in a mana cost. Effects have to specifically say that they reduce colored mana to do so (see Edgewalker and Khalni Hydra)

Q: If Rakdos Keyrune gets hit by Electrickery, do I keep the artifact when the creature dies?

A: Once you're a creature, you're a creature all the way. Your Keyrune isn't a separate object from the creature it becomes, and a dead creature goes to the graveyard, no matter what other types it is.

Q: I attacked with three 3/3 Centaurs, and my opponent said "block, block, animate Rakdos Keyrune, block." That isn't legal, but the judge let him do it. Why?

A: Out of Order Sequencing, also known as OoOS, OOOS, ooos, and various other less sensical styles of capitalization.

It means "a player does something that's technically illegal, but reaches a legal conclusion, for the sake of not bogging down the game with minutiae." The player needs to do all of the stuff at once, though, and can't do it in weird ways to gain information (such as waiting to see if you react to his blocks before declaring more), and if you want to do something like kill his Keyrune before it can block, he has to rewind and do it properly so that you can do that.

OoOS is one of many things that the tournament rules allow so that tournament players can actually play Magic like human beings.

Q: Do Thrill-Kill Assassins kill things even after they get Downsized?

A: No, they sit around collecting unemployment and dealing no damage. Since no damage is dealt, there's no damage for deathtouch to key off of, and nothing gets destroyed.

Q: Does Rare-B-Gone hose mythic rare cards, too, since that's the technical name of that rarity?

A: Mark Rosewater, the Un- Rules Manager, has stated that Rare-B-Gone does hit mythics for exactly the reason you noted, as well as the flavorful fact that it punishes having "big money" cards, not that most rares or mythics are worth big money anyway. So no planeswalker, not even Urza, is safe from... um... whatever is on Rare-B-Gone's art.

Party's over, folks. You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here. Well, okay, you can stay on the site. Except Rakdos, because he smells pretty funky and keeps setting my cats on fire. And when he stands up, he puts holes in my ceiling. You're a bad guest, Rakdos.

All three of us have covered a guild, but the mathematically astute among you may realize that there are still two more! Who will discuss those? Check out the next two weeks for a couple of surprises.

Until next time, party on!

- Eli Shiffrin

Q: I've cast my commander, Kaervek the Merciless, twice so far and he just keeps dying. So I hit an opponent with Rakdos, Lord of Riots. How much does Kaervek cost this time?

A: Start off by taking Kaervek's cost, which is roughly US$0.99 - er, . Then add on two commander taxes, bring its cost up to . After adding on additional costs, apply discounts like Rakdos's big one, and drop that down to . There you go, a five-mana madman.

Go home, Rakdos.

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.

From the RTR: FAQ.

"Rakdos Charm

Choose one — Exile all cards from target player's graveyard; or destroy target artifact; or each creature deals 1 damage to its controller.

* You may redirect damage dealt to an opponent this way to a planeswalker that player controls. You make this decision separately for each creature that's dealing damage."
#1 • Date: 2012-10-22 • Time: 19:35:23 •
From the Gatherer page for Rakdos Charm:

Damage dealt by creatures because of the third mode can't be redirected to planeswalkers because of the planeswalker redirection rule. You can't redirect noncombat damage dealt to you by a creature you control, and you can't redirect noncombat damage dealt to an opponent by a source that opponent controls.

So, unfortunately the RtR: FAQ didn\'t make the cut as far as judges were concerned
#2 • Date: 2012-10-22 • Time: 22:45:53 •
In regards to the pallisade giant question, didn't you just talk about another scenario with the giant causing a loop? It was a similiar enchantment like treacherous link, of course in that scenario the giant had darksteel plate, which made it a game draw. But at least the damage would bounce back and forth until the giant took lethal damage right? Seems like the one from two weeks ago is contradicting the answer this week.
#3 • Date: 2012-10-29 • Time: 07:38:49 •
The reason the results are different is because the Treacherous Link from this week is a replacement effect (redirection is a special type of replacement effect) and the Spiteful Shadows from two weeks ago has a triggered ability.

A replacement effect is only applied to an event once, even if the modified event looks like something it can replace. If this weren't true, then two Parallel Lives would cause the game to hang in an infinite token-doubling loop as they continued to replace each other, but that's not the way it works.

A triggered ability will trigger any time the event happens. Spiteful Shadows triggers every time Palisade Giant is dealt damage, and when that triggered ability resolves, Ms. Palisade will end up dealing damage to herself again, triggering Shadows again. If she's being kept alive by Darksteel Plate, etc., this will never end.
#4 • Date: 2012-10-29 • Time: 14:41:51 •
Ah one word can make all the difference i guess. You don't see "redirect" often anymore either on newer cards it seems.
#5 • Date: 2012-10-30 • Time: 07:35:13 •
Yeah, the word "redirect" has been retired from the standard templating for effects like this. If you take a look at the Oracle text for Treacherous Link you'll see it now says "All damage that would be dealt to enchanted creature is dealt to its controller instead."
#6 • Date: 2012-10-31 • Time: 06:17:23 •

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