Published on 12/17/2012

The Museum of Modern Card Interactions

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 Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes.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

I see a blood moon rising
Welcome! It's Monday, which means that it's time for another issue of your favorite Magic rules column. I have recently judged at Grand Prix Toronto, which was a lot of fun because I got to meet many judges with whom I hadn't worked before, and because it was a Modern Constructed Grand Prix I have returned with a notebook full of questions about Modern card interactions. As the upcoming Pro Tour Qualifier season for Pro Tour Dragon's Maze is also Modern Constructed, I think this is the perfect opportunity to devote an entire issue to this format.

As always, if you have questions you'd like us to answer, please email them to or tweet them to @CranialTweet. You will receive an expert answer directly from one of our writers, and your question might be turned into an obscure pop culture reference or horrific pun in a future episode.

Q: If my opponent controls Blood Moon, can I still pay 2 life to have my Stomping Ground enter the battlefield untapped?

A: Yes, that works. The ability that makes Stomping Ground enter the battlefield tapped unless you pay life creates a replacement effect that changes how Stomping Ground enters the battlefield. This effect is applied before it actually enters the battlefield, so it's not under Blood Moon's influence yet. For the same reason, you also still choose a creature type for Cavern of Souls, and Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle still enters the battlefield tapped.

Q: Does my Seat of the Synod still count as an artifact when Blood Moon is on the battlefield?

A: Sure! In fact, it doesn't just count as an artifact, it actually still is an artifact. Blood Moon only changes the subtypes of nonbasic lands to Mountain. Any card types such as artifact or creature and supertypes such as legendary remain unchanged.

Q: I control a Blood Crypt and a Stomping Ground, and my opponent controls Blood Moon. How much damage am I dealing with Tribal Flames?

A: Only 1 I'm afraid. Blood Moon overwrites the subtypes completely, so your nonbasic lands are Mountains, whole Mountains, and nothing but Mountains.

Q: If my opponent controls Blood Moon and I control Prismatic Omen, which effect wins?

A: That depends on which effect is more recent. Neither effect changes what the other effect does, whether it exists, or what it applies to, so they're not dependent on each other. As such, they're applied in timestamp order. If your Prismatic Omen is more recent, all your lands have all basic land types. Otherwise, Blood Moon wins and your nonbasic lands are only Mountains. Note that your nonbasic lands won't have their printed abilities in either case, so your Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle will be rather sad until you can somehow get rid of that Blood Moon.

Q: What happens if I blow up my opponent's Rest in Peace with Abrupt Decay?

A: First, Abrupt Decay will want to destroy Rest in Peace, which normally means moving Rest in Peace to the graveyard. However, before Rest in Peace can be moved, the game checks whether any replacement effects want to modify this event, and it sees that Rest in Peace itself creates a replacement effect that applies to its own destruction, so Rest in Peace gets exiled. Then, Abrupt Decay goes from the stack to the graveyard, and Rest in Peace is no longer there to replace this event, so Abrupt Decay actually goes to the graveyard.

Q: Can I Remand my opponent's Volcanic Fallout?

A: You can, but the outcome might not be what you're hoping for. It is legal to target Volcanic Fallout with Remand, but Remand will fail to counter Volcanic Fallout, so it won't return Volcanic Fallout to your opponent's hand. You will still draw a card, though, so if that's what you wanted, great! If you were hoping to escape the rain of hot goo, you will be painfully disappointed.

Q: If I flashback Lingering Souls, can my opponent Spell Snare it?

A: Nope. Regardless of how much you pay to cast Lingering Souls, its converted mana cost is based only on the mana cost that's printed in the top right corner of the card. The converted mana cost of Lingering Souls is 3, so it's not a legal target for Spell Snare.

You people all have to learn
This world is going to BURN!
Q: If I flashback an arcane spell with the help of Past in Flames for example, can I splice Desperate Ritual onto it?

A: Sure, that works. Flashback represents an alternative cost and splice is an additional cost. Unlike multiple alternative costs that don't get along at all with each other, no such restriction exists for adding additional costs to an alternative cost.

Q: I control a Pyromancer Ascension with two quest counters on it and I cast a Desperate Ritual that has another Desperate Ritual spliced onto it. How much red mana do I get when everything resolves?

A: You'll get a total of 12 red mana. Splicing a card onto another card creates a copy effect that copies the text from one card onto the other card. As such, this effect gets copied by other copy effects, so Pyromancer Ascension makes a copy of Desperate Ritual that has a Desperate Ritual spliced onto it. Both the copy and the original make 6 mana each, for a total of 12.

Q: Do I have to pay if I cascade into a noncreature spell while there's a Thalia, Guardian of Thraben on the battlefield?

A: If you want to cast the spell, sure. Cascade waives the mana cost in the upper right corner of the card, but you're still on the hook for any additional costs and cost increases. If you can't or won't pay that cost, the card simply goes to the bottom of your library along with the other cards you exiled during the cascade.

Q: Does Burning-Tree Shaman ping me if I activate Deathrite Shaman's first ability?

A: Yup. Even though Deathrite Shaman's first ability is capable of producing mana, it is not a mana ability because it's a targeted ability, and mana abilities are never targeted.

Q: My opponent controls two Wurm tokens that were created by an exploding Wurmcoil Engine. Can I take out both of them with Maelstrom Pulse?

A: You sure can. The effect that created the tokens didn't give them specific names, so they're both named "Wurm" for their creature type. The fact that one has deathtouch and the other has lifelink doesn't influence their names in the least.

Q: My opponent controls Melira, Sylvok Outcast. I animate my Inkmoth Nexus and swing. What happens?

A: Nothing much, I'm afraid. Melira's infect-removing effect and Inkmoth Nexus's infect-gaining effect don't depend on each other, so the more recent effect has the last word. The more recent effect is Inkmoth Nexus's effect, so Inkmoth Nexus has infect. It will deal damage, but since Melira won't allow any poison counters on your opponent or -1/-1 counters on your opponent's creatures, the damage won't cause any visible results.

Q: My opponent controls a bunch of artifacts and casts Thoughtcast for cheap. Can I respond to affinity with an artifact destruction spell to make his Thoughtcast more expensive?

A: No, that doesn't work. Casting a spell is a multi-step process that can't be interrupted. During that process, your opponent calculates the total cost which gets locked in, and then he pays the total cost. By the time you get the chance to respond, the spell has already been paid in full and cast, and destroying an artifact now won't make the spell retroactively more expensive.

I'm not real anymore
I am an illusion
Q: If I copy a Harmonic Sliver with Phantasmal Image, how many disenchanting triggers will I get?

A: The Image enters the battlefield as a phantasmal copy of Harmonic Sliver, complete with the static ability that gives all Slivers — including itself — an enter-the-battlefield ability. It gets two instances of that ability, one from itself and one from the original Harmonic Sliver, and static abilities are applied before the game checks for triggered abilities, so you'll get two triggers.

Q: If I gain control of my opponent's animated Treetop Village with Vedalken Shackles, do I lose control again when it stops being a creature at the end of the turn?

A: Nope, you still get to keep it for as long as Vedalken Shackles remains tapped. The resolution of Vedalken Shackles' ability created a continuous control-changing effect that is locked onto the identity, not the characteristics, of your opponent's Treetop Village. Even if the Treetop Village stops being a creature, it's still the same object, so it'll remain under your control.

Q: I cast a Thundermaw Hellkite and my opponent controls a flier with protection from red. Does his flier get tapped?

A: Yup. While the damage that the Hellkite would deal to his flier is prevented, the second instruction is not contingent on any damage having been dealt. "Those creatures" doesn't refer to the creatures that were dealt damage by the first instruction. It refers to "each creature with flying your opponents control." As such, your opponent's flier still gets tapped.

Q: If I exiled a planeswalker with Karn Liberated, does it get loyalty counters when I restart the game with Karn's ultimate ability?

A: It sure does. Even though Karn's ability puts the planeswalker onto the battlefield immediately before the untap step of the new game's first turn, the planeswalker is still entering the battlefield, so the replacement effect that makes it enter the battlefield with the appropriate number of loyalty counters is still applied as usual.

Q: Time in the round is up and I'm on turn three of five extra turns. What happens if I restart the game with Karn Liberated now?

A: As far as the tournament is concerned, the restarted game is still part of the previous game, so you get to play two more turns after the restart. The first turn of the restarted game, which you will take because you controlled Karn's ability, is turn four, and your opponent will take turn five if he somehow managed to survive your turn.

Q: Can I play the Graveborn Premium Deck Series version of Reanimate in a Modern tournament?

A: Nope. Despite its modern-looking card frame, that card is not allowed in Modern Constructed tournaments. In order for a card to be Modern-legal, a card with that name has to have been printed or reprinted in a core set from Eighth Edition on or in an expansion set from Mirrodin on. The Premium Deck Series aren't expansion sets, so whether a card has been included in one has no bearing on its tournament legality. The only set in which Reanimate has been printed is Tempest, which is too old to be included in Modern.

Q: My opponent is playing an Eggs deck and—

Sorry, I just ran out of time! Gotta go! Until next time!

- 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.

"Q: My opponent is playing an Eggs deck and—

Sorry, I just ran out of time! Gotta go! Until next time!"

Well played.

#1 • Date: 2012-12-17 • Time: 13:25:55 •

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