Published on 05/06/2013

Dragons; Maze(s)

or, But Never The Twain Shall Meet

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 Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes.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

Hear that, Niv-Mizzet? We don't care about
or your maze!
Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to Cranial Insertion! Now that you've all cracked four or five boxes' worth of Dragon's Maze boosters and spent the entire weekend playing with them nonstop (or is that only me?), you're probably feeling a little burned out on the new cards. Never fear; I'll be taking a break from Dragon's Maze cards entirely.

Also, I'm happy to announce that I've successfully brainwashed the others into keeping me on staff, so Cranial Insertion will be moving to a four-author rotation as of this week; next week's article will be written by James, and Eli will make his triumphant return to full article writing the week after, followed by Carsten, before things start all over again.

So now, without further ado, let's dive in to anything but Dragon's Maze! Remember, if you've got anything-but-Dragon's Maze questions of your own, you can send them to us via the "Email Us" button, by sending an email to , or by tweeting @CranialTweet.

Q: Can Hypersonic Dragon's ability allow me to suspend cards as if they had flash? (ie, I pay the suspend cost on my opponent's turn?)

A: Yes. If you control Hypersonic Dragon, you can suspend sorcery cards (that have suspend) from your hand any time you have priority (as long as there's nothing else in effect that would render you unable to cast them). Suspend can be used any time it's legal for you to cast the specific card it's on from your hand.

Q: Does Archwing Dragon's effect that returns it to its owner's hand only trigger if it is on the battlefield? Or does it trigger if it's in the graveyard or exiled as well?

A: Archwing Dragon's ability only triggers if it's on the battlefield; it won't trigger if it's in the graveyard or exiled. In general, triggered abilities of permanent cards don't function while the card's not on the battlefield unless they either specifically say so or the ability couldn't sensibly function on the battlefield. Archwing doesn't fall under either of those categories, so it only works on the battlefield.

Q: Root Maze is out. I play Sacred Foundry. Can I pay the life to keep it untapped?

A: You can pay the life it you really want to, but your Foundry will be tapped regardless. Sacred Foundry's ability effectively says "This land will be tapped if you don't pay life", but Root Maze will ensure that it'll be tapped regardless of whether you paid or not, so there's no benefit from paying.

Q: Say I just played Hunted Dragon. Can I then use Gruul Charm to gain control of the tokens? Do I "own" them?

A: Nope. A token is owned by the player under whose control it was put onto the battlefield, and in this case that's your opponent. It doesn't matter whose effect created it.

Q: If I attack with Flameblast Dragon and in response to the trigger my opponent casts Unsummon, I can still pay mana to deal damage, correct?

A: Correct. The ability, once triggers, exists independently of the Dragon, and will resolve regardless of what happens to it.

You are in a maze of twisty little passages,
all...wait, that was last week's gag.
Q: If I have a Mana Maze and my opponent attempts to kill me using Hive Mind and say, Summoner's Pact, would Mana Maze cause the other copies to fizzle because they are illegal? Hive Mind doesn't trigger until an instant or sorcery has been cast at which point Mana Maze prevents the copies because they share the same color, correct?

A: Sorry, but no, that doesn't work; Mana Maze doesn't affect Hive Mind in the least, because the copies created by Hive Mind aren't cast at all—they're created already fully-formed on the stack.

Q: I cast Scion of the Ur-Dragon and turn it into Volcanic Dragon so it can attack right away. If I turn it into Nicol Bolas after blockers are declared, will it stop attacking?

A: I'm sorry, Dave; I'm afraid you can't do that.

In general, making a creature lose haste after it has already attacked doesn't stop it from attacking, but in this specific case that doesn't matter, because once the Scion becomes a Volcanic Dragon, it no longer has the copy ability, so you can't turn it into Nicol Bolas at all.

Q: When Utvara Hellkite attcks and makes a dragon token, is the token capable of attacking as well due to Fires of Yavimaya?

A: No. All attacking creatures are declared at the same time as the declare attackers step starts. The Hellkite's token wasn't on the battlefield at that time to attack with, and you can't back up the game to let it attack, even if it does have haste.

Q: I control a Nimbus Maze and a Glacial Fortress. Will the Maze tap for colored mana or will it tap for colorless mana?

A: You can only tap it for colorless mana. Glacial Fortress is neither a Plains nor an Island. It doesn't matter what colors of mana it can produce—the only thing that makes a land a Plains (or Island) is having the appropriate land type on its type line, and the Fortress has neither. Compare it to a card like Hallowed Fountain, which does have those types.

Q: Vorosh, the Hunter has double strike when dealing combat damage to a player thanks to Fireshrieker. Can its triggered ability from the first time it deals combat damage be used in time to have the extra +1/+1 counters on it before it deals combat damage the second time?

A: Yes; there's no other way to use it. The ability triggers and goes on the stack in the first combat damage step, and the game can't proceed to the second combat damage step and let Vorosh deal more damage until the ability has finished resolving.

Q: Does Thundermaw Hellkite's ability tap Baneslayer Angel?

A: Yes. The damage that the Hellkite would deal to Baneslayer is prevented thanks to Baneslayer's protection from Dragons, but the Baneslayer is still tapped. The Hellkite's ability taps all creatures with flying your opponents control, regardless of whether they were dealt damage or not, and since that part of the ability doesn't deal damage or target anything, protection won't stop it.

Q: My opponent casts Bribery against me, then attacks me with the creature he bribed. I activate Mystifying Maze to exile the creature. When it comes back into play at the next end step, whose control will it be under?

A: Yours. The owner of a card is the player who started the game with that card in his or her deck. (Or in the case of Wishes, the one who brought it into the game.) That's you, so the creature enters the battlefield under your control.

The Hogwarts motto applies.
Q: If i attack with one creature while my opponent's Slumbering Dragon has four counters on it, can my opponent block with the Dragon?

A: Unless you find some way to stop it from doing so, yes. The Dragon's ability triggers when you declare your creature as an attacker, and will resolve in the declare attackers step, before the game moves on to the declare blockers step and your opponent chooses blockers. So when the time comes to declare blockers, your opponent's Dragon will have its fifth counter and will be able to block.

Q: Do drakes count as dragons? And likewise for devils and demons?

A: No. Drakes are drakes and dragons are dragons; devils are devils and demons are demons. They're completely different things, for the same reason that birds are different from goblins and wizards are different from assassins.

There might be some flavor relation between those various types, but that doesn't make them equivalent mechanically.

Q: I have a Taunting Elf equipped with Infiltration Lens and a Maze of Ith on the table. If I declare my elf as an attacker, can I untap it with Maze after it has been declared blocked and draw 2 cards off the Lens while keeping my elf alive?

A: Absolutely. You have the opportunity to cast spells and activate abilities during the declare blockers step, before combat damage is assigned and dealt. If you use the Maze on your Elf at that time, the combat damage that would have otherwise been dealt to it will be prevented, so it will live.

Q: When under the effects of Form of the Dragon can a player be hurt by spells that hit non-flying creatures and players such as Flamebreak?

A: Yes. Sadly for Form of the Dragon's flavor, there's no such thing as a player with flying, and even if there was, cards like Flamebreak don't make any distinction between players with or without it.

Q: I attack with three Dragon Mages. How do you play that out if they all do combat damage to the other player?

A: All three Mages deal combat damage simultaneously, and each one's ability triggers. You put them on the stack in any order you like (which probably doesn't make any difference, since they're pretty much identical). Each player has a chance to cast instants or activate abilities, and then the top Mage's ability resolves. Each player discards his or her hand and draws seven cards.

Players now have another chance to cast instants or activate abilities, and then the second Mage's ability resolves. Each player discards his or her hand and draws seven cards again.

Players again have a chance to cast instants or activate abilities, and then the third Mage's ability resolves. Each player discards his or her hand and draws seven cards again. Congratulations, you're done!

Q: Playing Planechase, we're in Izzet Steam Maze. I cast Memory Plunder and copy it targeting Cruel Ultimatum. If the copy also targets the Ultimatum, do I get to cast it twice (and get two more copies), for four total Ultimatums?

A: Sadly, no. Once the copy has you cast the Ultimatum, it will have left the graveyard, which will mean the original Plunder loses track of it. When the original Plunder tries to resolve, it will see that its only target is now illegal, and will be countered on resolution for having no legal targets. You only get two Ultimatum total. But really, isn't that more than enough already?

Q: If I get multiple combat phases in a turn, do I have to sacrifice a land each time Exalted Dragon attacks?

A: Yes. Exalted Dragon's ability is a cost you're required to pay in order to declare it as an attacker, and you must pay that cost every time you wish to do so, no matter whether or not you've done so previously this turn.

Q: If Electrickery is cast for its overload cost would it cause a Phantasmal Dragon to be sent to the graveyard?

A: No. An overloaded spell doesn't target, even though it only affects a subset of the creatures on the battlefield. The Dragon's ability never triggers, so it's not sacrificed.

Hopefully you enjoyed this week's complete lack of Dragon's Maze. I know I certainly feel refreshed!

I'll be seeing you all next month, but until then, keep the questions coming, and remember: never trust a dragon with a bottle of ketchup when he invites you to dinner.

- Callum Milne

About the Author:
Callum Milne is a Level 2 judge from British Columbia, Canada. His home range is Vancouver Island, but he can be found in the wild throughout BC and also at GPs all along the west coast of North America.

Re: Exalted Dragon... The problem is in the original wording of the card, the Oracle text is clearer. :)

Maybe a note like a \"*\" in answers to denote an answer that is related to an Oracle re-write? Confusing to hover over a link and see a card, then check Oracle to find the errata.
#1 • Date: 2013-05-06 • Time: 10:46:22 •

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