Published on 10/06/2014

Let's Get Quizzical

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 Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes.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

Moko's best friend
Welcome back to another issue of Cranial Insertion. As I was gathering material for this issue, with the help of Moko of course, it occurred to me — by which I mean Moko reminded me — that it has been a while since our last quiz article. In fact, it has been months, quite literally, so I've decided to treat you to a quiz so that you get to see how much you've learned in the first week-and-change of Khans of Tarkir being out.

If you have questions you'd like us to answer, please email them to , or tweet short questions at @CranialTweet. We'll answer directly as quickly as we can, and we might use your question in a future article.

Now, let's dive into the quiz. For Science! If you get all the questions right, there will be cake.

Q: You control a Sidisi's Pet that's enchanted with Gift of Immortality, and your opponent casts End Hostilities to destroy the Pet and the Gift. What happens?

A: The choices are...

A: Gift of Immortality's ability doesn't trigger, so neither it nor the Pet get returned to the battlefield.
B: Gift of Immortality triggers and returns the Pet, but it doesn't return itself.
C: Gift of Immortality triggers and returns the Pet, and it returns itself attached to the Pet at the beginning of the next end step.
D: None of the above.
E: Sidisi's Pet is undead, so it can't even be enchanted with Gift of Immortality in the first place!

The answer is...
Gift of Immortality gets destroyed at the same time as Sidisi's Pet, but that doesn't stop the ability from triggering. The ability is a dies-trigger, which looks back at the game state before the event to see if it existed, which it did. This means that Gift of Immortality works just fine, returning both the creature and later itself to the battlefield.

Q: You control two Hardened Scales, a Favored Hoplite, and a Phalanx Leader, and you target both creatures with Solidarity of Heroes. How many counters do your creatures get in total?

A: The choices are...

A: The Hardened Scales cause an infinite loop and the game ends in a draw.
B: Nine counters on the Hoplite and five counters on the Leader.
C: Twelve counters on the Hoplite and six counters on the Leader.
D: Fourteen counters on the Hoplite and eight counters on the Leader.
E: Math is hard.

The answer is...
Well, math is hard, too, but that's not the answer we were looking for here. Let's break down step by step what happens. Casting Solidarity of Heroes on your two heroic guys triggers their heroic abilities, and those abilities go on the stack above your spell, so they'll resolve first. They'll resolve in an order of your choice, but that order has no impact on the end result. The Leader wants to put one counter each on itself and the Hoplite, and the Hoplite wants to put one counter on itself. Both Hardened Scales get to apply once to each of those counter-putting events, so the Hoplite gets six counters and the Leader gets three counters. Now Solidarity of Heroes resolves. It wants to double the counters on the Hoplite by adding six counters to it, which the two Hardened Scales bump up to eight new counters, and it wants to add three counters to the Leader which gets bumped up to five. In total, there are now fourteen counters on the Hoplite and eight counters on the Leader.

Q: You attack with a face-down creature. At which times in the combat phase can you turn it face-up?

A: The choices are...

A: In the declare attackers step, after declaring attackers.
B: In the declare blockers step, after blockers are declared.
C: In the combat damage step, between assigning combat damage and dealing combat damage.
D: At any time, but only if the face-up version doesn't have defender.
E: None of the above.

The answer is...
A and B.
Turning a face-down creature face-up is a special action that doesn't use the stack, but you still need priority to do it, so you can only do it at a time you could cast an instant. Players get priority in the declare attackers and declare blockers steps, after the turn-based actions for those steps are dealt with, so those are two examples of moments at which you could turn a face-down creature face-up. No player gets priority between assigning and dealing combat damage, so you can't turn a face-down creature face-up at that time, no matter how useful that might be.

I've been through the desert
on a morph with no name.
Q: A Clever Impersonator enters the battlefield and copies a face-down Temur Charger. What is it?

A: The choices are...

A: A face-up Temur Charger.
B: A face-up 2/2 creature with no name, abilities, or creature types.
C: A face-down 2/2 creature that can be turned face-up by revealing a green card from your hand.
D: A face-down 2/2 creature that can't be turned face-up.
E: Something else.

The answer is...
Being face-down is weird because it's a status that changes the copiable values of a permanent, but being face-down is not in itself copiable, just like being tapped is not copiable. Clever Impersonator copies what it sees, and it sees an amorphous 2/2, so that's what it copies. However, Clever Impersonator entered the battlefield face-up, and the face-down status is not copied, so it's just a face-up 2/2 that isn't particularly clever.

Q: You control Brimaz, King of Oreskos and Brave the Sands, and your opponent attacks you with two creatures. You block both creatures with Brimaz. What happens?

A: The choices are...

A: Brimaz's ability doesn't trigger.
B: Brimaz's ability triggers for one attacker of your choice.
C: Brimaz's ability triggers for one attacker chosen at random.
D: Brimaz's ability triggers for each attacker, giving you two Cat tokens that are each blocking one attacker.
E: The number of Cat tokens you get depends on how much cat food you have on hand.

The answer is...
Brimaz's trigger condition is "whenever Brimaz blocks a creature," and in the process of Brimaz blocking both attackers, two different things happened at the same time that both match that condition, so the ability triggered twice.

Q: Which of the following can a creature with summoning sickness do?

A: The choices are...

A: Help cast a spell with convoke.
B: Attack.
C: Use Burning Anger's ability.
D: Help pay for Springleaf Drum's ability.
E: Dance like nobody's watching.

The answer is...
A and D.
I don't know about the average creature's ability to lose its inhibitions on the dance floor, but I know that it's not influenced by the summoning sickness rule. The summoning sickness rule only cares about two things: Attacking, and activating the creature's activated ability with or in its cost. Being tapped for convoke is neither of those, so that works. Attacking is right out. Burning Anger gives the creature an ability, and that ability has in its cost, so that's out, too. Springleaf Drum's ability has a in the cost, but it's not an ability of the creature, so tapping the creature to help pay the cost is no problem at all.

Q: Which of the following statements about casting cards exiled with Narset, Enlightened Master are true?

A: The choices are...

A: An exiled enchantment creature with bestow can be bestowed, but not cast as a creature.
B: The exiled card can be cast at any time even if it's a sorcery.
C: If the card has a mandatory additional cost, that cost must be paid to cast it.
D: The cards can be cast until end of turn even after Narset leaves the battlefield.
E: Unused cards are put back on top of your library at the end of the turn.

The answer is...
C and D.
First off, E is a complete fabrication. In order for E to happen, Narset would have to have a triggered ability that it simply doesn't have. Exiled cards that you don't use simply stay in exile indefinitely.

A is false because for one, Narset's ability only allows casting noncreature cards, and an enchantment creature is a creature after all, so Narset's ability doesn't even apply. Even if it did apply, casting the card without paying its mana cost is an alternative cost, which can't be combined with other alternative costs such as bestow. The alternative cost can be combined with additional costs, though, which is why C is true.

Finally, Narset's ability creates a continuous effect with a duration, and that effect allows you to cast the exiled cards from an unusual zone for an unusual cost. It doesn't instruct or allow you to cast the cards at an unusual time, so you still have to obey the normal timing rules for casting the card. The duration for the effect is "until end of turn", and once that effect has been set up it sticks around for that duration even if Narset leaves the battlefield.

I had some savage punch at a party once.
The hangover lasted for days.
Q: Your opponent controls Surrak Dragonclaw and targets it and your 4/4 Bear token with Savage Punch. In response, you force your opponent to sacrifice Surrak Dragonclaw with Crackling Doom. What happens?

A: The choices are...

A: Savage Punch is countered on resolution.
B: Savage Punch resolves and does nothing.
C: Surrak Dragonclaw's last known information deals 6 damage to the Bear.
D: Surrak Dragonclaw's last known information deals 8 damage to the Bear.
E: Your opponent goes on tilt and ragequits the game.

The answer is...
B and maybe E.
Savage Punch had two targets, and one of those targets — your Bear — is still legal, so Savage Punch is not countered on resolution. Since it's not countered, it resolves and does as much as it can, which turns out to be a big bowl of nothing. The fight doesn't happen because it takes two to fight, and the ferocious extra effect doesn't happen because your opponent no longer controls a creature with power 4 or greater and the effect has nothing to be applied to anyway.

Q: Warp World resolves and you put Pandemonium, Craterhoof Behemoth, and two Runeclaw Bears onto the battlefield. How much damage will you deal with Pandemonium's ability?

A: The choices are...

A: 18
B: 9
C: 0
D: The answer depends on how you order your triggered abilities.
E: This is clearly a trick question because nobody actually plays with Runeclaw Bear.

The answer is...
I admit that this is a bit of a trick question because it implied that Pandemonium entered the battlefield first and that there were any Pandemonium triggers to resolve, but I regret nothing. What's actually happening is that Warp World puts enchantments onto the battlefield after everything else, so Pandemonium isn't around to see any of your creatures enter the battlefield. The only trigger that's going on here is the Behemoth's trigger, which will make your creatures big and strong, but that won't help you unless you can give them haste and send them at your opponent.

Q: Your opponent controls a face-down creature and six basic lands. He puts a Wurmcoil Engine on the table, taps five lands and flips over his face-down creature that turns out to be a Rattleclaw Mystic. Is this allowed?

A: The choices are...

A: Yes, that's allowed.
B: That's illegal. Your opponent is forced to tap his sixth land.
C: That's illegal. The game is backed up to before he started to cast Wurmcoil Engine.
D: That's illegal. Wurmcoil Engine goes to the graveyard.
E: That's illegal. Your opponent loses the game.

The answer is...
What your opponent did is allowed even though it isn't technically legal. Your opponent can't turn his Rattleclaw Mystic face-up during the process of casting a spell, so he should have done this before he started to cast Wurmcoil Engine. However, the tournament rules acknowledge the fact that most Magic players are human beings and allow them to perform blocks of actions in an incorrect order as long as the end result is clear, the player doesn't gain extra information by doing things in the incorrect order, and the player could perform the actions in the correct order if requested. This is called Out of Order Sequencing, and it's what has happened here. If you wanted to act for some reason between your opponent turning his creature face-up and casting Wurmcoil Engine, you could ask your opponent to back up and perform the actions in the right order, but otherwise you should just let the game go on.

Q: On your turn, your opponent casts Slaughter Pact on your Arcbound Ravager, and in response you sacrifice it to give its counters to another artifact creature, so Slaughter Pact is countered on resolution. On your opponent's turn, she unnecessarily taps lands for Slaughter Pact's nonexistent upkeep cost. Do you have to point this out to her?

A: The choices are...

A: Yes, absolutely.
B: Only if she announces that she's tapping the lands for Slaughter Pact.
C: Only if she doesn't announce that she's tapping the lands for Slaughter Pact.
D: Only at Regular Rules Enforcement Level.
E: Only at Competitive or Professional REL.

The answer is...
Players are required to ensure that the game is played legally by both players, at all rules enforcement levels. You're not responsible for ensuring that triggered abilities controlled by your opponent resolve, but this situation is the opposite in that your opponent is resolving an ability that didn't trigger, which is against the rules. Depending on whether your opponent announces that she's paying the Pact cost, she's either throwing mana away into a nonexistent cost or she's floating mana without announcing it, but either way it's against the rules, so you're required to point this out.

And that's all the questions we have for this quiz. How did you do? If you got all the questions right, we have to discuss the matter of the cake I mentioned above. The cake is not a lie, but I have to apologize for a rather significant omission of truth. You see, the cake is not for you. It's for Moko, and the quiz was designed to identify suitable ingredients. So, if Moko shows up on your doorstep with a melon baller, don't be alarmed. He won't take much.

See you 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.

You tricked me! Got all but the Warp World question. :(

In my spite I will point out that Behemoth does in fact have haste...
#1 • Date: 2014-10-11 • Time: 01:38:41 •

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