Published on 10/13/2014

Food Coma

Why isn't that a card name yet?

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 Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes.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

Hello, everyone, and welcome to another edition of Cranial Insertion! As this article goes live, I'll most likely be in a food coma recovering from eating way too much turkey and mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving dinner last night. For the Americans in the crowd wondering why I'm having my turkey dinner a month early: I'm Canadian. For the Canadians in the crowd wondering why I'm having my turkey dinner a day early: we couldn't get together tonight, so we did it last night instead. Either way, I'm ahead of the game.

If you'd like to get ahead of your own games by getting us to answer your rules questions, send them in to or tweet the shorter ones to @CranialTweet; you'll get an answer back from us, and your question may appear in a future article.

Q: I was reading one of your other articles today and something struck me about morph revelation once the game is over. Let's say I'm at a Grand Prix and I just won a game. I chat with my opponent while packing my cards and notice that he's greedily looking at my board. Not understanding why, I shrug, pick up my cards and as soon as they're back in my library, my opponent calls a judge. I realize my mistake (not revealing my morphed cards) at that moment. How will this situation be treated? Is this rule actually one that enables a new tournament tactic, to just hope for the opponent not to reveal his or her morphed creatures and immediately ask for a judge?

A: It may not be the most sportsmanlike behavior, but it's always been legal for your opponent to wait for you to mess up if he thinks you're about to. Once an error is actually made they're obliged to call a judge, but they don't have to intervene beforehand to stop you from committing it in the first place. It's not exactly a "new tactic", though—players calling a judge when their opponent commits a Game-Loss-worthy infraction has always happened in tournaments.

Morph in particular has been around in Standard and Limited tournaments twice before without issue, so I wouldn't worry too much about it.

Q: What happens if I enchant Seeker of the Way with Hopeful Eidolon using bestow? Does the Seeker receive an additional +1/+1 until end of turn from prowess?

A: Yes, it does. When you bestow, you're casting the Eidolon as an Aura Enchantment spell that's not a creature. This will trigger prowess, and give your Seeker +1/+1. (And lifelink, but the Eidolon would already give it that.)

Q: When you block with a morph and get priority, can you unmorph it without giving priority back?

A: No. It's never possible to do anything without giving priority back to your opponent before leaving the
current step or phase.

The only way for the game to progress and move on to the next part of the turn is for both you and your opponent to pass priority without doing anything at all in between. If you unmorph your creature, that's doing something, so when you pass priority, the game sees that you did something and gives your opponent a chance to do things too.

Q: Does City of Brass allow Reflecting Pool to add mana of any color? How about Gemstone Mine?

A: Yes, both the City and the Mine allow the Pool to tap for mana of any color, and you won't have to take damage or remove counters to get it.

In order to determine what colors of mana your Pool can produce, for each land you control, look at what colors of mana could be produced if that land's abilities resolved right now. It doesn't matter whether you can actually activate those abilities or not, just what would happen if they resolved right this very second.

Q: If I target Scuttling Doom Engine with Kiora, the Crashing Wave's first ability and then destroy it, does Kiora's ability prevent the 6 damage from the death trigger?

A: Yes it does. The source of the damage is the Doom Engine as it existed on the battlefield, and Kiora's effect is still around to prevent that damage, even though the Doom Engine itself is gone.

Q: Dictate of the Twin Gods plus Deflecting Palm lets me deal quadruple damage, right?

A: Yes it does. (Assuming you want it to. Which you probably do.)

As the damage is about to be dealt, both the Palm and the Dictate kick in and say they want to replace the damage. As the player affected by the damage, you get to decide which effect to apply first, so you can apply the Dictate and double the damage. Then you apply the Palm, which prevents the already-doubled damage. The Palm then tries to deal damage equal to the amount it prevented, and since this is a new batch of damage, the Dictate kicks in again and doubles it. End result: quadruple damage.

If you really wanted to you could apply the Palm first and only deal double damage, but really, why would you ever want to do that?

Q: Can I cast and return and recast and return Hanabi Blast over and over as long as I have the mana to cast it all before the discard at random?

A: No. When Hanabi Blast resolves, you need to follow all of its instructions before you get another chance to cast things; you can't re-cast the Blast in the middle of resolving it. So you'll perform the discard first, and if you happen to discard the Blast, no more Blasting for you.

The only time you can ever cast something during the resolution of some other spell or ability is when that spell or ability is specifically instructing you to cast that thing.

Q: I have a Grizzly Bears enchanted with Madcap Skills, which I then enchant with Alpha Authority... can it only be blocked by two or more creatures, can it only be blocked by one creature, or is it effectively unblockable?

A: It's unblockable. Both Madcap Skills and Alpha Authority create blocking restrictions, and your opponent has to obey all relevant blocking restrictions in order to block your creature. Since there's no possible way to block your Bears that abides by both restrictions, she's left with only one legal option: not blocking it at all.

Q: Can I use Bloodsoaked Champion's raid ability just once, or as many times as I am able to pay for it?

A: Assuming you have some way of getting the Champion back into your graveyard, there's no limit to the number of times you can activate the ability. The only activation restriction on the ability is that you have to have attacked with a creature in order to activate it, and that's never going to stop being true just because you brought the Champion back already.

Q: I have Spectra Ward on a creature on the battlefield. Another player with Roil Elemental plays a land and insists that he as a player is given the ability to take control of the creature due to the landfall trigger, so therefore it is colorless. Is he right?

A: No, he's very, very wrong. Abilities may not have colors, but their sources do. Protection from all colors means that your creature can't be targeted by abilities from blue sources (among others), and the source of the landfall ability is Roil Elemental, which is blue. If your opponent wants to use an ability to gain control of your creature, it's going to have to be an ability from a colorless source, like say Vedalken Shackles.

Q: What happens if I try to wait for my opponent to tap Sensei's Divining Top, then use Naturalize in response? Naturalize will resolve first and destroy the Top. Then, the Top's ability resolves, but it's no longer in the battlefield. Does it still go back to its owner's library? My brother says it does, but I don't understand why.

A: No, it stays in the graveyard. Your brother is wrong. When the Top was destroyed and put into the graveyard, it became a new object and as far as the game's concerned it has no connection whatsoever to that Top that used to exist on the battlefield.

When the second Top ability resolves and tries to return the Top on the battlefield to the top of your brother's library, it won't be able to find that Top, and won't do anything. (Well, other than drawing him a card.) The fact that there happens to be a card named Sensei's Divining Top in the graveyard is completely irrelevant.

Q: Can I activate bestow to enchant a creature after summoning the bestow card as a creature? So say I summon Purphoros's Emissary, can I summon it one turn to get a body on the board, and then a few turns later when I have the mana, bestow it onto another card to give it the buff?

A: No, I'm afraid not. You have to choose whether or not to bestow as you're casting the spell; you can't cast your card as a creature and then bestow it later. If you want to bestow your Emissary on something, you're going to need to find some way to return it to your hand so you can cast it again.

Q: For Smokestack, in my upkeep, do I put the soot counter first, or do I sacrifice permanents first?

A: Whichever you like! (I would go with the second one—that's definitely the better choice.)

Both of Smokestack's abilities trigger at the same time (the beginning of your upkeep), and you control both of them, so you get to decide the order in which they're put on the stack. If you put the Soot counter trigger on first, then the sacrifice trigger on top, the sacrifice trigger will resolve first, and only after that will the Soot counter trigger resolve and add a counter.

Q: If I Ensoul Artifact my Dragon Throne of Tarkir, can I still equip another creature? And if not, is the Throne itself the equipped creature, allowing me to activate its ability and give my other creatures +5/+5 until end of turn?

A: You can't equip another creature, because an Equipment that's also a creature can't equip anything. And unfortunately for you, the Throne isn't equipping itself either, so you can't tap it to boost your team.

As long as that Ensoul Artifact is attached to your Throne, it's pretty much useless. Well, except for being a 5/5 creature you can use to smash your opponent's face in. That seems pretty useful.

Q: I control a Civilized Scholar who is a copy of Delver of Secrets due to Infinite Reflection. If the Scholar transforms, will it still be a copy of Delver?

A: Yes. It won't be a Homicidal Brute, and it won't be an Insectile Aberration either, just a Delver of Secrets.

Copy effects on double-faced cards only copy the face that's currently face-up, so while transforming your Scholar may turn the Scholar's Homicidal Brute face up, that won't get rid of the copy effect from Infinite Reflection telling you that that Brute's actually a Delver of Secrets.

Q: Does the power and toughness of the token from Kin-Tree Invocation change if the greatest toughness among creatures I control changes?

A: No. Kin-Tree Invocation checks for the greatest toughness among your creatures only once, as it resolves, and then creates a token with power and toughness each equal to that number. The token itself is just a vanilla X/X—it doesn't make any attempt to update itself if you gain or lose some creatures.

To see what an effect that creates a variable token looks like, check out Ajani Goldmane—unlike the Spirit Warrior token from the Invocation, the Avatar token Ajani makes continually updates itself as your life total changes.

Q: If I reveal a bestow card off of a Villainous Wealth, can I bestow them, or only cast them as creatures?

A: You can only cast them as creatures. Villainous Wealth has you cast the cards it reveals "without paying their mana costs", which is an alternative cost. (Of nothing.) Bestow is also an alternative cost, and you can't apply two different alternative costs at the same time when casting a spell, so no bestowing for you.

Q: If I control Courser of Kruphix and cast Dig Through Time, does my opponent get to know whether the revealed card is one of the ones I put into my hand?

A: No. Your opponent will know that you put two cards into your hand and five on the bottom, but she won't know the identities of those cards—the fact that one of them was revealed doesn't matter.

However, she might be able to figure it out depending on exactly how you pick up your top seven and choose the two to keep. If you keep them all nice and spread out for her to see it might even be quite easy for her to tell whether or not you chose the top card. The rules not giving her that information for free doesn't mean she can't glean it on her own, so if it matters, you might want to keep those cards close to the vest and mix them up a bit.

Q: If Master Biomancer is out and Joraga Warcaller is cast with one or more kickers, what happens? Can you choose which effect to apply first?

A: You do choose which replacement effect to apply first, but which one you choose won't make any difference here. Either way, you'll get two counters from Master Biomancer (assuming nothing else is boosting it) and one for each time you kicked Joraga Warcaller. No more than that.

Replacement effects work by looking at the very next set of instructions the game is about to follow and modifying those instructions before they can be carried out. The instructions are modified again and again until no more replacement effects want to apply, and only after that whole process do you actually follow whatever the instructions ended up being after all the modifications. Applying the replacement effects from Joraga Warcaller and Master Biomancer don't put the counters on the Warcaller immediately–they modify the game's instructions for how to put the Warcaller onto the battlefield, which won't actually happen until both the Warcaller and Biomancer are done editing.

Since Joraga Warcaller's Elf-boosting ability only functions while the Warcaller is already on the battlefield, and the Warcaller doesn't get the counters or enter the battlefield until after all relevant replacement effects have been applied, there is no way for a Joraga Warcaller to boost Master Biomancer's power in time to put additional counters on itself.

Q: If Everlasting Torment is on the field and my opponent attacks me with Glistener Elf, would wither override the infect, causing it to deal regular combat damage instead of poison counters?

A: No such luck. Wither doesn't affect damage dealt to players at all, so it won't even attempt to do anything, but infect will, so you'll take your damage as poison counters, the exact same way you would without the Torment.

Q: In M15 there are "other" cards that you can't buy in packs, you can only get them in those little free packs. Are those cards Standard legal?

A: Yes they are. Those extra cards (also found in the Deck Builder's Toolkit) are considered a part of M15 (despite not appearing in booster packs) and thus are legal for Standard play for as long as the rest of M15 is.

Q: I'm running a standard deck that runs 65 cards. After game 1, can I sideboard in my whole 15 card sideboard, and then take out the additional five cards, to reduce it to a 60 card deck? Or would it have to remain the native 65?

A: You can sideboard however you like between games as long as your sideboard remains 15 cards or less and your main deck remains 60 cards or more. Removing an extra five cards from your main deck would leave you with 60 cards maindeck, which is fine, but it also would leave you with a 20 card sideboard, which is not. So you can't do that.

If you started out with a 65-card maindeck and a 10-card sideboard you could do it, since then your sideboard would only be 15 cards after sideboarding.

That's all for today, folks! Be sure to check back next week when Eli will be back with another serving of rules questions—enough for the whole family!

Now if you'll excuse me, I think I'm going to need another few hours of sleep to handle all this food. And then, turkey sandwiches! Mmmmm...

- 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.

in reference to the first question, shouldn\'t the opponent get a warning for Game Play Error — Failure to Maintain Game State?

Last edited on 2014-10-13 23:42:50 by chaim
#1 • Date: 2014-10-12 • Time: 23:04:26 •
Why would that be? The opponent called for a judge the very moment something happened that caused an error
#2 • Date: 2014-10-13 • Time: 06:11:19 •
He clearly knew that a Game Play Error was about to happen. Perhaps it\'s USC-Minor instead.
#3 • Date: 2014-10-13 • Time: 23:40:11 •
With the Courser and Dig Through Time: Don't you always have to reveal the top card of your library, even if you yourself are looking at the top 7? So you keep showing your opponent one of your seven you are looking at?

I had someone give me a similar ruling for Courser and Ponder.
#4 • Date: 2014-10-14 • Time: 04:08:49 •
@chaim: You're never responsible for stopping an opponent from making a mistake before it actually happens. You just have to point it out as soon as you notice. Though it was a bit opportunistic, the player who called a judge in that situation did nothing wrong. The player who scooped up his morphs screwed up, plain and simple.
#5 • Date: 2014-10-14 • Time: 07:03:41 •
Chaim: Don't try to assign a penalty based on not liking the behavior - determine what infraction the behavior fits, or that it doesn't fit one. It doesn't fit one here.

Blees: Ponder has multiple verbs - put the cards back, and then draw. The card is revealed in between those two actions. Dig through Time has one verb - put cards in places.
#6 • Date: 2014-10-14 • Time: 07:18:11 •
I don't understand the courser / dig interaction: am I not allowed to see the card on top of the library at all time? So while he's choosing which card to keep, can't I ask to see the card again?

There is nothing in the resolution of dig through time that says it prevents me looking at the revealed top card of the library. I don't see any time slot when the card would not be either revealed or in his hand or bottom of library. (And thus I'd be able to 'follow' it.)

(IOW, I could require that the revealed card on top stay on the top of his library while he makes his choices.)
#7 • Date: 2014-10-15 • Time: 13:24:10 •
A lot of players seem worried about the revealing a morph rule. I would suggest considering buying the morph overlay card. I know it's yet more money to give WotC, but I would hope that extra effort would trigger your memory, and preventing game loses has to make the cost worth it! Alternatively, use beads just as you would for counters, so long as you use different beads for morph than for your counters so you don't confuse the game state for yourself an your opponent!
#8 • Date: 2014-10-20 • Time: 03:29:05 •

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