Published on 10/27/2014

The Morph They Stay the Same

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 Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes.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

Sadly, not a boat.
Despite the catchy pun in the title, morph hasn't actually changed since last week's article. Morphs are still delightful blobs of mystery which might be anything — even a boat!

This time, it turns out they've revealed a whole bunch of rules questions ready to be answered in this week's issue of Cranial Insertion!

Though of course we can't do that without your help, so if you've got questions, please send them to us by using the handy "Email Us" button, by sending an email to , or by tweeting at @CranialTweet.

Q: If I have a Courser of Kruphix and cast See the Unwritten, does that mean I get to see my ninth card while choosing what I want from the first eight?

A: See the Unwritten tells you to reveal the top eight cards of your library, and merely looking at or revealing things doesn't cause them to move. So you won't see the ninth card until it becomes the top card, which is after you've chosen from the top eight and put the rest in the graveyard.

Q: If I cast Aura Mutation targeting my Karametra, God of Harvests, do I get Saproling tokens? Or does she actually have to be destroyed for that to happen?

A: You will get Saprolings — 5 of them, since that's Karametra's converted mana cost. The token-making portion of Aura Mutation's effect happens regardless of whether the enchantment gets destroyed; if it wanted to make the tokens dependent on the destruction, it would say something like "If that enchantment is destroyed this way..." instead.

Q: I attack with a creature that has Kusari-Gama, it gets blocked and deals damage. Then in response to the Kusari-Gama trigger, I activate Sydri, Galvanic Genius to make Kusari-Gama a creature, and give it deathtouch and lifelink. Does Kusari-Gama kill all of my opponent's creatures?

A: Once Kusari-Gama's ability triggers, turning it into a creature (which causes it to become unattached from whatever it was equipping) won't counter the triggered ability. So it'll still deal damage to all of your opponent's other creatures. And since Kusari-Gama now has deathtouch, that damage will be lethal.

Q: If I Burn Away my opponent's Ashcloud Phoenix, does it come back?

A: The answer to this depends on whose turn it is. Whenever multiple abilities trigger simultaneously, the active player (that's the player whose turn it is) puts their triggers on the stack, then each other player in turn order puts their triggers on the stack. So if it's your turn, the Ashcloud Phoenix trigger goes on the stack last and resolves first, returning it. If it's your opponent's turn, the Ashcloud Phoenix trigger goes on the stack first and resolves last, but the Phoenix will already have been exiled by the Burn Away trigger at that point, and so it won't return to the battlefield.

Q: My opponent attacked me with Chief of the Edge and I blocked with Monastery Flock. Then my opponent cast Ride Down on my Monastery Flock, and I responded with Force Away on the Chief. Does my Monastery Flock still get destroyed since it's not blocking anymore?

A: It does. Once a creature blocks or becomes blocked, it stays in that state until the end of the combat phase, or until a spell or ability specifically says otherwise, even if all the things blocking/blocked by it get removed. So Monastery Flock is still a blocking creature, and Ride Down will still destroy it.

Q: What if the Ride Down targets a Kin-Tree Warden and it regenerates? Would the attacking Chief of the Edge still get trample?

A: It would. Although regeneration replaces destruction with "remove all damage from this creature, remove it from combat and tap it", that won't change the fact that Chief of the Edge had been blocked by Kin-Tree Warden (and in fact it has to work this way — otherwise Ride Down would never give anything trample).

"Boat" isn't a creature type.
Q: If I use Nissa, Worldwaker to turn one of my lands into a creature, will that count as a colorless creature for Ghostfire Blade?

A: In Magic things don't "count as" having some characteristic — they either have it or they don't. Color comes from any of three places: colored mana symbols in a mana cost (which a land doesn't have), a color indicator on its type line (which most lands — Dryad Arbor excepted — don't have) or a spell or ability which causes something to be a color (Nissa's ability doesn't give the land a color). So unless your animated land is a Dryad Arbor, it won't have a color and thus will be colorless, so Ghostfire Blade can equip it for less than the normal equip cost.

Q: What's the soonest I could activate Bloodsoaked Champion's ability? If I wanted to trigger Pandemonium to kill a blocker, could I do it in the declare blockers step since I've already attacked by then?

A: You can activate Bloodsoaked Champion's ability any time after you've declared attacking creatures, so long as you attacked with at least one creature. So activating it in the declare blockers step (or even in the declare attackers step, to kill something before it can block) would be perfectly legal.

Q: My opponent just cast Animate Dead, targeting an Iona, Shield of Emeria. Is there any way I can use Wear // Tear to destroy the Animate Dead before my opponent can choose white for Iona?

A: There is! Animate Dead has a triggered ability that triggers when it enters the battlefield, and returns the creature to the battlefield. If you cast Wear in response to that triggered ability, Animate Dead will be destroyed and Iona will stay put in the graveyard, never having had a chance to shut off your ability to cast white (or any other color) spells.

Q: If I cast Act of Treason on my opponent's Meandering Towershell and then attack with it, who gets the Towershell when it returns from exile?

A: You do. Meandering Towershell's ability says to return it "under your control", where "you" is the player who controlled the triggered ability that exiled it. Since you controlled that ability, you are the player who gets it when it returns, and you'll keep it unless some other control-change effect takes it away from you later.

Q: My opponent has Anafenza, the Foremost. If I animate a Jeskai Banner with Ensoul Artifact and then sacrifice it to draw a card, will the Banner get exiled?

A: It will. Although Anafenza's ability includes the phrase "from anywhere", which for a triggered ability would mean it checks the characteristics of the card in the graveyard, Anafenza's ability is a replacement effect, which means it looks at the characteristics before the card would be put in the graveyard (in this case, it will be looking at the characteristics on the battlefield, since that's where the Banner is). The animated Banner is a creature at that point, so Anafenza will exile it.

Q: I attacked with a creature, then cast Howl of the Horde followed by Tormenting Voice. Do I draw two cards from the first Tormenting Voice before I have to discard for the next one?

A: This is a trick question! Whenever something instructs you to copy a spell, you just make an exact copy of it on the stack, bypassing the casting process entirely. Which means you don't pay the costs of the copies; you'll just discard one card to cast the original Tormenting voice, then you'll draw six cards (two for each copy and two for the original).

Q: So would Seeker of the Way get +3/+3 from the original Tormenting Voice and the two copies?

A: Copies of spells aren't cast, so the copies created by Howl of the Horde won't get you any additional prowess triggers. Your Seeker will be left seeking for a way to get more prowess in this case.

Q: What if instead of using Howl of the Horde to copy a spell, I just cast Setessan Tactics, and choose a bunch of targets? Does each of those give my Seeker another +1/+1?

A: Although a spell with strive can optionally have a lot of targets (so long as you can pay for all of them), it's still just one spell. So casting Setessan Tactics will still just get you one prowess trigger from Seeker of the Way.

Q: My opponent has an Ethersworn Canonist, and I've cast a Lightning Bolt this turn. I can still suspend a Rift Bolt, since suspend isn't casting, right?

A: Unfortunately you'll have to spend another turn in suspense; suspend doesn't cast the card (at least not right away), but the rules for suspend only let you suspend a card at a time when you'd be allowed to cast it. Since you wouldn't be allowed to cast the Rift Bolt at this point (because of the Canonist), you also can't suspend it. You can do this the other way around, though, and suspend the Rift Bolt first, casting the Lightning Bolt afterward.

Maybe it guards... a boat?
Q: I have a bunch of nonbasic lands and not much life, and there's a Burning Earth in play. Is there any way I can cast a big Sphinx's Revelation without dying from the Burning Earth damage?

A: There is! You can tap a nonbasic land, respond to the Burning Earth trigger by tapping another, and so on until you have enough mana in your pool and a bunch of Burning Earth triggers on the stack. Then you can cast the Sphinx's Revelation in response to those triggers (since it's an instant), which will resolve and gain you life before the Burning Earth triggers resolve.

Q: I heard that someone at a Pro Tour cast a Bile Blight to kill their opponent's Sylvan Caryatid. I thought that was impossible because the Caryatid has hexproof?

A: It's not legal to cast Bile Blight targeting your opponent's Caryatid, because it has hexproof. But it is legal, if you have a Caryatid of your own, to cast Bile Blight targeting your Caryatid. Then Bile Blight will also kill your opponent's Caryatid, because it has the same name (remember: something is only a target if it's referred to by the word "target", so Bile Blight isn't trying to target the opponent's Caryatid in this case).

Q: I control Sidisi, Brood Tyrant and Sagu Mauler and cast See the Unwritten. I hit two more Sidisis with See the Unwritten and put them both onto the battlefield. I also put two other creature cards into my graveyard from See the Unwritten. Will all three of the Sidisis get to make tokens?

A: They will! Even though two of the Sidisis die as soon as See the Unwritten finishes resolving, they were on the battlefield when you put those two creature cards in your graveyard, so their abilities will trigger and each one will make a Zombie, giving you quite the brood.

Q: My opponent cast a Shardless Agent and the first card he revealed was a Thoughtseize. He said that because cascade says "you may cast" the card, he can choose not to and just keep going until he finds a better spell. Is that true?

A: It's true that he doesn't have to cast the Thoughtseize if he doesn't want to (say, because he doesn't want to lose 2 life). But he doesn't get to keep revealing cards to find a better one — once cascade has found a card that meets its criteria, it just stops revealing, and the only choice left is to cast that card or not.

Q: I've heard that there are people who try to cheat in tournaments by doing fake shuffles on their opponent's deck to give them a bad opening hand. Can I just have a judge always shuffle for me to avoid that?

A: You have the right to ask a judge to shuffle for you, but the judge isn't required to, and can decline the request. Generally, it's best to avoid doing that with every opponent, since there aren't enough judges to shuffle for everybody in a tournament; if you have concerns about a specific player, bringing those concerns to a judge to investigate is a much better use of time.

I'm morphed out, but be sure to check back next Monday to see what will be revealed when the next issue of Cranial Insertion is turned face-up!

- James Bennett

About the Author:
James Bennett is a Level 3 judge based out of Lawrence, Kansas. He pops up at events around Kansas City and all over the midwest, and has a car he can talk to.

"if it wanted to... , it would say something like..." instead."

It's really, really useful to have clarification about how alternative abilities would work, like this. Thanks, and please do often!
#1 • Date: 2014-10-28 • Time: 03:02:11 •

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