Published on 04/20/2015

A Dash of Dash

And Other Assorted Questions

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 Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes.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

That's a dashing Dragon!
Greetings, and welcome back to another issue of Cranial Insertion. Dragons of Tarkir has been out for a while now, people are adding Dragons to their decks, and I don't think I've seen this many Dragons since Skyrim. It's awesome! Not surprisingly, we're getting a lot of questions about Dragons, but I've also noticed that there's a bit of a dash theme going on, which naturally led me to this week's punny title.

If you have questions about dash, Dragons, dashing Dragons, or anything else for that matter, please send us an email at or tweet short questions to @CranialTweet. You'll receive an answer from one of our authors, and your question might appear in a future article.

And now, let's dash into this week's selection of questions!

Q: I have an Artful Maneuver that's rebounding but there are no creatures on the battlefield anymore. Can I still cast it to trigger my Jeskai Ascendancy loot trigger?

A: No, you can't do that. In order to cast a targeted spell, you have to choose the required number and types of targets. The fact that Artful Maneuver is being cast from a rebound trigger doesn't change this, so you can't cast it. It'll stay in exile, and you'll have to get that Ascendancy trigger some other way.

Q: If a manifested creature had Dance of the Skywise cast on it earlier during the turn, can I still turn it face up by paying its mana cost?

A: Absolutely! The fact that a manifested creature can be turned face up is built into the rules of what being manifested means. It's not an ability of the manifested creature, so Dance of the Skywise doesn't remove it. However, note that after you turn it face up, it'll still be affected by Dance of the Skywise's effect, so it'll have to wait until the next turn to be itself.

Q: My opponent controls Seeker of the Way and tries to cast Lightning Strike on me, which I counter with Silumgar's Scorn. My opponent claims that the Seeker still gets a prowess trigger even though I countered his spell. Is that true?

A: Yes, it is. Prowess triggers off of casting a spell, and your opponent didn't just try to cast Lightning Strike; he actually really cast it. Lightning Strike didn't get to resolve, but that doesn't matter to the prowess trigger. Countering the spell doesn't "uncast" it and doesn't counter any triggers that were triggered by casting it.

Q: So, I control Purphoros, God of the Forge and a few creatures that bring my devotion to four, and their power is enough to bring my opponent down to 2 life. I start my turn and to my dismay I draw another Purphoros. If I play it, will that do the 2 damage I need to win the game this turn?

A: You're in luck! The second Purphoros brings your devotion to five, so it enters the battlefield as a creature, which triggers your first Purphoros's ability. State-based actions kick in and make you throw one of your Purphoroses into the graveyard, but that doesn't change the fact that the ability triggered. The ability will resolve, regardless of which Purphoros you throw away, and Purphoros number 1 will deal 2 damage to your opponent.

Q: My opponent controls an Archetype of Aggression that's enchanted with Gift of Immortality, and I destroy both of them at the same time with Tempest of Light. Does Gift of Immortality's ability still trigger?

A: It does. Gift's triggered ability is a leave-the-battlefield trigger, which triggers based on the game state right before the event that triggered it. At that time, Archetype of Aggression and Gift were still on the battlefield, and the Archetype was the enchanted creature, so the ability triggered. Additionally, the ability can track the Aura into the graveyard and not only will the Archetype come back, but Gift of Immortality will reattach itself to the Archetype at the beginning of the next end step.

Q: Does Battlefield Thaumaturge work with Mob Rule?

A: Not so much. Even though Mob Rule potentially affects a lot of creatures, it doesn't target a single one of them. An instant or sorcery spell will have to use the word "target" in order to target, and Mob Rule doesn't use that word. It targets zero creatures, so Battlefield Thaumaturge doesn't reduce its cost at all.

Q: Suppose I have Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker's emblem, and I cast a creature for its dash cost. Which happens first at the end of the turn, the dash "return to hand" trigger or the "discard your hand" trigger?

A: You choose! You control both triggers, and they both want to go on the stack at the same time, so you choose the order in which those triggers go on the stack. If you discard first, the dashing creature will go into your hand afterward, and it'll be in a good position to dash again on your next turn.

Hot enough for you?
Q: Can I use the mana from Savage Ventmaw's ability to allow Qal Sisma Behemoth to attack?

A: Not without a time machine, and probably not with one either because mana doesn't time-travel well. You have to declare all attacker's at the same time, and you have to pay the cost for Qal Sisma Behemoth at the time it's declared as an attacker. Savage Ventmaw's ability goes on the stack after you declare attackers, and it resolves a bit later still, so the mana from its ability can't possibly be used to pay attack costs.

Q: I took control of two of my opponent's creatures with two Illusory Gains. If my opponent plays another creature, will both Illusory Gains hop over to that creature?

A: I'm afraid so. When the creature enters under your opponent's control, both Illusory Gains's abilities trigger. The first ability resolves, and Illusory Gains number 1 attaches itself to the new creature. Then the second ability resolves and Illusory Gains number 2 also attaches itself to the new creature. The fact that the creature is no longer controlled by your opponent doesn't matter because the ability doesn't recheck who controls the creature at the time the ability resolves.

Q: If I play Sidisi, Undead Vizier, and my opponent responds to the exploit trigger with Turn to Frog targeting Sidisi, what happens?

A: The exploit trigger is already on the stack, so it will resolve and ask you whether you want to sacrifice a creature. You can sacrifice a creature if you'd like, but that won't trigger the tutor ability since Sidisi doesn't have that ability anymore.

Q: I control a Hornet Nest and my opponent targets it with Lightning Strike. If I make Hornet Nest indestructible with Valorous Stance, do I still get the Insect tokens?

A: Yup! An indestructible creature can't be destroyed, but it can still be dealt damage, so you'll get tokens and you'll get to keep the Hornet Nest around for the possibility of making even more tokens!

Q: Can I use Strionic Resonator with Glimpse of Nature in such a way that I draw two cards for every creature spell I cast that turn?

A: No, Strionic Resonator doesn't work that way. Strionic Resonator targets a triggered ability that's on the stack, after it has triggered. The most you can do is cast and resolve Glimpse of Nature, cast a creature spell, and then copy the Glimpse trigger from that creature to draw two cards for that spell.

Q: If a planeswalker somehow becomes a creature, for example with Liquimetal Coating and Karn, Silver Golem, can its loyalty abilities still be activated?

A: Certainly. Becoming a creature doesn't make the planeswalker lose its loyalty abilities or its loyalty counters, and loyalty abilities don't have any activation restrictions that depend on the card type of the permanent they're on.

Q: What happens if I use Break Open on my opponent's manifested Treasure Cruise?

A: Very little happens, and nothing of consequence. Turning a nonpermanent card face up is impossible, so your opponent simply reveals the card to show that it's a sorcery, and then it stays face-down.

Who wants a hug?
Q: I control Jeskai Ascendancy and a tapped Dragonlord Ojutai, and my opponent targets Ojutai with Hero's Downfall. If I respond with Wild Slash to let Jeskai Ascendancy untap Ojutai, does that stop Hero's Downfall?

A: Yes, that'll do nicely. Before Hero's Downfall resolves, it rechecks the legality of its target. Ojutai is now untapped, so it has hexproof now, which means that it's no longer a legal target for your opponent's Hero's Downfall. Hero's Downfall is countered on resolution, and your opponent is sad.

Q: Let's say I use Xenagos, the Reveler's -6 ability and it puts Rampaging Baloths and a couple of lands onto the battlefield. Does the Baloths' landfall ability trigger?

A: It sure does! Xenagos's ability puts all those cards onto the battlefield at the same time, and permanents that enter the battlefield at the same time see each other entering, so you'll get a bunch of Beast tokens.

Q: In a Commander game, I tried to use Sun Titan to get Song of the Dryads onto my opponent's Zombie Outlander. She pointed out that I can't do that because of protection from green, but I thought putting an Aura onto something with Sun Titan doesn't target. Who is right?

A: Technically you're both right, but the fact that attaching an Aura with Sun Titan doesn't target is not really relevant here. Protection includes a number of benefits, and one of those benefits is that a permanent with protection from green can't be enchanted by a green Aura, so putting a green Aura onto a creature with protection from green is an illegal action.

Q: Can I dash Zurgo Bellstriker from the command zone for regardless of how often I've cast it before?

A: No, you'll still have to pay the commander tax. Dash is an alternative cost that only replaces the mana cost that's printed in the top-right corner. In Zurgo Bellstriker's case, that cost is . Any additional costs such as the commander tax are added on top of the alternative cost, so you're still on the hook for that.

Q: If I dash Zurgo Bellstriker from the command zone, does it go back to the command zone at the end of the turn?

A: Only if you want it to. Casting a creature for its dash cost sets up a delayed triggered ability that "returns" the creature to its owner's hand, but it doesn't actually care whether the creature originally came from the hand. The trigger simply puts the creature into its owner's hand regardless of where it came from. Note that thanks to the recent change to the Commander rules, you could choose to put your commander into the command zone instead of putting it into your hand, but that's entirely up to you.

Q: The Magic Tournament Rules state about Sealed Deck tournaments that "If the Tournament Organizer does not have sufficient basic land cards, players may use their own during the tournament as long as they are in good condition and are not marked." Does this mean that I can't bring my own lands to a Grand Prix that has sufficient basic lands?

A: No, it doesn't mean that. The rule is not meant as an exhaustive list of the cases in which players are allowed to use their own lands. It's simply an example of the most common reason why a player might want to (or need to) play with their own lands. If you want to use your own lands you have to ask the head judge for permission, but unless the head judge or tournament organizer have a specific reason to disallow your lands, for example for being marked or otherwise inappropriate, that permission will usually be granted.

And that's all the time we have for this week. Gotta dash! See you again 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.

To follow up the Sidisi question, if my opponent casts Sidisi, can I prevent her from searching for a card by destroying Sidisi with the exploit trigger on the stack? Everyone I have asked this question to says no, she will still be able to sac another creature and search for a card. They use the analogy that Sidisi can always sac itself to exploit and it would also then not be on the battlefield, and the search ability would still go off. I disagree, but I couldn\'t find a rule to support me.

Last edited on 2015-04-20 07:22:59 by Burned
#1 • Date: 2015-04-20 • Time: 07:13:19 •
You just gotta keep in mind they're two separate abilities that trigger at completely different times. The second ability won't trigger until the sacrifice is complete, and if Sidisi is a frog or is dead once the first ability resolves, the tutor ability won't be able to trigger since it doesn't exist on the battlefield. As long as you destroy her with the first ability on the stack, you're good. If you wait for the first ability to resolve and the second one to trigger, the opponent can still tutor even if you destroy Sidisi at this point.
#2 • Date: 2015-04-20 • Time: 09:16:56 •
The reason Sidisi can exploit herself and get a card is because the "When (this) exploits a creature..." ability is a type of leaves-the-battlefield trigger. LTB triggers use information from right before the triggering object left the battlefield to determine if and how they trigger. Right before Sidisi exploited herself she was on the battlefield, so her ability existed. See Sections 603.6c-d of the CR for the full rules backup on LTB triggers.

The difference between this and destroying Sidisi before the exploit sacrifice even occurs is that if the player still chooses to exploit something then no "When (this) exploits a creature..." exists at the moment it would be able to trigger from the event.
#3 • Date: 2015-04-21 • Time: 13:44:08 •
Follow up question about Qal Sisma Behemoth, can you make it attack if you have Arbor Elf and Forest only?
#4 • Date: 2015-04-26 • Time: 17:54:16 •
No, sadly that can't work. Qal Sisma Behemoth's cost has to be paid as it's declared as an attacker, and declaring attackers is a turn-based action that's performed at the beginning of the Declare Attackers step before any player gets priority. There are certain situations where you're allowed to activate mana abilities when you don't have priority, but Arbor Elf's ability isn't a mana ability. The last time you have priority before declaring attackers is at the end of the Beginning of Combat step, and you can't float mana across steps or phases, so Arbor Elf can't help you get the mana you need to pay for the Behemoth's cost to attack.
#5 • Date: 2015-04-27 • Time: 06:54:25 •

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