Published on 02/02/2009

All Together Now

or, Maybe Not That Close

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 Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes.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

Bolas can has cheezburger?
As you may have seen this weekend, the Rathi Overlay Alaran Conflux has splattered worlds together like so many condiments on a juicy, delicious hamburger. And we all know what a new set really brings us: new questions!

So fire off all your Conflux questions to and let our resident zombie chimp sooth your brain with mustard.

It will be delicious.

Here are some questions that popped up at our Prerelease events; read it over, and have fun at the Launch Party this weekend coming up! And make sure you read the Conflux FAQ; as usual, this article overlaps it a bit, and there is also yummy rules knowledge in the FAQ for you to learn.

Q: Do I get my land before I draw a card with basic landcycling?

A: Back up there a bit – "typecycling," of which basic landcycling is a subset, doesn't actually have you draw the card. Instead of drawing a random card, you search for a specific card, and that's what you get out of it.

Q: Does domain count Locus and Desert?

A: If Locus and Desert were basic land types, it would. Unfortunately, there are only five basic land types – Plains, Island, Swamp, Mountain, and Forest. Everything else is just a land type.

Q: If I don't reveal an artifact card with Faerie Mechanist, what do I do with the cards?

A: They'll go on the bottom. The "you may" part is only referring to putting a card in your hand, and the later instruction isn't contingent upon doing so or part of the "you may" clause.

Q: Will the copy of Mirror-Sigil Sergeant make copies of itself?

A: It will! Copies copy all the printed stuff, including abilities, so the copy will copy copy copies' copy copiable copies. Copy?

Maybe the best EDH card ever,
and it's not legendary.
Q: Can I concede in response to combat damage so Blood Tyrant won't get counters from my losing?

A: You're out of luck. That Tyrant has an excellent nose. Conceding makes you leave and lose the game; so do Game Losses, even, making this the first time the Comprehensive Rules have to refer to judges. (Go judges!)

All in all, if you stop being in the game for any reason, Tyrant will know and demand its counters.

Q: Can Master Transmuter bounce itself?

A: Sure, it's an artifact. Removing the source of the ability won't cause the ability to be countered, so it will resolve normally and let you put an artifact from your hand into play – possibly that same Transmuter, if you really want to!

Q: Can I play Fleshformer's ability if there are no other creatures to target?

A: Fleshformer doesn't say "other," so you can target it with its own ability. It gets +2/+2 and -2/-2, which makes that bit rather useless, but it does gain fear then. You have to have a target, though, so you can't get it +2/+2 without the -2/-2 unless you have another creature to weaken.

Q: Does first strike plus deathtouch mean that the other creature dies first and my Pestilent Kathari lives?

A: That it does! First-strike damage and any triggers from it will resolve before normal combat damage is dealt. If the other creature has first or double strike, though, it'll get to deal its damage and possible make delicious, tender nuggets out of your birdy.

Q: Will my opponent's creature be destroyed if he has Mark of Asylum and I play Dark Temper while I have a black permanent, or will the damage be prevented first?

A: Dark Temper has a self-replacement effect – that is, a replacement effect that changes what the spell itself does. SREs are always applied first, so you'll have to apply that whether you want to or not, leaving the Mark of Asylum with nothing to prevent.

Q: Can I play Shard Convergence if I don't have all the lands in my deck?

A: Any time you have to search for cards with a specific quality, you're more than welcome to fail to find such cards. The alternative would be to force you to reveal your entire deck to prove that they don't exist, which is just unfeasible ruleswise. So you can fetch up two lands and leave the other two types unfound, or even just get one! Or none, if you're really silly or being Mindslavered.

Q: The land I find with Exploding Borders counts for the damage dealt, right?

A: It does. Do everything in the order stated, and don't determine X until the spell's effect gets there.

Q: My opponent targets my Jhessian Infiltrator with Wretched Banquet, so I Agony Warp his 3/3. Will Wretched Banquet be countered since his creature is 0/0 before that creature dies?

A: For a brief instant, your Infiltrator isn't the weakest link, but no one cares. Wretched Banquet only cares about the power as it resolves. Any other time, it's busy not caring.

Q: Can Worldheart Phoenix's ability be countered by Stifle?

A: It can't be countered, but the spell can. That ability is a static ability (there's no colon, so it's not activated) that lets you play it as a spell. Like all spells, you can fire all the countermagic you want at it.

Dance! Dance!
Q: What happens if my opponent doesn't reveal any creature cards when I hit him with Telemin Performance?

A: Then he gets punished for trying to play a creatureless deck. You reveal the entire library, then with nothing left to reveal, you stop. Now you put all noncreature cards revealed this way – the entire deck! – into the yard, don't put anything into play, and laugh maniacally.

Practice your evil laugh in case this comes up. A poor evil laugh will get you ridiculed by the Evil League of Evil.

Q: Will a Mountain satisfy Kederekt Parasite's trigger?

A: No, Kederekt Parasite can't get no satisfaction from lands. With one notable exception, lands are colorless since they have no mana cost to grant them a color. The fact that they tap for colored mana and are so very, very tightly aligned with a color doesn't make them colored permanents.

Q: I'm at 20 and my opponent is at 5 – can I play Magister Sphinx and choose not to use its ability?

A: Sphinxes are supposed to be smart, but this one is not particularly so. In the absence of the word "may," the ability is not optional, and you'll have to set someone's life to 10 if you play the Sphinx.

Q: Can I play an Aura with Sigil of the Empty Throne out and put the Aura on the Angel I get?

A: No such luck. You have to pick a target for the Aura spell as you play it, which is before the Sigil even triggers. If you don't have a legal target for the Aura, you can't play it and get an Angel.

Note that you can slap your Auras on opponents' creatures just for the sake of having an Angel.

Q: What happens if I have Nicol Bolas and Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker in play at once?

A: They probably conspire to overthrow your yoke and devour you very messily, but there is no in-game consequence to this. The legend rule doesn't affect planeswalkers, and the planeswalker rule doesn't affect legends. Like summoning forth Ertai, Wizard Adept and Ertai, the Corrupted, it's obviously the same character; but they are distinct cards and the rules don't care.

This is more or less why the planeswalker rule cares about planeswalker subtypes and not names. The planeswalker rule can make the game care about the same character appearing in two incarnations, so long as both incarnations are walkers.

Q: Can I sacrifice Suicidal Charge on my turn? Will my opponent's creatures attack himself then?

A: You can sacrifice Suicidal Charge any time you can play a normal activated ability. It just might not do as much useful stuff. For instance, it says that the creatures attack "if able," and creatures a nonactive player controls can't attack. But you'll weaken them if you need to keep your army alive, kill some X/1 creatures, and/or trample over for the win.

Q: If Thornling is indestructible, can I use its +1/-1 ability to make it 8/0 without it dying?

A: Indestructible creatures are pretty tough, but if you bring them down to 0 toughness, they'll be put into the graveyard. This isn't destruction, so indestructibility won't matter here.

Q: I have a Nyxathid and chose Dave in a multiplayer game. Dave dies. Now what? 7/7?

A: Yes, 7/7 forever. The number of cards in the chosen player's hand is undefined since the chosen player is gone, so use 0 and our spiny friend gets -0/-0.

Q: Will Cumber Stone affect creatures before the "5 power comes into play" triggers go off?

A: Yup. When something comes into play, apply replacement effects, then continuous effects, and then after that check to see if anything should trigger. If a 5-power creature comes into play in this situation, it'll be a 4-power creature by the time you check triggers and Paleoloth and company won't care.

That's all for this week. Join us next week when we play with more Conflux questions and eat more hamburgers!

- Eli Shiffrin
Tucson, Arizona

About the Author:
Eli Shiffrin is currently in Lowell, Massachusetts and discovering how dense the east coast MTG community is. Legend has it that the Comprehensive Rules are inscribed on the folds of his brain.


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