Published on 03/30/2009

Monkey Business

or, Pan Zombificus

Cranial Translation
[No translations yet]

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 Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes.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

om nom nom
Hey folks! Everyone's favorite undead fleabag is back to spread knowledge and plague. Partially because they're still dead from Goyfapalooza, whatever that is, and partially because I'm bored. And when I'm bored, scary things happen.

So, while I'm working my fingers and toes to the bone typing up a column, fire off more work for me to . One of the writers will answer it, or I'll visit them in the night.

Q: I have two Ethrium Sculpters out and I have Tezzeret the Seeker on my side with five loyalty counters on him. Can I search my library for a Sphinx Summoner for three instead of using all five?

A: Nothing reduces the mana cost or converted mana cost of cards – the Sculptor just makes the spells cheaper to play. Sphinx Summoner still has a converted mana cost of 5, so you'll have to remove all five counters.

Q: Humility is in play, and I play Vigean Hydropon. How big is it? What if Vigean Hydropon is in play and I play Humility afterwards? What if I Snakeform Vigean Hydropon?

A: None of your exotic, nightmare-inducing situations matter: effects that set power and toughness do so in layer 6b, and counters apply in layer 6c. With the layer setup, the order these effects were created in don't matter. C always comes after B, and your hat rack will always be 6/6.

Q: If I put Followed Footsteps on a Chameleon Colossus, can I sacrifice the resulting token to Caribou Range?

A: Why? Can you really not think of anything better to do with 4/4 pro-black dudes?

Well, you can. They are both tokens and Caribou. I hope you have a good reason to do that and it's not just for the luls.

Q: Will Vesuva enter play untapped if I don't copy anything so I can get mana out of it right away via Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth?

A: Sure. Vesuva's effect says you may choose to copy something and it comes into play tapped as a copy of that as you do. So if you don't choose to copy something, you'll get it untapped and you can tap it for black mana.

Fun fact: The Vampire is so Repentant,
but it keeps on eating things. Hmm.
Q: Is Repentant Vampire white and black with threshold, or just white?

A: It's just white. The effect doesn't say that white is "in addition to" its other colors, so that sets its color to the single color specified.

Q: Can I Reiterate Hex if there are only ten creatures in play and wipe the board?

A: Sure. Hex needs six legal targets when you put the copy on the stack, and you have to choose legal targets if you change around the targets, but it doesn't need all six targets when it resolves. The first Hex can wipe out six creatures, and the second can wipe out four and ignore the two illegal targets.

Q: If I play a red creature, can I give a protection-from-black creature -3/-3 with Death Match?

A: That red creature made Death Match trigger, but Death Match is still the source of the trigger. Since the source is black, the trigger can't target something with pro-black.

Q: I control a Nullmage Shepherd and play a Sengir Autocrat. Can I make the Serfs do my dirty work and blow something up right away?

A: Sure! The cost of "tap an untapped creature" doesn't have the symbol, so summoning sickness doesn't come into it. You can tap them for this cost immediately.

Q: I have a Steel of the Godhead on a blue vanilla creature. Will it get the bonus from Muraganda Petroglyphs?

A: "Unblockable" isn't a keyword ability, no matter how much it looks like one. It's just a quality. Steel of the Godhead makes your guy unblockable but doesn't give it any abilities – the Petroglyphs will still pump it.

Q: Does that mean Jhessian Infiltrator will get the Petroglyphs bonus?

A: No. "Unblockable" isn't an ability, but "this is unblockable" is an ability that creates an effect that establishes that quality. Fun, huh?

Q: When a card tells me to remove cards from the game, how can I tell whether or not everyone else gets to see them?

A: If it says to remove it face down, then no one can see it except for whoever the card says. Otherwise, it's face up as a default and everyone can see what you've got.

Q: If I attack a planeswalker, can its controller stop the damage with Story Circle?

A: Creatures attack a planeswalker directly. The damage is never heading towards a player, so Story Circle can't do anything at all about it. This isn't the same for spells, which have to target the player and then go through a replacement effect to hit a planeswalker – in that case, the Story Circle replacement effect can stop the damage before the planeswalker redirection effect applies.

Q: If I sacrifice Flagstones of Trokair to cycle Edge of Autumn, do I search first or draw first?

A: As part of announcing the ability, you put it on the stack. This used to be called a "pseudospell" and that term is freakin' adorable. Alas, now it's just called an ability. Anyway, it's on the stack. Then you do all those steps and determine the cost and pay the cost. The cost is to sacrifice a land, so off to the yard with the Flagstones. Now that triggers, and goes on top of the stack. You'll search, then draw, and if your luck is anything like mine, you'll draw another land anyway.

Stuck between two heartbeats?
Q: What happens if I put Pendrell Flux on a face-down creature?

A: The face-down creature cries. And cries and cries. And cries some more, because I'm laughing in sadistic glee at its horrible fate. You see, it has no mana cost, so "pay its mana cost" is an impossible action. It's going to be sacrificed like your morals on a date with a supermodel.

Q: My Mutavault gets Shocked while I have Sacred Ground in play. Does it come back?

A: Sacred Ground looks for spells or abilities putting lands into the yard. What's killing a land creature with lethal damage? State-based effects! Unless you are Mark Gottlieb, you don't control state-based effects, so Sacred Ground won't care.

Q: How much do I have to pay to destroy Chalice of the Void played for 4 with my Mox Monkey?

A: It was played for 4, but X on a card while in play is zeeeero (okay, 0, but it's harder to express that vowel as drawn out for comedic value). Chalice's converted mana cost is 0 in play, so Gorilla Shaman can blow it up for .

Q: I activate Barbarian Ring to shock, and my opponent hits me with Tormod's Crypt in response. Do I get my damage?

A: Only if you targeted yourself with the Ring. Otherwise, you get to have your Ring deal some damage!

The Ring's threshold restriction is only checked as you play the ability. After it's activated, the number of cards in the yard won't matter at any point, and the 2 damage will be dealt.

Q: My opponent Terrors my creature. I use Hindering Light on his Terror. In response, he plays another Terror on the same creature. Do I still get my card from my pretty pointless Hindering Light?

A: Nope. The target of the Terror that your Hindering Light targets is no longer a creature that you control – it's not even there. With an illegal target, Hindering Light is countered entirely, and you don't get any of its effects.

Q: I concede with Eye of the Storm's trigger on the stack, taking my removed cards with me. Does my opponent who played the spell get copies of my cards anyway?

A: Oh no, that would make games just plain silly, and you'd have to leave your precious, precious cards behind to make sure players knew what they were! You take your cards and go; since a "card removed from the game with Eye of the Storm" has to actually be in the removed-from-game zone, those cards no longer fit the bill and won't be copified.

Q: What happens in Elder Dragon Highlander if my general is bounced to my hand?

A: You can play your general. For its mana cost, even! And better yet, this doesn't make the next playing cost more since you aren't playing it from outside the game! Good times.

But beware Head Games.

Q: Can I sleeve my deck with toploaders?

A: Can you? Yes. Will judges allow you to play like that? Probably not. Toploaders get scratched very easily, they're loud and obnoxious, and the cards slip around inside the toploader a bit making them even easier to tell apart by the position in the plastic. They also aren't made to nearly the same quality as sleeves, and we all know how sleeves just fall apart after one night of chewing on them in your sleep.

All in all, save everyone a headache and just use sleeves designed for play.

Q: Our Nationals tournament is the weekend of M10's release – which will be legal for it, M10 or 10E?

A: New sets are legal as of the date of release. Barring some explicit announcement from the DCI, M10 will be legal for the Nationals grinders, as well as for the main event, and 10E will not be legal.

Note that this only applies to Nationals from the 17th of July on. Before that, it's not released so you'll use 10E.

Okay, I'm tired of typing, and you've got a bunch of good questions answered. I'm sure today has been very instructive for all of us, so stay tuned for next week's column for more answers for you!

By the way, while you were focused on this column, I ate your pets. They were delicious.

About the Author:
Moko was born in Tanzania, and died in a tragic accident involving a catapult while being transported from Eli Shiffrin to Thijs van Ommen between the first two Cranial Insertion articles. Subsequently zombified, he helps sort their mail and occasionally answers questions. His pastimes include bananas and brains. Mmm brains.


No comments yet.


Follow us @CranialTweet!

Send quick questions to us in English for a short answer.

Follow our RSS feed!