Published on 04/06/2009

Spring Cleaning

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 Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes.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

Throw out something you
shouldn't have. Clash with
your wife. You don't win.
It's that time of year where I start clearing out a bunch of useless stuff that's accumulated. I'm the kind of person who abhors waste, so I'm reluctant to throw things out if there's a chance I can find a use for it, but at the same time clutter drives me crazy. This leads to a great deal of inner turmoil.

It's also time to clear out some of the misconceptions and obsolete rules knowledge our readers have. Unfortunately, we've also cleared out the CI Inbox, and everybody must still be wasted from Goyfpalooza, whatever that is, because it's not filling back up again like it usually does. Send your questions to ! We feed off of your craving for knowledge.

Now, let's break out a broom and clear out some cobwebs, shall we?

Q: I used Infest on a bunch of my opponent's creatures, and he seems to think that at the end of the turn, his creatures will all come back because the effect wears off. I thought they'd be killed, but he was pretty sure they'd come back.

A: If their toughness is 0 or less after Infest resolves, those creatures are put into the graveyard. Real creatures don't just pop up out of the grave, and neither will these guys. Well, unless he resurrects them or zombifies them, but he'll have to work a bit to make that happen.

Q: I was thinking that I could use my Metallurgeon to regenerate my opponent's biggest artifact creature before his combat, so that it taps and he can't attack with it.

A: You can certainly use your Metal Medic on your opponent's artifact. Doing that sets up a little shield around the creature that'll save it the next time it would be destroyed. But it won't be tapped until that shield takes a hit, so Metallurgeon alone won't be able to tap out your opponent's guy. You'll also need something that would destroy him. If you can do that, though, why bother with the Metallurgeon at all? Just kill him and be done with it!

Q: My opponent is targeting my Mutavault with his Woodfall Primus. What happens if I respond by tapping the Mutavault for mana and using that mana to activate it?

A: The Mutavault becomes a 2/2 creature, of course. This is good for you, because then the Mutavault no longer meets the targeting restriction of the Primus's ability, which specifies "noncreature permanent." When the ability tries to resolve, it finds that its targets are all illegal, leaves the stack peacefully, and surrenders to the authorities.

Q: If I control an Emerald Medallion, can I imprint Branching Bolt on my Isochron Scepter?

A: No, that won't do. A card's mana cost never changes, regardless of what other cards you might have lying about. Those other cards can give you a discount, but the cost remains the same. The converted mana cost of Branching Bolt is always 3, so it won't fit in the Scepter.

Missiles away!
Q: Suppose I point a Shock at my opponent's Drudge Skeletons and copy it with Wort, the Raidmother. Does he have to regenerate his Skeletons twice?

A: No, he doesn't have to, but they'll be destroyed if he doesn't. A regeneration shield will prevent only one instance of destruction. You've fired two missiles at your target; the first wipes out the shield, and the second destroys it. Good shooting!

Q: What if I conspire an X spell like Blaze? Does it deal another X damage? My opponent said X would be 0 for the copy.

A: When a spell is on the stack, X is whatever value was chosen for it. That X is part of the copiable values of the spell and will, in fact, be copied. Your second Blaze is just as hot as the first.

Q: I control Sygg, River Cutthroat and I Incinerate my opponent. If he responds with a Healing Salve, do I still draw a card?

A: That depends on what he does with the Salve. If he prevents the damage from Incinerate, then it'll never be dealt, so you won't draw a card.

If, however, he decides to gain 3 life, Sygg will see that the Incinerate caused him to lose 3 life, even if he ended up at the same life total. In that case, you'll draw your card.

Q: If I control Enchanted Evening and Sigil of the Empty Throne, do I get Angels for playing permanents?

A: The key concept here is the difference between a spell and a permanent. When you play a card, it becomes a spell (unless it was a land); and later on, when that spell resolves, it comes into play as a permanent (unless it was an instant or sorcery). The Sigil rewards you for playing an enchantment spell, but Enchanted Evening doesn't affect spells, only permanents. So, sorry to say, you won't be getting a choir of angels from this.

Q: What will happen if I control a Plated Pegasus and my opponent activates his Pestilence?

A: Your flying horse will get hurt. The Pegasus' ability will prevent damage that would be dealt by a spell, but if Pestilence is in play, it isn't a spell; it's an enchantment. The same principle applies here as in the above question.

Q: My opponent uses a Wooded Foothills to get a Murmuring Bosk. He puts it into play untapped without revealing a Treefolk card. He says he doesn't have to reveal one to put it into play untapped because it isn't being played but is being put into play instead. Is he right?

A: No. The Bosk has a replacement effect that modifies how it comes into play. That effect applies regardless of how it's entering play. The Bosk will always come into play tapped unless your opponent shows some wood.

Q: Does Heartbeat of Spring effectively double the amount of mana I get out of a Calciform Pools?

A: Yes, it does, assuming you're just tapping it for colorless mana. The Heartbeat triggers when you tap a land for mana, and Calciform Pools has only one mana ability that requires you to tap it. If you're removing storage counters, your Heart(beat) is broken, as you won't get extra mana from that.

Q: What happens if I'm dealt damage by a creature with wither? Do I get counters; or since I can't, does nothing happen?

A: You take damage. Wither changes what happens when damage is dealt to a creature. Damage to a player is unaffected, and will be dealt as normal.

Q: If I Snakeform the Marit Lage token from Dark Depths, is it still indestructible?

A: Yes, it is. "Indestructible" isn't an ability of the token; it's a property granted by the effect that created the token. Snakeform can't take that away.

Q: But I remember from last week that "this is unblockable" is an ability, and the Marit Lage token says "Marit Lage is indestructible." Why isn't that removed by Snakeform?

A: It's true that the promotional Marit Lage token says those words, but printed tokens aren't authoritative. Those words are there only as a visual reminder that the token is indestructible. As far as the game is concerned, it doesn't actually have the text. The fact that the token is indestructible isn't because it has an ability; it's because the effect that created the token made it indestructible.

Q: If my opponent has a Protean Hulk in play and I enchant it with Mark of the Oni, then destroy it, who will get to search for creatures with the Hulk's ability?

A: You controlled the Hulk right before it was put into the graveyard, so you control the triggered ability, and you'll perform the search.

Q: I had a Mossbridge Troll enchanted with Dragon Fangs. I had to play a Momentary Blink to save it, and I thought the Fangs would end up on the Troll again, but my opponent didn't think so. How does that work?

A: When the Blink resolves, your Troll pops out for a minute, then right back in, but the Fangs don't go along with it. They're still sitting in play, attached to nothing. Then the game checks state-based effects, and sees these creatureless Fangs, so it puts them in the graveyard. The Fangs never trigger, because they're not in the graveyard when the Troll comes into play. You've got a toothless Troll, but maybe you can give those dentures to your next big beastie.

Q: I used a Miraculous Recovery to bring back my Wickerbough Elder. Then I tried to blow up my opponent's Platinum Angel, but he said I can't, because the two counters cancel each other out. They're still there, though, so why couldn't I kill his Angel?

A: The counters, in fact, aren't there at the time you try to play the Elder's Angel-killing ability. A new state-based effect was added to the rules when Time Spiral was released, one that makes +1/+1 and -1/-1 counters actually annihilate each other like antimatter. Immediately after the Elder is returned to play, this SBE removes both counters, so you can't pay the cost of the Elder's ability. You'll have to find a way to put another -1/-1 counter on it if you want to kill the Angel that way.

Q: Will Runed Halo stop a token?

A: Sure, if it has the chosen name. The name of a token is generally the same as its creature type, unless it's a copy of a creature, or the name is otherwise specified. The thing is, you have to name a card. You could name Shapeshifter, because that's a card, and have protection from a Crib Swap token, but not Faerie Rogue, because that's not a card.

Q: One player activates Scion of the Ur-Dragon but his opponent has a Leyline of the Void. Does the dragon's ability work, even though the card wasn't put in the graveyard?

A: Yes, it does. All the Scion really cares about is that the player chose to put the card in the graveyard. Even if that action gets replaced by removing it from the game, the "if you do" clause is satisfied.

Q: In an EDH game, one player has both Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir as well as Eye of the Storm. Is that as broken as we think it is?

A: Pretty much. Copies from Eye of the Storm are played during the resolution of the Eye's triggered ability. That's a time when a sorcery normally can't be played, so Teferi stops everybody else at the table from getting copies out of the Eye.

It's also important to remember that the instant or sorcery that triggers Eye of the Storm gets removed from the game, so it never resolves. A copy of it can be created, but that does no good if it can't be played.

I'm definitely writing that combo down; I haven't been banned from my local EDH group, so my deck obviously isn't broken enough.

Q: I'm interested in taking the test to become a judge, but I want to practice first. Can you send me some sample questions from the DCI Judge Exam?

A: It's good to hear from people who are interested in becoming part of the DCI Judge community! Unfortunately, all materials from judge exams are confidential, and generally can't be disseminated. The good news is that there are some practice tests available online in the DCI Judge Center at

It's also important to know that becoming a certified judge is a more involved process than just taking a test; you'll also need to sit down and have an interview with a judge who's level 2 or higher! Fortunately, the Judge Center also has a feature to let you search for judges who meet certain criteria, such as level and geographic location, and another feature to let you send a message to a judge you find this way, so it's a pretty easy obstacle to overcome.

Finally, the Magic Rules Advisor Exam is also available through the Judge Center and requires nothing more than simply logging in and taking the test. Becoming a Rules Advisor isn't the same thing as becoming a certified judge, but it's a step in that direction.

OK, that's all for this week. I'm off to see what else I can find in the attic besides the complete collection of Babysitter's Club.


No comments yet.


Follow us @CranialTweet!

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

Follow our RSS feed!