Published on 05/04/2009

The Golden Goyf

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 Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes.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

It's like some kind of ultra-Goyf!
I love new sets! Cracking packs, drafting with all new cards, thinking about what to put into my EDH decks...and answering new rules questions! New cards make for interesting rules questions; and while there's nothing brain-bending like Lich's Mirror in Alara Reborn, there's practically enough questions on cascade to fill an entire article. Not that I'd do that though, what with all the other fun cards to talk about.

As you can probably imagine, our mailbox has been stuffed with lots of new questions about new cards and questions about new cards interacting with old cards in new ways. If you have a question - and it doesn't have to be about Alara Reborn cards - send it out way at !

Q: There's an Ethersworn Canonist in play when I cast an Enlisted Wurm, then I reveal a Deadshot Minotaur off the cascade. Can I choose which one I want to play, the Wurm or the Minotaur?

A: You don't have a choice to make here, because you already played the Enlisted Wurm; it just hasn't resolved yet. You can't play Deadshot Minotaur, so it'll get randomized on the bottom of your library with everything else you revealed.

Q: Say my opponent has a Meddling Mage naming Tarmogoyf in play and I get a Tarmogoyf off a Violent Outburst. Since I can't play it, do I keep revealing cards until I get one I can play?

A: Cascade only cares about the card you reveal costing less than the cascade spell; it doesn't matter whether or not you're able to play that card. Your Goyf will get randomized on the bottom of your library with everything else you removed.

Q: I'm at 9, and I'm being hit with a Banefire for 9. I haven't lost any life before that this turn, so can I save myself somehow with a Tainted Sigil?

A: Nope, you'll be dead. First you'll fall to zero, and then state-based effects will be checked and you'll die before you ever get priority to pop the Sigil.

Is this not not an awesome
multiplayer EDH card or what?
Q: If I play Double Negative to counter one spell, and my opponent responds with a Cancel, can I also have the Double Negative counter the Cancel?

A: No, you can't not do this. Once you play Double Negative, its targets are locked in. It may not seem like a lot has happened between your deciding you want to counter your opponent's single spell and his playing Cancel, but by that time you've already chosen that you're only going to counter one spell, chosen the target, paid for the spell, and passed priority.

Q: If I play a Sculpting Steel and copy an Enigma Sphinx, do I get to cascade?

A: Nope - cascade triggers on playing a spell, but Sculpting Steel won't copy Enigma Sphinx until way after you've played it.

Q: I have a Maelstrom Nexus in play and evoke a Mulldrifter. Do I get to cascade at all? If I do, is it for three or five?

A: You'll get to cascade, and you'll get to do it for five. Evoking a creature is the same as playing it, just for an alternate cost. Mulldrifter's converted mana cost is always 5, no matter how much you pay for it.

Q: What happens during my draw step if I have a Sages of the Anima and an Abundance in play?

A: You'll get to choose whether you want to reveal the top three cards of your library and get zero to three creatures, or whether you want to choose to choose to get the next land or nonland card closest to the top of your library. There's two replacement effects affecting your draw, and since they're affecting you, you'll get to choose (maybe I should start using the word "pick" or "option") which one to apply first. And once you ch--- pick one to apply and do it, the other one won't apply any more.

Q: Will Mayael's Aria trigger at all if I don't control a creature with power 5 or greater?

A: There's a lot of "if"s in Mayael's Aria, but none of them are intervening. Mayael's Aria only has one triggered ability, and that'll trigger at the beginning of your upkeep even if you don't have a creature with power 5 or greater. A trigger only has the type of "intervening if" condition if the "if" immediately follows the trigger condition. Otherwise, it just has its normal English meaning and it'll trigger no matter what.

Q: Can I play non-instant spells from my opponent's hand with Sen Triplets?

A: Sure; the timing involved in when you're able to play spells is dependent on who's playing them, not whose hand they're coming from. So if it's your main phase, the stack is empty, and you have priority, you can play sorceries and sorcery-speed stuff from your opponent's hand.

Q: Am I correct in thinking if a creature equipped with Unscythe, Killer of Kings kills a token, I won't get a zombie token out of it because a token isn't a card?
A: That's right, a token is never a card, even if it's represented by one of those handy card-shaped thingies that come in booster packs these days. Since Unscythe can't find a card to remove, it won't make a zombie.

Q: If I Twincast a Thought Hemorrhage, does it copy the choice of the card I named?

A: You can only play Twincast on Thought Hemorrhage before it resolves, and you don't name a card before Thought Hemorrhage resolves. So you won't tell Twincast, Thought Hemorrhage, or even your opponent what card you're going to name until each copy of the spell starts to do its thing.

Q: I have a Sigil Captain and a Glorious Anthem in play, then play Spectral Procession. Do my Spirits get +1/+1 counters?

A: Nope. Although Spectral Procession tells you it's putting three 1/1s into play, by the time they actually get into play they're 2/2s.

Q: If I have a Sigil Captain in play and cast Martial Coup with X being six, do the tokens it creates get +1/+1 counters?

A: Yes, they will! You'll follow the instructions written on Martial Coup in order: first you'll put six 1/1s into play (and Sigil Captain will trigger and get ready to hand out their counters), and then Martial Coup will destroy all other creatures. Then Sigil Captain's ability will resolve, and you'll wind up with six 3/3s.

It's like Duck Hunt, only without that
freaking dog laughing at me.
Q: I control an Esper Stormblade and no other multicolored permanents, and no one else controls any fliers. If I play a Deadshot Minotaur, do I need to shoot down my Esper Stormblade, or does it gain flying too late?

A: PULL! *bang* Your Deadshot Minotaur will launch your Esper Stormblade into the sky, and then shoot it right down. As soon as you control a multicolored permanent, Esper Stormblade gains flying, just in time for Deadshot Minotaur's triggered ability to go onto the stack, and just in time for duck hunting season.

Q: At the beginning of my upkeep, I use my Aven Mimeomancer to put a feather counter on Kangee, Aerie Keeper. Does he give all my birds +1/+1, or is it somehow a "different" feather counter?

A: A feather counter is a feather counter is a feather counter. Your other birds will get +1/+1 for each feather counter on Kangee, no matter how it got there.

Q: With Spellbreaker Behemoth in play, is Feral Hydra uncounterable if X is 5 or greater?

A: Though Feral Hydra comes into play with five heads, while it's on the stack it's headless. Feral Hydra doesn't have a characteristic-defining ability that'd work on the stack - just a static ability that modifies how it comes into play.

Q: In Two-Headed Giant, what happens when I play Breath of Malfegor?

A: There's one opposing team, but there's two opposing players, and each of them will take 5 damage. Your opponents' team's life total will drop by 10, and we'll all thank Wizards of the Coast for printing a card that cuts 2HG round times in half.

Q: In Two-Headed Giant, I attack with Nemesis of Reason. Who mills for ten?

A: The defending player! Oh wait, I see your confusion - there are two of them. If anything asks for the defending player in Two-Headed Giant, you pick one.

Q: I have Sigiled Behemoth in play with a Crystallization on it, and my Two-Headed Giant teammate attacks with a lone Dragon token. Does it get +1/+1 from exalted?

A: Exalted only works for creatures you control. So even though you're sharing decision-making stuff about your creatures with your teammate, he doesn't actually control your creatures. His Dragon token won't be getting any help.

Q: A follow-up question about Two-Headed Giant and exalted: What if I attack with a Sigiled Behemoth, and he attacks with a Qasali Pridemage. Do both get exalted bonuses?

A: A creature is only attacking alone if it's the only creature declared as an attacker during that combat phase, so neither creature will get exalted bonuses.

Q: I heard the store I play FNM at is making their draft three packs of Alara Reborn this Friday. I know stores could do that for the prerelease and release, but is that allowed for an FNM?

A: Ewwwwww. While I certainly don't recommend it, it's totally legit to draft three packs of a small set in a sanctioned draft. As long as everyone in the draft receives the same amount of product, you could draft six packs of Alara Reborn and a pack of Ravnica and it'd still be legal.

That's all for me this week - Aaron will be here next week to answer some more Alara Reborn questions that Eli and I didn't pick up from the (pre)release events. Now that Alara Reborn has been set loose in the world of constructed events, who knows what kind of trouble it'll cause....

About the Author:
Brian Paskoff is a Level 2 judge based in Long Island, NY, and frequently judges in NY, NJ, and PA. You can often find him at Brothers Grim in Selden or Friendly Neighborhood Comics in West Islip. He runs a newsletter for Long Island Magic players called Islandhome, which can be signed up for by contacting him.


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