Published on 09/07/2009

Chasing Planey

or, Walking in a Pile of Ten Planes

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 Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes.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

What's better than slinging powerful spells and summoning mighty creatures to do your bidding? A Klondike bar is pretty awesome, but I'm thinking about bouncing around exotic locales full of sand and water and goo and adding some randomness to the mix! Planechase does just that! With the roll of a die, you can go from having +2/+2 to your mighty army to -5/-0 or losing everything entirely. That certainly shakes up the old-fashioned game, eh?

Since this set doesn't have a FAQ, it's more important than usual to read through this article if you're a plane aficionado. Got more questions? Send them in to whether they deal with planes or more traditional Magic cards and we'll send over an answer and possibly publish your question in an upcoming article!

So, let's roll the die and get started.

Q: Does each player need a planar deck, or can we pool one big one?

A: You can use either method. If each player brings a deck, it should be at least ten cards with no duplicates in that player's pile. If you use one big deck, it should be ten cards per player, or the max of 40 cards if you have more than four players.

Q: When do we choose the starting plane?

A: First, each player does the mulligan thingy until they're keeping. Then anything like Leyline of the Void gets slapped onto the battlefield. And then the player who is going first takes the top card of his planar deck (or the planar deck, if there is only one) and flips it over to start the game. Note that this doesn't count as planeswalking to or from anywhere.

Q: Is there any limit to how often I can try to planeswalk each turn?

A: You're only limited by the mana you have available. The cost to planeswalk is for each previous attempt, so your first attempt is free, your second costs , your third costs , your fourth costs and so on and so forth.

Q: If I roll the planeswalker symbol, do I have to planeswalk?

A: Yup, it's not optional. If you roll the planeswalker symbol, you will walk; and if you roll the chaos symbol, that ability will trigger.

Q: If I have Vedalken Orrery out, can I planeswalk as an instant?

A: Nope. You can attempt to planeswalk any time you could cast a sorcery, and the definition of that refers to the normal timing permissions of sorceries (your turn, main phase, stack empty) and not the times you could actually cast a sorcery.

Suppression Field will not keep you stuck
on a plane. Try fresh baked cookies to
get planeswalkers to stay.
Q: Does Suppression Field raise cost to planeswalk?

A: Attempting to planeswalk is a special action, not an activated ability, so nope – you won't have to pay extra.

Q: Can I respond to my opponent rolling the die?

A: As part of planeswalking attempts being a special action, rolling the die does not use the stack. You can't do anything until you see the result, and if the result is a blank, then that player gets priority back and can try again or cast a spell before you can do anything.

Q: What can I Voidslime about planes?

A: You've got the two triggers: the "you rolled the planeswalker symbol, so let's walk!" trigger that's inherent to the plane card type, and the "you rolled the chaos symbol, oh my god we're all gonna die" trigger that's printed on the card. Some planes also have a triggered ability for the first ability – look for the "when," "whenver," and "at" to determine if it's a trigger, and if it is, you can counter that. If a plane had an activated ability, you could Voidslime that as well.

Q: Can I make a planar deck with a bunch of Pools of Becoming and planes with good chaos abilities?

A: Nope, as mentioned earlier, planes in your deck must be unique. This is one big reason why!

Q: Can I name a plane card for Runed Halo?

A: Plane cards aren't "traditional" Magic cards – they're oversized and have a different back. But whenever something refers to a "card," you can use traditional Magic cards or nontraditional cards. 108.2 in the CR is updated to cover this.

Q: Will planeswalking away from Sanctum of Serra destroy the plane I walk to?

A: Nope. Planes are not permanents. You can choose them as a source, but you can't do just about anything else with them. You can't target them, you can't destroy them, and you can't attack them. Unless you're Nicol Bolas. He sure has a habit of attacking planes.

Q: Who controls Naar Isle when it deals damage to me? It matters for my Anthem of Rakdos.

A: A plane's controller is the active player, regardless of who owns it and whose deck it's in. Since it's your upkeep, you control Naar Isle and it triggers to deal damage to you and it's a source you control. On the next guy's turn, you won't control it, so the Anthem won't double it. Ouch for you.

Q: I put a divinity counter on a creature via Bant. Does it stay indestructible when we planeswalk away?

A: It does! Unlike That Which Was Taken, Bant says to put a counter on and that this object is indestructible as part of the same ability – TWWT says to put a counter on, and then it has a separate ability to make things with such counters indestructible.

Look familiar?
Q: The :chaos: ability of Raven's Run doesn't say "may," but what if there's only two creatures?

A: Then there aren't legal targets for the ability, and the ability is taken right off the stack and does nothing. How unfortunate.

Q: There's a Snow-Covered Forest on top of my library and a Skybreen on top of my planar deck. Can I play a normal Forest? A Snow-Covered one? A Boreal Centaur?

A: You can always play lands – Skybreen only stops players from casting spells, and lands are never spells. Your Centaur is also safe, assuming no one has a creature on top of his or her library. Snow isn't a card type, it's a supertype, so Skybreen doesn't care about it.

Q: Does Muraganda reduce red and green spells by ?

A: It does! Since these are two separate abilities, it works just like Grand Arbiter Augustin IV and gives you a double reduction. Contrast this to Stonybrook Banneret, which has one ability that reduces a cost, so it can never reduce a cost by more than .

Q: What happens if I roll :chaos: for Sokenzan during my precombat main phase?

A: Then you untap all creatures that attacked this turn – all zero of them, yay! – and you get an additional combat phase and main phase before your normal combat phase. Nothing will untap after that bonus combat phase, so the normal combat phase will probably be pretty boring.

Q: My creature gets targeted by Cliffside Market's :chaos: ability, and I sacrifice it in response. Now what?

A: Nothing happens. If the exchange can't be completed in full, nothing changes control at all.

Q: If I have Everlasting Torment out, what does Cliffside Market's triggered ability do?

A: Nothing again. This one's a bit unusual, but the exchange can't be completed in full as one player won't be able to gain the life required to make this exchange, so no part of the exchange happens.

Q: Does Doubling Season double the counters put on Naar Isle?

A: Nope, remember: planes aren't permanents, so Doubling Season doesn't care about them.

Q: What happens if my creature dies in response to Isle of Vesuva's trigger?

A: You'll still get a copy. The game will use the creature's last known information to determine what the token looks like. This is a tricksy way to get your legendary creatures out if you have a sacrifice outlet!

Q: Shouldn't Feroz's Ban make it cost more to attempt to planeswalk to and from The Dark Barony?

A: This is a casual format, so you're always free to tweak the rules in ways to make it more fun, more fair, or just plain funnier. Yes, Feroz's Ban should make it harder to get to or leave Ulgrotha. Yes, casting Time Warp while on Rath should cause that plane to stop having an effect. And yes, you shouldn't be able to walk from one plane card to another plane card with the same planar subtype.

Well, you know what? Set up those rules, then. Just make sure they're clearly stated in advance or mutually agreed upon when they pop up, and have some wacky Vorthos fun.

I'm off to walk some planes and spread the joy of zombie monkeys. I'll be back in three weeks to talk about Zendikar, and I promise: my article will feature no Admiral Ackbar jokes.

Until next time, walk on!

- 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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