Published on 07/11/2005


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 Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes.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

Welcome to Cranial Insertion! Today seems like a great day to cover some easier questions. And some tougher ones, maybe.

Q: If I use Rude Awakening to make my lands into creatures, do I get to attack with those creatures? Or are they affected by summoning sickness?

A: You'll get to attack with your lands, except for any lands you played that turn. As the rules say:
From the CompRules:
212.3d A creature's activated ability with the tap symbol in its activation cost can't be played unless the creature has been under its controller's control since the start of his or her most recent turn. A creature can't attack unless it has been under its controller's control since the start of his or her most recent turn. This rule is informally called the "summoning sickness" rule. Ignore this rule for creatures with haste (see rule 502.5).
If the animated land was under your control at the beginning of your turn, but wasn't a creature yet at that time, then it will be allowed to attack.

A good way to think about "summoning sickness" might be the following: all permanents (not just creatures) have summoning sickness until they start a turn on your side, but they're only affected by it as long as they're creatures. Non-creature permanents are carriers of the disease without showing any symptoms, so to speak.

Two with Nothing
Q: I played Iname as One from my hand (don't ask how I got all the mana). I thought it would be fun to take my other Iname as One from my library and put it into play. I know the legend rule will kill them both, but we couldn't figure out what happens after that. Do I get to reanimate them again as often as I want?

A: Here's what happens. Both Inames go to the graveyard at the same time, which triggers their (second) abilities. (You control both abilities, so you get to pick the order in which they go on the stack. That's pretty useless in this situation, considering that the abilities are the same.) Next, you get to pick a target for each ability. The wise thing to do would be to pick two other Spirit cards from your graveyard to reanimate. In that case, both Inames will get removed and the other Spirits reanimated. But if you want to cause some confusion, you can have the Inames target each other. The first ability to resolve will give you a choice: either do nothing (because the ability says "may"), or remove one Iname and put the other in play. Doing nothing is no fun, so we choose the latter. Then the other ability resolves, but this time you're not allowed to choose: the ability was expecting to find its source in the graveyard, but it has since moved back to play. Normally, it wouldn't be a problem if the source moved before the ability resolved. However, this particular ability needs you to remove its source before you get to the useful part. With the source gone, nothing further will happen.

Note that the legend rule wouldn't make any trouble if you get Iname as One, Iname, Life Aspect and Iname, Death Aspect into play. The legend rule cares about their entire names, which are different, so they get to live.

Q: I attack with Darksteel Colossus and my opponent blocks with Sekki, Seasons' Guide. Sekki still has all eight of its counters. How much trample damage do I get to assign to my opponent?

A: You get to assign up to three damage to your opponent. Assigning trample damage is really simple: you only have to look at the toughness of the blocker and any damage that's already on the blocker. Ignore everything else. Just like what would happen if the blocker had been a vanilla 8/8, you have to assign at least 8 damage to Sekki and the rest may go to your opponent. Sekki's ability never enters this equation: trample only cares that you assigned enough damage to Sekki, and doesn't mind that this damage isn't ever going to actually be dealt.

Is it a Horror? Is it a Minion?
Q: I've seen my opponent's hand with a Duress, and I know it contains a Dauthi Horror. Now I want to play Enigineered Plague, but I forgot what creature type Dauthi Horror is. Can I name "whatever creature type Dauthi Horror is" to keep him from playing it?

A: Yes. As long as you can describe the creature type of your choice in such a way that your opponent knows what you mean, it's allowed. Memorizing cards isn't what the game is supposed to be about. In a casual game, this shouldn't be any problem at all. In a tournament setting, your opponent might be reluctant to accept your description in some cases. For example, what's supposed to happen if Dauthi Horror actually has more than one creature type? Or if the Horror has since left your opponent's hand due to an effect you forgot about? Your opponent might end up revealing information that he wouldn't want to reveal this way. Remember that you can always call a judge for the Oracle and look up the information you need. This might be a wise thing to do in any case if creature types of old cards are involved. Dauthi Horror was printed as a Beast, and it happens to still be a Beast according to the Oracle, but many other older cards have had their creature types changed since.

Q: I can use Sakura-Tribe Elder to get my Taiga, right?

A: No, you can't do that. While Taiga is both a Mountain and a Forest, it's not a basic land. The term "basic" can appear in different contexts, and will mean something different in each. The most common usage is "basic [object]." In this case, it's referring to an object that has the supertype "basic". Supertypes appear on a card's type line before the card type. Compare it to "legendary", which is also a supertype. Only ten cards exist with the basic supertype: the five well-known basic lands, and their five lesser-known snow-covered cousins. (Hey, "snow-covered" is also a supertype!) The other usage of the word "basic" is in the phrase "basic land type." There are a whole bunch of land types in Magic, and five of those are known as the basic land types. You can probably guess what they are. But pay attention, because this time we're not talking about objects, but about land types! As Taiga illustrates, being a "basic land" doesn't always go hand in hand with having a "basic land type."

It likes damage, but not 3 of it.
Q: I control Burning-Eye Zubera. My opponent shoots a Volcanic Hammer at it, and I regenerate it by returning Molting Skin to my hand. Then my opponent shoots another Hammer at it, killing it this time. I believe its ability would trigger now, but my opponent argues that all damage was removed when I regenerated it. Who is right?

A: Your opponent is right that regenerating a creature causes all damage on it to be erased, but that's not what the Zubera cares about. The Zubera actually looks through everything that happened that turn and sees that it was dealt a total of six damage. Its ability will trigger and it gets to deal 3 damage of its own to a target of your choosing.

Q: How are "at the beginning of your upkeep" and "during your upkeep" abilities put on the stack? For example, if I have abilities A and B which say "at the beginning of your upkeep," and ability C which says "during your upkeep," do abilities A and B resolve at the same time or can I choose the order? Can ability C resolve before either of them?

A: First, two abilities can never resolve at the same time. That still leaves the question in what order these abilities might resolve, though. In the current Oracle wordings, all triggered abilities use "At the beginning of your upkeep, ..." There are also abilities that use "during your upkeep", but they're all activated abilities, where "play this ability only during your upkeep" is a restriction on when you can use the ability. Remember, the word "At" has a special meaning in Magicese: it signals a triggered ability. The word "during" has just its plain English meaning.

In your example, abilities A and B will trigger at the very beginning of your upkeep step. Because you control both of them, you choose the order in which to put them on the stack. The one you put on top is going to resolve before the other one. Before either of them resolves, you can respond by activating ability C to have it resolve first. You can also play ability C at any other point in your upkeep, so in the end, you can have A, B and C resolve in any order you want.

Another difference is that ability C can be activated as many times as you can pay its activation cost. Triggered abilities A and B, on the other hand, never go on the stack more than once per upkeep. You can use this difference to make a fun combo deck using Brass Man.

Q: I used Eternal Dominion to take a creature from my opponent's library and put it into play on my side. He plays a card which returns it to its owner's hand. Does it go to his hand or to mine?

A: It goes to his hand. There are two different terms at work here: controller and owner. The controller of a permanent is the player whose side the permanent is on. This may change during the game. The owner of a card is the player in whose library that card was when the game began. The owner of a card never changes (unless you're playing for ante).

The distinction between controller and owner only exists in two zones: in play and on the stack. In any other zone, the controller and owner of a card are always the same player. Also, a card in one of those other zones will always be in the version of that zone belonging to the card's owner (unless you're playing Unhinged). In short: a card that came from your opponent's library can never end up in your hand.

Ever been mobbed by Walls? Ain't pretty.
Q: You have six walls in play with Rolling Stones. One is enchanted with Mob Mentality. If four of your walls attack, does the Mobbed wall get +4/+0?

A: That's a fun combo! And it works, too. Mob Mentality cares about the following trigger condition: "all non-Wall creatures you control attack". (Note that in the Oracle, the ability has become a triggered ability, because the word "If" has been replaced by "Whenever") The ability cares about non-Wall creatures you control. You don't have any, but the ability is perfectly happy looking at an empty set of creatures. Every time you declare an attack and at least those 0 creatures are in it, the enchanted Wall gets +X/+0.

Alternatively, you can look at it this way (though it may not necessarily be easier unless you know your Formal Logic ;)). The condition is equivalent to: "all nonattacking creatures you control are Walls." Well, they are! So your attacking Wall will receive the power bonus. You still have to be attacking with something in order to get Mob Mentality to trigger in the first place, though.

Q: How many phases are in a turn?

A: Whoa, now you're getting ahead of our schedule! Next week, Eli will write an article going over the phases and steps of a turn in great detail. So stay tuned!

-Thijs van Ommen, The Netherlands

About the Author:
Even though I'm not a judge, my interest in the rules of the game is the main reason for me to play. You'll usually find me answering questions in the rulings forum. I'm mostly a casual player: the only tournaments I visit are prereleases.


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