Published on 12/14/2009

Hannukah Goyf... er - Gelt

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 Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes.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

Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel...

Seasons greetings! And no, I'm not starting early (even though my next article won't be until after Christmas/New Year's) - we're smack dab in the middle of Hannukah! So what did I get you all for the third night of Hannukah? A big heaping helping of answering-your-rules-questions! And some Hannukah gelt. Mmm delicious chocolatey currency.

So get into the Hannukah spirit by spinning a dreidel to decide who plays/draws, and by giving us the gift of some rules questions in our inbox at !

Q: If I have a Sensei's Divining Top and a Magus of the Future on the field, then activate the Top's first ability, does my opponent get to see all three cards as I rearrange them?

A: The only cards your opponent will get to see are the card on top of your library before you Top and the one that's on top after you finish resolving the ability. You're probably holding the cards away from your library so you can rearrange them and get a good look at them, but in game terms they're still in the same order on top of your library until you put them back.

Q: What happens when I pop Chandra Ablaze's ultimate when I control an Eye of the Storm?

A: Well, the first thing that'll happen when you activate Chandra's ultimate is that Eye of the Storm will trigger for each red spell, and whoever controls Eye of the Storm will put them on the stack in any order they want. When the first trigger resolves, the spell will be exiled, then copied, then cast. When the copy resolves, the next spell cast with Chandra's ultimate will be exiled, copied along with the first spell, and both copies will be cast. This'll keep snowballing until there's no more spells on the stack that Chandra helped you cast.

Q: Let's just say I have a Candles of Leng out and a Pardic Firecat in my graveyard. If I reveal a Flame Burst, do I draw it or ditch it?

A: You'll draw it. Only Flame Burst's actual effect counts the Pardic Firecats as Flame Bursts, but the Cat's name itself never changes.

Q: I've got a Calciderm with eight time counters on it thanks to a Doubling Season. By some miracle, can I have it survive for more than eight turns with a Stifle?

A: Unlike fading, vanishing only tries to get rid of whatever has it once, when the last counter's removed. If you Stifle the "sacrifice me" trigger on Calciderm, it'll stay around forever. And even though Calciderm has shroud, its triggered ability doesn't!

Well it's almost a menorah!
Q: I've got a copy of Blood Moon from The Dark that says it turns all nonbasics into basic Mountains, and one from Eighth Edition that doesn't use the word basic. So which is it?

A: The newer one wins! Actually, The Dark's version's wording is just really really outdated and is from a time before a proper templating team was really necessary. Blood Moon only changes types, not supertypes, so they'll still be nonbasic lands.

Q: What happens when I Twincast a spell with cascade? Do I get to cascade again?

A: Nope - the Twincast-created copy is put onto the stack, not cast, so cascade doesn't trigger.

Q: After combat damage is all done, there's only one attacking creature left. Can I Pitfall Trap it for ?

A: Yep! The last attacker wasn't originally attacking alone, but now it is. A creature "attacks alone" only if no other creature is declared as an attacker that combat phase, which matters for things like exalted. However, "exactly one creature is attacking" describes the current state of affairs, not what was originally declared. If there's only one creature currently attacking, then you get the discount.

Q: Can I use Ancient Ziggurat to pay for the kicker cost on Mold Shambler?

A: You can. Once you decide to pay the kicker cost for a spell, it becomes part of the cost to play it.

Q: I control a Spellbreaker Behemoth and there's a Night of Souls' Betrayal on the field too. So can my creature spells that would normally have exactly five power be countered now?

A: They're still uncounterable, as Night of Soul's Betrayal only affects creatures on the battlefield. Unless an effect says otherwise, it only affects permanents.

Q: I know if I Stifle a Ball Lightning's end-step trigger, it'll just die at the beginning of the next end step. But what about the tokens created by Zektar Shrine Expedition or Elemental Appeal?

A: You're right, those are worded differently. They don't give the ability to the token they create, they just set up a delayed trigger for the next end step, so they'll only trigger once. A single Stifle will make them stay alive forever, or as forever as a one-toughness creature can stick around for.

Q: I have a ten power creature, Mayael's Aria, and Cradle of Vitality in play. When Mayael's Aria triggers at my upkeep and I gain 10 life from it, can I then pay Cradle of Vitality's cost and put the ten +1/+1 counters on my ten power creature, before Mayael's Aria checks for a 20 power creature?

A: Unfortunately Mayael's Aria checks the power of your creatures when it's resolving. Cradle of Vitality will trigger while it's resolving, but you won't be able to do anything about it until Mayael's Aria resolves and the Cradle's trigger goes on the stack. It's not an auto-win, but it does put you one turn away!

Don't hoard that Hannukah gelt!
Q: Suppose I am in a subgame because of Shahrazad. Can I Death Wish for a permanent I control in the main game?

A: Sure! Cards in the main game are outside the Shahrazad subgame, so you can Wish for them.

Q: If my opponent is borrowing cards from me and some of them are on the battlefield in the main game, can I Death Wish for them and put them into my hand?

A: "Ownership" in game terms refers to the owner of the cards as the player who started with them in their deck. So even though you legally own those cards, their "owner" is your opponent.

Q: If an effect is putting multiple Sheltered Valleys onto the battlefield at the same time, do they all die?

A: They'll all come into play just fine and co-exist happily. No card named Sheltered Valley is on the field at the time they'd enter the battlefield, so there's nothing to sacrifice.

Q: I have a Sakashima, the Impostor copying a Lorthos, the Tidemaker. If someone else casts a Sakashima, how many of the three creatures die?

A: Just the two eight-armed Sakashimas. They're both legendary, and they both have the same name. Lorthos will momentarily have two other legendary Octopi on the field, and then they'll both be put into the graveyard by state-based actions.

Q: Do each of the eight permanents I tap with Lorthos, the Tidemaker have to be controlled by the defending player?

A: There's no restriction on targeting with Lorthos's ability that says you can only tap things the defending player controls. Anyone's permanents are fair game for his tentacles.

Q: If I cast a Brilliant Ultimatum and get a pile with all lands, can I just put them all onto the battlefield?

A: Barring some Oracle of Mul Daya or Fastbond type shennanigans, you can only play land in a chosen pile. The lands you play off Brilliant Ultimatum count towards the one-land-per-turn limit, so if you've already played a land, you can't play any more. And if you somehow cast Brilliant Ultimatum during your opponent's turn, you can't play any lands at all.

Q: Suppose I cast Cultural Exchange targeting eight creatures I control and eight creatures my opponent controls. In response, my opponent Terminates one of my creatures. What happens?

A: It's impossible to Terminate a creature once it's been chosen to be exchanged. That happens during the resolution of the spell; only the players involved are targeted, though if one player becomes an illegal target, none of their creatures can be chosen to be exchanged.

Q: Can judges play Magic? Or if you're available to play, does that mean you're available to judge and then therefore have to judge?

A: Yes, we can play, just (usually) not very well! *rimshot* I recently played in a PTQ for the first time ever, and players who knew me were very surprised. Yes, judges are allowed to play in sanctioned Magic events, most of us just choose to do so very rarely because, well, we obviously find judging more exciting than playing. We're not forced to judge a tournament if we don't want to, so we can easily play in it instead... but it's nice to help out when there's a shortage of judges for whatever reason.

Happy holidays everyone! Eli will be here next week, so drop by then!

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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