Published on 05/18/2020

Mutation Nation

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Simic Interference on Ikoria Confirmed!
Shocking news coming out of Drannith today as more information continues to be revealed about Ikoria's new fascination with mutation and splicing. This reporter has learned that a previous unknown faction from a settlement known as "Ravnica" might be partially to blame! You won't want to miss a word of this thrilling story, but first here's your weekly rules report.

The Drannith Digest is brought to you each week by our loyal readers, and we would like to remind you that you can send your rules questions to us at or tweet them to us @CranialTweet. You'll get an answer to your question and we might even feature it in a future column!

Q: If I mutate Auspicious Starrix onto Yarok, the Desecrated, does the mutate trigger of Auspicious Starrix trigger once or twice?

A: Just once.
When a mutating creature spell resolves, it merges with the creature it targets. Nothing is entering the battlefield and so there's no appropriate trigger for Yarok's ability to cause to trigger an additional time. Effects that trigger when a creature mutates trigger when a spell merges with that creature, and this doesn't involve anything entering the battlefield.

Q: If I control Haakon, Stromgald Scourge, can I cast Foulmire Knight's adventure spell (Profane Insight) from the graveyard with Haakon's ability?

A: No, you can't.
While Foulmire Knight is indeed a Knight card in your graveyard, the moment you start to cast it as Profane Insight, it's not a Knight spell anymore and so the proposed casting would be illegal. Haakon only allows you to cast spells that would be Knight spells on the stack.

Q: I control Yomiji, Who Bars the Way. My opponent controls Athreos, Shroud-Veiled, which puts a coin counter on my Raff Capashen, Ship's Mage. When Raff dies, does it go back to my hand or to the battlefield under my opponents control? Would it make a difference if Raff were my commander?

A: It depends on whose turn it is.
Whoever is the active player will put their trigger on the stack first, then the other player's trigger will go on the stack above that trigger and resolve first. (If neither player is the active player, then it goes in turn order starting from the active player.) Whoever has their trigger resolve first will move the card out of the graveyard to the appropriate zone and then the other player's trigger won't do anything.
If Raff is your commander and you send him directly to your command zone, then neither effect will trigger here.

Q: If Season of the Witch was on the battlefield, and someone cast Master Warcraft, all of the creatures that didn't attack that turn would die, right?

A: That's correct.
Season of the Witch doesn't care about why the creature didn't attack, just that it could but didn't. It also doesn't force anything to attack, so casting Master Warcraft just to force a player to not attack at all would be enough to make all of that player's attack-capable creatures die to Season of the Witch's end step trigger.

Q: If I mutate Cubwarden onto Gisela, the Broken Blade, what happens when I also control Bruna, the Fading Light and Gisela's meld trigger goes to resolve?

A: Both Gisela and Bruna will be exiled, along with Cubwarden and any other cards mutated onto either one, and then only Gisela and Bruna will return to the battlefield melded as Brisela, Voice of Nightmares. This means that any creatures mutated onto one of those halves will be exiled with them, however they can't meld so they just stay in exile. (Note that if Bruna has been mutated, the meld trigger will only have an effect if Bruna is topmost card of its pile.)

Q: I've been tinkering with a Commander deck led by Lurrus of the Dream-Den, and I'm wondering how its recursion ability works with bestow. For example, if I have Baleful Eidolon in my graveyard; would I be able to cast it for its bestow cost using Lurrus, since the card itself has a converted mana cost of 2?

A: Yes.
A spell's converted mana cost is always equal to its printed mana cost (with any chosen value of X plugged into any X costs). This means that Lurrus doesn't care if you're paying an alternate cost for your permanent spell as long as its actual converted mana cost isn't higher than two. For example, you can safely bestow Baleful Eidolon from your graveyard using Lurrus.

Mutation Addict Tells All!
Q: I have Vulpikeet on the battlefield. My opponent enchants it with Frogify, making it a 1/1 creature with no abilities. I later try to cast Gemrazer via mutate onto Vulpikeet to use Gemrazer's mutate trigger to remove Frogify. When I did this on Magic Arena, my creature was still just a 1/1 with no abilities enchanted by Frogify. I thought creatures could still gain ability after losing them and that Gemrazer having a later timestamp would help. What's going on here?

A: While it's true that effects that add and remove abilities apply in timestamp order, mutate doesn't work by granting abilities, but rather by changing the copiable characteristics of the mutated creature. Since mutate is a copy effect, it applies earlier than Frogify's effect and so any ability that would be gained by the creature is stripped away by Frogify before it can be relevant.

Q: I have a question regarding hexproof variants and Kathril, Aspect Warper. I know from the rules that Hexproof from Black can be found by effects that search for Hexproof, and that Odric, Lunarch Marshal finds Hexproof from Black, and grants it to your creatures. If I have Knight of Grace in my graveyard, would Kathril distribute a Hexproof from Black counter, or would it just distribute a regular Hexproof counter?

A: You'll put a "hexproof from ___" counter on a creature. The rules for keyword counters allow them to have variants of their keywords. However, if multiple creature cards in your graveyard have different hexproof abilities when Kathril's trigger resolves, you'll choose only one of them and put a counter of that kind on a creature you control.

Q: How does casting Bedlam Reveler from the graveyard with Escape work if I control Underworld Breach? When is the number of instants and sorceries in my graveyard counted?

A: It works very well, actually!
The cost reduction from Bedlam Reveler's ability is determined before any costs to cast it are paid, so exiling instants or sorceries to pay for its escape cost won't make it cost more mana.

Q: If I have a Volrath, the Shapestealer mutated with Parcelbeast and then activate Volrath's ability targeting Shabraz, the Skyshark, would Volrath become a copy of Shabraz with Parcelbeast's abilities or simply become a copy of Shabraz?

A: Just a copy of Shabraz, but with base P/T of 7/5 and the activated ability.
The effects of Mutate apply in the same layer as normal copy effects, so whichever effect is newer will win out. Making a mutated creature into a copy of something else will just make it a copy of that thing without its mutations. In the case of Volrath, he'll go back to normal in the cleanup step (complete with mutations).

Q: If I control both Zirda, the Dawnwaker and Nahiri, Storm of Stone, would Embercleave's equip ability cost or less for me?

A: It depends on which order you choose to apply the cost reduction effects. If you apply Zirda's ability first, then Nahiri will reduce the cost you pay to . However, if you apply Nahiri's ability first, Zirda's ability can only then reduce the cost to . So practically, you'll pay , but you can pay if you really want to.

Q: What happens if each of my opponents has goaded my creature? Who can I attack? What if one of my opponents has goaded it more than once?

A: When a creature is goaded, it's subject to two separate requirements to attack.The creature attacks each combat if able and attacks a player other than the player who goaded it, if able. If all three of your opponents have goaded your creature, then it must attack if able, but it can't satisfy all of the "attack someone else" requirements at the same time and so it can attack any opponent (but not a planeswalker) since that will satisfy the most requirements on attacking (5 of 6). If one player is goading the creature more times than any other player, then the creature can't attack that opponent if other opponents can be attacked since attacking the other opponent will satisfy more requirements to attack. For example, if Alice is goading the creature twice but Bob and Carlos are only goading it once, then attacking either Bob or Carlos satisfies 7 of 8 requirements whereas attacking Alice would only satisfy 6 of 8 requirements and so isn't allowed.

Q: I mutate Cloudpiercer onto Permeating Mass and it deals combat damage to a creature, does the creature dealt damage become a copy of the Permeating Mass/Cloudpiercer merged creature or is it just a copy of whichever card is on top of the pile?

A: The creature that's dealt damage will become a copy of the merged creature, though it won't be a merged creature itself. The abilities and characteristics gained from all cards that constitute a merged permanent are that permanent's copyable characteristics and so anything that becomes a copy of it will have those characteristics as well.

Reporter Attacked in the Line of Duty!
Q: I cast Heliod's Intervention with X=3 on my opponent's three enchantments, but one of them is Callaphe, Beloved of the Sea. Do I have to pay extra for each target or just total? What if I don't have enough mana to pay the extra?

A: You'll have to pay a total of more, since each target adds to the cost thanks to Callaphe's ability. This is an extra cost to cast the spell, so if you can't afford to pay it, then the spell isn't legally cast and its casting will be rewound and it will stay in your hand with your lands untapped. You'll either need to wait until you have more mana or just cast the spell with fewer targets to make it cheaper.

Q: My opponent plays Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth on the first turn of the game and passes the turn to me. If I played Isolated Chapel on my turn, would it come into play tapped or untapped?

A: It would enter tapped. The replacement effect that determines if Isolated Chapel enters the battlefield tapped or not applies immediately before it enters the battlefield, and at that time you control no lands so there's nothing to keep it from entering the battlefield tapped even though it will enter the battlefield as a swamp.

Q: I heard something about Gyruda, Doom of Depths still being able to bring back a creature it mills even if Leyline of the Void is in play. What? How? Why?

A: To understand why this works, you have to look at how Gyruda's ability is worded. It says that you "put a creature card [...] from among those cards onto the battlefield under your control." The trigger doesn't care where the cards go from the library, so you can get any even-CMC creature that's in a public zone whether that's the graveyard, exile, or even the command zone.

Q: If I use Fiend Artisan's activated ability to pull Chittering Harvester out of my library and into play, can I have it enter the battlefield mutating one of my creatures?

A: No, this doesn't work.
The only way to merge creatures is to cast a creature for its mutate cost. A creature that enters the battlefield without being cast wasn't cast for its mutate cost and so it just enters the battlefield as a separate creature.

Q: If I control Surly Badgersaur and Library of Leng, what happens when I discard a card to the top of my library using Library of Leng's replacement effect?

A: Nothing happens. When you discard a card to your library with Library of Leng, it's moved directly from your hand to the top of your library without being revealed. This means that Surly Badgersaur doesn't trigger since it can't determine anything about the card you're discarding.

This concludes our hard-hitting report for this week, but be sure to come back for more developments on this story! New issue available each Monday!

- Charlotte


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