Published on 06/22/2020

Summer Solsquiz 2

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The founding member of the
Insane Clone Posse
Greetings and welcome back to another episode of Cranial Insertion. This past weekend was the summer solstice as well as Father's Day here in the US, and since I'm a father myself, I've decided to make another solstice quiz episode — a solsquiz — full of puns and dad jokes as well as rules knowledge, of course. Please enjoy, and I look forward to your chuckles, groans, and "aha"s.

Q: I control a Glowstone Recluse that had a Vulpikeet mutated under it, so it has three +1/+1 counters on it. If I Clone this mutated Glowstone Recluse, which of the following statements are true about the Clone?

A: The choices are...

A: It has reach and "Whenever this creature mutates, put two +1/+1 counters on it."
B: It has flying and "Whenever this creature mutates, put a +1/+1 counter on it."
C: It has power and toughness 2/3.
D: It has power and toughness 5/6.
E: It went to Clone College.

The answer is
A, B, C.

Mutating a creature changes its copiable characteristics, so the Clone sees all of Glowstone Recluse's abilities, including the ones it has thanks to Vulpikeet. The counters on it are not copiable, though, so its power and toughness is only the original 2/3.

Q: I control a face-up mutate stack of two cards and my opponent casts Ixidron. What happens?

A: The choices are...

A: Only the top card of the mutate stack gets turned face down.
B: Both cards of the mutate stack get turned face down.
C: Adding a new creature on top can give the stack new abilities.
D: Adding a new creature on the bottom can give the stack new abilities.
E: This question is turning me face down.

The answer is
B and C.

Turning a merged permanent face down turns all face-up cards in the mutate stack face down, so Ixidron turns both cards face down. The creature is now a face-down 2/2 creature without any abilities.

If you add a new mutate card to this stack, it'll be added face-up, so the stack will contain a mix of face-down and face-up cards. In such a case, the status of the permanent is dicatated by the topmost card. If you put the new card on top, the creature will have the characteristics and abilities of that card; the face-down cards under it don't have any abilities, so they don't contribute any abilities. If you put the new card on the bottom, it'll try to contribute its abilities to the mutate stack, but because of layers, the creature as a whole won't have any abilities because face-down-ness is applied after mutate effects.

Q: I control a creature and cast Vulpikeet for its mutate cost. Which of the following abilities trigger when Vulpikeet is cast or when it resolves?

A: The choices are...

A: Season of Growth's first ability
B: Season of Growth's second ability
C: Blisterspit Gremlin's ability
D: Beast Whisperer's ability
E: Your ability to answer this question

The answer is
B and D.

A mutating creature spell is still a creature spell, so you're casting a creature spell, which triggers Beast Whisperer's ability but not Blisterspit Gremlin's ability. It's also a spell that targets a creature you control, so it triggers Season of Growth's second ability. However, when a mutating creature spell resolves, it doesn't enter the battlefield as a new creature; rather, it merges with an existing creature. As such, it doesn't trigger Season of Growth's first ability.

Bard company, I can't deny
Bard company 'til the day I die
Q: I control Yisan, the Wanderer Bard that has one verse counter on it, and I activate his ability. In response, my opponent destroys Yisan. What happens?

A: The choices are...

A: You don't search your library at all.
B: You search your library for a creature card with converted mana cost 0.
C: You search your library for a creature card with converted mana cost 1.
D: You search your library for a creature card with converted mana cost 2.
E: Yisan sings one last song before he dies.

The answer is

Destroying Yisan in response to its activity doesn't counter the ability, so the ability still resolves. To find out how many verse counters are on Yisan, the game uses its last-known information from when it was on the battlefield. You put a second counter on Yisan as part of the cost to activate the ability, so there were two counters on Yisan when it was last seen on the battlefield.

Q: I cast a creature spell and my opponent counters it with Essence Scatter. Which of these responses will counter or otherwise thwart my opponent's Essence Scatter? can counter an Essence Scatter? Turn Aside? Redirect? Mindbreak Trap?

A: The choices are...

A: Turn Aside
B: Redirect
C: Negate
D: Mindbreak Trap
E: Ambiguity

The answer is
C and D.

Turn Aside doesn't work because Essence Scatter targets a spell you control, not a permanent you control, so it's not a legal target for Turn Aside. Redirect works on general-purpose countermagic by changing the countermagic to target Redirect itself, but Essence Scatter is not general-purpose countermagic. You can respond with Redirect, but the only legal target for Essence Scatter is your original creature spell, so you can't change Essence Scatter's target.

Negate obviously works because Essence Scatter is a noncreature spell. Mindbreak Trap doesn't counter Essence Scatter, but it exiles it, which serves the same purpose of keeping it from resolving.

Q: I control Unpredictable Cyclone, and the top card of my library is Decree of Annihilation. I cycle Decree of Justice, I want to spend mana to make Soldier tokens, and I want to cast Decree of Annihilation off of Unpredictable Cyclone. What happens?

A: The choices are...

A: You create the tokens first, and then Decree of Annihilation exiles them.
B: Decree of Annihilation exiles stuff first, and then you create tokens.
C: The order depends on choices you make.
D: The order depends on choices your opponent makes.
E: I decree that there are too many Decrees in this question.

The answer is

Let's step carefully through the chain of events that happen here. You start by cycling Decree of Justice, which consists of you putting the "draw a card" ability on the stack and paying for it by paying and discarding Decree of Justice. This triggers Decree of Justice's "when you cycle" ability, which goes on the stack above the draw ability, so it resolves first, you pay mana and make Soldier tokens. Then the draw ability resolves, which gets replaced by Unpredictable Cyclone's ability. You exile the top card of your library, find Decree of Annihilation, and choose to cast it without paying its mana cost, which puts a swift end to the tokens you just created a moment ago.

Q: I am at 10 life, I control Progenitus, and due to some effect damage can't be prevented. My opponent plays Earthquake for X=10, and I respond with Stunning Reversal so that I don't lose the game. In which order does shuffling Progenitus into the library and me drawing seven cards for Stunning Reversal's replacement effect happen?

A: The choices are...

A: Shuffle, then draw.
B: Draw, then shuffle.
C: You choose the order.
D: Your opponent chooses the order.
E: You win the "most contrived rules question to illustrate a point" award.

The answer is

Technically, the draw and the shuffle happen at the same time, but that's a little hard to do physically, so we'll need to think a bit about how to translate this theory into physical actions.

First off, both actions happen at the same time because they result from executing state-based actions. After Earthquake has resolved, the game sees that Progenitus has lethal damage on it, so it must be destroyed, and your life total is 0, so you must lose the game. The fun bit here is that all applicable state-based actions happen simultaneously in one event. Because of Progenitus's replacement effect and Stunning Reversal's replacement effect do to that event, we find ourselves pondering how you can shuffle a card into a library and draw cards from that library at the same time.

As far as we can find, there are no rules to tell us a particular order, so we have to go with something resembling common sense: In order to perform both actions at the same time, you have to plan ahead and decide what happens to which cards before anything happens to any of them. This means that you lock in which cards to draw and which cards to shuffle based on the pre-shuffle state of the library. In physical terms this means that you draw first, and then you shuffle Progenitus into the remaining library.

How heavy is a conscience?
Give it a weigh, give it a weigh,
Give it a weigh now.
Q: A Prodigal Pyromancer is enchanted with Weight of Conscience. What is it still allowed to do?

A: The choices are...

A: Be declared as an attacker
B: Use its activated ability
C: Be sacrificed to Fling
D: Crew a vehicle
E: Sing songs by the Red Hot Chili Peppers

The answer is
B, C, and D.

The only thing that Weight of Conscience forbids is to attack, which means to be declared as an attacker during the combat phase. All other actions, even if they could result in damage being dealt, are still allowed.

Q: I control Zaxara, the Exemplary, Parallel Lives, and Doubling Season. If I cast Cryptic Trilobite for X=2, how many tokens do I get from Zaxara, and how many counters do they each get?

A: The choices are...

A: Two tokens, four counters.
B: Four tokens, four counters.
C: Eight tokens, four counters.
D: Eight tokens, eight counters.
E: Double, double toil and trouble...

The answer is

Casting Cryptic Trilobite triggers Zaxara's ability once, not twice, because you've cast one spell with in its mana cost. When the ability resolves, you're instructed to create one token, which gets doubled by Parallel Lives and doubled again by Doubling Season, for a total of four tokens. You're instructed to put X +1/+1 counters on each of those tokens, and X is 2, but the number of counters gets doubled by Doubling Season, so you'll put four counters on each token.

Q: I control Luminous Broodmoth and my non-flying commander gets destroyed. Does it get returned to the battlefield with a flying counter? (Assume that the new post-Core Set 2021 rules that Charlotte went over last week are in effect.)

A: The choices are...

A: Definitely yes.
B: Definitely not.
C: Only if you move it to the command zone.
D: Only if you don't move it to the command zone.
E: I was going to tell a joke here, but Moko distracted me and I forgot the joke.

The answer is

Under new rules, your commander first goes to the graveyard, which triggers Luminous Broodmoth's ability, and then state-based actions are checked. You choose whether to leave your commander in the graveyard or to move it to the command zone, and then Luminous Broodmoth's ability goes on the stack. When it resolves, it can find your commander in the graveyard if you chose to leave it there. If you moved it to the command zone, the ability can't find it and won't return it to the battlefield.

Note that this interaction didn't change very much with the new rules. The only difference under the old rules is that if you choose to put the commander into the command zone, Luminous Broodmoth's ability doesn't trigger at all, whereas under new rules it triggers but doesn't do anything when it resolves.

And that's it for today's quiz. If you got all ten questions right, congratulations!

At any rate, thanks for reading, and we hope you'll be back next week when Nathan presents our first look at Core Set 2021. Until then, be safe.

-Carsten Haese

About the Author:
Carsten Haese is a former Level 2 judge based in Toledo, OH. He is retired from active judging, but he still writes for Cranial Insertion and helps organize an annual charity Magic tournament that benefits the National MS Society.


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