Published on 04/12/2021

It's a Mystical Day in this Neighborhood.

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You know when you make a copy of a copy
and its not quite as sharp, as well, the original?

As always, if you have any Magic rules questions, feel free to send them to us. We may even use your question in a future article! If you have a short question, you can contact us via our Twitter account at @CranialTweet, and longer questions can be sent to us via our e-mail account .

Mystical Archive is a group of cards included in the upcoming set Strixhaven. Each card comes with one of two special full art treatments. I figured while we are waiting for the new set to come out we could focus on the Mystical Archive for all our questions today.

Q: Earlier this turn I had cast Mind's Desire with a storm count of 3. After resolving each copy and the original Desire, I exiled 3 lands and a Grapeshot. If I cast the Grapeshot now, what is the most damage I can do to my opponent?

A: You can deal 5 damage to your opponent. Because the copies of Mind's Desire were not cast, they don't increase your storm count. This makes your storm count 4 (original Mind's Desire + the storm count of 3 from earlier in the turn). So you will get the original Grapeshot + 4 copies of it, making 5 damage total.

Q: I control both Sensei's Divining Top and Counterbalance. My opponent casts Krosan Grip targeting my Counterbalance. While Grip is on the stack, I know I can't activate my "Top", but does my Counterbalance still trigger?

A: Yes, your counterbalance does trigger, and if you happen to have a card on top of your library with a mana value of 3, you can counter the Krosan Grip!

Q: While resolving Duress, my opponent reveals their hand to be Guerrilla Tactics, Ajani's Last Stand, Metrognome, and Mangara's Blessing. Can I fail to choose a card?

A: As long as the opponent has at least one non-land non-creature card in their hand, you can't fail to choose. You may be mixing this up with failing to find a card with a specific quality from your library such as Terramorphic Expanse. These seem similar but work differently for one important reason, public knowledge. With Duress you are looking at a revealed hand, so all characteristics are publicly known, but you can choose to fail to find a basic land in your library even if there are basics in your library since its a private zone.

Q: My opponent controls a Heroes' Bane with four +1/+1 counters on it. I just exiled it using Swords to Plowshares. My opponent thinks they gain 4 four life, while I think they gain zero life because the hydra has no counters on it in exile. Who is right?

A: Your opponent will gain 4 life. You are correct that the hydra has no counters on it while in exile (rule 122.2), but the game will use last known information to determine how much life is gained (rule 113.7a).

Some things you have to wait for.

Q: Abundant Harvest is in the Mystical Archive for Strixhaven. From what I heard it is a "preprint" for Modern Horizons 2. Will it be legal in Modern as soon as Strixhaven is?

A: It won't be legal in Modern, until Modern Horizons 2 is legal in Modern. Strangely, it will be legal in Historic as soon as Strixhaven is legal in Historic.

Q: I cast Primal Command choosing to put my opponents land on top of their library and for me to search up a creature from my library. My opponent responds by casting Heroic Intervention. My opponent claims I can't search for my creature since I can't target their land anymore, is this true?

A: This is true. If a spell cast with one or more targets, and then all of its targets become illegal before it resolves, then the whole spell 'fizzles' and just gets put in the graveyard. In the case above the only "target" was a land, which is now Hexproof and is now an illegal target for your spells.

Q: My Bloodbraid Elf cascaded into Urza's Rage. If I choose to cast it for free can I still kick it? And if so, does it cost or is it free to kick?

A: So because kicker is an additional cost, you can choose to kick Urza's Rage, but it still costs the full to kick.

When you cast a spell for free, if it has an optional additional cost like kicker you can choose to pay it. However, if you try to cast a spell for free that has a non-optional additional cost, you must pay it if you want to cast the spell. Fling has a non-optional additional cost, so if you want to cast it for free (say because you cascaded into it) you have to sacrifice a creature. If you have no creatures, then you can't choose to cast it.

Q: My The First Sliver cascaded into Mizzix's Mastery. If I choose to cast it for free can I still Overload it? And if so, does it cost or is it free to Overload?

A: You can't Overload it at all while playing it for free. Both casting a spell for free because of cascade and Overloading it are Alternative Costs. You can never use more than one Alternative Cost at the same time.

Q: If I try to Doom Blade my opponent's 3/3 green Beast token and the opponent responds to my spell with Snakeskin Veil, can I respond to that with a 2nd Doom Blade so I can successfully kill the beast before it gains Hexproof?

A: Yes, you can. Each player can keep responding to the other until one player runs out of instants, abilities, or the resources to pay for them.

Q: My opponent is at 2 life and I know the only card in her hand is Counterspell. I go to cast Tendrils of Agony using the Dark Ritual in my hand to give me a storm count of one, guaranteeing my opponent still looses even if she counters the original Tendrils or the copy. My opponent stops me and says, no I want to Counterspell your Dark Ritual. I tell her no she can't, because players can't respond to mana abilities. Who is right?

A: Your opponent can Counterspell your Dark Ritual. You are correct, that players can't respond to mana abilities, but Dark Ritual is a spell that produces mana and not a mana ability.

Q: Lets say I want lots of lands in my graveyard, can I choose to discard two land cards instead of just one when I resolve Compulsive Research?

A: Yes, you can.

Q: Can I find lands like Indatha Triome when searching my library for Gift of Estates?

A: Yes, you can. Gift of Estates doesn't require the plains you find be a basic plains, so you are free to grab Triomes and other lands that have the plains sub-type.

Q: I cast Faithless Looting and my opponent responds by casting Notion Thief. I currently have only two cards in hand, what happens when Faithless Looting resolves?

A: Your opponent will draw two cards, and you will discard the only two cards in your hand.


Q: I love the art for the japanese Mystical Archive Eliminate(seen to the right). I want to get four of them and play them in standard for as long as they are legal in standard. My friend says, since we live in the United States and the text is unreadable to most Americans, and the art is not used on any English cards, I can't use them in competitive tournaments. Is this true?

A: Your friend is wrong. Any unmodified "normal" magic card can be used in any sanctioned magic tournament. This doesn't matter if your card has an official artwork your opponent may not be familiar with or if it is in a language your opponent can't read. Magic is a game played all over the world, and is printed in eleven different languages!

Your friend is likely worried this could give you an advantage if your opponents can't read your cards, but alas your opponents during a tournament have a safeguard, they can ask for a judge to give them the oracle text of any card they can't recognize or read.

When in doubt, always ask for a judge!

Above I said "normal" magic cards. "Normal" means any regular sized magic card, that is not silver or gold bordered and has a normal magic back. Double-Faced Cards and Modal Double-Faced Cards count as "normal" so long as they don't have silver or gold borders.

Q: My opponent controls Narset, Parter of Veils. If I cast Strategic Planning, does Narset have any effect on it?

A: Narset has no effect on Strategic Planning. Narset only stops opponents from drawing cards, and Strategic Planning doesn't draw a card, instead it just puts a card into your hand. This is a subtle, but important difference.

Q: I currently have nine poison counters and two energy counters. If I cast Tezzeret's Gambit can use the proliferate to gain an energy counter, but not kill myself with poison counters?

A: You can not. This is a rules change. Before War of the Spark, proliferate would only increase one counter per permanent and/or player chosen. This was changed to increase each counter a permanent and/or player has that is chosen. This was done to make the ability work easier in digital formats like Arena and MTGO.

Q: I cast Stone Rain to destroy my opponents only Island. They try to stop this by casting Negate targeting the Stone Rain. Can I use the Shunt in my hand to have the Negate counter itself?

A: So a spell can not target itself. So you can't make the Negate counter itself. But you can accomplish the same goal, by making the Negate attempt to counter the Shunt. Cast the Shunt targeting the Negate, the Shunt will resolve first. As it does, change the Negate's target to the Shunt, which is still currently a spell on the stack. At this point, the Shunt will fully resolve and go to the graveyard as most good instants do. Next the Negate will attempt to resolve with no legal target and 'fizzle' and be placed in the graveyard. Then at long last, your Stone Rain will resolve and destroy that pesky Island.

Q: I control two Dark Confidants and a Spellskite. My opponent casts Electrolyze choosing to deal 1 damage to each of my two Dark Confidants. Can I activate my Spellskite twice to save both of my Dark Confidants from dying?

A: You can activate the Spellskite as many times as you like, but at most you can save only one Dark Confidant. Because Electrolyze was cast with two targets, Spellskite can't be both of the targets, it can be at most one of the targets.

You know when you make a copy of a copy
and its not quite as sharp, as well, the original?

Q: My opponent casts Crux of Fate choosing to destroy all non-Dragons. If I activate my Goblin Flectomancer targeting the Crux, can I change its target to all dragons?

A: You can not. Crux of Fate is a modal spell, being able to change it's target won't allow you to change it's current mode.

Q: I target my opponent's commander with Chaos Warp. If my opponent chooses to put their commander in their command zone instead of shuffling it into their library, do they still get a chance at a free permanent from the top of their library?

A: They do still get that chance at a free permanent. Chaos Warp doesn't care if the targeted commander instead goes to the command zone, it still completes its actions as best it can.

Well that's enough Mystical Questions for me.

See you all next week.

- Justin Hovdenes AKA Hovey
Level 2 Magic Judge
Rapid City, SD


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