Published on 09/26/2005

Rah! Rah! Ravnica!

or, Now You May Ask Those Questions

Cranial Translation
[No translations yet]

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 Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes.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

Two weeks ago in Cranial Insertion, I issued an admonition against asking Ravnica questions (which was widely ignored or not read) but now you can ask them all! This week's column features a host of questions asked before the FAQ came out and some from afterwards. Many of these questions are answered in the FAQ, but are relatively hard to find compared to how often they've been asked.

Regarding last week's poll-decided article, we've decided that since the poll cut it so close, we'd continue the one-topic articles on them for a little bit. Thijs' article after his next will cover the 11 state-based effects, and in December (around the Mirage MTGO release) he'll talk about old-school abilities. I told you we loved you!

Without further ado, Ravnica! Remember, if you send in a question, one or all of us will answer it quickly for you before it goes to the article.

Q: Can I tap ten green creatures to play Chord of Calling for free to get a creature that costs 5GG out?

A: That's the best part about the card! Huge free creatures as an instant!

When you play Chord, you declare X. Then X is firmly set in stone. So say that you declare X as 7 – now the spell costs 7GGG. Then you decide which creatures to tap and apply anything that increases or lowers the cost. If there is an Emerald Medallion in front of you, and you're tapping 3 green creatures, and your opponent has a Sphere of Resistance, the total cost is 7GGG+1-1-GGG for a cost of 7.

Note that this only changes the cost you pay – the mana cost is still 7GGG on the stack and XGGG everywhere else.

Q: Let's say I have a Pariah's Shield and just let it sit there in the dirt. Will it redirect all damage dealt to me into nothingness?

A: No such luck. In order for damage to be redirected, both the original destination and the new destination must be creatures or players at the time it's dealt. If the shield isn't equipped, there is no new destination, so the new destination most definitely isn't a creature (and good luck getting the shield on a player), so the damage will gleefully go exactly where it wanted to.

Q: Can I sacrifice Gleancrawler in response to his ability and get him back into play?

A: Not exactly – read the friendly card. :) If you sacrifice Gleancrawler with his ability on the stack, he'll be returned to your hand when the ability resolves, not put back into play. Seeing as it's a little late in the turn to play creatures, he's probably sticking around in your hand for a while.

Q: Can I Brand the tokens from my Hunted Horror to take them back?

A: The controller of a token works just like the controller of anything else, but the owner of the token is the player who controlled the spell or ability that put them into play. You controlled the Hunted ability, so you own those tokens – take them back!

Q: Why doesn't Eye of the Storm create a loop when you try to play a spell from it? Wouldn't those get sucked in, too?

A: Ah, but Eye of the Storm only eats real cards – not copies of cards or spells! This makes much more sense than how Meddling Mage can only stop cards and not copies, doesn't it? Do note that the copies are played - they'll do wonders for your Storm count.

Q: With Master Warcraft, can I choose to have none of his creatures block mine, or can I only choose which creatures they block after he decides which will block?

Q: Yes, this spell is normally going to be "Creatures can't block this turn; I win." You choose all aspects of blocker assignment, including the choice to have all of them sit around picking their nose instead of actually doing anything useful like stopping your 13/13 with no evasion [what Eli means is that you should watch for this guy to tear up Extended soon. No, really... -Ed]

Q: Do six creatures have to be in play to play Hex?

A: Yup, Hex requires six unique targets. This is because the word "target" only appears once – each creature that you target can only be targeted once.

Remember, you can target some of your own creatures if you're desperate for targets. Make them take one for the team!

Q: Isn't it true that you can only play an instant with Mindleech Mass since it'll still be the combat phase when its ability resolves?

A: Nope, not true at all. The Mass actually lets you play the spell *while* its ability is resolving, when you normally could not play any spell, not even an instant. It also lets you completely ignore any timing restrictions built into card types, but not special restrictions printed on the card. Remember, cards beat up game rules and steal their lunch money.

Q: Since I already have 8 mana if I'm playing this nasty thing, I could play my opponent's Myojin of Night's Reach with another swamp! Will that get a counter, though?

A: Not at all, because you did not play the Myojin from your hand. Yeah, I think that's sorta lame, too.

Q: Can I pay 3 for Jinxed Choker's ability and not tell my opponent what I'm doing, then select to remove a counter – even if it has no counters?

A: "Hey, that's not a Ravnica question!"

No, it is not, but the FAQ finally answers the debate! Just like Plague Boiler, you can not choose to remove a counter if there are no counters on it.

Q: If I play an Ancestral Recall with Sins of the Past, can I Remand it so I can cast it a couple more times?

A: Sure. You've got two replacement effects trying to affect your Recall: One that says "to hand!" and one that says "Remove-from-freaking-game-forever zone please!" Since you control the affected object, you get to choose which applies first. Watch out - Remand has received errata that makes this possible. Without the errata, it is not only not a replacement effect, but it does weird things.

Q: What if I Remand a Roar of the Wurm out of my graveyard?

A: No. Flashback will apply to anything at all that pulls the spell off the stack, so you can't beat that. If you apply Remand's replacement effect first and then Flashback, Remand says "Okay, go to hand." and Flashback says "Leaving the stack, eh? RFG! RFG!" My keyword abilities are quite vocal about removing things from the game.

If you switch it, Flashback will remove it from the game, and then Remand's replacement effect will just fail to do anything at all.

Q: How exactly does Epic work in 2HG? How about Ivory Mask?

A: It works just like it says on the card – which isn't always the case in 2HG, but it is in this one. :)

The player who plays an Epic spell will not be able to play any more spells, but his teammate can still play spells (and, really, had BETTER play spells). Likewise, Ivory Mask will only protect the player who controls it, and his teammate is wide open to burn.

Q: If my Gate Hound is enchanted with something, and after declaring attackers that something gets Naturalized, would my attackers become tapped?

A: Nope, they're already attacking. Attacking creatures are only tapped upon being successfully declared as attackers, and at any time past that point, it won't matter if they lose Vigilance.

Q: I don't understand the errata on Incite Hysteria. What's the difference?

Quote from The Card:
Radiance -- Creatures that share a color with target creature can't block this turn.

Quote from The Card + Errata:
Radiance -- Until end of turn, target creature and each other creature that shares a color with it gain "This creature can't block."

It's a very subtle different to the casual eye, but it's a huge different from the rules point of view. When an effect refers to all creatures, it only affects the creatures in play if it changes their characteristics – such as giving them +1/+1, -2/-2, destroying them, or adding the text "This creature can't block."

On the other hand, some of those things change the game rules – "Creatures without flying can't block", "Prevent all damage creatures would deal this turn", "Creatures that share a color with X can't block."

The difference would only matter if color-changes got involved or if creatures started jumping out as instants. Very few players would ever notice.

Q: Can I play Shadow of Doubt whenever I want a card, or can I only play it in response to something searching?

A: It's an instant, it doesn't target, and it doesn't have any timing restrictions… sure, play it whenever! The first ability will hang around for the entire turn just in case someone tries to go and search, but it's the card draw that you're interested in.

However, don't forget that you can't search for that turn. You may not think that that first ability matters, but it might.

Q: What about Reroute? Can I play that targeting any activated ability that targets and not change the target just to get a card?

A: As long as the activated ability in question has exactly one target, you can play Reroute for a card, but watch out – if you can change the target, you must! Compare Reroute's wording to Sideswipe which says you *may* change the targets.

Q: Bramble Elemental and a flipped Kitsune Mystic in play. Can I put a Rancor on the Elemental and use Autumn-Tail's ability to move it onto him over and over for the Saprolings?

A: But that's not moving it! That's just jiggling it. Like Jello. Mmmm jello.

Remember, whenever you are instructed to move something or change something, you must do so unless there is no way to do so. So in your case, you'd have to move the Rancor to Autumn-Tail.

If Autumn-Tail dies in response to his ability and the Aura doesn't actually move, it's not becoming attached to the Elemental again; just like with Equipment, you can reequip, but it doesn't become unattached or attached.

Q: Can I pay with half a G and half a W (from a City of Ass and the leftover half a W from Little Girl, for instance)?

A: I heartily encourage this. You technically choose to pay either G or W, and not .5(GW), at the time that the mana costs of the spell are paid.

But come on. Unhinged. Fun. Doooo eeeet.

Q: Why won't I gain life from a Firemane Angel if I bring her into play in response to her lifegain ability? The FAQ says that, but I don't get it.

A: The trick is that the triggered ability came from dead!angel, but when it goes to resolve, dead!angel is no longer dead, it is now live!angel. It looks the same, but it is actually a completely new angel. Since it's completely new, the triggered ability loses track of it and the intervening if clause causes it to do nothing. It's not very intuitive, no, but that's what this column is for. :-D

That, and monkeys.

Q: For convoke, can I tap creatures the turn they come into play?

A: Indeed you may. A creature with "summoning sickness" (as it was called back in the day) can't use an ability with the tap symbol, but it can tap just fine for any cost that involves tapping but not the actual symbol. Check out Azami, Lady of Scrolls and Earthcraft for a couple more popular examples of this.

Q: Does Savra, Queen of the Golgari trigger on her own sacrifice?

A: Yup, if you sac her, she'll trigger both of her triggers. If you sac many things at once, you'll have a whole lot of triggers that you can order in any happy way. For best results, find a way to murder all of your creatures at once and wipe the board with some life gain.

With a Lifeline in play, preferably

And there you have it, folks. Next week, Thijs will look at some more Ravnica questions after you've all had a chance to play with them. I've already warned you all about the upcoming topics for the monthly Comprehensive Rulings article, but watch out in November for a couple very special Cranial Insertion articles.

Until next time, remember: Ravnica is not legal for constructed decks until after 20 October!

-Eli Shiffrin, L2 DCI Judge, Tucson, AZ

About the Author:
Eli Shiffrin is currently in Lowell, Massachusetts and discovering how dense the east coast MTG community is. Legend has it that the Comprehensive Rules are inscribed on the folds of his brain.


No comments yet.


Follow us @CranialTweet!

Send quick questions to us in English for a short answer.

Follow our RSS feed!