Published on 02/09/2009

Frozen Goyfsicles

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 Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes.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

No Coldsnap, er... Conflux
article is complete without a picture
of the man himself.
And welcome to another edition of Cranial Insertion! It's new set time, a time for celebration and all sorts of new questions about new cards and their interactions with other new cards, or old cards, or just themselves in general. I know everyone has a lot of burning questions about the Coldsnap prerelease and release events over the past two weeks, so as a special edition of CI this week, most of the questions are about those hot (ha!) new Coldsnap cards.

As always, send us more questions to the CI mailbag at !

Q: I activate one of my two Cylian Sunsingers; and, in response, my opponent Mirrorweaves all creatures into a copy of an Ohran Viper. When the ability resolves, how big are my snakes?

A: Your snakes - and your opponent's snakes (I just now realized that Cylian Sunsinger doesn't care whose Cylian Sunsingers it gives its bonus too) will be 4/6s. Whenever a card references its own name, it really means "this permanent". When the ability resolves, every creature named Ohran Viper (count 'em, that's everyone in play) gets +3/+3 until end of turn.

Q: When does Dark Temper see that I have a black permanent? If my opponent Unsummons my Rimebound Dead (my only black permanent) in response to Dark Temper, will his creature take 2 damage or be destroyed?

A: It'll be destroyed...that is, if 2 damage is enough to destroy it. Dark Temper checks whether or not you control a black permanent when it would deal 2 damage, and that doesn't happen until it starts resolving.

Q: If Thornling has 4 damage on it from a Skred and is indestructible, does it die during the cleanup step after its indestructability wears off?

A: Thornling is indestructible "this turn," so it'll wear off during the cleanup step - conveniently, at the same exact time as damage is removed from it. So the 4 damage will never be there when the indestructibility isn't.

Q: Progenitus has protection from "everything". What's "everything" exactly?

A: Eeeeeevverything. If you can name it, and it's part of the game of Magic, Progenitus can't:

* Be targeted by it
* Be blocked by it
* Be equipped, enchanted, or fortified by it
* Be damaged by it

So yes, Progenitus can never be targeted, blocked, equipped/enchanted/fortified (if he somehow becomes a land), or damaged by anything that ever has or ever will exist in Magic. There's a loooong list of stuff, too much stuff to list here, that Progenitus has protection from, for example: players, creatures, Kithkin, Lhurgoyfs, creatures named Tarmogoyf, and yes, Coldsnap fans, even snow.

Ugh, you are like the worst
EDH general ever.
Q: I use Gwafa Hazid, Profiteer to put a bribery counter on my opponent's Panglacial Wurm. Later on, Gwafa dies. Can the Wurm attack and block again?

A: I'm not sure what a Wurm can be bribed with, but once Gwafa leaves play, the Wurm will forget too. Mr. Hazid's ability only works while he's in play, so although the Wurm will have a bribery counter stuck on it forever, it'll be able to attack and block as normal.

Q: My opponent uses Animate Dead to bring back his Boreal Druid. On my turn, I use Soul Sculptor to turn the Druid into an enchantment. Does the Druid die now because the Animate Dead falls off because it can no longer enchant it, or does it stay in play?

A: Yes, the Druid enchantment will die. Animate Dead doesn't care that the Druid isn't a creature anymore, just that it isn't attached to it anymore, and it'll take the Druid with it.

Q: If I'm searching my library and play Panglacial Wurm, and my opponent responds with a Lapse of Certainty, can I replay the Wurm if I have enough mana?

A: You can do a lot of things with that much mana, but not that. Even though the Wurm goes onto the stack when you play it, no player will get priority until whatever effect that's letting you search your library is done resolving. By the time your opponent Lapse of Certainties (I'm not going to try to verbalize that properly) your Wurm, you're well done searching your library.

Q: Is the life-setting ability of Magister Sphinx considered life loss/gain? That is, can I use Wound Reflection to kill someone with Magister Sphinx if they had over twenty life?

A: Any positive change in life total is gaining life, and any negative change is losing life. So if you have a Wound Reflection in play, anyone you target with twenty or more life is dead.

Q: Can I use the mana from an Ancient Ziggurat to get mana from a Kaleidostone, if I'm in the middle of announcing a creature spell, to pay for that creature spell?

A: Nice try, but no. Ancient Ziggurat's mana can only be used to directly pay for a creature spell. There's no way to work around it.

Q: Worldheart Phoenix says I can play it from my graveyard by paying rather than its mana cost. Does that mean I can play it from my graveyard by paying its normal mana cost if I want, and it just won't get the two +1/+1 counters?

A: The ability says Worldheart Phoenix can be played from your graveyard if you pay , not that you can play Worldheart Phoenix from your graveyard. If you can't provide all five colors of mana, it'll just be a dead bird.

Q: If Serra Avatar would be put into my graveyard and my opponent has a Leyline of the Void in play, do I get to choose whether or not it gets removed from the game?

A: Serra Avatar triggers when it's put into your graveyard, but Leyline of the Void replaces it ever going there, so it'll just get removed from the game.

Q: I have a Krovikan Scoundrel in play with a Grafted Wargear equipped to it. I block a creature, and with damage on the stack, I bounce it to my hand with an Unsummon. Does my Scoundrel die, or does it get sent back to my hand?

A: It'll wind back up in your hand. The Grafted Wargear trigger will trigger when it becomes unattached, and since it becomes unattached via Krovikan Scoundrel leaving play, the trigger won't be able to find it anymore.

Q: If I have an Aetherplasm in play and declare it as a blocker, can I use its triggered ability to put Vigean Hydropon from my hand into play blocking the creature that Aetherplasm blocked, even though Vigean Hydropon cannot block?

A: All Vigean Hydropon's ability does is not allow it to be declared as an attacker or blocker. If it's put into play blocking or attacking, that's perfectly legal.

Timeshifted Jund legend. (Yes, the
Coldsnap thing is a little joke. ;)
Q: I unearth my Grixis Slavedriver and attack, and it gets blocked and dies. When it does, do I get a 2/2 zombie and a 3/1 from my Sek'kuar, Deathkeeper?

A: No, just a zombie. If an unearthed creature would leave play, it gets removed from the game instead - it'll never hit the graveyard.

Q: Do lands like Arcane Sanctum or Boreal Shelf help out domain spells?

A: Although they tap for the same mana symbols, non-basic lands don't have basic land types unless they say they do in their type line.

Q: I attack with a Goblin Furrier and have three creatures with exalted in play, so it'll be a 5/5 when it attacks. Before it taps to attack, can I use Beacon Behemoth to give it vigilance?

A: Tapping the creature (if it doesn't have vigilance) to attack happens simultaneously with declaring it as an attacker. There's no point in between declaring it as an attacker and the creature tapping that you can do this. Of course, you can give it vigilance after it's attacked, but by then it really doesn't matter.

Q: In Two-Headed Giant, my opponent attacks me with an Ohran Yeti. I don't have a Plains and a Forest in play, but my other head does, and he's got a Qasali Ambusher in hand too. Can he flash it in and block?

A: Although you only assign combat damage to one head in a 2HG game, you attack the other team as a team. As long as one player on that team controls a Forest and a Plains and that same player has a Qasali Ambusher in hand, they can play it for free.

[Editor's Note: This works differently in the MTGO format of the same name, where heads can only attack or defend against the opponent directly across from them.]

Q: I have an Aven Squire, but my Two-Headed Giant partner doesn't. I attack with a Krovikan Scoundrel, and my teammate attacks with a Blood Tyrant. Does anything get exalted?

A: Exalted works the same way in 2HG as it does in normal Magic. Only creatures attacking alone get that bonus, and a creature is attacking alone only if it's the only creature declared as an attacker during that combat step.

Also note that exalted only works for creatures you control, not your teammate's. If you have a creature with exalted and your other head attacks with a lone creature, it won't get the bonus from your guy.

Q: How does Magister Sphinx work in Two-Headed Giant?

A: Not as well as you'd like. In 2HG, each player on a team's life total is equal to half that team's life total, rounded up. If for example the opposing team is at 24, opponent A's life total will be 12. If you target her with Magister Sphinx, then she'll go to 10 and the team's life total will be adjusted by the amount she lost, bringing the team to 22. Yes, this means once everything's done calculating, her life total will technically be 11.

Q: Hunter Sliver and Two-Headed Sliver are in play and a bunch of Slivers are attacking, what happens?

A: You're getting into an interesting mess here - you must block as many provoking Slivers as possible with the provoked creatures plus one other creature. How this ends up depends wildly on what's provoked by what and whether anything's provoked by multiple Slivers, but the end goal is to have as many of the required legal blocks as possible.

Let's say that you attack with Slivers W, X, Y, and Z. Opponent controls creatures A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. You provoke as so:

W - A
X - B
Y - C
Z - D

In this case, you have four requirements. Rule 500.4 says that you must maximize the requirements obeyed without violating the any restrictions, such as the "by two or more blockers" one.

You can't block all four with A, B, C, and D, then, because E, F, and G can't help them *all*. So you pick any three of those Slivers, block with the required blocker, and then add one more creature to block - and the provoked creature that isn't blocking the Sliver that provoked it can help out here, since its requirement is moot anyway.

And that's all for this week. I know I said my questions were all from the release events, but I snuck in a few from the prerelease as well. Try and see if you can spot the difference!

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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