Published on 05/09/2022

Rules and Gabigools

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Love ya mom
What a week it's been. My mom's birthday always falls a few days before Mother's Day, which means I'm on the hook for an extravagant meal and/or gift. This year, I opted for her favorite restaurant in the city, a nice little spot on the lake.

Unfortunately, when we got there, it was overrun by the mob! All these wise guys trying to order gabagool, demanding that if their salad dressing isn't on the side they send it back. It was a nightmare.

But I says to 'em, I says to dese guys, "Ey, youse guys. You know what's better than harassing this restaurant? Learning about Magic rules."

So anyway, I may or may not be writing this article at the behest of a local crime boss.

As a friendly reminder, if you'd like the CI team to answer your question, please send it to us via email at or tweet it to us @CranialTweet. We answer every question we get, and your question could show up in a future article.

Q: I control Anhelo, the Painter equipped with Veteran's Sidearm. What happens if I sacrifice Anhelo to pay the casualty cost of a spell that normally doesn't have it, like Opt?

A: You'll be a casualty of your own hubris, I'm afraid. You won't copy the spell.

Anhelo needs to still be on the battlefield when the spell fully becomes cast in order for the spell to have casualty at that point. If you sacrifice Anhelo to pay for the spell, the spell loses casualty before it matters.

Q: If I control three Jin-Gitaxias, Progress Tyrants and cast Preordain, what happens? How many copies do I get?

A: I'm assuming you've got some way around the legend rule or a nonlegendary copy of Jin-Gitaxias.

You'll get three copies of Preordain plus the original. While Jin-Gitaxias does say "this ability triggers only once each turn," that applies to each Jin individually. It doesn't apply to every instance of that ability across all your permanents.

Q: I control Parallel Lives and cast Stangg. What happens with the tokens?

A: Bad news, friend. Stangg and all his siblings end up dying here.

First, Stangg's triggered ability makes two legendary Stangg Twins. After the trigger resolves, you have to send one of the Stangg Twin tokens to the graveyard because of the legend rule.

But wait! Stangg's ability also tells you to "sacrifice Stangg when that token leaves the battlefield." In this case, since Parallel Lives replaced "create Stangg Twin" with "create two Stangg Twins," the trigger treats both of the Twins as "that token" it created.

Since one of the tokens left the battlefield, you have to sacrifice Stangg. Then, because Stangg left the battlefield, you have to exile the remaining token.

In short, Stangg plus a token doubler means you end up with no Stanggs at all. That's gotta sting.

Q: I'm in a four-player game of Commander. On my turn, Becca gives me a Hellcarver Demon with her The Beamtown Bullies. I deal damage to Caleb with the Demon, and deal enough damage to Becca with other creatures to kill her. Does Hellcarver Demon still trigger?

A: Yes, it does.

You're probably thinking that the Demon leaves the game when Becca and her Beamtown Bullies do. And you'd be right!

However, the moment you dealt damage with Hellcarver Demon, it triggered. State-based actions are checked right after combat damage is dealt, and Becca leaves the game. Then, the Demon's trigger goes on the stack. The Demon doesn't need to still be on the battlefield in order for the trigger to resolve.

The sincerest form of flattery
Q: I control Metallic Mimic. I chose Construct for its creature type. If I cast another Mimic also choosing Construct, does the second Mimic enter with a counter?

A: Yes it does! Once you apply the second Mimic's replacement effect to choose a creature type, it'll be entering as a Construct. Because of that, the first Mimic kicks in and says "Hi friend, you should get a +1/+1 counter!"

Q: I have my commander Satoru Umezawa in play. I attack with Cabal Evangel and my opponent doesn't block. If I ninjutsu Ebonblade Reaper, do I lose half my life?

A: No, you won't. A creature you ninjutsu into play enters attacking. In order for something to trigger an ability like "whenever [something] attacks," it has to be declared as an attacker. Entering already attacking won't trigger any of those abilities.

Q: I control Brisela, Voice of Nightmares enchanted with Gift of Immortality. If Brisela dies, what happens?

A: The two cards that make up the Brisela meld pair, Bruna, the Fading Light and Gisela, the Broken Blade return to the battlefield separately. At the beginning of the next end step, you can return Gift of Immortality to the battlefield attached to either one of them.

However, if the next end step is your own end step, your Gift of Immortality isn't long for this world. You can either return Gift attached to one of the Angels first, or you can meld them back into Brisela first.

If you return Gift first, it'll end up back in the graveyard after you exile the Angels and return them melded as Brisela. If you choose to meld them first, then Gift won't return to the battlefield at all. Since part of the meld process is exiling the objects then returning them melded, they become a new object. Gift's delayed trigger can't find the object it was looking for.

Q: I control two Havengul Liches. I activate both of their abilities, targeting the same Aetherling. When I cast the Aetherling, which Lich gains its activated abilities?

A: They both will. The Liches only care that you cast the targeted creature card; they don't care how you cast it, or if you used their permission, or anything like that.

Q: I cast Phantasmal Image. In response, my opponent casts Dress Down. What happens to my Image?

A: Unfortunately, your Image won't be able to copy anything, so it most likely will enter as a 0/0 and immediately die.

When we're figuring out what replacement effects to apply to a permanent entering the battlefield, we look ahead to see what it would look like. If Image were on the battlefield right now, it would have no abilities at all thanks to Dress Down, so it doesn't have the ability to copy anything.

Q: I cast Lagrella, the Magpie. When she enters the battlefield, I target four different Glory Seekers, one each controlled by me, Bobby, Claire, and Dena. In response, Dena steals Bobby's Glory Seeker with Act of Aggression. Which creatures are exiled?

A: The Glory Seekers controlled by you and Claire will be exiled. Since Dena stole Bobby's Seeker, it and her original Seeker are no longer "creatures controlled by different players," so they aren't legal targets for the ability.

Q: I cast Toluz, Clever Conductor. When it enters and I connive, I discard Alms of the Vein. I'm not really sure what happens next?

A: A few different things can happen.

Right after you discard Alms into exile, two triggers go on the stack in the order you choose. The one from madness gives you the chance to cast it, and the one from Toluz tells you to exile it from your graveyard.

If you resolve Toluz's trigger first, then it doesn't matter if you choose to cast the spell or not. Alms will just be in your graveyard. Even though you discarded the card, Toluz wants to exile the card "from your graveyard." Since you discarded it into exile thanks to madness, Toluz's trigger can't find it there.

If you resolve the madness trigger first, you choose whether or not to cast the spell. If you choose to cast it, it becomes a new object, and Toluz's trigger won't be able to find it.

On the other hand, if you don't cast it, the game still knows "hey, that's the same object you discarded," so Toluz's trigger can still exile the card.

Q: I control Path of Ancestry and my commander, Rhys the Redeemed. My opponent casts Witness Protection on Rhys. If I cast Llanowar Elves using mana from Path of Ancestry, do I get to scry?

A: Unfortunately not. Path of Ancestry checks your commander's creature types at the moment you cast a creature spell. That means that if your commander is on the battlefield and has its types modified somehow, that modified type will be used to see if you get to scry.

In this case, Rhys is a Citizen, so casting an Elf or Warrior spell won't let you scry.

Q: I control Atla Palani, Nest Tender, Harmonic Prodigy, and an Egg token. My opponent casts Wrath of God. How many times does Atla Palani trigger?

A: You'll get two triggers. Atla triggers when something leaves the battlefield, so it looks back in time to right before it left to see what should trigger. Right before the Egg token left the battlefield, you controlled Atla Palani and Harmonic Prodigy, so Prodigy makes Atla trigger an additional time.

Bless us with your
noodly appendages
Q: In a multiplayer game, I cast Emrakul, the Promised End and target Becca with the cast trigger. That same turn, I lose. What happens with Becca's turn?

A: Since you're no longer in the game, you aren't able to control Becca during her next turn. However, the rest of the effect still does its thing. She'll take an extra turn after the one during which you would have controlled her.

Q: I control Arcane Bombardment and I've exiled a few cards with it. If I make a copy of it, can the copy use the same cards?

A: No it can't. Arcane Bombardment has a linked ability. Basically, each Bombardment has its own cards that it's exiled, and each can only "see" those cards.

Q: I control Bootleggers' Stash. My opponent casts Blood Moon. Can my nonbasic lands still make Treasure tokens?

A: They can! Blood Moon will make your nonbasic lands into Mountains, but that just gets rid of those lands' own rules text and abilities. Abilities from other sources like Stash or Chromatic Lantern are unaffected.

Q: I have Giada, Font of Hope and three Angelic Pages in my graveyard. If I cast Rally the Ancestors for X=, how many counters will my Angelic Pages get?

A: None, unfortunately. Giada isn't on the battlefield yet, so her replacement effect can't apply to things entering at the same time as her. Your Pages will just be 1/1.

Q: Does Ravenous Squirrel trigger when I sacrifice permanents to the legend rule?

A: No, it does not. The legend rule doesn't make you "sacrifice" things; it makes you choose one and put the rest in the graveyard. They might look the same, but they're different exactly because of situations like this.

That's all for this week, folks. I gotta run. The crime boss said something about fitting me for some new shoes? That's so kind of him.

- Andrew

About the Author:
Andrew is a Level 2 judge from Dallas, TX who spends too much time on his computer.


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