Published on 10/31/2022

Pop Quiz Be a Lady

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How I wish that there were more
Than the twenty-four hours in the day
Even if there were forty more
I wouldn't sleep a minute away

By the time you read this, the Magic 30 Celebration in Las Vegas will be over, but as I'm writing this, I'm still packing my bags. I'm rather excited to be going to my first large scale Magic event since Covid hit in 2020. Normally I get to three or four Grand Prix size events per year, so I'm nearly vibrating with joy at getting to see my many judge friends that I haven't seen in years.

As for today's article, let's knock out another Pop Quiz, with a little Vegas flair.

We are always looking for new material, so if you have a short question, you can send it to our Twitter account at @CranialTweet, and you can send us longer questions to our e-mail at . If you do so, we may use your question in an upcoming article.

Q: Its currently my upkeep. My plan is to let Urza's Saga get its third Lore counter, then tap it to create a Construct token, then Ghost Quarter the same Urza's Saga, so that during my main phase I make a Construct token and fetch onto the battlefield both a basic land and a Pithing Needle. Which of the following best describes what will happen if I try to do this?

A: The answer is...

A: This is an illegal play. The Urza's Saga will be sacrificed as soon as it gets its third lore counter as a state based action. So you can't Ghost Quarter it or make a Construct this main phase.
B: By destroying the Urza's Saga before its third chapter ability resolves, you counter the ability to search up the Pithing Needle. You can still make the Construct and fetch the basic land.
C: By destroying the Urza's Saga before its third chapter ability resolves, the triggered ability from Urza's Saga will do nothing as the Saga doesn't have a chapter "Zero", since it will have no Lore counters on it in the graveyard. You can still make the Construct and fetch the basic land.
D: This plan 100% works.
E: This whole plan doesn't work, Urza's Saga already should have gotten its third lore counter during your upkeep.

The answer is

A Saga (any Saga, not just Urza's), doesn't get sacrificed until its last chapter resolves or the last chapter leaves the stack. This permits time to activate abilities of Sagas at the start of your first main phase or cast and/or activate other spells and/or abilities before the Saga gets sacrificed.

Once a chapter ability is on the stack, destroying the Saga it came from doesn't counter the chapter ability nor change it to "chapter zero".

As a turn based action, a Saga gains a lore counter as its controller's first main phase of each turn begins. It doesn't happen during its controller's upkeep.

Q: Assuming you follow the correct deck building restrictions, which of the following can you make your companion in Commander?

A: The answer is...

A: Lurrus of the Dream Den
B: Yorion, Sky Nomad
C: Zirda, the Dawnwaker
D: Lutri, the Spellchaser
E: Umori, the Collector

The answer is
A, C, and E.
Lutri is specifically Banned in Commander.

Yorion is not banned in Commander, but since your deck size must be 100 cards, you can't meet its deck building restriction to be your companion. He can be in your 99 or be your commander, though.

Lurrus is banned in multiple formats, but not in Commander.

Zirda is banned in Legacy, but not in Commander.

Umori is perfectly legal in Commander.

Q: Andrew is attacking David with a Hill Giant. David blocks it with both a Bear Cub and a Mons's Goblin Raiders. Andrew chooses the damage assignment order of Goblin then Bear. Before passing to damage, which of the following can David do with the Giant Growth in his hand?

A: The answer is...

A: Once damage assignment order is chosen, its too late for David to cast spells.
B: Grow the Goblin to save only the Goblin.
C: Grow the Bear to save only the Bear.
D: Grow the Goblin to save both his creatures.
E: Grow the Bear to save both his creatures.

The answer is
C and D.

Once damage assignment order is chosen during the declare blockers step, Andrew is locked into damaging creatures in that order. If the creatures change size (say from a Giant Growth) before the damage step, Andrew can't change which creature gets damaged first. Andrew can't assign damage to the second creature in damage order until lethal damage has been assigned to the first creature in damage order.

If the Goblin grows, it becomes a 4/4 and all 3 damage from the Hill Giant, must be dealt to the Goblin. This saves both the Goblin and the Bear.

If the Bear grows, it becomes a 5/5 and Andrew must assign at least one damage to the Goblin, and can assign the remaining two as he chooses between the Goblin and Bear, which won't be enough to to kill the bear. This saves the Bear, but not the Goblin.

Q: In which of the following conditions is Alvin's Heliod, God of the Sun not a creature?

A: The answer is...

A: When in Alvin's hand, while his devotion to white is zero.
B: When in Alvin's hand, while his devotion to white is six.
C: When it's a spell on the stack, and Alvin's devotion to white is zero.
D: When it's a spell on the stack, and Alvin's devotion to white is six.
E: When it's on the battlefield and Alvin's devotion to white is six.

The answer is
None of the above.

Heliod's second ability only works while it's on the battlefield, so in every zone that's not the battlefield, Heliod is always a creature. The only time Heliod isn't a creature based on its own abilities is when it's on the battlefield and its controller's devotion to white is less than five.

Oh, there's black jack and poker and the roulette wheel
A fortune won and lost on ev'ry deal
All you need's a strong heart and a nerve of steel
Viva Las Vegas, Viva Las Vegas

Q: Ann casts Pair o' Dice Lost with the only cards in her graveyard being five lands. Ann rolls the two six-sided dice for a total of 3. How many lands can she get back?

A: The answer is...

A: Zero.
B: Two.
C: All five.
D: One.
E: Three.

The answer is
All of the above.

Lands have a mana value of 0. 0+0+0+0+0 equals 0, and 0 is less than 3. Ann can choose to get back to her hand less then the maximum possible.

Q: My opponent currently controls a Bear Cub wielding a Sword of Fire and Ice. My opponent pays the equip cost to move the Sword of Fire and Ice to their Squadron Hawk. Before the ability can resolve, I pay 2 life to activate my Spellskite's ability targeting the equip ability. Which of the following best describes what happens next?

A: The answer is...

A: You can't activate Spellskite targeting an ability that doesn't have a target.
B: You end up with your opponent's Sword attached to your Spellskite.
C: The Sword can't move to your Spellskite this way, so it fails to move at all and stays attached to the Bear Cub.
D: Spellskite's ability resolves just fine, but has no effect on the equip ability, and the Sword gets attached to the Squadron Hawk.
E: You can't activate Spellskite targeting an ability that can't legally target Spellskite.

The answer is

Equip means "Pay cost: Attach this artifact to target creature you control. Equip only as a sorcery." That makes Spellskite an illegal target for your opponents equip abilities (since it's not a creature they control). You can not change a target of an ability to an illegal target.

Spellskite's ability can target any spell or ability, whether or not the targeted ability can legally target Spellskite and even if the ability doesn't have any targets at all. However, in these cases activating Spellskite will change nothing, other than its controller wasting mana or life.

Q: If I attack with Velomachus Lorehold, which of the following cards revealed by its ability can I cast for free?

A: The answer is...

A: Bonecrusher Giant
B: Stomp
C: Far and Away fused.
D: Echoing Equation
E: Augmenter Pugilist

The answer is
B and D.

Neither Bonecrusher Giant or Augmenter Pugilist can be cast as neither is an instant or sorcery.

You can cast either Far or Away with Lorehold, but you can't fuse them as you can only fuse from your hand.

Q: I put Aetherling onto the battlefield earlier this turn by activating Whip of Erebos. Which of the following would prevent the Aetherling from being permanently exiled by Whip of Erebos this turn?

A: The answer is...

A: Stifleing Whip's delayed trigger.
B: Activating the Aetherling's first ability before it gets exiled by Whip's delayed trigger.
C: Boomeranging the Aetherling before it gets exiled by Whip's delayed trigger.
D: Phasing it out with Reality Ripple before it gets exiled by Whip's delayed trigger.
E: Casting Time Stop with Whip's delayed trigger on the stack.

The answer is
A, B, D, & E.

Boomeranging Aetherling will just get it exiled anyways since it left the battlefield to a zone other than exile.

A, D, and E all save the Aetherling from getting exiled by the beginning of end step trigger. However, if it later would go to any zone other than exile it would still get exiled by whip.

B is interesting because it saves Aetherling from both the end step trigger and zone change exile. Whip looks to see if the creature would leave the battlefield to any zone except exile. If it happens to go to exile, Whip does nothing. And since Aetherling's own ability places it in exile and later returns it to the battlefield, Aetherling becomes a new object and no longer has to worry about Whip exiling it.

Q: Nole used Mindslaver on Aaron and is currently controlling his turn. Which of the following things can Nole do?

A: The answer is...

A: Nole can look at Aaron's sideboard.
B: Nole can decide to make Aaron concede the game.
C: Nole can use Aaron's lands to help cast a spell from Nole's hand.
D: Nole can make Aaron's creatures attack Nigel.
E: Nole can look at Aaron's face-down creatures with morph.

The answer is
D & E.

While controlling an opponent's turn, you can't make them concede or prevent them from conceding.

You can't look at an opponent's sideboard while controlling their turn.

You can't use mana from an opponent's mana pool to help you cast spells from your hand.

You may look at any face-down cards your opponent can look at while controlling their turn.

And yes, you decide which creatures attack and who they attack when you control your opponent's turn.

Viva Las Vegas with your neon flashin'
And your one arm bandits crashin'
If you see it once
You'll never be the same again

Q: The only creatures on the battlefield are my Thragtusk and my opponent's Banisher Priest which is currently exiling my Bear Cub. In my graveyard I have a Clone and a Shivan Dragon, and my opponent has a Serra Angel in their graveyard. If I cast and resolve Living Death, what creatures can my Clone copy when it enters the battlefield?

A: The answer is...

A: Shivan Dragon
B: Serra Angel
C: Bear Cub
D: 3/3 Beast token made by Thragtusk leaving the battlefield
E: Thragtusk
F: Banisher Priest

The answer is

If a Clone enters the battlefield simultaneously with other creatures, it can't copy any of those creatures. It can only copy a creature that's already on the battlefield. This means no Cloning Shivan Dragon or Serra Angel.

We follow the instructions on Living End in order: First, we exile all creature cards in graveyards. Then, we sacrifice all creatures on the battlefield.

At this point, Bear Cub returns to the battlefield immediately after Banisher Priest leaves the battlefield. This action doesn't use the stack and is not a triggered ability, so it can happen in the middle of another spell or ability resolving. Also right now, Thragtusk's ability triggers, but its trigger won't be put on the stack until after Living End has fully resolved, so Clone won't be able to copy the token because it doesn't exist yet. Thragtusk and Banisher Priest are both gone by this point, so Clone won't be able to copy either of them, either.

Finally, we move all creatures exiled by Living End to the battlefield, including the Clone. The only creature it can copy is the Bear Cub.

Just finishing this article as I head off to the airport. Maybe I will have seen you there! Writing about the past tense in the present is weird.

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


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