Published on 01/02/2023

Quizzing In The New Year

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Monkey see, monkey do
fall in love with werewolf

Hello hello, Justin here. I thought we should start the year out with a quick quiz. Hopefully you are up to date on your rules, because below I have some doozies.

If you have a short question, you can send it to our Twitter account at @CranialTweet, and if you have a longer question, you can send it to our e-mail at .

Q: The only two creatures Allen has are Mild-Mannered Librarian and Kogla, the Titan Ape. Nancy tries to Murder Kogla. In response, which of the following ways can Allen both draw a card from the Librarian and use it to make Kogla indestructible?

A: The answer is...

A: Activate Kogla first, then respond to that by activating Librarian.
B: Activate Librarian first, then respond to that by activating Kogla.
C: Either A or B works.
D: It's not possible to both save Kogla and draw a card from Librarian.
E: Is this someone's elevator pitch? King Kong falls in love with a Librarian who just happens to be a werewolf.

The answer is

Answer A will fail to save Kogla. Kogla's ability targets a Human, and as it goes to resolve, the Librarian will no longer be a Human (only a Werewolf) and get countered by having an illegal target.

Answer B works. Kogla will return the Librarian while it's still a Human. The Librarian's ability can and will still resolve as best it can, even though it's no longer on the battlefield. It won't place any +1/+1 counters, but will still draw a card.

Q: The only creatures Angela controls are Rick, Steadfast Leader and Mentor of the Meek. Angela then casts Join the Dance. Assuming Angela has plenty of untapped Plains, which of the following is true?

A: The answer is...

A: Angela can draw up to two cards using Mentor of the Meek.
B: Angela can draw only up to one card using Mentor of the Meek.
C: Angela can't draw any cards using Mentor of the Meek.
D: Wait, I thought Rick was a mentor to the meek?

The answer is

The two Human tokens created by Join the Dance enter the battlefield simultaneously. That means at no point is either token on the battlefield without getting Rick's +2/+2, so neither token will trigger Mentor of the Meek.

Q: Axel attacks with Torbran, Thane of Red Fell wielding a Shadowspear. Nina blocks Torbran with a 2/2 Fish token. If Axel tries to trample over with as much damage as possible, how much will Nina take?

A: The answer is...

A: 4
B: 3
C: 2
D: 1
E: The Dwarf has gone spearfishing.

The answer is

Although it's tempting to treat Torbran as having 5 power, his ability to increase damage from red sources doesn't quite work like that. Torbran has 3 power, and must dedicate 2 of that to killing the Fish, which will end up dealing 4 to the Fish. The last 1 damage can be used to trample into Nina, which will end up dealing 3 damage to Nina. Torbran will deal a total of 7 damage this turn, and gaining 7 life from lifelink.

Q: In a four-player game of Commander, Amber controls Nigel's Akroma, Angel of Wrath because of a Bribery she cast earlier in the game, Nick's Griselbrand because she Reanimated it, and Norbit's Grand Arbiter Augustin IV because she cast Invoke the Winds earlier in the game. Amber is then killed by a Lightning Bolt. Which of the following creatures don't get exiled because Amber died?

A: The answer is...

A: Akroma
B: Griselbrand
C: Augustin
D: So a Demon, an Angel, and an Advisor all walk into a bar...

The answer is

When a player loses the game during a multiplayer game, first all permanents they own leave the game with them, then all "gain control" effects they have end, and lastly if they still control any permanents those permanents get exiled. Griselbrand and Akroma were both put onto the battlefield under Amber's control and no one else had controlled them, so they get exiled. Augustin will go back to the last person who controlled it, most likely Norbit.

I had a little dreidel, I made it out of clay
And when it's dry and ready, then dreidel I shall play

Q: My opponent controls an untapped Sensei's Divining Top and I control Zacama, Primal Calamity. Which of the following ways will likely lead to the Top being in my opponent's graveyard?

A: The answer is...

A: While I only have access to , use Zacama's destroy target artifact ability when the stack is empty.
B: While I only have access to , use Zacama's destroy target artifact ability after my opponent activates the Top's second ability.
C: While I only have access to , use Zacama's destroy target artifact ability when the stack is empty. Then, if the opponent activates the Top's second ability, in response use Zacama's destroy target artifact ability again.
D: None of the above.
E: So now I'm picturing a 3-headed dinosaur singing "dreidel dreidel dreidel"

The answer is
B and C.

There are two major things to consider:
1) The Top's second ability can be used in response to being targeted by a destroy ability only once per turn if it can't be untapped by some other means.

2) The Top being put on top of the library is part of the ability resolving, not part of the cost.

When you combine these two facts, the easiest way to get the Top into the graveyard is to wait for the opponent to activate the second ability. This does however leave you with the option to force the issue by trying to destroy the Top, and then destroy it again in response if the opponent tries to save it.

Q: Gyrus, Waker of Corpses is my commander. Which of the following "mana taxes" would lead to Gyrus getting more +1/+1 counters?

A: The answer is...

A: Lodestone Golem
B: Mana Leak
C: commander tax because I had cast Gyrus once before
D: Nether Void
E: They say two things are unavoidable, death and taxes, but if you are a Gyrus-awakened Zombie, you are kind of avoiding both.

The answer is
A and C.

Both Lodestone Golem's tax and the commander tax increase how much it costs to cast Gyrus, so you get more +1/+1 counters.

Mana Leak's and Nether Void's taxes are you preventing an ability from countering Gyrus, not increasing the cost to cast it.

Q: My opponent controls Damping Sphere. Which of the following cards get their mana production reduced by Damping Sphere's first ability?

A: The answer is...

A: Overabundance
B: Mana Reflection
C: Overgrowth
D: Sheltered Aerie
E: Am I the only one who keeps trying to call this "Dampening Sphere"?

The answer is
B and D.

Overabundance and Overgrowth are triggered mana abilities. Damping Sphere doesn't see this extra mana as part of the action of tapping a land for mana.

Mana Reflection causes a land to make two or more mana when it is tapped for mana, so Damping Sphere definitely replaces this.

Sheltered Aerie gives a land the ability to tap for two mana of any color, so Damping Sphere definitely replaces this, too.

Q: Anthony controls Ivy, Gleeful Spellthief and a Bear Cub. Anthony bestows Boon Satyr targeting the Bear Cub. Which of the following best describes what happens next?

A: The answer is...

A: Anthony gets a token Boon Satyr, but it's a creature, not an Aura.
B: Anthony gets a token Boon Satyr Aura, and if Ivy dies later, the Boon Satyr token will become a creature.
C: Anthony gets a token Boon Satyr Aura, and if Ivy dies later, the Boon Satyr token will go to the graveyard.
D: Anthony doesn't get a Boon Satyr token at all.
E: I think I wrote "token Boon Satyr" too many times, the words have lost all meaning.

The answer is

Ivy's ability fully copies Boon Satyr, including the fact that it was cast for its bestow cost.

Token, making mana, from hand
brain leaking from ears
Q: Noel has five Elvish Spirit Guide tokens, because earlier in the game he Rite of Replicationed Alex's original Elvish Spirit Guide. Alex casts Withdraw targeting two of these tokens. Noel wants to use the mana ability of the first token once it's in his hand to prevent the second one from getting bounced. Can he do this, and if not, why not?

A: The answer is...

A: Yes.
B: No, because tokens cease to exist before they get to zones outside the battlefield.
C: No, because tokens can't leave zones other than the battlefield.
D: No, because Elvish Spirit Guide's ability isn't a mana ability and even the card version couldn't be used in the middle of Withdraw resolving.
E: Ok, this one hurts my brain.

The answer is

Tokens that have left the battlefield cease to exist when state based actions are checked. The first time state based actions will be checked is once Withdraw has finished resolving, so the token Guide is in Noel's hand while Withdraw is resolving. Also, Elvish Spirit Guide's ability is a mana ability.

However, because of Rule CR 111.8, the cost of exiling the token from Noel's hand can't be paid. (CR 111.8 A token that has left the battlefield can't move to another zone or come back onto the battlefield. If such a token would change zones, it remains in its current zone instead. It ceases to exist the next time state-based actions are checked; see rule 704.)

Q: Nancy controls three Halimar Excavators and three Mothdust Changelings. During Amber's first main phase, Nancy casts Ghostway. When these creatures return, what's the most cards Nancy can make Amber mill?

A: The answer is...

A: 3
B: 9
C: 30
D: 36
E: 108
F: Holy milling Mothdusts Batman!

The answer is

The Mothdusts are always Allies, and so the Halimars will count them both to trigger their ability and toward the X in each trigger.

The first Halimar will trigger six times, once for itself, twice for the other 2 Halimars, and three times for Mothdusts. The second and third Halimars will do the same, making for 18 triggers total. Each trigger will mill six cards each, and 18 times 6 is 108.

Pens down. Pass the quiz forward. I'll grade them later, and hopefully you all have a good new year.

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


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