Published on 03/13/2023

It's About Time!

Cranial Translation
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Time is what turns kittens into cats!
Greetings and welcome back to another issue of Cranial Insertion! Yesterday, Daylight Saving Time has started in the majority of the United States, so I've had an hour of sleep taken from me, and I'm finding myself pondering the mysteries of time. Time and timing are important concepts in Magic's lore as well as in its rules, so I've put together an article where all questions have something to do with time to some degree. I'm sorry and/or you're welcome!

If you have questions for us, please feel free to email them to or tweet short questions to @CranialTweet. One of our authors will reply with an answer, and your question might even appear in a future article!

And now, without further ado, it's time to dive into our selection of questions about time!

Q: If my opponent casts Time Stretch, can I use Spellskite's ability to redirect Time Stretch and take the extra turns myself?

A: Nope. You can activate Spellskite's ability in response to Time Stretch, but Spellskite is not a player, so it's an illegal target for Time Stretch and its ability won't do anything.

Q: I'm in a four-player game and I control Teferi, Master of Time. If I activate Teferi's -10 ability during an opponent's turn, when do I take my extra turns?

A: The extra turns are inserted into the turn sequence immediately after the current turn. Let's say you're player A, your opponents are B, C, and D in turn order, and you activated Teferi's ability during player B's turn. After player B's turn, rather than going to player C's turn, the game goes to your two extra turns, so you take those two turns then. After those two turns, the game returns to the normal turn sequence with player C's turn unless additional extra turns were created in the meantime.

Q: Player A casts Time Walk and player B Forks it in response. What happens?

A: As in the previous question, the extra turns are inserted into the turn sequence immediately after the current turn. Player B's Fork copy resolves first and inserts an extra turn for player B immediately after player A's current turn. Then, player A's original Time Walk resolves and creates an extra turn for player A, which is also inserted into the turn sequence immediately after the current turn, which means it gets inserted before player B's extra turn. In other words, after this turn, player A takes their extra turn, then player B takes their extra turn, and finally player B takes their normal turn.

Q: How does Fireball work with Cast Through Time?

A: Not terribly well. When Fireball rebounds, you cast it without paying its mana cost, so the only legal choice for X is 0, which puts it into the category of "not very effective." It can still trigger abilities, for example abilities that trigger when you cast a spell or when a creature becomes the target of a spell, but that's the extent of its usefulness.

Q: Can I splice Everdream onto Time Stop?

A: Yes, that's legal, and you'll even get to draw a card from the resulting spell even though Everdream's "draw a card" instruction gets added after Time Stop's "end the turn" instruction. Ending the turn involves exiling Time Stop itself, but rule 608.2k tells us that Time Stop still continues to resolve fully, so you still draw a card after Time Stop exiles itself.

Q: I'm in a three-player game and player B casts Borrowed Time. I respond with an instant that gives my only creature hexproof. Does player B now have to exile one of player C's creatures?

A: As long as you actually responded to Borrowed Time itself, yes. If you allow Borrowed Time to resolve and respond to its enter-the-battlefield trigger, giving the target hexproof will simply cause the trigger to fail. If you respond to Borrowed Time itself, your creature has hexproof by the time Borrowed Time enters the battlefield and it can't be chosen as the target for its enter-the-battlefield ability. Since the ability is not optional, player B has to target one of player C's creatures provided that at least one of them can be targeted.

Time, flowing like a river
Q: Can I cast Time Wipe if I don't control any creatures?

A: Absolutely. Time Wipe doesn't target anything, let alone a creature you control, so the only requirement for casting it is that you have enough mana to pay for it. When it resolves, you follow its instructions as much as possible. If you don't control a creature when it resolves, you simply ignore that instruction, but then you still destroy all creatures.

Q: I control a Painter's Servant naming blue, and it gets enchanted with Kenrith's Transformation. What happens?

A: Painter's Servant will be a green 3/3 Elk without any abilities, but everything else will still be blue in addition to its other colors. The reason is layers. In layer 4, Painter's Servant becomes an Elk and stops being an artifact. In layer 5, we have Painter's Servant's effect and the "is green" effect from Kenrith's transformation. Those two effects get applied in timestamp order, so first Painter's Servant adds blue to everything including itself, but then Kenrith's Transformation's effect makes the Painter only green. In layer 6, Painter's Servant loses its ability, but that doesn't stop its effect from applying, so things are still blue. Finally, in layer 7b, Painter's Servant becomes a 3/3.

Q: If my opponent controls Teferi, Time Raveler, can I still play the card that's hidden away with Mosswort Bridge?

A: Only if that card is a land card. If it's a nonland card, playing it involves casting it as a spell, and you'd be casting it during the resolution of Mosswort Bridge's ability. At that time you don't have priority, so Teferi's first ability prevents you from casting a spell during the resolution of Mosswort Bridge's ability.

Q: My opponent controls Teferi, Time Raveler and I control Elsha of the Infinite. Can I still cast spells from the top of my library?

A: Yes, but with restrictions. Teferi doesn't turn off Elsha's ability that allows you to cast noncreature spells from the top of your library, so you can still do that. However, you can only do this at a time you could cast a sorcery because Teferi's restriction overrides Elsha's effect that wants to allow you to cast the spell as though it had flash.

Q: How does Dungeon of the Mad Mage's Runestone Caverns ability work? Does it allow me to play lands?

A: Since the ability doesn't provide a time frame, it gives you permission to play the exiled cards right now, during the resolution of the ability. However, this permission can still be overridden by restrictions. You can't play a land if you're out of land drops for the turn, and you can't play lands on an opponent's turn. If it's your turn and you still have a land drop left, you can play a land card from among the two exiled cards.

Q: Do I get to ignore timing restrictions when I cast a card using Eruth, Tormented Prophet's ability?

A: No. Unlike the Dungeon's ability in the previous question, Eruth's ability provides a time frame, "this turn". This means that it creates a continuous effect that allows you to play some cards from exile. This effect only changes from where you play those cards, it doesn't alter when you can play those cards, so you still have to follow the normal timing rules for playing those cards.

I think it's nine when the clock says ten,
This girl wouldn't wait for the out of time,
Out of time, man
Q: I play Out of Time and then enchant it with Minimus Containment. Will the creatures stay phased out indefinitely? And what happens when I sacrifice the Treasure that was Out of Time?

A: The Treasure that was Out of Time loses the vanishing ability, so you will no longer remove the time counters from it, which means that the creatures will remain phased out for as long as you control this Treasure. However, the creatures will phase in when you sacrifice the Treasure even though it no longer has the ability that phased out the creatures. This is because the resolution of Out of Time's enter-the-battlefield ability already created the one-shot effect that phases the creatures back in immediately after Out of Time leaves the battlefield.

Q: What's the timing of Satoru Umezawa's ability? Let's say I attack with a Serra Angel that goes unblocked. Can I pay and return the Angel to my hand, put a huge creature card from the top three of my library into my hand with Satoru's ability, and then put that huge creature onto the battlefield as a new attacker?

A: No, that doesn't work. Satoru's ability triggers when you activate the ninjutsu ability of a card that's already in your hand, and activating the ability involves revealing the card whose ninjutsu ability you're activating. Let's say you activate the ninjutsu ability of a Bear Cub in your hand by revealing the Bear Cub, paying , and returning the Angel to your hand. Satoru's ability resolves in between returning the Angel to your hand and putting the Bear Cub onto the battlefield, but even if Satoru's ability puts a huge creature into your hand, you have to put the Bear Cub onto the battlefield since that's the creature whose ninjutsu ability you activated.

Q: How does the timing of Chain Stasis work? If I control an Incubation Druid with a +1/+1 counter on it, can I untap it with Chain Stasis and tap it for mana to copy Chain Stasis and repeat that process as often as I want?

A: Yup, that works. When Chain Stasis resolves, you follow the instructions in order, so you start by untapping Incubation Druid. Then Chain Stasis asks you whether you want to pay . Since a spell is asking for a mana payment, you get the chance to activate mana abilities, which allows you to tap Incubation Druid for mana. The mana ability resolves immediately, so now you have the mana you need to make a copy of Chain Stasis, and you can repeat this process as often as you'd like. Note that this loop won't net you anything in itself, but you could add Mana Reflection to generate lots of extra mana, just to name one example.

Q: At what point in time is a triggered ability considered missed? Let's say I'm in a Commander game and I'm at 2 life. I cast Aerial Predation on an opponent's creature, and I ask for responses. Nobody has any responses, so I start to resolve Aerial Predation, but now a player points out that they control Eidolon of the Great Revel and that I should be dead. What happens?

A: Since you're playing Commander, let's assume you're at Regular rules enforcement level, although the philosophy of when a trigger is considered missed is essentially the same at all RELs. The higher RELs just have additional considerations for fixing the situation. A triggered ability is considered missed if its controller didn't acknowledge it in any way at the time it required choices or had a visible in-game effect. In the case of Eidolon of the Great Revel, the ability has the visible in-game effect of changing a player's life total, and since the ability goes on the stack above the spell that triggers it, it resolves before the spell resolves, so it should have been acknowledged before Aerial Predation started to resolve. Since it wasn't acknowledged at that time, the trigger is considered missed. At Regular REL, the fix is to put the ability on the stack now unless doing so would be too disruptive, for example if significant decisions have been made based on the effect not happening. Since no decisions have been made, I'd say it's not too disruptive to put the ability on the stack now, so the ability still resolves, but it does so after you've gained life from Aerial Predation, which means that you get to stay in the game a bit longer than if the trigger had not been missed.

Q: We're playing in a timed round of a single-elimination tournament, the match is tied at one game each, and time is up. What happens?

A: First, you get to play the usual five additional turns. If the match is still tied after that, the player with the highest life total wins the current game, and with that, the match. If your life totals are equal, you continue to play as many turns as necessary under the "sudden death" rule while everybody else in the tournament glares at you for delaying the start of the next round. The "sudden death" rule works as an additional state-based action that causes a player who does not have the highest life total to lose the game.

And that's all the time we have for today. Thanks for reading, and please come back next week for more Magic rules Q&A!

- Carsten Haese

About the Author:
Carsten Haese is a former Level 2 judge based in Toledo, OH. He is retired from active judging, but he still writes for Cranial Insertion and helps organize an annual charity Magic tournament that benefits the National MS Society.


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