Published on 04/17/2023

My M.O.M. Always Said Life Is Like a Box of Phyrexians...

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Look how strong MOM is.
She got this.

With M.O.M. (March of the Machine) just having had its prerelease, this seems like a good time to knock out questions all about the new set. But before we get too far into that, if you have a Magic rules questions you would like answered, we would love to answer them and might even include them in an upcoming article. For short questions, you can send them to our Twitter account at @CranialTweet, and if you have a longer question, you can send it to our e-mail at .

Q: Let's get the big question out of the way. What in the Nine Spheres of Phyrexia is a Battle?

A: Battle is a new card type, being introduced in March of the Machine. All battles in this set have the subtype Siege. Battles are double-faced transforming permanents that can be cast at the normal sorcery speed of other permanents. Similar to planeswalkers, they enter the battlefield with a number of "defense" counters based on the number at their bottom right. Battles can be attacked and damaged by spells that say "deal X damage to any target". If a battle loses its last counter, instead of dying like a planeswalker, it gets exiled and its controller may transform it and cast the backside for free. Creatures may block for a battle to prevent it from taking damage, however only creatures controlled by its "protector" may choose to block incoming attacks. A protector's creatures may not attack a battle it is protecting. As a Battle that is also a Siege enters the battlefield, its controller must choose an opponent to be the battle's protector. Battles can be destroyed by spells like Vindicate, exiled by abilities like Oblivion Ring, countered by Counterspell, and bounced by Boomerang. However, in each of these cases it will not transform and/or cast its backside for free.

Q: If I attack Invasion of Ergamon which currently has five defense counters with a Colossal Dreadmaw, can I trample 1 damage over to my opponent?

A: You can not. However, if your opponent blocked with a Bear Cub, you could trample 4 damage over to the Invasion of Ergamon. Battles are more similar to planeswalkers in combat than they are to creatures.

Q: If I turn my Invasion of Ergamon into a creature, say with Mycosynth Lattice and March of the Machines, can it attack itself?

A: It can not. If a battle is also a creature, the rules say it can not attack or block.

Q: What happens if a battle has zero defense counters, but never lost any?

A: If this happens, it is placed in the owner's graveyard as a state based action. This would be tough to do, but could be done by having a permanent on the battlefield become a copy of a battle or maybe someone just happens to have a both Solemnity and Mycosynth Lattice.

MOM will be fine,
'tis but a scratch.

Q: What happens if a battle doesn't have a protector?

A: Well, I don't know what happens to every battle, but battles that are also Sieges have one of two things that happen. If a Siege doesn't have a protector and it's not currently being attacked, its controller chooses a new protector as a state based action. If a Siege doesn't have a protector and it's in the middle of being attacked, it simply doesn't have a protector until it's not being attacked.

Q: How does the backup 1 ability work on Death-Greeter's Champion?

A: If you cast Death-Greeter's Champion, you could choose to have it target itself or, for example, your Bear Cub. If it targets itself, it gains a single +1/+1 counter. If it targets the Bear Cub, the Cub gets a single +1/+1 counter and gains double strike until end of turn. Note that the Cub doesn't gain dash, only the ability printed after Backup 1.

Q: If I dash out Death-Greeter's Champion and choose my Bear Cub as the backup target, but before the trigger resolves I cast Jump on the Death-Greeter, will both creatures have both flying and double strike?

A: Only the Death-Greeter will have both. The Bear Cub will only gain double strike. Backup only copies abilities printed on the card and only those printed after the backup ability. If a card gains backup from a copy effect, then it only passes off abilities it copied from the original card.

Q: What does it mean to incubate 4?

A: Incubate is a new keyword action. To incubate 4 is to create an artifact token named Incubator Token with four +1/+1 counters on it. Note that this is not a creature yet! It has the ability ": Transform this artifact." Once it transforms to its backside, it's a 0/0 Phyrexian artifact creature. So incubating is to make artifacts that you can turn into creatures at some later point when you have some extra mana.

Q: Wait, tokens can have two sides?

A: They can now! Tokens that copy double faced transforming permanents will now have two sides and copy both sides the original card or token has. They will enter the battlefield with the same face up as what they are copying. This only works for tokens. If a card like Clone copies a double faced transforming card like Delver of Secrets//Insectile Aberration, then it only copies the side currently face up and can't transform.

Q: My opponent cast Alabaster Host Intercessor targeting my Bear Cub with its triggered ability. If I Murder the Intercessor before the trigger resolves, what happens to my Cub?

A: Nothing at all. Intercessor's ability has a duration, and if that duration ends before it begins, then the Cub will not be exiled even for a millisecond.

Q: I control Corruption of Towashi and cast Imbraham, Dean of Theory do I draw a card from Towashi's last ability?

A: You do not. Modal double-faced cards like Kianne//Imbraham can not transform and are never considered transformed.

Q: I've cast Deadly Derision targeting my opponent's Ravenous Baloth. If my opponent responds by sacrificing the Baloth to itself, do I still get to make a Treasure?

A: You do not. If Deadly Derision loses its only target, then it fails to complete any of its text.

Q: My opponent controls Elesh Norn and three 1/1 Mite tokens. I then cast Goblin Chainwhirler. How many times does Elesh Norn trigger because of my Chainwhirler?

A: Elesh Norn will create five separate triggers: Three for the Mites, one for Elesh Norn, and one for the opponent. Each trigger causes you to lose 2 life or pay .

So um,
did MOM have a life insurance policy?

Q: My Hidetsugu and Kairi was just Murdered and revealed the top card of my library to be Cyclonic Rift. Can I chose to overload it, and if I do, does that cause my opponent to lose 2 or 7 life?

A: You can't overload the Rift. H & K cast the revealed instant or sorcery without paying its mana cost, which is an alternative cost. Overload is also an alternative cost. You can't use more than one alternative cost at a time. The mana value of Cyclonic Rift is always 2 even when it's overloaded, so your opponent will lose only 2 life. Additionally, the life loss from H & K is determined when it's revealed, before it's even cast.

Q: If my Primordial Plasm's triggered ability targets my Nightmare while I control five Swamps, will I end up with a 2/2 Nightmare or 7/7?

A: You will get a 2/2 Nightmare. If a creature whose power and toughness is defined by an ability loses that ability, it becomes a 0/0. Luckily for your scary horse, it gets +2/+2 from the Ooze when it loses all its abilities.

Q: I'm in the middle of resolving the third chapter of The Great Synthesis and decide to cast three free copies of Invasion of Vryn from my hand. Will Jin-Gitaxias flip back in time to draw me three cards?

A: The third chapter casts any number of spells from your hand for free, then it reverts back into Jin. Jin will not trigger because the Invasion of Vryns were already cast.

Q: I control Omnath, Locus of All. If I make mana with Omen Hawker during my first main phase and let that mana hang around until my second main phase, can I use that mana to cast a Phyrexian Obliterator?

A: You can not. Although the mana was washed from to it still can only be spent to activate abilities.

Q: My opponent controls Seraph of New Phyrexia and several 1/1 Soldier tokens. I have a Lightning Bolt in hand. My opponent then attacks with the Seraph. Is there a time between when they have chosen to sacrifice a Soldier to the Seraph but before it gets the +2/+1 bonus where I can cast the Lightning Bolt to kill the Seraph?

A: There is not. If you wait for them to sacrifice the Soldier to the attack trigger, by the time you get priority again the Seraph will already be a 5/4.

Q: My opponent controls Sculpted Perfection and a Phyrexian Gargantua wielding a Kor Halberd. I then enchant the Gargantua with Stasis Field, how big is it now?

A: It will be a 2/4. Before the Stasis Field is cast, the Gargantua is a 6/6. Once enchanted we can go through the layers: It starts out as a 4/4, then in layer 7b it becomes a 0/2, then in layer 7c it gets +1/+1 from the Equipment and then +1/+1 from the enchantment, ending up as a 2/4.

Q: I cast Storm the Seedcore targeting four different Bear Cubs I control, wanting to put one +1/+1 counter on each. Before Storm the Seedcore resolves, my opponent Murders one Cub and Doom Blades another. When Storm the Seedcore resolves, can I now put two +1/+1 counters on each of the remaining Bear Cubs?

A: You can not. Each +1/+1 counter that was intended for a now-dead Bear Cub is lost, you can't redistribute those counters.

Well, that's all I have for this week. I'll be at MagicCon Minneapolis, hopefully I'll see some of you there in a couple of weeks.

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


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