Published on 03/18/2024

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That's a lot of dust.
Do I have a big enough broom and dustpan?

Today I was able to grab many questions from the Facebook group "Ask-the-Judge (Magic: the Gathering Rules & Policy Group)" and the Internet Relay Chat room #magicjudges-rules. These are great resources if you need a judge answer right away, but don't have a judge handy.

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 . Questions sent to us directly have a higher chance of showing up in future articles!

Q: If I cast All is Dust will it cause all players to sacrifice all lands?

A: Most likely no lands will be sacrificed as the vast majority of lands are colorless. A permanent's colors are determined by either the mana symbols in its mana cost, the color indicator on its type line, or by an ability in its rules text. Having a colored mana symbol in its rules text doesn't determine its color. It is possible for a land to gain a color or colors though an ability, such as animating Treetop Village into a green Ape creature.

Q: In the last question you said "having a mana symbol in the rules text doesn't determine color". Does this mean I can play Elves of Deep Shadow in my Eladamri, Lord of Leaves Commander deck?

A: Unfortunately, you can't. Commander makes use of Color Identity, which is different from Color. Color Identity looks at the same places as Color, plus it looks for mana symbols in the rules text of a card, and also looks in all the same places on the back side of a card if it has one. It then considers all of these to determine the Color Identity. It's worth noting, Color Identity disregards the ability Devoid.

Color Identity only matters during deck construction.
Elves of Deep Shadow is a green card, with a Green/Black Color Identity, because of its black mana ability.
Garruk Relentless is a green card, with a Green/Black Color Identity, because of its green/black color indicator on its back side.
Volrath's Stronghold is a colorless card, with a Black Color identity, because of the mana symbol in the cost of its second ability.
Complete Disregard is a colorless card, with a Black Color Identity, because Devoid overrides color, but does not override Color Identity.

Q: I control a Clone that is copying my opponent's Dockside Extortionist. If I sacrifice that Clone to Neoform, can I grab Activated Sleeper to have it copy the now dead Clone, to then copy the opponent's Dockside Extortionist?

A: You can. Normally when you copy a Clone, you copy whatever it is currently copying. However, if it is not copying anything, you can use the Clone's ability to copy another legal thing its ability can copy.

As a side note, the resulting Dockside Extortionist will not be Phyrexian. Activated Sleeper tries to make a Phyrexian Clone, then Clone overrides everything into just being a Dockside Extortionist.

Q: Can I Animate Dead the Grist, the Hunger Tide from my graveyard?

A: You can, but it won't be very effective. Grist is a creature in all zones except the battlefield. This makes Grist a legal target for Animate Dead while Grist is in your graveyard. When Animate Dead goes to resolve, it will put Grist onto the battlefield, then Animate Dead will change what it can enchant to "enchant creature put onto the battlefield with Animate Dead", and when it does this it can no longer enchant Grist as Grist is not a creature now. The next time state based actions are checked, Animate Dead will be placed in the graveyard for being an Aura that isn't attached to anything. This then triggers Animate Dead's ability "When Animate Dead leaves the battlefield, that creature's controller sacrifices it." The game knows Grist was the creature it put onto the battlefield and will make you sacrifice it even though it is not currently a creature.

In short, Grist will enter the battlefield, but will get sacrificed before you can even activate any of Grist's abilities.

Q: I control Heartless Summoning and cast Fleshbag Marauder, will I be able to sacrifice the Marauder to its own trigger?

A: You will not. The Marauder will be put into the graveyard for having 0 or less toughness, before the Marauder's trigger resolves. When Marauder's trigger resolves you will still have to sacrifice a creature if you have any left.

Bookmark this image.(Click for B/W version)

Q: My opponent's Bear Cub is enchanted with Bear Umbra. If I cast Sudden Spoiling, will the Cub still benefit from the +2/+2 from the Umbra?

A: The Cub will still benefit from the +2/+2. The Cub will be a 2/4 with no abilities. It's worth noting, it will still be protected by Totem Armor as that's an ability of the Umbra, not an ability of the Cub.

This is a layers question. I have an article that goes over layers in greater detail here.

Adding and losing abilities happens in layer 6. These happen in order of oldest first to newest last. The Cub gained "Whenever this creature attacks, untap all lands you control" when it became enchanted, then lost that ability when Sudden Spoiling resolved. Then when we get to Layer 7b (the power and/or toughness setting layer), it goes from a 2/2, to a 0/2. Then in Layer 7c (the power and/or toughness adding and/or subtracting layer), it gets +2/+2, making it a 2/4.

Q: I think I understand the last question, but what would happen if in the same turn after Sudden Spoiling resolved, if my opponent cast Mighty Leap targeting the Bear Cub?

A: The Cub would be a 4/6 with Flying and no other abilities.

As said in the last answer, adding and losing abilities happen in the same Layer (Layer 6) and they are ordered oldest first to newest last. So Cub gaining "untap lands" ability happened quite a while ago, then it loses all abilities (including "untap lands" ability), then it gains Flying. Losing all abilities only removes abilities that the creature had before the removal resolved. Adding new abilities later will be unaffected.

Layer 7b, the Bear still changes to a 0/2.
Layer 7c, it gets +2/+2 from Umbra (to a 2/4), then gets +2/+2 from Mighty Leap (to a 4/6).

Q: My opponent activates their Pestilence once, does the protection from black my Death Speakers has keep it from dying?

A: It does. Protection is four abilities in one. Some people use the mnemonic acronym D.E.B.T. to remember what these four abilities are.

(D.)amage - prevent all damage from X sources
(E.)nchanted or attached - can't be enchanted by X or can't have X attached to it
(B.)locked - can't be blocked by X
(T.)argeted - can't be targeted by X

Where X is what the permanent or player has Protection from.

In this case, protection from black prevents all damage to Death Speakers from black sources, and since Pestilence is a black source, all damage to Death Speakers from Pestilence is prevented.

Q: I control Xorn and Anointed Procession. If I hit my opponent for 2 damage with Improvised Weaponry, how many Treasure tokens do I make?

A: Its your choice of three or four Treasure tokens.

When multiple replacement effects try to replace the same event, the affected player or controller of affected spell or permanent chooses the order they apply in.

You control the affected permanents (the Treasure token), so you can choose whether to apply Xorn first or Procession first, then the other will apply second.

Xorn first, Procession second:
You try to make one Treasure, Xorn increases this to make two Treasures, then Procession doubles this to create four Treasure tokens.

Procession first, Xorn second:
You try to make one Treasure, Procession doubles this to two Treasures, then Xorn increases this by one, making a total of three Treasure tokens.

Q: My opponent controls Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and I flashback Memory Deluge from my graveyard, how many cards deep do I look into my library?

A: Since the flashback cost is and Thalia makes you pay one more than that, you get to dip eight cards deep.

Q: I control Maskwood Nexus and Hatchery Sliver. If I evoke a Mulldrifter from my hand can I replicate it? And if I do, how much mana does it cost? Do the copies live or die?

A: Yes, , and they die.

Hatchery Sliver gives replicate to all the creatures you cast (when you have Maskwood Nexus). The replicate cost is equal to that spell's mana cost. Casting a spell for its evoke cost doesn't change its mana cost. When you copy a spell, it copies choices made. All copies of an evoked spell will copy the choice of being cast for evoke, so they will get sacrificed very quickly after entering the battlefield.

Q: I control Dowsing Device and no creatures. If I cast Cryptic Coat can I use the Device to give the "cloaked" creature haste?

A: You can't.

Both Dowsing Device and Cryptic Coat trigger at the same time, and you can choose the order in which they resolve, but you must choose the target for Dowsing Device before either trigger resolves and the "cloaked" creature won't be made yet.

Q: My opponent exiled my Awoken Horror with Leyline Binding last turn. If I Naturalize the Leyline, do I get back Awoken Horror or Thing in the Ice?

A: You get Thing in the Ice.

By default permanent cards that leave the battlefield and then return do so face up, untapped, unflipped, having lost all counters, and having lost all designations previously gained. For all intents and purposes the game considers it a brand new object with no relation to its previous existence even if it clearly is the same physical object.

Designations include things like Monstrous, Solved, Suspect, and Renown.

Q: I control four 1/1 Soldier tokens, Agrus Kos, Eternal Soldier and a Parish-Blade Trainee with two +1/+1 counters on it. When the Trainee dies, if I target Agrus with the trigger and then pay the , will I end up with two +1/+1 counters on each of my creatures or can I only move the counters to one of my creatures?

A: You will get two +1/+1 counters on each of your creatures.

The deal here is that Parish-Blade Trainee (and any creature with modular) don't work the way you think they do. They don't actually move their counters.

When the Trainee dies, it goes to the graveyard. Once in the graveyard two things happen at the same time, its counters cease to exists and its ability triggers. The Trainee's trigger is placed on the stack, with you choosing a target and then waits to resolve. So before the trigger ever has a chance to resolve, the counters don't exist anymore. When it does go to resolve, it looks back in time to the last time the Trainee was on the battlefield, then "remembers" the number and types of counters it had (this is called last known information), creates copies of those counters and places them on the target creature.

So when you copy Trainee's trigger, you create two new +1/+1 counters for each copy (including the original trigger), not just move around the actual counters the Trainee died with.

Did you know Isochron is not a made up
Magic word? It's a geology term dealing with
radiometric dating.

Q: My Isochron Scepter has Thrill of Possibility imprinted onto it. If I activate the Scepter, do I still have to discard a card to cast Thrill of Possibility?

A: You do. Scepter copies the card and then tries to cast the copy. If you cast a card or cast a copy of a card you must pay any mandatory additional costs to be able to cast them.

Q: My opponent casts Thrill of Possibility, discarding a card as part of its cost. Before Thrill can resolve, I want to copy it with the Twincast in my hand. Do I have to discard a card to do so?

A: Not only do you not have to discard a card to do so, you can't discard a card even if you wanted to. If you copy a spell with Twincast, you don't cast the copy, it's just placed on the stack.

Q: If I control Linvala, Keeper of Silence and Nature's Revolt, is my opponent unable to make mana with their lands?

A: That is correct, your opponents can't activate abilities of their creatures and all their lands are also creatures.

Q: I control Eye of Duskmantle and during my opponent's turn I cast Curate and surveil both a Swamp and a Duress into my graveyard. Does the Eye of Duskmantle let me play the land or cast the Sorcery during their turn?

A: Eye of Duskmantle doesn't let you do either. The Eye doesn't change the normal timing for playing lands or casting sorcery spells. We can tell it doesn't change timing because it doesn't specifically call it out like Vedalken Orrery and its permission has a duration (this turn). You can still cast instants and cards with flash that you surveil into your graveyard during the opponent's turn.

There are cards that give permission to get around timing for "sorcery speed" spells, but these won't give a duration for how long you may cast such spells. Instead, they just instruct you to cast them immediately. Cascade is a good example, it will allow you to cast a sorcery, creature, artifact, enchantment, or planeswalker even though you normally can't cast such spells while other things are on the stack, or even during the opponent's turn.

You can't play lands during your opponent's turn, as per rule 305.3: A player can't play a land, for any reason, if it isn't their turn. Ignore any part of an effect that instructs a player to do so.

Note that being instructed to "put a land onto the battlefield" is different than playing a land.

Q: During a two player game, my opponent controls Horobi, Death's Wail and I control Cloud Cover and Bear Cub. If my opponent targets my Cub with Alchemist's Gift, does it go to my hand or get destroyed?

A: Depends whose turn it is. When multiple triggers try to go on the stack at the same time, they are placed in APNAP order (Active Player Non-Active Player).

The player whose turn it is (active player), places all their triggers on the stack first with choices of targets and modes known and places those triggers on the stack in the order of their choosing.

Then the next player in turn order (Non-Active Player) does the same with full knowledge of all choices the previous player has made. These must all be placed above all triggers placed by the previous player, but can be placed in any order otherwise, again making choices for targets and modes.

If there are more than two players, the next player in turn order does the same thing, putting all of their trigger above all previous players' triggers in the order of their choosing, and this repeats until all players with triggers have placed them on the stack.

Once all triggers are placed on the stack, each trigger will resolve one at a time with the topmost trigger resolving first and the bottom trigger resolving last.

If the opponent casts Alchemist's Gift during your turn, the Cub gets destroyed.

Top) Destroy Cub -trigger
Bottom) May return Cub to owner's hand -trigger

If the opponent casts Alchemist's Gift during their turn, you may return the Cub to your hand, and if you don't, it gets destroyed.

Top) May return Cub to owner's hand -trigger
Bottom) Destroy Cub -trigger

Q: OK, so I think I understand the last question, so let's do lots of triggers with more than two players. What if I cast Warp World in a four player game, and because of Warp World I put Ravenous Chupacabra on the battlefield, my opponent Nick who is next in turn order puts a Soul Warden onto the battlefield, Nancy who is next after Nick puts Bear Cub, Bramble Armor, and Titanoth Rex onto the battlefield, and Nina who goes after Nancy puts Fleshbag Marauder on to the battlefield. How do all these triggers resolve?

A: Like the answer to the last question, the triggers will be put on the stack in APNAP order. Since Warp World is a sorcery, we know it's currently your turn. You will put Chupacabra's trigger on stack first, making it the bottom of the stack. Let's say you target Titanoth Rex with Chupacabra's trigger. All three other players know your target before they put any of their triggers on the stack. Then Nick who is next in turn order will put all the Soul Warden triggers on top of Chupacabra's trigger (4 triggers total, one for each creature other than Soul Warden). Then Nancy puts Bramble Armor's trigger above all the Soul Warden triggers, she chooses to target her Bear Cub with Bramble Armor as she knows Titanoth Rex will get destroyed by Chupacabra. Lastly, Nina places Fleshbag Marauder's trigger as the topmost trigger on the stack.

Top) Each player sacrifices a creature -trigger
Next) Attach Bramble Armor to Bear Cub -trigger
Next) Nick gains 1 life -trigger
Next) Nick gains 1 life -trigger
Next) Nick gains 1 life -trigger
Next) Nick gains 1 life -trigger
Bottom) Chupacabra destroys Titanoth Rex.

These will resolve in order Top to bottom. Each player will sacrifice a creature (Chupacabra for you, Soul Warden for Nick, Titanoth Rex for Nancy as she knows it's dying to Chupacabra anyways, and Fleshbag Marauder for Nina). Then Bramble Armor gets attached to Bear Cub. Then Nick gains 1 life four times. Lastly, Chupacabra tries to destroy Titanoth Rex, but that ability fails to resolve because its target has become illegal.

Well, I scrolled to the end of Facebook, or maybe I hit twenty questions, so it's time to call it. I'm out, until next time.

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


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