Published on 06/24/2024

A Third of Modern Horizons

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Hail to the King.
Hiya everyone, and welcome back to Cranial Insertion! I hope all of our readers have been enjoying Modern Horizons 3 so far - I've drafted it quite a bit on Magic Arena so far, and it's proving to be a fun format (as long as you can dodge Writhing Chrysalis), and it's shaking up multiple formats as well (we'll see how well people adapt to Nadu, Winged Wisdom in various format - I've heard quite a bit of chatter on the card in Modern and Commander).

But the other thing that Modern Horizons 3 has brought us is a lot of rules questions! You've been filling our inbox with questions, so we'll continue talking about some of the popular questions coming out of the latest set. And if you have questions, feel free to send them in - we may even use them in another article. If you have a short question, you can find us at @CranialTweet, but if you have a longer question, you can send us an e-mail at .

Q: My opponent controls Kudo, King Among Bears. I'm really sick of my giant Eldrazi being 2/2 Bears, so I cast Amphibian Downpour on Kudo. But my opponent says that creatures are still 2/2 Bears. Are they right?

A: Oddly enough, they are correct. And this is due to a weird interaction with how layers work.

You may think that the only thing that Kudo does it make creatures into 2/2s. But he also makes creatures into Bears in addition to their other types. That means we have an effect that actually applies in two layers - it applies in layer 4 to add "Bear" to their creature types, and it applies in layer 7 since it sets every creature's power and toughness to 2/2. Meanwhile, the Downpour applies in layer 5 (to set Kudo's color to blue), layer 6 (to remove the enchanted creature's abilities) and in layer 7 (to set the power and toughness of Kudo to 1/1). But we also have a rule that says if an effect starts to apply in one layer, it will continue to apply to the relevant objects in a later layer, even if that ability is removed while going through layers (this is rule 613.6 for those who are curious).

Just looking at the relevant effects, in layer 4, Kudo makes everything else into a Bear. In layer 6, the Downpour removes all abilities from Kudo, but since Kudo's effect started to apply in layer 4, it continues to apply, and in layer 7, other creatures will still have their base power and toughness set to 2/2.

Q: Can you please explain how Springheart Nantuko works?

A: Sure. It's a confusingly-worded card, so let's break it down and walk through the possibilities.

First, the easy one - if the Nantuko is on the battlefield as its normal creature self and not an Aura, and you play a land, you just make a 1/1 Insect token. It becomes more interesting when you have the Nantuko attached to a creature. If the Nantuko is an Aura attached to a creature you control and you play a land, when that trigger resolves, you have a choice - you can either pay , and if you do, you make a token that's a copy of the creature that the Nantuko is attached to. But if you don't pay, then you just make a 1/1 Insect token.

In short - if the Nantuko is an Aura attached to a creature and you play a land, you can pay to make a copy of the enchanted creature. If you don't pay, or if the Nantuko is a creature, then you just make a 1/1 Insect.

Q: I have Six in play and a Grief in my graveyard. Can I use both retrace and evoke to cast Grief from my graveyard?

A: Yep, you can do that. Retrace is an additional cost, not an alternate cost. You discard a card in addition to the other costs you need to pay to cast the spell. Since retrace is an additional cost, if there's an alternate cost you can use to cast the spell, you can use that with retrace. So you can evoke Grief from your graveyard using Six's ability by exiling a black card from your hand and discarding a land card to cast Grief.

Q: I control an Arna Kennerud, Skycaptain equipped with a Mandibular Kite. If I attack with Arna Kennerud, what happens?

A: Assuming nothing else is attached to Arna Kennerud and no counters are on it, you'll create token copy of Mandibular Kite and attach it to Arna Kennerud. But that token copy of the Kite just entered the battlefield, which means that living weapon will trigger. When that trigger resolves, you'll make the Germ token, then unattach the token Kite from Arna Kennerud and attach it to your new Germ token. So while this doesn't help out Arna in the current combat, it can be a way to keep growing your army while you keep attacking.

Q: I have Eladamri, Korvecdal in play and the top card of my library is Nyxborn Hydra. Can I cast the Hydra via bestow using Eladamri's ability?

A: You cannot. Eladamri only lets you cast creature spells from the top of your library. If you cast the Hydra for its bestow cost, then you're not casting a creature spell - you're casting an Aura spell. An Aura spell isn't a creature spell, so you won't be able to cast the Hydra for its bestow cost using Eladamri's ability.

Q: I cast Ashling, Flame Dancer, and once it resolves, I cast the last card in my hand - Galvanic Discharge. What happens with Ashling's trigger?

A: You'll draw a card. When Ashling's trigger resolves, you discard a card and draw a card. You're not required to discard a card to draw, so if your hand is empty, you'll just discard nothing, but still draw a card.

Prepare to learn why Echoes of Eternity
may not be all upsides.

Q: I have Echoes of Eternity in play, and I cast Emrakul, the World Anew. Do I have to make the copy of Emrakul with Echoes of Eternity?

A: You have to make the copy with the Echoes's trigger, which is going to be bad for you. The triggered ability of Echoes of Eternity is not optional - you have to create a copy of Emrakul with the Echoes trigger, and you also get two instances of Emrakul's cast trigger. You'll choose the order the three triggers are put on the stack (the two Emrakul cast triggers, plus the trigger from the Echoes to make a copy of Emrakul). No matter how you stack your triggers, you'll resolve the copy Emrakul and the two cast triggers from Emrakul in the order that you choose, then the original Emrakul enters the battlefield. The legend rule will then apply, and you'll get rid of one of the Emrakuls. But that causes the leave the battlefield ability of that Emrakul to trigger, and you'll have to sacrifice all of your creatures (the surviving Emrakul, your other creatures, and anything you stole with Emrakul's cast triggers).

I'm not going to tell you what to do, but you probably don't want to cast Emrakul, the World Anew when you have an Echoes of Eternity in play.

Q: If I cast Breaker of Creation, will it count my lands as well?

A: Yep, your lands will count. Lands are colorless. (Yes, Dryad Arbor exists. We're ignoring the outlier right now.) Even if the land taps for a certain color of mana, that doesn't give the land a color. For example, a Swamp is still a colorless permanent - it's not a black permanent just because it can tap for black mana. Since your lands are colorless, the Breaker's trigger will count them for its triggered ability.

Q: I cast Amped Raptor, and with its enter the battlefield trigger, I exile Crashing Footfalls. Can I cast the Footfalls?

A: Yep, you'll be able to cast it. The Raptor gives you an alternate cost to cast the card (paying energy equal to the card's mana value), and since the Footfall's mana value is zero, you'll be casting it by paying zero energy.

Q: Can I sacrifice my Barbarian Ring and deal damage to my opponent's Master of Waves, or does protection from red stop it?

A: You can target and damage the Master with the Ring's ability. The Ring is a colorless card, not a red card. You need red mana to activate the last ability of the Ring, but that doesn't change the color of the Ring - it's still colorless. Since the Ring is not red, you'll be able to target and deal 2 damage to your opponent's Master of Waves.

Q: Can I copy my twice-kicked Wastescape Battlemage with Verazol, the Split Current's triggered ability?

A: You can - it's just not as effective as you might expect. You kicked the Battlemage when you cast it, so Verazol will trigger and you can copy the Battlemage. However, the Battlemage has cast triggers, not enter the battlefield triggers, and the copy made by Verazol is put on the stack, not cast. Since the copy made by Verazol isn't cast, you won't get the cast trigger from the Battlemage.

Q: I cast Assimilation Aegis, exiling my opponent's Colossal Rattlewurm. Then I attach the Aegis to my face down (and disguised) Mistway Spy. What happens?

A: This probably doesn't work out quite how you expected. Both the copy effect from the Aegis and being face down via disguise are applied in the same layer - layer 1. However, in layer 1, we apply copy effects first, then we apply the modification from being face down via disguise after that. So what happens is that the Aegis makes the equipped creature into a copy of the Rattlewurm, then we apply the disguise effect and it becomes a 2/2 creature with no name, color, creature types, etc and ward 2. It can't even be turned face up now since it's a copy of the Rattlewurm, not the Spy, so there's no disguise cost to reveal to turn it face up.

In short - unless you want to turn your face down creature face up first, don't equip your Aegis to a face down creature, or you'll be in for an unexpected surprise.

Q: I used my Mirage Mirror to copy my opponent's Roil Elemental, then played a land and stole one of their creatures. Does my opponent get the creature back at the end of turn when the Mirror stops copying the Elemental?

A: Nope, you still control their creature - for now. You control the creature for as long as you control the Mirror. Even if the Mirror stops copying the Elemental, you still control the Mirror, so you still control the creature. However, if the Mirror leaves play later on (even if it's not copying the Elemental or is a copy of something else at the time), the change of control effect still ends and you'll still lose control of the creature you stole when the Mirror was a copy of Roil Elemental.

From student to teacher.

Q: Can Tamiyo, Inquisitive Student be my commander?

A: Sure, that's fine. Tamiyo is a legendary creature on the front face, so it can be your commander. As a bonus, we look at both faces of a double-faced card to determine its color identity, and since the color identity of the back face is blue and green, Tamiyo, Inquisitive Student's color identity is blue and green, so you can include blue and/or green cards in a deck helmed by Tamiyo.

Q: How does Wyll, Blade of Frontiers work when rolling the planar die?

A: Wyll's first ability won't work at all - there's no concept of a "higher" or "lower" on a planar die, so the replacement effect won't care about rolling the planar die. But his triggered ability will trigger any time you roll a die for an in-game effect. Rolling the planar die will let you put a +1/+1 counter on Wyll.

Q: I have Lilah, Undefeated Slickshot in play. If I cast Experimental Overload, can I exile it to Lilah's ability so it becomes plotted and I can cast it on my next turn?

A: No, that doesn't work. Lilah's effect can only apply if the spell would try to go the graveyard while it's resolving. Experimental Overload won't try to go to the graveyard - the final instruction is to exile Experimental Overload. Since it never tries to go to the graveyard, Lilah's effect won't get a chance to apply and you won't be able to plot the Overload - it'll exile itself to its own ability.

Q: I control an Urza's Incubator naming Eldrazi. Will the Incubator reduce what I pay to cast Ulalek, Fused Atrocity?

A: Nope, the Incubator won't do anything for Ulalek. The Incubator can only reduce the generic part of the cost, not the part that requires a certain type of mana. There are no generic mana symbols in Ulalek's mana cost - each mana symbol can be paid with either one colorless mana or one mana of that color. Since there's no generic part of the cost to reduce, the Incubator won't reduce what you pay to cast Ulalek.

Q: Can I use the mana from Eldrazi Temple's last ability to pay for Ulalek, Fused Atrocity's triggered ability?

A: No you cannot. The mana from the Temple's last ability can only be used to cast a colorless Eldrazi spell or activate an ability of a colorless Eldrazi. But Ulalek's ability is a triggered ability, not an activated ability. The trigger asks you to pay some mana as part of the trigger resolving if you want to use it, but that doesn't make it an activated ability. If you want to use the mana from the Temple's last ability, use it on the Eldrazi spell itself, not on Ulalek's triggered ability.

Q: I put an everything counter on my land with Omo, Queen of Vesuva's triggered ability, but then my opponent removed Omo. Does my land still have every land type?

A: Nope, it doesn't. An everything counter doesn't have any built-in rules. It's only when Omo is on the battlefield that the everything counter does something and your lands have all land types. If Omo leaves play, while the land will keep the everything counter, the everything counter won't do anything until Omo returns to the battlefield.

Q: If I have two Sawhorn Nemesis under my control, both choosing the same opponent, do they take four times as much damage?

A: Yes they will. Both Nemeses — yes, that is the plural of Nemesis! — will apply if the chosen player would take damage, so you'll end up doubling the damage twice and will deal four times as much damage. If you Shock your opponent, instead of taking two damage from your Shock, they'll end up taking eight damage.

That's it for this week. See you again next week!


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