Published on 03/07/2016


Or Let Me Gatherer That For You

Cranial Translation
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Note: This article is over two years old. Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes. Proceed with caution.

Just answering a few late-night rules questions
Hi everyone, and welcome back. I've answered Magic rules questions for a very long time now, and while there are some complicated interactions out there, there are also a surprising number of questions that can be answered simply by looking up the current Oracle text of a card in Gatherer. This is especially handy with older cards, where the rules text was a little looser than what we're used to today. You might think you have some complicated question, but then you look at the Gatherer text and you found out you missed the words "you control" and your question answers itself. So keep that in mind the next time you have a question - the current card text could clear everything up.

But not everything can be answered just by reading the text of the card, and that's where we come in! If you have a short question you'd like us to answer, you can tweet us @CranialTweet, and if you have a longer question that's a bit too long for a tweet, you can send us an e-mail at . We might even gatherer a few of those questions for a later article!

Q: It's my opponent's turn, and I animated my Shambling Vent in order to block one of their creatures. Then, my opponent uses Jace, Telepath Unbound's +1 ability to give my Vent -2/-0. If I make my Vent into a creature on my next turn, how big will it be?

A: It will be a 0/3. Jace's ability will apply the Vent until the start of your opponent's next turn. Even if the Vent stops being a creature for a time, it will still be affected by Jace's ability. The Vent will still be affected by Jace's ability, even though it stopped being a creature for a short time, so it will still get -2/-0 from Jace's ability.

Q: I have a Makindi Patrol equipped with a Captain's Claws. If I attack with the Patrol, will it give my creatures vigilance in time for them to not be tapped?

A: That doesn't work. In order for vigilance to matter, the creature has to have vigilance when attackers are declared. You don't get the token from the Claws until after attackers are declared and the trigger resolves. While the Patrol's ability will trigger and your creatures will gain vigilance, they won't gain vigilance until it's too late for it to matter.

Q: I have two Starfield of Nyx and an Oath of Gideon on the battlefield and another Oath of Gideon in my graveyard. Can I target the Oath with the triggers from both Stafields, return the Oath twice, and get four tokens?

A: Nope, that's not going to work. The first trigger will return the Oath to the battlefield, causing its ability to trigger and state-based actions to force you to get rid of one of the Oaths. But even if you put the Oath that just entered the battlefield back into the graveyard, it's a different card than the one that was in the graveyard before. Since it's not the same card, it's not being targeted by the second Starfield trigger, and the second trigger will be countered since its target is illegal and the Oath will not return to the battlefield for a second time.

Q: I have a Kozilek's Return in my graveyard, and I just cast a World Breaker. Can my opponent exile the Return from my graveyard with their Scavenging Ooze before the world blows up?

A: Yep, they can do that. When you cast World Breaker, that caused the Return's ability to trigger. You don't choose whether or not to exile the Return from your graveyard until that trigger resolves. Your opponent will be able to use the Ooze to eat the Return and exile it from your graveyard, before the trigger resolves. Since the Return is no longer in your graveyard when the trigger resolves, you can't choose to exile it, and you won't be able to deal 5 damage to everything on the battlefield.

Q: I have an Embodiment of Fury and a Retreat to Coralhelm on the battlefield. I play a Rugged Highlands. Can I make it into a creature with the Embodiment's trigger, then untap it with the Retreat's trigger?

A: Nope, the timing doesn't quite work out there. When you put the triggers on the stack, you need to choose a legal target for the trigger. At the point when you're putting the Retreat's trigger on the stack, the Highlands have not been made into a creature yet, so the Highlands are not a legal target to untap via the Retreat's triggered ability.

I didn't even know there were graces to be gathered.

Q: My opponent has an Eldrazi Mimic on the battlefield, and they cast a Reality Smasher. In response to the Mimic's trigger, I Dismember my opponent's Smasher. Did I just kill my opponent's Eldrazi Mimic as well?

A: Only if your opponent really wants their Mimic dead. When the Mimic's ability resolves, if they choose to use the ability, we look at what the current power and toughness of that creature is. But if the creature isn't on the battlefield, we use the last known information about its power and toughness to determine what the Mimic should be. The last known power and toughness of the Smasher was 0/0, so if they choose to use the ability, the Mimic would become a 0/0 and would die.

But if you noticed, I said "if they choose to use the ability". The choice of whether or not to use the Mimic's ability happens when the Mimic's triggered ability resolves. If you Dismember the Smasher before the trigger resolves, your opponent can choose not to use the Mimic's ability, and keep their 2/1 Mimic around (and wait until next turn and cast a second Smasher, because that seems to be how the Eldrazi decks work).

Q: I have a Painter's Servant, naming "green", on the battlefield. Can I cast Glittering Wish and grab a Rest in Peace that's in my sideboard?

A: Despite what you might have heard, this does not work. Painter's Servant only affects cards in one of the game zones. The sideboard is not in one of the in game zones (it's outside of the game, which is why you can wish for cards from your sideboard). The Servant will not affect cards in your sideboard, so your Rest in Peace is still just a white card, not a multicolored card, and cannot be Glittering Wished for.

Q: One of my opponents just activated their Ghost Quarter targeting itself. Is that legal?

A: Legal? Sure. Smart? Probably not. When we're activating abilities, we choose targets before we pay the cost, so you can activate Ghost Quarter's ability and have it target the Ghost Quarter itself. However, when Ghost Quarter goes to resolve, it sees that its only target (Ghost Quarter) is no longer legal, and the ability is countered and none of its effects will happen (and your opponent will not get to search for a basic land). It's a way to dodge something like Crumble to Dust, but not a way to fix your mana.

Q: Can I equip my Gaea's Revenge?

A: Unless you're using one of the not-so-common green equipment like Mage Slayer, you cannot. Most equipment are colorless, and the Revenge can only be targeted by abilities from green sources. Since the equip ability is coming from a nongreen source, you won't be able to play the equip ability of something like Bonesplitter targeting the Revenge.

Q: My opponent just cast a Terra Stomper. Can I cast an Overwhelming Intellect targeting it just to draw six cards?

A: Yep, that's a legal play. The Stomper can't be countered, but there's nothing preventing you from targeting it with a counter spell like the Intellect. And drawing the cards from the Intellect isn't reliant upon the Intellect actually countering the spell. The Stomper won't be countered, but you'll still draw six cards from the Intellect.

Q: My opponent animated their Treetop Village, blocked with it, and it died. Can I return it to the battlefield with Grim Return?

A: Nope. The Return requires a target creature card that was put into the graveyard from the battlefield this turn. While the Village was a creature when it died, once it's in the graveyard, it's no longer a creature and is back to just being a land card, and is not a legal target for Grim Return.

Q: My opponent casts Cruel Ultimatum targeting me. I respond by exiling all of the cards in their graveyard. Will their Ultimatum resolve?

A: This is one Ultimatum you can't dodge. Cruel Ultimatum has a single target: a target opponent. It doesn't target any cards in their graveyard. When the Ultimatum resolves, if they have a creature card in their graveyard, they have to choose one to return to their hand. But if they don't have any creature cards in their graveyard, that part of the spell won't do anything, but everything else will still happen.

Q: I have two Tandem Lookouts, paired with each other, and I attack with them both. If they both go unblocked, how many cards will I draw?

A: Four cards. Each Lookout has two triggered abilities that say "Whenever this creature deals damage to an opponent, draw a card". Both triggers will trigger when the creature deals damage to an opponent. You dealt damage with two Lookouts, and each Lookout will trigger two times, so you'll draw a total of four cards.

Q: I have a Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx on the battlefield, and some of the cards from Oath of the Gatewatch with the new in their mana cost. Can I name "colorless" with Nykthos and generate a bunch of colorless mana?

A: Nope. "Colorless" is still not a color, and still cannot be named if you're asked to choose a color. "Devotion to colorless" doesn't even work in the current rules, since the generic mana symbol that's in many card's costs is also technically colorless.

How I used to search for card text before Gatherer

Q: I have a Phytohydra with a Druid's Call attached to it. If my Phytohydra is dealt damage, does I get tokens and does my Phytohydra get counters?

A: Your Phyrohydra gets counters, but you won't get any tokens. Phytohydra has a replacement effect: instead of being dealt damage, Phytohydra gets that many +1/+1 counters instead. It won't be dealt any damage, so the Call will not trigger and you won't get any Squirrel tokens.

Q: My opponent has a Blight Mamba with a Blazing Torch attached to it. If they activate the ability targeting me and sacrifice the Torch, do I take two normal damage or two infect damage?

A: Just two points of normal damage. While the creature is the one activating the ability and sacrificing the Torch, the source of the damage is the Torch itself. Since the Torch doesn't have infect, you'll just take two points of normal damage, not two points of damage from a source with infect.

Q: I have a Grave Bramble that I've had in play for a few turns, and my opponent cast Siren's Call. My Bramble has defender, and couldn't attack, so it won't be destroyed, right?

A: Wrong. Siren's Call only cares about creatures with the type "Wall" that didn't attack. The Wall creature type still exists, it just has no rules baggage anymore. Grave Bramble may have defender, but it's not a Wall. Since you didn't attack with Grave Bramble, Grave Bramble will be destroyed at the end of the turn.

Q: My opponent just attacked me with a bunch of creatures. Can I use my Ramosian Captain to search for a Reveille Squad and untap all of my creatures so I can block?

A: Negative. Reveille Squad's ability will only trigger if the Squad is on the battlefield when attackers are declared. You're free to search for the Squad with the Captain's ability, but we've passed the point when the Squad's ability would have trigger and it won't untap your creatures.

Q: My opponent has an City of Brass on the battlefield, along with a Sigarda, Host of Herons. I play City in a Bottle. What happens to the City of Brass?

A: City in a Bottle sees a card that was originally printed in Arabian Nights other than itself (City of Brass) on the battlefield, and its ability triggers. When the trigger resolves, your opponent can't sacrifice it, due to Sigarda, so they won't sacrifice it. Then City in a Bottle sees a card that was originally printed in Arabian Nights other than itself (City of Brass) is still on the battlefield, and its ability triggers again... I feel like we're caught in a loop here.

Unless someone can remove City of Brass, City in a Bottle, or Sigarda, the game won't be able to advance (since City in a Bottle will keep triggering and the opponent will keep being unable to sacrifice City of Brass) and the game will be a draw.

Q: Is there an age limit to becoming a judge?

A: Not really anymore. It used to be that you had to be at least 13 to become a judge, but that hasn't been true in a few years. Now, all it takes is convincing the judge who's testing you that you're knowledgeable enough and mature enough to handle being a judge. So if you think you have what it takes to become a judge, go for it!

That's all the answering we have for this week. We'll see you all next week!

About that City in a Bottle. Will it trigger on a City of Brass from another edition?
#1 • Date: 2016-03-07 • Time: 07:59:27 •
Quote (Seawee):
About that City in a Bottle. Will it trigger on a City of Brass from another edition?

Yes it will. We don't care about the expansion symbol on the card, which is why City in a Bottle now says "originally printed in the Arabian Nights expansion". The first set City of Brass was printed in was Arabian Nights, so City in a Bottle will destroy any version of City of Brass (and why it won't destroy an Arabian Nights Mountain).
#2 • Date: 2016-03-07 • Time: 12:14:19 •

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