Containment Priest vs. Show and Tell

Hello readers, and welcome to Containment Priest Week! This week we’ll be taking a look at a number of interactions with this little gem from Commander 2014. While not legal in Standard and Modern, it still has applications for those of you interested in older formats. So let’s get the ball rolling with one of the strongest combo decks in the recent Legacy metagame: Show and Tell!

Containment Priest is what is commonly referred to as a “hoser” card — something that has a particularly powerful effect against a few strategies, but isn’t effective against many others. In the case of Show and Tell, Containment Priest hoses it majorly. Because it has flash, you can cast it in response to Show and Tell. Rather than cast cards for free (like Omniscience), Show and Tell puts cards directly onto the battlefield from your hand, which will cause Containment Priest’s replacement effect to exile them instead. They don’t even get to hit the battlefield — so your opponent can’t draw cards with Griselbrand “in response!”

Be aware that the Priest’s effect applies to your cards, too, so given the option, it’s best for you to choose a permanent that’s not a creature. If you can’t, remember you can choose nothing.

One last thing: don’t think you can cheat the Priest’s mana cost! Putting Containment Priest onto the battlefield during the resolution of Show and Tell will result in you having a Priest… and your opponent having a big scary thing. Containment Priest’s ability only applies once it’s already on the battlefield, so it won’t affect itself or other permanents entering the battlefield at the same time.

Today’s Rules Tip written by Jen Wong

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Comeuppance + Comeuppance = a drawn game.

Deflecting Palm has seen some play in Standard, managing to deflect a blow that would hit you back to its controller. And Commander 2014 gives us a mega version of the Palm with Comeuppance. Not only does it deflect damage that would be dealt to you, but it also deflects damage that would be dealt to your planeswalkers.

What if I cast a Lightning Bolt targeting you, you respond with Comeuppance, but then I also cast my own Comeuppance? Well, the game is actually going to be a draw. When my Bolt resolves, your Comeuppance prevents the three damage and tries to deal three damage to me. My Comeuppance prevents that damage and tries to deal three damage to you. This is considered a different source of damage, so your Comeuppance applies again and tries to deal three damage to me. My Comeuppance applies again and tries to deal three damage to you. The game can’t progress any further, since each Comeuppance keeps preventing the damage and tries to deal damage to the other player, and the game ends up in a draw. So be careful if you have a Comeuppance and you think your opponent may have a Comeuppance as well.

Well, that’s all we have for this week. We’ll see you all next week!

Today’s Rules Tip written by Nathan Long

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Assault Suit – What “can’t be sacrificed” means.

Hiya everyone again, and welcome back. Everyone loves equipment, and Commander 2014 has brought us a new piece of equipment, Assault Suit. The Suit has an ability that we’ve never seen before, “can’t be sacrificed”. So what exactly does “can’t be sacrificed” mean?

Well, it kind of does what it sounds like. It prevents the creature’s controller from sacrificing it, whether that’s due to a resolving spell or ability or as part of a cost of playing the ability. For instance, if I have a random blue creature with the Suit equipped and my opponent casts All is Dust, I’ll sacrifice all of my other colored permanents, but my creature will remain on the battlefield. The Suit says I can’t sacrifice the equipped creature, so it remains on the battlefield, despite every other colored permanent being sacrificed.

Let’s look at another example. Let’s say I have three creatures: two random 3/3s and a 1/1 equipped with the Suit. My opponent casts Barter in Blood. So what happens when the Barter resolves? Can I choose the creature equipped with the Suit? The answer is no. You can’t make an impossible choice, so you can’t choose to sacrifice something that can’t be sacrificed. My only option is to sacrifice the other two 3/3s and leave the Suited creature as my remaining creature.

Alright, let’s look at one final example. Let’s say I control one creature, and the Suit is attached to it. I really want to cast Fling and sacrifice the Suited creature? Can I? Nope. The Suited creature can’t be sacrificed, so that means I can’t sacrifice it to cast Fling. And since I don’t control any other creatures, I won’t be able to cast Fling since I can’t pay the costs.

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about this unique equipment. We’ll see you again tomorrow!

Today’s Rules Tip written by Nathan Long

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How Arcane Lighthouse works.

Hi everyone, and welcome back. Commander has a history of having some pretty nifty lands that can appeal to all commander players. Cards like Homeward Path and Opal Palace (along with the format-staple Command Tower). And with the release of the new set, we have a new nifty land: Arcane Lighthouse.

Those of you who are familiar with the Archetype cycle from Born of the Gods will quickly catch on to how the Lighthouse work. When the activated ability resolves, it removes hexproof and shroud from your opponent’s creatures and it prevents your opponent’s creatures from gaining hexproof or shroud for the rest of the turn. Even if they try to give their creature hexproof or shroud after the ability resolves, the effect of the Lighthouse will prevent the creature from gaining the ability. No longer shall your opponent’s commander be protected by their Lightning Greaves or Swiftfoot Boots! Watch as Uril, the Miststalker cowers in fear once you drop your Arcane Lighthouse and knows that it’s vulnerable to your removal!

That’s all for today! Join us again tomorrow!

Today’s Rules Tip written by Nathan Long

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The “lieutenant” abilities know about commanders that are face-down or copying something.

Welcome back, and today, we’re going to talk about the new ability word – Lieutenant.

Lieutenant is an ability word, which means that it doesn’t do anything. It’s just there to tie together a theme among cards. In fact, you can just cover up the word “Lieutenant” on the card and just read the ability like normal, and it works the same way. The theme among the card is that the creature gets some bonus if you control your commander. So what counts as controlling your commander?

With Lieutenant, you have to have your commander on the battlefield and under your control to get the bonus. It doesn’t count if your commander is on the stack, and does not count if you control someone else’s commander. And “commanderness” is tied to the physical card: no matter what happens to that card, it’s still your commander. That means if your commander is turned face down by something like Ixidron, it still counts as your commander (so your face up Tyrant’s Familiar is still going to get its lieutenant bonus, since you still control your commander).

It becomes more fun if you manage to Mirrorweave everything into your lieutenant: even though your commander looks like your lieutenant, it’s still your commander, so it will even pump itself!

Keep that in mind: all you need to do is control your commander to get the bonus. Even if your commander looks a little funny, he’s still your commander and you’ll still get the bonus.

Today’s Rules Tip written by Nathan Long

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You can’t cast Aether Gale without choosing 6 nonland permanents.

Welcome back to the Rules Tips Blog! The recent Commander 2014 set has brought us a bunch of new cards, and like any release of new cards, it brings us a load of questions. We’re going to spend a few weeks here going over some of the interactions with these new cards, and today, I’m going to start with Aether Gale.

Let’s say that last turn, you Oblivion Stoned the board, getting rid of all of those pesky nonland cards that are always a bother in Magic. Your five opponents, not very happy about this turn of events, decide they all just want to cast their commander and pass the turn. You have an Aether Gale in your hand, and your plan is to bounce all five of your opponent’s commanders to buy yourself a turn. But can you do that?

The answer is no. Similar to an old card called Hex, Aether Gale requires exactly six nonland targets. You can’t cast a spell if you can’t choose all of the targets, so if there’s only five nonland permanents on the battlefield, you can’t cast it. Hex is similar, since it requires six target creatures, and if there’s five or fewer creatures on the battlefield, you can’t cast Hex. Note that if you really want to cast it, you can target your own nonland permanents (which may actually be a better idea, depending on what you’re bouncing).

So keep that in mind with Aether Gale: If you want to bounce things, make sure there’s six things that you want to bounce.

Today’s Rules Tip written by Nathan Long

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Casting a god doesn’t trigger prowess (but a bestowed card will).

By now, all you hardcore Magic players are familiar with how the Theros block Gods work. Now that we have prowess, however, it’s important to remember how these cards interact. On an empty board, your gods are cast, and upon resolution we determine if the god is a creature or an enchantment. Since gods are creature cards in all zones except the battlefield without devotion, it is a creature spell when it is cast. This means you will NOT get a prowess trigger from your Gods getting cast, no matter how little devotion you have.

Opposite to this are bestow creatures. Since bestow creatures ARE Auras when they are cast using their bestow cost, they will trigger prowess. This happens even if the target creature is removed from the battlefield and the Aura spell resolves as a creature. Remember this is ONLY when the bestow creature is cast as an Aura – If it is cast as a creature, it will not trigger prowess.

Today’s Rules Tip written by Daniel Clarke

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Clan combos – Jeskai and Temur: You can use Prowess to “turn on” a spell’s Ferocious effect.

Some of you have found yourself in the situation where you have an instant with ferocious and a 3-power prowess creature. If you cast Force Away, will you be given the ferocious bonus? This is certainly game-changing information – lucky you came to the Rules Tips page today!

The short answer is YES! When you cast your non-creature spell, prowess triggers and resolves before the spell resolves. When Force Away resolves, you will have a 4-power creature and you will be looting a card! This also comes in handy when casting Savage Punch. Your 3-power creature will get +1/+1 for prowess in time to also get +2/+2 from Savage Punch just before it fights. Try it out sometime!

Today’s Rules Tip written by Daniel Clarke

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All about fetchlands

New players are experiencing a phenomenon for the first time in the planes of Magic. What is this amazing tech? Fetching for lands! Cards like Evolving Wilds, Terramorphic Expanse (both that search for basic lands only), and a complete cycle of “fetch lands” that allow you to grab one of two land types and put it into play. In Modern and Eternal formats, exploiting fetch lands to find “dual lands” (e.g., Tundra) or “shock lands” (e.g., Sacred Foundry) is incredibly useful for getting the color of mana you need.

For example, Windswepth Heath will be able to grab you any card with the subtype Forest OR Plains. This means you have up to twenty-two cards to choose from (assuming they are in your library) and put into play.

Tundra, Bayou, Savannah, Plateau, Scrubland, Taiga, Tropical Island, Godless Shrine, Stomping Grounds, Sacred Foundry, Hallowed Fountain, Temple Garden, Breeding Pool, Overgrown Tomb, Sapseed Forest, Murmuring Bosk, Dryad Arbor, Mistveil Plains, Snow-Covered Forest, Snow-Covered Plains, Forest and Plains.

Twenty-two choices with just one fetch land. As long as the card has the land type that the fetch land says, it is a legal object for the ability to put into play. The ability is not ‘playing’ the second land, but putting it directly onto the battlefield. This does trigger landfall or any other abilities that trigger when a land enters the battlefield (Courser of Kruphix will gain you a life for the fetch land entering the battlefield and for the land it puts on to the battlefield). The land that you grab still follows its rules text.

  • Here are some helpful hints:
  • Shock lands still give you the option to put them out untapped by paying 2 life after being fetched
  • In response to Blood Moon being cast, you can crack a fetch and go get the basic you need before the Blood Moon resolves (you won’t be able to search once the Blood Moon resolves as your fetch land is now a Mountain – though it can tap for R)
  • You can tap a fetch land for B if there is a Urborg, Tomb of Yagmoth on the field
  • Grabbing an Arbor Dryad will get you a land that taps for G but it will have summoning sickness
  • Crucible of Worlds and any fetch land = a lot of value
  • You can crack a fetch on your turn or your opponent’s turn
  • The land you fetch for does not count as your land for the turn
  • Cracking a fetch land is not a mana ability so don’t try to crack it mid-casting a spell. Technically its Out-of-Order Sequencing or a shortcut but best be on the safe side and get the land you need first
  • Sacrificing the fetch land is part of the cost of the ability so any attempt to destroy the fetch land before you can put the ability on the stack will be a wasted effort
  • With control of Ob Nixilis, The Fallen, playing and cracking a fetch gains you six +1/+1 counters and your opponent losing 6 life

Unfortunately, in the current Standard format, you will only be able to search for basic lands, and only one of the types mentioned specifically on the land you sacrificed. For example, if I were to activate Bloodstained Mire‘s ability, I would only be able to search my library for a Mountain or Swamp card. Not a Forest, a Plains, or an Island.

Fun Facts:

  • They’re called “Shock lands” because the card Shock deals 2 damage much like the lands do in order to put them in play untapped.
  • “Fetch” because they fetch you the land you want.

Hope you learned something new today! Gotta fetch em’ all!

Today’s Rules Tip written by Daniel Clarke

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Deflecting Palm + Dictate of the Twin Gods

Deflecting Palm: the proverbial palm-to-the-face, a card that has already been mentioned in its own Rules Tips section but continues to be a “rules monster.” This time we’ll be discovering what happens if a source would double damage that is being dealt before it’s prevented by Deflecting Palm. For example’s sake, we’ll use Dictate of The Twin Gods, which doubles damage each time a source would deal damage. Here we go:

Ashley has a 5/5 creature attacking Nathan. There is a Dictate of The Twin Gods on the board, and Nathan is packing heat with a Deflecting Palm just waiting for the right moment. In the declare blockers step, Nathan casts his Deflecting Palm, choosing Ashley’s 5/5 as it resolves. As we enter the combat damage step, what happens? When is the damage doubled and how many times? How much damage will Ashley take, and what is the source of the damage?

Great questions, and some I am sure many of you will have. When Deflecting Palm resolves, it creates an effect that prevents damage the next time the chosen source would deal damage. This means that there are now two effects affecting the 5/5’s damage: a prevention effect and a doubling effect. Since Nathan is the receiver of the damage, he determines the order that the effects apply. If he chooses the order where the prevention applies first, only 5 damage is prevented by the Deflecting Palm. If he chooses to have the doubling effect apply first, and the prevention effect apply afterwards, 10 damage will be prevented. In summary, Nathan can have the damage prevented or doubled then prevented.

Next, the Palm’s damage-dealing effect occurs. Depending on the order that Nathan chose, Palm is now dealing either 5 or 10 damage, which is again doubled by the Dictate. Realistically, Nathan will surely default to dealing more damage, but it’s possible to deal 10 instead of 20.

I hope this cleared up this process for you. Keep on palming your opponents for the win!

Today’s Rules Tip written by Daniel Clarke

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