Aether Revolt New Set Digest

With every new set, there are new cards, new rules, updates to policy documents, and the B/R list. It can get a little overwhelming trying to keep everything straight. In the New Set Digest series, you can find everything you need, all in one place.

Q: Can I tap artifact creatures for improvise the turn they came into play?

A: Yes. The CR entry for improvise spells the word “tap” out each time rather than using the tap symbol [CR 702.125a]. As a consequence of this, artifact creatures can be tapped even if they don’t have haste.

Q: How does improvise work with cost changing effects?

A: For these purposes, exactly like convoke or delve. In fact, the only difference between convoke and improvise is the type of card they let you tap to pay for the mana. The spell’s cost is determined by starting with the mana or alternative cost, then applying all those types of effects [CR 601.2f]. The resultant total cost is the cost you pay. For each generic mana in that cost, you can tap an artifact rather than paying that mana.

Q: Can I tap Inspiring Statuary for the improvise while casting Incendiary Sabotage and then sacrifice it for the “sacrifice an artifact” part of the cost?

A: Yes. After the final cost to cast the spell is determined, the next step is for that cost to be paid. If there are multiple parts of the cost (such as sacrificing an artifact and paying mana), these can be paid in any order [CR 601.2h]. Since improvise works by giving the player another way to cover generic mana in a cost, you can choose to pay the mana first, tapping Inspiring Statuary, then the “sacrifice an artifact” part later to sacrifice it.

Q: Can I tap an artifact to improvise a spell and then sacrifice that artifact to Krark-Clan Ironworks to get 2 more mana out of it?

A: No, that doesn’t work. It’s true that costs can be paid in any order, and that improvise works by letting you tap your artifacts to pay the generic mana portion of the spell’s cost [CR 702.125a, 601.2f]. The problem is that you have to activate mana abilities, such as Krark-Clan Ironworks’ ability, before you start paying costs [CR 601.2g]. That means that if you sacrifice the artifact to make 2 mana, it won’t be in play for you to tap it for improvise. Conversely, if you tap it to improvise, that takes place after the last opportunity you would have to sacrifice it with Krark-Clan Ironworks.

Q: Amy controls Inspiring Statuary and Ornithopter and wants to cast Abundant Maw for its emerge cost. Can she tap artifacts she controls to help pay this cost?

A: Yes. Improvise allows you to tap artifacts rather than pay mana while you’re paying the total cost of the spell [CR 702.125a]. The total cost is defined as the mana cost or alternative cost, as modified by any applicable effects [CR 601.2f]. So it is possible to make this play.

Note: Improvise isn’t an alternative cost. Rather, it represents an alternative means to pay for an established cost. That’s why you can use it even when you’re casting a spell for an alternative cost.

Note: Sacrificing Ornithopter is part of the cost of playing the spell with the emerge mechanic [CR 702.118a]. Accordingly, as discussed above, it’s possible to tap Ornithopter to help pay for Abundant Maw with improvise.

Note: Abundant Maw is indeed a nonartifact spell, even though it has no colored mana in its mana cost, because it doesn’t have the artifact type listed on its typeline [CR 301.4].

Q: Amy controls a Swamp and a Trinisphere and wants to cast Battle at the Bridge for X=1. Can she do it?

A: No. Improvise does let Amy pay for part of the cost of Battle at the Bridge’s cost by tapping Trinisphere [CR 702.125a]. Unfortunately, that’s too late, since paying the cost doesn’t happen until after the cost is determined, which is the part where Trinisphere’s effect applies [CR 601.2f]. Even though Trinisphere later becomes tapped, which would change the cost to cast Battle at the Bridge, by this time, the cost is locked in and won’t change to reflect the new game state [CR 601.2f].

Q: Do tokens leaving the battlefield turn on revolt?

A: Yes. The text on Deadeye Harpooner (and every other revolt card) looks for a “permanent” you controlled leaving the battlefield. Tokens are permanents, so this will count [CR 110.1].

Q: Amy realizes that she hasn’t had any permanents leave the battlefield this turn in the middle of casting Fatal Push on Nicole’s Hill Giant. Can she hold priority and crack an Evolving Wilds in response to kill the larger creature?

A: Yes. The revolt spells check whether you have revolt when they resolve [CR 608.2g]. Since by this time Amy has fulfilled the conditions of revolt, Hill Giant will be destroyed.

Note: Due to the somewhat unusual templating of Fatal Push, it’s legal to target any creature with it, even one with converted mana cost 5 or more. Reference Smother for a case where you can only target creatures with the appropriate CMC.

Q: Amy hasn’t had any permanents leave the battlefield this turn. Can she cast Deadeye Harpooner, put its ability on the stack, then sacrifice it to kill a creature?

A: No. Unlike the previous question, Deadeye Harpooner (and all the other revolt cards that aren’t instants or sorceries) has a triggered ability that’s templated with an intervening if clause [CR 603.4]. This triggered ability will not go on the stack at all unless a permanent Amy controls has left the battlefield beforehand.

Note: If Amy responds to the Deadeye Harpooner spell on the stack by cracking Evolving Wilds, this will work, since the permanent will have left the battlefield before the time Deadeye Harpooner enters.

Q: Can I blink a token with Felidar Guardian? What happens?

A: Yes, Felidir Guardian targets a permanent you control. It doesn’t say “nontoken” like some other similar effects, so it’s legal to target a token. You may not like the result, though. Even though state-based actions aren’t performed until after the ability has finished resolving, there’s a special rule that says once a token has left the battlefield, it can’t come back [CR 110.5f]. Whatever token you target will then cease to exist the next time state-based actions are performed [CR 704.5d].

Q: Amy plays Lifecraft Awakening targeting her Cultist’s Staff for X=3. She then activates the staff’s equip ability targeting itself. How big is Cultist’s Staff now?

A: It’s 3/3. There’s a rule for cases like this that says equipment that’s a creature can’t equip a creature [CR 301.5c]. Nothing will happen when the Cultist’s Staff’s equip ability resolves because that action is illegal to perform [CR 301.5b]. If Cultist’s Staff was equipped to a creature when Amy played Lifecraft Awakening, Cultist’s Staff falls off the next time state-based actions are performed after Lifecraft Awakening resolves [CR 704.5q].

Q: Amy plays a Myr Battlesphere and then enchants it with a Mechanized Production. What happens in the next upkeep?

A: Mechanized Production will trigger and create another Myr Battlesphere. The token’s enters the battlefield ability will trigger, but it won’t be put on the stack until after Mechanized Production has finished resolving. Therefore, Amy won’t win the game yet. If none of the Myr tokens die, Amy will win the game during the upkeep step after that since she will have 8 artifacts that all share the name “Myr” [CR 110.5c].

Advanced Note: Astute readers familiar with the operations of intervening if clauses may wonder how Mechanized Production could function. After all, it seems to fit the standard template of “trigger condition…if…effect,” which implies that Mechanized Production would not make a token at all unless you already had 8 of them. Although its template is superficially similar in form to a true intervening if clause, the ability of Mechanized Production is not covered by this rule because the “if” does not immediately follow the trigger condition [CR 603.4]. This being the case, the word has its normal English meaning and no other special rules significance.

Q: Amy has a Renegade Map enchanted with Mechanized Production. In response to the upkeep trigger of Mechanized Production, Nicole Decommissions the Mechanized Production. Does Amy still get a token?

A: Yes. Once Mechanized Production’s ability triggers, it exists on the stack independent of its source and will resolve even if its source is no longer in play when this happens [CR 112.7a]. All of the ability’s effects will happen, which means that Amy will even win the game if she has the eight matching artifacts.

Q: Amy has a Renegade Map enchanted with Mechanized Production. In response to the upkeep trigger of Mechanized Production, Nicole plays a Fracturing Gust, destroying both permanents. Does Amy still get a token?

A: Yes. As before, the triggered ability exists and will resolve independent of its source, so the destruction of Mechanized Production is no problem. Although Renegade Map is no longer on the battlefield to copy, the game can use the last known information of the permanent that was enchanted to determine what characteristics the token that’s produced will have [CR 608.2g]. Again, all the effects of Mechanized Production’s ability happen, so Amy will win the game if she has 8 artifacts that share a name.

Note: As this answer suggests, the characteristics of the token aren’t locked in until the token is actually created. This means that you could, for example, Aura Finesse the Mechanized Production onto a different artifact in response to the trigger and get a token copy of the new artifact rather than a map.

Q: Amy has a Renegade Map enchanted with Mechanized Production. In response to the upkeep trigger of Mechanized Production, Nicole Decommissions the Renegade Map. Does Amy still get a token?

A: No. After Decommission resolves, Mechanized Production will be put into Amy’s graveyard as a state-based action. As before, this is no impediment to the resolution of its ability, but unlike the previous two scenarios, Mechanized Production wasn’t attached to anything when it was last on the battlefield. Therefore, there is no information to use to set the token’s characteristics, so one won’t be created [CR 608.2g].

Note: The ability won’t be countered, so its other effects will still happen. Notably, Amy will win the game if she controls eight or more artifacts with the same name.

Q: Can I name Vehicle for Metallic Mimic?

A: No. Vehicle is an artifact type, not a creature type. For the same reason, you can’t name things like Equipment or Aura [CR 205.3g, 205.3m].

Q: Amy plays Metallic Mimic and names “Human.” Then she plays another Metallic Mimic, also naming Human. Does the first mimic give the second a +1/+1 counter? What if she had named Shapeshifter with the first mimic?

A: As the second Metallic Mimic enters the battlefield, its replacement effect wants to apply to have Amy choose a creature type. After she chooses, the game will look again to see if there are any replacement effects to apply [CR 616.1e]. With the second Mimic now a Human, the first mimic’s “enters the battlefield with an additional counter” effect applies to this event and gives the second mimic a counter.

If the named type for the first mimic was not Human but Shapeshifter, the situation changes slightly, but the result is the same. Now there are two replacement effects that want to apply to the second mimic entering the battlefield, its own effect to have Amy choose a creature type and the one from the first mimic to give it a +1/+1 counter. Because the mimic’s ability says it’s the chosen creature type “in addition to its other types,” Metallic Mimic will still be a Shapeshifter even if Amy applies the “choose a creature type” effect to apply first [CR 205.1b]. Of course, if she applies the replacement effects in the other order, she will get the +1/+1 counter in this case too.

Q: Amy controls a Metallic Mimic for which the named type is Zombie. She uses a Rise from the Grave to resurrect a Grizzly Bears. Does Grizzly Bears get an additional +1/+1 counter?

A: Oddly, no. The reason for this is an interesting quirk in how the rules handle replacement effects when a permanent is entering the battlefield. “To determine which replacement effects apply and how they apply, check the characteristics of the permanent as it would exist on the battlefield, taking into account replacement effects that have already modified how it enters the battlefield (see rule 616.1), continuous effects generated by the resolution of spells or abilities that changed the permanent’s characteristics on the stack (see rule 400.7a), and continuous effects from the permanent’s own static abilities, but ignoring continuous effects from any other source that would affect it” [CR 614.12]. Since we ignore continuous effects from any other source that would affect it, in this case the Rise from the Grave making Grizzly Bears a Zombie, Metallic Mimic’s replacement effect does not apply.

Note: Continuous effects that come from permanent’s own abilities have a special exemption that allows them to be taken into account when determining what that permanent will look like. That’s why in the previous question, the Metallic Mimic’s ability that made it a Human counted when seeing if the other mimic would give it a +1/+1 counter. For more examples (and counterexamples) of how this rule and its special exemptions apply, check out the dedicated article here.

Advanced Note: You may be wondering why this case doesn’t fit another one of the special exemptions mentioned, namely, that “continuous effects generated by the resolution of spells or abilities that changed the permanent’s characteristics on the stack (see rule 400.7a)” are taken into account. After all, Grizzly Bears is a Zombie because the resolution of Rise from the Grave (a spell) made it one while Rise from the Grave was on the stack. The parenthetical reference to CR 400.7a though, indicates that this is not the intended reading of this line. CR 400.7a is the rule that allows spells to change the characteristics of a permanent spell on the stack and have those changes persist when the permanent enters the battlefield. For example, if Artificial Evolution made Grizzly Bears a Zombie, this exemption would apply to that. Since Grizzly Bears didn’t have its characteristics changed while it was a spell on the stack, the exemption does not apply, and Rise from the Grave’s Zombie-making is not taken into account.

Q: Can I use Monstrous Onslaught to deal 0 damage to all my heroic creatures just to get the bonus?

A: No. While you’re dividing damage among targets as part of casting a spell, each target must get at least 1 damage [CR 601.2d]. It’s legal to target your own creatures, of course, but it’s a “no pain, no gain” type of scenerio.

Note: Dividing damage among targets happens as you’re casting the spell. That’s why Monstrous Onslaught evaluates the power of your creatures as you cast the spell rather than on resolution like most other similar spells.

Q: Amy plays Perilous Predicament and Nicole sacrifices Filigree Crawler and Dutiful Attendant. Which one(s) trigger? Can Nicole return Filigree Crawler with Dutiful Attendant’s ability?

A: Perilous Predicament uses the word “sacrifice” once, which indicates that both creatures are sacrificed at the same time rather than as discrete events (reference Smallpox for a card where the sacrifices happen sequentially) [CR 608.2e]. After this happens, the game will check to see if any triggered abilities have triggered that need to go on the stack [CR 116.2a]. Since Filigree Crawler and Dutiful Attendant have leaves-the-battlefield triggers, the game can “look back in time” to see that they have triggered, even though they are not on the battlefield at this point [CR 603.10a]. Since both creatures are in the graveyard by the time Dutiful Attendant’s triggered ability is put onto the stack, which is when targets are chosen, Nicole can indeed target Filigree Crawler with it [CR 603.3d].

Q: Amy’s artifact dies while Amy controls Pia’s Revolution. Nicole responds to the trigger by activating Consulate Surveillance to prevent the damage from Pia’s Revolution, then says she will take the damage to keep the artifact in Amy’s graveyard. Does this work?

A: Yes. Pia’s Revolution gives the opponent a choice: Do you want to take 3? and specifies stuff that will happen if the answer is no [CR 117.12a]. The opponent’s choice is what it looks at, not the actual results of the choice [CR 117.12]. So even if the damage is prevented, the artifact won’t be returned.

Q: Nicole uses Quicksmith Spy to give her artifact the card drawing ability. Later, Amy Threatens Quicksmith Spy. Can Nicole draw cards with her artifact after she gets Quicksmith Spy back?

A: No. Quicksmith Spy’s ability sets up a continuous effect that gives Nicole’s artifact an ability for a specified duration: as long as Nicole controls Quicksmith Spy [CR 611.2a]. Once that condition is met, the continuous effect granting the card drawing ability will end, and there is no provision for it to restart afterwards.

Q: Nicole blocks Amy’s Grizzly Bears with Irontread Crusher that’s enchanted by Siege Modification. In the declare blockers step, Amy sacrifices a Felidar Cub to destroy Siege Modification. What happens?

A: Now that the continuous effect from Siege Modification is no longer applicable, there is nothing making Irontread Crusher a creature. Since only creatures can attack and block, it will be removed from combat [CR 506.3, 506.4]. This isn’t a state-based action; there’s no fancy rulesy-sounding name for why this happens. It’s just something written into the rules of the combat phase.

Note: Nicole can crew Irontread Crusher in response to create a new continuous effect that makes it a creature. She can even tap Irontread Crusher to have it crew itself. If she does this, there will be no time when Irontread Crusher isn’t a creature, so it will remain blocking.

Q: Amy has a 2/2 Walking Ballista that has 1 damage on it. Can she remove both counters to deal 2 damage to Nicole?

A: No. In order to activate Walking Ballista’s ability, Amy needs to have priority. But before every time that she would get priority, the game checks for state-based actions [CR 704.3]. After she removes the first counter, there will be an applicable state-based action: putting the now lethally-damaged Walking Ballista into her graveyard [CR 704.5g]. So Amy never has an opportunity to activate the ability the second time.

Note: For the same reason, -X/-X effects will also keep you from getting full value if you want to cash out a Walking Ballista.

Q: Amy casts Lifecrafter’s Gift on her Winding Constrictor. How many counters does Winding Constrictor get in total?

A: Lifecrafter’s Gift puts counters on your creatures two different times, as evidenced by its templating which uses two verbs in two separate clauses [CR 608.2e]. Winding Constrictor’s replacement effect applies to each instance of counters being put on a permanent you control, so it will add an additional one each time. Winding Constrictor will get 4 counters in total.

Q: Amy controls a Winding Constrictor and a Metallic Mimic for which the named type is Bear. Does her Grizzly Bear get an extra counter?

A: As Grizzly Bear resolves, the game checks to see if there are replacement effects that apply to the event of it entering the battlefield and sees Metallic Mimic. After that effect applies, the game checks again to see if there are any more, including any that have become applicable, even if they weren’t previously [CR 616.1e]. Winding Constrictor’s effect now applies to this event, so the bear will get a second counter.

Q: Amy casts Makeshift Mannequin on a Bloodied Ghost while she controls Winding Constrictor. What happens?

A: As Makeshift Mannequin resolves, the game checks to see if there are any replacement effects that apply to the event of Bloodied Ghost entering the battlefield with a mannequin counter on it and sees two: one from Bloodied Ghost that wants to give it a -1/-1 counter and one from Winding Constrictor that wants to give it an extra counter. Amy chooses what order these apply since she controls Bloodied Ghost [CR 616.1]. Suppose Amy applies Bloodied Ghost first. In that case, the game will see Bloodied Ghost entering the battlefield with a -1/-1 counter and a mannequin counter on it and check to see if any more replacement effects apply [CR 616.1e]. Winding Constrictor’s still does, so it give Bloodied Ghost an extra counter of each type.

Now let’s see what happens if Amy chooses the other order. First, Winding Constrictor will give Bloodied Ghost an extra mannequin counter, then the game will see that Bloodied Ghost’s ability still is applicable, so it gets a -1/-1 counter. After that, the game will check to see if any more replacement effects can apply to this event. Winding Constrictor would like to kick in again to give Bloodied Ghost an additional -1/-1 counter, but replacement effects can only modify an event once, so it can’t apply a second time.

Q: Can I cast Kari Zev’s Expertise to steal my opponent’s creature, then cast Altar’s Reap as my free spell to sacrifice the creature I just took?

A: Yes, this works. During the resolution of Kari Zev’s Expertise, its instructions are performed in order [CR 608.2c]. First, you steal the creature, then you can cast a spell from your hand. The continuous effect that gives you control of the creature starts acting as soon as it applies, even if that means the middle of a spell resolving. When you’re casting Altar’s Reap, Kari Zev’s Expertise covers the mana cost, but you’re still on the hook for any additional costs, in this case sacrificing a creature [CR 117.9]. Since you now control the creature you just stole, that’s a legitimate pick [CR 701.15].

Q: If I play Grizzly Bears with Yahenni’s Expertise, will it die?

A: No. The instructions of Yahenni’s Expertise are followed in order, which means that all creatures will get -3/-3, and then you will cast Grizzly Bears. Grizzly Bears won’t yet be on the stack, let alone in play until after all creatures have been shrunk.

Note: Because Grizzly Bears has to go on the stack and resolve like a normal spell, it will never be on the battlefield at the same time as the cards that die from getting -3/-3, so if any of those creatures have abilities that would trigger on Grizzly Bears entering the battlefield (like Sanctifier of Souls), they won’t trigger. On the other hand, getting -3/-3 doesn’t cause those creatures to die right away, that doesn’t happen until state-based actions are performed after [CR 704.5f]. Accordingly, any creatures with abilities that trigger when you cast Grizzly Bears (like Bygone Bishop) will still be around to see that happen, so you will get those triggers.

Q: Amy casts Necromancy with Yahenni’s Expertise. Does she have to sacrifice Necromancy in her cleanup step?

A: No. Necromancy’s ability instructing you to sacrifice it “if you played it any time a sorcery couldn’t have been cast” is part of Necromancy’s own ability that lets you cast it as though it had flash [CR 112.2c]. Therefore, it only applies if you cast it using that ability, and doesn’t apply if you cast it some other way.

Note: You may be wondering why the “any time a sorcery couldn’t have been cast” text on Necromancy would matter at all. After all, it would have been legal to cast a sorcery with Yahenni’s Expertise, so why should the game consider this a time when a sorcery couldn’t have been cast? The answer is that “any time you could cast a sorcery” has a specific meaning defined by the CR; it refers to any time you have priority during your main phase and the stack is empty [CR 307.5a]. Since Yahenni’s Expertise is on the stack, the situation described above was not a “time a sorcery could have been cast” regardless of whether or not Amy in fact could have cast a sorcery then.

Q: Amy casts Remand as her free spell with Yahenni’s Expertise. Can she target Yahenni’s Expertise with Remand to get it back? What happens?

A: During the resolution of Yahenni’s Expertise, its instructions are performed in order [CR 608.2c]. First, all creatures get -3/-3, then Amy can cast a spell from her hand. Since Yahenni’s Expertise is still on the stack at this time, she can target Yahenni’s Expertise with Remand. The next thing that happens is that Yahenni’s Expertise is put into Amy’s graveyard since it’s done resolving [CR 608.2k]. When it’s time for Remand to resolve, its target is illegal since it’s no longer in the zone it was in when it was targeted [CR 608.2b]. Remand will then be countered by the game rules [CR 608.2b].

Q: Amy plays a Baral’s Expertise on Nicole’s creature, but Nicole sacrifices her creature in response. Can Amy still play a free spell?

A: No. Like Remand in the previous example, Baral’s Expertise will have no legal targets when it tries to resolve, since the target is no longer in the zone it was in when it was targeted [CR 608.2b]. That being the case, Baral’s Expertise will be countered by the game rules. None of its effects will happen, including the one that allows you to cast a free spell.

Note: In contrast to the other targeted expertise spell, Kari Zev’s Expertise, Baral’s Expertise uses the phrase “up to.” This means it’s legal to cast Baral’s Expertise with zero targets just so you can cast a free spell without needing to worry about this sort of stuff happening. Of course, you could just pay the mana for the spell in that case, so the Consulate has no idea why a player would want to do that.

Q: Wait, why did you link Breaking // Entering in that last question? Was that some sort of attempt at humor?

A: It turns out that there is a potential use for casting Baral’s Expertise with no targets just for the free spell. Of course, there’s the well-known example of using expertise spells to cast a spell with no mana cost, which you wouldn’t be able to cast normally [CR 117.6]. This works because the expertise cycle has you cast the spell without paying its mana cost, so you are able to bypass the glitch that would otherwise happen if you tried to cast such spells [CR 117.6a].

Another possible way to get a bargain is casting split cards. When the game needs to make a comparison involving split cards that aren’t on the stack (such as asking if a card’s converted mana cost is less than a certain number), it performs the comparison on both halves and gives a positive answer if either one passed [CR 708.6a]. Therefore, you can cast Breaking // Entering, since it counts as a card with “CMC 4 or less” based on the above rule. Casting a split card involves choosing which half to cast, but Baral’s Expertise doesn’t give any restrictions for choices you have to make while you’re casting the card, only which cards you can pick. So you can choose to cast Entering, even though its converted mana cost is too high for you cast if it existed as a card by itself.

But wait, there’s more! Call right now, and I’ll double the offer! Because casting a split card with fuse has a third possibility: you can cast Breaking, you can cast Entering, or you can cast both. Fuse adds this third possibility as long as you’re casting the spell from your hand, which you are [CR 708.2b]. The only drawback is that the cost to cast the spell will be higher. Not like that matters, since you’re casting it without paying its mana cost. With this, you can get two spells for the price of one.

Q: Can I sacrifice Hope of Ghirapur before I attack to turn on revolt?

A: No. Hope of Ghirapur specifies that its ability targets a “player who was dealt combat damage” this turn. Before you attack, there will be no players meeting this description, which means that there are no legal targets, so you cannot activate this ability [CR 601.2, 601.2c].

Q: Amy casts Sign in Blood targeting Nicole, who controls Exquisite Archangel. Nicole is at 1 life and has one card in her library. What happens?

A: After Sign in Blood resolves, there will be two state-based actions trying to make Nicole lose the game: she has 0 or less life and she has tried to draw a card from an empty library [CR 704.5a, 704.5b]. Because these state-based actions have the same outcome, a single replacement effect will suffice to replace both of them [CR 704.6]. Nicole does not lose the game, Exquisite Archangel is exiled, and Nicole’s life total is set to 20. The next time state-based actions are checked, Nicole will not have drawn a card from an empty library since the last time state-based actions were performed, so she will be safe. It won’t be until the next time she is instructed to draw a card that she will be in trouble.

Q: Amy attacks Nicole for lethal damage while Nicole controls two Exquisite Archangels. What happens?

A: After combat damage happens, the game checks for state-based actions and wants to make Nicole lose [CR 704.5a]. Two replacement effects are applicable to this event, one from each Exquisite Archangel. As the affected player, Nicole will choose which will apply first [CR 616.1]. The other one will not be applicable after this since Nicole isn’t losing the game anymore, so it will stay on the battlefield.

Q: Amy casts a Hurricane for X=5 while Nicole is at 5 life and controls an Exquisite Archangel. What happens?

A: After Hurricane resolves, there are two applicable state-based actions that want to take effect: Nicole losing the game for having 0 life and putting the lethally-damaged Angel into her graveyard [CR 704.5a, 704.5g]. These actions are processed simultaneously as a single event [CR 704.3]. Exquisite Archangel’s replacement effect modifies the “Nicole loses” part of this event to exiling itself and setting Nicole’s life to 20. Of course, Exquisite Archangel can’t simultaneously be exiled and put into Nicole’s graveyard. If an object is changing zones and effects or game rules want to do contradictory things to it, the object’s controller chooses how that object is affected [CR 400.6]. So Nicole is healed to 20 life and the Exquisite Archangel is put into her graveyard or exiled depending on her choice.

Note: Suppose that Amy controls a Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet while this is happening. In this case, there will be two replacement effects that want to apply to the state-based action event of [put Exquisite Archangel into Nicole’s graveyard, Nicole loses the game]. These effects apply simultaneously since they don’t both affect a single object [CR 616.1]. The result is that the event now looks like this [Exile Exquisite Archangel and Amy gets a Zombie token, exile Exquisite Archangel and Nicole gains 20 life]. Since there are no more effects to apply, that’s the event that happens.

Q: Amy proceeds to her draw step with an empty library while she controls a Laboratory Maniac and Nicole controls an Exquisite Archangel. What happens?

A: It depends! If Amy and Nicole are playing a normal one-on-one Magic game, or even if they are on opposite teams in a Two-Headed Giant game, then Amy wins as normal. Exquisite Archangel’s effect specifies that it applies if Nicole would lose the game. That isn’t what’s happening here. Rather, Amy is winning the game, which doesn’t match the event Exquisite Archangel is looking for, so that effect doesn’t apply.

On the other hand, if Amy and Nicole are players in a multiplayer game, Amy winning the game means all of her opponents lose the game [CR 800.7]. This means that Exquisite Archangel can apply to this event and save her. Any other players involved will still lose, but Amy will remain with 20 life.

Q: Amy controls Boon Reflection and Exquisite Archangel and is at 1 life. Her opponent attacks with a 2/2 creature, which Amy declines to block. What happens?

A: Amy takes 2 damage and falls to -1 life [CR 107.1b]. At this point, state-based actions want to make her lose the game, which the Exquisite Archangel replaces with exiling itself and resetting Amy’s life to 20. This is achieved by having Amy gain 21 life [CR 118.5]. Boon Reflection sees this and doubles the amount of life to be gained to 42. Amy ends up at 41 life.

Q: Can you explain how the Saheeli Rai/Felidar Guardian combo works?

A: If you have both these cards in play, you can use Saheeli Rai’s -2 ability to make a copy of Felidar Guardian. When the token enters the battlefield, use its ability to flicker Saheeli, which will enter the battlefield with 3 loyalty [CR 306.5b]. You can repeat this process as many times as you want, and, since the tokens all have haste, can attack with all the tokens that turn to win.

Note: The most talked-about ways to potentially interact with this combo include using an instant speed removal spell on Felidar Guardian, dealing damage to Saheeli Rai in response to the trigger that blinks it, or using Authority of the Consuls to interfere with the opponent’s ability to attack.

Q: Amy casts Lost Legacy and says she is naming Felidar Sovereign. Nicole then says “It resolves” and reveals her hand. Amy then exiles a Felidar Guardian from her hand, but Nicole stops her and calls a judge. What do you do?

A: It’s completely legal for Amy to name Felidar Sovereign with Lost Legacy. It might not be the card she intended to name, but there’s no support in the policy documents for any sort of remedy for this mistake.

Note: This question gets a lot more interesting in a couple years when Felidar Sovereign (and his buddy, Felidar Cub) rotates out, potentially leaving Felidar Guardian as the only Felid in Standard. It’s not legal to name a card that isn’t in the format you’re playing, so this would be a GRV from Amy [CR 201.3]. Whether to back up or not is a thorny question since Nicole has revealed her hand and the error gravely affects the organic flow of the game. It’s difficult for me to offer an opinion one way or the other, but I will propose that a judge with average investigations skills and reasonable format knowledge should probably be able to identify the intended card in most cases like this.

Q: Amy casts Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker while she has a Dark Intimations in her graveyard, but she forgets to exile it. What do you do?

A: One effect of this triggered ability is generally good (getting an extra loyalty), and one is generally bad (exiling it from your graveyard). Asking if it would be better or worse without the ability points toward this trigger being non-detrimental, but not conclusively.

Fortunately, for those who like nice, conclusive answers without messy philosophical debates, there’s the Rules Resources Team’s Detrimental Triggers in Standard guide. Dark Intimations’ trigger is not listed here, so we can confidently rule that this is not a Missed Trigger that warrants an infraction. Therefore, we should not intervene if we see this happen in a game.

Q: Amy plays Greenbelt Rampager while she has 1 energy counter. What happens?

A: As you would expect, she can’t pay EE to keep Greenbelt Rampager around, so it’s returned to her hand. The effect doesn’t try to do as much as it can and take away her 1 energy counter because with effects worded “[Do something]. If [a player] [does, doesn’t, or can’t], [effect],” the [do something] is defined as a cost [CR 117.12]. Costs can’t be partially paid; they’re all or nothing [CR 117.3].

Note: The specific template used by Greenbelt Rampager was added to the CR rule quoted this time around. Without this addition, paying the energy would be considered an effect of the ability, and Amy would be required to do as much as possible [CR 609.3].

Q: How does Greenbelt Rampager interact with Panharmonicon?

A: This is a surprisingly intricate question for the number of cards involved. The short answer is that Greenbelt Rampager will trigger twice, and each trigger will resolve. Each time, you’ll be asked to pay 2 energy. If you can do that, nothing else will happen. If you only have 0 or 1 energy, then you will get one more and Greenbelt Rampager will be returned to your hand. On the plus side, even if you can’t return Greenbelt Rampager to your hand, you will still get 2 energy [CR 609.3]. Let’s look at all the possibilities, which quickly come to resemble a Chains of Mephistopheles flowchart:

  • If you start out with 0 energy, Greenbelt Rampager will return to your hand during the first trigger. That trigger will give you one energy, and as discussed above, the second one will too, even though you can’t return Greenbelt Rampager to your hand again. If you somehow manage to play Rampager again before that trigger resolves, you still won’t return it to your hand because it changed zones, and therefore counts as a different object [CR 400.7].
  • If you start out with 1 energy, the first trigger will give you another energy and return Greenbelt Rampager to your hand. The second will make you pay 2 energy, which you now have. This isn’t optional, so you can’t choose not to pay even if you don’t want to (and why would you; it’s not like the Elephant will come back at this point).
  • If you start out with 2 or 3 energy, you’ll pay 2 the first trigger, then be unable to pay for the second and return it to your hand then, losing a net of 1 energy total once everything’s done resolving.
  • Finally, if you have 4 or more energy, you will pay all 4 and get to keep Greenbelt Rampager in play. What a bargain!

Q: Amy attacks Nicole with two Grizzly Bears. Nicole controls a Selfless Squire and casts a Holy Day. Can Amy prevent the Selfless Squire from getting any counters by using a single Stifle?

A: Up until the last rules update, this question was a little ambiguous. All the combat damage gets dealt at once, so is prevented damage from two sources one trigger or two? Our new CR confirms that simultaneous damage events that are prevented result in a single trigger [CR 615.12].

Q: Amy and Alice are playing a 2HG game with Nicole and Natalie. Amy casts Steady Progress. Can she give another energy counter to both herself and Alice? Can she give another poison counter to both Nicole and Natalie?

A: Proliferate used to function in 2HG by letting you choose teams rather than players, since poison counters were shared between the teams. Then Magic invented experience which were specific to each player, even in 2HG, which created a potential problem, since experience counters weren’t pooled the same way poison counters are. Energy counters in Kaladesh brought the issue to a head and we now have a new rule. Proliferate now acts by letting you select players individually, but if you give one player a poison counter, you can’t give that player’s teammate a poison counter also [CR 701.25c].

Note: Though similar, the counter-adding abilities of Maulfist Revolutionary and Skyship Plunderer are not identical to proliferate. In particular, these abilities will only affect one player in a 2HG game.

Q: I hear there’s a big new change on pile shuffling. What’s that about?

A: The most talked-about change this time around is that pile shuffling is now restricted to once per game, rather than once per randomization [MTR 3.9]. Further, it can only be performed at the beginning of the game. While touted as a huge, time-saving change, I don’t foresee this actually affecting very much in practice. The vast majority of the time, no one ever pile shuffles at any other time anyway. While it’s nice to have a definitive response to troll questions from players regarding the legality of pile shuffling during every fetchland activation, a change wasn’t strictly necessary. The requirement in IPG 3.3 that game actions must take place in a reasonable amount of time means that we already had Slow Play as a tool to curb iterated or repeated pile shuffling during a game.

Note: As before, if you see players breaking this rule, there’s no specific infraction to give them because there isn’t a “Tournament Error Violation” catch-all like there is for Game Rules. Education about what the issue is and why it’s not allowed is the best way to handle it.

Q: Amy and Nicole are called to the feature match area. They get there after 1 minute has elapsed in the round. Amy explains that both of them had finished mulliganing and were waiting for the clock to start before they were called up. She complains about having to report to the feature match area because the players knew this was a grindy matchup and therefore took extra care to be able to start their match as early as possible. What do you say?

A: First, players are allowed to perform pregame procedures, including resolving mulligans and deciding who will play first, before the round clock starts [MTR 2.3]. Amy’s concerns are legitimate, and motivate a recent change to the MTR concerning time extensions given to feature match participants. Now, feature match participants are given a three minute time extension on top of the actual time it took for them to report to the feature match area [MTR 2.6]. This mirrors the time extension given for deck checks, which also offers three additional minutes to compensate for the extra effort of shuffling during the match instead of getting to do so beforehand. Amy and Nicole’s match receives a time extension of 4 minutes.

Note: Read more about this change and the motivation behind it in the dedicated article here.

Note: The goal of this change is to ensure that each pair of players has the same time in their match as any other. If the feature match has its own separate clock, that goal is served without adding any extra time to it.

Q: How long do I have to review my picks in a booster draft?

A: At the request of players, the review period after each pack in a draft has doubled from 30 seconds to 60 seconds after pack 1 and from 45 seconds to 90 seconds after pack 2 [MTR Appendix B]. Sorry top 8 judges, your day just got almost a full minute longer.

Q: Amy has three cards exiled with a Bomat Courier when she cracks an Evolving Wilds. After she searches, she picks up the 3 cards she had exiled with Bomat Courier instead of her hand by mistake. What is the appropriate infraction, penalty, and fix?

A: In the past, this would have been a Looking at Extra Cards, with the dubious remedy of shuffling all the revealed cards into their owner’s library. LEC has now been changed so that it only refers to cards in library. It also isn’t a Hidden Card Error because the player wasn’t intending to add these cards to her hand. This case therefore fits into a Game Rule Violation. The (admittedly rather unsatisfying) fix is to do nothing, but that’s still a step up from the previous rules.

Q: Amy plays Stoneforge Mystic, but forgets to reveal the card she searched for. She calls a judge and shows you her hand, a Batterskull and a Swords to Plowshares. She tells you “I obviously searched for Batterskull,” and you believe her. What do you do?

A: Amy has committed an error that cannot be corrected using publically known information – a Hidden Card Error. The remedy in cases where a card that was supposed to be revealed wasn’t is to have Amy reveal her hand, then her opponent can choose a card that will be treated as the card she revealed. If the card that’s chosen couldn’t have been legally chosen, it’s treated as an excess card and shuffled back in. So far, all of this is exactly the same as what we would do under the old IPG. The change, the most significant functional change in the new policy documents, is what happens next. Before, we didn’t allow the player who committed the error to repeat the action that led to it, but now we do. What this means for Amy is that if her opponent chooses to have her shuffle the Swords to Plowshares back in, Amy will get to perform the search again. There is now an incentive for her opponent to agree that Batterskull is the card Amy searched for, since the alternative is allowing Amy to polymorph one of her cards into another equipment.

Q: In game 1, as she is resolving the scry 2 from Serum Visions Amy scries a sideboarded card which she forgot to de-sideboard before the game. She calls a judge and explains the situation to you away from the table. What do you do?

A: Failure to desideboard is a Deck/Decklist Problem. In the past, this would have been a Game Loss, but there was a special exception for cases where it was caught while drawing opening hands. The downgrade to a Warning and forced mulligan fix that applied to those situations has been generalized to cover any failures to desideboard, no matter when they are discovered [IPG 3.5]. The fix is to return all sideboard cards to the sideboard and, if applicable, shuffle maindeck cards in the sideboard into the random portion of the library. The cards that are returned to the sideboard are not replaced, so Amy essentially gets to scry 1 here.

Note: In order for this downgrade to apply, the player needs to call for a judge before the opponent is able, or about to be able, to see the cards. If Amy had a sideboard card in her hand and was calling a judge in response to a Gitaxian ProbeThoughtseize, the penalty would be a Game Loss.

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