Ixalan New Set Digest

Q: Amy plays Grim Captain’s Call while her graveyard contains no Dinosaurs. Can she still return cards of the other types?

A: Yes. Because Grim Captain’s Call does not target, it’s legal to play it when you don’t have all of the types it affects. When it resolves, it will do as much as it can and return one card of each type that Amy does have [CR 609.3].

Note: Deathrite Shaman has a similar-seeming effect, but notice that it targets the card it’s exiling. Because of that, it’s not legal to activate any of its abilities without an appropriate card to exile.

Note: Because it does not target, the choice of which card to return is made as Grim Captain’s Call resolves, not as it is cast [CR 608.2d]. This means that, for example, an opponent with Scavenging Ooze can’t wait until you say which cards you’re returning and exile them in response. Rather, that player would have to preemptively exile any cards he really didn’t want you to get back. If there are still other cards of appropriate types, you can return them.

Q: Amy plays Grim Captain’s Call while Bloodghast is the only Vampire card in her graveyard. Can she elect to leave it there?

A: No. Grim Captain’s Call does not indicate that returning a creature of each type is optional using phrasing like “up to one” or “may.” As a result, if a card of the appropriate type is in your graveyard, you have to return it, even if you might not want to.

Q: What happens if one of the cards I’m exiling with Deadeye Tracker leaves the graveyard in response to the ability being activated? What about both of them?

A: If both cards are exiled, Deadeye Tracker’s ability will be countered when it tries to resolve because all of its targets are illegal [CR 608.2b]. If only one card is removed, the ability will resolve and do as much as possible. In this case, that means the remaining card is exiled and Deadeye Tracker explores.

Note: Because it targets the cards that are exiled, it’s not legal to activate Deadeye Tracker’s ability unless there are two cards in that graveyard to choose.

Q: Can I sacrifice a Treasure token as the artifact to cast Costly Plunder and also to produce the B necessary to pay its mana cost?

A: No. In the process of casting a spell, mana abilities (such as sacrificing a Treasure for mana) are activated after the total cost to cast the spell is determined, but before any of those costs (such as sacrificing an artifact or creature) are paid [CR 601.2g, 601.2h]. If you sacrifice the Treasure for mana, it won’t be around during the time when you have to sacrifice an artifact or creature.

Note: As alluded to above, cost reducing effects apply before it’s time to pay the additional cost to cast Costly Plunder. For example, it’s possible to pay B and sacrifice Jet Medallion to cast this spell.

Q: Amy controls Desperate Castaways and two Treasure tokens, but no other artifacts. Can she attack an opponent who controls Propaganda by sacrificing both tokens to generate the 2 mana to pay for Propaganda?

A: Yes. Just like casting a spell, declaring attackers is a process that follows several steps in order. First, the attacking player proposes a set of creatures that will attack [CR 508.1a]. The step where this set is checked for restrictions that disallow them from attacking [CR 508.1c] happens before mana abilities can be activated to pay the cost to attack [CR 508.1i] or even before this cost is determined [CR 508.1h]. Therefore, this attack is perfectly okay.

Q: Amy controls Navigator’s Ruin and Fraying Sanity. Does Fraying Sanity “see” cards that are milled with Navigator’s Ruin?

A: Both of Fraying Sanity and Navigator’s Ruin trigger during the end step. Because Amy controls both triggered abilities, she decides which order they are put onto the stack [CR 603.3b]. The X in Fraying Sanity’s ability is determined as that ability resolves [CR 608.2g]. Therefore, if Navigator’s Ruin resolves first, Fraying Sanity will count the cards it mills when determining how many cards the opponent should mill due to its own effect. Amy should stack Navigator’s Ruin so that it resolves before Fraying Sanity so that she mills the maximum number of cards.

Q: Amy plays Pious Interdiction on Nicole’s Shore Keeper. Nicole activates Shore Keeper’s ablity in response. What happens?

A: When Pious Interdiction tries to resolve, its target will no longer be on the battlefield. That being the case, Pious Interdiction is countered, and it is put into Amy’s graveyard [CR 608.2b]. It never enters the battlefield, and Amy doesn’t gain 2 life.

Q: Amy plays Dire Fleet Ravager in a 2HG game when her team is at 28 life. What happens?

A: Each player loses a third of their life, rounded up. Obviously. But how does that work exactly? Both players on each team lose a third of their life rounded up simultaneously (because Dire Fleet Ravager uses only one verb in its effect) [CR 608.2e]. The effect of this is that each player on Amy’s team loses 10 life and her team goes to 8.

Q: How does Axis of Mortality work in 2HG?

A: Axis of Mortality triggers only once during your team’s turn because both players have a single shared upkeep, which is what the game looks for when it considers “your upkeep.” If you choose two players on the same team, nothing happens [CR 810.9e]. If you choose players on two different teams, it works exactly as you expect and the players involved gain and lose the appropriate amount of life such that the two teams exchange life totals [CR 810.9a].

Q: Amy activates the -3 ability of Vraska, Relic Seeker targeting Nicole’s Grizzly Bears. In response, Nicole casts a spell that gives Grizzly Bears indestructible. What happens?

A: Being indestructible, the Grizzly Bears will not be destroyed. The text of Vraska’s ability does not make the Treasure token contingent upon destroying the targeted permanent (the way, for example, Terastodon or Descent of the Dragons do), so that part still happens [CR 609.3].

Note: If Nicole gave the creature hexproof instead, the ability would have no legal targets as it tried to resolve, and none of its effects would happen.

Q: Amy controls an Island and two Kumena’s Speakers. What ar her creatures’ power and toughness?

A: Kumena’s Speaker gets +1/+1 if you control an Island or another Merfolk. It doesn’t get any extra bonus for controlling one of each, or multiples of either (reference Armored Ascension or Wild Nacatl for cards that do). Both speakers are 2/2.

Q: Nicole controls Kumena’s Speaker and Silvergill Adept. Amy plays Blazing Volley. What happens?

A: The next time state-based actions are performed, Silvergill Adept will be destroyed because it has lethal damage on it [CR 704.5g]. After that, state-based actions are performed again, and the game will see that Kumena’s Speaker has lethal damage on it now, since it’s no longer receiving +1/+1 due to its ability [CR 704.3]. Both creatures will end up being destroyed.

Q: Amy controls Arcane Adaptation for which the named type is Human and crews her Conqueror’s Galleon. Nicole casts Moonmist after Amy attacks with it. What happens?

A: Even though Arcane Adaptation’s ability is timestamped later than the crew ability that makes Conqueror’s Galleon a creature, it will apply afterwards. This is because applying the crew ability first increases the number of objects that Arcane Adaptation applies to, which means that Arcane Adaptation’s effect is dependent on the effect from the crew ability and is applied last [CR 617.7 et seq.].

Conqueror’s Galleon (as well as any other Humans) will transform as Moonmist resolves. For most Humans, transforming them won’t do anything because cards with a normal Magic back can’t transform, so this instruction is ignored [CR 711.5]. Conqueror’s Galleon does have a back face, though, so it will transform into Conqueror’s Foothold. Transforming an object doesn’t change its identity, though, so all the effects acting on it before it transformed will still be acting on it [CR 711.12]. Thus, Conqueror’s Foothold will be a Land Artifact Creature – Human. Unfortunately, unlike its front face, Conqueror’s Foothold does not have a power and toughness printed on it. Neither do any of the continuous effects acting on Conqueror’s Foothold define a power and toughness for it. Because this creature’s power and toughness are undefined, they are considered to be 0 [CR 208.5]. Because it is a creature with 0 toughness, Conqueror’s Foothold is put into Amy’s graveyard [CR 704.5f].

Note: This is the reason why Conqueror’s Galleon exiles itself and returns to the battlefield transformed instead of transforming in place like the other artifacts in this set. By leaving the battlefield, it becomes a new object, and all the continuous effects acting on it, including the one from its crew ability, end [CR 400.7].

Q: Why is transforming Dowsing Dagger optional, but transforming Conqueror’s Galleon mandatory?

A: I have no idea, but it’s certainly annoying from a judging standpoint to have two such similar effects behave significantly differently. It’s also unfortunate to have Conqueror’s Galleon exile itself and return itself to play (untapped) while Treasure Map transforms in place and doesn’t get to untap. As always, remember to Read The Friendly Card before making a ruling, especially in this set because many cases that look similar are actually handled differently.

Q: So what if a player untaps Treasure Map as part of transforming it?

A: Because the player untapped Treasure Cove when they weren’t supposed to, this is a GRV, and the offending player gets a Warning. The choice is yours as a judge whether it will be better if you back up to the time when Treasure Map transformed or leave the game state as-is.

Q: What if a player forgets to transform Treasure Map?

A: Just like before, the player failed to perform the instructions of Treasure Map’s activated ability correctly. This is a Warning for a GRV for Treasure Map’s controller, and you have a choice as a judge to either back up to just after the scry or leave the game state as-is.

Note: Primal Amulet is similar thematically, but functions differently. The ability that adds counters and transforms it is a triggered ability, which means that this falls under Missed Trigger if adding a counter and transforming are missed. In that case, the opponent has the choice of whether that triggered ability is put onto the stack or just skipped. Because this Missed Trigger is not generally considered detrimental, there is no penalty associated with this, so a judge who sees this should not intervene.

Q: And what if a player forgets to transform Conqueror’s Galleon?

A: Triggered abilities that do nothing except create delayed triggered abilities automatically resolve without requiring acknowledgment [IPG 2.1]. Therefore, the “when this attacks” triggered ability can never be missed. The trigger that is missed is the subsequent “at end of combat, exile this” triggered ability. This triggered ability is not generally considered detrimental, so there is no Warning for the controller of Conqueror’s Galleon. For the fix, this is a delayed triggered ability that changes the zone of a specific object defined when the ability was created. This means it falls into one of the three categories of triggered abilities that do not expire and are always resolved after they are discovered, no matter how much time has passed. The opponent of the player who missed this trigger will choose whether this happens immediately or at the beginning of the next phase.

Note: Because the game significance of this triggered ability is not clear cut, it might be the case that a player notices his opponent forget to transform Conqueror’s Galleon and says nothing, either because the back half might be more valuable in that game state or in the hopes of bringing it up for greater advantage later (for example, after its controller taps some creatures to activate the crew ability). In either case, this tactic is entirely legal, albeit comfortably outside the spirit of the game. Declining to call attention to an opponent’s triggered ability is never considered Failure to Maintain Game State or Cheating [IPG 2.6]. There’s nothing in policy to support the idea that a player is bound to this choice and unable to change his mind later on, either. Judges should not intervene in a Missed Trigger situation unless they intend to issue a Warning or have reason to suspect that a player is intentionally missing his or her own triggered abilities [IPG 2.1]. Neither of these is the case here, so if you’re a judge and see this happen in a game, you should not stop play or call attention to it.

Q: Amy plays Sorcerous Spyglass, but she forgets to look at her opponent’s hand or choose a card name. Next turn, before Nicole draws, the players realize the error and call a judge. What do you do?

A: This is a Game Rule Violation for failing to follow a card instruction. Because it wasn’t caught in a reasonable amount of time, Nicole gets a Failure to Maintain Game State. The fix is interesting because making no choice for a static ability generating a continuous effect still on the battlefield is a case where a partial fix is applicable. On the other hand, Sorcerous Spyglass has an additional effect that is part of its enters the battlefield ability, which means that this does not exactly match the conditions required for the partial fix. Two fixes seem reasonable: either leaving the game state as is with no card named for Sorcerous Spyglass or having Amy name a card now, but not get to look at Nicole’s hand. Doing either of these was endorsed as the Official answer in this forum thread. Resolving the entire Sorcerous Spyglass ability (having Amy look at Nicole’s hand and then name a card) is not advisable because Amy not knowing what’s in Nicole’s hand is not a problem with the current game state. More details and discussion of this fix can be found in the linked thread.

Note: Because the looking and naming a card isn’t a triggered ability, both players share responsibility for making sure this ability happens. You should investigate to determine whether both players accidentally forgot about this and whether they knew that was against the rules.

Q: Amy plays Sanguine Sacrament, but forgets to put it on the bottom of her library as it resolves. What is the appropriate infraction, and fix?

A: Amy did not perform an instruction of her spell as it was resolving. This is a Game Rule Violation. Assuming that Sanguine Sacrament can be moved to the correct zone with minimal disruption to the game state, this situation fits into one of those for which a partial fix is available: an object is in the incorrect zone due to being put into the wrong zone during a zone change, and the identity of the object is known to all players. Put Sanguine Sacrament on the bottom of Amy’s library now.

Note: The partial fix is applicable regardless of how much time has passed since the error occurred. The only thing to decide is whether the game state will be minimally affected by applying the partial fix.

Note: If game decisions have been made involving Sanguine Sacrament or based on the it being in the graveyard, moving it can no longer be considered “minimally disruptive” to the game state. For example, if the players noticed this mistake after Amy tried to target Sanguine Sacrament with a Snapcaster Mage or after blocking with a Tarmogoyf (given that having Sanguine Sacrament in the graveyard might have impacted this decision), the partial fix is not supported by policy and a backup should be considered instead.

Q: Amy plays Hostage Taker while there are no other creatures and no artifacts on the battlefield. What happens?

A: Hostage Taker has received errata indicating that it cannot target itself with its ability. Because of this, it’s not possible to choose a legal target for its ability, so that ability is removed from the stack [CR 603.3d].

Note: Without this errata, Hostage Taker would be forced to take itself hostage. The ability does not indicate that exiling the targeted permanent is optional, so it would continuously be exiled and returned. Assuming no player breaks this loop, the game would be a draw [CR 719.4].

Q: Amy attacks with Bloodrock Cyclops. In the postcombat main phase, she plays Relentless Assault. Does Bloodrock Cyclops have to attack during the second combat phase?

A: Yes. Bloodrock Cyclops has been given errata to make this more clear. It now says “Bloodrock Cyclops attacks each combat if able.”

Q: Amy attacks with Grizzly Bears. In the postcombat main phase, she plays Relentless Assault and Nicole plays Boiling Blood on Grizzly Bears. Does Grizzly Bears have to attack during the second combat phase?

A: Yes. The text for this card hasn’t been updated, so it seems like that might not be the case, but the rules have. If a requirement that says a creature attacks if able during a certain turn refers to a turn with multiple combat phases, the creature attacks if able during each declare attackers step that turn [CR 508.1d].

Note: The rules for blocking requirements have also been changed in the same way.

Q: Is Caged Sun‘s triggered ability a mana ability?

A: The old answer used to be “it depends.” The old definition of a triggered mana ability was that it had to trigger from the resolution of an activated mana ability. This meant that, for instance, Caged Sun was a mana ability if it was adding mana because you tapped a Swamp, but not if a Crumbling Vestige entering the battlefield was causing it to trigger. The new definition includes adding mana to a player’s mana pool in that condition, so Caged Sun’s ability will always be considered a mana ability [CR 605.1b].

Q: Amy controls Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy and Jace, the Mind Sculptor and has 4 cards in her graveyard. She activates the ability of Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy. What happens?

A: After Jace’s ability resolves, it will be exiled and return transformed. Both Jaces can coexist on the battlefield with no problem because the planeswalker uniqueness rule is no more. Instead, planeswalkers are all legendary now. They work exactly the same way as all legendary permanents. If two Jace, the Mind Sculptors are controlled by the same player, their controller chooses one, and the other is put into the graveyard due to the legend rule.

Note: Planeswalkers still have subtypes, which still matter for effects like Jace’s Defeat.

Q: Amy plays Dark Depths while Blood Moon is in play. What happens?

A: Dark Depths has a replacement effect that makes it enter the battlefield with 10 ice counters on it. One big change in the new rules is that because it won’t have this ability on the battlefield, it isn’t taken into account when determining how Dark Depths enters the battlefield. As a result, Dark Depths’ ability won’t apply and give it ice counters as it enters the battlefield. Although Dark Depths will not have any ice counters on it while it’s on the battlefield, it won’t be sacrificed because Blood Moon will take that ability away also. If Blood Moon leaves the battlefield, Dark Depths will regain the “sacrifice and get a 20/20” ability, but it still won’t have any ice counters on it, so that ability will trigger immediately.

Note: Blood Moon’s interactions with several other cards have changed for the same reason. Here’s a summary of the most significant ones:

  • Lands that enter the battlefield tapped enter untapped. In the same way, shocklands enter the battlefield untapped without requiring any life payment.
  • Cavern of Souls no longer lets you name a creature type as it enters the battlefield. If the Blood Moon is later destroyed, Cavern of Souls’ second mana ability can be activated, but the mana it generates cannot be spent because there is no chosen creature type.
  • Vesuva cannot enter the battlefield as a copy of another land. If Blood Moon is later destroyed, Vesuva will regain its “enters the battlefield” ability, but it will not have any other abilities because it won’t have copied anything.

Note: Enters the battlefield replacement effects are a notoriously confusing rules topic. Expect an update in the article discussing them to incorporate the recent changes soon.

Q: Nicole controls Anointed Procession and blocks Amy’s Grizzly Bears with her Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet. What happens?

A: Up until this rules update, the answer would have been that Grizzly Bears is exiled, and Nicole gets only one Zombie token. The reasoning for this was pretty technical (reference the Doubling Season/Hooded Hydra question in this No Mercy article if you’re interested). Fortunately, the answer makes sense now because of an update to the CR for how replacement effects work [CR 614.16]. The Kalitas replaces Grizzly Bears dying with exiling it and creating a token, then Anointed Procession replaces creating one token with creating two.

Q: Amy plays Vision Skeins while she controls Alms Collector and Breathstealer’s Crypt. What happens?

A: Although Vision Skeins’ card draws are handled one at a time, a new rules change gives a structure for replacement effects to interact with instructions to draw multiple cards [CR 120.2b]. This happens before replacement effects that look at individual draws [CR 120.2a]. The event starts as [Amy draws 2 cards and Nicole draws 2 cards]. Then Alms Collector changes that to [Amy draws 2 cards and Amy and Nicole each draw a card]. As each card draw happens, Breathstealer’s Crypt replaces it with its draw/reveal/discard.

Q: Let’s say that a player gets a Game Loss and at the same time, that player’s opponent gets a Match Loss. What happens?

A: This situation is so rare that I couldn’t even come up with a plausible reason why it might happen. That said, this is a material change in the IPG this time around. In this case, the Game Loss used to be awarded the round after the Match Loss. That seemed too harsh, so now the Game Loss is applied at the same time as the Match Loss. As a consequence, the Game Loss player essentially gets off with no penalty. This was deemed a better way to handle a case like this than the previous alternative where the future opponent got a free win in game 1, despite not having anything happen in that match to warrant it.

Q: Amy attacks with Hooded Brawler and says “exert.” Nicole doesn’t block. Amy says “Ok, you take 3,” and both players adjust her life total accordingly. What do you do?

A: Hooded Brawler has a triggered ability that triggers when you exert it. Although Amy did not demonstrate awareness of the result of this trigger (giving her creature +2/+2) by the time it affected the game state, this triggered ability is not considered missed. This is something that has changed this time around. Abilities that consist of an action (like exerting a permanent) and a “when you do” triggered ability following it are specially called out in the IPG [IPG 2.1]. Acknowledging the action is sufficient for the subsequent triggered ability to be considered remembered. As such, Hooded Brawler is a 5/4, and taking an incorrect amount of combat damage from it is a GRV.

Note: Suppose that while Amy exerted, she also controlled a Trueheart Twins. Note that Trueheart Twins’ ability Trueheart Twins’ triggered ability does not have the template mentioned above, so it does not fit into this category. It’s handled just like any ordinary missed trigger. Amy’s opponent gets to choose whether this trigger is added to the stack now or ignored.

Q: Amy consults her sideboarding notes after winning game 1, but forgets to put them away. Nicole notices that the notes were left out next to Amy’s lifepad several turns into the game. What do you do?

A: Refering to notes made before the official start of the match is Outside Assistance. Ordinarily, the penalty for this would be a Match Loss, but in this case, that doesn’t seem fair. After all, the integrity of the entire match wasn’t compromised by Amy’s access to this information; Amy would have been able to refer to these notes after the end of game 2. Because only the game was compromised, a downgrade was added to OA in this update to allow for a Game Loss in cases where the information acquired would have been available after the game is over. Amy gets a Game Loss, but can continue the match.

Q: Amy activates Ghost Quarter targeting Nicole’s Island. Nicole asks “What does that do?” and Amy says “It destroys your Island.” Nicole then puts the Island into her graveyard, but doesn’t search for a basic land. You see this happen. What do you do?

A: Technically, all the game actions taken here are legal. Ghost Quarter indicates that searching for a basic land is optional, and shuffling your library is only required if the player chooses to search. That said, it feels unusual that Nicole wouldn’t take advantage of this. The Tournament Shortcuts section of the MTR has therefore been updated so that it isn’t legal for Amy to assume that Nicole is choosing not to search. Amy has to seek confirmation that she isn’t searching. This is a Communication Policy Violation, and Nicole should be offered the choice to search.

Note: It isn’t against the rules for Amy to neglect to say that Nicole gets to search. Oracle text is considered derived information, so it’s legal to make incomplete statements about it.

Q: How much time do you get to build a sealed deck?

A: You get 20 minutes for deck registration (noting all the cards in a pool on a decklist) and 30 minutes for deck construction (selecting which cards go in your maindeck and noting that on the decklist). This hasn’t changed. What is different is that sealed events that happen during release weekends have 15 additional minutes of deck construction. This was added as a concession to the fact that many people need to spend some time reading new cards.

Note: The time limit for Two-Headed Giant sealed events was also raised by 15 minutes. These time limits can be found in MTR Appendix B.

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