Earlier this month, I judged at Eternal Weekend in Pittsburgh. I love the eternal formats and look forward to this event every year. The interactions you see in Legacy and Vintage are unlike anything more modern formats have to offer. But I understand that this aspect isn’t for everyone; indeed, it can make these formats downright intimidating! In the interest of pulling back that veil a little, here are some of the most interesting scenarios from that weekend. Each of these really actually came up in a real actual game of tournament Magic at that event, so enjoy!
A: No. The rider on Mishra’s Workshop says the mana can only be spent “to cast artifact spells.” While buying out of a Daze might be thematically similar, that’s not what’s happening, so you can’t use that mana for it.
A: No. Damping Sphere replaces only the type and amount of mana that’s produced. Its effect doesn’t say that it applies to any other aspects of the mana. Accordingly, any riders in place will remain, and Amy can only spend this mana on artifact spells.
A: Yes. Delve functions by allowing you to exile cards from your graveyard rather than paying mana. Trinisphere looks only at the cost to cast the spell, which delve does not affect. From Trinisphere’s point of view, Amy is casting an 8 mana spell; the fact that she is doing something other than paying mana to do so is of no consequence.
Note: This works because delve doesn’t change the cost; it only changes how you pay that cost. Most things change the actual cost to cast the spell, which Trinisphere does care about. For example, flashing back Conflagrate with X = 5 would cost you 1RR and you would need to discard 5 cards.
A: In copying Sphere of Resistance, Phyrexian Metamorph acquired all its copiable values, including its mana cost. Accordingly, Meltdown with X=2 is sufficient to destroy both permanents.
Note: The actual amount of mana spent to cast Phyrexian Metamorph does not affect the answer at all. Phyrexian symbols in a permanent’s mana cost are always counted as 1. Although in this example, that’s irrelevant since Phyrexian Metamorph’s mana cost does not include any phyrexian mana symbols now.
Note: Both Sphere of Resistance and Phyrexian Metamorph are acting on this mana cost. Accordingly, Meltdown will cost 4R to cast.
A: Veteran Explorer’s ability triggers when it dies. Such abilities “look back in time” and trigger based on the game state immediately before the trigger event occured. At this time, Veteran Explorer was on the battlefield and had all its abilities, so this trigger happens as normal.
Note: Abilities that say “put into a graveyard from anywhere” are not treated as leaves-the-battlefield abilities and do not look back in time.
Q: How does Serum Powder work?
A: Here are some quick hits:
- Usually, while making mulligan decisions, you can choose to keep or to mulligan. If Serum Powder is in the hand, you have a third option: you can exile all those cards and draw that many.
- You only get to scry if you kept a hand with less than seven cards in it.
- Right after taking a Serum Powder mulligan, the same player gets “priority” to take a mulligan again.
- Serum Powder exiles the cards face up, so the opponent gets to look at them when making his or her own mulligan decisions.
- Cards like Leyline of the Void need to be in the opening hand that you keep in order to start in play.
Q: Amy dredges 5 with Stinkweed Imp for her draw step, then uses Sylvan Library to draw 2 more. The first draw she replaces with dredging 5 with another Stinkweek Imp, but she has no more dredgers for the other one, so she draws normally. What happens with the rest of Sylvan Library’s activation?
A: After drawing with Sylvan Library, it then instructs you to choose two cards in your hand that you drew this turn. Because all but one of your draws has been replaced, this is impossible, so you do as much as you can. “For each card chosen this way,” you must put it on top of your library or pay 4 life. So to keep that card in your hand, you would have to pay 4 life.