All About Alpine Moon

Good morning and welcome back to another lovely week here at the Rules Tips Blog! Some nifty cards came out during our long hiatus, so let’s talk about some of the slightly older (but still very cool!) cards in Standard. Today: Alpine Moon.

Alpine Moon is a sort of redux of Blood Moon (as was Amonkhet block’s Blood Sun): a way to mess with lands. Blood Moon is primarily used to attack greedy manabases full of dual lands in older formats, turning your opponents Underground Seas and Windswept Heaths and Hallowed Fountains into plain old Mountains. But Blood Sun and Alpine Moon don’t do so well with that- Blood Sun lets them keep their normal mana abilities, and Alpine Moon makes lands BETTER at mana fixing! So what’s the use of them?

Well, dear reader- not all abilities on lands are mana abilities. Our trio of celestial body-based cards are very good at messing with utility lands. Do you need your opponent’s Maze of Ith to stop shutting down your attacks in Commander? Blood Sun stops it cold. Remember from last week, a mana ability is an activated ability that doesn’t target, isn’t a loyalty ability, and could add mana as it resolves; Blood Sun deletes anything on a land that doesn’t fit those criteria. All those Ixalan block double-faced cards that transform into a really cool land once you jump through some hoops? Blood Sun and Alpine Moon turn them into regular old mana-producing lands. No funtimes allowed.

Both of them can also mess with lands as they’re being played, too- not every ability on a land is beneficial! For example, a Blood Sun on the board will mean your opponent’s Hallowed Fountain will enter the battlefield untapped 100% of the time- without them having to pay 2 life, or even being ABLE to! This is because “As Hallowed Fountain enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don’t, it enters the battlefield tapped” is- you guessed it- an ability. As the land is entering, it looks forward in time to see what continuous effects, if any, will apply to it once it’s on board. The land sees Blood Sun’s ability saying “Hey, you lose all non-mana abilities, land”, and basically deletes that whole block of text off of Fountain and leaves it with just the inherent ability to tap for {W} or {U}. Ditto for Gateway Plaza; it’ll enter untapped AND they won’t have to pay 1 to keep from saccing it, so they just get an untapped land that can produce any color.

The last bit applies only to Alpine Moon, and not to Blood Sun; Alpine Moon removes land types. In Standard, that’s not gonna matter too terribly much- if you’re up against the Gate deck, you can strip the Gate subtype off of a land to weaken some of their Gates Matter spells, or you might be able to delete “Plains Swamp” off of Godless Shrine to make their Glacial Fortress come in tapped. Where this really shines is in formats like Modern and Legacy- because you can strip away the “Urza’s” land’s subtypes, and throw one heck of a wrench into the Tron plans! Sure, the named piece of Tron will now be able to generate colored mana… but 1+1+1 will no longer equal 7. Keep that in mind!

Today’s Rules Tip was written by Trevor Nunez

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