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Deadlocking loyalty

Aether Revolt is getting closer and spoilers have slowly been coming out. I don’t know about the rest of you but the planeswalkers look pretty slick!

I know a lot of folks are looking forward to the Masterpieces in this upcoming set. If you haven’t read it, please take a moment to check out Zane’s speculations, here.

While we are all waiting for more spoilers, I figured it was a good time to answer some rules questions! So here we go!

Kyle asks, “Can you have a judge shuffle your deck every match?” Players can request a judge to shuffle their deck rather than their opponent, according to MTR 3.9. Yep, you can indeed ask a judge to shuffle for you after every match. Remember, the judge has discretion here so the request may not be honored. I have seen special cases where the judge would shuffle for a player, but these are extreme cases.

Aaron asks that we explain the difference between the CMC of a card versus the CMC of a spell. Sure thing! This is actually pretty simple. The CMC of a card or a spell on the stack (unless it is an X spell) never changes despite any additional costs. It will always be the casting cost that is printed in the top right-hand corner of the card.

So, if you cast Capsize and pay the Buyback cost, what is the CMC? Well, as we can see from the top right-hand corner of the card, the CMC is three. Sure, we add three to the total cost of casting the spell, but the CMC doesn’t change.

So, does Void Winnower prevent Capsize from being cast? It doesn’t! Void Winnower specifically says “Your opponent can’t cast spells with even converted mana cost.” Since Capsize has a CMC of 3, it can be cast.

Chalice of the Void works the same way. Why? Well, Chalice specifically mentions CMC, not total cost.

deadlockJosh asks if Deadlock Trap prevents a planeswalker from getting its loyalty counter. The thing to remember here is Deadlock Trap must be activated before a loyalty ability has been activated. Why? Well, once the ability is on the stack, unless it is countered, it’s going to resolve. Deadlock Trap says the ability can’t be activated. It says nothing about countering an ability.

If your opponent activates their Deadlock Trap before you activate a planeswalker’s ability, then you simply can’t activate it. Therefore, you will not get the loyalty counters.

If, however, they activate it in response, the ability will still resolve.

But, this doesn’t exactly answer your question. In order to activate a loyalty ability, you have to pay a cost. In this case, it’s the placing, or removing, of a loyalty counter. Deadlock Trap can’t be used in response to activating the ability to prevent the loyalty counter from going on a planeswalker.

If you have just cast a planeswalker remember you have priority right after your spell resolves. At no point will your opponent be able to use Deadlock Trap before you activate the ‘walkers ability unless you pass priority.

Josh has a few questions, so let’s just keep rolling with them.

Does Summary Dismissal stop loyalty counters? Nope. Again, activating a loyalty ability requires a cost. You
must pay the cost of the ability. In this case, it is adding/removing loyalty counters. So, Summary Dismissal will counter the ability, but the cost will still be paid.

Is ETB (Enter The Battlefield) its own ability or is a “triggered” or “activated” ability, in terms of gearhulks? There are couple things we look for when determining these types of abilities. For an activated ability it needs to say Cost: Effect. We discussed these above when talking about loyalty abilities.

For triggered abilities, we look for three words, “When, Whenever, and At.” If we see either of those words we know we are dealing with a triggered ability.

Looking at each of the Gearhulks, we can see that their ETB is indeed a triggered ability because they state, “When (Insert name) Gearhulk enters the battlefield…”ng

Without looking through every card, I would wager just about every ETB is indeed a triggered ability, FYI.

Can Alter Ego flip if it copies a double-faced card? If you cast Altered Ego and copy the front side of a were wolf card, when it’s flip condition is met, nothing will happen. According to CR 701.25a, Only permanents represented by double-faced cards can transform. If a spell or ability instructs a player to transform any permanent not represented by a double-faced card, nothing happens.

Also, we should look at CR 711.3, Except for determining whether or not a permanent can transform, a spell, ability, effect, or rule that needs information about a double-faced permanent sees only the information given by the face that’s currently up.

Example: A Clone enters the battlefield as a copy of Wildblood Pack (the back face of a double-faced card). The Clone will be a copy of the Wildblood Pack. Because the Clone is itself not a double-faced card, it can’t transform.

 That’s it for this time, friends (sorry, Aaron, not tackling Banding right now!). Hopefully, you got some answers you were looking for. As always, if you have a question, please shoot me a message at pcossel@gmail.com. Or, you can always leave a comment below.

If you’re on Pucatrade, I am currently offering a 40% bonus for Emrakul, The Promised End. Plus, I give 30% for everything on my want list except for sealed product. You can find me here.


Patrick Steam punkPatrick Cossel is the Publisher of the Forge Herald. He is a writer, gamer, father, husband, and Level 1 Magic Judge. Professionally, he is the Operations Manager for a family-owned newspaper company. He can be contacted at pcossel@gmail.com



© 2016, Patrick Cossel. All rights reserved.

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About Patrick Cossel,

I am a journalist and gaming enthusiast.

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