Timeward Bound

Posted in From the Lab on April 8, 2010

By Noel deCordova

Hello and welcome back to the Lab! Today marks yet another day in the Rise of the Eldrazi preview span. Already we've seen many crazy quirks and interesting themes, whether it be the titanic Eldrazi themselves in all their annihilating and colorlessness, or the tripartite text boxes of the "levelers." Other cool themes that I can pick out from the slowly growing Visual Spoiler include a definite slant towards defenders and an emphasis on Auras, particularly of the totem armor variety. Of course, if you've been paying attention to these weeks of previews, you probably don't need reminders of these major themes.

However, there is one keyword that I haven't mentioned yet. It's an interesting one, being the latest in a long line of keywords specific to instants and sorceries. I speak, of course, of rebound. And no, I'm not talking about Dwight Howard's greatest skill when I speak of "rebounding" (although in both instances, Magic is involved).

If you haven't seen rebound yet for some reason, I'll quickly dive into the Visual Spoiler in the Rise of the Eldrazi product section for some examples.

As you can see, Prey's Vengeance can be cast normally, and once your next upkeep rolls around, it will "rebound" back to be cast again, if you so desire. This one and Virulent Swipe both fall in the category of "the combat trick." Not all of them do, though.

I have to say, this card excites me more. Not only is the regular effect exciting enough for a chaotic red player such as yours truly, but rebound allows me double the excitement. Therefore, rebound also works with already-interesting spells, for double the fun.

So which category does my rebounding preview card fall under? The combat trick, or the quirky stand-alone, or perhaps something completely different? As it turns out, the answer is ... all of them.

As I mentioned last week, Cast Through Time is a gold mine for lovers of all thing FAQ. Here's the FAQ entry for rebound, plus the FAQ entry for Cast Through Time specifically:

***New Keyword Ability: Rebound***

Rebound is an ability that lets you cast an instant or sorcery a second time for free during your next upkeep.

* If a spell with rebound that you cast from your hand is countered for any reason (due to a spell like Cancel, or because all of its targets are illegal), the spell doesn't resolve and rebound has no effect. The spell is simply put into your graveyard. You won't get to cast it again next turn.
* If you cast a spell with rebound from anywhere other than your hand (such as from your graveyard due to Sins of the Past, from your library due to cascade, or from your opponent's hand due to Sen Triplets), rebound won't have any effect. If you do cast it from your hand, rebound will work regardless of whether you paid its mana cost (for example, if you cast it from your hand due to Maelstrom Archangel).
* If a replacement effect would cause a spell with rebound that you cast from your hand to be put somewhere else instead of your graveyard (such as Leyline of the Void might), you choose whether to apply the rebound effect or the other effect as the spell resolves.
* Rebound will have no effect on copies of spells because you don't cast them from your hand.
* If you cast a spell with rebound from your hand and it resolves, it isn't put into your graveyard. Rather, it's exiled directly from the stack. Effects that care about cards being put into your graveyard won't do anything.
* At the beginning of your upkeep, all delayed triggered abilities created by rebound effects trigger. You may handle them in any order. If you want to cast a card this way, you do so as part of the resolution of its delayed triggered ability. Timing restrictions based on the card's type (if it's a sorcery) are ignored. Other restrictions are not (such as the one from Rule of Law).
* If you are unable to cast a card from exile this way (because there are no legal targets for it, for example), or you choose not to, nothing happens when the delayed triggered ability resolves. The card remains exiled for the rest of the game, and you won't get another chance to cast the card. The same is true if the ability is countered (due to Stifle, perhaps).
* If you cast a card from exile this way, it will go to your graveyard when it resolves or is countered. It won't go back to exile.


* Multiple instances of rebound on the same spell are redundant.
* The rebound effect is not optional. Each instant and sorcery spell you cast from your hand is exiled instead of being put into your graveyard as it resolves, whether you want it to be or not. Casting the spell during your next upkeep is optional, however.
* If a spell moves itself into another zone as part of its resolution (as Arc Blade, All Suns' Dawn, and Beacon of Unrest do), rebound won't get a chance to apply.
* If a spell you cast from your hand has both rebound and buyback (and the buyback cost was paid), you choose which effect to apply as it resolves.
* You'll be able to cast a spell with flashback three times this way. First you can cast it from your hand. It will be exiled due to rebound as it resolves. Then you can cast it from exile due to rebound's delayed triggered ability. It will be put into your graveyard as it resolves. Then you can cast it from your graveyard due to flashback. It will be exiled due to flashback as it resolves.
* For the rebound effect to happen, Cast Through Time needs to be on the battlefield as the spell finishes resolving. For example, if you cast Warp World from your hand, and as part of its resolution it puts Cast Through Time onto the battlefield, Warp World will rebound. Conversely, if Warp World shuffles your Cast Through Time into your library as part of its resolution, and doesn't put another one onto the battlefield, it will not rebound.
* If you cast an instant or sorcery spell from your hand and it's exiled due to rebound, the delayed triggered ability will allow you to cast it during your next upkeep even if Cast Through Time has left the battlefield by then.
* If you cast a card from exile "without paying its mana cost," you can't pay any alternative costs. Any X in the mana cost will be 0. On the other hand, if the card has optional additional costs (such as kicker or multikicker), you may pay those when you cast the card. If the card has mandatory additional costs (such as Momentous Fall does), you must pay those if you choose to cast the card.
* If a spell has restrictions on when it can be cast (for example, "Cast [this spell] only during the declare blockers step"), those restrictions may prevent you from casting it from exile during your upkeep.
* If you cast a spell using the madness or suspend abilities, you're casting it from exile, not from your hand. Although those spells will have rebound, the ability won't have any effect.
* Similarly, if you gain control of an instant or sorcery spell with Commandeer, it will have rebound, but the ability won't do anything because that spell wasn't cast from your hand.

Rebound and Determined

Cast Through Time presents a unique option: to rebound any, and I mean any, instant or sorcery that you let fly. In a Johnny world, options might as well be currency, and that's why I'm glad this big blue enchantment exists. Following in the footsteps of Wort, the Raidmother and Djinn Illuminatus, Cast Through Time makes all your spells just that much better.

I mentioned before that rebound is just the latest keyword to be aimed at instants and sorceries. Just to get your minds humming (often a slightly harder task than usual with crazily open-ended cards like this), let's go through these previous keywords and see how they interact with rebound.

Buyback: As the FAQ (which, if you skipped, you should probably read) mentions right off the bat, you can choose what to do when you cast a Whispers of the Muse through time. If you choose to rebound it, you can buy it back off the rebound!

Kicker: Since kicker is an optional additional cost (like its Worldwake sibling multikicker) you can still pay an extra when you rebound a Vines of Vastwood to +4/+4 a creature.

Flashback: The FAQ helpfully points out how Cast Through Time can add another 50% to any flashback spell. A rebounding Deep Analysis will draw you four cards for four mana, whereas normally it would cost six mana and 3 life! And when you finally pay that flashback cost, you'll have drawn six cards from a single spell!

Storm: Since any rebounded spell will let you cast it—that's cast—at the beginning of your next upkeep, it's thus a free spell. Anyone relatively familiar with storm can put two and two together. Don't forget that your Empty the Warrens will also be rebounded next turn, just for kicks!

Epic: Unfortunately, that "cast" is not your friend when it comes to rebounding the Saviors of Kamigawa epic spells, which won't do anything at all.

Replicate: The official ability of the Izzet, replicate works wonders with rebound. I've always been a big fan of Mimeofacture on paper, but mustering up eight mana was always a bit tough. But with Cast Through Time, you can cast it for just , and then replicate it next turn for another . Basically, it's a free replicate! Vacuumelt and Train of Thought fit this model as well.

Recover: True, it's a bit narrower than flashback, but Icefall was a reasonable Stone Rain variant, and it only gets better with Cast Through Time. Not only will you destroy two lands for the price of one, but you'll have the opportunity to double that through recover. Again, not stupendous, but certainly worth mentioning.

Conspire: Conspire is already a keyword that offers double the fun, and Cast Through Time can potentially quadruple that fun. You could get four Giant tokens from a single Giantbaiting!

Retrace: Retrace interacts with rebound a lot like flashback, except that it doesn't end in exile. For example, cast Oona's Grace through time. You'll eventually get two cards, and then the Grace goes to your graveyard. When you retrace it, you didn't cast it from your hand, so rebound won't apply. But you're up a card—a land, maybe?—and you can keep on casting Oona's Grace from your graveyard as normal. Oh, and if Oona's Grace doesn't sound fetchy enough, substitute Spitting Image in. Yeah.

Through Time and Space

Now let's hit some individual card combos! The tricky part with doing that with a card like Cast Through Time is its vast open-endedness. Any expensive instant or sorcery that you cast through time should really be worth it. Nonetheless, I've compiled a short list of instants and sorceries that are clearly better when rebounded.

The first part of this list includes a bunch of cards inspired from the flashback and retrace cards; they're cards that can regrow themselves. Some cost mana to do so, such as Hammer of Bogardan and Punishing Fire, while others require specific things (think Exile into Darkness, Death of a Thousand Stings, Sosuke's Summons, Summon the School, Life from the Loam, and Reach of Branches).

The second part of this list is spells that can be cast for substantially less than their mana cost implies. For example, when you sacrifice two Mountains to cast Fireblast through time, you won't have to on your next upkeep (4 more damage!). We've seen an abundance of these cards lately, and you probably never noticed. It's all right, their job is to surprise you: Traps! For a single , you can drain 10 life from an opponent with Needlebite Trap. Just will get you two 4/4 Beast tokens through Baloth Cage Trap. And Archive Trap can now eat twenty-six (!!!) cards in one shot ... for free.

The last part of my list is spells that get better when they're cast twice in close succession. Elvish Promenade is a good example. Let's say you have three Elves in play when you first cast the Promenade. When you rebound it, if you've kept them alive, you'll wind up with twelve! Saproling Symbiosis is an even better example. Of the two top dogs in this section, Parallel Evolution is the most fitting. First it doubles your tokens, and then on the rebound it doubles them again. By the time you flash it back, you'll have multiplied your token force by eight! The other top dog, Din of the Fireherd, just feels right. Lots of sacrificing plus two 5/5 Elemental tokens sounds great to me!

I hope I've inspired some rebounding ideas today! I'll leave you all with a token-tastic deck, and I'll see you next week!


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