Unstable FAQAWASLFAQPAFTIDAWABIAJTBT

Posted in News on December 6, 2017

By Mark Rosewater

Working in R&D since '95, Mark became Magic head designer in '03. His hobbies: spending time with family, writing about Magic in all mediums, and creating short bios.

Editor's note: This article has been edited to include information on the various variant cards.


Welcome to the Unstable FAQAWASLFAQPAFTIDAWABIAJTBT! (That's "Frequently Asked Questions As Well As Some Less Frequently Asked Questions Plus a Few Things I Doubt Anyone Would Ask But I Answered Just To Be Thorough.")

Introduction

I wear many hats at Wizards of the Coast, one of which is that of silver-bordered rules manager. I got this job years ago when I made Unglued, the first silver-bordered set. You see, the rules manager at the time collapsed while looking at the file and was later told by his doctor that the twitching would eventually go away if he never looked at Unglued again. I volunteered to take over, as the silver-bordered cards made sense to me. Flash forward nineteen years, and I'm still at it.

Most of the time, being silver-bordered rules manager is easy—I just get the occasional question on Twitter or my blog. Now that we've made a new silver-bordered set, I had some actual work to do. What follows are answers to all the questions I could come up with about the new cards. I doubt I got them all (I know I didn't get them all), but I wrote 15,000-plus words' worth of answers. If you have a question I didn't address, you can write to me at my blog for an answer.

I'll start with some general notes, move on to some questions about some larger categories, and then I'll get to the card-specific rulings. Enjoy!

General Notes

The Silver-Bordered Golden Rule (Silver Rule?)

If a card refers to certain features of a card, say a watermark or a creature's power, look at the actual card you're playing with to figure out the results. In black-bordered Magic, all cards with a particular English name are treated the same, no matter what version of a card you're playing with. Shivan Dragon is Shivan Dragon is Shivan Dragon. In silver-bordered Magic? Not so much.

Contraptions

Contraptions! Finally! I'm so excited I'm gonna do that Q&A thing where the first one isn't a question and I don't even care because Contraptions!

Contraptions! I know! But we really should stick to the Q&A format.

Okay, okay. So, how do they work? Do I just put them in my deck?

Contraptions don't go in your main deck—note they don't have the normal Magic card back. They go in a separate deck called the Contraption deck.

How do I build a Contraption deck?

First, get lots of Contraption cards! In Constructed, your Contraption deck needs at least fifteen different Contraption cards, and no more than one of each. If you're drafting or playing Sealed Deck, your Contraption deck can be however many Contraptions you draft or open in your Sealed pool, and it's okay if you have duplicates.

In Draft or Sealed Deck, do I have to play every Contraption in my card pool?

No. You can play as many or as few as you want.

The back of the Contraption card is wild. What's going on there?

Your Contraption deck has three sprockets. At the start of the game, put a CRANK! counter on Sprocket 3. At the start of your turn, if you have any assembled Contraptions, move the CRANK! counter to the next sprocket. Then the abilities of each Contraption under that sprocket trigger.

Whoa . . . slow down. How are Contraptions assembled?

Some creatures with the creature type Rigger assemble Contraptions. Also, a few cards ask you to assemble a Contraption. Here's how it works: reveal the top card of your Contraption deck, then put it face up under one of your sprockets.

Which sprocket should I put the Contraption on?

Well, that's up to you. At the beginning of each of your turns, you're going to get all the effects from one of your sprockets. This proceeds in order: one turn you'll get Sprocket 1, the next turn Sprocket 2, then Sprocket 3, then back to Sprocket 1. Planning ahead can give you some great combinations. Concentrate all your power in one turn or spread it out? The world is your mechanized oyster.

If I assemble more than one Contraption at the same time, do I have to put them on the same sprocket?

No. You choose individually for each one.

Do I have to crank each Contraption under the sprocket that's firing?

No. Cranking Contraptions is always optional. You crank only the Contraptions you want on the appropriate sprocket.

Do I have to keep the Contraptions in order under each sprocket?

No. You can have the abilities from Contraptions under a single sprocket resolve in any order.

Are Contraptions on the battlefield?

Yes. Contraptions are permanents, but the Contraption deck is not.

Are Contraptions artifacts?

Yes.

Can I destroy Contraptions with things that destroy artifacts?

Yes.

Can I sacrifice Contraptions to things that allow me to sacrifice artifacts?

Yes.

Can I [verb] them with things that [verb] artifacts?

Yes. They are artifacts in every sense of the word.

Where does a Contraption go when it leaves the battlefield?

If a Contraption would leave the battlefield and go to any zone other than exile, it instead goes to the scrapyard, the Contraption deck's version of the graveyard. Things that affect the graveyard do not affect the scrapyard. You can exile Contraptions just fine.

What if I or a creature I control assembles a Contraption and my Contraption deck is empty?

In that case, nothing happens.

Let's say a Contraption finds its way onto the battlefield without being assembled. Perhaps I cast Copy Artifact and copy one. What happens then?

Any Contraption that's on the battlefield and wasn't assembled immediately heads to the scrapyard. But if it's a not an actual Contraption card (like Copy Artifact isn't), it goes to your graveyard as normal. Non-Contraption cards can't be in the scrapyard.

Host and Augment Cards

I was just thinking it would be cool to combine creatures to make even more awesome creatures. Does Unstable have anything like that?

That's a weird question . . . but yes! You're looking for host creatures and creatures with the new augment ability.

Sweet. How does that work?

Host creatures are fairly normal. They each have an ability that triggers when it enters the battlefield. They attack. They block. Fairly normal.

Sounds boring. Can we do science?

Yes, we can. Creatures with augment don't have a mana cost and can't be cast. What they can be is combined with host creatures to form a new single creature.

Fantastic! What does the science do?

The creature with augment will change the creature's name as well as its power and toughness. It may also add some abilities and a color. It'll also change that enters-the-battlefield ability by giving it a new way to work. Now that ability is repeatable.

How do I science?

Augment is an activated ability that works while the card is in your hand. To activate it, reveal the card, pay the augment cost, and choose a host creature as a target. When the ability resolves, combine the augment creature with the host creature.

Science for everyone?

No, you can't augment onto creatures unless they are host creatures. I know Half-Kitten, Serra Angel might seem like a good idea, but that way lies madness. Sorry.

What if the science fails? Say I activate augment and in response my opponent destroys the host? What happens?

The creature with augment isn't put onto the battlefield until the ability resolves. This means if the host is destroyed, the creature with augment stays in your hand. You can't choose a different host, but you can activate augment again if there's another host available.

Can I activate augment if I don't have a host creature on the battlefield?

You can't activate augment unless there is a host creature on the battlefield. It doesn't need to be yours. Note though that if you augment another player's host creature, they control the combined creature.

Can I put more than one augment card on a single host creature?

No. Once a host creature is augmented, the host part gets covered up and it's no longer a host creature. Only one augment per host.

Once I have a combined augment and host, how does the game treat the combined creature?

The game can see basically anything visible. Augment can (and usually does) change the name, card types, subtypes, rules text, and power/toughness. The combined creature will have (at least) two artists and may now have multiple colors. Anything covered up in the augment process doesn't count, so ignore things to the left of the "metal bar" in the art of host creatures.

Are cards with augment considered creature cards?

They are. If something asks you to discard a creature card, you may discard a card with augment. But they can't exist by themselves on the battlefield. If you somehow put a card with augment onto the battlefield without actually augmenting it, it will head to the graveyard.

Let's say I have a combined creature and I have to sacrifice a creature. Can I sacrifice just the augment card?

Rip the Ninja Kitten in half? Are you mad?! No. Once a creature is combined, both cards form a single creature. What happens to the creature happens to both cards. (If it's put into a specific part of your library, you choose the relative order of the two cards.)

Can I make a Half-Kitten, Half-Kitten?

Absolutely. I hear they make great pets.

Last Strike

What is last strike?

Last strike is opposite of first strike. A creature with last strike deals combat damage after when most creatures deal combat damage. A creature with last strike deals combat damage only if it survives both first-strike and normal combat damage.

What happens if I give a creature first strike or double strike to a creature with last strike?

If you give first strike to a creature with last strike, it'll deal combat damage twice: once during first-strike combat damage and again during last-strike combat damage. If you give a creature double strike to a creature with last strike, it'll deal combat damage three times: once during first-strike combat damage, again during normal combat damage, and again during last-strike damage. Essentially, double strike + last strike = triple strike.

Outside Assistance Cards

Who counts as a "person outside the game"?

Every person on earth except the people who are currently in your game.

How about players that started in your game but are currently out of it?

Sure. They're now outside the game.

Does it have to be someone who plays Magic?

No. In fact, involving people who don't play Magic can be a lot of fun.

What if there's no one else around?

You have to find someone. Use your phone if you need to. Texting and calling is allowed.

Dice-Rolling Cards

When you say "six-sided die," what exactly do you mean?

We mean a die with six, and only six, sides on it. The die must have six equally likely outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and grapefruit—I mean 6.

Some cards have abilities that trigger "whenever you roll a die." Which die rolls count?

Any time you're instructed to roll a die that could have a numerical result, those count. Die rolls that can't have a numerical result, such as the planar die roll, don't count. Also, something in the game must tell you to roll a die. If you roll a die for any other reason (to simulate a coin flip, to see which movie to see later tonight, because you're bored), that roll doesn't count.

How does rerolling dice work?

Some cards have effects that let you reroll one or more dice. After any die is rolled, before applying the result of that die, there's an opportunity for you to use those effects. The original result is ignored and the new die roll is now considered the official roll. The same is true about cards like Snickering Squirrel that affect the outcome of the roll.

Do cards that care about die rolls count all the die rolls if the die is rerolled?

Yep. It cares about them all. As Luck Would Have It, as luck would have it, gets luck counters for both the original roll and the reroll.

Can a roll have a result greater than 6?

Sure. For example, Snickering Squirrel can change a roll of 6 to a roll of 7.

But a 7 on a six-sided die doesn't exist?

There's at least one Snickering Squirrel that would disagree. And silver-bordered Magic doesn't care.

Watermarks

What's a watermark?

Watermarks are an image that goes behind the text in a text box (with one addition listed in a second). Unstable has five new watermarks, one for each faction. The one addition is that we consider the faction symbols in the bottom right corner of the Contraptions to be watermarks.

The five factions in Unstable are:

  • Order of the Widget – Its watermark looks like a gear and castle;
  • Agents of S.N.E.A.K. – Its watermark looks like a combination key and umbrella;
  • League of Dastardly Doom – Its watermark looks like an explosion inside a light bulb;
  • Goblin Explosioneers – Its watermark looks like a bomb and two sticks of dynamite; and
  • Crossbreed Labs – Its watermark looks like a double-spouted beaker.

Can the "watermarks matter" cards care about watermarks from other sets?

Absolutely. It's one of the reasons we included the watermark theme.

How do I describe what watermark I mean?

If it appears on a card you can point to, point to it. If not, describe it as best you can. "It's the Azorius guild symbol," "It's the watermark for the Phyrexians," and "It's the watermark for the Mardu" are all fine. If your opponent still doesn't know what you mean, try to describe what it looks like. When it shows up for the first time, point it out.

Card-Specific Notes

Animate Library

Can I enchant my Contraption deck?

No, it's not a library.

What happens if Animate Library leaves the battlefield?

Your library stops being a creature, so it leaves the battlefield and goes back to being a normal library.

What happens if my library animated by Animate Library is destroyed?

If your animated library would leave the battlefield for any reason, it stays put and Animate Library is exiled instead. Your library then leaves the battlefield and goes back to being a normal library.

Can I enchant or equip my animated library?

Sure! As long as it's a creature, you can do anything to it that you can do to a creature. If it stops being a creature (most likely because something happens to Animate Library), Auras will go to the graveyard and Equipment will fall off but remain on the battlefield.


As Luck Would Have It

What die rolls cause As Luck Would Have It to trigger?

As Luck Would Have It counts any die roll with a numerical result. So any six-sided die rolls are in, the d20 from Sword of Dungeons & Dragons is in, but a roll of the planar die is out.

I have 99 luck counters and then proliferate for lucky 100. Do I win?

Not quite yet. The win condition is checked only as the ability resolves, so you'll need to roll a die.


Baron Von Count

Where's this 5 the card talks about?

I understand you might be distracted by the Baron's fiendish good looks, but the countdown from 5 to 1 is just above him in the art. Baron Von Count enters the battlefield with the doom counter on the 5.

What constitutes a "numeral"?

A numeral is a symbol such as 2, 7, or 0. Written number words such as "five" don't count.

Can the numeral be anywhere on the card?

No, only in the mana cost, the text box, or the power/toughness box. Numerals in card names, art, collector numbers, or legal text aren't considered.

Say the doom counter is on 1 and I cast a creature spell with 10 power. Does the middle ability trigger?

Yes. The number 10 is made up of the numeral 1 and the numeral 0.

What does "move the doom counter one numeral to the left" mean?

If it's on the 5, it moves to the 4. If it's on the 4, it moves to the 3. If it's on the 3, it moves to the 2. If it's on the 2, it moves to the 1. If it's on the 1, it destroys target player and then moves to the 5 to start over again.

What does "destroy target player" mean?

It means the player leaves the battlefield and sits in the graveyard. Just kidding! It's a more dastardly way to say "target player loses the game."

Can a player regenerate from being destroyed?

Yes. Note there is no current way to do that. Maybe in a future Un- set.


Better Than One

What exactly is happening with this card?

Your side of the game is essentially turning into a Two-Headed Giant game. All the rules for how you and your teammate work together follow the Two-Headed Giant rules.

Does the person I choose have to agree to play?

Obviously. Everyone playing Magic should be doing so voluntarily.

Any restrictions on who can join me with Better Than One?

It just can't be anyone playing in the current game. It might help if they know how to play Magic, but that's not required. It does have to be a person—sorry, Whiskers.

Any restrictions on how I distribute the hand, library, and permanents?

Nope. Give your new teammate whatever you want them to have. All the cards in your hand, none of your permanents, whatever you want. Just remember that for purposes of the game, your new teammate becomes the owner of those cards. (They're still your cards after the game ends.)

Do they get their own life total?

They won't need one. As your half of the game is now under Two-Headed Giant rules, you and your teammate share a life total. When that life total hits 0, your team loses.

I chose poorly! My teammate abandoned me! Do I just lose?

Oh man, tough break. Good news for you though! Unlike a regular Two-Headed Giant game, you can continue to play on. Whatever cards you gave your departed teammate remain outside the game, but you can carry on as a solo player.

I have tricked my new teammate and abandoned them! Do they just lose?

Probably. When you leave the game, you take your cards with you, so your teammate won't have much left except perhaps a new perspective on friendship.

What happens if I cast Better than One and I'm already part of a Two-Headed Giant team?

You're now a Three-Headed Giant team. Congratulations! Only you can give cards to your new teammate though, not your other teammate. Don't worry about diminishing returns here. Three heads have to be better than two.


The Big Idea

If I use The Big Idea's effect and roll two dice, does that count as one die roll or two die rolls for other cards that care?

It counts as two die rolls.

There are effects in Unstable where you roll two dice and care about the difference between the two. How does that work with The Big Idea's ability?

First, roll two dice. Add the total of the two dice together. That's your first result. Next roll one die. That's your second result. Then figure out the difference between the two results.

Can the combined die roll be higher than 6?

It can. In fact, on average, it will.

Chittering Doom's ability triggers whenever I roll a 4 or higher. Say I use The Big Idea on a die roll and end up rolling two 3s. Will Chittering Doom's ability trigger?

No. Our squirrel friends are looking at every individual die roll, not the combined result of two dice. They'll see two 3s and continue about their business. Their horrible, horrible business.


Blurry Beeble

What does "as it was cast" mean?

It means any time between Blurry Beeble being announced to the player paying its costs. It's not a lot of time, so players really won't have time to put on glasses if they didn't have them on already.

What if Blurry Beeble wasn't cast? Say I put it onto the battlefield some other way.

If it wasn't cast, the defending player definitely wasn't wearing glasses as it was cast, so it can't be blocked.

Do the glasses have to be prescription?

No, but they have to be actual glasses with lenses. No glasses made out of paper or pipe cleaners.

Do contacts count?

Those aren't glasses, so no. Blurry Beeble can't be blocked.

Does a monocle count?

Closer, but still no.

How about sunglasses?

Yes, sunglasses are glasses.

Can I remove my opponent's glasses before casting Blurry Beeble?

Not forcibly. Leave your opponent alone. You could ask to borrow them though. Your opponent may fall for it.


Border Guardian

What border is Border Guardian referring to?

It's referring to the border around the edge of the card. Not the card frame (which shows the card's color) but the very edge of the cards. All Un-cards (save the basic lands and Steamflogger Boss) have a silver border. All non-Un cards printed nowadays have a black border. For many years, the core sets were printed with white borders.

Can a spell have more than one border?

Thus far, we haven't printed a single card with more than one border.


By Gnome Means

This card lets me mix and match counters in some weird ways. What happens if I put a loyalty counter on a creature, for example?

If you put a counter on a permanent that has no mechanical relevance, it just sits there waiting to one day be useful. The loyalty counter on the creature is in for a long wait, unless it's a Gideon or a Sarkhan planeswalker that's currently a creature.


capital offense

do all capital letters count or just the first letter of each sentence?

all capital letters count. proper names could literally be the death of your opponent's creature.

do italicized ability words count?

yes. although it's italicized like reminder text and flavor text, ability words do count as rules text.

if a word is in all capital letters, does each letter count?

yes.


Chittering Doom

What counts as rolling a 4 or higher?

Any die roll dictated by a card that has numeric results on it counts, if the result is 4 or higher. This means Chittering Doom is unaffected, for example, by a planar die roll, but is affected by the d20 of Sword of Dungeons & Dragons.

If I'm told to roll multiple dice, does Chittering Doom count the total or each roll individually?

Each roll individually.


Chivalrous Chevalier

Can it be a backhanded compliment?

Technically yes, but have we become so jaded in our modern life that we can't take a moment to honestly compliment someone who's helping us participate in a leisure activity?

Can the opponent claim they don't feel complimented by your compliment and force you to return a creature to your hand?

No.

In a multiplayer game, can you compliment any opponent?

Yes. You're even allowed to compliment multiple opponents. Not just for this card, by the way, but for life in general.

When do I compliment my opponent?

For purposes of the card, when the ability resolves. For life, whenever you want.


Clock of DOOOOOOOOOOOOM!

What does cranking a Contraption mean?

It means that the abilities of Contraptions on that sprocket trigger. It's what the rules do on each of your turns. You're just speeding up the process a bit.

Can you choose which sprocket the CRANK! counter goes to?

No. If the CRANK! counter is on Sprocket 1, it moves to Sprocket 2. Sprocket 2 to sprocket 3, and Sprocket 3 to Sprocket 1, as normal.


Clocknapper

What exactly does stealing a phase mean?

During that player's next turn, as the chosen phase begins, you treat it as if it were your turn. Let's walk through what happens if you steal each phase:

Beginning phase – You untap permanents you control and your opponent doesn't. Abilities that trigger at the beginning of your upkeep happen and ones that trigger at the beginning of their upkeep don't. You draw a card as it's now your draw step, so your opponent doesn't.

Precombat main phase – You can cast all types of spells while your opponent can only cast instants and spells with flash.

Combat phase – Just like combat on your turn, you can attack your opponents with your creatures. The opponent you stole the phase from can't attack with their creatures, but they can block.

Postcombat main phase – Same as precombat main phase.

Ending phase – Most abilities that trigger during the end step don't care whose turn it is, but keep an eye out for anything that does. Effects that last "until end of turn" or "this turn" will expire as normal, as they also don't care whose turn it is.


Cogmentor

What exactly does "reassemble" mean?

The Contraption moves from the sprocket it's on to another one of your sprockets. You don't have to advance it in the normal direction. That is, you can move a Contraption from Sprocket 1 to Sprocket 3, for example.

Does the Contraption leave and reenter the battlefield?

No. It just moves.


The Countdown Is at One

What's a subgame?

This is actually a black-bordered rules question. Isn't that insane? Anyway, to play a subgame, all the players in your game (the main game) pick up their libraries and start a new game. Leave all the other cards in the main game alone. You'll probably want to pick a new playing area—maybe set up the subgame under the table. That sounds fun. In this subgame, each player starts at 1 life. The subgame plays out like a normal game of Magic. When you're done, each player shuffles their cards from the subgame. Those become your libraries in the main game, which then resumes from where it left off, with The Countdown Is at One finishing resolving.

What if the subgame is a draw? Who gets their damage doubled?

Nobody. A player who drew the subgame didn't win it, so they get no bonus from The Countdown Is at One.


Cramped Bunker

How much of the permanent must touch Cramped Bunker?

Not much. The tiniest of overlap is acceptable.

How do I use cards once they're in the Cramped Bunker?

You can pick them up to tap them if you need to, but then they must end up still in contact with Cramped Bunker and not in contact with any other permanents.

What about tokens?

Use whatever is being used to represent the token. That object is what must get in the bunker. Also, you're not allowed to change what that object is once Cramped Bunker appears. For example, if you're using a Zombie token card to represent an Angel token (weird, but sure), you can't suddenly decide you'd rather use a penny. If you create a new Angel token, you can use a penny.


Do-It-Yourself Seraph

What does it mean it "has the text box"?

Under silver-bordered rules, cards can have more than one text box. They have all the abilities (and flavor text) of those text boxes.

What do you do if a card makes you look at text within a text box?

If anything cares about the text of Do-It-Yourself Seraph, look at all of its text boxes as if they were one.

What happens if two text boxes contradict one another? For example, say it picks up two text boxes that each set its power and toughness differently.

The most recently added text box wins if there is a contradiction. Let's say Do-It-Yourself Seraph has the text boxes of both Beast of Burden (power and toughness equal to the number of creatures on the battlefield) and Psychosis Crawler (power and toughness equal to the number of cards in your hand). Do-It-Yourself Seraph's power and toughness would be defined by the text box added most recently.

Does Do-It-Yourself Seraph keep the text boxes if it leaves the battlefield?

No. The ability that adds the text boxes works only while Do-It-Yourself Seraph remains on the battlefield.

Let's say Do-It-Yourself Seraph attacks a few times and picks up some text boxes. Then it leaves the battlefield (boo), but then it returns to the battlefield (yay!). Does it still have those text boxes?

No. Once it leaves the battlefield, Do-It-Yourself Seraph loses the additional text boxes it had. But it can attack and pick up new ones!


Druid of the Sacred Beaker

Do my Contraptions count?

Yes. Faction symbols on Contraptions count as watermarks.


Earl of Squirrel

How does squirrellink work?

You know how lifelink causes you to gain life? Squirrellink causes you to gain Squirrels.

What happens if I control two Earl of Squirrels? Earls of Squirrel? Earl ofs Squirrel?

Each Earl of Squirrel will get +1/+1 from the other. All your other Squirrels will get +2/+2.


Entirely Normal Armchair

So this is like Cheatyface?

Very similar. Cheatyface can be snuck in at any time, while the Armchair is limited to your turn, but both must be in your hand to work. You can't sneak them onto the battlefield from outside the game or your library or anywhere else. We've updated the oracle text on Cheatyface to clarify that.

Must Entirely Normal Armchair be hidden behind something on the battlefield?

No, it can be hidden in plain sight (i.e. just sitting there).

Can you hide it during another player's turn?

Nope. It has to be hidden during your turn.

How long can it be on the battlefield?

If it doesn't get returned to your hand or sacrificed, it could be there forever.

Can my opponent attempt to activate Entirely Normal Armchair if they don't know where it is or even if there's one on the battlefield?

No, they must demonstrate that they know where it is.

Can I just cover it with my hand so they can't see it?

No. If an opponent can identify where it is after you sneak it onto the battlefield, they can activate the ability to return it to your hand. Nice try, though.


Everythingamajig

For the first ability, if I move a counter onto a planeswalker, does it become a loyalty counter?

Sure. The loyalty costs are symbols that refer to loyalty counters.

For the second ability, can I choose a card with no flavor text and say nothing?

No. The chosen card must have flavor text, and you must say it.

For the third ability, can I add another CRANK! counter to my Contraption deck?

No. The Contraption deck isn't a permanent, and to the best of our knowledge it isn't a player either—although, we've seen stranger things happen.

For the third ability, how should I treat hyphenated words?

If you discard a card a hyphenated word, you can only find another card with the same hyphenated word in its name. For example, you can't discard Five-Finger Discount and find Five-Alarm Fire.

For the third ability, who owns the cards after they've been exchanged?

For the rest of the game, you'll be the owner of the cards put into your hand, your library, and your graveyard this way. Everyone gets their cards back when the game is over.

For the third ability, is the order of cards in the libraries changed?

No. Just slide your library over to the other player as-is. They should do the same.


Extremely Slow Zombie

What's last strike?

It's the opposite of first strike. If your Extremely Slow Zombie faces an opponent's creature with no strike abilities, the opponent's creature will deal combat damage first (when most creatures deal combat damage). Then, if Extremely Slow Zombie survives, it deals combat damage back.

What happens if I give Extremely Slow Zombie first strike? Double strike?

An Extremely Slow Zombie that gains first strike will deal first-strike combat damage and last-strike combat damage. An Extremely Slow Zombie that gains double strike will deal combat damage at the normal first strike time, then at the regular combat damage time, and again at the normal last strike time.


Five-Finger Discount

Can you put a card owned by another player into your hand?

Yes, you can. Just remember when the game ends to give the card back to its owner. When you cast the card, it'll enter the battlefield under your control. From there, if it dies it'll go to its owner's graveyard. If it's returned to its owner's hand, it'll return to its owner's hand, and so on.

I thought Magic didn't do that.

Black-bordered Magic doesn't do that. Silver-bordered Magic doesn't always follow black-bordered rules.

What if the card tells you where to put it, such as shuffling it into your library?

Five-Finger Discount allows the card to enter your hand, but after that if it goes to a zone that's owned by anyone other than its owner's, it goes to its owner's corresponding zone. If you would shuffle the card into your library, it gets shuffled into its owner's library instead.


Garbage Elemental

For art menace, what counts as a "figure"?

A figure is any living (or undead) being in the art that's capable of movement.

What about Walls and Plants?

Only if it's living/undead and capable of movement. Treefolk? Yes. Venus fly trap? Yes. Random tree? No.


Gimme Five

What's a high five?

It's a celebratory motion involving two people slapping hands with one another, usually with arms extended.

Do you really believe someone doesn't know what a high five is?

I got enough "Hokey Pokey" questions when Unglued came out that I've learned to never assume anything.

Can I high-five someone without their permission?

No. In many places, doing so is illegal. Gimme Five works only if they high-five you, so make sure they are doing it voluntarily.

Can you high-five the same person more than once?

You can high-five them all you want, but Gimme Five will only gain you 1 life per person and only if they high-five you.

Must I be back in my seat at the end of 30 seconds?

No.

When does the 30 seconds start? How do I keep track?

The time starts as soon as Gimme Five starts resolving. To track the time, watches and phones work well.

What counts as a "silver-bordered game"?

It's a Magic game in which at least one person is playing with silver-bordered cards.


GO TO JAIL

If a die result is altered by another card, what counts as "doubles"?

If the two dice end up having the same result, they're considered "doubles." For example, say I roll a 5 and a 6 and use Snickering Squirrel to change my 5 to a 6. I now have two 6s. That's doubles and GO TO JAIL is sacrificed.


Goblin Haberdasher

What counts as a hat?

A hat is a garment worn on the head that's not part of another garment. Hoodies, for example, are not hats. Items that only cover the face and not the top of the head, such as a face mask, are also not hats.

What if someone in the background is wearing a hat? Does that count?

No. It must be the creature which the card is representing.

What if the card represents multiple creatures and only some of them are wearing hats?

If at least one of the represented creatures is wearing a hat, the creature has menace.


The Grand Calcutron

What exactly is happening with this card?

When The Grand Calcutron enters the battlefield, all players take their hands and place them face up on the table. They then order them as they choose into a row, called a "program." The only card they may cast is the leftmost card in their program. Whenever a card would go to their hand (they drew it, it got bounced, etc.) that player can put the card anywhere in their program they wish. At the beginning of each end step, if you have fewer than five cards in your program, you draw cards until you have five.

Are the draws mandatory?

Yes. If you have fewer than than five cards in your program, you must draw cards until you have five.

If I'm forced to discard, do I lose cards from my program?

Yes. Your program is still your hand, and those cards can be discarded.

What happens if The Grand Calcutron leaves the battlefield?

The players pick their cards up and put them back in their hand. They are no longer public and no longer have to follow the rules of The Grand Calcutron.


Graveyard Busybody

What does it mean that "all graveyards are also your graveyards"?

It means each graveyard is no longer under the control of other players. They're your graveyards now, you control them.

What's the practical application of gaining control of other player's graveyards?

Only you can use abilities of cards in those graveyards. For example, if a spell requires that you exile cards from your graveyard, you can exile cards from any graveyard. Any card that looks at cards in graveyards looks at any or all your graveyards.

If my opponent doesn't have a graveyard any more, where does their dead stuff go?

Their cards still go into the graveyard that used to be theirs.

Say a card like Jace, Vryn's Prodigy asks if I have a certain number of cards in my graveyard. Do I check just one graveyard or can I look at them all?

You can look at them all. In the Jace example, if there were two cards in your original graveyard and three cards in your newly-appropriated graveyard, that would satisfy Jace's requirement.

Are the graveyards still separate?

Yes, this effect still keeps them separate. Effects that affect just a single graveyard, such as shuffling them into a library, would still only affect one graveyard.

A card tells me to shuffle my graveyard into my library. What happens?

All the cards in those graveyards are shuffled into their owners' libraries. You won't put any cards from graveyards you stole, er . . . borrowed into your library.

What happens if multiple players each control a Graveyard Busybody?

Whichever one entered the battlefield most recently "wins." The controller of that Graveyard Busybody has all the graveyards, and any other player's Graveyard Busybody is a 0/0 that is put into the graveyard that player used to have as a state-based action.


Grusilda, Monster Masher

What is a combined creature?

A host creature with an augment card attached to it is a combined creature. Also, the unholy abominations that Grusilda herself creates are combined creatures. You know what? Let's throw in melded creatures too.

Say you combine two creatures that each have an ability defining its power and toughness. What happens?

If that happens, figure out the result of each ability, then add them together. So a combined Maro and Knight of the Widget would have power and toughness each equal to the number of cards in your hand plus the number of Order of the Widget watermarks among permanents you control.

Can I use Grusilda's ability to put a host creature and a creature with augment onto the battlefield combined?

Yes, you can.

Can Grusilda combine an augment creature with a non-host creature?

She can, but it's probably not a great idea. The resulting creature will have augment and it won't be attached to a host. This will cause the creature (meaning both cards that comprise it) to go to the graveyard.

Say I use Grusilda to combine two host creatures. Can I attach an augment creature to the resulting combined creature?

Yeah, that sounds fun.


Handy Dandy Clone Machine

What's a "unique hand"?

That means that any one hand can represent only one singular Homunculus creature token. A two-handed player will therefore be limited to two tokens using their own hands.

How do I represent additional tokens?

Get additional hands. Any human hand works.

Oh, I know just the place . . .

I feel I should clarify. You can get other living people to help you by using their still-very-much-attached hands. Just remember that they need to agree to it, so ask nicely.

Can it be my opponent's hand?

If they agree to it. They're not required to, though.

What if the hand stops representing the Homunculus creature token?

Then the token immediately ceases to exist. Being a Homunculus token is a commitment.


Hangman

Does the word have to be in English?

It should be in a language everyone in the game understands. If there are multiple such languages, specify which language you are using as you note the word.

How do I secretly note the word?

Write it down and don't show anyone until the appropriate time.

What happens if the player guesses a letter that's in the word?

The card works like the game of Hangman. You write out spaces for each letter in the word and fill them in as letters are correctly guessed. If a letter appears multiple times, you should fill in each instance of that letter within the word. Please use pencil/pen and paper to help facilitate this mini-game.

If I'm guessing the word, do I have to spell it? Do I have to spell it correctly?

You don't have to spell it, but if the word has multiple spellings or is a homophone, you have to identify which word you're guessing. For example, "I'll guess raining as in 'water falling from the sky,' not 'what I'm doing in this game.'"

Can a player guess a letter that's already been guessed to load up +1/+1 counters?

No. Once a letter has been guessed, it can't be guessed again.

What happens if Hangman changes controllers?

The person who originally chose the word continues to fulfill their duties as letters or words are guessed. Now that this player doesn't control Hangman, they're probably going to have an easy time figuring out the word.


Hazmat Suit (Used)

Do I lose life for touching Hazmat Suit (Used)?

No, the penalty is for touching the creature enchanted by Hazmat Suit (Used).

Does a card sleeve protect you from this card?

No, under silver-bordered rules a card sleeve is considered part of the card for purposes of "touching" effects.

Can I use my shirt?

As long as you aren't touching the card or its card sleeve with your skin or fingernail, you're safe.

Does my opponent lose life if I touch them with the enchanted creature?

No. Thanks to Vile Bile, we have a ruling that you lose life for touching it, not for it touching you, so no chasing people around, please.


Hot Fix

How does the timing for this work?

Here's what I recommend. Have someone else use a watch or phone that can track seconds. When you're ready, they say "Go!" and then count down from 10. If you are still touching any cards in your library when time is up, you have to shuffle your library, undoing your ordering.

Can I change anything about the contents of the library? Maybe leave all the cards face up?

No. All you can do is rearrange the library. When you're done, you have a single pile of face-down cards (assuming you have only one library).

Can I also rearrange my Contraption deck while I'm at it?

Nope. Just your library.


Hydradoodle

Can I choose 0 for the value of X?

Sure, but then you won't roll any dice as it enters and it'll be 0/0. Unless something else is immediately raising its toughness, it'll be put into your graveyard.


Ineffable Blessing

If I've chosen Flavorful for one Ineffable Blessing and another enters the battlefield, can I choose Bland?

Yes. You make the choice for each one individually. Each one will have the ability associated with your choice. It won't have the other ability.

If I choose Flavorful, does the flavor text have to be in the text box?

Not necessarily. Lexivore, for example, is eating its own flavor text. It would count.

Which artists can I choose?

Any artist who has ever been credited on a Magic card or printed token.

If I choose Claymore J. Flapdoodle and a creature with art by Phil Foglie enters the battlefield under my control, do I draw a card?

I have no idea what you're talking about. But you can ignore all the various nicknames in quotation marks we've used in previous Un- sets.

White-bordered?

For years, core set reprints were given a white border.

Do Unstable basic lands and Amonkhet Invocations (both cards where the art goes to the edge of the card) have borders for the purpose of this card?

How does Ineffable Blessing treat the rarity of basic land cards? I remember hearing that they have their own rarity.

For most recent cards, looking at the expansion symbol will tell you what you need to know. Any card with a black expansion symbol is treated as a common, including basic lands. Any card with a silver expansion symbol is treated as an uncommon. Any card with a gold expansion symbol is treated as a rare. Any card with a mythic orange expansion symbol is treated as a mythic rare. Any card with a different colored expansion symbol (such as the purple expansion symbols from the Time Spiral timeshifted sheet) is treated as a special rarity. Cards from before Exodus don't have expansion symbols, so check out Gatherer to find out their rarity.

Do creature tokens have names?

They do. For most tokens, their name is the same as their creature types. A few tokens are specifically given names by the effects that create them.


Infinity Elemental

What does infinite power mean?

Infinity Elemental's power is incalculable. Infinity Elemental has the largest power on the battlefield (although it will tie other Infinity Elementals). Gaining or losing power is meaningless to it, although effects that set its power to another number will still work.

Infinite is a lot of power. I'm thinking lifelink. Good idea?

Great idea. You'll gain infinite life.

What happens if I have infinite life and then get hit with my opponent's Infinity Elemental?

Once you're at infinite life, your life total effectively can't change. At infinite life and gain 2 life? You're at infinite life. At infinite life and lose 29 life? You're at infinite life. You can pay any amount of life. In fact, if you're at infinite life and get with an opposing Infinity Elemental, you'd still be at infinite life.

Through different effects, I can convert ∞ power into other resources.

Is there a question?

Can I have ∞ mana?

Yes. (Mox Lotus from Unhinged could already accomplish this.)

Can I create ∞ tokens?

Have fun.

Can I get ∞ counters?

You won't be able to individually represent them all, but silver-bordered rules allow it.

Can I draw ∞ cards?

No, as ∞ cards don't exist. Also, you'll lose the game if you try. Making someone else try to draw ∞ cards though . . .


It That Gets Left Hanging

What constitutes not getting a high five?

You must clearly ask for the high five. The other person must clearly decline, either verbally or by demonstrating disinterest. For example, they may shake their head "no," turn away from you, or move to a different city.

What if there are no people nearby?

Most of the outside assistance cards allow you to use a text or phone call, but this one requires actual human contact. If there's no one to turn down your high five, It That Gets Left Hanging won't gain haste.


Just Desserts

How do I figure out if multiple Just Desserts kills a creature?

Here's a handy-dandy guide:

  • One Just Desserts destroys a creature with toughness 3 or less.
  • Two Just Desserts destroys a creature with toughness 6 or less.
  • Three Just Desserts destroys a creature with toughness 9 or less.
  • Four Just Desserts destroys a creature with toughness 12½ or less.

What happens if the damage from Just Desserts gets redirected to a player?

It does damage like normal, but will create fractional amounts. If you ever have to calculate Just Desserts, you have my permission to use 3.14. For example, if through shenanigans you are hit with a Just Desserts when at 20 life, your life total drops to 16.86.


Kindly Cognician

What does "refer to" mean?

It means having either the word "artifact" or "Contraption" (or their plurals) in their rules text. Flavor text and reminder text don't count.

Does the type line count? Are my artifacts cheaper?

No. Kindly Cognician cares only about rules text in the text box.


Kindslaver

What does controlling another player mean?

It means that the substitute you enlist makes all decisions for the target player during that turn. They choose whether any spells are cast, any creatures attack, and so on. It's just like Mindslaver. Hopefully, the name gave that away.

If I'm controlling another player, can I make them go to the restroom or concede?

No. You're limited to decisions called for by cards and the game rules. Conceding is beyond that scope.

What happens if the person I've enlisted to control my opponent during their next turn doesn't know anything about Magic?

You could get someone who isn't you or the controlled player to advise. Failing that, suggesting that they just say "go" is acceptable.

What happens if the person I've enlisted to control my opponent during their next turn wanders off?

Fine choices of substitutes you're making. If that happens, assume the controlled player did nothing during the turn except end the turn.


Knight of the Kitchen Sink

Do all black cards have a black border?

No, all black cards have a black frame. The border is the very edge of the card. Most cards have white, silver, or black borders.

Say there's a Zombie card whose art shows a Zombie with a closed mouth . . . BUT there's a human in the background screaming. Does Knight of the Kitchen Sink have protection from that Zombie?

Yes. There just needs to be an open mouth in the art. It doesn't have to be on the depicted creature.

What about something that doesn't have lips but does have a mouth? Like a skeleton or something.

The art doesn't need lips, just an open mouth. (First time for that sentence.)


Knight of the Widget

Do you count Contraptions with the Order of the Widget symbol on them?

Yes. The faction symbols on Contraptions are considered watermarks for the purposes of "watermarks matter" cards.


Krark's Other Thumb

Which die rolls does Krark's Other Thumb work with?

It works with any die you're instructed or allowed to roll.

Do cards like As Luck Would Have It count the die roll that gets ignored?

No. The ignored roll never happened as far as any other cards are concerned.

What happens if I roll more than one die?

For each die, roll two dice and then choose which die to count.

What if the die roll includes some physical functionality? Like 'Ol Buzzbark cares where the dice actually land.

For each die you would roll, instead roll two, following all instructions that apply to the die roll. You might need to use colored dice to keep each pair of dice clear so you can ignore one roll from each pair.

Does Krark's Other Thumb apply to rerolls?

Yes. Rerolling a die is rolling a die.


Mary O'Kill

Can I activate the ability if Mary O'Kill is in my hand?

Yes.

What's a Killbot?

Killbot is a new creature type that appears in the set.

How exactly does the exchange work?

For all intents and purposes, the exchanged card is taking the place of the original card. Whatever its doing, the state it's in, whatever's attached to it—all of it stays the same. It's as if Mary O'Kill or one of the Killbots pulls off a mask to reveal they were actually the other one all along. Diabolical!


Masterful Ninja

What does it mean to be on the battlefield and in your hand?

The creature exists in both zones. It's considered on the battlefield for anything that cares about permanents being on the battlefield and it's considered in your hand for things that care about cards in your hand.

Does Masterful Ninja's ability cause any enters-the-battlefield abilities to trigger? What about leaves-the-battlefield abilities when the turn ends and it goes back to being just in my hand?

Masterful Ninja is so masterful that any abilities that care about a creature entering or leaving the battlefield don't even notice it. (If Masterful Ninja enters or leaves the battlefield another way, those abilities work as normal.)

What happens if I try to move Masterful Ninja from battlefield to hand or vice versa?

Masterful Ninja stays in both zones. For example, say your opponent casts Unsummon, trying to return Masterful Ninja from the battlefield to your hand. It's already in your hand, so nothing happens. Masterful Ninja stays on the battlefield. And in your hand.

What happens if Masterful Ninja is destroyed?

Masterful Ninja goes to the graveyard and will no longer be in your hand or on the battlefield.

What happens if Masterful Ninja is discarded?

Same thing. It'll be in just the graveyard.


Modular Monstrosity

What keywords am I allowed to choose?

You may choose any keyword ability that appears on any printed Magic creature card. You can't pick keyword actions like explore or scry. If the keyword has a modifier, such as a mana cost or a number, you must choose a modifier that's been printed. Sorry, "annihilator 500" fans.

Could you clarify what "chosen for a card named Modular Monstrosity today" means?

Each keyword can be chosen only once on any given day. And that counts every Modular Monstrosity you play with that day. You also can't reuse a keyword with a new modifier. For example, if you choose protection from Demons and from Dragons (totally counts), you can't choose protection from red later that day. Protection has already been used.

How do you remember what you've chosen?

I recommend making a list.

What happens if I repeat a keyword?

It's an invalid choice, so you must choose another quickly. Making an invalid choice doesn't stop you from quickly picking a valid one.

What happens if I don't pick a valid choice in 5 seconds?

Modular Monstrosity loses all the keyword abilities you've chosen so far, as well as any other keywords it picked up in other ways.


More or Less

What exactly is a number?

1, 2, 3, 45. Think back to when you had to take a math class. Those things.

What exactly is a number word?

One, two, three, forty-five. Think back to when you had to take a language arts class. Those things.

Do "a" or "an" count as number words (such as "draw a card")?

No.

Why not?

They're not number words.

They're kind of like number words.

Definitely not number words. Definitely indefinite articles.

Can I change the number in a mana symbol?

You can. Changing the mana cost of a permanent will change its converted mana cost. You could also change the activation cost of an ability.

Can I change power or toughness?

You can. If you change a toughness of 1 to 0, the creature will probably die.

Can I change a collector number? A number in legal text? A number or number word in flavor text?

You can change any number or any number word anywhere on the card. Go wild.

Can I turn a 0 into a -1?

You can. Note that cards that would deal 0 or less damage don't deal damage, even in silver-bordered games.

Doesn't that unleash some crazy stuff?

Welcome to silver borders.


Oddly Uneven

Does Oddly Uneven count lowercase words like "of" or "the"?

Yes, it counts all words in the name.

What if a name has no words in its name? (I'm looking at you, _____.)

0 is even.

Do creature tokens have names?

They do. For most tokens, their name is the same as their creature types. For example, an Elf Warrior token is named Elf Warrior. A few tokens are specifically given a different name by the effects that create them.


Ol' Buzzbark

Do I roll all the dice at once?

Yes. All dice should leave your hands at the same time.

What counts as touching a card?

When the die finishes rolling, it must be in physical contact with the card or its sleeve. Touching the card mid-roll doesn't count if it isn't touching when it stops rolling.

Can one die touch and affect multiple creatures?

Yes, if that die is touching multiple creatures. It's even possible for it to be touching one of your creatures and one of your opponent's creatures, boosting your creature and damaging your opponent's.

Can the dice be of any size?

For most cards yes, but for Ol' Buzzbark, no. The dice for Ol' Buzzbark can't exceed one inch in width. Also, please don't use dice made of materials that would damage the cards when falling. Like actual damage, not game damage.

Can my opponent interfere in any way with the rolling of the dice?

No, they may not.


Ordinary Pony

But wait, doesn't this go infinite with Half-Squirrel, Half-?

In fact, it does. Half-Squirrel, Half-Pony allows you to replay any creature with an enter the battlefield effect (which includes all host creatures) as many times as you want. Black-border shies away from power-level errata, but silver border is more lenient when doing so creates more overall fun for everyone involved. Therefore, as Un-Rules Manager (with full blessing of the editing team),I'm officially changing Ordinary Pony's Oracle text to:

When this creature enters the battlefield, you may exile target non-Horse creature you control that wasn't put onto the battlefield with this ability this turn, then return it to the battlefield under its owner's control.

This will allow you to flicker any creature once each turn. It just doesn't let you go infinite.


Over My Dead Bodies

What's going on with this card?

So, so much. Here's a way to think about it. During combat, creature cards in graveyards can attack and block just as if they were on the battlefield. Attacking creature cards in the graveyard can be blocked only by creature cards in the defending player's graveyard. Remember shadow? Raging River? It's sort of like that.

What's undeathtouch?

It's deathtouch for dead things. If creature cards in graveyards deal damage to one another, they're exiled.

Can creature cards in graveyards attack planeswalkers?

Yes. They can attack anything a normal creature on the battlefield can attack.

Do other combat abilities work on graveyard creatures?

Sure. A graveyard-bound attacking creature card with flying can be blocked only by creature cards in graveyards with flying or reach. Flying graves. Totally a thing.

Will global effects affect the graveyard creatures?

Here's where silver-bordered rules get fun. Over My Dead Bodies allows you to attack or block with creature cards in your graveyard. If you do, for the duration of combat, the attacking and blocking creature cards are treated as if they are creature cards on the battlefield which means they can be affected by spells or abilities that would affect creatures on the battlefield. That means, for example, if you have a Lord of Accursed on the battlefield ("Other Zombies you control get +1/+1"), all your attacking and blocking graveyard creatures (which Over My Dead Bodies makes into Zombies) would get +1/+1 while in combat.

So I can cast Giant Growth targeting an attacking graveyard creature?

Yes, you may target an attacking or blocking graveyard creature just as you could target a normal creature.

So I can cast Murder targeting my opponent's blocking graveyard creature?

Sure. If a graveyard creature is destroyed, it's removed from combat. It would go to the graveyard, but it's already in the graveyard. But you removed it from combat!

Can I target a graveyard creature that isn't attacking or blocking?

Not with anything that targets a creature on the battlefield. Remember you treat them as on the battlefield only while they're attacking or blocking.

Do the graveyard creatures cause attacking or blocking triggered abilities to trigger?

Yes. Remember that they're treated as permanents on the battlefield while in combat, so a graveyard creature attacking will cause anything that triggers when a creature attacks (including its own abilities) to trigger.

What about abilities that trigger when a creature enters or leaves the battlefield? Will graveyard creatures cause those to trigger?

No. They're not actually on the battlefield, so they're not entering it or leaving it. They're just sort of treated that way for combat purposes.

What happens if Over My Dead Bodies gets destroyed mid-combat?

The graveyard creatures go back to being just dead. They're removed from combat.


Party Crasher

How in the world does this card work?

During each combat, there's a time when attackers are declared. Normally, only the active player declares attackers, but Party Crasher doesn't play by those rules. During the declare attackers step of your opponent's combat phase, after they're done declaring their attackers, you may choose to declare Party Crasher as an attacker. After you declare blockers, the defending player can declare blockers for Party Crasher. All combat damage is dealt simultaneously, unless a strike ability (first, double, last, and/or triple) is involved.

If my opponent attacks with a creature with vigilance, can that creature block Party Crasher?

If it stays untapped, sure.

So a creature can attack and block at the same time?

Yes.

That seems strange.

Welcome to silver-border Magic.

If my Party Crasher has vigilance in a multiplayer game, can it attack during each opponent's combat phase?

Yes, it can. Party Crasher has lots of energy.


Phoebe, Head of S.N.E.A.K.

Can Phoebe be blocked by a creature with flavor text that isn't in the text box?

No. Lexivore, for example, is eating its own flavor text. It can't block Phoebe.

What exactly does stealing a text box mean?

If Phoebe steals a creature's text box, that creature no longer has that text box. Phoebe now has her own text box in addition to the one she stole.

What do you do if a card makes you look at text within a textbox?

If an effect cares about Phoebe's rules text, flavor text, or watermarks, look at all her text boxes as if they were one. If an effect cares about the rules text, flavor text, or watermarks of a creature who's had its text box stolen, the effect sees nothing but an empty pit of sadness.

If Phoebe steals a creature's text box, it will no longer have flavor text. Can it then block Phoebe?

Yes. A little tension for Phoebe.

What happens if two text boxes contradict one another? For example, say it picks up two text boxes that each set its power and toughness differently.

The most recently added text box wins if there is a contradiction. Let's say Phoebe steals the text boxes of both Beast of Burden (power and toughness equal to the number of creatures on the battlefield) and Psychosis Crawler (power and toughness equal to the number of cards in your hand). Phoebe's power and toughness would be defined by her more recent heist.

Wait, what happens to the poor Beast of Burden once its text box is stolen?

If the creature had an ability defining its power and toughness, losing that ability will make it a 0/0. It will likely die.

Does Phoebe keep the text boxes if she leaves the battlefield?

If Phoebe leaves the battlefield, the stolen text boxes are lost. She doesn't keep them, and she certainly doesn't give them back to their original owners.

Say a creature with no text box leaves the battlefield and then returns. Does it have its own text box again?

Yes. Once the creature leaves the battlefield, the one that returns is a new creature and comes complete with its standard text box. This won't affect Phoebe, who presumably still has the one she stole from the original creature.

Can you grant abilities to a creature without a text box?

You can. Those abilities will be atop an empty pit of sadness, but they'll still work.


Proper Laboratory Attire

Could you explain what's protected by protection from die rolls?

Essentially, protection from die rolls is protection from anything that makes use of die rolls. This means if something allows or requires someone to roll a die for any reason, the equipped creature has protection from it. This includes any kind of die, not just six-sided dice.

Does a card like Wall of Fortune which allows you to reroll dice count?

Yes, rerolling a die counts as rolling a die.

Does a card like Snickering Squirrel which affects die rolls but doesn't itself use a die roll count?

No, because Snickering Squirrel doesn't allow or require you to roll a die. It just refers to die rolls.


Really Epic Punch

Can I cast Really Epic Punch if I'm the only player who controls creatures?

No. You must target a creature you control and a creature you don't control. Note that you can target any creature you control, even if it isn't a host or it doesn't have augment. It won't get the +2/+2 bonus, but it will still fight.

If I control a combined host/augment creature, will it get the +2/+2?

Yes. Although the combined creature isn't still a host, it does still have augment.

The card does not say "until end of turn." If you use this on a host or creature with augment, is it +2/+2 for the rest of the game?

Yes, the +2/+2 is a permanent effect. (You can use counters to mark this effect if you like.) As the card says, it's a Really Epic Punch.


Rules Lawyer

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!

Take a breath.

What are state-based actions? What does this card do?

State-based actions are a list of rules that the game basically uses to clean itself up. They're the janitors of the Magic rules. Something that should be dead still on the battlefield? State-based actions clean it up. Player at -3 life still in the game? State-based actions clean it up. Aura hanging out attached to nothing? State-based actions clean it up.

But now with Rules Lawyer, things are gonna get messy.

Here's a breakdown of everything that Rules Lawyer does for you, complete with Comprehensive Rules references:

  • You don't lose the game if you're at or below 0 life. (704.5a)
  • If you try to draw from an empty library, nothing happens. (704.5b)
  • You could hit up an all-you-can-eat poison counter buffet no problem. (Rule 704.5c)
  • Creatures you control with toughness of 0 or less remain on the battlefield. (704.5f)
  • Creatures you control that have been dealt lethal damage remain on the battlefield. (704.5g)
  • Creatures you control shrug off opposing creatures with deathtouch. (704.5h)
  • Your planeswalkers remain on the battlefield even if they have no loyalty counters. (704.5i)
  • You can control as many legendary permanents (including planeswalkers) with the same name as you want. It's like your own personal Mirror Gallery! (704.5j)
  • You can control multiple permanents with the supertype world. So, that opens up some deck ideas, I'd imagine. (704.5k)
  • Auras you control stay on the battlefield if they're attached to an illegal permanent or if they aren't attached to a permanent (but should be). They may not do much because there probably won't be an "enchanted [whatever]," but they'll stay on the battlefield! (704.5m) Similarly, thanks to an un-documented silver-bordered state-based action no longer applying, your creatures with augment can now survive even if not attached to a host. (704.5m)
  • Equipment and Fortifications you control can stay attached to an illegal permanent. (704.5n)
  • If you somehow control a creature that's attached to another permanent, that creature can stay attached. It can attack and block, even if another creature is carrying it. Similarly, if you control a permanent that isn't an Aura, an Equipment, or a Fortification, it can stay attached to whatever you manage to get it attached to. Strange. (704.5p)
  • +1/+1 counters and -1/-1 counters on permanents you control no longer annihilate each other. (704.5q)
  • Good news for Rasputin Dreamweaver fans: you can ignore abilities of permanents you control that say it can't have more than a certain number of a certain kind of counter. (704.5r)
  • Your Two-Headed Giant team can no longer lose because you have 0 or less life or fifteen or more poison counters. (704.5s and 704.5t)
  • In Commander, you're immune to the "commander damage rule" that says you lose if a single commander deals 21 or more combat damage to you. (704.5u)

I noticed a few state-based actions weren't listed. What about tokens going poof?

Rules Lawyer applies only to you and permanents you control. Once a token leaves the battlefield, it's no longer a permanent, so it'll cease to exist. Same with copies of cards that might exist off the battlefield.

So I can't lose the game?

Not exactly. Any ability that says a player wins or loses the game still works. And don't forget that Rules Lawyer's ability doesn't apply to itself. It can die for any number of reasons. If you lose control of it while sitting at -34 life, you'll lose immediately.

How does a creature with 0 or less toughness work? Can it attack and block?

It can. If it has 0 or less power, it won't deal any combat damage. If a creature with 0 or less toughness blocks an attacking creature with trample, treat its toughness as 0 when determining how much damage can "trample through."


Sacrifice Play

If there's only one attacking or blocking creature that could be sacrificed, do I really have to find someone outside the game?

Technically, yes. I won't tell anyone if you don't.


Selfie Preservation

What counts as having a tree in the art?

The art must have enough of the tree that it's clearly a tree being pictured.

Does the tree have to be alive?

The tree must still be tree-shaped. Chopped-down tree on the ground? Sure. But wooden boards that were once a tree don't count.

Does a Treefolk count as a tree?

Absolutely. I'm not sure there's a land card with a Treefolk on it, but if such a thing existed, I'd count it.

Does a stump count as a tree?

No, it's the absence of a tree, not a tree.

Do non-tree objects in the shape of a tree count?

No. Sculptures of trees, mimes posed as trees, the Selesnya guild symbol . . . these are not trees.


Shellephant

If I haven't activated Shellephant's ability, it's a ?/? creature. What does that mean?

It means it's undefined. It can't just stay undefined, so if Shellephant is going to be on the battlefield or something needs to know its power or toughness, you should activate the ability to define it.

Can I have Shellephant deal 3 damage in combat but have 4 toughness?

Not normally, but if Shellephant has first strike, double strike, or triple strike, and the creatures it's in combat with have none of them, you can deal damage as a 3/3 and then change it to a 1/4 before normal damage happens. This will also work if the creature Shellephant is in combat with has last strike.

Does Shellephant's creature type change depending on its size?

No. Shellephant's "and/or" in its creature type line allows you to change at will whether it's a Turtle, an Elephant or both a Turtle and an Elephant. Much like its power and toughness, this can be changed at any time in any zone.

Can Shellephant be neither a Turtle nor an Elephant?

It's "and/or," not "and/or/nor." Barring something else affecting it, it will always be a Turtle, an Elephant, or both. If it's just in your library, you don't have to say which one until something cares.


Side Quest

What counts as a "silver-bordered game"?

It's a Magic game in which at least one person is playing with silver-bordered cards.

What happens if the creature dies while it's in the other game?

If the creature leaves the battlefield in the other game, it's put into the appropriate zone in your game. So it dies to your graveyard, it gets bounced to your hand, and so on.


Skull Saucer

If I don't want to put my head on the table, can I still destroy a creature?

Yes.

What if we're not playing on a table?

What are you playing on? Doesn't matter. Putting your head on the playing surface will meet the requirements of the card.

Can it be any part of my head, like my chin?

Yes, any part of your head will work.

If my opponent is playing with their head on the table, can I make them lift it up?

Not physically. You can try and talk them into it.


Slaying Mantis

I declare Slaying Mantis. Is there any way for my opponent to move their cards before the "just a second" mechanic kicks in?

No, there's not. The announcement of the spell instantly locks all cards into place on the battlefield.

Can Slaying Mantis be dropped from a height of three feet?

No, it must be thrown, not dropped. That three-foot distance is horizontal, not vertical.

Slaying Mantis lands touching multiple creatures. How does the fight work?

Slaying Mantis fights each creature one-on-one in a handicap match. For example, Slaying Mantis lands on a 3/3, a 4/4, and a 5/5. Slaying Mantis deals 6 damage to each of them, destroying them all. At the same time, they deal a total of 12 damage to Slaying Mantis, destroying it.

Slaying Mantis touches a creature mid-flight but doesn't end up touching it when it comes to rest. Does it still fight that creature?

Yes.

What about creature tokens?

If Slaying Mantis touches the object representing the creature token, it will fight it.

Can my opponent interfere with the throwing of the card?

No, they may not.


Sly Spy

How do I determine the longest name?

By counting the number of characters in the name, ignoring spaces.

My right or its right?

Your right. A creature facing the side where we usually put the mana cost is facing right.

If there are multiple creatures in the art, which one counts?

Look at the one that the card is representing.

What if the card represents more than one creature in the art?

Then most of those creatures need to be looking in the proper direction.

Is the thumb a finger?

Yes.

Can the opponent use a lost finger for other things?

The finger can be used for non-game actions, such as eating, drinking, and . . . um, hygiene.


S.N.E.A.K. Dispatcher

Can I really put a card owned by my opponent into my hand?

Yes, you can. Make sure the card's owner gets it back after the game.

Can I look at the top card of a Contraption deck?

No, that's not a library.


Snickering Squirrel

When do I decide if I'm tapping Snickering Squirrel?

Right after you see the result of the die roll.

Can I use the ability if Snickering Squirrel has summoning sickness?

Yes, you can. The ability doesn't use the tap symbol.

Can I turn a 6 on a six-sided die into a 7?

Absolutely. Squirrels aren't limited by the normal dice paradigm.

Can multiple Snickering Squirrels affect the same die roll?

Yes, they can.


Socketed Sprocketer

I'm confused. What's this card doing?

The first ability lets you roll a six-sided die and put that result on Socketed Sprocketer. This basically saves that result for later use. Say you roll a 5. Put the die on Socketed Sprocketer with the 5 face up. Later in the game, when you roll another die, you can choose to use the 5 instead of the result. (You'll see the result before having to decide.) If you have a 6 installed on Socketed Sprocket, you can just uninstall it to draw a card. If you do this, the 6 is gone and can't be used to replace a future die roll.


Spike, Tournament Grinder

What banned and restricted lists count for Spike, Tournament Grinder?

Any list generated by Wizards of the Coast or the Commander Rules Committee.

How do I know what cards have been banned or restricted?

Here's a list of cards you can get, as of December 2017:

This list also includes all cards with the card type conspiracy, but they only work from the command zone, so really don't bother. This list would have included cards that mention ante, but there's a rule (even in silver-bordered games) that ante cards can't enter games that aren't for ante.

You can see the latest banned and restricted lists here.


Split Screen

Which library do I draw from?

You may choose to draw from any of your four libraries.

Do I lose when one library empties?

Only if you try to draw from that library. Don't do that. Of course, if all your libraries are empty, you won't have much choice.

What happens if I cast a second Split Screen?

One of your four libraries will itself become four libraries. You'll end up with seven libraries. If one Split Screen leaves the battlefield, you'll shuffle all your libraries together. The other Split Screen will still apply, so you'll play with the top card of your one library revealed. When that one leaves the battlefield, you'll shuffle your library.

How does this card work with Animate Library?

Animate Library will end up enchanting one of your libraries. The other three won't be creatures.

Does Split Screen work with Yet Another Æther Vortex from Unhinged?

Yeah, baby! Any of the four revealed cards that are permanent cards will also be on the battlefield.


Squirrel Dealer

What if the person says they like Squirrels but I suspect they don't like Squirrels at all?

If they say they do, you'll create the Squirrel token.

And if they don't give a reply?

You create the Squirrel token only if they say they like Squirrels. If they give no reply, they didn't do that.


Squirrel-Powered Scheme

Can Squirrel-Powered Scheme let me roll a 7 or 8 on a six-sided die?

Absolutely. Squirrels are not bound by the number of sides on a die.

What happens if I control two Squirrel-Powered Schemes?

Increase each roll by 4. A roll of 6 would become a roll of 10.

Does Squirrel-Powered Scheme affect all die rolls?

Squirrel-Powered Scheme affects only numerical die rolls. It won't change a roll of the planar die, but you might get to say something like "I rolled chaos plus 2," which is a pretty cool thing to say.


Staff of the Letter Magus

Can I choose Y?

Yes. We play by popular game show rules here. Y is a consonant.


Steel Squirrel

Can Steel Squirrel get a bonus greater than +6/+6?

Yes. Not only do cards like Snickering Squirrel make this possible, Sword of Dungeons & Dragons exists. Squirrels love swords!

When I roll a die because of Steel Squirrel's ability, does that die roll do anything?

Other than give you a shot to have Steel Squirrel's first ability trigger, no. The roll doesn't count for any other card's die roll, although cards with abilities that trigger whenever you roll a die may care.


Summon the Pack

Can I use any booster pack?

If it's unopened and an official Magic booster pack, yes you can. You can even use promotional booster packs like the Standard Showdown booster packs. Magic has made a variety of sealed booster packs over the years. Have fun!

What happens if my booster pack has no creature cards?

You curse your insanely bad luck and then get nothing.

What happens if one of these cards leaves the battlefield? Can they go to other zones?

Yes. Once they're in the game, they're in the game. You own them. The only difference is at the end of the game, you have to remove them from your deck.

Do I have to put all creature cards in the booster pack onto the battlefield?

Oh yes. This adds a little drama to opening a Legions booster pack. All creature cards, sure—but opening a Phage the Untouchable will lose you the game.


Super-Duper Death Ray

How does trample work on a spell?

It's like how trample works on a creature: excess damage is dealt to the creature's controller. For example, I cast Super-Duper Death Ray and aim it at a 3/3 creature. Super-Duper Death Ray deals 3 damage to that creature and the extra 1 damage can be dealt to its controller.


Suspicious Nanny

If a Suspicious Nanny I control somehow deals combat damage to me, can I reassemble a Contraption I control onto a new sprocket?

Yes. You've earned it.


Sword of Dungeons & Dragons

What color is the gold Dragon token?

Gold.

That's not a Magic color.

It is now. It joins brown, hazel, and pink as exclusive silver-bordered colors.

Can I pick gold when asked to choose a color?

In silver-bordered games, sure.


Three-Headed Goblin

Triple strike?

Triple strike is all the strikes (for now). Three-Headed Goblin deals first-strike combat damage, regular combat damage, and last-strike combat damage. Note it has to survive each time to deal more damage later. For example, if it's blocked by a 3/3 creature with first strike, the two creatures will take each other out during first-strike combat damage. But if left unblocked, Three-Headed Goblin will deal a total of 9 damage to the defending player.


Urza, Academy Headmaster

What's going on with this card?

Urza, Academy Headmaster is just like any other planeswalker, except you're never quite sure what his abilities are going to do. Urza is very unpredictable. To find out what happens, head to AskUrza.com. There you will find three buttons: +1, -1, and -6. Click the button for the loyalty ability that's resolving, and follow whatever instructions appear.

Can players respond after they see what's going to happen?

Nope. It's all part of the effect. Urza is very unpredictable.

What if I don't like the effect? Can I change my mind and un-activate the ability?

Nope. The effects are all good for you or bad for your opponents, although in some cases you may not be able to take advantage. For example, if it ends up that creatures you control get +1/+1 until end of turn, but you don't control any, you're out of luck. Urza is very unpredictable.

How many possibilities are there for each ability?

We're not saying. Oh, and the possibilities can change at any time. Urza is very unpredictable. But generally speaking, the +1 will produce minor results, the -1 will yield more impressive ones, and the -6 should nicely shake up your game.

Can I play this card if I don't have access to AskUrza.com?

Technically yes, but you'll probably be unhappy with how it plays. Urza's not that unpredictable.


Very Cryptic Command

For the first mode, can I really put a card owned by my opponent into my hand?

Sure, why not? Make sure the card's owner gets it back after the game.

For the first mode, if I choose a permanent I control but an opponent owns as the target, does it really get put into my hand?

Sure, why not? Make sure the card's owner gets it back after the game.

For the second mode, how do I treat hyphenated words?

Hyphenated words count as one word.

For the fourth mode, what does it mean to "turn over" a nontoken creature?

Physically turn the card (or cards, if the creature has more than one) over. If the result is a face-down card, it's a colorless 2/2 creature, the same as one would get from using the morph ability. Turning a face-down card over results in it being turned face up. Any abilities that trigger when it's turned face up will work. Turning a double-faced card over is the same as transforming it. Any abilities that trigger when you transform it will work. Turning a combined host/augment creature over will result in a big colorless 2/2 creature represented by two cards. Turning a melded creature over will result in the two cards breaking apart and forming two separate creatures, but they'll probably just get right back together even though she's too good for him. Man, we've made some weird stuff over the years. Oh, I guess turning B.F.M. (Big Furry Monster) over is the same as turning a combined creature over.


Wall of Fortune

Can I use the ability if the Wall I want to tap has summoning sickness?

Yes, you can. The ability doesn't use the tap symbol. You could even tap Wall of Fortune itself this way on the turn it enters the battlefield.

Can I tap multiple Walls I control to affect the same die roll?

Yes, you can. After you roll, you can tap one Wall to reroll. If you don't like that result, you can tap another Wall to try again.

Can I reroll any type of die, like say a planar die?

Yes. If the die that's being rerolled is generated by a game effect, you may reroll it.


Willing Test Subject

What die rolls does the first ability care about?

Any die rolls that have a numerical result. Planar die rolls don't count.

When I roll a die because of the activated ability, does that die roll do anything?

Other than give you a shot to have Willing Test Subject's first ability trigger, no. The roll doesn't count for any other card's die roll, although other cards with abilities that trigger whenever you roll a die may care.


X

How exactly does this card work?

Want access to your opponent's cards? X gon' give it to ya, but you have to get X into that opponent's hand. You do this using the first activated ability. You activate this ability while X is on the battlefield under your control. Now that X is in their hand, they play with their hand revealed and they're not allowed to cast X or activate any of X's abilities—but you are. You can activate its second ability to play one of the cards in that hand.

When do I say which card I'm playing?

You choose the card as X's last ability resolves. This means your opponent can respond to you activating the ability to get cards out of their hand. But whatever's left when X's ability resolves is fair game.

When do I play that card?

As X's last ability resolves, with one exception: you can't play a land this way unless it's your turn and you haven't yet played a land that turn. But if you're casting a spell, you do it as the ability resolves. This means you can use X's ability to cast their sorceries or creatures during their turn, for example.

If I use X's ability to cast an instant or sorcery, does that spell go into my graveyard?

No. You don't own the cards you play this way. They'll go into your opponent's graveyard. The same is true if a creature card you cast this way later dies.

Can my opponent discard X while it's in their hand?

Yes, if something instructs them to or allows them to. X will go to your graveyard, as you're X's owner.

In multiplayer games, can I move X from one opponent's hand to another's?

Yes, you can. While X is in an opponent's hand, you can activate its middle ability. This is unusual, as normally tap abilities can't be activated from a player's hand. But X's first ability says you can, so you can.

If The Grand Caluctron in on the battlefield and my X is in my opponent's hand, can I cast cards in their program?

No. The Grand Calcutron's ability overrides X in this case. You're limited to the first card in your program.

If The Grand Calcutron is on the battlefield, can the opponent cast X if it's the first card in their program?

No. The opponent can never cast X. In fact, if X is the first card of their program, they can't cast any card in their program, at least until new cards are put ahead of it. Note that you can't cast X either, as it's not the first card in your program.


Wizards of the Coast, Magic, Amonkhet, Exodus, Homelands, Ice Age, Legions, Time Spiral, and Unstable are trademarks of Wizards of the Coast LLC in the USA and other countries. ©2018 Wizards. Unhinged is a trademark of Horn Abbot Ltd. and is used with permission.

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