FINAL JUDGEMENT: The Apocalypse is Upon Us

Common questions you might have on Apocalypse cards. Whee!

No, I’m not talking about Ferrett qualifying or something akin to English coming out of Dubya’s mouth — I’m talking about the final chapter in the saga of the Weatherlight crew. Sure, you’ve all been drafting and playing Sealed with it for a few weeks, but in less than two more it becomes Standard-legal. There are a few tricky cards in the set that might see play, so I want to help you figure them out.

Before I do, I want to tell you that I inadvertently deleted a bunch of email from my inbox before I left for Nationals. If you’ve written to me, either directly or via Mail us at https://sales.starcitygames.com/contactus/contactform.php?emailid=18 and I haven’t replied, please accept my apologies. I’m not being rude, I just don’t have your email any longer. If the question that you asked hasn’t been answered in the column (or elsewhere), please resend and I’ll make a special effort to answer it quickly (and correctly!).

There’s one caveat: I’m currently holding questions regarding Kudzu. I had a chat with Collin Jackson at Nationals, and we agreed that Kudzu having a replacement effect (as opposed to a triggered ability) is kind of dumb. I’m expecting it to get fixed soon (although I could be wrong). Given that there’s some lag time between me actually answering questions and them getting posted (it’s because of the huge volume of questions and limited web site space, not an editor’s laziness) (No, there’s editor laziness in there, too — The Ferrett, who because of email formatting questions finds”Ask The Judge” to be the biggest pain in his butt, but it’s a really worthwhile section), I don’t want to have to rescind a bunch of answers. If it’s REALLY important, like you think you have a cool combo that you want to play in an upcoming tournament, email me and I’ll give you an answer. If you’re”just wondering” or”trying to make Sheldon’s head explode,” then I’ll wait.

I saw Tomb Raider, by the way. There’s a single word that describes the whole movie:”Obligatory.” (Let’s try”Sucks” — The Ferrett) Not that I’m complaining, mind you. It would have been better if Anthony Alongi played the bad guy, but hey, whattayagonnado?

Okay, let’s take a look at some Apocalypse cards. With one exception, I’m only covering individual cards, not multiple card interactions. We’ll save that for some other time.*

Pernicious Deed: This much talked-about enchantment is likely going to see much play. It’s relatively straightforward. I just want to remind you that nothing changes the converted mana cost of a spell or permanent (not even Kicker costs, like on the Volvers). Sacrificing the Deed is part of the cost, so you can’t Disenchant it in response.

Squee’s Embrace: It’s a triggered ability, not a replacement effect. After the trigger goes on the stack, some other spell or ability could remove the creature from the graveyard; if so, it won’t go back to your hand.

Ice Cave: It says”mana cost,” not”converted mana cost.” That means you have to pay 2WW to counter Wrath of God, not 4. You only pay the mana cost, not any additions, subtractions, kickers, or whatever else. Any player may play this ability except for the player of the original spell. In other words, you can’t, for your own twisted reasons, counter you own spell with this.

Flagbearers: Giving a creature the creature type”Flagbearer” doesn’t grant the Flagbearer ability. You only have to choose a Flagbearer if it’s a legal target. You don’t have to (actually, you can’t) choose your opponent’s Flagbearer with Protection from Red as a target for your Volcanic Hammer. If a spell has multiple targets with different effects, you can choose the Flagbearer as the target of whichever effect you wish and choose a different target for the other effect. You don’t have to, as some folks believe, choose the Flagbearer as the target for the first effect listed.

Sanctuaries: (I’ll take this right from the FAQ, because it says it best).

Each Sanctuary has an ability that triggers only if you control a permanent of one of the enchantment’s enemy colors (for example, Dega Sanctuary is white and triggers only if you control a black or red permanent). If you don’t control a permanent of the right color at the beginning of your upkeep, the ability never triggers in the first place; you can’t change the color of a permanent you control during your upkeep to make a Sanctuary’s ability trigger.

A Sanctuary’s effect is determined when its ability resolves. If you control a permanent of one of the enchantment’s enemy colors when the ability triggers, and then you change the color of another permanent you control to the other enemy color before the ability resolves, you’ll get the bigger effect. If you control a single permanent that’s both of the enchantment’s enemy colors, you’ll get the bigger effect. If you control no permanents of the Sanctuary’s enemy colors when the ability resolves, it will have no effect.

Desolation Angel/Desolation Giant: If either of these comes into play in a way other than from your hand, you can’t pay the Kicker cost, but the trigger still happens. Therefore, you’ll be the only one that loses all your lands or other creatures.

Mystic Snake/Equilibrium is not a combo. Equilibrium triggers when you play the Snake. The ability will go on the stack right on top of the Snake, so you’ll have to choose another target, since the Snake is not yet in play. With two Mystic Snakes and Equilibrium, however, you might have something. You can play Mystic Snake even if there’s no other spell on the stack.

Unnatural Selection: Changing a creature into type Legend won’t invoke the Legend rule unless there’s another Legend of the same name in play. If you can change two creatures of the same name into type Legend, the one that became a Legend last will be put in the graveyard, regardless of when the permanent actually came into play. You can choose any one-word noun that doesn’t have another meaning in Magic. Using Unnatural Selection will overwrite all creature types, so your Merfolk Zombie will become a”Rizzo,” not a”Merfolk Rizzo” or a”Rizzo Zombie.”

Divine Light is a Sorcery. I keep realizing it just before I put it in my Sealed Deck.

False Dawn has errata:”Until end of turn, mana abilities you control that would add colored mana to your mana pool add that much white mana instead. Until end of turn, you may spend white mana as though it were mana of any color.

Draw a card.” Note that it doesn’t change the color of any permanents.

Dead Ringers: You can target any two non-black creatures. Then, when the spell resolves, it only destroys them both if they’re exactly the same color. It can destroy two colorless creatures.

Consume Strength and Suffocating Blast: You must be able to choose two separate targets for these spells in order to play them, but if one or the other becomes an illegal target before the spell resolves, it still affects the remaining one. They’re only countered if both targets are illegal when the spell tries to resolve.

Orim’s Thunder: If you’ve paid the Kicker, the spell has two targets (the enchantment and the creature), just like the above two. It will only be countered if both targets are invalid/illegal on resolution. If the enchantment is gone, the damage is still that enchantment’s converted mana cost.

One more: Spiritmonger would be better if it had trample.

And that’s my Final Judgement.

Sheldon K. Menery

* – I almost did a”Shel’s Top Ten Apocalypse Cards” column just to see how many people would call me a hypocrite, but in the end, I asked myself”what’s the point?” I’ve still only gotten one piece of hate mail ever (although I must say it was extremely well-written).