Finally – the story you have been waiting for! This little tale is from StarCity’s own Peter Jahn. There is a small error in the story; try and find it. I needed to get this straight with Peter before I wanted to post it, which is one of the reasons it took so long.
What Was That Masked Exchange? by Peter Jahn
Shortly after Cultural Exchange was printed, I tried combining it with a bunch of artifact mana, token generators and some counters. I was playing in a long multiplayer game, there were at least six good, targetable creatures on the table, and I was going to die if even one of them got through my almost non-existent defenses.
I was set up, though, as I had had a Breeding Pit churning out tokens for many turns and had a ton of mana available. I had Cultural Exchange in hand. However, during my upkeep, an opponent cast a well-timed Fault Line (an instant-speed Earthquake) for one, and I had no creatures. I had been ready for this: I cast a Sengir Autocrat (when he comes in play, put three 0/1 serf tokens into play. If the Autocrat leaves play, destroy the serf tokens.) Bingo – four creatures.
I cast Cultural Exchange and Forked it. I let Cultural Exchange number one resolve, and swapped the three serf tokens for the three best creatures. My opponents were now debating which creature I would take with the Autocrat when the other copy of Cultural Exchange resolved.
(Note: this does not work with Mirari, but Fork lets you chose new targets.)
Then I cast Mask of the Mimic – while the other copy of Cultural Exchange was still on the stack – targeting my Sengir Autocrat. (Mask of the Mimic: Sacrifice target creature. Search your library for a copy and put that creature card into play.) The Serfs I has just given out all died (since the original Autocrat was now dead), and I had four new creatures. I traded the three new serfs for the other three good creatures, and traded the Sengir Autocrat to an opponent with a Skull Catapult (and none of the other serfs). He was ready and willing to destroy the other serfs by loading the Autocrat into the catapult, but I considered it a little ungrateful of him to throw it at me.
At that point, having all the best creatures, I ‘m sure I won the game, but I don’t remember for sure. I do remember the looks when I played Mask of the Mimic, though.
The Masked Error
The error is with Mask of the Mimic. A lot of people, me included, read this card wrong the first time (it took me three times until I got it straight). Peter was nice enough to quote the card text, although he did it with the error most people make. His quote:
Sacrifice target creature. Search your library for a copy and put that creature card into play.
Is what’s on the card. However, the Oracle text is:
As an additional cost to play Mask of the Mimic, sacrifice a creature.
Search your library for a card with the same name as target creature card in play and put that card into play. Then shuffle your library.
It is a small difference, but very significant. The way most people read it is: Sac a creature, get a new copy of the creature. However, what should happen is that when you announce the spell, you target a creature and pay for the costs – which include sacrificing a creature. If you targeted the sacrificed creature, the spell will be countered because it has an illegal target on resolution. Therefore, you need to target a different creature than the one you are planning to sacrifice. In the play above Peter should have Exchanged his Autocrat and sacked a serf token for the Mask (the mask doesn’t care who controls the creature you are targeting) The exchanged serfs wouldn’t have died – but that way he would have gotten the other Autocrat.
Get ready for action when the story features those annoying little goblins running around and doing what they do best. Maybe they aren’t all that great… But just wait and see what happens to their controller. If you have any spectacular multiplayer tales, please let me know at [email protected].
Until then, have fun,