Thursday, January 18, 2018

Multiple Choice Magic Design Question of the Day 27

27) How many of the following phrases work in the rules?

Target creature with flying
Target creature with monstrosity
Target creature with hexproof
Cards with a Gruul watermark
Cards with power 4 or greater
Cards with scry
Lands with activated abilities
Snow permanents
Common cards
Cards from Khans of Tarkir
Cards with a Khans of Tarkir rarity symbol
Cards illustrated by Wayne Reynolds 
Cards put into a graveyard from the battlefield this turn
Creature cards exiled last turn

 a) 4
 b) 7
 c) 10
 d) 11
 e) 14

Click through to see the answer and my rationale.

Target creature with flying  √

Target creature with monstrosity — Monstrosity is an action keyword, so it acts like a verb and can only exist within an activated, triggered, or conditional-static ability. Though it is printed on a creature card, it is not an ability that a creature has in the sense that a creature can have flying.

Target creature with hexproof  √  This is a terrible phrase, because 99.99% of the time it won't find any targets, but it technically works within the rules and becomes relevant when Glaring Spotlight is in play.

Cards with a Gruul watermark — Black-bordered Magic can't reference watermarks because it can only reference characteristics that will never change regardless of printing. (I'd argue that you could choose to make a certain watermark fair game by guaranteeing that those cards are only ever printed with that watermark, but that's not the official stance.)

Cards with power 4 or greater √

Cards with scry — Scry, like Monstrosity, is an action keyword, so a card can't "have scry" it can only "do scry." This is why Magma Jet and company were errata'd to have a period to end the sentence telling you to scry.

Lands with activated abilities  √

Snow permanents  √

Common cards — For the same reason we can't care about watermarks, we can't care about rarity.

Cards from Khans of Tarkir — For the same reason we can't care about watermarks, we can't care about expansions. City in a Bottle and its two nasty friends have been errata'd to care about cards "originally printed in" their respective sets, so that they effect reprints of cards that debuted in their sets, but not cards theirs sets reprinted like, importantly, the basic lands. That technically works because it has to. Don't do that.

Cards with a Khans of Tarkir rarity symbol — This is just another way of wording the last two items. Rarity and expansion can change across reprints and so aren't kosher.

Cards illustrated by Wayne Reynolds — For the same reason we can't care about watermarks, we can't care about the illustration or who made it.

Cards sent to the graveyard from the battlefield this turn  √  While we might not be able to track
which card in the graveyard was which card on the battlefield, we know which of the cards that are in the graveyard now arrive this turn and where they came from.

Creature cards exiled last turn  √  The memory issue is a concern, but this works in the rules for the same reason the last item did.

The only acceptable answer here is B, 7. If there had been a 6 or an 8, they would have been fair answers, but a three point spread should be enough to get you where you need to be. I'll give those of you went for 10 a nod, as there were multiple tricks in there.

This question tests intimate knowledge of a few very narrow sections of the rules. If you were only wrong about monstrosity, your rules knowledge (in this area) is entirely sufficient. Hexproof was tricky too—you shouldn't feel bad if that one tripped you up. Same for "Cards from Khans of Tarkir" (but not Cards with a Khans of Tarkir rarity symbol).

Things I could've asked and didn't: 
Creatures with variable power or toughness
Permanents copying other permanents
Non-creatures with power and toughness 
The power this creature card had when it was on the battlefield
Mark's cards


  1. Target creature with flying- yep
    Target creature with monstrosity- nope, monstrosity is a keyword action
    Target creature with hexproof- yep
    Cards with a Gruul watermark- nope, watermark is not a characteristic
    Cards with power 4 or greater- yep, power is a characteristic
    Cards with scry- nope, scry is a keyword action
    Lands with activated abilities- yep, activated ability is a characteristic
    Snow permanents- yep, supertype is a characteristic
    Common cards- nope, inconsistent printings
    Cards from Khans of Tarkir- nope, inconsistent printings
    Cards with a Khans of Tarkir rarity symbol- nope, inconsistent printings
    Cards illustrated by Wayne Reynolds- nope, inconsistent printings
    Cards sent to the graveyard from the battlefield this turn- nope, doesn't specify which graveyard
    Creature cards exiled last turn- yep

    That's 6... oops. I think it's more likely I missed 2 "yep"s than 1 "nope, so I'll go with A, 4.

    1. Should have believed in myself more, and not let myself get thrown by the weird templating on "the graveyard from the battlefield". Still, I'd argue that 6 is a better answer than 7.

    2. Replacing "sent to the graveyard" with "put into a graveyard."

    3. But yeah, believe in yourself. You were super close.
      I fear second guessing myself in the actual test. I really do.

  2. I'm pretty sure the actual test will have drastically more questions on it than previous years. Bell curve estimates suggest that if 7000 people are going to take the test, we're going to be looking at around 100 questions. If that's the case you can probably get several wrong and still come out in the top 2%. If not everyone who signed up actually completes the assignment (likely) that increases the number of questions you can get wrong. It's highly likely that they'll have several 'weeding' questions on the test, but you probably don't need to get them all right to move on. I'm sure you'll do great!

    1. Thanks, Noah. Mark said recently that there will be significantly more questions than before; 100 is entirely plausible. And I agree, many of them will be simple weeding questions.

      If the number is around 7000 (and that's entirely plausible since You Make the Card 4 had 7800), we'll need to be in the top 1.4% to make the 100-person cut-off. That sounds daunting, but this isn't a lottery, and I fully expect 90% of Artisans to make it. That's what these practice questions are preparing us for.

  3. Does cards with power 4 or greater include Vehicles? Vehicles in your hand? Creature cards in your hand?

    I guess the only way this specific one has been printed is target creature with power 4 or greater but any work. I think creature cards in your hand would work but no idea about vehicles.