17, Jun, 24

Four Bizarre MTG Interactions That Can Save Your Games!

Article at a Glance

MTG is undoubtedly an incredibly fun card game, and part of what makes the game so enjoyable is its high level of complexity. Trying to come up with the correct decision on the spot in a tight match can be quite difficult in certain junctures.

On top of that, from a rules perspective, it’s not always obvious how specific cards interact with each other. Even situations that come up frequently in Constructed, such as how Urza’s Saga immediately goes to the graveyard if the opponent plays a copy of Blood Moon, can be tough for seasoned veterans to explain.

Today, we’re going to highlight a handful of tricky interactions that players should be on the lookout for. Whether you’re a Constructed aficionado or a Commander enthusiast, it can be helpful to know what happens in these unusual circumstances. Let’s start by going over another confusing Urza’s Saga interaction that Legacy Lands players can make use of.

Urza’s Saga and Thespian’s Stage

Urza's Saga

Urza’s Saga is an incredibly powerful card that can generate a ton of value while in play. In most cases, you have a window to make two large Construct tokens before Urza’s Saga goes away via chapter III. However, if you manage to copy Urza’s Saga with Thespian’s Stage, there’s actually a way that you can keep your new Construct-producing land around forever!

This trick is enabled because even though you are copying another land with Stage, that copy retains Stage’s activated ability. This means you can pay mana to turn it into a copy of a different land on a future turn if you desire. Once you copy Saga, you will add a lore counter to your land each turn cycle after your draw step. Like normal, you can make Construct token once the land has two lore counters on it. Where the special interaction comes into play is when the third lore counter is added.

Before the ability of chapter III would resolve, use your land to copy any other generic land in play, such as a basic. Now that your land is no longer a copy of Urza’s Saga, you won’t have to sacrifice it. The kicker is that even though your land is no longer an Urza’s Saga, thanks to how layers work, your land will retain the ability to produce Saga tokens as long as it’s in play.

Layers are a complex subset of rules within MTG that determine what order continuous effects are applied. In this case, the two layers that matter are layer one and layer six. Layer one states that any rules and effects that modify copiable abilities are applied. Then, in layer six, ability-adding effects are applied. Because layer six is applied after layer one, your land will still have the ability to produce Constructs even if you copy something else. If you’re confused, we don’t blame you, as this is a very weird interaction that is easy to miss.

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Shifting Woodland and Planeswalkers

Shifting Woodland

Our next unique card interaction is certainly a bit more intuitive and is important to be aware if you’re planning to play with Shifting Woodland in any capacity. Shifting Woodland is a strong land that also lets you copy other permanents. In this instance, though, you have the luxury of copying any type of permanent you want, not just lands. Getting to turn your Shifting Woodland into an Omniscience out of nowhere, for example, can be a game-breaking play, so it’s definitely worth thinking outside the box with this one.

However, while you can technically copy any type of permanent, we advise against trying to copy Planeswalkers. See, Planeswalkers are unique in that they all enter the battlefield with some number of loyalty counters. Once those loyalty counters are reduced to zero, the Planeswalker then goes to the graveyard as part of a state-based action.

You are more than welcome to copy a Planeswalker with Shifting Woodland, but because Shifting Woodland itself never entered play with any loyalty counters, it will immediately go the graveyard. Similarly, if you try to copy a Battle, Shifting Woodland will leave play as it has zero defense counters on it. The world is your oyster when Shifting Woodland is active, just make sure to be careful how you use it!

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Laelia and Cascade

Laelia, the Blade Reforged

Laelia is a card that has been around for years. Thanks to its recent printing in MH3, the card is now legal in Modern for the first time. When Laelia was initially spoiled, many players were curious if the card would show up in various Cascade shells. Thanks to the way the Cascade mechanic is worded, it’s possible to put a ton of +1/+1 counters on Laelia at once.

This may sound strange given that Laelia explicitly states that whenever one OR MORE cards are put into exile from your library, Laelia gets a single +1/+1 counter. The reason that Cascade can put lots of +1/+1 counters on Laelia is simply because Cascade requires you to exile cards from the top of your library one at a time until you reveal a card that can be cast. Each time you exile a card, you check to see if the card’s mana value meets the requirements to be cast. If not, you exile another card and repeat this process.

As such, Laelia will trigger for each individual card that is put into exile. Theoretically, if you cast a card with Cascade and there were no cards in your entire library with lesser mana value, Laelia would become absolutely enormous. It’s unlikely that a deck built around this idea will become super competitive, but it’s an interesting concept, nonetheless.

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Veil of Summer and Gifts Ungiven

Veil of Summer

Lastly, we wanted to cover a neat play you can make with Veil of Summer that you might not have thought of. Veil of Summer shines against decks with lots of counter magic and discard spells. Usually, it’s pretty obvious what cards get affected by Veil of Summer. With cards like Gifts Ungiven or Intuition, though, it’s easy to miss the potential to completely blow out your opponent.

Both Gifts Ungiven and Intuition are tutor variants that let you search your library for a range of cards. From there, the opponent chooses which card(s) end up in your graveyard versus your hand. Oddly enough, this action does involve targeting an opponent. Therefore, if the opponent casts Veil of Summer in response to you casting Gifts Ungiven or Intuition, the tutors completely fizzle as all targets have become illegal.

At the end of the day, MTG is an incredibly hard game to master. There are tons of card interactions out there that might not make a ton of sense at first. Make sure to keep these ones in mind and stay alert for any interesting situations that arise as you play.

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