09/22/2011 FtL: "Welcome to Horrorland"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's From the Lab article, which goes live Thursday morning on magicthegathering.com.

If I have 13 life, a 0/20 Tree of Redemption and Cradle of Vitality,
then cast Heal the Scars, gain 20 life (putting me at 33),
pay for the Cradle trigger (putting 20 +1/+1 counters on the 0/20 tree),
then activate the (now 20/40) tree's ability,

Do I now have 40 life and a 20/53 tree (a 0/33 tree with 20 +1/+1 counters)?
If I have 13 life, a 0/20 Tree of Redemption and Cradle of Vitality,
then cast Heal the Scars, gain 20 life (putting me at 33),
pay for the Cradle trigger (putting 20 +1/+1 counters on the 0/20 tree),
then activate the (now 20/40) tree's ability,

Do I now have 40 life and a 20/53 tree (a 0/33 tree with 20 +1/+1 counters)?


I believe so! Any bonuses to the Tree's toughness get added to your life total, but also remain on the Tree and continue to boost its toughness. You don't need a Boon Reflection to make the Tree's ability result in a net life gain. All you need is a way to increase the Tree's toughness.
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Actually the comprehensive rules state explicitly that setting a life total is a life gain/loss respective of the difference.


118.5. If an effect sets a player's life total to a specific number, the player gains or loses the necessary amount of life to end up with the new total.

 
Yup, Evaders is right (even if his pre tag is making this page a bit excessively wide).

See also the Innistrad FAQ
"When the ability resolves, Tree of Redemption's toughness will become your former life total and you will gain or lose an amount of life necessary so that your life total equals Tree of Redemption's former toughness. Other effects that interact with life gain or life loss will interact with this effect accordingly." 

I've got a soft spot for Boon Reflection because it's one of my wife's favourite cards. She'll win games from 300+ life on a reasonably regular basis. So I love that wacky approach to the Tree of Redemption. (I had been content with tricks with Slagwurm Armor and friends.) But I also love the burny/ritual/stormy almost-creatureless Sphinx-Bone Wand deck. I have a creatureless 5-colour Sphinx-Bone Wand deck that works scarily well. I hadn't really seen much potential in Past in Flames when I saw it on the spoiler, but yes, using it with Rituals is a nice approach.

Good decks! 
I never used to bother reading this cloumn (not a Johnny at all), until I realised how much I enjoyed Noel's writing! Jhoira, Mindshriek, retching, roflmao.

Anyways, I'd be tempted to bung a copy or two of Ajani into the Tree Deck; although it would hurt the consistency, the deck would  be able to power out laughably enormous avatar tokens. 
Wow, I wish I had read Tree of Redemption more carefully. I look at it and I guess I just read its ability as "Your life total becomes equal to Tree of Redemption's toughness." I had thought it was a kinda-useful way to reset your life after nearly dying - you're at 3 and going to die when your opponent next attacks, so you tap this and buy a turn or two, potentially more if your opponent can't remove the tree but it's still just stalling. But no, it says "exchanges".  That's much more interesting.

So, sure, you could use doubling effects (or lots of other ways) to turn it into a life-gain engine. But why not end the game more quickly? Tree of Redemption, tap it as soon as you can while your life is still at 20, Twisted Image (plus a +1/+1 counter or any power-increasing effect so it doesn't die from having 0 toughness), Fling.

Also, there must be some combo with Tree of Redemption and Necrotic Ooze.
Tree of Redemption is my new favorite art from the set.
Was this a hint/confirmation that mana will at some point be moved to the left side of cards moving down???
I want to play Mindshrieker in a deck with Index and a card with CMC 19 or greater (so far only possible in Un-land I believe).  Five chances at a swing for 20 on turn 3 are worth the deck sucking the rest of the time.  (Timmy/Johnny in a nutshell, ladies and Germ tokens.)  Combining Past in Flames with Rituals is obvious, but I enjoyed Noel's take on it.  And yes, his writing is especially hilarious today - he's still not Chris Millar but this week he's danged close.
Was this a hint/confirmation that mana will at some point be moved to the left side of cards moving down???


He's referring to the Future Sight "timeshifted" cards, for example Tarox Bladewing, Logic Knot, Darksteel Garrison and Ghostfire.  I fervently hope that this will never happen outside of a gimmick set.
My New Phyrexia Writing Credits My M12 Writing Credits
As far as the benefit of the rest of Magic is concerned, gold cards in Legends were executed perfectly. They got all the excitement a designer could hope out of a splashy new mechanic without using up any of the valuable design space. Truly amazing. --Aaron Forsythe's Random Card Comment on Kei Takahashi
High five for the Evil Twin & __________ combo.
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