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Split cards have 2 Converted Mana Costs everywhere except the stack. I saw a similar question relating to Dark Confidant explaining that you lose life for each converted mana cost, however the way it was explained (you get 2 answers) made me unsure if you can counter a spell with either converted mana cost, or the sum of the converted mana costs.

If you reveal (for example) Life // Death with Counterbalance, what CMC spells can you counter?

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If the spell has converted mana cost 1 or 2, it will be countered.

This answer may seem different to the Dark Confidant question. While rule 708.5 adequately answers that question, there are further split card rules relevant to Counterbalance.

  • 708.5. An effect that asks for a particular characteristic of a split card while it’s in a zone other than the stack gets two answers (one for each of the split card’s two halves).
  • 708.6. Some effects perform comparisons involving characteristics of one or more split cards in a zone other than the stack.
    • 708.6a An effect that performs a positive comparison (such as asking if a card is red) or a relative comparison (such as asking if a card’s converted mana cost is less than 2) involving characteristics of one or more split cards in any zone other than the stack gets only one answer. This answer is “yes” if either side of each split card in the comparison would return a “yes” answer if compared individually.

With Dark Confidant and Life // Death, you lose 3 life. This is not because Life // Death has a converted mana cost of 3, but because Dark Confidant receives both answers (1 and 2) and reacts to each of them.

Counterbalance is a positive comparison: does the revealed card have the same converted mana cost as the cast spell? The converted mana cost of Life // Death is both 1 and 2, so if the revealed card has that a mana cost of either 1 or 2 then the answer to the question is yes, and the spell is countered.

So, results that receive more than one answer apply to each of those answers. Positive comparisons that receive more than one answer use the or comparison (one or more "yes" = "yes"). Negative comparisons (rule 708.6b) use the nor comparison (one or more "yes" = "no).

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In the library, Life // Death has CMCs of 1 and 2. If the spell cast has a CMC of 1 or 2, it will be countered.

This is similar to how Protection from Red will protect from a source that's Red and White, or how a Human Soldier will get +1/+1 from Field Marshal.


708.6. Some effects perform comparisons involving characteristics of one or more split cards in a zone other than the stack.

708.6a An effect that performs a positive comparison (such as asking if a card is red) or a relative comparison (such as asking if a card’s converted mana cost is less than 2) involving characteristics of one or more split cards in any zone other than the stack gets only one answer. This answer is “yes” if either side of each split card in the comparison would return a “yes” answer if compared individually.

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Rules ref: 708.6a An effect that performs a positive comparison (such as asking if a card is red) or a relative comparison (such as asking if a card’s converted mana cost is less than 2) involving characteristics of one or more split cards in any zone other than the stack gets only one answer. This answer is “yes” if either side of each split card in the comparison would return a “yes” answer if compared individually. –  Hackworth May 3 '13 at 12:08
    
@Hackworth, Indeed. Added the rule to the answer, thanks –  ikegami May 3 '13 at 12:10
    
Ah, started writing my answer before you edited yours, didn't notice the change XD –  Samthere May 3 '13 at 12:58
    
@Samthere, No need to apologise. Judging the by the node reps, people like the extra bit you added about Dark Confidant. –  ikegami May 3 '13 at 19:52
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