My question is twofold.

1) Can I imprint Death Wind with Isochron Scepter

2) If I can, what is the maximum -X/-X I can give a creature by imprinting Death Wind and tapping Iscochron Scepter?


  1. Yes, you can. When a spell is in your hand any {X} in its mana cost is interpreted as 0, so the card counts as having a CMC of 1.

  2. -0/-0, sorry. This combo isn't very lethal. Isochron lets you cast a copy of that card without paying its mana cost (and that's the only circumstances under which you're allowed to cast it; you don't get to opt to pay mana for it), and in these circumstances, {X} is always given a value of zero. That requirement to pick 0 is reflected in a ruling on Isohron Scepter:

6/8/2016 If the exiled card has X in its mana cost, you must choose 0 as the value for X when casting it.

At least it'll trigger Heroic and kill Phantasmal Bears.

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  • Interesting. But when you tap the scepter, you're not casting the exiled card, you're casting a copy of it, and optionally "you may cast it at no cost" which I interpret as "I may cast it for a cost" in which case can I tap mana to cast it? If you can address this concern herein the comments I will checkmark you, but I'm still skeptical. Thanks! – the_prole Nov 21 '16 at 2:33
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    @the_prole The offer made by the Scooter isn't "you may cast it, and you may cast it without paying its cost" — at no cost is the only way you may cast it with this card, full stop. That's why the ruling doesn't acknowledge "if you chose not to pay its cost", it has no uncertain terms to deal with. – doppelgreener Nov 21 '16 at 2:52
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    The "you may" means you can choose to not cast it. Let's say you tap the scepter for a copy of a creature removal spell, your opponent bounces all his creatures in response (before you played your spell copy and chose targets), you are not forced to kill one of your own creatures. If the "you may" did not exist, you would be forced to play and target your own creature. – Nelson Nov 21 '16 at 8:01
  • The reason this is so is because you normally cannot interrupt a spell casting action. If, for some reason, you decided to cast a creature removal spell with no enemy creatures, the only valid targets would be your own and you will have to choose one of those, if you insist on casting the spell. You can't just cast a spell and have it target nothing. Of course you can just decide not to cast the spell in the first place, and this is where the "you may" comes in. – Nelson Nov 21 '16 at 8:10
  • @the_prole: Other than the perfectly valid points made by the other commentors, the ruling quoted by doppelgreener is quoted directly from the official Gatherer database, meaning it's the official interpretation of the rules, regardless of any other possible interpretations. Therefore, the answer given is very much correct. – TheThirdMan Nov 21 '16 at 10:39

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