Numbers in EDH

Asked by chosenone124 1 week ago

Fractions: I monstrosity Polukranos, World Eater X=8. Since Un-set cards are legal in the format, can I distribute a half of a damage to 16 different creatures? (for the purposes of something like Horobi, Death's Wail or Deathtouch)

Irrational numbers: In addition, when Unstable releases, Just Desserts will come out. Does that mean I can assign any fraction or irrational number as damage through Polukranos?

Infinity: Finally, if I use The Mimeoplasm to exile Earl of Squirrel and Infinity Elemental, will I get infinite +1/+1 counters and (if it can deal combat damage to a squirrel) infinite creatures?

chosenone124 says... #1

Oh yeah, and the clincher: Let's say I monstrous a Polukranos with Deathtouch, X=1. My opponent has infinite squirrels. Can I kill them all by distributing 1 infinitieth of a damage to each squirrel? And how many squirrels would be left? Apparently infinity minus infinity is undefined

December 4, 2017 9:12 p.m.

Generally speaking, no. Just because Silver Border cards are legal doesn't mean all the rules go out the window. Only when a card specifically circumvents or overwrites the rules of the game do those rules not apply. Cards like Polukranos, World Eater are still bound to their rules and rulings despite silver border cards being legal, and from Polukranos' Gatherer Rulings: "The number of targets chosen for the triggered ability must be at least one (if X wasnt 0) and at most X. You choose the division of damage as you put the ability on the stack, not as it resolves. Each target must be assigned at least 1 damage. In multiplayer games, you may choose creatures controlled by different opponents."

December 4, 2017 9:45 p.m.

Rhadamanthus says... #3

The fractions and other numbers that appear on certain silver bordered cards don't change the rules of the game. If you're supposed to distribute something you can only make the distribution in whole numbers unless you're somehow specifically being instructed to distribute a number with a non-whole part (activating the Monstrosity ability of The Mimeoplasm exiling Polukranos, World Eater and Bad Ass, for example).

And yes, normal arithmetic starts to break down when you start running infinities up against each other. Also, some of the strategies for and results of trying to perform the operations will be different depending on whether the infinities involved are countable or uncountable, and Infinity Elemental doesn't specify what it means in that respect. MaRo's comments in the FAQAWASLFAQPAFTIDAWABIAJTBT and some official Judge resources I've read suggest that the "official" stance on infinity is that once a value in the game becomes infinity it can't be further changed unless another effect sets it to a specific number.

December 4, 2017 11:40 p.m.

chosenone124 says... #4

According to Maro in Unhinged FAQTIWDAWCC

Does this mean that while playing silver-bordered cards I can break up Pyrotechnics to deal {1/2} damage to eight creatures (trust me, I can come up with a reason)?

Yes. Yes, you can.
December 5, 2017 12:29 a.m.

chosenone124 says... #5

As for Infinity Elemental the flavor text (yes I'm making deductions based on flavor text) implies that it's a countable infinity. You can count the number of characters in the flavor text starting with the first character and proceeding off the bottom of the card. Also, the art is implying countable infinity since you can count the number of card frames.

That said, we can't consider the flavor text and the card art an official resource for anything...

December 5, 2017 12:33 a.m.

Neotrup says... Accepted answer #6

Yes, No, Yes, No (see 2). According to Maro, you can distribute or assign 1/2 in silver border land, but the same ruling has not been extended to irrational numbers, this ruling has repeatedly been brought up in the context of deathtouch. The FAQ for unstable does talk about infinite life with giving Infinity Elemental lifelink, and also covers extending that to making infinite tokens, mana, etc, so you're definitely good on that front. Once you have infinite tokens, only a Wrath Effect would be able to get rid of them, as even somehow killing an infinite number would leave infinite remaining.

December 5, 2017 11:33 a.m.

Rhadamanthus says... #7

Sorry, I forgot to check the Unhinged FAQTIWDAWCC. However, note that it says "while playing silver-bordered cards". It's not 100% clear on whether this means "while playing a game where silver-bordered cards are agreed to be legal" or "while silver-bordered cards are actually in your/someone's deck". Talk with your playgroup before starting the game.

Also, like Neotrup pointed out, the answer to the previous question in the FAQTIWDAWCC specifies that you're only allowed to use 2 as a denominator in any fractions you choose, but MaRo also says he's allowed to change his mind in the future. If the ruling changes to allow any fractions and the infinity is countable then you can make the play in your follow-up question (Polukranos with deathtouch and X=1 against infinite squirrels) by assigning the converging series 1/2 + 1/4 + 1/8 + 1/16 + 1/32 + ... + 1/(2 nth power) + ... = 1.

December 5, 2017 1:18 p.m.

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