Previously, on Mystical Tutor, we learned the secrets behind the first six layers - Copy, Control, Text, Type, Color, and Abilities. Today, we’re going to finish the job by exploring layer 7, Power and Toughness, and its sublayers.

Practice questions:

Question 1 (Intermediate)

Anthony casts Twisted Image targeting Nathan’s Spellskite. In response, Nathan sacrifices his Arcbound Ravager with a single +1/+1 counter to itself, triggering its modular ability targeting the Spellskite. Nathan chooses to put the +1/+1 counter onto the Spellskite. What is the power and toughness of the Spellskite after the Twisted Image resolves.
The Spellskite is a 5/1. The Spellskite is originally a 0/4. In layer 7d it becomes a 1/5 thanks to the counter. In layer 7e, it will swap for Twisted Image to a 5/1.

Question 2 (Expert)

Anthony resolves Sutured Ghoul, exiling a Beast of Burden, a Tarmogoyf and a Primal Plasma. Which of these creatures will have an effect on Sutured Ghoul’s power and toughness?
 Beast of Burden and Tarmogoyf have CDAs that will feed to the Sutured Ghoul easily.  Primal Plasma is weird as it isn’t a CDA although it does have the */*. It’s dependent on a choice you make as it enters the battlefield. So it’s a 0/0 in all zones other than the battlefield.

Question 3 (Beginner)

Abby attacks with an Inferno Titan. She activates Inferno Titan’s ability twice to give it two additional power. Nina uses Twisted Image on the Inferno Titan. Abby lets the Twisted Image resolve. Before combat damage is dealt, Abby activates the Inferno Titan’s ability two more times. Abby says that the Inferno Titan should be an 8/8 and Nina should take 8 damage. Is Abby right?
Unfortunately for Abby, she doesn’t understand layers. When we calculate layers we apply everything in the appropriate layer and the order only matters for effects inside a single layer or sublayer. So all of the modifications Abby made with the Inferno Titan’s activated ability are applied in layer 7c. The switch from the Twisted Image occurs in layer 7e. It does not matter the order of the Twisted Image and the activated abilities because they are in different sublayers.

Question 4 (Intermediate)

Amber controls Xenagos, God of Revels and a Courser of Kruphix. Amber moves into her attack phase and targets Courser of Kruphix with Xenagos, God of Revels’ trigger. In response Ameena casts Bile Blight targeting the Courser of Kruphix. What is the Courser of Kruphix’s resulting power and toughness?
The Courser of Kruphix will be a -2/0 and die next time state based actions will be checked. Layers are continually updated, but when an effect asks for a value, it looks at the creature after all the layers are applied then locks in that value. So Courser of Kruphix is originally a 2/4. After Bile Blight’s -3/-3 in layer 7c, the creature is a -1/1.  Xenagos, God of Revels’ trigger then resolves, see a creature with a power of -1, then gives the creature haste in layer 6 and +0/+0 in layer 7c; ending with a -1/1 creature.