Published on 11/25/2013

A Family Affair

Cranial Translation
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Note: This article is over two years old. Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes. Proceed with caution.

I didn't say what it was being carved of...
You made it! You're just in time; it's Thanksgiving week in the US, so the table's set, the bird's being carved, and we're all ready to dish up a fabulous feast of rules questions for the whole family. Of course, I'm Canadian and not quite sure how to cook for an American Thanksgiving, so I just went with what I know and hoped it matched up. (My advice: pass on the corner cases—they're almost as bad as overcooked Brussels sprouts. Unless you like that kind of thing.)

If you'd like us to serve up an answer to your own questions, send them to , or if they're snack-sized you can tweet them to @CranialTweet. In addition to answering you directly we'll whip the cream into shape and serve it in future editions of Cranial Insertion. Possibly accompanying a slice of pumpkin pie.

Q: If False Prophet dies, can Mother of Runes tap to give herself protection from white to survive?

A: The Mother can give herself protection in response to the Prophet's ability, but it won't do her any good. Protection only prevents damage, enchanting or equipping, blocking, or targeting, (generally abbreviated DEBT as a handy mnemonic), and the Prophet's ability isn't doing any of those things, so protection does nothing to stop it and it will exile the Mother regardless.

Q: I'm at 17 life and control Path of Bravery and Child of Night. I attack with the Child and it gets blocked by Scroll Thief. Does the Child live?

A: Yes. You go up to 18 life thanks to the Path's trigger when you attack with the Child; your opponent then blocks, and finally the time comes to deal damage. All the effects of combat damage happen at the same time, meaning you gain your 2 life from lifelink at the same time 1 damage is marked on your Child. After that happens, the game checks for state-based actions and sees a 3/2 Child with 1 damage marked on it. That's not enough to destroy it, so the Child lives.

Q: If I have a 2/3 Cloudfin Raptor and another flier and then I cast Pride of the Clouds, does the Cloudfin get a +1/+1 counter?

A: Yes. The static ability of Pride of the Clouds, like most other static abilities of permanents, applies all the time as long as it's on the battlefield. There's never a moment when it's on the battlefield but it's not getting the bonus.

That means that it entered the battlefield as a 3/3, which is big enough to evolve the Raptor. Watch out, though, because if your opponent kills off your other flier in response to the evolve trigger, your Pride will shrink to 2/2—the evolve trigger will see that the Pride's not big enough any more and do nothing when it resolves.

Q: What happens when I use Spawnsire of Ulamog's second ability and cast Emrakul, the Aeons Torn with it during my opponents end of turn? Do I get two turns in a row? Meaning I take my "Emrakul" turn then afterwards proceed with my regular turn?

A: Yes, that's it exactly. When something tells you "Take an extra turn after this one", they essentially mean "Insert an extra turn into the turn order after the current one—that's yours." The underlying turn order itself isn't changed, merely put on hold for a moment while you take this extra turn, so after the extra turn is over, it'll be time for your regular turn.

Magic's original family man.
Q: If my Baron Sengir has a +2/+2 counter and gets a -1/-1 counter, does it end up with a +1/+1 counter or keep the two counters?

A: Both counters will stay on it. The rule that causes +1/+1 counters and -1/-1 counters to annihilate each other applies only to those two kinds of counters. Other types of power- and/or toughness-modifying counters aren't affected at all, no matter how the math ends up hashing out in the end.

Q: My opponent's bloodthirsty Stormblood Berserker attacks and gets blocked by my 4/4 Stromkirk Noble and Child of Night. My opponent decided to distribute all his Berserker's damage to the 4/4 Noble, and said I won't gain any life because the Child doesn't deal damage. Is that true?

A: No, it's not. Blocking creatures will deal their combat damage to the creature they're blocking no matter how much damage the attacking creature is (or isn't) dealing to them in return.

Your opponent can decide to not deal damage to your Child if he wants, but it's just not a very good decision.

Q: If I name black with Painter's Servant and sacrifice three 1/1 white (and now black) Spirit tokens to Teysa, Orzhov Scion's first ability, will her second ability replace the tokens before the target of the first ability is declared?

A: No. Teysa's Spirit-producing ability is triggered and uses the stack; it can't even go onto the stack until you've finished activating the exile ability, which will involve choosing a target. Only after doing that will the Spirit-producing ability be put onto the stack.

If it's any consolation, you'll get your Spirits before whatever you targeted actually gets exiled.

Q: Does hexproof protect against the ability of Sosuke, Son of Seshiro?

A: No, it doesn't. Hexproof only stops your opponent from choosing your creatures as targets, and the only things in Magic that target are things that actually use the word "target". (Which may be buried in the reminder text, such as with equip and enchant.)

Sosuke's destroy-things trigger doesn't use the word "target", so it doesn't target, and thus hexproof won't stop it.

Q: If I cast Searing Spear with Boseiju, Who Shelters All's second ability, targeting a Mother of Runes, and in response, my opponent activates the Mother's ability to give itself protection from red, what happens?

A: The Searing Spear will be countered when it tries to resolve, because its only target is now illegal. Boseiju specifies that the spell you cast can't be countered by spells or abilities, but in this case it's actually the rules of the game that are countering your Spear. The Mother's ability isn't countering the Spear directly, it's just manipulating the situation so that something else ends up countering the Spear for it.

If the damage-dealing spell was instead something that didn't target, like Volcanic Fallout, then the spell would have resolved, but the damage to the Mother would have been prevented thanks to protection.

Q: Do spells that target Elderwood Scion when it is in the graveyard cost less?

A: No. Elderwood Scion's ability to make spells that target it cheaper, like its other cost-affecting ability, only applies while it's on the battlefield. If it's in the graveyard, no discount for you.

In general, abilities of permanent cards only function while they're on the battlefield unless they explicitly state otherwise or only make sense working from somewhere else. (It'd be pretty difficult for cycling to function on the battlefield, for example, considering it requires you to discard the card from your hand to activate it...)

Q: If one of my Dragon Broodmother's tokens devours my Bladewing's Thrall, will the Thrall return to the battlefield right away?

A: Yes, the ability will trigger right away and will return the Thrall to the battlefield as soon as it resolves.

As soon as anything happens in a game of Magic, the rules look around immediately afterwards to see if there are any relevant abilities that need to trigger off of what has just happened. Since the Thrall was sacrificed as the token entered the battlefield, as soon as it finishes entering the game looks around to see if there's anything that wants to trigger off of that token entering the battlefield, and hey, what a coincidence, there's a Thrall in the graveyard that triggers off of Dragons entering the battlefield!

Q: If I sacrifice Ordeal of Nylea to Shattergang Brothers do I still get to search for two lands with the second part of the ability?

A: You do indeed. The part of the Ordeal that has you fetch lands is actually a separate triggered ability that's completely independent of the counter-adding ability—it'll trigger any time you sacrifice the Ordeal, no matter what you're sacrificing it to or why.

Q: If I were to equip one of the Brothers Yamazaki (while they were both on the battlefield) with Tenza, Godo's Maul would they still get the Legendary bonus from the equipment despite the legend rule not applying while two of them are on the field?

A: They would still get the bonus. The fact that the legend rule doesn't apply to the Brothers doesn't actually remove the Legendary supertype from them—it just makes it so they don't end up killing each other off. They are still Legendary, so the Brother with the Maul will still get his +2/+2 bonus.

Daxos in the Dark
Q: My opponent controls Child of Alara and a tapped Daxos of Meletis. I attack with a Scion of Darkness enchanted with Unholy Strength, and he blocks with the Child. After everything goes boom, can I get his Daxos with my Scion trigger?

A: No can do. The Scion's ability is targeted, so you have to choose a target for it at the time the ability goes onto the stack, which is immediately after damage is dealt, before the Child's ability is even put onto the stack, much less has a chance to resolve.

Happily, if there's something else for you to target (the Child itself will be in the graveyard and thus a legal choice), you can target that, and whatever you chose will still be put onto the battlefield after the world has gone boom. It just won't be Daxos. Unless there's another Daxos in his graveyard already.

Q: My opponent casts Sire of Insanity to make us both discard our hands. One of the cards I discarded was Think Twice. Can I flash that back before my turn starts, or would I have to do it on my turn?

A: You can flash it back on your opponent's turn just fine. Sire of Insanity's ability resolves during the end step, and both players will have a chance to cast spells and activate abilities after it does so. They generally don't, because they don't have anything left in their hand to cast, but if you have flashback cards available to cast, go right ahead.

Q: If I use Scion of the Ur-Dragon's ability while enchanted with Wheel of Sun and Moon, does my Scion still copy the Dragon I found, even though it doesn't go to the graveyard?

A: Yes, it does. The "if you do" line on Scion of the Ur-Dragon means "if you followed these instructions"—whether the card actually ended up in the graveyard is irrelevant. Since you did indeed follow the instructions and found a Dragon card, the Scion becomes a copy of it.

Q: Oros, the Avenger attacks. I also control a stationary Windbrisk Raptor. If I pay the for Oros's ability, do I gain life for that damage?

A: Indeed you do. Oros has lifelink as long as he's attacking, and while he's already finished dealing his combat damage, attacking creatures don't actually stop being attacking creatures until the combat phase is completely over. Oros's ability triggers and resolves in the Combat Damage step of the combat phase, well before that time, so Oros will still have lifelink and thus you'll still gain life.

Q: I use Wort, the Raidmother's ability to conspire a flashbacked Increasing Vengeance. Will the conspired Vengeance give me another two copies of the spell it targets, or just one?

A: Just one. The copy created by the Raidmother wasn't cast at all, and definitely not from the graveyard, so the self-replacement effect won't apply and you'll only get one copy.

Q: How does Scion of Vitu-Ghazi interact with Cackling Counterpart and Clone?

A: Not so well with the Counterpart, but pretty well with the Clone. Just as with the Wort question above, the token copy you get from Cackling Counterpart wasn't cast at all, so its ability won't trigger.

However, since Clone is an actual card that was cast from your hand, when it enters the battlefield as a copy of the Scion the game will see that it does indeed match the trigger condition, and trigger accordingly—it doesn't matter that it wasn't actually a Scion at the time you cast it. (This is assuming, of course, that you actually did cast the Clone from your hand—if you reanimated it or otherwise got it onto the battlefield in some other way, no tokens for you.)

Q: Can I cast Momentous Fall choosing Wort, the Raidmother as the creature, and still conspire it?

A: You technically can, but you don't want to because it won't do you any good.

Conspire has two parts. The first part is the optional additional cost of tapping two creatures that share a colour with the spell, and the other part is a triggered ability that triggers when you finish casting the spell if you paid that cost. Wort's around for the whole process of deciding what costs to pay, so there's no problem there—you can choose to pay the conspire cost and tap two creatures just fine.

But then you get to actually paying the costs, and sacrifice Wort. And you can do that...but that means that all of a sudden your Momentous Fall no longer has Conspire. And that means that the second part of conspire, the trigger that's supposed to go off when you finish casting the spell if you paid the cost, no longer exists. Since that trigger no longer exists, nothing happens when you finish casting the spell—you've just ended up tapping two creatures for nothing.

Q: If I use my Sisters of Stone Death to exile someone's Commander, and they put it in the command zone instead, can I still use the Sisters' last ability to bring the commander back under my control?

A: Afraid not. The Sisters' third ability wants you to choose a creature card to return that's in the exile zone and was put there by the Sisters' second ability, and since the Commander was put into the Command zone instead, it doesn't match that description.

This is different from something like It That Betrays or Rescue from the Underworld because those cards don't care which zone the card they're looking for actually went—if it happened to go to somewhere other than the graveyard instead they'll just look for it in the first zone it happened to go to. (They still won't be able to find it if it later moved somewhere else.)

Q: If an Artisan of Forms copies Sisters of Stone Death and exiles a few creatures, then changes into something different, then back to the Sisters, could I use the third ability to return the creatures exiled back when she was the Sisters the first time?

A: Afraid not. The Sisters' second and third abilities are linked. When the Artisan copies them, the particular instances of those abilities it gains are also linked in the same way. When the Artisan becomes a Sisters again later on, it's gaining completely new and separate instances of those abilities, and these new instances aren't linked to the old ones.

Interestingly, this also applies even if the Artisan doesn't become a different creature in between being the Sisters and being the Sisters again.

It's possible for the Artisan to target and choose to copy the same creature it's already copying—if it's already copying the Sisters, and you make it become a copy of the Sisters again, the new copy effect creates new instances of the exiling and return abilities, and you lose access to anything you had previously exiled. (Luckily, this will never actually happen because choosing to copy is optional, so you can just say "no" to retain access to the stuff you've exiled. But it's interesting!)

Well, I don't know about you, but I'm certainly stuffed. Thank you all for joining the family, and hopefully you'll all join us next week for another exciting edition of Cranial Insertion!

Until then, December's almost here, so get those advent calendars ready to roll!

- Callum Milne

About the Author:
Callum Milne is a Level 2 judge from British Columbia, Canada. His home range is Vancouver Island, but he can be found in the wild throughout BC and also at GPs all along the west coast of North America.

About the conspire and Momentous Fall. If you don't sac Wart, but something else, will the copy make you draw any card or not because you haven't sac something to cast it? Like copying Firespout, it do no dmg because no mana was paid.
#1 • Date: 2013-11-26 • Time: 17:28:47 •
* Invalid user.

Murubundi: the values of the sacced creature of the original spell IS copied, so the copy will have the same values.
#2 • Date: 2013-11-28 • Time: 00:32:25 •

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