Published on 01/06/2014

Take Me to Your Party

Take Me to the Awesomeness

Cranial Translation
Deutsch Español Français Italiano Pусский

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 Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes.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.

Greetings! It's the first Monday of 2014, so it is my honor to wish you a Happy New Year on behalf of all the Cranial Insertion writers! Now that the new year has begun, Born of the Gods isn't far behind, and that's just one of many exciting things the year has in store for us.

Our new year's resolution is to continue answering your rules questions, and you can help us by continuing to send your questions to us, either by email to or as a tweet to @CranialTweet. One of our writers will answer your question directly, and your answer might appear in a future issue, possibly accompanied by an obscure pop-culture reference. (Speaking of which, if you recognize the references in this article, I commend you for your taste in music.)

Q: If I throw my monstrous Fleecemane Lion into an Oubliette, what happens when it comes back out?

A: Something strange happens. Oubliette noted that the Lion had a +1/+1 counter on it, and it returns the Lion with that counter, so you'll have a 4/4 Lion. However, it's a new creature that doesn't remember anything from its prior existence, so it's not monstrous and doesn't have hexproof and indestructible. If you want it to be monstrous again, you'd have to activate its monstrosity ability again.

Q: If I exile the top card of my opponent's library with Nightveil Specter, can I cast that card without paying its mana cost?

A: No, you'll have to pay the normal cost to cast the card. Nightveil Specter allows you to cast the card from an unusual zone, but that's the only unusual thing it does. Since it doesn't say that you don't have to pay the cost, you have to pay it.

Q: I control two Cloudfin Raptors and a Bident of Thassa. If I cast Thassa, God of the Sea, do my Raptors evolve?

A: Yup! After Thassa enters the battlefield, you apply continuous effects before you check triggered abilities. Since your devotion to blue is now 5, Thassa is a creature, so when the evolve triggers check what just entered the battlefield, they see that a big creature entered the battlefield, and your Raptors evolve accordingly.

Q: My opponent is activating his Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx's ability. Can I blow up one of his creatures in response to lower the amount of mana he gets from this?

A: Nope. Nykthos's ability is an activated ability that doesn't target, isn't a loyalty ability, and could put mana into a player's mana pool when it resolves. As such, it is a mana ability, which means that it doesn't use the stack. It resolves immediately after being activated, so you can't respond to it.

Q: My opponent enchants my Yoked Ox with Claustrophobia. In response to its enters-the-battlefield ability I destroy it with Ray of Dissolution. Does my Ox still get tapped?

A: Yes. When the triggered ability resolves, it checks what Claustrophobia is enchanting. Since Claustrophobia has left the battlefield in the meantime, the game uses Claustrophobia's last known information to find out what it was enchanting. Right before it left the battlefield, it was enchanting your Yoked Ox, so that's what it'll tap.

Q: My opponent is attacking me with Archangel of Thune. I want to chump-block it with my Judge's Familiar and then sac the Familiar so my opponent doesn't gain life. Can I do that?

A: Only if you also cast a spell that you can target with the Familiar's ability. Judge's Familiar's ability is a targeted ability, so you can't activate it if there's no target available.

Q: Suppose I control both Chance Encounter and Krark's Thumb and I flip a coin, which the Thumb replaces with two coin flips. If I win both coin flips, does Chance Encounter get two counters?

A: No. In addition to making you flip a second time, Krark's Thumb also tells you to ignore one of the flips. The flip that you ignore never happened as far as the game is concerned, so Chance Encounter won't trigger for it.

Something random is happening.
I hope that I am prepared.
Q: Does Krark's Thumb let me reselect Goblin Test Pilot's target if I don't like the first random choice?

A: That would be awesome, but it doesn't work that way. Krark's Thumb only cares about coin flips, not about any random processes. Even if you come up with an elaborate random targeting algorithm for Goblin Test Pilot that involves flipping coins, Krark's Thumb won't help you with that.

Q: My opponent control Erebos, God of the Dead and I cast Obzedat, Ghost Council. Can I still hit my opponent with Obzedat's ability?

A: Sure! When Obzedat's ability resolves, it does as much as it can. You can't gain any life, so that part of the ability does nothing, but your opponent can still lose 2 life, so that still happens.

Q: If my opponent plays a Boon Satyr without bestowing it, can I still hit it with Ray of Dissolution?

A: Yes, Ray of Dissolution can destroy a non-bestowed enchantment creature. The bestow creatures are always enchantments, even when not bestowed. They're not Auras when not bestowed, but Ray of Dissolution doesn't care whether the enchantment it's hitting is an Aura.

Q: If I cast Savor the Moment, can I Stifle the part that has me skip the untap step of the extra turn?

A: No, that doesn't work. The effect that tells you to skip your untap step of the extra turn is a replacement effect, not a triggered ability. You can tell that it's not a triggered ability because it doesn't use the words "when," "whenever," or "at."

Q: Can Meletis Charlatan be used on cards in the graveyard?

A: No. Meletis Charlatan's ability can only target a spell, which is something on the stack that was cast recently and is waiting to resolve. Once the spell has resolved and gone to the graveyard, it is no longer a spell.

Q: Can Deathrite Shaman respond to Narcomoeba's trigger and exile it in response?

A: Sure, that works. Narcomoeba's ability uses the stack, so you can exile the card from the graveyard in response. If you do that, the trigger is unable to find the card where it expects it, so the trigger does nothing.

Q: Can I bestow a Boon Satyr on Teysa, Envoy of Ghosts?

A: Certainly! As you cast the Boon Satyr, you choose whether you're bestowing it before you target Teysa with it. If you choose to bestow it, the Boon Satyr stops being a creature right away, so Teysa's protection from creatures is not a problem.

Would you dance
to a song about dancing?
Q: Can I copy Dance of Many's enter-the-battlefield ability with Strionic Resonator? If so, what happens?

A: Yes, you can copy it. You'll get two token copies, either of the same thing or of two different things as you choose, and then both tokens will have their existence linked to Dance of Many. When Dance of Many leaves the battlefield, you'll have to exile both tokens. When one of the tokens leaves the battlefield, you'll have to sacrifice Dance of Many, which then causes you to exile the other token.

Q: If my opponent hits my Drudge Skeletons with a fused Turn // Burn, can I respond with the regenerate ability to have my Skeletons survive?

A: Yes, you can do that. The regeneration ability resolves and sets up a regeneration shield that will protect your Skeleton the next time it would be destroyed. This is not an ability, so it won't be removed by Turn, and the regeneration shield doesn't depend on the ability that created it in order to do its job. Also, even though the Skeleton looks a bit weird at the time, it's still the same Skeleton when it would be destroyed by the damage it took from Burn, so the regeneration shield saves it from its fate.

Q: Can I search for Nameless Inversion with Scion of the Ur-Dragon's ability?

A: No. Nameless Inversion is a Dragon card (as well as a Mutant Ninja Turtle card), but it's not a Dragon permanent card. The printed text on the card isn't explicit about this because at the time Scion of the Ur-Dragon was printed the only Dragon cards in existence were permanent cards, but when Lorwyn came about with its Tribal goodness, Scion of the Ur-Dragon got errata to eliminate any possible shenanigans that would result from turning it into a copy of an instant card.

Q: I control three permanents with extort and I cast a spell. If I pay one mana for extort, does my opponent lose 3 life?

A: No. When you cast your spell, three separate extort triggers went on the stack. When each one resolves, it asks you if you'd like to pay , and if you do, your opponent loses 1 life. One payment only satisfies one trigger, so if you want your opponent to lose 3 life, you'll have to pay three mana.

Q: If I give a Force of Will in my graveyard flashback with Snapcaster Mage, can I cast it for its alternative cost?

A: No. Snapcaster Mage gives Force of Will a flashback cost equal to its mana cost, which is . That cost is the only one that allows you to cast Force of Will from your graveyard at all, so you can't flash it back for the alternative cost.

Q: How does commander damage work when I steal my opponent's general and hit him with it? Does it count as commander damage or not?

A: Any combat damage that's dealt by a commander is commander damage, so yes, it counts. However, it takes 21 total commander damage from a single commander to lose the game. It's not enough if a player is dealt 10 commander damage by one commander and 11 commander damage by another.

Q: Let's say I'm watching a match and I see that a player forgot to scry from his Magma Jet and his opponent didn't say anything about it. Can I remind the players of the scry effect?

A: Absolutely not. As a spectator, your responsibility is to be silent and passive. You are allowed to tell the players to pause their match and then you can call a judge and tell the judge what you observed, but you shouldn't talk to the players about what you've observed in their match. If you're wrong, you might end up giving outside assistance to one of the players, and that would be very bad.

Q: I'm watching a match and a judge gives a ruling that I think is incorrect. Can I appeal that ruling?

A: No. Only a player can appeal a ruling. Even if you're a player in the tournament, with respect to the match you're watching you're a spectator. If both players in the match are satisfied with the ruling, the match will go on its merry way. You may ask the judge or the head judge for a clarification of the ruling away from the table, but that won't change the ruling that was given to the ongoing match.

And that's all the time we have for now. Please join us next week when Eli serves up the next issue, and I'll see you again in four weeks for our Born of the Gods special!

- Carsten Haese

About the Author:
Carsten Haese is a former Level 2 judge based in Toledo, OH. He is retired from active judging, but he still writes for Cranial Insertion and helps organize an annual charity Magic tournament that benefits the National MS Society.


No comments yet.


Follow us @CranialTweet!

Send quick questions to us in English for a short answer.

Follow our RSS feed!