Published on 06/15/2015

Summer Sunshine

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 Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes.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

In the heat of summer sunshine
I kiss you, and nobody needs to know
Welcome back to another episode of Cranial Insertion! It's almost summer, which means the weather is getting hotter here in Toledo, and it's often sunny, but it also brings some truly terrifying thunderstorms. While we're waiting for Magic Origins previews to start, let's take shelter from the rain and look at some fun rules questions from our inbox!

If you have burning questions that need to be answered, please email them to or tweet them to @CranialTweet. One of our writers will get back to you with an answer, and your question might appear in a future episode, possibly alongside some obscure song lyrics or other pop culture references and puns.

Q: If I copy an Aura with Clever Impersonator, can I attach it to something even though it didn't have a target while on the stack? If so, how does this interact with hexproof/shroud?

A: Yes, you can totally do that. This is just one of many ways of making an Aura enter the battlefield without having a target, and the rules handle this by asking you choose something to attach it to as it enters the battlefield. The thing you choose must be able to be enchanted by the Aura, so you couldn't choose something with protection, but the thing is not being targeted, so you can absolutely choose something with shroud or hexproof.

Q: Does Dragonlord Kolaghan deal damage to my opponent if she casts Risen Executioner from her graveyard?

A: Maybe! Risen Executioner moves from the graveyard to the stack as the very first step in the process of casting it, and after your opponent has finished casting it, Kolaghan checks whether there's a card named "Risen Executioner" in her graveyard. This means that Kolaghan's ability only triggers if your opponent had at least one other Risen Executioner in her graveyard.

Q: If I cast a Den Protector face up, can I later pay its megamorph cost just to put a +1/+1 counter on it?

A: Nice try, but no, that doesn't work. The megamorph cost can only be paid while the creature with the megamorph ability is face-down.

Q: My opponent controls Anafenza, the Foremost and I wipe the board with End Hostilities. Do my creatures go to the graveyard or are they getting exiled?

A: They're still getting exiled. End Hostilities destroys everything in a single event, and any replacement effects such as Anafenza's effect have to be applied to this event before it happens. Before the event, Anafenza is still on the battlefield, so the ability is fully functional and replaces your creatures' trip to the graveyard with a fabulous trip to the exile zone.

Q: Let's say I steal my opponent's Stalking Vengeance with Dragonlord Silumgar and then Silumgar dies. Does Stalking Vengeance's ability still trigger for me?

A: Yup! If you look closely at the event of Silumgar's death, you have one game state immediately before this event and one game state immediately after the event. Before the event, you control Silumgar and Stalking Vengeance. After the event, Silumgar is in the graveyard and Stalking Vengeance is back under your opponent's control. While most triggers look at the game state after the event to check whether they exist and whether they triggered, some triggers look back in time at the game state before the event, and death triggers are among those that look back in time. Since you controlled Stalking Vengeance in that game state, its ability triggers and Silumgar gets to smack your opponent posthumously.

Q: On my previous turn I cast Artful Maneuver, and then my opponent wiped the board on her turn, so the only potential creature I have now is the Myth Realized that wasn't a creature at the time of the board wipe. Can I rebound Artful Maneuver and target Myth Realized with it?

A: Sure, you can do that. The "cast from exile" ability that comes with rebound is a triggered ability that uses the stack, so you can respond to it. You don't choose a target for Artful Maneuver until you cast it during the resolution of that ability, so if you animate Myth Realized in response to the rebound trigger, it'll be a creature in time to be targeted by Artful Maneuver.

Q: Suppose my opponent casts a spell I don't like, and I have a Spellstutter Sprite in my hand to answer it, but I'm one Faerie short of the spell's CMC. Can I respond with Peppersmoke and then with the Sprite so that the Sprite also counts the Peppersmoke as a Faerie I control?

A: That's some impressive outside-the-box thinking, but unfortunately your plan doesn't work. It's true that you do control the Peppersmoke you've cast, but an ability that uses only a subtype such as Faerie without additional words such as "spell" or "source" means a permanent of that subtype, so Spellstutter Sprite won't count any Faerie spells on the stack.

Does the sun shine up at you
when you're looking down?
Q: I control a Palisade Giant and I make it indestructible with Aegis Angel. Am I invincible now?

A: Well, your opponent will have a hard time dealing damage to you or any creatures you control while you control that Giant/Angel team, since any damage that would be dealt to you or creatures you control will instead be dealt to the Giant, and the Giant just shrugs it off due to being indestructible. However, this setup is not invincible. Your opponent still has plenty of options to break your setup, such as lowering the Giant's toughness to 0, exiling the Giant, destroying the Angel, or Unsummoning the Angel, just to name a few.

Q: Does Humility stop Marath, Will of the Wild from entering with counters?

A: Nope. Marath's ability is a replacement effect that changes how it enters the battlefield, so it gets applied just before Marath moves to the battlefield. Humility only affects creatures that are on the battlefield, so it doesn't take away Marath's counter-giving ability early enough to stop the counters.

Q: If I enchant a face-down creature with Followed Footsteps, what do I get?

A: You'll get a lot of 2/2 creatures. The copiable values of a face-down creature are a 2/2 colorless creature without a name, abilities, or creature types, so those are the characteristics that the copy tokens get. Note that the tokens are face-up, and they don't have a morph ability, so they can't be turned face up to become anything other than plain 2/2 creatures.

Q: My opponent controls Notion Thief and I want to dredge a card from my graveyard with some draw spell. Does that work?

A: Yup, that works. Both Notion Thief and dredge create replacement effects that want to change how you're being affected by the pending event of you drawing a card. As the affected player, you choose one of those effects to apply and modify the pending event accordingly. If you choose the dredge effect, the pending event no longer involves you drawing a card, so Notion Thief's effect is no longer applicable and you do the dredge thing.

Q: My opponent controls a creature that's enchanted with Daybreak Coronet and some other Aura. Can I knock the Coronet off of the creature by Flickering the other Aura?

A: No. While the creature is very briefly not a "creature with another Aura attached to it," throwing away Auras for being attached illegally only happens when the game checks state-based actions, which doesn't happen while a spell is resolving. When Flicker is done resolving and state-based actions are checked, the creature once again has the other Aura attached to it, so Daybreak Coronet is once again legally attached and has no reason to go away.

Q: If I control Djinn Illuminatus and cast Electrickery with overload for , can I replicate Electrickery for ? And if so, are the replicate copies overloaded, too?

A: Yes and yes! As you've guessed, the replicate cost is only because the Djinn only looks at the mana cost of Electrickery, which is even though you chose to cast it for an alternative cost. The choice to pay the alternative cost is a copiable value that the copies acquire, so they will also get the benefit of being overloaded, so you're gonna be dealing a lot of damage to a lot of creatures without paying a lot of mana. Izzen't Djinn Illuminatus great?

Q: I just used Goryo's Vengeance to reanimate Griselbrand and I swing. My opponent doesn't like the idea of taking 7 to the face, so he Aether Vials a Flickerwisp and exiles Griselbrand. When Griselbrand comes back in the end step, do I still have to exile it?

A: Nope! The Griselbrand that comes back from being flickered is a completely new creature that has no memory of or relation to its previous existence on the battlefield. In particular, that new creature is not the Griselbrand that was put onto the battlefield by Goryo's Vengeance. The "exile it" trigger from Goryo's Vengeance can't find the creature you're supposed to exile, so you don't exile anything, and you get to keep the new Griselbrand indefinitely.

Q: I control Spellskite and my opponent plays Kavu Primarch with kicker. Can I redirect the Primarch's +1/+1 counters onto the Spellskite?

A: Sorry, no such luck. First off, Spellskite can only target spells and abilities on the stack, and Kavu Primarch's counter-giving ability is a static ability that replaces how Kavu Primarch enters the battlefield and as such it doesn't use the stack. Also, Kavu Primarch's ability doesn't target anything, which you can tell by the fact that it's a non-keyword ability that doesn't use the word "target."

Thunder only happens when it's raining
Q: How does Deflecting Palm work with Lightning Storm?

A: Deflecting Palm prevents a single "packet" of damage that would be dealt by the chosen source. Lightning Storm calculates one number which is the amount of damage it should deal, and then it deals that damage in a single packet, or at least it tries to. Since that's the next time Lightning Storm would deal damage, Deflecting Palm prevents all that damage, and then it deals that much damage to Lightning Storm's controller. Lightning Storm's controller, by the way, is the player who cast it, regardless of who discarded how many land cards to charge up the Storm or who chose Lightning Storm's target most recently.

Q: Can I overload a spell that's cast with Isochron Scepter?

A: No. Both overload and Isochron Scepter's "without paying its mana cost" are alternative costs, and you can't combine two alternative costs for the same spell. Since the alternative cost from the Scepter is the one that's actually allowing you to cast the spell, you're locked into that cost and you can't overload the spell.

Q: Wait, I thought you can kick a spell that's cast with Isochron Scepter. Is that wrong?

A: No, that's right. The crucial difference between overload and kicker is that kicker is an additional cost. While you can't combine two alternative costs, you can add an additional cost to an alternative cost.

Q: Can I use Torrent Elemental in a Marchesa, the Black Rose Commander deck?

A: Sadly, no. While Torrent Elemental's color is just blue, the deck construction rules for Commander look at the color identity of the card, which includes all mana symbols on the card, including the mana symbols in the card's rules text. As such, Torrent Elemental's color identity is blue, black, and green, which is too green for Marchesa.

Q: Can I play Order of Succession in a one-on-one Commander game?

A: Sure! In a duel, there is a player to your left, and there is a player to your right. They both happen to be the same player and your only opponent, but that only means that it doesn't matter which direction you choose for Order of Succession.

Q: How does commander damage work with Crumbling Sanctuary?

A: Not well. The commander damage rule only counts actual combat damage dealt, and Crumbling Sanctuary replaces the damage with an entirely different event, so no damage is dealt at all.

Q: I want to play in a sealed tournament, but I have dyslexia, which makes it hard for me to register my deck within the time limit. Could I bring a friend to help me with the deck registration process?

A: First off, we can't give you a blanket answer that will work at every tournament, since it's up to the Head Judge of the tournament whether and how to accommodate your individual needs. Speaking for just myself, I personally would be uneasy with letting a friend help you because it would be difficult to avoid the perception that he or she is giving you strategic advice. However, I would be happy to appoint a judge to assist you with filling out your registration sheet, provided that I had sufficient staff available.

The bottom-line is that you should talk to the Head Judge of the tournament as early as possible, if possible even before the event, to make him or her aware of your situation and to give him or her the chance to come up with suitable accommodations.

And speaking of time limits, that's all the time we have for now. Please come back next time when Eli serves up another batch of rules questions. Until then, I hope your weather is better than mine!

- 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.

Regarding Daybreak Coronet: When the other aura comes back onto the battlefield, its controller (which is now its owner, whoever controlled it before) chooses something to attach it to, which might not be the creature with Daybreak Coronet attached to it. So the proper answer is: it depends what its owner chooses to attach it to. If it\'s the opponent\'s aura, they\'ll probably want to leave it where it was to keep the Coronet around, but if it\'s yours (Pacifism for example... not that anyone\'s likely to waste a Coronet on something that can\'t enter combat), you can probably make the Coronet fall off by choosing something else.

(Aside: Why are all those backslashes appearing when I edit?)
#1 • Date: 2015-06-16 • Time: 18:58:26 •

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