Published on 11/23/2015

Food Coloring

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 Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes.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

t's not a turkey, but it's the biggest
one R&D had available.
Hello, and welcome to a mouthwatering Thanksgiving edition of Cranial Insertion! In honor of the holiday I've borrowed an industrial-size oven to roast up the biggest bird I could find, along with cranberries, pumpkin pie, and of course no Thanksgiving would be complete without mashed potatoes, gravy, and stuffing for days on end.

But don't despair, because in addition to all the food we've still got a piping-hot serving of rules questions for you to chow down on. If you'd like to contribute to the feast, you can send your questions in to us via email at , or via Twitter @CranialTweet if they're short enough.

But enough talk, let's dig in!

Q: I know that casting Day's Undoing during my own turn won't trigger Sphinx's Tutelage, but what about Notion Thief?

A: The thing to know about Day's Undoing is that any triggered abilities which trigger as a result of everyone drawing 7 cards will never resolve (because Day's Undoing ends the turn before those triggers even get to the stack). But Notion Thief isn't a triggered ability (those can be identified by using the word "When", "Whenever" or "At") — it's a replacement effect that says "instead of your opponent drawing those cards, they skip that and you draw". So if you control a Notion Thief and cast a Day's Undoing during your own turn, you'll be the only one drawing cards. If you only have one opponent you'll draw 14 cards (and you will still have to discard down to your maximum hand size afterward). If you're in a multiplayer game, you'll draw another 7 cards per opponent.

Q: I control a Grafdigger's Cage and a Goblin Welder, and I want to use Welder to swap the Cage for a Painter's Servant in my graveyard. Is that legal?

A: Activating Goblin Welder's ability is legal, but you're not going to be happy with the result, which is that you'll sacrifice the Grafdigger's Cage and get... nothing put onto the battlefield. When you resolve Goblin Welder's ability, both "parts" of the effect occur simultaneously, which means that at the time the game determines how much of the effect is possible to do (given Grafdigger's Cage's effect) the Cage hasn't yet been sacrificed and is still forbidding the Servant to enter the battlefield.

Q: If I use Flash to put Greenwarden of Murasa onto the battlefield, can I use the Greenwarden's ability to get back the Flash?

A: You can! Whenever you're resolving a spell or ability, you always completely finish resolving it prior to putting any resulting triggered abilities onto the stack. So you do every Flash calls for and put it into your graveyard, then you put the Greenwarden's ability onto the stack and choose a target. Since Flash is in the graveyard, it's legal to choose it as a target and get it back into your hand.

Q: I control Arjun, the Shifting Flame and I just cast Bloodbraid Elf. What happens?

A: Presuming you find a spell you can and want to cast with Bloodbraid Elf's cascade ability, you'll end up triggering Arjun twice. The exact order of the triggered abilities is partly up to you: casting Bloodbraid Elf triggers both Arjun and cascade, and you choose the order in which those triggers are put on the stack. So you'll either cascade, then Arjun (from cascade), then Arjun (from the original Elf); or Arjun (from the original Elf), then cascade, then Arjun (from cascade).

Q: I control a Gisela, Blade of Goldnight, but my opponent controls one too! If I cast a Lightning Bolt targeting my opponent, what will happen?

A: Your opponent will be dealt either 2 damage or 3 damage, and it'll be their choice. Since multiple effects are trying to prevent or redirect damage, the affected player (your opponent) chooses the order in which to apply them. If they apply their Gisela first, the 3 damage is halved, rounded down (becoming 1), then doubled by your Gisela to 2. If they apply your Gisela first, the 3 damage is doubled (to 6), then halved by their Gisela to 3.

Q: I equipped Blade of Selves to an awakened 4/4 Island I control, and attacked. What kind of tokens will be produced by the myriad ability?

A: You'll get to produce one un-animated Island token for each opponent. They'll be tapped but not attacking (since they're not creatures — when copying something, you copy only what's printed on it, plus other copy effects, so the effect of awaken is *not* copied, nor are the counters), and they'll get exiled at end of combat.

No, no, no, I need this oven
to deal at least 7 damage!
Q: I cast See the Unwritten and I find Sidisi, Brood Tyrant and two other creatures among the cards I reveal. If I put Sidisi onto the battlefield, do I get two Zombie tokens?

A: You get some number of tokens, yes, but that number is just one. When resolving a spell or ability, you carry out the instructions in the order printed. See the Unwritten has you put the card you choose onto the battlefield, and then the rest of the cards into your graveyard. So Sidisi sees the two other creature cards put into your gravayard from your library. However, those two cards are put into your graveyard in one event, and Sidisi's trigger looks for "one or more" cards to go to the graveyard, so the ability triggers only once and you get one token.

Q: My opponent controls two Kor Ally tokens and a Kor Soldier token. Can I kill them all with Sever the Bloodline?

A: When the effect that creates a creature token doesn't specify its name, the name defaults to whatever its creature types are. So the Kor Ally tokens are named "Kor Ally", and the Kor Soldier token is named "Kor Soldier". Sever the Bloodline could kill both Kor Ally tokens if you cast it targeting one of them, but won't hit the Kor Soldier (since it has a different name); luckily, it has flashback so you could just cast it from your graveyard to clean up the pesky leftover token.

Q: How does Omniscience work against Trinisphere?

A: When casting a spell, you start with either the mana cost in the upper right-hand corner, or the alternative cost you've chosen to pay (in this case, "without paying its mana cost", which is an alternative cost). Then you apply effects that increase and decrease costs, and finally apply any effects that modify the total cost. So with a Trinisphere on the battlefield, you'll still end up paying per spell for any spells you cast using Omniscience's ability,

Q: If I control Anafenza, the Foremost and use Void Attendant's ability on an exiled creature card, will I get an Eldrazi Scion?

A: You will — the various Eldrazi Processors don't actually care whether the card ends up in the graveyard, just that you tried to take the action they called for. So even though Anafenza's replacement effect intervenes and exiles the card, you still get an Eldrazi Scion from the Void Attendant's ability (and you can keep doing this over and over, for as many Scions as you can pay for).

Q: I control a Colossal Whale and four other creatures. Then I cast Polymorphous Rush to turn those other four creatures into copies of the Whale, and attack. I get to exile five creatures from all the triggers, but what happens at end of turn when the other four creatures stop being Colossal Whales?

A: Nothing much happens at that point, but if any of the ex-Whales leave the battlefield, the creature that one exiled will be returned; the ability isn't dependent on whether the creature that did the exiling is still a Colossal Whale at that point.

Q: If my opponent uses Dromoka's Command to put a +1/+1 counter on one of her creatures and have it fight one of mine, can I respond with my own Dromoka's Command to pump my creature and prevent all the damage her Command would deal?

A: It's legal for you to choose those modes for your Command, but it won't prevent any damage; whenever a spell instructs two creatures to fight, the creatures are dealing the damage rather than the spell.

Q: My opponent attacks me with a Mist Intruder and a Murk Strider. I block the Strider with Salvage Drone. Do I exile a card for he Intruder's ingest first, or discard and draw for the Drone?

A: When multiple abilities trigger at the same time, and they're controlled by different players, the active player (the player whose turn it is) always puts their triggers on the stack first, which means they resolve last. So the Intruder's ingest ability goes on the stack first and resolves last, which means you draw and discard for the Drone, then ingest for the Intruder.

Q: My opponent controls Amulet of Vigor and just cast Primeval Titan, fetching up Boros Garrison and Sunhome, Fortress of the Legion. Do I get an opportunity to Ghost Quarter the Sunhome before it untaps?

A: You do. Amulet of Vigor's ability is just a plain old triggered ability that goes on the stack; you can respond to it by using Ghost Quarter, and if you do the Sunhome will be destroyed before it can be untapped and activated.

Emrakul is actually applying
for a green card on Zendikar.
Q: If I control a Slumbering Dragon, can I make it be able to attack by moving counters onto it (say, with the ability of Daghatar the Adamant), or do I have to wait for my opponent to attack me five times?

A: Slumbering Dragon just pays attention to the number of +1/+1 counters on it, not how they got there. So if you can get five counters onto it with Daghatar, your Dragon will wake up and happily dispense fiery doom regardless of whether your opponent ever attacked you.

Q: If I equip a Blade of Selves to Thragtusk, do I get five life and a Beast token from each of the copies made by myriad?

A: You do! The tokens produced by myriad enter the battlefield, which triggers the life-gain ability. And when they get exiled at the end of combat, that triggers the second ability and makes a 3/3 Beast for each one (note that Thragtusk's second ability is a bit unusual, because it triggers on leaving the battlefield in any fashion, not just from being put into a graveyard — that's why this works).

Q: I've heard that I can use Bring to Light to search for a split card (like Boom // Bust) and cast the more expensive half even if only the cheaper half matched for Bring to Light. Does that mean I could also fuse a card like Wear // Tear with Bring to Light?

A: Unfortunately, no. Fuse only works when you're casting the card from your hand, and with Bring to Light you're casting it from your library. So you'll still need to choose just one half of the split card to cast when you fetch it up with Bring to Light.

Q: I control a Skitterskin and my only other colorless creature is an Eldrazi Scion token. Can I sacrifice the token and tap a Swamp to regenerate Skitterskin?

A: Yup. Although the token skitters off into your graveyard (and then into nonexistence), the step where you generate mana for and pay the cost of an ability comes after the step where you determine if activating the ability is legal. The game won't "look forward" past that point to figure out whether you'll still control another colorless creature later on.

Q: My opponent has a bunch of islandwalking Merfolk (thanks to a Lord of Atlantis), and a Spreading Seas on one of my lands. What's the latest I can cast Dromoka's Command to kill the Spreading Seas and be able to block?

A: You'll need to do it in the declare attackers step. Immediately after that, the game moves on to you declaring blockers, so if you want to walk all over your opponent's islandwalkers with some blocks, you'll have to get rid of Spreading Seas before then.

Q: I heard that at a big tournament recently there was a fire alarm in the middle of a round. How do judges handle that?

A: Carefully. The first priority is safety, so when a fire alarm goes off the first goal is to get everyone outside in a safe and orderly fashion. Once it's OK to go back in, typically any games in progress get restarted (since people probably picked up their cards, and reconstructing all those game states would be a nightmare), and a time extension gets added to that round, for all matches still playing, to accommodate that.

Whew! I don't know about you, but I'm stuffed! Thanks for coming by for dinner, and be sure to come back next week when Carsten will be back with another fresh batch of rules questions for you all.

Until then, I think I'm just going to lie back on the couch and doze.

- James Bennett

About the Author:
James Bennett is a Level 3 judge based out of Lawrence, Kansas. He pops up at events around Kansas City and all over the midwest, and has a car he can talk to.

about See the Unwritten/ Sidisi, Brood Tyrant
I think Sidisi's ability only trigger once when you put two creature cards into graveyard at the same time.
#1 • Date: 2015-11-22 • Time: 23:40:21 •
In regards to the Gisela, you prevent damage rounded up. So if you have a Bolt coming at your face, you can prevent half the damage first, preventing 2 damage, and then double the remaining 1 damage to 2, or double the damage to 6 and then halve it to 3. So the answer should be either 2 or 3 damage, not 3 or 4
#2 • Date: 2015-11-23 • Time: 03:45:10 •
For the question about Ingest vs Salvage Drone, it's worth pointing out that these triggers do actually happen at different times - the Ingest trigger happens when damage is dealt, but the Salvage Drone trigger happens when it dies as a result of SBAs after damage. However, both of these events have happened before the next time triggers are put on the stack, so they're still being put on the stack together, and are ordered as such (ie APNAP and if they're the same controller then controller chooses), the fact that the Ingest trigger was technically first doesn't matter.

I know at least one person at my local store got confused by that particular technicality.
#3 • Date: 2015-11-23 • Time: 04:02:39 •
Quote (buffalobill):
about See the Unwritten/ Sidisi, Brood Tyrant
I think Sidisi's ability only trigger once when you put two creature cards into graveyard at the same time.

Quote (jskura):
In regards to the Gisela, you prevent damage rounded up. So if you have a Bolt coming at your face, you can prevent half the damage first, preventing 2 damage, and then double the remaining 1 damage to 2, or double the damage to 6 and then halve it to 3. So the answer should be either 2 or 3 damage, not 3 or 4

Thanks, you are both correct! Good job on paying attention and not blindly accepting everything we write, since we're only human after all and we do make occasional mistakes, although most of the time we try to fix them before the article is published. Since the incorrect answers were only visible for a few hours, I've corrected the article so that other readers don't get confused.
#4 • Date: 2015-11-23 • Time: 06:36:30 •
Of interesting note on the Flash/Greenwarden question: if you don't pay the rest of Greenwarden's cost, you sacrifice it as part of Flash's resolution, which means that both of Greenwarden's triggers will go on the stack, and you can return Flash and Greenwarden to your hand. I'm sure that there's a silly combo in there somewhere.
#5 • Date: 2015-11-23 • Time: 14:16:00 •
With Bring to Light you're casting a card from exile, not from your library.
#6 • Date: 2015-11-24 • Time: 20:28:22 •

The only reason that popped out at me was because I was literally just talking about it this past weekend at a Commander game when someone asked what would happen if 2 of 3 people have Gisela out
#7 • Date: 2015-11-25 • Time: 21:07:50 •

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