Published on 12/14/2015

In a Galaxy Far, Far Away...

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 Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes.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

The force will be with you, always.
Hi everyone, and we're back! This weekend is the weekend that many Star Wars fans have been waiting for: the release of the latest Star Wars movie: The Force Awakens. While I'm not a huge Star Wars fan (I was more of a Star Trek guy when I was young), even I'm getting swept into the Star Wars fever. Heck, I may even marathon the six previous movies before watching the new one at my local theatre this weekend (if I can even brave the crowds to see it).

But that's not why we're here. We're here to answer your rules questions! If you have a rules question that you'd like us to answers, there's a couple way of getting in contact with us. You can tweet us short questions at @CranialTweet or, if you have a longer question, ask us via e-mail at .

Q: My opponent plays a Forest, then casts Jaddi Offshoot. He claims he gets to gain a life from the Offshoot's trigger. Is he correct?

A: Nope, he doesn't gain any life. In order for the Offshoot to trigger, it has to be on the battlefield when the land enters the battlefield. It won't look back in time before it entered to see if any lands entered the battlefield. Since the Offshoot entered the battlefield after the Forest was played, the Offshoot will not trigger and they won't gain any life.

Q: My opponent controls no creatures, and I have an Erebos's Titan on the battlefield. My opponent casts an awakened Planar Outburst. Does my Titan survive?

A: Your Titan will survive. The first thing we do when the Outburst resolves is that we destroy all nonland creatures. Your opponent doesn't control any creatures at this point, so the Titan is indestructible. Then the Outburst makes their land into a creature, and the Titan loses indestructible. That doesn't really matter anymore, since nothing is trying to destroy the Titan at the moment. The end result is that the Titan lives.

Q: I cast a Kolaghan's Command, choosing the "destroy target artifact" and "deal two damage to target creature or player" modes, using mana from a Pyromancer's Goggles to cast it. Can I choose different modes for the copy made by the Goggles?

A: No you cannot. When you copy a spell, the copy will have the same modes chosen as the original spell: you can't choose different modes. The copy of the Command will have the modes that the original Command had.

Q: I have an Eager Cadet on the battlefield, and my opponent has an Alpine Grizzly. My opponent casts Dromoka's Command, targeting me with the "sacrifice an enchantment" mode and the Cadet and Grizzle for the fight mode. In response, I cast Stasis Snare and exile the Grizzly. What happens when the Command resolves?

A: When the Command goes to resolve, there's only two legal targets: the player and the Cadet. The spell will resolve as best as it can with those targets. So first, you sacrifice an enchantment (the Snare), and the Grizzly returns to the battlefield. Then we move onto the fight part of the Command, but the fight will not happen, since both targets are no longer legal. The Grizzly that's on the battlefield now is not the same one that was on the battlefield before (and targeted by the Command), so no fight will happen.

Q: I have an army of awakened lands ready to attack, but my opponent has an Archangel of Tithes on the battlefield. If I give my lands vigilance with Brave the Sands, could I attack with my vigilant lands, and tap them for mana to pay the tax from the Archangel?

A: You sure can! Normally, a creature becomes tapped as part of being declared as an attacker, so you couldn't tap it to attack and tap it for mana to pay the tax from the Archangel of Tithes. But because your lands have vigilance, they won't tap to attack, meaning they'll be able to attack, tap for mana, and use that mana to pay the tax from the Archangel. The lands will still be attacking, since tapping an attacking creature doesn't remove it from combat, and you will have paid the tax from the Archangel in order for it to attack.

Q: I cast Reap and Sow entwined, targeting my opponent's Island. My opponent respond by using their Ghost Quarter on that Island. What happens when Reap and Sow goes to resolve?

A: Reap and Sow has a single target: a target land to destroy. Since all of the targets for Reap and Sow are illegal when it goes to resolve, Reap and Sow is countered and none of its effects will happen. You will not be able to search for a land.

Q: I cast Slaughter Pact on my opponent's creature, then I cast Snapcaster Mage and flashback the Pact on another creature. How much do I need to pay during my next upkeep?

A: You'll need to pay a total of . At the beginning of your next upkeep, two delayed triggers will go on the stack. Both Pact triggers are asking you to pay the same amount - - or you lose the game. To satisfy both triggers, you'll need to pay twice, or a total of , to not lose the game.

Q: My opponent controls a Privileged Position giving all of their other permanents hexproof. What happens when I try to cast Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger?

A: Ulamog's trigger requires two different targets, and the ability is not optional. You can target your opponent's Privileged Position as one of the targets, but you won't be able to target anything else they control, since they all have hexproof. Since your permanents are the only other legal targets, you'll have to target one of your own permanents as the other target for the trigger.

I find your lack of faith disturbing.

Q: My opponent just cast Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, and targets two of my permanents with its cast trigger. I have a Spellskite in play and a Restoration Angel in my hand. Is there a way to change both targets of the trigger to Spellskite?

A: There is!. First, activate and resolve Spellskite's ability once, changing one of the target to Spellskite. Then, cast Restoration Angel. With the Angel's trigger, exile and return Spellskite. Spellskite is a new permanent that has no link to its previous life on the battlefield. Now, activate Spellskite's ability again, and change the other target (not the one targeting the old Spellskite) to the Spellskite that you just returned to the battlefield. Your Spellskite will be exiled, but you won't lose anything else.

This works because the Spellskite that's on the battlefield now is a different Spellskite than the one that was on the battlefield before. Ulamog's ability has to target two different permanents, but in this case, it works since even though both Spellskite are represented by the same card, they're still two different permanents.

Q: My opponent has an Archmage Ascension with six quest counters on it and a Thought Reflection. They claim they can tutor for two cards every time they would draw a card. Is this correct?

A: Yep, they're right. Both the Ascension and the Reflection have replacement effects, and both effects are trying to replace the same event. If they choose to apply the Reflection first, instead of drawing one card, they'll be drawing two card. The Ascension will then apply to both of those draws, and they'll be able to search their library for two cards, rather than one.

Q: My Wurmcoil Engine died last turn, and I have the two Wurm tokens on the battlefield. My opponent targets the Wurm token with lifelink with Echoing Truth. What happens when Echoing Truth resolves?

A: Unless the effect that made the token set the token's name, a token's name is the same as the creature type it had when it was created. In this case, both of the tokens are named "Wurm". Even though they have different abilities, they both have the same name, so both tokens will be bounced back to your hand and will then cease to exist.

Q: I have an Ezuri, Claw of Progress on the battlefield, and I cast Batterskull. Will Ezuri trigger for the Germ token?

A: It sure will. When the living weapon trigger resolves, we put a 0/0 Germ token onto the battlefield, then we attach Batterskull to it. It ends up as a 4/4 creature, but when the token first entered the battlefield, it was a 0/0 creature. Since its power was two or less at that point, Ezuri's ability will trigger and you'll get an experience counter.

Q: The storm count for the turn is three, and I cast Empty the Warrens. My opponent tries to counter the storm trigger with a Stifle, but I counter their Stifle with a Dispel. When my storm trigger resolves, how many copies of the Warrens do I get?

A: You get three copies. Storm counts the number of spells cast before the spell with storm was cast. It will not count any spells that were cast with the storm trigger on the stack, before that trigger resolves. The trigger from the Warrens will not count the Stifle or the Dispel that were cast with the trigger on the stack, so you'll only get three copies of the Warrens.

Q: My opponent has some suspended exiled, and they resolve Eternal Dominion. What happens when their suspended spells lose their last time counter?

A: When the last time counter is removed, that player casts the spell if able. But part of epic is that isn't able to cast spells for the rest of the game. When the last time counter is removed, they won't be able to cast their spell, so the card will remain exiled, and it won't be suspended anymore.

Q: My opponent casts Victimize, targeting Griselbrand and Iona, Shield of Emeria. I Cancel their Victimize. Do they still have to sacrifice a creature?

A: Nope, they don't. They don't choose a creature to sacrifice until Victimize resolves. Since you countered their Victimize, they will not have to sacrifice a creature.

Q: My opponent casts Cannibalize, targeting my Trained Armodon and my Bear Cub. I really don't like my creatures eating each other, so I respond by giving Bear Cub protection from black. What happens when Cannibalize resolves?

A: This does not end well for you. Cannibalize is effectively asking you (the player who cast Cannibalize) which of the targets you want to exile, and the target that isn't picked gets the counters. When Cannibalize goes to resolve, it sees one target that's still legal - Trained Armodon. Since Bear Cub is not a legal target, they have to choose to exile Trained Armodon. But since Bear Cub was not a legal target when Cannibalize started resolving, we can't do anything to that illegal target. Bear Cub will not get two +1/+1 counters. The end result is that Trained Armodon gets exiled and Bear Cub doesn't get any counters. You probably should have let your Bear Cub eat the Armodon.

It's a Trap!

Q: I have a Skullbriar, the Walking Grave in my graveyard, with three +1/+1 counters on it. I also have a Varolz, the Scar-Striped on the battlefield. If I decide to scavenge Skullbriar targeting Varolz, how many counters will Varolz get?

A: Varolz will get four +1/+1 counters. While in the graveyard, we take those +1/+1 counters into account to determine Skullbriar's power. Skullbriar is a 4/4 creature in this case, so Varolz will get four +1/+1 counters from scavenging Skullbriar from the graveyard.

Q: I have a Grim Poppet with no -1/-1 counters on the battlefield. I attach a Blade of Selves to it, and I attack. What do the token copies made by myriad look like?

A: The copies will enter the battlefield with three -1/-1 counters. When you copy something, you don't copy any counters that are on the creature, but since the tokens are entering the battlefield as a copy of Grim Poppet, they have the Poppet's ability of entering the battlefield with three -1/-1 counters. No matter how many counters the original Poppet currently has, the copies will enter with three -1/-1 counters (which should prove useful if your opponents have some blockers that you need to clear out of the way).

Q: I'm in a multiplayer game, and I have a Solemn Simulacrum that I'd really like to die, but my opponents just keep attacking each other. The next time one of my opponents attack another opponent can I choose to block with my Simulacrum so it can die and I can draw a card?

A: Nope. You can only block a creature that's attacking you or a planeswalker you control. You cannot choose to block for another player, no matter how nice you're feeling, so your Solemn is going to sit sadly on your side until one of your opponents decides to start attacking you.

Q: I saw a picture of the nifty holiday promo card Goblin Sleigh Ride. How does that card work?

A: To be honest, it doesn't work within the normal rules of Magic. Silver bordered cards (like the holiday promos or Un- cards) aren't really covered by the comprehensive rules (since they generally break the rules), and thus, there's no real official answers for how they work.

But we can discuss it in general. When the Sleigh Ride resolves, you put the Sleigh Ride on the table, and put the target creature on top of the Sleigh Ride (it has to be resting on top of the card - you can't slip it into the sleeve). Then you need to flick it - you can't just push it around on the table, you have to let it go. Then, if the creature card managed to stay on top of the Sleigh Ride, the creatures that it touched will be dealt damage equal to the toughness of the creature that was on the Sleigh Ride.

Confusing? Maybe a little bit. But don't worry about seeing this across from you at your next tournament - Goblin Sleigh Ride (like other silver bordered cards) is not tournament legal.

That's all I have for you this week. We'll see you all again next week!

—Nathan Long


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