Published on 03/06/2017

In Like a Lion

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 Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes.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

That's...a whole bunch of lions.

Hi everyone, and welcome back to Cranial Insertion! You know the old saying, "In like a lion, out like a lamb". And that little saying helps up remember when we need to change our lion traps. I mean, it's not like we've ever caught a lion in one of our traps, nor are we even in the right area for there to be lions running around, but hey, better safe than sorry. While I make sure the pits are clean and baited, we'll go over some rules questions.

If you have a rules question of your own, feel free to contact us. If you have a short question, you can tweet it at us at @CranialTweet. Or, if you have a question that's slightly longer, you can e-mail us at . We might even use your question in an upcoming article!

Q: I have a Walking Ballista in play with one +1/+1 counter on it, and a Mer-Ek Nightblade. I activate the Ballista's ability, targeting my opponent's 3/3 creature. Will their 3/3 die due to deathtouch?

A: No it won't. Since the Ballista is not in play when the ability resolves, we use last-known information to see what it looked like. When it was last on the battlefield, it was a 0/0 creature without any counters on it. Since it had no counters on it, the Nightblade wasn't giving it deathtouch anymore, so the last known information about the Ballista is that it did not have deathtouch. The opponent's 3/3 will be dealt one damage, and won't be destroyed.

Q: Can I choose to return three artifact and three creature when casting Baral's Expertise?

A: No you may not. The Expertise has at most three targets: you could target three artifacts, two artifacts and one creature, one artifact and two creatures, three creatures, or just have fewer targets. But you don't get to target three of each type, so you'll be returning at most three targets when the Expertise resolves.

Q: My opponent has an Authority of the Consuls in play. I cast Fleetwheel Cruiser. Will the Cruiser enter the battlefield tapped or untapped?

A: Untapped. The Authority only applies to creatures entering the battlefield. While the Cruiser will shortly become a creature due to its triggered ability after it enters the battlefield, at the point when it would be entering and the Authority is checked to see if it should apply, it's just an artifact, not a creature. The Cruiser will enter the battlefield untapped, then it will become a creature, ready to attack your opponent.

Q: I have a Panharmonicon in play, and I cast a Felidar Guardian. Can I target my Guardian with the second trigger because of Panharmonicon?

A: Nope, that doesn't work. Panharmonicon itself doesn't make triggers, it causes other things that would trigger when a creature or artifact would enter to trigger an additional time. Both triggers have the same source (in this case, Felidar Guardian). And because the Guardian's trigger cannot target itself with its triggered ability, you won't be able to target it with either trigger.

Q: I have Gonti's Aether Heart in play, enchanted with a Mechanized Production, along with eight energy. During my upkeep, can I let the Production's triggered ability resolve, then activate the ability of the token copy before I lose it to the legendary rule?

A: Nope. After the Production's trigger resolves, state-based actions are checked before you get priority. The game sees you have two legendary permanents with the same name under your control, so you'll choose one Aether Heart to keep and the other will go to the graveyard. You'll lose the token copy before you can activate its ability to get an extra turn. On the plus side, you will get four energy, since both Hearts will trigger off the token copying entering the battlefield (the original triggers since the copy entered the battlefield, and the token copy will also trigger off of itself entering, even though it probably won't spend very long on the battlefield).

Just lyin' around.

Q: I control Pia's Revolution and a Blinkmoth Nexus. My opponent tries to destroy my Nexus with a Molten Rain, so I activate the Nexus' ability in response and make it an artifact creature. Will the Revolution trigger from the Nexus dying?

A: Yes it will. When the Nexus went to the graveyard, it was an artifact, so the Revolution will trigger. It doesn't matter that it's not an artifact once it's in the graveyard, it just had to be an artifact when it left the battlefield for the Revolution to trigger. It the chosen opponent doesn't take three damage from the trigger, you'll return the Nexus to your hand.

Q: I control Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir. My opponent cast Sram's Expertise. Will my opponent be able to cast an Oblivion Ring for free when the Expertise resolves?

A: Nope, your Teferi blocks them from doing that. When the Expertise resolves, they can choose to cast a spell with a converted mana cost of three or less without paying its mana cost. This gets around normal timing restrictions, but not other restrictions, like Teferi. Since they're casting the spell while the Expertise is resolving, and since that's not a time when they could normally cast a sorcery, your Teferi will prevent them from casting the Ring for free via the Expertise.

Q: There's a Death Pits of Rath in play, and I cast Make Obsolete. Does Make Obsolete count as damage, causing all of my opponent's creatures to be destroyed because of the Death Pits?

A: Your opponent's creatures with a toughness of two or more are safe. Giving a creature -X/-X does not count as dealing damage. Make Obsolete is not dealing any damage to your opponent's creatures, so the Death Pits of Rath will not trigger and will not destroy your opponent's creatures.

Q: I have two Land Grants in my hand, along with no lands in my hand. Is it possible to cast both of them this turn via their alternate costs?

A: There's actually two possible ways (although one involves having a land drop available). The first way is to cast the first Land Grant, search for a Forest, play that Forest, then cast the second Land Grant (since you once again have no lands in your hand). The second option is probably slightly less appealing. Cast the first Land Grant, but don't find a Forest when that Land Grant resolves. Since you still have no lands in your hand, you can cast the second Land Grant for its alternate cost.

Q: My opponent controls Sigarda, Host of Herons. I play Damping Engine. Can my opponent still sacrifice a permanent to ignore the effect of the Engine for the turn?

A: Yep, they can. Sigarda says they can't sacrifice to a spell or ability an opponent controls, but nothing about special actions. The ability to ignore the effect of the Damping Engine is a special action, not a spell or ability, and the controller of Sigarda can choose to sacrifice a permanent to ignore the effect of the Engine for the turn.

Q: I have Drana, Kalastria Bloodchief in play, and my opponent has a 1/1 creature. If I activate Drana's ability targeting their 1/1 with X=10, will my Drana get +1/+0 or +10/+0?

A: Drana gets +10/+0. Drana's ability doesn't care what the toughness of the other creature was, it cares what the value of X in the cost of its activated ability was. When Drana's ability resolves, the 1/1 becomes a 1/-9 creature (and will die shortly), and Drana will become a 14/4 creature.

Q: I cast Thoughtseize targeting myself (look, I just really want to get this Sphinx of the Steel Wind out of my hand and into my graveyard). Do I have to reveal the rest of the cards in my hand to my opponent?

A: Yep, I'm afraid you do. Thoughtseize requires you to reveal the targeted player's hand, not just look at it. Since it's being revealed, that means everyone gets to see what's in your hand - even your opponent. You get to discard your Sphinx, but your opponent gets to know exactly what's going on in your hand.

I don't know what's going on with his face. Or his mane.

Q: My opponent has a Grave Peril in play. I cast Humble Budoka. Will my Budoka die?

A: Yes it will. Grave Peril's trigger does not target, it just triggers when a nonblack creature enters the battlefield. Since the Peril's trigger does not target, having shroud will not save the Budoka, and the Budoka will be destroyed.

Q: My opponent just cast Genesis Wave with X=20. One of the cards they revealed is Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger. Do I get a chance to tap my lands for mana before Vorinclex enters the battlefield?

A: Sorry, you missed your chance. While Genesis Wave is resolving, no one gets priority until it's completely done resolving. That means that if you let the Wave resolve, the next chance you have to tap your lands is after Genesis Wave is done resolving and Vorinclex has entered the battlefield. If you want to tap your lands, you'll have to do it before the Wave resolves and before knowing what your opponent will be putting onto the battlefield.

Q: At the beginning of my upkeep, I target my Kangee, Aerie Keeper with Aven Mimeomancer's triggered ability. Does that mean my other birds are going to get a bigger bonus from Kangee now?

A: Weirdly enough, it does! Counters with the same name are indistinguishable from one another. The Mimeomancer's triggered ability adds a feather counter to Kangee, which is the exact kind of counter that Kangee is looking for. Using the Mimeomancer's ability to add another feather counter to your Kangee means your Kangee is going to give your other birds an even bigger bonus.

Q: I control a Yawgmoth's Bargain, and my opponent just cast Maralen of the Mornsong. I know I don't get to draw anymore from the Bargain, but do I still benefit from Maralen's trigger?

A: Sorry, but you're kind of locked out now. Maralen's ability triggers at the beginning of the draw step, but with the Bargain in play, you're skipping your draw step, meaning your opponent's Maralen won't trigger during your draw step. Hopefully you have something good in your hand, because you're locked out of drawing due to Maralen and you won't benefit from its trigger since you don't have a draw step.

Q: I have an Invoke Prejudice in play, but no creatures. My opponent casts a creature. What happens?

A: No matter what creature spell your opponent just cast, it can't share a color with a creature you control (since you control no creatures), so the Prejudice will trigger. They'll have to pay X, where X is that card's converted mana cost, or their creature spell will be countered.

Q: If I'm in a multiplayer game and I'm attacking with a creature with double strike, can I have it damage one player during the first strike combat damage step and another player during the normal combat damage step?

A: No you cannot. When you attacked with the double strike creature, you choose which player or planeswalker that creature was attacking. For the rest of combat, that creature is going to be attacking that player or planeswalker, and you can't change who it's attacking mid-combat. Even if you kill the opponent with the first hit, you won't be able to damage a different opponent with the second hit from the double striker.

Q: We're in a two-headed giant game, and the opposing team just cast Stonehorn Dignitary and targeted my teammate with the trigger. I can still attack them with my creatures on our next turn, right?

A: Wrong. In two-headed giant, if one player on a team skips a step or phase, the entire team skips that step or phase. Due to the Dignitary's effect, your teammate is set to skip their next combat phase. Since you don't want to do anything without your teammate, your entire team is skipping your next combat phase, so you won't be able to attack that turn.

Q: We're in a game of Conspiracy, and I'm playing Sovereign's Realm. Assuming I choose to keep my five card opening hand, do I get to scry?

A: No you will not. You only get to scry if you keep your hand and it has fewer cards than your starting hand size. Normally, your starting hand size is seven, but with the Realm, your starting hand size is five. You'll only scry at the beginning of the game if the hand you keep has four or fewer cards in it.

I believe you can assign double strike combat damage to different players in Two-Headed Giant, since you choose a player to receive it at the beginning of the combat damage step. They still have to be on the same team, though.
#1 • Date: 2017-03-07 • Time: 06:27:54 •

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