Published on 04/03/2017

Out Like A Lamb

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 Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes.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

So fluffy...
Hello, and welcome back to Cranial Insertion! Somehow, we managed to survive the month of March, and now we're in April! The beginning of March may have been chaotic, but now that we're in to April, things are smooth sailing. Everyone seems to be enjoying their Modern Masters 2017 events, and we're gearing up for Amonkhet in a few weeks. We're not quite ready to talk about Amonkhet yet (just give us a few weeks), but we're prepared to talk your ear off about Modern or any other format that may pop up.

Got a rules question? We're here to help! If you have a short question, you can tweet us the question 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 Quicksmith Rebel in play, giving one of my Servo tokens the ability to deal 2 damage to things. My opponent uses Hijack to gain control of my Rebel. When I get the Rebel back, does my Servo get its ability from the Rebel back?

A: No it does not. The Rebel gives the artifact the ability for as long as you control the Rebel. Once you lose control of the Rebel for any reason, the effect ends and the ability is lost. Even if you regain control of the Rebel later on, that won't restart the effect, and short of removing the Rebel from play and returning it, the Servo won't get the ability back.

Q: What if they use Hijack on my Servo token instead?

A: The targeted artifact has the ability as long as you control the Rebel. It doesn't if control of the Servo changes. The Servo still has the ability to deal 2 damage to a target creature or player, even after your opponent gains control of it, so they'll be able to activate the Servo's ability to deal 2 damage to a target creature or player.

Q: I have a Sigarda's Aid in play, and I'm attacking with a random 2/2. My opponent blocks my 2/2, and I cast Infiltration Lens and attach it to the blocked 2/2. Do I get to draw two cards?

A: Nope, you don't get to draw any cards. In order for the Lens' ability to trigger, it has to be attached to the creature when it becomes blocked. If it becomes attached to a creature that's already been blocked, it won't trigger the Lens. You'd have to cast the Lens and attach it to your 2/2 before they declare blockers (and, in that case, they may choose not to block your 2/2 after all).

Q: My opponent is at 12 life, and they're attacking me with a Death's Shadow (currently a 1/1) and a Tarmogoyf. I cast Blessed Alliance, with the first and third modes chosen, both targeting my opponent. Will my opponent's Death's Shadow die after they gain 4 life, forcing them to sacrifice the Tarmogoyf?

A: Nope, that doesn't work out for you. Even if cast via escalate, Blessed Alliance is one spell, and state-based actions are not checked in the middle of Blessed Alliance resolving. You do the first effect, and your opponent gains four life, putting them to 16 life and making their Death's Shadow a -3/-3. However, we aren't done resolving Blessed Alliance yet, so state-based actions are not checked yet. Then we perform the second part of the Blessed Alliance, and your opponent has to sacrifice an attacking creature. While they could sacrifice Tarmogoyf, they'll likely choose to sacrifice their Death's Shadow, since it's going to die anyways when the Alliance is done resolving.

Q: I cast Giantbaiting and put the 4/4 token into play. Then I cast Druid's Deliverance and choose to populate the token I just got from Giantbaiting. Will I have to exile the token I got from populating at the end of turn?

A: No you will not. Giantbaiting will only exile the token it made at the end of the turn. The token made by populate was not made by Giantbaiting, and is not affected by Giantbaiting's delayed triggered ability. While the original token will be exiled, the populate copy will hang around indefinitely.

Q: My opponent is attacking me with a 6/6 creature and a 2/2 creature. I have a Pitfall Trap in my hand. Can I block their 2/2 with my 2/2 with first strike, then after killing their 2/2, cast Pitfall Trap for its alternative cost on their 6/6 before it can deal damage to me?

A: Yes you can! To be able to cast Pitfall Trap for its alternative cost, there must be exactly one attacking creature. It doesn't care about how many creatures were declared as attackers, all that matter is at the time you're casting the Trap, there's exactly one attacking creature. After first strike damage is dealt, your opponent controls exactly one attacking creature, so you can cast Pitfall Trap for its alternative cost and kill it before it can deal damage to you.

Q: Can I use the mana from Sliver Hive to activate Sedge Sliver's activated ability?

A: Nope. The mana from the second activated ability of Sliver Hive can only be used to cast Sliver spells. Abilities are not spells, so you cannot tap Sliver Hive for black mana, then try to use that mana to activate the regeneration ability: it can only be used to cast a Sliver spell.

Remember to tend to your flock.

Q: I cast Torrent of Souls, using both black and red mana, and use the conspire ability from Wort, the Raidmother to copy it. What happens when the copy of Torrent of Souls resolves?

A: Absolutely nothing! Torrent of Souls will check to see if you spent red and/or black mana to cast it to determine what it does when it resolves. However, "colors of mana you used to cast the spell" is not a part of a spell's copiable characteristics. You used red and black mana to cast the original Torrent of Souls, but you didn't spend any many on the copy. Since you didn't spend any red or black mana on the copy, the copy of Torrent of Souls will do nothing when it resolves.

Q: I cast Epiphany at the Drownyard, and one of the piles I make contains Gaea's Blessing. The pile with the Blessing in it goes to the graveyard. Does Gaea's Blessing trigger?

A: Weirdly enough, it does! The Drownyard doesn't tell you to move the revealed cards to another zone (like exile), so they're still a part of your library until they move somewhere else. When the opponent picked the other to put into your hand, the Blessing moved from the library to the graveyard. This fulfills the Blessing's trigger condition, so your graveyard will get shuffled into your library.

Q: On my last turn, I used Obsidian Fireheart's ability to put a blaze counter on my opponent's land. During their upkeep, can I choose to redirect the damage from the trigger to my opponent's planeswalker?

A: Nope, that won't work. The Fireheart gives the ability to deal one damage to the land. While you may have activated Obsidian Fireheart's ability and added the blaze counter to the land, your opponent controls the land, so they'll control the trigger, not you. Since the damage is not coming from a source you control, you won't be able to redirect the damage to a planeswalker they control (and since it's damage that your opponent is dealing to themselves, they can't redirect the damage to their planeswalker either).

Q: My opponent has a Thrun, the Last Troll in play. I cast Day of Judgment. My opponent responds by tapping their last two Forests and regenerating Thrun. Can I counter the regeneration ability with Disallow?

A: Yep, that's legal play. Thrun has hexproof, but Disallow isn't targeting Thrun: it's targeting the activated ability on the stack. Hexproof doesn't extend to the activated ability on the stack, so you're free to target and counter the activated ability to prevent Thrun from regenerating.

Q: My opponent just cast Barter in Blood, and all I have in play are two White Knights. Do I have to sacrifice them?

A: Yes you do. Barter in Blood does not target, attach to, block, or damage the creatures, so having protection from black will not save them. If the Knights are your only creatures, you'll have to sacrifice them when Barter in Blood resolves.

Q: My opponent has a Dark Confidant in play. Can I wait to see what card they reveal with the Confidant's trigger, then shuffle their library with Memory's Journey to prevent them from getting that card?

A: Nope, that won't work. You don't get priority while the Dark Confidant's trigger is resolving to cast Memory's Journey to shuffle their library. You're free to cast it before the trigger resolves, or after the trigger resolves, but you can't do anything to prevent them from getting the card while the Dark Confidant's trigger is resolving.

Q: Does Awakening affect my opponent's permanents too?

A: Yep, it does. When Awakening says "all", it really means "all". When the trigger resolves each upkeep, everyone will untap their creatures and lands. Hopefully, you can take advantage of this more than your opponent can.

Q: I have a Sprouting Phytohydra in play, and my opponent casts Wave of Reckoning. Will I get a token copy of the Phytohydra?

A: No you won't. Wave of Reckoning says that the creature deals damage equal to its power to itself. Since the Phytohydra's power is 0, it won't deal any damage to itself. Dealing 0 damage is the same as not dealing any damage at all. Since the Phytohydra wasn't dealt any damage, its ability will not trigger and you won't get a copy of it.

What have you done, you monster!?!

Q: How good of a job does Avacyn, Angel of Hope do in protecting my planeswalkers?

A: Actually, not a great job. Avacyn will prevent your planeswalkers from being destroyed directly by something that destroys like Hero's Downfall. But if a planeswalker takes damage, they'll lose loyalty like normal - being indestructible doesn't prevent the damage, it just prevents it from being destroyed by damage. And a planeswalker that reaches zero loyalty counters is put into the graveyard - no destruction involved, so being indestructible won't save it. Avacyn will prevent your planeswalkers from being destroyed directly, but not from going to the graveyard because they have zero loyalty counters on it.

Q: During my main phase, I cast Synthetic Destiny, exiling a token creature. During my end step, I put Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur into play with the Destiny's delayed triggered ability. Do I get to draw seven cards?

A: Not this end step, you won't. Jin-Gitaxias' ability triggers at the beginning of your end step. In order for the ability to trigger, Jin-Gitaxias has to be on the battlefield when the end step begins. In the case of Synthetic Destiny, Jin-Gitaxias is entering the battlefield during the end step, but it won't start the end step under your control, so its ability will not trigger. You'll have to wait for your next turn's end step and hope Jin-Gitaxias is still around in order to draw seven cards.

Q: I have a Lion's Eye Diamond in play, and my opponent just targeted it with Krosan Grip. Can I still activate the Diamond's ability, even though there's a spell with split second on the stack?

A: You can! Split second says that as long as a spell with split second is on the stack, players can't cast spells or activate abilities that aren't mana abilities. Even though Lion's Eye Diamond has a restriction on when you can activate the ability, it's still a mana ability, and can be activated even if there's a spell with split second on the stack.

In addition, "activate this ability only any time you could cast an instant" just means that you need to have priority to be able to activate the ability. Even if there's something prohibiting you from casting an instant, you can still activate the ability.

Q: I have six cards in my graveyard, and I cast Cabal Ritual. Will I get , or will I get ?

A: Just . The Ritual doesn't go to the graveyard until the final step of resolution. It's not in the graveyard when you're figuring out if you have threshold or not. Since you just have six cards in your graveyard, you won't get the bonus mana like you would if you had just more card in your graveyard (to bring you up to seven cards).

Q: I've seen a couple of old cards that talk about ante. What is ante?

A: Ante is something from the very beginning of Magic. It was a way of playing Magic "for keeps". At the beginning of the game, you would take the top card of your library and put it in the ante zone. Being in the ante zone doesn't really mean much, but when the game ends, the winner of the game gets all of the cards in the ante zones. Not too surprisingly, this gets pretty close to gambling, which is not something that Magic really wants to be associated with, so ante was pretty quickly dropped from the game and any card that references ante is not tournament legal.

I hope you enjoyed this week's article. We'll see you all next week!

About the Quicksmith Rebel and the Servo: in the second question, when my opponent gets control of the Servo, wouldn't its ability cease to exist? Doesn't the ability given by the Rebel apply only if I control both him and the artifact?
#1 • Date: 2017-04-17 • Time: 06:27:36 •
The only time it matters whether or not you control the artifact is when you're choosing a target for Quicksmith Rebel's triggered ability. Beyond that, Quicksmith Rebel's effect only does what it says, no more and no less. The artifact will lose the ability if you lose control of Quicksmith Rebel.
#2 • Date: 2017-04-19 • Time: 07:24:04 •

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