Published on 05/08/2017

Presents for Mummy

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 Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes.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

Are you my mummy?
Hello, and welcome back to another issue of Cranial Insertion! Mother's Day is coming up this weekend, so if you live someplace that celebrates this occasion and there's a maternal person in your life you want to honor, I hope you have a nice present prepared for her. If not, you still have a bit of time left, so you could get her a present right after you finish reading this article!

Our resident mummy Moko is not very maternal, but he is looking forward to getting more rules questions from you. If you have questions you'd like us to answer, please email them to or tweet short questions to @CranialTweet. One of our writers will send a reply to you, and your question might appear in a future article to educate readers like yourself.

And now, let's dive into this week's selection of questions.

Q: I animate Gideon, Ally of Zendikar with his +1 ability and attack with him. My opponent casts Humble on Gideon. What happens?

A: Gideon loses some things but keeps some other things, and to figure out what is what, we have to distinguish between abilities that Gideon has and effects that affect Gideon, because Humble removes abilities, not effects. The only abilities that Gideon has are the loyalty abilities that are printed on him and the indestructible ability that was given to him by the resolution of the +1 ability, so those are the abilities he loses. He's still a creature, so he's still attacking, but he'll be rather ineffectual with his humble power and toughness of 0/1. The effect that prevents any damage to him is also still around, so the combat damage step is on the whole rather uneventful for Gideon. Finally, at the end of the turn his animation effect still wears off, so he'll return to being his old self then.

Q: If my opponent animates Gideon, Ally of Zendikar and I manage to flash in Clever Impersonator to copy the animated Gideon, what do I get?

A: Clever Impersonator is so clever that you actually get a Gideon planeswalker of your own. Copy effects only look at the copiable values of the permanent you're copying, which is only what's printed on the card as modified by other copy effects. Since there are no other copy effects involved here, you get a Gideon, Ally of Zendikar as printed. Your Gideon is not a creature because the copy effect doesn't copy the animation effect. He has four loyalty counters regardless of how many loyalty counters your opponent's Gideon has, since Clever Impersonator doesn't copy the loyalty counters on the original, but it does copy the ability that gives Gideon his initial four loyalty counters.

Q: If I use Sram's Expertise to cast Eternal Witness, can I get Sram's Expertise back into my hand with the Witness's ability?

A: Yes, that works. You cast Eternal Witness during Sram's Expertise's resolution, which means you put Eternal Witness on the stack. Sram's Expertise then goes to the graveyard. A bit later, Eternal Witness resolves, and you put its enter-the-battlefield ability on the stack and choose a target for the ability. Sram's Expertise is already in the graveyard, so it's a legal target for the Witness's ability.

Q: If I control Anointed Procession and use Nahiri, the Lithomancer's +2 ability to make tokens, can I attach Equipment to both tokens?

A: No. Anointed Procession changes the number of tokens you create, but that's the only thing it changes about Nahiri's ability. It doesn't change the number of Equipment you get to attach. The ability creates two tokens and offers you to attach an Equipment to both of them. Since that's not possible, you do as much as you can and attach the Equipment to one of them.

Q: If I control Anointed Procession and embalm a Vizier of Many Faces, do I have to copy the same creature with the two tokens, or can I choose two different creatures?

A: You can choose two different creatures. According to the updated rules for Amonkhet, you apply the replacement effect from Anointed Procession first, and then you apply the enter-the-battlefield replacement effects for each token, which means that the tokens can copy different creatures if that's what you want.

Q: Suppose I control Ludevic, Necro-Alchemist in Two-Headed Giant. Do both my teammate and I draw a card in our end step if either one of us dealt damage to our opponents?

A: Yes, you do, which is one of the upsides of working with a mad scientist. Ludevic's ability triggers for both of you separately because you have a shared end step and Ludevic's ability triggers for individual players' end steps. When each ability resolves, it checks whether a player other than you lost life during the turn. That happened, so you and your teammate each draw a card for Ludevic's ability.

Q: Does this mean I get to draw a card with Ludevic, Necro-Alchemist in a duel if I deal damage to myself and to my opponent, say with Earthquake?

A: Absolutely. Ludevic's ability only cares whether a player other than you lost life. The fact that you lost some life as well doesn't negate the fact that your opponent lost life.

"I am Groot."
Q: How many times does Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons' ability trigger when I pay the cumulative upkeep cost for Aboroth?

A: Just once. When you pay Aboroth's cumulative upkeep cost, you put a number off -1/-1 counters on Aboroth that's equal to the number of age counters on it, and you do this in one action, so Hapatra's ability sees just one trigger event.

Q: I target my opponent's Liquimetal Coating and Etched Champion with By Force. In response, my opponent activated Liquimetal Coating to turn a land into an artifact, which turns on Etched Champion's metalcraft ability. What happens?

A: Liquimetal Coating's ability resolves first, so Etched Champion gains protection from all colors right away. This means that Etched Champion is an illegal target for By Force when it goes to resolve. Fortunately, By Force had multiple targets, and one of those targets, namely Liquimetal Coating, is still legal. This means that By Force resolves and does as much as it can. It utterly fails do destroy Etched Champion, but it still destroys Liquimetal Coating.

Q: I control two Trueheart Duelists, and my opponent attacks me with a 3/3 and a 2/2. I block each attacker with both Duelists. Who decides the damage distribution and in what order? Specifically, can I assign damage so as to kill the 3/3 and still deal one to the 2/2?

A: An attacking creature that gets blocked by several blockers happens quite often, and there's a well-known rule for this: The attacking player specifies a damage assignment order for the blockers. The opposite situation where a blocking creature blocks several attackers happens less often and is less well-known, but the opposite thing happens: The defending player specifies a damage assignment order for the attackers. This means that you declare which attacker is first in the damage assignment order and which one is second.

To get the result you want, you'll want to have the 3/3 first and the 2/2 second for both Duelists. In the combat damage step, one of your Duelists assigns 2 damage to the 3/3 and no damage to the 2/2. The second Duelist only needs to assign 1 damage to the 3/3, because it takes into account that 2 damage is already assigned to it, so assigning only 1 more results in lethal damage being assigned to it. This means that the second Duelist has 1 damage left over that it can assign to the 2/2.

Q: If my opponent controls Platinum Emperion, can I still use Lightning Bolt on him to turn on bloodthirst?

A: Sure. Bloodthirst checks whether an opponent was dealt damage, not whether an opponent lost life. Platinum Emperion doesn't prevent damage; it only keeps your opponent's life total from changing. Lightning Bolt resolves and deals 3 damage to your opponent. The damage fails to change your opponent's life total, but the damage was dealt, and that's good enough for bloodthirst.

Q: If something like Fireball deals lethal damage to my Exquisite Archangel and me at the same time, what happens?

A: After Fireball has resolved, state-based actions are checked and the game sees that you should lose the game and Exquisite Archangel should be destroyed, and both of those things should happen simultaneously. Before this can happen, applicable replacement effects kick in, and since the Archangel isn't dead yet, its effect gets applied to the "you lose" portion of this pending event. The pending event now says to set your life total to your starting life total, exile Exquisite Archangel, and destroy Exquisite Archangel. Since the event can't move Exquisite Archangel to the graveyard and to the exile zone at the same time, you choose which of those actually move the Angel, and then the event happens.

To sum up, you don't lose the game, your life total gets reset, and you choose whether Exquisite Archangel gets destroyed or exiled.

Q: I control a Tah-Crop Skirmisher token that I got from embalming another Tah-Crop Skirmisher. Does the token get +2/+2 from Muraganda Petroglyphs?

A: No. The token looks like Tah-Crop Skirmisher in every way except its color (it's white), its creature types (it's also a Zombie), and its mana cost (it hasn't one). Okay, so maybe it doesn't have a lot in common with the original, but it does have the same name, the same power/toughness, and the same abilities. The embalm ability isn't printed on the physical token that you can find in booster packs because embalm isn't a useful ability for a token, but the game knows that the ability is there. This means that Tah-Crop Skirmisher, even as an embalmed token, is not eligible for the bonus from Muraganda Petroglyphs.

Q: I control Karona, False God and equip it with Sword of Feast and Famine. On the next turn, my opponent gains control of Karona and attacks me with it. If I don't block, do I untap my lands or does my opponent untap her lands?

A: You do. Sword of Feast and Famine doesn't give the damage trigger to the equipped creature. The Sword itself has a triggered ability that triggers when the quipped creature deals combat damage. Even though your opponent controls Karona now, you still control the Sword, so you control its triggered ability.

I hope you like the soup I made.
It's to die for!
Q: If my opponent activates Sinister Concoction, can I respond with Appetite for the Unnatural to save my creature?

A: No, that's not possible. Your opponent has to sacrifice Sinister Concoction to activate the ability. By the time you can respond, the ability is already on the stack and waiting to resolve, and Sinister Concoction is in the graveyard, so you can't target it with Appetite for the Unnatural.

Q: My opponent controls Voldaren Pariah and activates its transform ability. If the Pariah is the only creature with flying he has left, can I respond with Clip Wings so that I don't have to sacrifice any creatures?

A: Yes, that actually works. The ability that makes you sacrifice three creatures only triggers once Voldaren Pariah actually transforms into Abolisher of Bloodlines. Clip Wings forces your opponent to sacrifice Voldaren Pariah before the transformation happens, so the transformation ability does nothing and the sacrifice ability doesn't trigger.

Q: Can I prevent the damage from an attacking creature by untapping it with Samut, Voice of Dissent?

A: No. Quite a few players who have seen their creatures get lost in Maze of Ith believe that untapping an attacking creature prevents its combat damage, but that's a myth. Maze of Ith prevents combat damage because its ability includes a separate effect that prevents combat damage. Samut's ability doesn't include such a damage prevention effect, so it just untaps a creature and that's it. Samut's ability has its uses, but neutralizing an opponent's attacker is not one of them.

Q: I control Authority of the Consuls and my opponent plays a Somberwald Stag. Can it still fight one of my creatures even though it enters the battlefield tapped?

A: I'm afraid so. Fighting is not the same as combat, and tapping a creature does not stop it from fighting. Fighting just means that two creatures deal damage to each other equal to their power, and nothing in this definition cares whether the creatures are tapped or untapped.

Q: Let's say I cast Metallic Mimic and I choose Zombie for it, and then it dies. Can I get it back with Relentless Dead?

A: No, for two reasons. For one, when Metallic Mimic goes to the graveyard it becomes a new object without any memory of its previous existence, so it forgets the chosen creature type. Also, the ability that gives it the chosen creature type only works on the battlefield, so it wouldn't have the chosen creature type in the graveyard even if it remembered what the chosen creature type was.

Q: Can I cast Injury to deal 2 damage to my opponent if there are no creatures on the battlefield?

A: Sadly, no. Injury requires two targets, a target creature and a target player. Targeting a creature is not optional, so if there are no creatures around that you can target, you can't cast Injury.

And that wraps up this week's issue. Please come back next week for another selection of Magic rules questions!

- 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.


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