Published on 07/17/2017

Hour of Introduction

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 Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes.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

Here comes trouble
The second sun has reached its pinnacle in the sky and the return of the god-pharaoh draws nigh. Finally, the gate to the afterlife cracks open revealing... a new Cranial Insertion writer!

Hi everyone!

My name is Charlotte Sable. I'm a Level 3 Magic Judge originally from Canada but now living in Finland. I've been a judge since 2009. You might know me as the mastermind behind the MagicJudge tumblr, where I have a few years of experience doing the same things that I'll be doing here. I'm excited to be joining the CI team! :D

I'll continue to answer questions on my tumblr, but if you have rules questions for the Cranial Insertion team, you can email your questions to or tweet short questions to @CranialTweet. One of our authors will send a response to you, and your question might appear in a future article.

Anyway, you're not here to hear me talk about myself, right? No? Didn't think so! On to the questions!

Q: If I cast Replenish and I bring back 6 enchantments from the graveyard, one of which is an Eidolon of Blossoms, how many cards do I draw, one or six?

A: You'll draw six cards. All six enchantments enter the battlefield simultaneously as Replenish resolves and Eidolon of Blossoms sees all of them do so. Since six enchantments just entered the battlefield under your control, Eidolon of Blossoms will trigger six times.

Q: How does Dreamstealer work after it deals combat damage in Two-Headed Giant? Do both opponents discard?

A: No. When Dreamstealer deals combat damage to an opponent in a 2HG game, you choose which opponent is damaged by it and that opponent will then discard cards from the trigger. (Technically, you always choose an opponent to be damaged when a creature deals combat damage to a player in 2HG, but it usually doesn't matter.)

Q: Does that mean when one opponent flashes in Saving Grace to fog, that my team can just choose to damage the other opponent?

A: Yes. Saving Grace isn't very effective in 2HG. The only damage it's guaranteed to redirect is damage that an attacking creature would deal to a planeswalker that Saving Grace's controller controls.

Q: With Vizier of the Menagerie, "you may spend mana as though it were mana of any type to cast creature spells." Does that allow you to call out the colors you need to cast Converge creatures like Skyrider Elf or Woodland Wanderer?

A: Vizier of the Menagerie lets you spend mana to cast creature spells as though it were any type, which means as though it were colorless mana or mana of any color, but spending mana "as though" it were some color only matters for paying costs and isn't considered for effects like converge. Skyrider Elf knows what colors of mana were actually spent to cast it, and the converge ability will only have it enter the battlefield with that number of counters.

For example, when you spend two green mana and three colorless mana to cast Skyrider Elf spending it as though it were instead of with Vizier of Menagerie, Skyrider Elf will enter the battlefield with only one +1/+1 counter on it since only one color of mana was actually spent to cast it.

Mirror, mirror on the wall
Who's the most confusing card of all?
Q: What happens if I target a bestowed Herald of Torment with Mirage Mirror?

A: Mirage Mirror will become a Herald of Torment until end of turn. It won't be an Aura because bestow's effect isn't part of Herald of Torment's copiable characteristics. Mirage Mirror and other copy effects only ever look at cards how they're printed or how they look after other copy effects have been applied to them.

Q: Does Damia, Sage of Stone's ability check how many cards you have in hand when it triggers or when it resolves? If it triggers with one card in hand, then I cast that one card and it's an Ancestral Recall, will I draw 6 or 4 cards?

A: At the beginning of your upkeep, Damia's ability checks to see if you have fewer than seven cards in your hand. If you don't, then her ability doesn't trigger at all and you won't draw any cards. If you do have fewer than seven cards in your hand, her ability triggers. The number of cards you'll draw isn't locked in at this time, however. When Damia's trigger goes to resolve, it checks the number of cards in your hand again. If you have seven or more cards in hand when it goes to resolve, then the ability won't do anything. If you have fewer than seven cards in your hand, you'll draw cards equal to the difference at that time.

In your example, you'll draw four cards since you have three cards in hand when the trigger resolves.

Q: Can I target a Karmic Guide in my graveyard with an Animate Dead?

A: Yes, you can. The results are... interesting.

Karmic Guide's protection from black ability only functions while it's on the battlefield, and so Animate Dead can legally enchant it when it's just a card in its owner's graveyard.

When Animate Dead's ETB trigger resolves, it will return Karmic Guide to the battlefield but then be unable to attach itself to Karmic Guide on the battlefield. This means that Animate Dead isn't enchanting anything. When state-based actions are checked, Animate Dead will be put into its owner's graveyard because it's an unattached Aura on the battlefield. Finally, before anyone gets priority, both Karmic Guide's ETB trigger and Animate Dead's LTB trigger go on the stack.

Once everything is said and done, both Karmic Guide and Animate Dead are in their owners' graveyards and another creature from Animate Dead's controller's graveyard has been returned to the battlefield.

Q: Does Overwhelming Splendor stop cycling abilities?

A: Yes. Cycling is an activated ability, and since it's neither a mana ability nor a loyalty ability Overwhelming Splendor will prevent the enchanted player from activating cycling abilities.

Q: Hello, was just wondering how well Fraying Sanity and Leyline of the Void / Rest in Peace would get along in a mill deck.

A: I'm a-frayed that these cards just don't work well together at all. Fraying Sanity only cares about cards that actually go to the graveyard and both Rest in Peace and Leyline of the Void send cards directly to exile without ever going to the graveyard. Since the cards never went to the graveyard, Fraying Sanity won't notice them and won't mill any more cards. Planar Void is the card you actually want for this situation, since it will exile the cards after they've gone to the graveyard.

Q: How do effects that double damage interact with damage assignment? For example, if a 3/3 is blocked by two 2/2 creatures, and a Furnace of Rath is on the battlefield, will both blockers die?

A: Effects that double damage double the damage when it's dealt, not when it's assigned. This means that in the case of trample or multiple blockers, you're going to have a lot of overkill going on.

In the situation you describe, you can assign 2 damage to the first blocker and 1 damage to the second blocker. When the damage is dealt, the first blocker will be dealt 4 damage and the second blocker will be dealt 2 damage. Both will die, as will your creature which is dealt 8 damage.

Q: If I control a Rhox Faithmender and cast Oketra's Last Mercy, what would my life total become? Does this count as gaining life?

A: It depends on what your life total was before Oketra's Last Mercy resolved.

When your life total is set to a particular value, you gain or lose enough life so that your life total would become that value without any effects changing the amount of life gained or lost.

Rhox Faithmender will double whatever amount of life you gain here. So, for example, if you were at 15 life, you'd need to gain 5 life to go to 20 life and Rhox Faithmender would double that 5 to 10, putting you at 25 life. Similarly, if you were at 10, you'd gain twice the normal 10 and go to 30.

Q: So with Refuse // Cooperate how would Refuse work with an X spell?

A: Each X in the mana cost will have its chosen value when determining the spell's converted mana cost. X in a mana cost takes the chosen value while the spell is on the stack. X in a mana cost is 0 in any other zone, but not on the stack.

For example, if Hour of Eternity is cast with X=3, its converted mana cost will be 9 (++), and a Refuse targeting that spell will deal 9 damage to Hour of Eternity's controller.

Q: Can you please explain how Sigarda, Host of Herons, interacts with Torment of Hailfire?

A: Sigarda doesn't allow you to choose to sacrifice any permanents for Torment of Hailfire, so you'll only be able to choose to discard a card or lose 3 life for each iteration of the effect. Normally, Sigarda's ability is super helpful, but leave it to an Elder Dragon God-Pharaoh to be able to turn such a boon on its head.

Keeping you from having fun since 2012
Q: What happens if I try to manifest the top card of my library with Mastery of the Unseen while there's a Grafdigger's Cage on the battlefield?

A: Nothing. When Mastery of the Unseen's ability resolves, you'll be unable to put the card onto the battlefield since the first part of manifesting it has made it into a creature card. Since it can't enter the battlefield, it will just stay on top of your library.

Q: So I just watched a game of Commander where there was a Meren of Clan Nel Toth and a Grafdigger's Cage on the battlefield. What happens with Meren's trigger if her controller chooses a card that would normally be put onto the battlefield? Does it stay in the graveyard or does the "otherwise" mean it goes to their hand?

A: When Meren's end step triggered ability resolves, it looks at the CMC of the targeted creature card and compares that to the number of experience counters on Meren's controller. If the CMC of the target is less than or equal to the number of experience counters, then Meren's ability will try to put that card onto the battlefield. Grafdigger's Cage will prevent this. The "otherwise" clause in Meren's ability won't do anything here since it only applies to a targeted card with a CMC higher than the number of experience counters on Meren's controller and not to cards that somehow couldn't be put onto the battlefield.

Q: If I copy Angel of Condemnation with Mirage Mirror, then use its newly gained exert ability, will the exiled creature come back when the Mirror leaves the battlefield, even if it's not a copy of the Angel by that point?

A: Yes. Angel of Condemnation's exert ability lasts until its source is no longer on the battlefield. If Mirage Mirror is the source of the ability, then the ability lasts until Mirage Mirror leaves the battlefield. It doesn't matter that it's no longer a copy of Angel of Condemnation. What matters is that the permanent represented by the Mirage Mirror card is the source of the ability.

Q: I control Riddleform and Thing in the Ice with one counter on it. When I cast an instant, can I both bounce all non-Horror creatures with Awoken Horror and keep my Riddleform on the battlefield as a creature?

A: When you cast the instant, both Thing in the Ice and Riddleform will trigger. Since you control both triggers, you choose the order in which they go on the stack. If you put Thing in the Ice's trigger above Riddleform's trigger, you'll remove the last ice counter, transform it, and resolve Awoken Horror's trigger before Riddleform's trigger resolves. Since Riddleform isn't yet a creature when Awoken Horror's trigger resolves, it won't be returned to your hand. (Of course, you can also stack the triggers the other way, but then Riddleform is back in your hand and that's not what you want.)

And that's all the time we have for now, but we'll be back next week with another selection of Magic rules questions. Until then, be awesome to each other.

- Charlotte Sable


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