Published on 08/14/2017

Total Eclipse of the Sun

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 Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes.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

There's just so much sun....

Hi everyone, and welcome back to Cranial Insertion! Here in the United States, we're getting really excited for a solar event next week: a total solar eclipse! This eclipse is exciting, because it's pretty much going to cross the entire United States from coast to coast. Hopefully, you'll take some time off next Monday if you're in the United States to try to view it. Even if you're not in the affected range (I'm sadly going to be a couple hundred miles away), you should still see some of the effects from the eclipse.

But enough about the sun, let's answer some questions! But remember, even if we didn't answer your question here, you can still contact us with your quesitons. If you have a short question, you can Tweet us at @CranialTweet. But if you have a longer question, feel free to e-mail us at . Onto the questions!

Q: I cast Splendid Agony, targeting two of my opponent's 1/1 creatures. In response, they Unsummon one of the creatures. Will the other creature still get the counter?

A: Yep, it will still get the counter. The Agony has two targets in this case, and the Agony is only going to be countered if both of those targets are illegal when it goes to resolve. As long as at least one of those targets is still legal, the Agony will resolve as best as it can with the remaining legal target. Here, the 1/1 that they Unsummoned will be safe in their hand, but the remaining 1/1 is still a legal target and it will still get one -1/-1 counter from the Agony when it resolves.

Q: I attack my opponent with Lord of the Accursed and two 2/2 Zombie tokens. My opponent blocks my Lord with their 3/3. Will my zombie tokens still deal extra damage thanks to my Lord?

A: Yes they will (with one exception). All combat damage is dealt at the same time, not one at a time. At the same time your Lord is taking three damage from the defending creature, the two zombie tokens are dealing their damage. Since the Lord is still on the battlefield when they're assigning damage, the tokens are 3/3s, and will deal three damage in combat (and will become 2/2s after combat damage is dealt and state based actions cause the Lord to die).

The exception is if the defending player's 3/3 had first or double strike. In that case, the Lord would die in the first strike combat damage step, before the zombie tokens can deal their damage. Since the Lord is no longer on the battlefield when we get around to the normal combat damage step, the tokens are 2/2s, not 3/3s, and each one deal two damage in combat.

Q: I have a Diregraf Colossus in play with no other creatures under my control. I cast Plague Belcher. Can I put the two -1/-1 counters on the zombie token I get from the Colossus?

A: You can! The Colossus's ability triggers when you cast a zombie spell (not when a zombie enters the battlefield), so that trigger will resolve before the zombie spell resolves. First, you'll get a 2/2 zombie token from the Colossus's trigger, then the Belcher will resolve. Since the zombie token is on the battlefield when the Belcher enters the battlefield, you'll be able to target it with the Belcher's trigger and put the counters on your zombie token (instead of your Colossus or Belcher).

Q: I attack with an Identity Thief, choose to exile my Longtusk Cub with its attack trigger. Unfortunately, my Thief Cub does not survive combat and dies. Will my Cub still return to the battlefield at the beginning of the next end step?

A: Yes it will. When the attack trigger resolves, assuming you choose to exile the creature, the trigger also sets up a delayed triggered ability to return the exiled creature at the beginning of the next end step. Even if the Thief leaves the battlefield before the end step, that delayed triggered ability will still go on the stack and the Cub will still return to the battlefield.

Q: I have a Thalia's Lieutenant in play. I play Gideon of the Trials and activate his first +0 ability to make him into a Human Soldier. Will my Lieutenant get a +1/+1 counter?

A: No it will not. In order for the Lieutenant's ability to trigger, Gideon would have to enter the battlefield as a Human. Entering the battlefield, then later becoming a Human won't fulfill the trigger condition for the Lieutenant (and Gideon becoming a creature does not count as anything entering the battlefield). So no, activating Gideon's ability every turn will not cause the Lieutenant to get any counters.

Please do not look directly at the sun.

Q: I have a Firebrand Archer in play, and I cast Sweltering Suns. Will my Archer's ability trigger?

A: Yes it will. The Suns is a noncreature spell, so casting it will cause the Archer's ability to trigger. The Archer is going to die fairly shortly afterwards, once the Suns resolves, but it was still on the battlefield when you cast the Suns, so you'll still deal one damage to each opponent before it dies.

Q: How does Solemnity work with suspend (for instance, Durkwood Baloth)?

A: There's no interaction between those cards. Solemnity prevents players from getting counters, and it prevents counters from being put on a creature, artifact, land, or enchantment on the battlefield. But it won't prevent a card from getting those counters in another zone, like exile. If you suspend your Baloth, it will be exiled with five time counters on it, not zero counters.

Q: I gain control of my opponent's Force of Nature with Slave of Bolas. Then I copy the stolen Force of Nature with Clone. Will the copy have haste? Will it be sacrificed at the end of turn?

A: No and no. When you copy something, you copy the card as printed and as modified by other copy effects. The Slave gives the creature haste, but that doesn't become part of the copiable characteristics of the card, so your Clone Force of Nature will not have haste. But it's also not affected by the "sacrifice me at the end of turn" trigger, so your Clone Force of Nature will remain on the battlefield and can attack next turn (and here's hoping you can pay its upkeep).

Q: My opponent activates Ghost Quarter's ability targeting one of my lands. I'd rather not search my library (because I put a creature on top of my library last turn with Brutalizer Exarch). Can I choose not to search so I don't have to shuffle my library?

A: Sure, that's fine. Searching your library for a basic land is optional, and you'll only shuffle your library if you choose to search your library. If you're fine with being down a land, you can choose to not search your library after your land is destroyed. Since you only shuffle your library if you choose to search, you won't shuffle away the creature you tutored for.

Q: Can I cast Journey to Nowhere without any creatures in play?

A: Maybe not the wisest play, but it is a legal play. Journey to Nowhere (the spell) has no targets: it's just a normal enchantment. The Journey has an enter the battlefield ability that targets, but that's not relevant when you're casting the Journey. Even if there are no creatures on the battlefield, you're free to cast the Journey. If there are no legal targets for the trigger once it enters the battlefield, the trigger is simply removed from the stack and will not resolve.

Do note that the Journey's trigger is not optional. If you're the only player with creatures on the battlefield when the Journey enters, you must choose to target and exile your own creature.

Q: My opponent is attacking me with Putrefax. I don't have any blockers, but I did activate my Forcefield, choosing my opponent's attacking Putrefax. How many poison counters will I get?

A: You'll only get one poison counter. If you take damage from a creature with infect, instead of having your life total reduced by the damage, you get that many poison counters instead. Putrefax would deal five damage to you, but the effect of Forcefield is going to prevent all but one of that damage. Since you're only taking one damage from Putrefax, you're only going to get one poison counter, not five poison counters.

Q: I have a Shaman en-Kor, a High Priest of Penance, and another creature in play. My opponent casts Pyroclasm. I activate the en-Kor's second ability targeting my other creature, then I activate the first ability enough so I can redirect all of the damage that Pyroclasm would deal to my Shaman en-Kor to my High Priest. Do I get to destroy one permanent or three permanents?

A: You only get to destroy one permanent. While it may seem like the High Priest is being dealt damage at multiple times, it's not. Instead of the damage being dealt to your Shaman and your other creature, all of the damage is dealt to the High Priest at the same time. Since all of the damage from Pyroclasm is dealt at the same time, the High Priest is only being dealt damage once, so its ability will only trigger one time, not three times.

Q: I have a Uyo, Silent Prophet in play, but I don't currently have any lands. Can I still use its ability to copy a spell?

A: Nope, you can't. The cost of activating Uyo's ability is paying two mana and returning two lands you control to their owner's hand. Even if you have the two mana, if you don't have any lands on the battlefield, you cannot activate the ability since you can't pay the cost. Without any lands, you won't be able to copy any spells with Uyo's ability.

Q: Will Nevinyrral's Disk destroy artifact lands?

A: Yes it will! Unlike more recent boardwipes of this this type, the Disk spells out what kind of permanents it destroys, instead of something like Planar Cleansing which destroys all nonland permanents. An artifact land is both an artifact and a land, and because the Disk says to destroy artifacts (as well as enchantments and creatures), artifact lands are not safe and will also be destroyed.

Even if looking at the sun will turn your
white mana red, do not look directly at it.

Q: Can I activate Null Brooch's ability even if I have no cards in my hand?

A: Yes you can. You always have a hand, even if there's nothing in it. The Brooch doesn't require you to discard a certain number of cards, it requires you to discard all of the cards in your hand. Your hand still exists, even if it's currently empty, so you'll be able to activate the Brooch's ability, even with no cards in your hand.

Q: I attach Blade of Selves to Yosei, the Morning Star and I attack with Yosei. Will I get the dies triggers from the token copies of Yosei?

A: Assuming this is a multiplayer game, yes, you will. If you make a copy of Yosei for each other opponent in the game, after the myriad trigger is done resolving, state-based actions will kick in and you'll have to get rid of all of but one Yosei. The token copies of Yosei will die before they cease to exist, so their abilities will trigger, and you'll be able to tap a whole bunch of permanents and prevent a bunch of players from untapping during their next untap step. That seems pretty evil.

Q: I have The Locust God and an Impact Tremors in play. My opponent is attacking me with a million Deceiver Exarch (thanks to their Splinter Twin). If I cast Keep Watch, will I be able to kill my opponent with the Tremors triggers before losing the game due to drawing from an empty library?

A: Nope, you're dead. When the Watch resolves, since there are a million attacking creatures, you draw a million cards. More than likely, you do not have a million cards in your deck, so right after the Watch is done resolving (before the triggers from The Locus God can even go on the stack), state-based action see that you tried to draw from an empty library and you lose the game. You won't get the tokens, and you won't get any Tremors triggers since you die before any of that could happen.

Q: I have Oloro, Ageless Ascetic in my command zone and a Well of Lost Dreams in play. I gained two life during my upkeep, but can I wait until my main phase before I choose whether or not to use the Well's trigger?

A: No you may not. When Oloro's trigger resolved during your upkeep, that caused the Well's ability to trigger there and then. That trigger is going to go on the stack and resolve during your upkeep, before you move on to the draw step. You can't choose to put the trigger on the stack later in the turn, so if you want to use the Well's trigger to draw some cards, you'll have to choose to do that right after Oloro's trigger resolves, not later on in your turn.

Q: Can I use Crown of the Ages to move a Song of the Dryads that's attached to my Verduran Enchantress to an opponent's creature?

A: No you cannot. Crown of the Ages can only move an aura that's attached to a creature. While the Enchantress may be a creature as printed, as long as the Song is attached to it, it's a land, not a creature. Since the Song is not attached to a creature, you will not be able to move the Song off of your Enchantress, since the Song is not a legal target for the Crown's ability.

Q: We're in a multiplayer game, and I cast Tidehollow Sculler and exile a card from an opponent's hand. Is that card exiled face up or face down?

A: It's exiled face up. Unless the card that's exiling the card says otherwise, cards are always exiled face up, not face down. And since it's exiled face up, that means that everyone (including your other opponents) will get to see what the exiled card is.

That's it for this week. See you all next week!

Great article! Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't myriad (from Blade of Selves) exile the tokens at the end of combat rather than sacrifice? If that's the case I don't think we get the sweet Yosei triggers we want.
#1 • Date: 2017-08-14 • Time: 10:48:10 •
You have to put all Yosei copies except one into the graveyard when state based actions are performed, not at the end of combat.
#2 • Date: 2017-08-14 • Time: 11:57:27 •
D'oh - Legend rule! Thanks for the clarification.
#3 • Date: 2017-08-14 • Time: 13:21:43 •

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