Published on 10/16/2017

Everybody Walk the Dinosaur

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 Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes.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

Open the door, get on the floor
Everybody walk the dinosaur
Greetings and welcome back to another issue of Cranial Insertion! We're still adventuring on Ixalan, a world filled with Dinosaurs, and some other stuff, and have I mentioned the Dinosaurs? Seriously, Dinosaurs! Since I am a bit of a dinosaur myself, I'm very excited to finally see Dinosaurs outside of silver-bordered cards.

If you have Magic rules questions for us, please send them via email to or tweet short questions to @CranialTweet. One of our authors will send you an answer, and your question might appear in a future article, possibly accompanied by a pun, pop culture reference, or song lyric. On that note, if you get a song or two stuck in your head while reading this article, I'm not sorry.

Q: Can I reveal Huatli, Dinosaur Knight for Priest of the Wakening Sun?

A: No, you can't. Priest of the Wakening Sun is asking for a Dinosaur card, which is a card with Dinosaur in its type line. Having the word "Dinosaur" in its card name is not enough to make Huatli a Dinosaur card.

Q: If my opponent casts Carnage Tyrant, can I respond with Spell Swindle just to get a bunch of Treasure tokens?

A: Sure, that's not a problem. Carnage Tyrant can't be countered, which means that any instruction to counter it will fail, but that doesn't stop it from being targeted by a spell that would try to counter it. You can target Carnage Tyrant with Spell Swindle just fine. When it resolves, it fails to counter Carnage Tyrant, but then you create the Treasure tokens anyway because that part is not contingent on having countered Carnage Tyrant.

Q: If I cast a creature spell and my opponent counters it, can I save my spell by Unsummoning it back to my hand?

A: No, that's not how Unsummon works. Unsummon targets a creature, which means a creature that's on the battlefield. Your card might physically be on the table close to where the battlefield is, but it's actually a creature spell on the stack. As such, Unsummon can't do anything to save it.

Q: Let's say I use The Scarab God to pseudo-eternalize an Enigma Drake, and there are two instant and sorcery cards in my graveyard. How big is the token?

A: It'll be 4/4, regardless of how many instant and sorcery cards are in your graveyard. Because the copy effect from The Scarab God's ability modifies the token's power and toughness, the characteristic-defining ability of the original does not get copied, so the ability isn't there to redefine the token's power.

Q: Can I crew a vehicle with a creature that has summoning sickness?

A: Certainly. There's no rule that a creature with summoning sickness can't ever be tapped. Summoning sickness only keeps a creature from being declared as an attacker and from activating its activated abilities that have the tap (or untap) symbol in their cost. Tapping a creature to crew a vehicle is neither of those things, so the summoning sickness rule has no objections to it.

Q: Is Lifecrafter's Bestiary's second ability an activated ability for the sake of cards like Harsh Mentor?

A: No. An activated ability is always written in the form [cost]:[effect]. Look for the colon. In the case of keyword abilities like equip or crew, you'll find the colon in reminder text if it's present. Lifecrafter's Bestiary has two triggered abilities. Triggered abilities are always written using the signal words "when," "whenever," or "at."

Q: My opponent casts a creature spell and I try to counter it with Countervailing Winds. If she decides to pay the necessary mana to save her spell, can I try to counter it again with another Countervailing Winds?

A: Absolutely. After your first Countervailing Winds has resolved, your opponent's spell is the next thing on the stack, but both players will get priority again before it can resolve, and both players have to pass priority in succession for that to happen. Instead of passing priority, you get to cast a second Countervailing Winds to take another stab at countering your opponent's spell.

D I! N O! S A!
U R a Dinosaur!
Q: Say I have a Rampaging Ferocidon and a Panharmonicon out. If I were to cast Dowsing Dagger, my opponent would get four 0/2 tokens and take 8 damage, correct?

A: Yes, that's correct. Thanks to Panharmonicon, Dowsing Dagger's enter-the-battlefield triggers twice, and each instance of the trigger makes your opponent create two 0/2 tokens, for a total of four. Each of those triggers the Ferocidon's ability twice, for a total of eight triggers and 8 damage.

Q: My opponent controls a Rampaging Ferocidon and I destroy it with Fumigate. Do I gain life? What if I use Dark Nourishment instead?

A: You do gain life with Fumigate. You follow the instructions on Fumigate in order, and the first instruction is to destroy all creatures, which sends the Ferocidon to the graveyard. When you get to the second instruction which tells you to gain life, there is no Rampaging Ferocidon around to stop that, so you gain life.

The answer is different if you use Dark Nourishment to kill the Ferocidon. Dark Nourishment doesn't actually destroy anything. It just deals damage, and then it leaves the dirty work of destroying the lethally wounded Ferocidon to state-based actions. State-based actions only happen after Dark Nourishment has finished resolving, so at the time it tells you to gain life, Rampaging Ferocidon is still on the battlefield and stops you from gaining life.

Q: Can I counter the Dark Depths trigger with Disallow?

A: You can, but it won't help. The ability is a triggered ability that can be targeted with Disallow, so you can cast Disallow and it will counter the ability. However, as soon as the ability has left the stack, the game realizes that the game state of "Dark Depths has no ice counters on it" is still true, so it automatically puts another instance of that ability back on the stack. In the end, your opponent is still getting a Marit Lage, and you've wasted a Disallow for nothing.

Q: What is the order of operations when I have Notion Thief in play and activate Geier Reach Sanitarium?

A: You and your opponent perform the actions in Geier Reach Sanitarium's ability in order, so first you and your opponent each draw a card, except that Notion Thief gives your opponent's draw to you, so you draw two cards. Then, both you and your opponent each discard a card at the same time.

Q: If I control Alms Collector and Notion Thief, and my opponent would draw multiple cards, what ends up happening?

A: You'll draw two cards. Let's say for example your opponent is about to draw three cards. Alms Collector's effect applies first because it applies to the draw as a whole, while Notion Thief applies to individual card draws. This means that the pending "opponent draws three cards" event is replaced by "you draw a card and your opponent draws a card." Now Notion Thief kicks in and changes that to "you draw a card and you draw a card", and that's how you end up drawing two cards.

Q: If my opponent has taken one of my creatures with Hostage Taker and I gain control of their Hostage Taker with Act of Treason, can I then cast my card that they exiled with their Hostage Taker?

A: Nope, sorry. The "you" in Hostage Taker's ability refers to the player who controlled Hostage Taker when its enter-the-battlefield ability triggered, which is your opponent. This means that the effect that allows your opponent to cast the exiled card only applies to your opponent, and it continues to apply to your opponent even if the Hostage Taker switches sides.

Q: I take my opponent's Conqueror's Galleon with Hostage Taker, cast it, and later I manage to transform it. Who controls Conqueror's Foothold?

A: You do! Conqueror's Galleon instructs you (as its controller) to exile it and to return it to the battlefield transformed under your control. The answer would be different if it told you to return it to the battlefield under its owner's control, since your opponent is the card's owner, but that's not how the ability is written.

We are the dinosaurs,
Marching, marching,
We are the dinosaurs,
We make the earth flat
Q: My Hostage Taker enters the battlefield and takes my opponent's Regisaur Alpha hostage. I have four lands and a Pillar of Origins naming Vampire. Can I use the mana from those lands to cast the Regisaur Alpha?

A: Nice try, but that doesn't work. While it's true that you get to spend the mana as though it were mana of any type, the type of mana only refers to its color or colorlessness. It doesn't get around any spending restrictions that are attached to the mana, so you can still only use the mana from Pillar of Origins to cast a Vampire creature spell, which Regisaur Alpha is not.

Q: If I respond to my opponent's Resilient Khenra trigger with a morbid Tragic Slip, does the target get -11/-11?

A: Definitely not. First off, using the ability is optional, and your opponent decides when the ability resolves whether to use it, so even if it would give the target -11/-11, they would simply choose not to use the ability. However, since the Hour of Devastation rules update, effects such as Resilient Khenra's ability use 0 instead of a negative number, so nothing happens when the ability resolves.

Q: Cavern of Souls enters the battlefield while there's a Blood Moon in play. If Blood Moon gets destroyed, can I use Cavern of Souls for colored mana?

A: No. With the new rules since Ixalan, you don't get to choose a creature type as Cavern of Souls enters the battlefield. This means that the creature type for Cavern of Souls's last ability is undefined. You can use the ability to make mana, but you can't spend that mana on anything because you can only spend it on creature spells of an undefined type.

Q: My opponent just cast Silence in my upkeep step. Can I suspend Ancestral Vision?

A: Nope. In order to suspend a card, the game checks if you'd be able to begin the process of casting it from your hand, and it checks all rules and effects that might prohibit you from doing so. Because you've been silenced, you can't cast anything, so you can't suspend anything either.

Q: If I discard Emrakul, the Aeons Torn to Cathartic Reunion, is it possible to draw my three cards before my graveyard gets shuffled into my library?

A: No. Discarding two cards is an additional cost to cast Cathartic Reunion, so Emrakul's ability goes on the stack above Cathartic Reunion and resolves first. You end up shuffling your graveyard into your library first, and then you draw three cards.

Q: Do I have to use the official token cards that come in booster packs to represent Treasure tokens?

A: Not at all. You can use pretty much anything you want to represent tokens as long as the objects you choose aren't offensive and can represent the game state sufficiently clearly. Personally I recommend using chocolate coins for Treasure tokens. You can eat them when you sacrifice them for mana, which makes them quite flavorful Treasure tokens.

And that's all the time we have for now. Thanks for reading, and please come back next week when Nathan brings us more excellent Ixalan adventures.

- 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.

By the way, thanks a lot — Now I can't get that Walk the Dinosaur song by Was (Not Was) out of my mind!
#1 • Date: 2017-10-20 • Time: 07:08:48 •

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