Published on 03/05/2018

Winter Blast

Cranial Translation
Português (Br) 简体中文 Deutsch Español Français Italiano

Why do I live where the air hurts my face?
While winter may be waning in other parts of the world, its icy teeth have bitten in hard here in Finland with the coldest weather yet this year. It's making a bit hard to get in to the CI office to write this week's article, so I'll just curl up in a warm blanket and write from home.

As always, if you have rules questions of your own, send them to us at , or tweet shorter questions to us @CranialTweet — If you write in, you'll get an answer, and potentially see your question appear in an upcoming issue.

Now onto the questions before my hands freeze solid.

Q: If I control Winding Constrictor and I play a Jadelight Ranger, revealing a nonland card both times, does the Ranger get 3 or 4 counters?

A: Jadelight Ranger will get four +1/+1 counters.

While Jadelight Ranger's double explore trigger is a single trigger, each of the two explores still happens independently and Winding Constrictor's ability will modify the number of counters each explore places on Jadelight Ranger, making it two counters per nonland card revealed.

Q: If I enchant The Scarab God with Lignify and it later dies, does its return ability trigger?

A: No. Triggered abilities of creatures that trigger when that creature dies trigger from the battlefield, but the Lignified god won't have any such abilities while it's on the battlefield and thus it'll just die with no trigger.

Q: I control World Shaper and Zuran Orb. I then cast Diabolic Intent, sacrificing World Shaper to pay the additional cost. Do I get to tutor up a card before World Shaper's trigger resolves? When in this process should I sacrifice my lands to Zuran Orb to get maximum benefit?

A: World Shaper's death trigger will trigger when you cast Diabolic Intent. That trigger goes on the stack above Diabolic Intent and will resolve before the spell lets you tutor up a card. You get priority before the trigger resolves and can sacrifice your lands to Zuran Orb before the trigger resolves.

Q: I control Legion's Landing and attack with Kari Zev, Skyship Raider and another creature. Does Legion's Landing transform?

A: No. A creature that enters the battlefield attacking wasn't declared as an attacker and doesn't count toward Legion's Landing's second trigger. You have to declare three creatures as attackers for that ability to trigger, so attacking with just Kari Zev and another creature isn't enough, no matter how awesome Ragavan might be.

Snow is just inconvenience powder.

Q: How does Exploit work with Panharmonicon? If I cast Sidisi, Undead Vizier, do I sacrifice two creatures and tutor twice, or sacrifice one creature and tutor twice?

A: Panharmonicon will cause Sidisi's Exploit trigger to trigger twice when she enters the battlefield. When each of these triggers resolves, you may sacrifice a creature. If you do, then Sidisi's second "when Sidisi exploits a creature" will trigger for each one you sacrifice a creature for. It only triggers once for each sacrifice, though, since it's not triggering due to a creature or artifact entering the battlefield.

For example, Sidisi enters the battlefield while you control Panharmonicon. When the first exploit trigger resolves, you sacrifice a Zombie token. This triggers Sidisi's second ability. When that ability resolves, you'll search your library for a card. The other exploit trigger resolves next, and you sacrifice another token to it. You then search your library again when the "when Sidisi exploits" trigger resolves.
Net result: Two creatures sacrificed, two cards tutored to hand.

Q: Hello! So let's say I control nine permanents, one of which has Ascend. I am also enchanted by an opponent's Curse of Death's Hold. Will I get the city's blessing if I try to create 1/1 tokens?

A: Yes.
When you control a permanent with Ascend, it checks continually to see if you control ten or more permanents at any time. As soon as you do, you get the city's blessing. It doesn't matter if you're in the middle of resolving a spell or ability or waiting for state-based actions to be checked, you still get the blessing.
In the situation you describe, you control ten or more permanents, some of which happen to be 0-toughness tokens. This still counts and you get the city's blessing before Curse of Death's Hold wipes away those tokens and takes you back below ten permanents.

Q: How does Zacama, Primal Calamity interact with Gather Specimens?

A: If an opponent casts Zacama and you get it to enter the battlefield under your control via Gather Specimens or similar effects, then Zacama's triggered ability won't trigger.
Zacama knows who cast it, and if that's not you then the trigger's secondary condition isn't met and the ability doesn't trigger. Zacama's three brains may collectively be the size of three apples, but they're smart enough to see through your trickery.

Q: If I use Release to the Wind on my Persistent Nightmare, can I then cast Startled Awake from exile, or is it just exiled permanently?

A: Yes, you can cast it as long as you own it.

Release to the Wind allows the exiled card's owner to cast it. A double-faced card only has the characteristics of its front face when in a zone other than the battlefield and so Release to the Wind's effect allows you to cast the exiled Startled Awake.

Q: How exactly would it play out if one were to use Rings of Brighthearth to copy Memory Jar's ability?

A: When the first (copied) ability of Memory Jar resolves, each player will exile all the cards in their hand (Hand A) and then draw seven cards. It also sets up a delayed trigger for the end step. Players can activate abilities and cast instants and spells with flash before the other Memory Jar ability resolves, as normal.

When the second (original) ability of Memory Jar resolves, each player will exile all the cards in their hand (Hand B) and then draw seven cards. It also sets up a delayed trigger for the end step. Players can cast spells and activate abilities as normal until the end step.

When the end step begins, both of the delayed triggers go on the stack and you get to choose their relative order. This means you choose whether or not players will get back Hand A or Hand B first. Whichever choice you make, players will discard their current hands then return the Hand A or Hand B to their hands. Players can activate abilities and cast instants and spells with flash before the other delayed trigger resolves, as normal. When the second delayed trigger resolves, players will discard what's left of the first returned hand and then get back whichever of A or B wasn't returned to their hands by the first trigger.

Q: My opponent has a basic Forest enchanted with Utopia Sprawl. If I play Spreading Seas on that Forest, will Utopia Sprawl fall off?

A: Yes. Utopia Sprawl can only legally be attached to a land with the Forest subtype. A land that's enchanted with Spreading Seas has only the Island subtype and thus isn't something that Utopia Sprawl can legally enchant. Utopia Sprawl will be put into its owner's graveyard the next time state-based actions are checked.

Q: I control Eon Hub and cast Pact of Negation. Does the Pact's triggered ability still trigger if I don't have an upkeep? And if Eon Hub is somehow destroyed, will the last Pact I cast still remember when I cast it and make me lose the game?

A: The delayed trigger will wait around until the next time you actually have an upkeep step, no matter how long that takes. Once Eon Hub is gone, any pact triggers and other "next upkeep" triggers will finally get a chance to go on the stack and resolve as normal.
They are patient. They will wait. One day, you WILL pay.

Q: I'm planning a burn deck for Commander and I was wondering how Ghostly Flame interacts with cards like Tok-Tok, Volcano Born or Fire Servant. Would my red spells and permanents still get a boost in damage?

A: It depends on the effect.
Tok-Tok cares about the color of the source of damage, so it can't apply to the damage because of Ghostly Flame's effect. Fire Servant cares about the color of the spell, not the damage source, and Ghostly Flame doesn't change the actual color of anything, so Fire Servant's effect still applies and increases the damage.

Q: If a Porphyry Nodes would destroy my face down creature, and the creature card has a higher power than other creatures on the battlefield, can I turn the creature face up to negate the effect?

A: No choices are made for what Porphyry Nodes will destroy until the trigger resolves. It looks at the power of all creatures at that time and chooses the least power from among those options. (If multiple creatures are tied for the least power and some of them are indestructible, then one that isn't must be chosen.)
There's no opportunity to respond to the choice, though. If you turn your creature face up before the trigger resolves and make it no longer have the least power, then it won't be the creature chosen for destruction.

Sometimes it's just too cold to go outside...
Q: If I cast Hostage Taker targeting another player's commander and they chose to have it go to the command zone rather than be exiled, is there any point at which I can cast it?

A: The commander never goes to exile and so you won't be able to cast it with Hostage Taker's ability, since that ability only allows you to cast it while it's exiled.
If that commander doesn't leave the command zone before Hostage Taker leaves the battlefield, it will return to the battlefield under its owner's control when Hostage Taker goes away.
TL;DR: Commanders make bad hostages.

Q: Would Release to the Wind be able to have a creature with Bestow be exiled and recast as an aura if it's on the battlefield as a creature? Or can you not pay alternate costs with it?

A: Release to the Wind only allows the exiled card to be cast for free. Since this alternate cost is tied into the ability allowing the exiled card to be cast, a different alternate cost such as Bestow can't be chosen to be paid instead. You can only cast the exiled Bestow card as a creature spell.

Q: My opponent is at 9 and attacks with a 4/4 Death's Shadow and another creature. I cast Blessed Alliance, choosing the first and third modes both targeting my opponent. What happens?

A: Your opponent will gain 4 life, going to 13, which makes their Death's Shadow 0/0. It doesn't die yet, though, since we're in the middle of resolving a spell, and so it will still be on the battlefield when your opponent sacrifices an attacking creature. My guess is that they'll sacrifice the Death's Shadow if they're savvy.

Q: If I have Melek, Izzet Paragon on the battlefield and I cast Brainstorm from my hand, are all three cards I draw individually revealed as I draw them, and why? Also while I decide on the cards to put back on top, does the new top card of my library get revealed?

A: Yes. Whenever you draw cards, you draw them one at a time. This means that the new top card of your library is revealed between each draw, as well as after the last draw. The only card in the process that your opponents won't know the identity of is whatever card you put back second from the top, since the cards go back to the top of your library at the same time and so only the new top card is revealed after Brainstorm finishes resolving.

Q: Can I cast Battle at the Bridge for X=1 by paying and tapping Trinisphere?

A: No. When you cast a spell, you determine its total cost before you pay any of those costs. Since Trinisphere is untapped when you determine the cost of Battle at the Bridge, it will cost at least 2B to cast, so you might as well make X be 2 rather than 1. You can still tap Trinisphere and other artifacts for Improvise when you go to pay the costs, though.

Q: An opponent controls Risky Move and during their turn I cast Quicken into Catch (Catch // Release) targeting Risky Move. What happens at the end end of that turn?

A: The control-changing effect of Catch will wear off in the cleanup step and Risky Move will return to its previous controller's control. This triggers Risky Move's second ability. Since an ability has triggered during the cleanup step, players will receive priority. Once Risky Move's trigger resolves and this cleanup step ends, there will be another cleanup step. (And another one if something else triggers, etc.)
The game cannot proceed to the next turn until there is a cleanup step in which nothing triggers and no state-based actions need to be applied, so there will continue to be cleanup steps until one comes up clean.

Q: If my opponent attacks with an Ichorclaw Myr and I block with a Young Wolf with a +1/+1 counter on it due to Undying, does the Wolf die permanently or does the +1/+1 counter nullify with one of the -1/-1 counters from infect damage before it dies?

A: When Ichorclaw Myr deals combat damage to Young Wolf, three -1/-1 counters are put on it. When state-based actions are checked, the game sees that Young Wolf has a toughness of 0 or less as well as both +1/+1 and -1/-1 counters on it. All state-based actions are applied simultaneously, so Young Wolf is put into the graveyard at the same moment that the counters annihilate each other. It still had both counters on it when it last existed on the battlefield, though, and so Undying doesn't trigger.

Q: How do Shirei, Shizo's Caretaker and Skullclamp work together?

A: In general, pretty poorly.
Shirei's trigger looks at the creature's power as it last existed on the battlefield, which includes the +1/-1 from Skullclamp. So that 1/1 creature you just Skullclamped died as a 2/0 and won't trigger Shirei. You'll need to be Skullclamping 0/1′s to get any extra value from Shirei here.

Q: Does Rekindling Phoenix in the graveyard being copied by Body Double work favorably when Body Double dies?

A: When Body Double dies as a copy of Rekindling Phoenix, it will create an Elemental token as expected. That Elemental token won't return Body Double to the battlefield when its trigger resolves, though. It will return a card named Rekindling Phoenix to the battlefield, but luckily you have one of those!

It's still not getting any warmer outside, but my heart has been warmed by answering all these question for you. Come back next week for more!

- Charlotte

Just a heads up. In the Worldshaper, Zuran Orb question, you have Diabolic Edict as the card in the question (which doesnt have an additional cost) instead of Diabolic Intent
#1 • Date: 2018-03-05 • Time: 05:44:15 •
Quote (jskura):
Just a heads up. In the Worldshaper, Zuran Orb question, you have Diabolic Edict as the card in the question (which doesnt have an additional cost) instead of Diabolic Intent

Fixed! Thanks for the heads up!
#2 • Date: 2018-03-05 • Time: 08:44:56 •

Follow us @CranialTweet!

Send quick questions to us in English for a short answer.

Follow our RSS feed!