Published on 03/12/2018

Spring Forward

Cranial Translation
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I think Daylight Saving Time
only exists to remind me
how many clocks are in my house.
Greetings and welcome back to another issue of Cranial Insertion! Yesterday was the second Sunday in March, which means that the USA has entered into Daylight Saving Time once again and we lost an hour of our precious time yesterday. This explains why I'm feeling exceptionally tired this morning, and I hope I'll adjust to this time shift quickly. To help me wake up, let's answer some more of your Magic rules questions!

If you have questions you'd like us to answer, please email them to or tweet short questions to @CranialTweet. One of our authors will reply to your question, and your question might appear in a future article to educate readers like yourself.

Q: If I enchant myself with Curse of Vengeance and then lose the game, does the Curse bring me back with X more life and X more cards?

A: Nice try, but that doesn't work. After you lose the game, Curse of Vengeance's triggered ability looks back in time and sees that you were enchanted with Curse of Vengeance, so the ability triggers. However, by the time the triggered ability wants to go on the stack, you have left the game, and the game can't put an ability on the stack if its controller is no longer in the game, so the ability doesn't even go on the stack.

Q: Earlier in the game, my opponent exiled my Anointed Procession with Ixalan's Binding. If I cast Sram's Expertise and use it to cast Cleansing Ray for free to destroy Ixalan's Binding, does Anointed Procession come back in time to double the number of tokens I get from Sram's Expertise?

A: Sadly, no. You follow the instructions on Sram's Expertise in the order written on the card, so you first create a bunch of tokens and then you cast a spell for free. Cleansing Ray hasn't even been put on the stack yet, let alone resolved, by the time you create the Servo tokens.

Q: How useful is it to give rebound to spells like Glimpse the Sun God or Launch the Fleet with Taigam, Ojutai Master?

A: Let's start with Glimpse the Sun God. When it rebounds, you cast it from exile without paying its mana cost. Since there's an X in the cost that you're not paying, the only legal choice for X is 0, so you won't be tapping any creatures with the rebound, but at least you get to scry 1, which is better than nothing.

Launch the Fleet is different because it has an optional additional cost. Rebound waives Launch the Fleet's mana cost, which is , but additional costs on top of that can still be paid, and they have to be paid if you want the additional targets, since rebound doesn't waive the strive cost.

Q: I control a Black Vise for which I chose my opponent, and my opponent has a suspended Ancestral Vision in exile with one time counter left, and four cards in her hand. What happens when I pass the turn to her?

A: At the beginning of your opponent's upkeep, two abilities trigger and want to go on the stack at the same time: Your Black Vise trigger, and her Ancestral Visions' "remove a time counter" ability. This is handled with the so-called APNAP (Active Player/Nonactive Player) rule: First the active player puts all of their abilities on the stack in an order of their choice, and then the nonactive player does the same. Since it's your opponent's turn, she puts her trigger on the stack first, and then you put your trigger on the stack. This means that Black Vise's trigger resolves first, doing no damage at all, and then your opponent draws three cards.

Q: If Growing Rites of Itlimoc transforms during my end step, can I use Itlimoc, Cradle of the Sun's ability before my turn ends?

A: Absolutely. After Growing Rites of Itlimoc's triggered ability resolves, both players get priority in turn order, and both players have to pass priority in succession in order for the game to move on to the next step. Instead of passing, you can tap Itlimoc for mana and use that mana to cast an instant or activate an ability.

Q: Can you explain the different mana symbols in Mirrorpool's abilities?

A: Sure. I'll use its last ability as an example. The mana component of its activation cost is , which means four mana of any type and one colorless mana. The four mana of any type can be mana of any color or colorless mana, while the fifth mana must specifically be colorless mana. To add colorless mana to your mana pool, you need lands or other cards that say "Add to your mana pool". Some older cards say "Add to your mana pool" in their printed text, but their Oracle text has been updated to use instead.

Q: Can I target my own Evolving Wilds with Mwonvuli Acid-Moss, sacrifice it in response to search for a land, and then search for another land when Mwonvuli Acid-Moss resolves?

A: No, that doesn't work. When Mwonvuli Acid-Moss resolves, its only target is now illegal because it has disappeared. When a spell has no remaining legal targets, it's countered on resolution and none of its effects happen, so you don't get to search for a second land.

Visual approximation of
how I'm feeling at the moment
Q: If Hinterland Harbor and a Forest somehow enter the battlefield at the same time and there are no other lands on the battlefield, does Hinterland Harbor enter the battlefield tapped or untapped?

A: It'll enter the battlefield tapped. Hinterland Harbor has a static ability that replaces how it enters the battlefield, and that replacement effect has to be applied before Hinterland Harbor enters the battlefield. At that time, the Forest isn't on the battlefield yet, so you don't control a Forest yet.

Q: Does Insult turn off Glacial Chasm's damage prevention effect?

A: It sure does. Insult creates an effect that states that damage can't be prevented, and an effect that states that something can't happen overrides any effect allowing or directing it to happen. In short, "Can't beats can", so Insult's effect wins.

Q: Does Solemnity help me survive indefinitely past 0 life with Phyrexian Unlife?

A: Yup, for much the same reasons as in the previous question. Once you have 0 or less life, damage gets dealt to you in the form of infect damage, which is supposed to put poison counters on you, but that's impossible because of Solemnity. This means that damage to you is dealt, but it doesn't cause you to lose life or gain poison counters, so you're immune to damage as long as you control those two enchantments.

Q: If I play Expropriate, can my opponents tap their lands for mana after voting has finished?

A: Nope. After the vote, the resulting effects happen immediately without players getting the chance to do anything else. If your opponents want to use their lands for mana before giving them away, they have to do so in response to Expropriate, before the voting starts.

Q: Can I use Shivan Dragon's ability more than once per turn?

A: Absolutely! Unless an ability explicitly states a restriction on how many times you can activate it, such as Basking Rootwalla, you can activate it as many times as you can afford to pay its activation cost.

Q: If I cast Wash Out and choose red, do Mountains go back to their owner's hand?

A: No. Mountains produce red mana, but they are not red permanents themselves. In the absence of a color indicator or ability giving it a color, a permanent's colors are determined by its mana cost. Since Mountains don't have a mana cost or any other reason for having a color, they are colorless permanents. Also, "colorless" is not a color, so you can't even choose that to make Wash Out bounce your opponent's Mountains.

Q: I control Sylvan Library and I choose to draw the two additional cards after I draw for the turn. Can I choose to put back any two of the three cards I drew, or do I have to treat the draws separately.

A: You don't have to treat the draws separately. After you draw the two additional cards, you choose any two cards in your hand that you drew this turn, which includes the normal draw for the turn, the two additional cards from Sylvan Library's ability, and it could even include more cards if you responded to Sylvan Library's trigger with some draw spell or ability. You don't have to keep track of which cards you drew why, but you do have to keep track (and allow your opponent to keep track) of which cards were in your hand already versus which ones you drew this turn.

Q: If my opponent controls The Immortal Sun and I control Alms Collector, what happens in my opponent's draw step?

A: Your Alms Collector won't be collecting any alms, I'm afraid. Your opponent draws one card for the turn, and then they draw another card for The Immortal Sun's ability. Those are two separate card draw events, and Alms Collector only kicks in when your opponent draws more than one card in a single event, such as with Braingeyser.

Q: I'm in a multiplayer game and an opponent controls one of my permanents. What happens to the permanent when that opponent loses the game?

A: That depends on how your opponent came to control your permanent. If there was a control-changing effect involved, like Act of Treason, Beguiler of Wills, or even Bazaar Trader, then that effect ends when your opponent leaves the game, and the permanent switches to whoever controls it in the absence of that effect, so probably you.

If they controlled it by other means, for example by putting it onto the battlefield under their control with Bribery or by casting it with Sen Triplets, they'll still control it after control-changing effects have been ended. In that case, the card gets exiled and nobody gains control of it. Bummer.

Maybe Phoebe stole my missing hour?
Q: If I use Phoebe, Head of S.N.E.A.K.'s second ability to steal the text box from Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, what happens to Ulamog's triggered ability? Does it trigger when Phoebe attacks, when Ulamog attacks, or not at all?

A: The ability triggers when Phoebe attacks. Ulamog's name in its ability is a reference to the object that has the ability. This means that if another object gains the ability, or in this case steals it, the ability now refers to the new object that has the ability, so the ability works as though it says "Whenever Phoebe, Head of S.N.E.A.K. attacks, ..."

Q: How does Cheatyface interact with enter-the-battlefield abilities like Ineffable Blessing?

A: I'd say it doesn't interact terribly well. In order to get the enter-the-battlefield effect, you have to call attention to the fact that Cheatyface entered the battlefield, which means that your opponent catches it right away and gets to exile it. In other words, you either get to keep Cheatyface and not get the trigger, or get the trigger and lose Cheatyface.

Q: Let's say I've augmented an Adorable Kitten with Half-Shark, Half-, and I Momentary Blink the resulting Half-Shark, Half-Kitten. What happens?

A: The rules aren't really clear what should happen, but fortunately Un-Rules Manager Mark Rosewater has answered this question on Twitter a few months ago. His ruling is that the creatures get exiled and get returned as an augmented Half-Shark, Half-Kitten.

Q: I'm playing Friday Night Magic, and I cast Lightning Strike. Can I roll a die to decide whether to target my opponent or one of her creatures?

A: I would recommend not doing that. A Magic tournament is intended to test your skill at playing Magic, including your skill at making strategic decisions about what to target with your spells. Letting a die roll take over your decision comes dangerously close to "determining match outcomes by outside-the-game methods", which is a serious problem that gets you disqualified from the tournament. Even if that's not exactly what you're doing, it looks very fishy to other players and spectators, so I would strongly advise against any die-rolling or coin-flipping that's not called for by the game rules or an in-game effect.

And that's all the time we have for this week. The next two weeks promise to be very exciting. First, Nathan will give us a look at Masters 25 next week, and the week after that, Callum will help us celebrate Cranial Insertion's thirteenth birthday. I can't wait!

- 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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