Published on 04/16/2018

A Taxing Time of Year

Cranial Translation
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It's nice when the tax man works for you.

Hiya everyone, and welcome back to Cranial Insertion! If you're in the US, you know what's important about this week: your taxes are due! Wait, that's actually a lot less exciting now that I think about it. If you're like me, you probably did your taxes months ago, so you don't have to worry about doing them at the last minute. And if you haven't done your taxes for this year... you may want to start doing that right now (but at least read our article first. It won't help you with your taxes, but it will help take your mind off of things for a bit).

If you'd like to "tax" us a question, you can do so via Twitter or e-mail. You can send us short question via our Twitter account at @CranialTweet. Or if you have a slightly longer question, you can e-mail us at .

Q: I cast Sorcerous Spyglass, and after looking at my opponent's hand, I name "Profane Procession". Will that also stop them from activating the last ability of Tomb of the Dusk Rose that they have on the battlefield?

A: No it won't. While they may be the two sides of the same double-faced card, as far as the game is concerned, they have different names. "Profane Procession" is a different card name than "Tomb of the Dusk Rose", so your opponent can still activate the Tomb's ability if you named Profane Procession. If you wanted to shut down the Tomb, you would have to name "Tomb of the Dusk Rose".

Q: I control a Fairgrounds Warden, which is exiling my opponent's Ghalta, Primal Hunger. If I cast Eliminate the Competition, can I sacrifice the Warden and destroy the Ghalta that was exiled by the Warden?

A: Nope, you can't do that. You have to choose targets before you pay costs. While the Warden will leave play during the announcement of the Competition (returning Ghalta to the battlefield), that happens after we've chosen targets for the spell. Ghalta wasn't around when we were choosing targets, so you won't be able to both sacrifice the Warden and destroy the creature the Warden was keeping exiled.

Q: I have a Mirage Mirror in play, and my opponent targets it with the "destroy target artifact" mode of Abrade. Can I save the Mirror by making it into a copy of something else?

A: Yep, you can save it that way (with one exception). If you use the Mirror and copy something like Glorybringer, when Abrade goes to resolve, it checks to make sure that its target is still legal. But since the Mirror is now a Glorybringer, it's no longer an artifact and Abrade is countered.

Just be careful and don't make the Mirror into a copy of an artifact - the Mirror would still be a legal target for Abrade if it's still an artifact and would still be destroyed.

Q: My opponent controls a Dauntless Cathar and a Rest in Peace. I target their Cathar with Skeletonize. Do I still get the Skeleton token?

A: Nope, you don't get a token. Skeletonize is looking for the damaged creature to die, which means it has to go to the graveyard from the battlefield. But thanks to Rest in Peace, the Cathar won't die - it's exiled instead of going to the graveyard. Since the Cathar did not die, the delayed trigger looking from Skeletonize will not trigger and you will not get the skeleton token.

Q: My opponent just cast Exquisite Firecraft with the spell mastery bonus. Can I respond by exiling their graveyard with Tormod's Crypt, then countering their Firecraft with Cancel?

A: Yep, you can do that. The spell mastery bonus for the Firecraft only works as long as the condition is true (ie they have two or more instants and/or sorcery cards in their graveyard). By exiling their graveyard with the Crypt, you've disabled spell mastery for the Firecraft, and it can be countered. Now you're able to cast Cancel and Cancel will be able to counter the Firecraft.

Q: I have a Vengevine in play, and I've already cast one creature spell this turn. Can I cast Elder Deep-Fiend via emerge, sacrificing Vengevine, and return Vengevine with its trigger?

A: Surprisingly, this works! Vengevine is sacrificed as part of the cost of casting the Deep-Fiend, and ends up in the graveyard by the time the Deep-Fiend is finally considered cast. Since Vengevine is in the graveyard, and since you've cast two creature spells this turn, Vengevine's ability will trigger and it will return to the battlefield, just ahead of the emerging Elder Deep-Fiend.

Q: I have a Deathmist Raptor in my graveyard. During my end step, I transform Growing Rites of Itlimoc into Itlimoc, Cradle of the Sun. Will Deathmist Raptor's ability trigger and let me return it the battlefield?

A: It will not. The Raptor's ability triggers when a permanent you contol is turned face up. While the physical motion of flipping over a morph and transforming the Growing Rites might be the same, in the game, it's not the same thing. The Raptor cares if the status of the permanent goes from face down to face up, and the Growing Rites isn't doing that, it's transforming to its back side. Since it's not being turned face up, the Raptor's ability will not trigger and it will not return to the battlefield.

Tax season isn't all doom and gloom.

Q: Can I use Hallow to prevent the loss of life from something like Spoils of the Vault?

A: No you cannot. While you can target Spoils of the Vault with Hallow, Spoils of the Vault doesn't deal any damage: it causes a loss of life. Hallow only cares about damage, not loss of life, so you'll still lose life like normal to the resolving Spoils.

Q: What happens if I have a Life and Limb and a Sporemound in play, then play a Forest?

A: Baring anything else, you'll end up with a drawn game. Since a land entered the battlefield, Sporemound's ability will trigger and you'll get a 1/1 saproling token. Due to Life and Limb, that saproling token is a land. Since a land just entered the battlefield, Sporemound will trigger and you'll get another 1/1 saproling token, and so on. Sporemound's ability will keep triggering, thanks to Life and Limb making the token into a land. Barring anything else from happening, the game won't be able to advance and the game will be a draw.

Of course, there are some ways to abuse this. For instance, if you have enchantment and/or creature removal, you could make an extremely large number of tokens, then destroy Life and Limb or Sporemound to stop the loop (and hope your opponent can't clear your board on their turn). You could also run things like Impact Tremors to deal damage to your opponents each time you get a new token, eventually killing them.

Q: Ok, so I made a whole bunch of tokens with the Life and Limb/Sporemound combo, and then on my opponent's turn, they cast Screams from Within on one of my 1/1 tokens. Is there a way to use a pump spell like Giant Growth to save my creatures?

A: No, not really. You could try to cast Giant Growth targeting the 1/1 they're targeted with the Screams, but that will just delay the inevitable. The effect of the Growth will wear off during the cleanup step, and your token will die during the cleanup step, since it's now a 0/0. This causes the Scream's ability to trigger, and they can use the Screams to kill the rest of your saproling tokens during your cleanup step.

Q: My opponent controls a Garruk Relentless, and I copy it with Clever Impersonator. Then my Clever Garruk goes down to two loyalty. What happens?

A: More than likely, you just drew the game. Garruk's first ability is what we call a "state trigger", meaning it triggers once the condition is true, and won't trigger again until that trigger leaves the stack. So your Clever Garruk goes down to two loyalty, and the first ability triggers. When the trigger resolves, it tries to transform Clever Garruk...but can't, since Clever Impersonator isn't a doubled faced card. But once that trigger resolves, the state trigger of Garruk triggers again (since the condition is still true). That ability will keep triggering and will keep doing nothing, and the game will not be able to advance and the game will be a draw (unless someone can remove Clever Garruk or can increase its loyalty to three or more).

Q: What's the difference between Hell's Caretaker and Master Transmuter? Why can I put the same artifact on the battlefield with the Transmuter, but I can't return the creature I sacrifice with Hell's Caretaker?

A: The difference is that Hell's Caretaker's ability targets, while the Transmuter's ability does not. As part of activating the Caretaker's ability, you have to choose a target creature card in your graveyard. Since targets are chosen before costs are paid, you cannot target the creature you want to sacrifice, since it's not in the graveyard yet.

On the other hand, the Transmuter's ability does not target anything: you just choose an artifact card in your hand when the ability resolves. Since the artifact was returned as part of the cost of activating the ability, it's in your hand when the Transmuter's ability resolves, so you can put the same artifact onto the battlefield that you just returned to your hand to activate the Transmuter's ability.

Q: I have seven Goblins in play, and I cast Brightstone Ritual. In response, I cast Reiterate with buyback, targeting the Ritual. What's going to happen?

A: A possibility of infinite red mana! Reiterate resolves first, and you get a copy of the Ritual and Reiterate returns to your hand. The copy of the Ritual resolves, and you get seven red mana. Since you now have seven mana, you can spend six of it to cast Reiterate with buyback again on the Ritual, and repeat. Every time you resolve the copy of the Ritual, you end up gaining one red mana, effectively giving you as much red mana as you desire.

Q: What happens if there's a Mist of Stagnation in play and I have more cards in my graveyard than tapped permanents?

A: When the Mist's trigger resolves, you have to choose permanents equal to the number of cards in your graveyard and untap them. If you have more cards in your graveyard than tapped permanents, you have two options: you can choose your untapped permanents (remember, you're just choosing permanents to untap. There's nothing preventing you from choosing an untapped permanent, the Mists just won't do very much to it), or you'll have to choose opponent's permanents. If the latter is the case, I would suggest choosing their untapped permanents first, unless you have some weird reason to be untapping your opponent's permanents.

Just make sure you pay your taxes on time,
or they'll start putting the squeeze on you.

Q: Is there a way to use Medomai the Ageless and Sakashima's Student copying Medoami to get two extra turns?

A: Short of giving Medomai first or double strike, no. You can attack with Medomai and another creature, and if that other creature goes unblocked, you can use the ninjitsu ability of the Student to copy Medomai. However, before you get a chance to move to the combat damage step, the legendary rule will kick in and you'll have to get rid of one of the Medomais (before they can deal damage).

If the original Medomai had first strike, then you could get it to work. After first strike damage is dealt (triggering Medoamai's ability), before moving to the normal combat damage step, use ninjitsu on the other unblocked creature to get the Student onto the battlefield, copying Medomai. You'll have to get rid of the original Medomai, but the Student Medomai will be able to deal damage during the normal combat damage step and you'll get two extra turns.

Q: My opponent casts Dark Deal, but I like the cards in my hand. Can I cast Teferi's Protection in response so I won't have to discard to Dark Deal?

A: You can cast the Protection in response, but it won't help. While Teferi's Protection will give you protection from everything, Dark Deal doesn't actually do anything that protection helps against - it doesn't target, attach to, block, or damage anything. While you'll still get the benefit of the Protection, it won't stop you from discarding and drawing from to your opponent's Dark Deal.

Q: I control a Containment Priest enchanted with a Gift of Immortality. My Priest dies, and the Gift's ability triggers. Will the Priest end up exiling itself?

A: No it won't. Containment Priest has a replacement effect, and it only works if the Priest is on the battlefield. If the Priest is being put onto the battlefield, its ability will never apply to itself, since the ability only works while it's on the battlefield. Even though the Priest is not being cast, its ability will not apply to itself and the Priest will return to the battlefield via the Gift's triggered ability.

Q: I cast Fell the Mighty targeting my Swamp Mosquito. In response, my opponent casts Fatal Push on my Mosquito, squashing it. Will I still clear the board?

A: No you won't. Unlike other Wrath of God-type effects, Fell the Mighty targets a creature, and if that target is illegal when the spell goes to resolve, Fell the Mighty is countered and nothing will be destroyed. By killing your Mosquito, your opponent has saved all creatures with power one or greater from being destroyed.

Q: My opponent just cast Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund. Can I steal Karrthus with Ray of Command in response to the trigger and gain control of all dragons?

A: Sorry, that doesn't work. Casting Ray of Command in response to Karthus' enter the battlefield trigger is a legal play. However, since your opponent controlled Karrthus when the ability triggered, they control the enter the battlefield trigger. Stealing Karrthus in response won't give you control of their trigger that's on the stack. You'll briefly gain control of Karrthus, before the enter the battlefield trigger resolves and gives your opponent Karrthus back (as well as gaining control of all the other dragons on the battlefield).

Q: I'm in a game, and my opponent has been comboing off on their turn for the last thirty minutes. Is there a way to call slow play on them so we can continue the game?

A: Not really. Slow play in a tournament doesn't mean a player can't take a long turn - as long as they're playing at a reasonable pace and continuing to advance the game, their turn can last as long as they want. If your opponent is actually doing things and advancing the game, that's not slow play - they're just taking a turn that's taking a long time to finish. And we're not going to force them to end their turn early just because they're doing a lot of things on their turn.

That's all we have for you this week. Join us next week, when Callum walks us through Magic's latest set, Dominaria!

Re: Medomai and Sakashima's Student

Does this not work? Attack with Medomai, connect, get an extra turn. In the extra turn, attack with another creature, it goes unblocked, ninjutsu in Student, copy Medomai, connect, get a second extra turn.

Medomai's last ability shouldn't get in the way, right, because it wasn't declared an attacker, just put into play attacking?
#1 • Date: 2018-04-15 • Time: 21:53:12 •
That would also work, yes. Medoami's ability only applies when declaring attackers, not if it a creature is put onto the battlefield attack.
#2 • Date: 2018-04-16 • Time: 11:55:54 •

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