Published on 05/21/2018

Victoria Gloria Est

Cranial Translation
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Hello, and welcome to another edition of Cranial Insertion! It's Victoria Day here in Canada (and apparently some parts of Scotland), a celebration nominally held in honor of Queen Victoria's birthday but more generally seen as being the unofficial start of the spring and summer season, so while you're reading this I'll be out enjoying the fine spring weather, and what better way to enjoy it than with Magic rules questions?

If you'd like to send us questions of your own for fun in the sun, you can send them to us via email at , or over Twitter @CranialTweet. You'll get an answer and potentially see your question in a future article.

Q: I have an Unstable Shapeshifter and two other creatures out, and my opponent plays Mogg Squad. Do both Mogg Squad and the Shapeshifter die?

A: No, only the Mogg Squad does; Unstable Shapeshifter survives as a 1/1.

As soon as Mogg Squad enters the battlefield, Unstable Shapeshifter's ability notices that a creature's entered the battlefield, so it triggers. But before that trigger is even put onto the stack, the game first sends around its version of a janitor to clean up anything that's cluttering up the game state by being somewhere it shouldn't be. (This is what's known as checking for State-Based Actions, or SBAs.)

As it happens, there is indeed something that needs to be cleaned up: a 0/0 Mogg Squad on the battlefield that should really be dead. So, the game sends your opponent's Squad to their graveyard where it belongs, and with everything cleaned up, allows your Shapeshifter's trigger to be put onto the stack. When that trigger resolves a few moments later, your Shapeshifter will become a copy of the now-deceased Mogg Squad, but since there's now only two creatures other than it on the battlefield, it'll be a 1/1 and survive.

Q: ...So what happens if someone then plays a third creature?

A: Well, then your Unstable Shapeshifter dies, for much the same reason that it survived the first time. As soon as the new creature enters the battlefield, the Shapeshifter triggers again...but before that trigger gets put onto the stack the game sees that the Shapeshifter is now a 0/0, and SBAs send it off to the graveyard.

Unstable Shapeshifter's trigger will then get put onto the stack and resolve a moment or two later, but it won't really do anything, because the Shapeshifter's already dead by that point.

Q: I use Gideon Jura to force my opponent's creatures to attack Gideon, but one of her creatures has Argentum Armor equipped. When she attacks, if she destroys Gideon, can she redirect the attack to me?

A: She cannot. As part of declaring creatures as attackers, players need to decide what those creature will be attacking—in this case, Gideon—and once that decision is made, it won't change just because the thing the creatures are attacking has happened to disappear. Once Argentum Armor's ability destroys Gideon, your opponent's creatures will still be attacking the now-nonexistent planeswalker even though that won't do your opponent much good.

Q: If I use Prey Upon to kill my opponent's Soul-Scar Mage, will my creature get -1/-1 counters? It's my spell...

A: But it's your opponent's creature, so your creature will receive -1/-1 counters instead of damage.

The source of damage is the object that's dealing that damage. Usually, instants and sorceries deal damage themselves—see for example Radiating Lightning, which says that it's Radiating Lightning itself that deals the damage. But that's not the case for fight spells like Prey Upon—when two creatures fight, each of those creatures deals damage equal to its power to the other.

While Prey Upon may be causing the fight to happen, the objects that are dealing the damage are the creatures themselves. This means that your opponent's Soul-Scar Mage (a source they control) is trying to deal noncombat damage (combat damage is only the damage dealt by attacking and blocking creatures in combat) to a creature you control. As such, its ability applies, and the damage is replaced with -1/-1 counters.

Q: If I use Liliana of the Veil to make everyone discard, can my Ruthless Sniper target the Obstinate Baloth my opponent got off of Lili?

A: Yes, it can. Obstinate Baloth's ability works by replacing going to the graveyard when being discarded with being put on the battlefield instead, so it's put onto the battlefield at the same time that you're discarding your own card to Liliana's ability.

That means that by the time your Ruthless Sniper's ability is put onto the stack, the Baloth is already sitting on the battlefield, ready and waiting to be targeted.

Q: If Mirage Mirror turns into Rona, Disciple of Gix, exiles a card, turns back, then becomes Rona again, can I cast the card it exiled before?

A: No, you cannot. Rona, Disciple of Gix's abilities are what's known as linked abilities—when the second ability talks about the 'cards exiled with Rona', what it means is the cards in exile put there by the specific abilities of Rona it's linked to. When you first turn Mirage Mirror into a copy of Rona, it gains a copy of all of Rona's abilities, including the pair of linked abilities, and those abilities are specifically linked to (and only to) each other.

As the turn ends and the Mirror reverts, those abilities disappear, because the effect that's causing your Mirror to have them has ended. If you later use the Mirror to copy Rona again, you're creating a completely new effect that grants your Mirror a completely new set of abilities. While those abilities may have the same text as the old abilities, they're still different abilities, and therefore are linked only to each other. As such, they don't know about or care about any cards exiled by old abilities the Mirror used to have that no longer exist, and you won't be able to cast the old card.

Q: I cast a kicked Saproling Migration using mana from a Primal Wellspring. Do I get an additional four Saprolings off the copy or just two?

A: Lucky you, you get another four. When you create a copy of a spell, you copy all of the decisions that were made when casting it, such as targets, the value of X, and so on. Since kicker is an alternative cost you decide whether or not to pay as part of casting the spell, whether or not the spell is kicked is therefore one of the things that gets copied. The original spell was kicked, so the Wellspring's copy is kicked, and you end up with a total of eight Saprolings.

Q: Does Helm of the Host make more copies of equipped creature if you have multiple combats, or just on the first?

A: Indeed it does make more. Helm of the Host says it creates a copy 'at the beginning of combat on your turn'. It doesn't say anything about only doing so on the first combat, so there's no such restriction—it will trigger at the beginning of every single combat phase on your turn, no matter how many there happen to be.

Why yes, this is really, really good if the equipped creature is Combat Celebrant, Aurelia, the Warleader, or even Godo, Bandit Warlord. They're happy you noticed.

Q: If I use mana from Generator Servant to cast a creature like Clone, does the Clone retain haste even after copying a creature?

A: Yes, it does. When you spent the Servant's mana on Clone, Generator Servant's ability created an effect that effectively attached itself to that card, saying "This creature has haste."

When Clone resolves and you choose something to copy, that changed what Clone looks like, but it does nothing to end the effect from the Servant. As such, the ability still applies, and still grants the creature haste, whatever it happens to look like now.

Q: I use the mana from a Thran Turbine to put a counter on Jeweled Amulet. When I later remove a counter from the Amulet to make mana, can I use that to cast spells?

A: Yup! Jeweled Amulet says to add mana of the same type as the mana you used to activate its ability, but mana's 'type' only means its color or lack thereof. Any additional restrictions or effects that may have been attached to that mana originally aren't part of its type, and so the new mana you get from the Amulet doesn't have those restrictions or effects. You can spend your from the Amulet however you like.

Q: Does The Mending of Dominaria shuffle itself into the library?

A: It does not—you wouldn't throw out a book while you're still reading the final chapter, would you?

Sagas do get sacrificed after their third and final chapter occurs, but the key part is 'after'. They only get sacrificed if they have the appropriate number of counters and none of their chapter abilities are sitting on the stack waiting to resolve.

Only after that chapter ability has completely finished resolving, all of its effects have occurred, and it's been removed from the stack does the Saga get sacrificed.

Q: I've been told that if Mairsil, the Pretender exiles Quicksilver Elemental he can use the abilities of caged cards twice. How does that work?

A: Not just twice, but any number of additional times, as long as you have enough extra to spare.

The key is to use Mairsil's Quicksilver Elemental ability targeting Mairsil itself. This causes Mairsil to gain a second copy of all of the activated abilities it's already gained from having cards caged away, and importantly, these copies of the abilities are completely new—they haven't been activated yet this turn, so you can still activate them if you want.

If you then use the *new* Quicksilver Elemental-ability to gain the abilities from Mairsil again, now Mairsil will gain an additional two instances of each of those abilities. (Because remember, it already has two instances, thanks to the first Quicksilver-activation—now it'll have four.) A third Quicksilver-ability activation will make it gain an additional four instances of everything for a total of eight, and so on and so forth for as long as you have the blue mana to continue.

Q: How does Sigarda, Host of Herons work with Torment of Hailfire?

A: Since your opponent's Torment of Hailfire cannot cause you to sacrifice permanents, you're not able to choose that option while the Torment is resolving—you can't choose to perform an impossible action.

As such, you're going to be losing life unless you discard cards. Your board state will be intact, at least, but you may not live long enough to enjoy it.

Q: I Befuddle my opponent's Evra, Halcyon Witness in response to the switch, so it will kill them. What happens if they activate Evra again in response?

A: Spells and abilities on the stack resolve one at a time, so first your opponent's re-activation of Evra will resolve, switching their life total with Evra's power. Assuming they had 20 life, they'll be at and Evra will be a 20/4. Now, your Befuddle resolves, giving Evra -4/-0 until end of turn. Evra's now a 16/4. Finally, the original Evra activation resolves, switching your opponent's life total with Evra's power again. Evra's ends up a 0/4 and your opponent is at 16 life.

The reason Evra becomes a 0/4 instead of a 4/4 (and your opponent goes to 16 instead of 20) as the original activation resolves is pretty simple: when exchanging Evra's power and your opponent's life total, the game sets the life total by looking at what Evra's power is *after* taking all modifications into consideration, and it sets Evra's base power to your opponent's life total with any further modifications to that (such as from Befuddle) applying over top.

Q: If I use Navigator's Compass on a nonbasic land, will that let my Hinterland Harbor enter untapped?

A: Assuming you made your nonbasic into a Forest or Island, sure. Hinterland Harbor only requires that you control a land with either the Forest or Island land type—it doesn't require that land to be basic, which is why lands that already have those types such as Moonring Island and Temple Garden let your Harbor enter untapped naturally.

Q: Can you attack, allow damage to happen, and then use Settle the Wreckage to exile all your own attacking creatures to ramp yourself?

A: Indeed you can. Combat damage is dealt at the start of the combat damage step of the combat phase, but attacking and blocking creatures don't stop being attacking or blocking creatures until the combat phase is entirely over. (And the combat damage step isn't even the final step of the combat phase—that's the appropriately-named 'end of combat step'.)

This means that there's going to be multiple opportunities for you to cast your Settle the Wreckage after your creatures have finished dealing damage in combat, but are still considered 'attacking creatures' and will therefore still get exiled to let you search for lands.

Q: If I control Naban, Dean of Iteration and Panharmonicon, then cast a Silvergill Adept, how many cards do I draw?

A: Three—once for the Adept's normal trigger, once for Naban, and once for Panharmonicon. Naban and Panharmonicon each add only a single trigger to the total number of triggers you get. Think along the lines of Winding Constrictor rather than Corpsejack Menace—each effect adds one additional trigger to the total, rather than multiplying the total.

Q: If I have two Rat Colony and my opponent uses Bishop of Binding to exile one, what would X be?

A: The same as Rat Colony's base power: 2. The additional bonus provided by Rat Colony's ability only functions while the card is on the battlefield, so while in exile, its power will always be 2, no matter how many Rats you control.

This differs from a card like Awakened Amalgam or Tarmogoyf because those cards' abilities define the base value of their power and toughness, rather than simply modify the existing value like Rat Colony does.

Q: If Profane Procession exiles a commander for the third card, but it goes to the command zone, will the Procession flip?

A: It will not. Profane Procession counts the number of cards in the exile zone that were put there by the Procession's ability. It won't include a commander in the command zone in that count, because that commander isn't in exile.

As a side note for extra credit calling back to the Rona question from earlier: while it's not relevant to this particular question, the Procession's ability is also an example of a linked ability...only what it's linked to is itself rather than a separate ability.

Q: Kynaios and Tiro of Meletis says that "Each player may put a land card from their hand onto the battlefield" and "each opponent who didn't draws a card". So in Two-Headed Giant, am I right that my opponents can do both but my teammate can only put a land onto the battlefield?

A: That's correct; your opponents may put a land from their hand onto the battlefield if they wish; if they don't do so, they draw a card. Your teammate, on the other hand, can put a land onto the battlefield, but cannot draw a card no matter whether they put out a land or not. (Turns out Kynaios and Tiro may have some latent trust issues they need to work through together.)

Q: If a player uses Ob Nixilis Reignited to give an emblem to their opponent, and then dies, what happens to the emblem? Does it go away?

A: The player who owns an emblem is the same as its controller: the player it was given to when it was created. As such, even though the Ob Nixilis Reignited that caused the emblem to be created (and its owner) have left the game, the emblem itself will stick around, because that's owned by the unfortunate player it was given to.

Q: If someone uses Emrakul, the Promised End in extra turns in a tournament, how does that affect the turn count?

A: In a tournament setting, when time is called in the current round, players are instructed to finish the current turn, and are then allowed to complete five additional turns in order to finish up the current game.

Normally, this means that the player whose turn it is when time is called gets the better part of three turns (finishing the current turn plus two more) before the game is forced to end, while the other player gets three full turns. However, the number of turns each player gets isn't set in stone—it's just what ends up happening when players are taking turns normally. If a player take one (or more) extra turns after time is called, those turns are included in the count of five total turns before the game ends.

This means that if, say, Anne and Bill are playing, and Anne casts Emrakul, the Promised End on their turn with time being called before they pass the turn, the five extra turns will look like this:
  1. Bill (normal turn, controlled by Anne)
  2. Bill (extra turn)
  3. Anne (normal turn)
  4. Bill (normal turn)
  5. Anne (normal turn)

That's all we have for you this week, but be sure to come back next week for another batch of rules questions from Charlotte.

Until then, enjoy the sun!

- Callum Milne

About the Author:
Callum Milne is a Level 2 judge from British Columbia, Canada. His home range is Vancouver Island, but he can be found in the wild throughout BC and also at GPs all along the west coast of North America.

Kicker is not an alternative cost.
#1 • Date: 2018-05-21 • Time: 03:42:33 •

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