Published on 06/25/2018

Midsummer Revel

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

Happy Midsummer from the CI Crew!

As I sit here writing this article, it's the evening of the Summer Solstice, also known as Midsummer or Juhannus in my adopted home country of Finland. In a country that lies almost completely north of 60 degrees latitude, it's a day to celebrate the long summer days and being as far away as possible from the short winter days.

Meanwhile, here I sit visiting friends and family in Canada and answering all your questions. If you'd like to ask us some questions, send them to us via email at or tweet them at us @CranialTweet; you'll get an answer and possibly see your question in a future article.

Q: If I control the Demon token from Rite of Belzenlok and an Elemental token from Rekindling Phoenix is the only other creature I control, can I stack the triggers in such a way that I get my Phoenix back and satisfy the Demon's upkeep trigger?

A: Yes, this works.
If you have the Demon's trigger resolve first, then you'll sacrifice the Elemental token to satisfy its trigger. When the Elemental's trigger goes to resolve you won't be able to sacrifice it, but returning Rekindling Phoenix to the battlefield still happens even if the token can't be sacrificed to its own trigger.

Q: I attack my opponent a few creatures and they use Thought Lash to prevent most of the damage, but not all of it. If some of the creatures have abilities that trigger when they deal damage, how is it determined whether those abilities trigger or not?

A: Assuming that all of the creatures are dealing combat damage simultaneously, then your opponent can choose which of the damage they want to prevent, so if the next 10 damage that would be dealt to them would be prevented, they can prevent 1 damage from each of ten different creatures are 10 damage from a single creature with 10 or more power or anything in between. Your opponent needs to specify which damage is being prevented when the damage would be dealt.

Q: If someone casts a card like Planar Cleansing when a Fecundity is on the battlefield, will players still draw cards for each creature they controlled that died?

A: Yes, they will.
When multiple permanents leave the battlefield simultaneously, each of those permanents will see the other permanents going to graveyard at the same time and will trigger accordingly.

Q: Is Unearth an activated ability? Do Unearth costs get reduced via Training Grounds or Heartstone?

A: Yes, Unearth is an activated ability. You can tell that this is so because the reminder text spells it out in terms of a cost, i.e. mana, and an effect, i.e. returning the creature to the battlefield for the turn.
However, Unearth costs won't be reduced by Heartstone or Training Grounds as those cards only reduce the costs of activated abilities of creatures on the battlefield and not of creature cards in other zones such as the graveyard. If they reduced these sorts of costs, then they would say "creature cards" rather than just "creatures", which is shorthand for creature permanents on the battlefield. (Another way to tell that this is the case is to look at Training Grounds, which refers to "creatures you control". Only permanents and spells and abilities on the stack have controllers. Objects in other zones only have owners, not controllers.)

Q: Could you explain why Stony Silence doesn't prevent the return to hand ability of Metalwork Colossus?

A: For the same reason I explained in the last question. Stony Silence specifically prevents "activated abilities of artifacts" from being activated, and since it just says artifacts and not "artifact cards", it only means artifact permanents on the battlefield and not artifact cards in other zones. Metalwork Colossus's activated ability only works from the graveyard, so it's safe from Stony Silence.

Did you know that there are three
Magic cards with "Equinox" in their names,
but none with "Solstice"?
Q: How do Roon of the Hidden Realm and Sundial of the Infinite interact? Is the exiled creature gone forever?

A: It depends on when you activate Sundial of the Infinite. If you activate it before the end step, then the exiled creature will return to the battlefield at the beginning of the next end step that happens, which will likely be on the next turn. If you activate Roon in the end step before the delayed return trigger resolves, then the ability won't trigger again and the exiled creature will just stay in exile. (It knows what it did.)

Q: If you sacrifice Veteran Explorer to Evolutionary Leap, which effect happens first?

A: Veteran Explorer's ability will trigger while you're paying the costs to activate Evolutionary Leap's ability, but it won't be put on the stack until you've finished activating that ability. It will then be put on the stack above the activated ability and resolve first.

In general, anything that triggers because of something a player does while casting a spell or activating an ability will go on the stack above that spell or ability and resolve first.

Q: How does Krark's Thumb work with Zndrsplt, Eye of Wisdom? What happens if I win both flips I make?

A: Krark's Thumb causes you to flip two coins and choose one flip to keep each time you would normally flip a coin. Only the flip you choose to keep is considered when determining the effect of both the coin flip itself and and anything that would trigger from it, such as Zndrsplt's ability. Such an ability can only trigger once from any flip you win because you've either won that won flip or you haven't. Zndrsplt never knows about the extra coin you flipped and chose to not keep.

Q: My opponent targets me with Nihil Spellbomb, but I counter the ability with Trickbind. If that same opponent returns their Spellbomb to the battlefield this turn, can they use it again or will Trickbind's effect stop Spellbomb's ability from being used?

A: Yes, they can activate their Nihil Spellbomb this turn. When Trickbind resolves, the source of the ability that it's countering no longer exists since Nihil Spellbomb became a new object when it went to the graveyard. This means that there's nothing preventing that ability from happening again. Even if Nihil Spellbomb were still on the battlefield when Trickbind resolved, it would still be usable if it left the battlefield and returned to it again and is thus a new object with no connection to that past existence.

Q: If I use Nahiri, the Harbinger's ultimate ability to bring in a Batterskull, then Daretti, Ingenious Iconoclast's ultimate ability to make three copies of the Batterskull, do the copies have haste as well, or only the original?

A: The copies of Batterskull created by Daretti won't have haste, as the haste granted by Nahiri's ability doesn't change Batterskull's copiable characteristics. It's important for me to point out that Batterskull having haste doesn't confer that haste to the Germ token it creates and so you won't be able to attack with that Germ before Nahiri returns Batterskull to your hand unless you can give it haste some other way.

Q: Could you please explain how Okaun, Eye of Chaos works with any equipment or aura that boosts power/toughness?

A: Don't worry, there aren't any layers to worry about here (unless something is also switching Okaun's P/T) and you just look at what Okaun's power and toughness are when the trigger resolves and give Okaun a buff of that size.
For example, if Okaun is equipped with Bonesplitter when a player wins a coinflip and the trigger resolves, then Okaun will get +5/+3 until end of turn. If someone then wins another coin flip before the turn ends, Okaun will get +10/+6 from that trigger's resolution.
(If P/T switching is involved, then you apply the buff before you switch the P/T, so a P/T-switched Okaun with Bonesplitter would get +3/+5 until end of turn, so in addition to Bonesplitter's own effect, Okaun would be 8/8, and that is the same if it's switched or not.)

Q: Does Aven Mindcensor affect the new partner creatures? They don't say that they search for their partners with those exact words, so I'm not sure about the technicalities.

A: This is one of those cases where it's important to remember that reminder text isn't rules text, it's just a quick reminder of what the ability does. The ability to find the partner of a "partner with" creature does indeed involve a search, if you look at the rules text of the ability (CR 702.123f) and so Mindcensor will restrict this search to the top four cards of an opponent's library if they're the player searching.

Q: I control Drake Haven, and I discard a card with Madness. If I choose to cast the card I discard, do I still get to pay and make a Drake?

A: Yes! You get to both cast the spell AND create a Drake token here. Talk about value! This is possible because cards with Madness are still discarded as far as the game is concerned and so they'll trigger abilities that care about cards being discarded.

Q: How does Void Winnower interact with something like Jodah, Archmage Eternal? If I have a Jodah and my opponent has a Winnower, can I play a card that normally costs if I'm paying for it?

A: No, you still can't cast that spell. Paying an alternate cost and/or additional costs won't ever change a spell's converted mana cost. The converted mana cost of a spell on the stack is always equal to the total value of its printed mana cost (with the chosen value of X plugged in if there's X in the cost).
No matter how much you plead with the Void Winnower that the spell you want to cast really costs five mana, it knows that it's an even spell and you just can't even here.

Q: If I cast Saheeli's Artistry or Phyrexian Metamorph copying a Mirror-Sigil Sergeant, will token copies it makes on successive turns still be artifacts?

A: Yes, the new tokens will also be artifacts. The artifact typing that Saheeli's Artistry and Phyrexian Metamorph add is part of their copiable characteristics and so that characteristic will be carried over into the tokens created by the artifact Sergeant.

Q: If I use Hall of the Bandit Lord to cast a Clone, and copy a Bear Cub, will it still have haste?

A: Yes, it will still have haste from Hall of the Bandit Lord. In terms of layers, the copy effect of Clone is applied in Layer 1, long before we get to Layer 6 where Hall of the Bandit Lord's effect is applied on top of it.

Q: I have a Scalelord Reckoner in play. It becomes the target of a spell my opponent controls. If I target my opponent's creature with the trigger, can they use Gods Willing to give their creature protection from white before the trigger destroys the creature?

A: Yes, this works the way your opponent wants it to. Once you put Scalelord Reckoner's trigger on the stack, all players have a chance to respond before the trigger resolves. When the trigger goes to resolve, its target won't be legal because of protection from white and so the ability doesn't resolve and has no effect.

Q: My opponent plays a Path to Exile targeting my Master Transmuter. I respond by activating Master Transmuter but my opponent responds with another Path to Exile on it. Do I get to return Transmuter to my hand or not?

A: Your opponent can't cast the second Path to Exile on Master Transmuter here. Returning an artifact to its owner's hand is a cost to activate Master Transmuter's ability, so it's no longer on the battlefield before your opponent has a chance to respond to the ability. Master Transmuter is safe in your hand and the first Path to Exile won't resolve and will go to the graveyard.

Midsummer means partying with friends
around a bonfire. Just don't ask too many
questions about what that bonfire used to be.
Q: Hello if I activate Goblin Welder's ability and pay to copy the ability with Rings of Brighthearth, do I have to pay the cost of sacrificing a second artifact or not?

A: You misunderstand how Goblin Welder's ability works. The only cost to activate Goblin Welder's ability is to tap it. Sacrificing an artifact is part of the resolution of the ability. If you target the same artifact you control with both the original ability and the copy, then you'll only get one artifact back from your graveyard since both of the targets for the original trigger aren't legal and so the ability won't do anything. To get value from using Rings of Brighthearth here, you need to change both targets of Goblin Welder's ability.
With weird old cards like Goblin Welder, it's important to double check the card's current Oracle text so that you can be sure of how it currently functions in the rules.

Q: I saw the Krark-Clan Ironworks combo deck on GP Vegas coverage, and I don't understand how it's possible to get both Scrap Trawler and Myr Retriever back at the same time. Can you explain? It has something to do with casting spells?

A: There is an interaction between these three cards that allows you to return both creature cards to your hand while sacrificing them in the process of casting a spell or activating an ability that requires a mana payment. The interaction is complicated and even experienced commentators still have a hard time explaining it correctly on camera.

The interaction in question works as follows, starting with you controlling all three permanents:
1. Begin casting a spell or activating an ability. Proceed normally until you are allowed to activate mana abilities.
2. Sacrifice Myr Retriever to KCI. Both Myr Retriever and Scrap Trawler's abilities trigger here, but wait to go on the stack until a player would get priority.
3. Sacrifice Scrap Trawler to KCI. Scrap Trawler's ability triggers, but it will wait to go on the stack until a player would get priority.
4. Generate any other mana you need to pay for the spell/ability, and then pay for it to finish the casting/activation process. It doesn't matter that you've made excess mana with KCI.
5. The three triggers will go on the stack at this point in the order of your choice. The trigger from Myr Retriever's ability should target Scrap Trawler and the trigger from Scrap Trawler dying should target Myr Retriever. Scrap Trawler's trigger from Myr Retriever dying is extra and can target a 1 or 0-CMC artifact card in your graveyard. (If you return a Mox Opal this way, can can create a loop that nets you two mana on each iteration.)

In addition to explaining the interaction, I also want to address some misconceptions about it, the biggest of which is that somehow things can be done simultaneously. Things can never be done simultaneously in Magic. Actions are always taken one at a time in a specific order, especially when you're activating abilities or casting spells.
The next biggest misconception here is that things can be done in any order, but this isn't the case. If you sacrifice Scrap Trawler before you sacrifice Myr Retriever, then you'll still be able to return both cards to you hand, but you won't get a Scrap Trawler trigger for Myr Retriever dying since Trawler wasn't on the battlefield at that time, which robs the loop of its ability to net you mana or extra cards.
The final misconception I'll address is that this loop can be executed outside of casting a spell or activating an ability with a mana cost. This doesn't work because if you're just activating KCI when you have priority, then the triggers from Scrap Trawler and Myr Retriever will go on the stack before you can get all the cards into your graveyard and so one or more of the triggers won't be able to find the correct target in the graveyard since targets are chosen when the triggers go on the stack.

No matter whether or not you celebrate Midsummer where you live, I wish you happiness and relaxation this summer. Just remember to stay hydrated and to stay curious. If you want to slake your thirst for knowledge some more, you can read more Q&A from me over at my blog at and Carsten will be here to answer more questions for you all next week!

- Charlotte



No comments yet.


Follow us @CranialTweet!

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

Follow our RSS feed!