Published on 07/23/2018


Cranial Translation
简体中文 Deutsch Français Italiano

An accurate representation
of my apartment right now.
The weather has been unrelentingly hot for the past two weeks here in Finland which makes it hard to do much of anything productive. Luckily, I think that I have enough brain cells left uncooked to be able to answer your questions for the week. Hopefully, anyway...

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. Assuming that we don't all die of the heat, anyway.

Q: What happens if a double-faced creature that has been turned into another double-faced creature by Metamorphic Alteration attempts to transform?

A: It will transform successfully, but that's not the whole story here.

As you're probably aware, only double-faced cards can actually transform and any card that's not actually a double-faced card that's instructed to transform won't do anything. So our double-faced card physically transforms here, but the copy effect created by Metamorphic Alteration is still in effect, so it will still just be a copy of whatever Metamorphic Alteration made it a copy of, and not the other face of that card if it's a double-faced card.

None of the card's characteristics change despite the card itself transforming. This doesn't accomplish much unless the card that's being copied has a "transforms into" ability such as the one on Huntmaster of the Fells, which will trigger here.

Q: When Metamorphic Alteration turns the enchanted creature into a copy of Palladia-Mors, the Ruiner, will it have hexproof if the enchanted creature has already dealt damage?

A: No, the enchanted creature won't have Hexproof. Palladia-Mors's hexproof ability only applies until the permanent it's on deals damage. Since the creature that is now a copy of Palladia-Mors has already dealt damage, the hexproof ability won't have any effect.

Q: If I have Waste Not out and my opponent discards Dryad Arbor, do I get both a zombie token and ?

A: Yes. Dryad Arbor is both a creature card and a land card, so Waste Not's first and second abilities will both trigger when your opponent discards it. (Note that Waste Not's third ability can only ever trigger on its own as it's impossible for a card to be both a noncreature, nonland card and a creature card or a land card.)

Q: If I have an Eidolon of Blossoms on the battlefield and I cast Humility will I get to draw a card?

A: No, you won't.

Humility's ability applies from the moment it enters the battlefield, which is also the point at which Eidolon of Blossoms's ability would trigger. There's never a point at which Humility is on the battlefield while Eidolon still has its triggered ability and so there's nothing to trigger.

You know it's hot when it's too hot to sleep.
Q: If I have a Lantern of Insight in play and my opponent casts a Sleight of Hand, am I entitled to know which card they put in their hand between the revealed top card or the unknown second card?

A: No. Lantern of Insight lets you see what the top card of each player's library is, so you'll get to see the card that's there before Sleight of Hand starts to resolve and the card that's there after it finishes resolving. What happened to the card that was revealed before Sleight of Hand started resolving isn't information you're entitled to know.

Q: If I control Vildin-Pack Alpha and Arcane Adaption choosing Werewolf, would Nicol Bolas, the Ravager transform when it enters the battlefield?

A: Yes, this works but won't give you the result you're looking for.

Nicol Bolas will enter the battlefield as a Werewolf and trigger Vildin-Pack Alpha's ability. When that trigger resolves, you can choose to transform Bolas, but if you do Bolas will be a planeswalker with no loyalty counters and will go to your graveyard before you can do anything about it.

Planeswalkers get their starting loyalty counters from a replacement effect as they enter the battlefield, and since Bolas didn't enter the battlefield as a planeswalker, he doesn't get those counters. This is why all the double-faced planeswalkers that start as creatures exile themselves and return to the battlefield transformed.

Q: If I control an Amulet of Vigor and have a shockland enter the battlefield and I don't pay the life, does it untap because of Amulet?

A: Yes, Amulet of Vigor will trigger and untap your shockland here. Amulet of Vigor doesn't care why a permanent is entering the battlefield tapped, just that it is. It deals with cards that normally entered the battlefield tapped the same as ones that are affected by Orb of Dreams or other similar effects.

Q: When my Terastadon's trigger resolves while Rest in Peace is on the battlefield, are any Elephant tokens created?

A: No Elephant tokens are created here. Terastodon's trigger only creates tokens for permanents that go to the graveyard and Rest in Peace keeps anything from going to the graveyard.

Q: If I control Tetsuko Umezawa, Fugitive and an Identity Thief, will Identity Thief always be unblockable when it attacks, or does it loose Tetsuko's blessing if it copies a big enough creature?

A: Tetsuko's ability will only continue to apply to Identity Thief if its power and/or toughness are 1 or less once its trigger has resolved. Identity Thief's trigger resolves before blockers are declared and Tetsuko's ability only matters when your opponent is declaring blockers, so if Identity Thief exiled a 3/3 creature for example, then it can be blocked normally by your opponent.

Q: I'm building an Arcades, the Strategist commander deck with lots of walls. I noticed that on some older wall cards there is reminder text that says "walls can't attack." What I am wondering is if that is a categorical rule, or if Arcades circumvents it and my walls can attack?

A: Defender was introduced as a keyword in Champions of Kamigawa to take rules baggage away from the Wall creature type, which would have otherwise been the only creature type with special rules attached to it since they were also removing Legend as a creature type. Any Wall printed previous to Champions of Kamigawa won't have Defender printed on it, but they have all received it in their Oracle update.

What this all means is that Arcades can let your old Walls attack as though they didn't have defender just fine, so go and build a fine pile of walls for our Elder Dragon friend!

Q: My opponent uses Ghastly Conscription on my graveyard, and manifests all of the creature cards there. If I use Homeward Path's second ability, will I gain control of all of the cards manifested this way?

A: Yes, you will. Nothing in a game of Magic can change who owns a card (other than ante) and the owner of a card is always known no matter its state or what zone it's in. When Homeward Path gives all creatures to their owners, those manifested cards will happily come home to you. And yes, you can look at them and pay their mana costs to turn them face up at any time.

Q: How does Taigam, Ojutai Master interact with cards like Temporal Mastery that exile themselves on resolution?

A: Quite poorly.

While Taigam will happily grant these spells rebound (if he attacked this turn), rebound won't have a chance to do anything for this kind of spell. Rebound creates a replacement effect that sends the card to exile instead of to your graveyard at the end of its resolution, however spells like Temporal Mastery are already exiled by the time they reach this point of their resolution and so there's nothing for rebound to be able to replace.

Q: Can I respond to a cascade trigger (e.g. from Bloodbraid Elf) with a card like Mystical Tutor to put a card on top to cast via cascade?

A: Yes, this works just fine. Each player always gets priority before any spell or ability resolves, and then again before the next one on the stack, etc. In the situation you describe, you have the ability to tutor a desired card to the top of your deck before Cascade resolves and ends up casting that card.

The heat makes me cranky and
eager to punch things.
Q: Hi judge!If I control Desecrated Tomb and exile at least one creature card from my graveyard as part of the cost to activate Bone Dragon's ability to return to the battlefield, do I get one bat token or two?

A: You'll end up creating two Bat tokens because Desecrated Tomb will trigger twice: Once when you exile a creature card to pay the cost of the ability and once when Bone Dragon returns to the battlefield. You get two triggers here because the cards are leaving your graveyard at different times, i.e. when you activate the ability and when it resolves.

Q: If I play Mairsil, the Pretender and exile Nicol Bolas, the Ravager with a cage counter on it, does the ability gained from Bolas essentially give Mairsil an expensive flicker?

A: Quite the contrary, actually, as all you'll end up doing with that ability is exiling Mairsil permanently. Rule 711.8a says "If a player is instructed to put a card that isn't a double-faced card onto the battlefield transformed, that card stays in its current zone." Mairsil isn't a double-faced card and so he can't be returned to the battlefield from exile and just stays there.

Q: What happens if Szadek, Lord of Secrets has Infect and would deal combat damage to a player?

A: Nothing special. Szadek's ability still replaces the damage with adding +1/+1 to itself and milling the defending player. Infect doesn't matter here because the damage is never dealt.

Q: My opponent and I both have a Mimic Vat in play and a creature dies. How do the triggers work here? Who gets to imprint the creature?

A: It depends on whose turn it is. When multiple players have triggered abilities that trigger from the same event, those triggers go on the stack in APNAP order. This means that the player whose turn it is puts their triggers on the stack first, then the next player puts their triggers on the stack, and so on. The stack resolves last-in, first-out, so in a two player game the player whose turn it isn't will be the one who has the first option to imprint the creature onto their Mimic Vat. If that player chooses not to imprint the creature, then the active player gets the option. If neither player chooses to imprint the creature, then it stays in its owner's graveyard.

Q: I have a creature with Sigiled Sword of Valeron equipped to it and my opponent steals it with Act of Treason and then attacks me with it. Who creates the Knight token when the Sword's trigger resolves? If it's me, is it attacking?

A: You still control Sigiled Sword of Valeron, so you control its trigger and will be the one who creates the Knight token. Since you're not the attacking player, the token can't enter the battlefield attacking, so it's not attacking and is just there. Also, since it enters the battlefield untapped, you can block with it!

Q: In two-headed giant do Propaganda-style effects protect the whole team or only their controller?

A: Only the controller. In a change from previous 2HG rules, creatures now attack a specific player on the defending team instead of the whole team, so only creatures that attack the player with Propaganda are subject to its cost to attack.

Q: Can I use the mana from Sarkhan, Fireblood's second ability to cast a Metallic Mimic, naming Dragon?

A: No, this doesn't work.

You don't choose a type for Metallic Mimic until it's about to enter the battlefield, so it's just a Shapeshifter spell when you cast it and not whatever type you intend to choose, e.g. Dragon. Since it's not a Dragon spell, you can't use Sarkhan's mana to cast it.

Q: If I control Manabond and Tatyova, Benthic Druid, what happens if I have 3 lands in my hand (and nothing else) at the beginning of the end step?

A: When you resolve Manabond's trigger, you'll reveal your hand, put the three lands onto the battlefield and then discard your other (zero) cards. Tatyova triggers three times here and so after all the triggers have resolved, you'll have three cards in your hand again and be up three life.

If you draw more lands, it's too late to put them onto the battlefield with Manabond since you've already finished resolving that trigger.

Well, I made it through writing this column without melting all over the keyboard, so I hope you enjoyed this quite sweaty edition of Cranial Insertion. 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!