Published on 09/17/2018

Stockholm Syndrome

Cranial Translation
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This meatball wishes he was as famous as the ones from Sweden.
Greetings and welcome to a somewhat-rushed edition of Cranial Insertion! I'm writing to you this week from Stockholm in Sweden where I'm judging the GP. Sweden is a beautiful country, but nothing is quite as lovely as answering your questions, so let's get to it!

Remember, if you want us to answer to your own questions, then send them to us via email at , or on Twitter @CranialTweet. You'll get an answer and potentially see your question in a future article.

Q: How does Bridge from Below work with cards that exile a creature that would die, such as Magma Spray or Burn from Within?/Q]

A: Creatures damaged by those spells don't die and don't trigger Bridge from Below.

Cards like the ones you mention exile the creature rather than sending it to the graveyard, so it doesn't trigger any death or graveyard triggers when it leaves the battlefield.

Q: What would happen if I used Tezzeret, Master of Metal's +1 ability when I didn't have any artifact cards in my deck?

A: In this case, you'll end up revealing your whole library to all players and then shuffling it. It's not technically shuffling for anything that cares about shuffling, but you're randomizing all the cards in your deck, so is it shuffling or isn't it? Who knows!

Q: If I control Inspiring Statuary, a Mountain, and a Trinisphere[c] in play, am I able to cast [c]Krenko's Command normally by tapping the Trinisphere to Improvise it? Or would I still have to pay the full three mana.

A: You'll still have to pay for Krenko's Command.

Improvise is a payment mechanic, so you tap the artifacts as part of paying for the spell. Paying for the spell happens after determining its cost, which is after Trinisphere has applied its effect already.

Q: If I suspend an Impending Disaster with Jhoira of the Ghitu, will it trigger immediately when it enters the battlefield during my upkeep?

A: No, it won't.

Yes, Impending Disaster will come off of suspend and be cast during your upkeep, but it will be too late for its own ability to trigger since your upkeep has already started.

Despite what the printed card says, Impending Disaster triggers at the beginning of your upkeep, not "during" your upkeep anymore. That's old templating from a more wild and free time in the history of Magic rules.

Be sure to always follow the assembly instructions of Ikea furniture correctly!
Q: If I hit an opponent for a total of 18 commander damage with my commander, then another player gains control of my commander hits the same player again for 6, does that player now lose due to commander damage from my commander?

A: Yes, that player will lose the game.

Commander damage is tracked for each commander (or pair of commanders) vs. each player, no matter who controlled those commanders when they dealt the combat damage.

Q: Andy controls a Chalice of the Void with one charge counter. Nancy is at one life. Suppose Andy casts a Gutshot targeting Nancy and saying nothing, fully intending to acknowledge Chalice's trigger once it would go to resolve but first wanting to see how Nancy would respond. Is this cheating under current policy? What if Nancy concedes?

A: Andy is allowed to do this.

He doesn't have to acknowledge the Chalice trigger until it would resolve, but he's not allowed to forget the trigger.

If Nancy concedes in response, that's her decision. Andy is in no way misrepresenting the game state or otherwise cheating and Nancy would be just fine if she just passed priority and forced Andy to counter his own Gut Shot.

This would be fine at any REL, though I would probably talk to Andy about sporting behaviour at Regular if Nancy complained. At Competitive REL, there's nothing to be said since Andy was playing by the rules and policies governing tournament Magic.

Q: I cast Retether while controlling only a non-creature Heliod, God of the Sun and lands. If the auras in my graveyard would create enough devotion to animate Heliod when they return, would they be able to return enchanting Heliod?

A: No. You have to look at the battlefield immediately before the auras would enter the battlefield to see what they can legally enchant. Heliod isn't yet a creature at that time, so he's not something they can legally enchant. You won't be able to attach any auras to Heliod and will have to attach them to creatures that your opponents control, unfortunately.

Q: If I control both Nekusar, the Mindrazer and Mindcrank, how do their triggers interact?

A: Mindcrank will trigger whenever your opponent loses life, which will happen when Nekusar's damage trigger resolves.

The general pattern will be that whatever is causing the draw will resolve, letting all of its draws happen for which Nekusar will trigger that many times. Nekusar's triggers then go on the stack, then after each Nekusar trigger resolves, Mindcrank will trigger and that Mindcrank trigger will resolve before the next Nekusar trigger resolves.

In your opponent's draw step, they'll draw for their turn, which triggers Nekusar's damage trigger. You can then either have them draw the additional card first or have Nekusar deal damage first since both of those triggers are waiting to go on the stack at that point. If you resolve the damage trigger first, then Mindcrank will trigger and resolve before the second draw happens.

Q: If you eternalize a Chronozoa with God-Pharaoh's Gift, and it splits after a few turns, are the resulting copies still 4/4 black zombies, or are they back to what's printed on the card.

A: The copies that your Eternal-zoa will spit out will be copies of the token as it was created, i.e. they're black zombies and they're 4/4.
When something like God-Pharaoh's Gift creates a modified token copy of something, those modifications are part of the token's copyable characteristic.

Q: If an opponent casts Killing Wave, can I flash in Dictate of Erebos after everyone has already decided to pay the life to keep a creature but before they sacrifice the other creatures? I want Dictate to force them to sacrifice the ones they wanted to keep and have paid the life.

A: No, this doesn't work. You can never cast a spell or activate an ability in the middle of another spell or ability resolving unless it instructs you to do so. This means that your last chance to play Dictate of Erebos before Killing Wave resolves is before it starts to resolve and before anyone has made any decisions about what to sacrifice and what to pay life to keep.

Q: Does Suppression Field affect the activated ability of Derevi, Empyrial Tactician[/c] while she's in the command zone?

A: Yes.

Suppression field increases the cost of all activated abilities that aren't mana abilities, no matter what zone they're activated from. That means that it will cost more to cycle a card, to activate a planeswalker, to put Derevi onto the battlefield, or to reanimate a Reassembling Skeleton.

Q: If I exile a card with the first +1 of Chandra, Torch of Defiance, could I then pay for it with the mana from a Lion's Eye Diamond?

A: Not once the card has been exiled, no.
While Lion's Eye Diamond's ability is a mana ability, it has a timing restriction that doesn't let you activate it in the middle of something else happening. You can only get mana from LED when you have priority.
Your options with Chandra are to make mana with LED either before you activate her ability or before it resolves. Once the ability starts to resolve, you won't be able to generate mana with LED in time to help cast the exiled card since you have to cast that card (or not) as part of the resolution of Chandra's ability.

Q: I use Snapcaster Mage to give an instant in my graveyard flashback, and then cast that instant. Does that card still have flashback for purposes of Runic Repetition until end of turn?

A: No, you won't be able to get your card back with Runic Repetition this way. Snapcaster Mage's trigger gives its target flashback in the graveyard as well as on the stack when it's cast from the graveyard, but that flashback only lasts until it leaves the stack. Once the card is in exile, it's a new object that has no memory of its past existence and doesn't have flashback from Snapcaster Mage's trigger any longer.

A Møøse once bit my sister...
Q: May I tap and sacrifice Gold tokens when casting a spell with Improvise?

A: No, you can do one or the other, but not both.
You don't tap any artifacts to help pay the cost of a spell with improvise until after you've generated any mana for the spell. This means that your gold token will already have been sacrificed if you're getting mana from it. Alternately, you can keep it around and tap it for improvise, but then you don't get any mana from its own ability.

Q: I use Mindslaver on my opponent. While I'm controlling them, I cast their Demonic Tutor. When it resolves, can I choose to "fail to find" even if they have cards in their library?

A: No, you can't fail to find with Demonic Tutor since all it asks you to find is "a card" and any player in the game can know that there are cards in the library. Failing to find is only ever applicable when searching a hidden zone for a card with specific characteristics, e.g. a land card, or a card with converted mana cost zero. You can fail to find these cards because other players can't know the characteristics of any cards in the hidden zones.

Q: Would Reyhan, Last of the Abzan remove counters from a creature with Undying, thus allowing it to return to the field again?

A: No, this doesn't work.
Reyhan's ability triggers once the creature is already in the graveyard and no longer on the battlefield. The counters from that creature have ceased to exist and aren't moved anywhere, even if you would normally move the dice representing those counters on Reyhan. Even if the counters did move this way, they would still be on the creature when it died and so Undying wouldn't bring the creature back in this case either.

Q: If mana from a Cavern of Souls is used to pay for a creature spell of the chosen type, is the casting player required to specify that they are making uncounterable mana with Cavern? If they don't specify, is it assumed to have produced colorless?

A: In a tournament, a player is assumed to have produced colored mana to pay for the creature unless they say otherwise or unless it's otherwise impossible for them to cast the creature. (e.g. Casting a Thought-Knot Seer with three Forests and Cavern of Souls naming Eldrazi.) In all other cases, colored mana was taken and the creature spell can't be countered.

Q: How do Nissa, Vastwood Seer and Myth Unbound interact when Nissa is your commander? Specifically, can I have Myth Unbound trigger when Nissa transforms?

A: Yes, you can have Myth Unbound's ability trigger when you exile Nissa and return her to the battlefield transformed. To do so, you'll need to send her to the command zone instead of exile during the resolution of her exile and return trigger. She'll still return to the battlefield transformed almost immediately, but that brief layover in the command zone will be just long enough to trigger Myth Unbound.

Thanks for joining us for this week's Cranial Insertion! You can read more Q&A from me over at my blog at and Carsten will be here with you again next week!

- Charlotte


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