Published on 10/08/2018

Around the Multiverse: From Atlantis to Zhalfir

Cranial Translation
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Today is a special day here at the Cranial Insertion HQ. We have some hot and fresh new judge promos to show off right here in this week's instalment of Cranial Insertion, so buckle up as we take you right to our first preview.

Coming at you from the sunken shores of Atlantis and all the way back from 1993, let's give a warm welcome to Lord of Atlantis! Lord of Atlantis is making its first ever appearance as a judge promo, and with its first new art since 7th Edition!


There's not a lot to say rules-wise about our fishy friend here as he's one of the original Magic cards, but for any of you out there who might not be familiar with islandwalk, an attacking creature with islandwalk can't be blocked if the defending player controls an island.

Our second card takes us to Zhalfir, home of Teferi, where we witness him "saving" his home city by phasing it out, only to not be able to phase it back in again, leaving it lost outside of time and space. Sad times to be sure, but we benefit from this tragic event by getting the sweet card that is Teferi's Protection, presented here for both its first time in foil and its first time with flavor text.


So, what exactly does this card do? Well, let's cover the easier parts first:
- When your life total can't change, you can't gain or lose life, nor can you pay life or gain life as a cost. You also can't exchange your life total with anything with a different value or have your life total set to a different number.
-Protection from everything means that you can't be the target of spells or abilities, you can't have any auras attached to you (and any auras already attached to you will fall off), and all damage that would be dealt to you is prevented.

And then there's phasing... oh phasing, why couldn't you stay in the past where you belonged? Well, no ignoring it now, I suppose.
Phased in or phased out is a status like tapped or untapped that a permanent on the battlefield has. When a permanent is phased out, it's still on the battlefield but nothing can do anything to it unless it specifically affects phased out permanents. This means that a Wrath of God can't destroy phased out creatures, for example.
A permanent that's phased out will phase in at the beginning of its controller's untap step before that player untaps their permanents. Any permanent with the phasing ability will simultaneously phase out at this time. Phasing in and phasing out just change a permanent's status and have no other effect on it. If a permanent that phases out has any auras, equipment, or fortifications attached to it, those attached permanents also phase out, but they phase out indirectly. A permanent that phases out indirectly will only ever phase back in when the object it's attached to phases in again.

So, weird card, weird mechanic, cool ability. Definitely fitting for a good judge promo and worthy of discussion here in Cranial Insertion.

Huge thanks to Bryan Prillaman for allowing us to premier these promos here on Cranial Insertion. It's a great honor and we're ever so grateful!

Cool promos aside, though, this is Cranial Insertion and you're not here just to look at fancy new judge promos, right? Right. So let's get to some rules questions!

If you'd like the CI team to answer your question, please send it to us via email at or tweet it to us @CranialTweet. We'll make sure to send you a private reply and your question might also appear in a future CI column! Neat!

Q: If I discard a Nagging Thoughts as the additional cost to cast Radical Idea from my graveyard and then cast Nagging Thoughts with madness, which spell resolves first?

A: Nagging Thoughts will resolve first here.
When you cast a spell with jump-start from your graveyard, it's already on the stack by the time you're paying its costs, including discarding a card. This means that if you discard a card with madness to pay that additional cost both the madness trigger and the spell itself, if cast for its madness cost, will go on the stack above the spell with jump-start and resolve first.

Q: How does Underrealm Lich work with Sylvan Library?

A: Underrealm Lich's ability replaces every card you would draw, which includes both your normal draw for the turn and extra draws from cards like Sylvan Library. For each card you would draw, instead you look at the top three cards of your library, put one of them into your hand and the other two into your graveyard. This is is done separately for each card drawn.

If you choose to draw cards with Sylvan Library, then Underrealm Lich will replace those draws. When the trigger instructs you to choose cards you've drawn this turn, you can't choose anything since you haven't drawn any cards this turn, so nothing has to be put back and no life has to be paid.

Q: When do I have to choose a creature to damage with Hypothesizzle? I've heard that I don't choose until it resolves, but is that right?

A: Hypothesizzle has what's called a "reflexive trigger", which is new technology as of Amonkhet. Reflexive triggers haven't shown up on a lot of cards yet, so most players don't yet recognize them.
Reflexive triggers exist to allow their controllers to more precisely control how their spells and abilities resolve by not forcing a selection of targets until the reflexive trigger is put on the stack.

In the case of Hypothesizzle, you don't choose a target for its reflexive trigger until you discard a card. While the exact nature of the discarded card doesn't matter (beyond being nonland), the two cards drawn from the first half of the spell might change what you want to target. For example, if the card you discard is a Fiery Temper, you might choose to then target a 7-toughness creature rather than a 4-toughness creature.
If Hypothesizzle had the "if you do" wording rather than the "when you do" wording, the target for the damage would have to be chosen when Hypothesizzle was cast, before any cards were drawn from it.

Q: How do reflexive triggers work with counterspell-based interactions? Can I Hindering Light a Hypothesizzle that is now targeting one of my creatures? What about giving the creature protection or hexproof?

A: The important thing to remember when dealing with spells like Hypothesizzle is that the reflexive triggers they create are triggers and not spells. Hypothesizzle itself finishes resolving and goes to the graveyard before the reflexive trigger is put on the stack. That trigger can't be targeted by Hindering Light since it's not a spell itself and Hypothesizzle itself never targeted the creature.
Giving the targeted creature hexproof or protection from blue or red or instants in response to the trigger will work as intended, though. The damage will still be dealt by Hypothesizzle as it existed on the stack, i.e. as a red and blue instant. Choosing Hypothesizzle as a source to prevent damage from is also possible even if only the trigger is on the stack.

Q: I just read the release notes for Cosmotronic Wave that creatures that come under an opponent's control later in the turn can't block. Why is this the case?

A: The second part of Cosmotronic Wave's effect doesn't only apply to the creatures it damaged, otherwise it would say "those creatures" or "creatures dealt damage this way" can't block this turn rather than the wording it has.

Since this effect doesn't specify a specific set of creatures and it doesn't change the characteristics of any creatures, it counts as a temporary change to the game rules for the turn. In other words, it's just a blanket prohibition against your opponents' creatures blocking this turn and will apply to any creature those opponents control when they would declare blockers.

Q: Can you use the token from Emmara, Soul of the Accord's ability to also convoke the same spell or crew the same vehicle?

A: Emmara's trigger is a normal trigger and goes on the stack and resolves like any other. This means that it won't resolve in the middle of casting a spell or activating a crew ability and so her Soldier token friend will be late to the party and unable to help her convoke or crew.

Q: Does Blood Operative really trigger when you put it into your graveyard while surveiling?

A: Yes. Triggered abilities that look for a specific action to happen trigger after that thing has happened. (They can't trigger before since it hasn't happened yet.) Normally, the thing that's happening is relatively instantaneous, such as entering the battlefield or dying, but this also holds true for events that take more time, such as scrying or surveiling. This means that triggers like Blood Operative's that trigger when you surveil won't trigger until the surveil action is complete, but more importantly the game won't check to see which cards that have relevant triggers will trigger until after the event as well.
This is similar (but inverse) to how a creature that triggers when you cast a spell won't trigger if you sacrifice it as a cost of casting that spell.

Q: I control a Boros Challenger and an Adanto Vanguard, and I declare attacks with both. Would I be able to mentor the Adanto Vanguard before the +2/+0 activates?

A: No.
Adanto Vanguard's attacking bonus is a static ability. There's no point where it's an attacking creature and it's not receiving the bonus. This means that in order to Mentor a counter-free Adanto Vanguard, you'll have to have a mentor creature with 4 or more power attacking at the same time.

Q: How does Erratic Cyclops's ability count X costs in instants and sorceries? Would Blue Sun's Zenith cast with X=3 give him +3 or +6 power?

A: The value of X is plugged into the spell's mana cost when determining its converted mana cost, so Blue Sun's Zenith for 3 will give your Erratic Cyclops +6/+0 until end of turn when the trigger resolves.

Q: If I cast Invert on my own Erratic Cyclops, will I end up with an 8/1 Erratic Cyclops, or a 9/0 Erratic Cyclops that immediately dies?

A: You'll end up with an 8/1 Cyclops.
When a creature switches its power with its toughness, that swap isn't done until all other effects have been applied to its power and toughness, so the trigger from Invert will give Cyclops +1/+0 to make it 1/8 before the switch makes it 8/1.

That's the last time I put out bird feeders in my yard.
Q: If a spell or ability would cause Divine Visitation to leave the battlefield and simultaneously create tokens (e.g. Crush of Tentacles), does Divine Visitation still cause the tokens to become angels?

A: Nothing ever happens simultaneously in Magic. When you're resolving a spell or ability, you follow its instructions in the order they're written and that order will determine what happens with respect to Divine Visitation's effect. If the effect removes Divine Visitation from the battlefield before the tokens are created, such as Crush of Tentacles does, then it's not on the battlefield to apply to the token creation. If the card created tokens first, then Divine Visitation would apply and make those tokens into Angels, but no such card currently exists.

Q: Now that I can choose card names outside of the format I'm playing, can I name silver-bordered cards with Pithing Needle in paper events? What about Schemes? Planes? 1996 World Champion?

A: The rule about naming cards says you have to choose the name of a card from the Oracle database. The Oracle database includes all cards printed at normal card size, including silver-bordered cards, contraptions, conspiracies, etc. It doesn't include oversized cards such as planes, schemes, or vanguards. It also doesn't include exclusive unreleased promotional cards like 1996 World Champion or Shichifukujin Dragon.

Q: I control a Thousand-Year Storm that has created multiple copies of Unmoored Ego. Do I have to name the card for each copy while they're all on the stack? Or can I name a card for the first, search my opponents's deck, and then know what to name for the other copies?

A: You don't name a card for Unmoored Ego until it starts to resolve, so you will get to name cards for each copy as it resolves and maximize how much of your opponent's ego gets unmoored.

Q: How does Underrealm Lich interact with effects that draw multiple cards and triggers that check "Whenever one or more [something] is put into your graveyard" like Sidisi, Brood Tyrant or The Gitrog Monster?

A: Cards are always drawn one at a time, so Underrealm Lich replaces those draws one at a time meaning that each set of two cards put into the graveyard from Lich's ability will be able to trigger Sidisi or Gitrog separately.

That's all I've got for you this week, CI fans, but I hope you've enjoyed our cool judge promo previews and all Guilds of Ravnica questions you can handle! Rememeber, if you want to read even more answers from me, you can follow my blog at
Callum will be back with you all next week to answer even more great questions.

- Charlotte


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