Published on 10/29/2018

A Very Frugal Halloween

Cranial Translation
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Look! Some grapes that I painted
to look like eyeballs!
Hi everyone, and welcome back to Cranial Insertion! It's Halloween this week, and we're ready for our big Halloween party this week! But do to an unexpected error in our budgeting this year, we have.... $28.34 in our budget this Halloween. That's not quite enough for what we had planned, so this year, it's BYOC (Bring Your Own Candy)! Bring your favorite (or least favorite) candy, and then trade it among your friends. Who will have the best collection of candy at the end? First place gets the best trophy we can find for $28.34!

But enough about parties, let's talk Magic rules question. IF you don't see your question here or in our archives, feel free to contact us and we'll answer your question. Shorter questions can be Tweeted at us at @CranialTweet. But if you have a longer question, you can e-mail us at .

Q: I surveiled, and I choose to put Creeping Chill into my graveyard. In response to the Chill's triggered ability, my opponent activated Remorseful Cleric's ability and exiles my graveyard. Do I still get to drain my opponent for three life when the trigger resolves?

A: Nope, nothing happens when the trigger resolves. In order for the rest of the effect to happen, you have to exile the Chill when the trigger resolves. Since your opponent exiled the Chill (along with the rest of your graveyard), when the trigger resolves, you can't exile the Chill, and you won't get the rest of the effect.

Q: If I have two Divine Visitations in play and my Hunted Witness dies. Do I end up with one Angel token or two?

A: Just one Angel token. Having multiple Visitations in play is not very useful. In this case, you would create a 1/1 white Soldier creature token with lifelink from the Witness's trigger. Both Visitations want to apply, so you apply one and replace the Soldier token with a 4/4 white Angel creature token with flying and vigilance. Then you apply the second Visitation, and you replace that 4/4 Angel with a 4/4 white Angel creature token with flying and vigilance.

They don't both replace making the Soldier token with making an Angel token: the effect of one Visitation is effectively negated by having the second one in play. Having more than one Visitation in play is redundant and you won't end up with double tokens.

Q: I have a Muldrotha, the Gravetide in play and my opponent controls a Silent Gravestone. Can I still use Muldrotha's ability to play cards from my graveyard?

A: Yep, you can. Muldroth's ability doesn't target the card you're playing from your graveyard, so your opponent's Gravestone won't stop you from playing cards from your graveyard. Just be careful of the last ability of the Gravestone - exiling your graveyard will definitely hinder what cards you can play from your graveyard.

Q: My opponent's only nonland permanent in play is a Carnage Tyrant. If I cast the Dispersal side of Discovery//Dispersal, what happens? Are they forced to return the Tyrant to their hand?

A: Yep, they must return the Tyrant to their hand. Dispersal doesn't target anything, so the Tyrant having hexproof doesn't matter. If the Tyrant has the highest converted mana cost among their nonland permanents, they'll have to return the Tyrant to their hand, then discard a card (and if they had an empty hand before Dispersal resolves, you've succeeded in making them discard the Tyrant).

Q: When I cast Sword-Point Diplomacy, can they pay three life to prevent me from getting any of the cards, or it is three life per card?

A: The latter. Three life is enough to deny you one of the cards of their choice, but not all three cards. When the Diplomacy resolves, you'll reveal the top three cards of your library, and then, for each card, your opponents have a choice: pay three life or put that card into your hand. If they don't like any of the three cards that you revealed, then they'll have to pay a total of nine life - three life for each card - to prevent you from getting them.

Q: I have a Midnight Reaper and two Pitiless Gorgons in play. My opponent destroys all of my creatures with Cleansing Nova. How many times does my Reaper trigger, one time or three times?

A: The Reaper triggers three times. The Reaper sees itself and the two Gorgons dying at the same time, so it trigger for all three creatures dying, not just itself. You will draw a total of three cards and take three damage once you're done resolving all of the Reaper's triggers.

Discount store dolls make the best scary dolls.

Q: I have a Firesong and Sunspeaker in play, and I cast Fumigate. Will Firesong trigger from the life I gained from Fumigate?

A: Firesong will not trigger. When you're resolving Fumigate, you follow the instructions in the order they're printed on the card. The first thing that happens is that all creatures are destroyed, then you gain the life after everything is destroyed. Firesong is not on the battlefield when Fumigate causes you to gain life, so Firesong will not trigger and you will not get to deal three damage to a target.

Q: I cast Bring to Light using four different colors of mana, and I want to search out and cast Scapeshift. Does my opponent have to counter Bring to Light, or will they get a chance to counter Scapeshift?

A: They can either counter Bring to Light or they can counter the spell you searched for. When you're resolving Bring to Light, you can search for Scapeshift and cast it. However, just because you cast Scapeshift while Bring to Light is resolving doesn't mean that it will also resolve while Bring to Light is resolving. Players still get the chance to respond to the spell like normal, which will be after Bring to Light is done resolving. Once Bring to Light is done resolving, Scapeshift is on the stack and all players get to respond like normal, so if your opponent would rather counter the spell you searched for instead of Bring to Light, they'll be able to do that.

Q: I have ten lands and a Grinding Station on the battlefield. I cast Brass's Bounty. Is it possible for me to sacrifice all of the treasure tokens to the Station and mill my opponent for thirty cards?

A: Yep, that's possible. Since ten artifacts entered the battlefield, the Station's ability will trigger ten times. After each trigger has resolved, everyone gets priority again before the next trigger resolves. You'll be able to resolve one untap trigger, activate the Station's ability by sacrificing a treasure token, let that ability resolve, then resolve the next untap trigger and repeat until you're out of Station triggers.

Q: I have a Grizzly Bears and a Wild Defiance in play. My opponent casts Hypothesizzle, discarding a card and targeting my Bears. Will the Defiance trigger and save my Bears?

A: Nope, the Defiance will not trigger. The Defiance will only trigger when your creature becomes targeted by an instant or sorcery spell. But Hyphothesizzle (the spell) has no targets: it has a reflexive triggered ability that triggers if you discard a nonland card when it resolves, but that means the Bears are being targeted by a triggered ability, not a spell. The Defiance will not trigger when the Bears becomes targeted by the triggered ability from Hypothesizzle, and your Bears will die.

Q: My opponent is attacking me with a Tromokratis. I have some creatures that can block, but some others that can't block because they're tapped. Can I block Tromokratis with all of my untapped creatures, or is still unblockable?

A: In this case, "all" really means "all". To be able to block an attacking Tromokratis, every creature you control must block it. If you have even one creature that can't block it (because it's tapped, for example), then Tromoktratis can't be blocked. If you want to be able to block it, then you have to make sure that all of your creatures are available to block it.

Q: I have three nonland permanents in play: Purphoros, God of the Forge, Norin the Wary, and a Goblin Chainwhirler, making my devotion to red five. If I attack with Purphoros, will it still be attacking, even after Norin leaves the battlefield?

A: Nope, Purphoros won't be attacking anymore. When you attack with Purphoros, Norin's ability will trigger, and when that trigger resolves, Norin is exiled. Since Norin is no longer on the battlefield, it's no longer contributing to your devotion, so your devotion to red is now four. Since your devotion to red is less than five, Purphros is no longer a creature and is removed from combat. Even if you get your devotion to red back up to five or more, it's too late - Purphoros was already removed from combat, and making it a creature again won't return it to combat.

Q: I'm at 5 life and I have a Boon Reflection in play. I cast Oketra's Last Mercy. What does my life total end up at?

A: Assuming your starting life total was 20, you'll end up at 35 life. Any time you set your life total to a number, it counts as gaining or losing that much life. You're at 5 life, and the Mercy wants to set your life total to 20, so that counts as you gaining 15 life. Since you're gaining life, the Reflection applies, and you double the life gain from 15 to 30. The end result is that your life total ends up at 35 instead of 20 life.

Q: How does Centaur Omenreader work with a creature spell with convoke, like Arboretum Elemental?

A: Probably not as well as you hope. You can tap the Omenreader via convoke to help pay for the spell, or, if it's already tapped, to reduce the cost of the Elemental by , but you can't it for convoke and get the cost reduction on the same spell.

The reason why is because of the way we cast spells. Early on, we figure out how much your spell is going to cast. This is the point that the Omenreader would have to be tapped in order to reduce the cost the spell. But we don't pay the spell (which includes tapping creatures for convoke) until later on. Even if you tap the Omenreader when paying for the spell, the cost of the Elemental has already been locked in, so tapping the Omenreader won't do anything to the spell you're currently casting. So it's your pick: either find a way to tap the Omenreader before you cast the Elemental to reduce the cost by , or leave it untapped so you can tap it for convoke to help cast the spell. Just don't try to do both.

Looks like everyone is here for the party!

Q: I managed to exile one of my opponent's creatures with Etrata, the Silencer's triggered ability. Can I use Clockspinning to add more hit counters to the exiled creature to make them lose the game?

A: Nope, that won't work for a few reasons. First off, Clockspinning can only target a permanent or a suspended card, not any card in exile. The card exiled by Etrata is neither, and therefore not a legal target for Clockspinning. Second, Etrata counts the number of cards they own in exile with a hit counter. It doesn't care how man hit counters it has on it. Even if you could use Clockspinning to increase the number of counters on the creature, Etrata treats it the same: your opponent has to have three different cards in exile with hit counters on them, not three hit counters among their exiled cards.

Q: I attack with Lazav, the Multifarious, which is currently a copy of Burglar Rat. My opponent blocks with a Lotleth Giant. Can I respond by making my Lazav into a copy of Tolarian Entrancer and steal my opponent's Giant at the end of combat?

A: Nope, doesn't work. Lazav would have to be a copy of the Entrancer when the Giant blocks it in order for the ability to trigger. Making it a copy of the Entrancer after blockers are declared is too late for the ability to trigger. You'll end up with a dead Lazav and your opponent will keep their Giant.

Q: I'm currently at -16 life, but I'm still in the game thanks to my Platinum Angel. If I play a fetchland like Bloodstained Mire, can I activate its ability and go looking for a Mountain or Swamp?

A: No you cannot. You cannot pay what you do not have. While the Angel is preventing you from losing the game while you have negative life, you still need life to pay a cost that requires life. The cost of activating the ability is paying 1 life, and if you're at 0 or less life, you don't have enough life to pay the cost. Despite your Platinum Angel keeping you in the game, since you don't have 1 or more life, you won't be able to activate the Mire's ability.

Q: I have a Primordial Hydra with three +1/+1 counters in play. My opponent controls a Magmatic Force. Will I be able to double the counters on the Hydra during my upkeep before it's dealt three damage from the Force's triggered ability?

A: Nope, you have a dead Hydra. At the beginning of your upkeep, since it's your turn, your Hydra trigger will go on the stack first, followed by your opponent's Force trigger. Since their trigger was put on the stack last, it will resolve first, before your Hydra's trigger can resolve. Your Hydra will take three damage from the Force's trigger and it will die before its counters can be doubled.

Q: What happens if I control a Privileged Position and a Sterling Grove? Will they protect each other?

A: Yep, they help each other out. The Position gets shroud from the Grove, and the Grove gets hexproof from the Position, meaning that they'll effectively protect each other from your opponent's spells. Just be careful - your other enchantments will have both hexproof and shroud, and shroud effectively negates hexproof and you won't be able to target your own enchantments as long as you control the Grove.

Q: If I use Alesha, Who Smiles at Death's ability to put a creature onto the battlefield attacking, will my opponent be able to block that creature?

A: Yep, your opponent will get a chance to block it. Alesha's ability resolves during the declare attacker step, before we move to the declare blockers step (and blockers are declared). The creature you put onto the battlefield attacking enters before blockers are declared, so your opponent will get a chance to block the resurrected creature.

That's all we have for this week. We'll see you all next week!


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