Published on 12/17/2018

Belated Birthday Gifts

Cranial Translation
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Note: This article is over two years old. Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes. Proceed with caution.

Age is just a number.
Greetings and welcome back to another issue of Cranial Insertion! Last week, my yearly upkeep ability triggered and I gained another age counter. If you're curious how old I am, just imagine any Dinosaur and you're not far off.

Anyway, as my gift to you, I give you another selection of rules questions and answers from our inbox, and as your gift to me, I ask that you continue to send in your rules questions. To send in questions, you can email them to or tweet short questions to @CranialTweet. One of our writers will get back to you with an answer, and your questions might appear in a future article.

Q: If I copy Polyraptor with Lazav, the Multifarious, what happens when its enrage ability resolves?

A: Your LazavRaptor, which is a copy of Polyraptor except that its name is Lazav, the Multifarious, it's legendary, and it has Lazav's activated ability, makes a copy of itself. To make a copy of itself, it looks at its copiable values, which are that of a Polyraptor as modified by Lazav's copy effect. In short, it makes another LazavRaptor. Since it's also legendary and has the name Lazav, the Multifarious, the legend rule kicks in and you'll have to get rid of one of them. Presumably you'll get rid of the one that took damage, so then you'll have a fresh LazavRaptor to beat up your opponent.

Q: If Sarkhan, Dragonsoul puts Lathliss, Dragon Queen along with a bunch of other Dragon cards onto the battlefield, does Lathliss's ability trigger for those other Dragons?

A: It sure does! Sarkhan's ability puts all those Dragons onto the battlefield at the same time, and afterwards the game checks any existing and new permanents for any enter-the-battlefield abilities that may have been triggered by this. In other words, creatures that enter the battlefield at the same time see each other entering.

Q: How does Damping Sphere interact with the mana from Zendikar Resurgent if I tap a Forest for mana?

A: It doesn't. The Forest makes one green mana, which triggers Zendikar Resurgent to also make a green mana. You didn't tap the Forest for two green mana, so Damping Sphere's effect doesn't apply.

Q: When I cast Fact or Fiction in a multiplayer game, when do I choose the opponent who separates the cards into piles?

A: You make that choice when Fact or Fiction resolves, after you've revealed the top five cards of your library. There is a very short list of things that are chosen when you cast a spell: The spell's targets, modes, damage division, and any choices that determine how much the spell costs. Anything else is chosen during resolution when you get to the instruction that requires the choice. Since the opponent is not being targeted by Fact or Fiction, they're chosen during resolution.

Q: I've taken control of a bunch of creatures with Willbreaker and I attack my opponent with those creatures. If my opponent destroys Willbreaker, do those creatures attack me now?

A: No, that would be weird. You do lose control of those creatures because you no longer control Willbreaker, which means that your opponent gains control of them. Fortunately for you, when a creature changes controllers while it's in combat, it's removed from combat, so those creatures simply stop being attacking creatures.

Q: If I use Jace, Cunning Castaway's -2 ability while I control Divine Visitation, what kind of token do I get?

A: You get a white 4/4 Angel token with flying and vigilance. It does not have the "When this creature becomes the target of a spell" ability. That ability is included in the instruction for creating the token — as opposed to being given to the token after its creation — and Divine Visitation's effect replaces the entire instruction for creating the token.

Q: If I control Life and Limb and my opponent controls Containment Priest, what happens if I play a Forest?

A: Ew, a question about Life and Limb. Well, let's see... As the Forest is about to enter the battlefield, the game checks to see if any replacement effects are applicable to this event. It takes into account any existing continuous effects that would apply to the Forest once it's on the battlefield. This means that Life and Limb's effect is taken into account, making the Forest into a creature, so Containment Priest's effect gets applied. Since the Forest wasn't cast, it gets exiled instead of being put onto the battlefield. Serves you right for playing with Life and Limb!

Mmm, cake...
Q: Let's say I control Master Biomancer and I play Arixmethes, Slumbering Isle. If I choose to apply Arixmethes's replacement effect first, does that mean Master Biomancer's effect no longer applies to it?

A: No, Master Biomancer's effect still applies. While you're applying replacement effects to the pending event of Arixmethes entering the battlefield, you're not doing anything physically to the game state yet. In particular, applying Arixmethes's replacement effect doesn't put a slumber counter on it; it simply changes the pending event of "Arixmethes enters the battlefield" to "Arixmethes enters the battlefield tapped with five slumber counters on it." This is not enough for the game to consider the effect that turns Arixmethes into a land, so as far as Master Biomancer is concerned, Arixmethes is still about to enter the battlefield as a creature, so its replacement effect still gets applied.

Q: I control two Artificer's Assistants and a Riddlesmith. When I cast an artifact spell, at what time do I have to announce the order in which to resolve the resulting triggers?

A: You have to announce the order as you put the abilities on the stack, which is immediately after you finish casting the artifact spell. Casting the artifact spell triggered three abilities that all want to go on the stack at the same time, so you choose the order and announce in which order you're putting the abilities on the stack.

Q: If I control Emmara, Soul of the Accord and a Forest, can I convoke Sprouting Renewal by tapping the Forest, tapping Emmara, and tapping the Soldier token that Emmara makes?

A: No, that doesn't work. It's true that tapping Emmara triggers an ability that creates a token, but that token isn't created immediately. That ability uses the stack, so it has to go on the stack, players get an opportunity to respond to it, and eventually the ability might resolve and create that token, assuming your opponent doesn't counter the ability. Emmara's ability can't even go on the stack, let alone resolve, until after you've finished the process of casting Sprouting Renewal, which means that the Soldier token isn't around to help you pay for Sprouting Renewal.

Q: Okay, so if I have two Forests and Emmara, Soul of the Accord, I can convoke Sprouting Renewal. If my opponent counters Sprouting Renewal, do I still get the Soldier token from Emmara?

A: Certainly. You already tapped Emmara to convoke Sprouting Renewal. Countering Sprouting Renewal doesn't undo anything that happened while you cast it, and it doesn't "un-trigger" Emmara's ability. That ability is still on the stack and it will resolve and create the Soldier token.

Q: I have a Bonus Round and a bunch of other instants and sorceries in my graveyard. If I overload Mizzix's Mastery, can I cast Bonus Round first so that the other instants get doubled by it?

A: No, that doesn't work the way you want. Mizzix's Mastery copies all the instant and sorcery cards in your graveyard and lets you cast the copies, and you can certainly cast Bonus Round first. However, the spell-doubling effect of Bonus Round only starts when Bonus Round resolves, and applies to spells you cast after Bonus Round has resolved. All the spells you cast off of Mizzix's Mastery are being cast during the resolution of Mizzix's Mastery, and then they resolve afterwards one by one. Regardless of in which order you cast those spells, they're all being cast before Bonus Round resolves, so none of them will get copied by Bonus Round.

Q: How do Moat and Sandwurm Convergence interact?

A: They interact pretty well. While you control those two enchantments, your opponents won't be able to attack you or planeswalkers you control with anything. Sandwurm Convergence keeps the fliers from attacking, while Moat keeps the non-fliers from attacking. However, note that Moat applies to your creatures, too, so the tokens you make with Sandwurm Convergence won't be able to attack, either.

Q: My opponent controls a Spirit token that was created with Daxos the Returned. If I take it with Act of Treason but I don't have any experience counters, does the token die?

A: I'm afraid so. The Spirit token has a characteristic-defining ability that constantly updates its power and toughness according to the number of experience counters its controller has. Since its new controller has none, it's a 0/0 and it promptly dies.

Q: Can I encode Whispering Madness on a creature that has protection from black?

A: Sure. Encoding a card on a creature is not the same as enchanting or equipping it, which protection forbids. The physical representation looks similar, but the card is not attached to the creature in the same way an Aura or Equipment would be. As such, protection does not interfere with encoding a card on a creature.

Q: I control Azusa, Lost but Seeking and play three lands, and then I Cloudshift Azusa. Can I play two more lands now?

A: No. This used to be possible, but the rules for extra land plays have changed since then, so this is no longer possible. Each time you try to play a land, the game compares the number of lands you've played this turn to the number of land plays you have. Azusa's effect bumps that number from one to three. Flickering Azusa reduces that number back to one while she's in exile, and then back up to three when she comes back to the battlefield. Since you're already at the maximum number of land plays for the turn, you can't play any more lands this turn.

Q: I just put the third lore counter on Chainer's Torment, and with its ability on the stack I use Power Conduit to remove a lore counter. Do I still have to sacrifice Chainer's Torment?

A: No, you get to keep it for a bit longer. Sacrificing a Saga that has reached its final chapter number is done with a state-based action, and that state-based action only kicks in once the Saga's chapter ability has left the stack. After the ability has resolved, the condition for sacrificing the Saga is no longer true, so you don't have to sacrifice it just yet.

Q: If I control Experimental Frenzy, can I still exile Simian Spirit Guide from my hand for mana?

A: Sure! Experimental Frenzy only keeps you from playing cards from your hand. Exiling a card from your hand to activate an ability is entirely different, and Experimental Frenzy has no problem with that.

Q: I'm playing in a Competitive REL tournament at my local game store, and while I'm drawing my opening hand, I accidentally flip over one of the cards that I'm drawing. What kind of penalty would I get for that?

A: You wouldn't get any penalty for this since you didn't commit an infraction. The card you flipped over is part of your opening hand, so you are entitled to see it, and players are allowed to reveal cards in their hand to their opponent. The fact that you did this accidentally doesn't negate the fact that what you did is perfectly legal.

Q: I'm in a timed round in a single-elimination tournament, and time is up, and I control a Platinum Angel. After the five additional turns, my opponent and I have one game win each and we're at the same life total, so the game goes into "sudden death". If my opponent deals damage to me now, do I lose the match or does my Platinum Angel force the game to continue?

A: Unfortunately, your Platinum Angel won't protect you, so you'll lose the game. The "sudden death" rule is a tournament rule, which overrides the game rules. Platinum Angel can't protect you from that game loss any more than it could protect you from a judge issuing a Game Loss penalty.

Speaking of time being up, that's all the time we have for today. Please come back next week for a Christmas celebration with Nathan, and I'll see you again next year!

- Carsten Haese

About the Author:
Carsten Haese is a former Level 2 judge based in Toledo, OH. He is retired from active judging, but he still writes for Cranial Insertion and helps organize an annual charity Magic tournament that benefits the National MS Society.


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