Published on 01/14/2019

The Anticipation is Killing Me

Cranial Translation
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Oh boy, I can't wait!

Hi everyone, and welcome back to Cranial Insertion. We're kind of at an awkward point of the year - we're after the holidays, so we done with traveling and seeing our families; but we're also just shy of the next major Magic set, and we're not quite ready to talk about Ravnica Allegiance yet (but that's the plan for next week - don't worry). I know we're all anxious at this point for the next set, but let's take some time to look back at some interactions with some older cards while we wait.

If you have a question that you'd like us to answer, feel free to contact us and we'll answer your question. Short questions can be tweeted to us at @CranialTweet. But if you have a longer question, you can e-mail us at .

Q: My opponent just cast the Dispersal side of Discovery // Dispersal. I control a Jadelight Ranger, but I also control Gold-Forge Garrison (the back side of Golden Guardian). Do I return the Ranger or the Garrison to my hand?

A: Neither - you won't be returning either card to your hand. Dispersal tells you to return the nonland permanent with the highest converted mana cost among permanents you control to your hand. Jadelight Ranger has the highest converted mana cost among your nonland permanents, but not the highest converted mana cost among all of your permanents - that would be Gold-Forge Garrison (remember, the back side of a double faced card has the same converted mana cost as the front side).

You can't return the Garrison to your hand, since it's a land, but you also can't return the Ranger to your hand, since it doesn't have the highest converted mana cost among your permanents. The end result is nothing is returned to your hand (but you still have to discard a card).

Q: My opponent's only creature is an Impervious Greatwurm. They cast Quasiduplicate targeting the Greatwurm. In response, I cast Merfolk Trickster, tapping down their Greatwurm and causing it to lose all of its abilities. What does the token made by Quasiduplicate look like?

A: It's a normal Greatwurm, meaning it's a 16/16 with indestructible and convoke. When Quasiduplicate copies the Greatwurm, it looks at the base characteristics of the card. It doesn't care about the effect of the Trickster. At its base, the Greatwurm is indestructible, so the copy will be too - even if the original Greatwurm currently does not have indestructible due to another effect.

Q: If I attack my opponent's Teferi, Timebender with 5 loyalty counters on it with a Daggerback Basilisk and it deals damage to Teferi, will Teferi die?

A: No it won't. Deathtouch only matters if the source with deathtouch deals damage to a creature. If it's dealing damage to a player or a planeswalker, then having deathtouch isn't really relevant. Teferi will lose two loyalty counters from receiving damage from the Basilisk, but it won't be destroyed due to deathtouch from the Basilisk.

Q: If I have a Muldrotha, the Gravetide in play and a Lignify in my graveyard. Can I choose to cast Lignify as Tribal instead of an Enchantment?

A: No you cannot. Muldrotha cares about permanent types, and in Magic, there are five permanent types: artifact, creature, enchantment, land, and planeswalker. Tribal, while it is a card type, is not a permanent type, even if it's on permanent card. You can cast Lignify from your graveyard via Muldrotha, but it will count as your enchantment card from the graveyard for the turn - you can't choose for it to be cast as Tribal, since Tribal is not a permanent type.

Q: Can I use Gideon of the Trials's +1 ability to prevent damage from an emblem, like the emblem made by Chandra, Torch of Defiance?

A: No you cannot. Gideon's ability can only target a permanent, and emblems are not permanents - they exist in the command zone, not the battlefield. You won't be able to use Gideon's ability to prevent damage from Chandra's emblem.

Q: If I put multiple prey counters on a creature with Tetzimoc, Primal Death's activated ability and then cast him, is the creature destroyed one time or multiple times?

A: It's only destroyed once. Tetzimoc's triggered ability doesn't care how many prey counters are on the creature, just that it was at least one prey counter on it. Even if you give a creature multiple prey counters, it will only be destroyed once (so, for example, if it had three prey counters on it, one Wrap in Vigor would be enough to save it from being destroyed by the trigger - you wouldn't need three Wrap in Vigor).

It's making me shiver with antici-

Q: If I have a Sigarda, Host of Herons and a Lunar Force in play, will Sigarda prevent me from sacrificing the Force when my opponent casts a spell, effectively countering my opponent's spells for the rest of the game?

A: Sneaky, but that won't work. Sigara's ability only prevents spells and abilities your opponents control from making you sacrifice your permanents. While their spell being cast is what triggered the Force's ability, you control the Force and it's triggered ability, not your opponent, so Sigarda's ability will not prevent you from sacrificing the Force when its trigger resolves.

Q: I have a Sanctum of Ugin in play, and I cast Karn Liberated. Is my opponent able to cast Cryptic Command to counter Karn and bounce the Sanctum before I can sacrifice the Sanctum to its triggered ability?

A: Yes they can. When you cast Karn, the Sanctum's ability triggers. When that trigger resolves, you can choose to sacrifice the Sanctum and, if you sacrifice it, get the rest of the effect. But you don't sacrifice the Sanctum until the trigger resolves. That means there's a window where, after you cast Karn but before the Sanctum's trigger resolves, your opponent can cast the Command to both counter Karn and bounce the Sanctum before the trigger resolves (and before you get a chance to sacrifice it) to prevent you from searching.

Q: My opponent controls a Phantasmal Image that's currently a copy of Restoration Angel. I target the Image with Assassin's Trophy. Will my opponent get to search for a land?

A: No they will not. Casting the Trophy targeting the Image causes the Image's ability to trigger, and that trigger resolves first (causing the Image to be sacrificed). Later, when the Trophy goes to resolve, it checks to see if its target is still legal. Since the Image is no longer on the battlefield, the Trophy's only target is illegal, and the spell doesn't do anything when it resolves (meaning that your opponent will not get to search their library for a basic land to put onto the battlefield).

Q: I have a Seraph Sanctuary and an Angelic Armaments in play. If I cast Glory Seeker and then attach the Armaments to it, will the Sanctuary trigger and give me a life?

A: No it won't. The Sanctuary's ability triggers when an Angel enters the battlefield under your control. When you attach the Armaments to the Seeker, nothing is entering the battlefield - it's just gaining the Angel creature type. Since nothing is entering the battlefield when the Armaments becomes attached, the Sanctuary will not trigger and you will not gain any life.

Q: Can I use Mind Bend on Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth and change "Swamp" into "Wastes" so everything can tap for colorless mana?

A: No you cannot. Mind Bend lets you change basic land types, but "Wastes" is not a basic land type. Wastes the name of a basic land, but there is no land subtype called "Wastes". While you can change "Swamp" to a different basic land type with Mind Bend, you cannot change them into Wastes since that's not a basic land type.

Q: I have a World Breaker in play, and my opponent casts Darksteel Mutation targeting it. Is World Breaker green or is it still colorless?

A: Oddly enough, it's still colorless! This comes down to how layers work. The key thing to remember is that if something applies in an earlier layer, it will continue to apply, even if something in a later layer removes the ability.

In layer 5, we apply effects that change the color of the card. This is the layer that devoid applies in, making World Breaker colorless. In the next layer (layer 6), we apply effects that add or remove abilities. This is the layer that the Mutation would cause it to lose all other abilities (including devoid). But since devoid applied in an earlier layer, it continues to apply, even though it loses devoid in a later layer. World Breaker is still a colorless creature, even with the Mutation attached to it.

Q: My opponent enchanted me with Curse of the Nightly Hunt. I would really prefer not to attack. If I activate War Tax with X=0, am I still forced to attack?

A: Surprisingly, no! When you're declaring attackers, if there's any sort of tax on declaring attackers, you don't have to pay it if you don't want to, even if paying the tax would increase the number of legal attackers. That means that by activating the Tax's ability for any number (including zero), you're putting a tax on your attackers that you don't have to pay. You can still attack with creatures if you want to, but you wont' be forced into attacking with everything every turn due to the Curse.


Q: If I cast Spellseeker, can I find a split card like Beck // Call?

A: Nope. A few years ago, the rules for split cards changed. Instead of having two different converted mana costs when not on the stack, they have a single converted mana cost (the sum of the two sides as long as it's not on the stack). The converted mana cost of Beck // Call in your library is eight, which is not two or less, and you cannot search for it with Spellseeker's triggered ability.

Q: If I attach Spy Kit to Urborg Panther, can I just sacrifice the Panther instead of three creatures to activate its last ability?

A: No you cannot. While the Panther will have the names "Feral Shadow" and "Breathstealer" thanks to Spy Kit, the Panther requires you to sacrifice three different creatures: Feral Shadow, Breathstealer, and itself. You could equip another creature with Spy Kit so it can fulfill either Feral Shadow or Breathstealer, but equipping the Panther itself is not too useful, since it can only be sacrificed as the final sacrifice, not as Feral Shadow or Breathstealer, to activate its ability.

Q: My opponent just attacked and hit me with their Steel Hellkite. If they want to destroy a face down creature (like my face down Canyon Lurkers) with the last activated ability, how much mana do they have to pay?

A: X must be zero. The converted mana cost of a face down creature is 0, since converted mana cost is derived from the card's mana cost (and since a face down creature has no mana cost, its converted mana cost is zero). To destroy your face down Lurkers, they'll have to activate the Hellkite's ability with X=0.

Q: If I'm attacking with Malignus and my opponent uses Maze of Ith on Malignus, what happens?

A: Unlike modern cards, Maze of Ith doesn't remove the attacking creature from combat - it just untaps it and prevents combat damage that would be dealt to it and by it for the rest of the turn. But Malignus has an ability that says its damage can't be prevented - and since it's still attacking, its damage won't be prevented and it will still deal damage like normal in combat.

Q: I have a board of tokens in play, and my opponent just revealed their first card they drew this turn - a Terminus. Is it possible to use Stifle to prevent them from casting Terminus via miracle?

A: Yep, you can do that. When they drew Terminus and revealed it, it put a triggered ability on the stack. When that trigger resolves, they can cast Terminus for its miracle cost. But if you Stifle the trigger, that trigger won't resolve and they won't get the chance to cast Terminus for cheap - they'll have to cast it for its normal cost later on.

Q: If I cast Etherium-Horn Sorcerer, can I copy the cascade trigger with Tawnos, Urza's Apprentice?

A: Yes you can. Tawnos cares if the ability is coming from an artifact source, not just an artifact permanent. Since the Sorcerer is an artifact source, even while it's on the stack, Tawnos will be able to copy the cascade trigger and you'll be able to cascade into a second spell with a converted mana cost of five or less.

Q: We just planeswalked to the plane of The Aether Flues, and when the trigger resolves, I choose to sacrifice a creature. However, it turns out that I don't have any more creature cards in my deck. What happens?

A: You effectively get a free library shuffle. You'll end up revealing cards from the top of your library until you run out of cards. Then, failing to find any creature cards, all of the cards that you just revealed are shuffled into your empty library, and the ability finishes resolving. In short, you sacrificed a creature for the ability to shuffle your library.

That's all I have for you this week. We'll see you all next week with our Ravnica Allegiance special!


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