Published on 02/04/2019

Let's Start a Riot

Cranial Translation
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If there's one thing I know about the Gruul,
is that thing won't be a bore.

Hi everyone, and welcome back to Cranial Insertion! We've spent the last few months hanging out with the guilds of Ravnica, but I feel the sudden urge to break stuff. So this week, we're going to hang out with the Gruul, where they're having fun running around and destroying as much of the city as possible. Trust me, it's a great stress reliever. Just make sure you know when it's time to back out - the Gruul lifestyle is good for a short time, but I wouldn't want to live it all of the time.

If you have a rules 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, and longer questions can be sent to .

Q: I had a Theater of Horrors in play that exiled some cards, but then it was destroyed. If I play a second Theater of Horrors, can I play cards that were exiled by the first Theater?

A: No you can't. Each Theater only has access to the cards that Theater exiled, not cards exiled by another Theater. When the first Theater left play, you lost access to the cards that Theater had exiled, and even if you play a second one, you won't be able to play any of the cards exiled by the original Theater.

Q: The only creature in play is my own Rampaging Rendhorn. I have a Clear the Stage in my hand, and a Wrecking Beast in my graveyard that I'd like to return to my hand. Can I cast Clear the Stage targeting my own Rendhorn and return the Beast to my hand?

A: Nope, that doesn't work. When Clear the Stage resolves, you follow the instructions in the order they're printed on the card. First, the Rendhorn gets -3/-3, making it a 1/1 creature. Then the Stage checks to see if you control a creature with a power of 4 or greater. You no longer do, since the Rendhorn is currently a 1/1 creature, so it won't be able to return the Beast from your graveyard to your hand.

Q: My Galloping Lizrog enters the battlefield with a +1/+1 (thanks to having riot from Rhythm of the Wild). Can I remove that counter from the Lizrog when its triggered ability resolves?

A: You sure can! The Lizrog lets you remove +1/+1 counters from creatures you control. It doesn't exclude itself. If it happens to already have a +1/+1 counter on it (because it entered the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter, for instance) you can remove that counter, and the Lizrog will get two counters in return.

Q: I have no creatures in play and no creature cards in my graveyard. I cast Guardian Project, and then I cast Axebane Beast. In response to the Project's triggered ability, my opponent kills Axebane Beast with Get the Point. When the Project's trigger resolves, will I draw a card?

A: No you won't. When the trigger from the Project goes to resolve, it checks the battlefield to see if you control another card named Axebane Beast and it checks your graveyard to see if there's a card name Axebane Beast in it. If it finds one, the trigger from the Project does nothing (since its condition is no longer true) and you won't draw a card. It doesn't matter that the card that's in the graveyard is the same card that triggered the Project in the first place - it's a different card when it changes zones, so your opponent's removal spell will prevent you from drawing from the Project's trigger.

Q: If I put a land onto the battlefield with Growth Spiral, can I play a second land that turn, or does it count as my land drop for the turn?

A: You're putting the land onto the battlefield with the Spiral. You're not playing the land, so it doesn't count as your land drop for the turn. You're free to cast the Spiral, put a land onto the battlefield, then play your normal land for the turn.

Q: I have Nikya of the Old Ways in play, and an Electrodominance that I'd love to cast. Can I tap all of my lands for mana, then sacrifice Nikya to Pitiless Pontiff so I can cast Electrodominance?

A: Yes, that works. Nikya doesn't put a restriction on the mana it produces, it just prevents you from casting noncreature spells as long as it's on the battlefield. Once Nikya leaves play, you can cast noncreature spells again, and mana that was produced by Nikya is still in your mana pool, waiting to be spent. So you can take advantage of the mana doubling from Nikya, get rid of Nikya, and then use all of that mana to cast a large Electrodominance.

Q: I have two Wilderness Reclamations in play. Do I get a chance during my end step to tap my lands for mana between the triggers resolving and use that mana to cast a large March of the Multitudes?

A: Yes you do. The triggers resolve one at a time, not all at once. After each trigger has resolved, everyone gets priority again before the next trigger resolves. So you can move to your end step, put the two triggers on the stack, tap all of your lands for mana, let the first trigger resolve, tap all of your lands for mana again, let the second trigger resolve, then tap all of your lands for mana a third time, then use all of that floating mana to cast the March and make way too many tokens.

I never liked that pillar anyways!

Q: My opponent has had an Amplifire in play for the last few turns, and it's been causing me problems as its power and toughness fluctuate. Is there ever a chance to kill it with Scorchmark, or do I have to kill it the turn they play it?

A: You'll have a brief window during each of your opponent's upkeep in which to kill it. Amplifire's triggered ability sets its base power and toughness until their next turn. Once their next turn begins, it goes back to being a 1/1 until Amplifire's triggered ability resolves again during their upkeep. You can respond to Amplifire's triggered ability by casting Scorchmark targeting it, and since it's back to being a 1/1 creature, it will die and will be exiled before its trigger resolves and it becomes much more difficult to deal with.

Q: Can I cast Biogenic Upgrade with three targets, but only put counters on two creatures if I just want to double the number of counters on the third creature?

A: No you can't. The Upgrade requires you to distribute three counters among the targets, and each target must receive at least one of whatever is being distributed. If you target three creatures with the Upgrade, then each target must get one counter - you can't choose for one to get zero counters from the Upgrade just because you want its counters to get doubled by the other part of the effect.

Q: My opening hand has two Sphinx of Foresight. If I reveal both of them, do I get to scry 6, or scry 3 twice?

A: You'll scry 3 twice. The Sphinx has a triggered ability, and they resolve one at a time, not both at the same time. You'll scry 3 once, then once you're done with that scry, you'll scry 3 again (potentially seeing some or all of the same cards that you just saw a moment ago).

Q: Let's say, for some reason, I have to get rid of my own Cindervines. Can I activate its ability targeting itself? Will I take damage from the activated ability when it resolves?

A: Yes and no. Targets are chosen before costs are paid, and since Cindervines is an enchantment, it's a legal target for its own ability and can be sacrificed targeting itself. But when the ability goes to resolve, the only target for the ability is no longer legal (since Cindervines isn't on the battlefield), so the ability does nothing when it resolves and you will not take any damage from the ability.

Q: If I have Electrodominance in my hand, and I want to be able to cast the Bedeck side of Bedeck // Bedazzle with it, how large of an X does Electrodominance have to have?

A: X would have to be at least eight. Electrodominance cares about the converted mana cost of the card in your hand that you want to cast, not what its converted mana cost on the stack will be. While not on the stack, the converted mana cost of Bedeck // Bedazzle is the sum of the two sides - eight. Even if you want Bedeck, X will have to be at least eight if you want to cast it for free.

Q: If a creature like Hydroid Krasis enters the battlefield with counters, will that cause Simic Ascendancy's ability to trigger?

A: Yes it will. An ability that triggers when a counter is "put" on a creature will count a counter that is put on it when it's on the battlefield, and it will also include a counter that's put on the creature as it enters the battlefield. The Krasis will enter the battlefield with X counters on it, so the Ascendancy will trigger and will get X growth counters as well.

Q: I have a Simic Ascendancy in play, and I cast Part the Waterveil for its awaken cost. Will the Ascendancy get six growth counters?

A: Unless you were targeting a land that was already a creature, no. The Ascendancy triggers when you put one or more +1/+1 counters on a creature. With awaken, first, you add the counters to the land, then the land becomes a creature. If you want the Ascendancy to trigger, you'd have to target a land that's already a creature - awaken makes the land into a creature too late for the Ascendancy to trigger.

With special guest X-Men's Wolverine!

Q: I have a Persistent Petitioners in play, enchanted with Freed from the Real. Is it possible to activate the Petition's second activated ability by untapping the Petitioners multiple times with Free from the Real?

A: No you can't. You have to tap all four advisors during the announcement of the ability, when you're paying costs. You don't get the opportunity to activate or resolve other abilities while paying a cost. If you want to activate the second ability, then you need to be able to tap four different advisors at the same time, not one advisor with the ability to untap itself multiple times.

Q: I have a Teysa Karlov and an Arena Rector in play. The Rector dies. Do I get to search for two planeswalkers?

A: Nope, you can only search for one. While the Rector dying will cause the ability to trigger twice instead of once (thanks to Teysa), in order to search out a planeswalker, you have to exile the Rector when the triggered ability resolves. When the first trigger resolves, you can exile the Rector and search for a planeswalker card to put onto the battlefield. But the second trigger won't do anything, since the Rector is no longer in the graveyard (and can't be exiled). Teysa doubling the dies trigger from the Rector won't do very much here, since only one trigger will do anything.

Q: I still have a Teysa Karlov in play, along with a Deathreap Ritual. A creature dies during my turn. Will that cause the Ritual's ability to trigger an additional time?

A: No it won't. Teysa's ability only applies to abilities that trigger when a creature dies. The Ritual, while it will only trigger if a creature has died that turn, is an end of turn trigger. You do need a creature to die in order for the Ritual's ability to trigger, but the ability is ultimately triggering when the end step begins, which is not a trigger that Teysa cares about, so you'll only end up drawing one card, not two.

Q: Do the coin flips from Rakdos, the Showstopper have a winner or a loser? Will Chance Encounter get any luck counters?

A: No and no. There is no winner or loser with the flips from Rakdos (although, depending on whose creatures survive, it may feel like winning or losing to you). The creature just dies if the coin comes up tails. Since there's no winner, Chance Encounter will not trigger from the coin flips from Rakdos' trigger.

Q: I'm playing in a Competitive REL tournament, and on my previous turn, I played Pact of the Titan. My upkeep rolls around, but I forget about the Pact's trigger and draw my card for the turn, and my opponent calls for a judge. What happens?

A: It used to be that we would resolve the Pact's trigger with the default option of "you lose the game", meaning you don't get the opportunity to pay (making missing the Pact trigger pretty harsh). But a recent policy change has changed this situation. Now, we handle it like any other missed trigger - we ask your opponent if they want the trigger to go on the stack now or not. If they do, then it goes on the stack and resolves like normal, meaning that you get the opportunity to pay to avoid losing the game. Note that the trigger is still detrimental, so you'll still get a warning for missed trigger, and the responding judge should still investigate to make sure you didn't miss the Pact trigger on purpose (missing your own triggers on purpose is still cheating).

One last thing to keep in mind - while your opponent is never responsible for your triggers, they may choose to point them out at any time if they want them to go on the stack. That means you need to be careful about forgetting your Pact triggers, because your opponent could wait for you to tap out on your turn, then point out your missed Pact trigger, and since you no longer have the mana available, you won't be able to pay and you'll lose the game.

Q: I heard that there was a change in policy so that Improperly Determining a Winner and Bribery aren't an immediately disqualification anymore. Is that right?

A: Yes, it is - with one thing to keep in mind. In the past, players who didn't know better would propose an outside the game method (like flipping a coin) if their match was going to end in a draw, and policy said that this player needed to be disqualified from the tournament, which is pretty harsh for a player in their first tournament who didn't know it was against the rules. So now, instead of receiving a disqualification from the tournament, they'll receive a match loss instead - sure, it's a loss for the round, but they can continue to play in the tournament.

But note that the match loss penalty only applies if the player didn't know it was against the rules. If the player did know it was against the rules and still proposed flipping the coin anyways anyways, it's cheating, which is still a disqualification. This will likely require an investigation by the judge, but it's a lot better than the default of "you're no longer in this tournament".

That's it for this week. We'll see you all again next week!


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