Published on 02/18/2019

Who Wants to Be the Living Guildpact?

Cranial Translation
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Missing, presumed dead.
Greetings everyone and welcome to another question-packed edition of Cranial Insertion!

Jace hasn't been seen on Ravnica for quite a while, and so the role of Living Guildpact is up for grabs. I personally can't think of a better way to decide who should replace him than by running a game show where the winner gets the title! If you can correctly answer one question about each of the guilds, you'll be considered a worthy applicant and might hear back from Lavinia in the next week or so!

Before we get on with the festivities, here's a friendly reminder that 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 reply and your question might also appear in a future CI column.


I'm about to attack with three 2/2 Knight creature tokens, but before I head to combat, I cast Unbreakable Formation in my precombat main phase to buff up my team. In response, my opponent casts Fiery Cannonade, which I in turn respond to with Expansion to copy my spell. How much damage will my opponent take if I attack with all of my Knights and they don't block?
A: The answer is...
A: 0
B: 6
C: 9
D: 12

The answer is
C: 9 damage.
"Wait, why 9 damage?" I can hear you asking. Allow me to explain: The first thing to resolve here is Expansion, which will create a copy of Unbreakable Formation. When that copy resolves, it will give all of your creatures indestructible until end of turn, but that's all it will do. Even though you cast the original Unbreakable Formation during your main phase, the copy won't get the addendum effect because a copy of a spell is never cast and so a copy of a spell with an Addendum ability will never get the additional effect.
After the copy of Unbreakable Formation resolves, Fiery Cannonade will resolve. However, your creatures have indestructible, so they're safe for the moment. Finally, the original Unbreakable Formation will resolve and give your knights each a +1/+1 counter for a total of three power each.

My opponent and I each control a Platinum Angel and each have a negative life total, with me at -5 and my opponent at -6. I cast Revenge targeting my opponent. What are our life totals after Revenge resolves?
A: The answer is...
A: I'm at -5 and my opponent is at -3.
B: I'm at -5 and my opponent is at -6.
C: I'm at -10 and my opponent is at -3.
D: I'm at -10 and my opponent is at -6.

The answer is
D: I'm at -10 and my opponent is at -6.
It's impossible to gain or lose a negative amount of life, so my opponent is just going to stay at -6. Doubling a life total doesn't follow the same rules as it's just multiplication, so my -5 gets doubled to -10 and I'm the only one worse off in this situation. Not my finest hour.

I'm in the process of resolving Dream Eater's surveil trigger and I'm looking at four different cards. How many different ways are there to arrange these cards between my library and graveyard?
A: The answer is...
A: 240
B: 120
C: 84
D: 24

The answer is
B: 120.
Yes, I know that this isn't really a rules question, but I figured that enough our readers are interested in the mathematical side of Magic.
To find our answer, we need to look at the math around permutations. The number of ways to order a set of four objects is 24, which 4! (4*3*2*1), but that's not the answer just yet. There are five possible divisions of the card between the library and the graveyard because surveiling doesn't force us to put at least one card to each zone. When we multiply 24 by 5, we get the final answer of 120.
Some of you might wonder why we don't halve all of our options that don't involve putting all of the cards either back on top of the library or into the graveyard, which would make the answer 84, but the reason here is that the two sets of cards are going to different places, so they're not interchangeable.

As a proper Izzet mad scientist, I want to watch things get zapped, so in your end step, I cast Electrodominance with X=5. Which of the following cards can I choose to cast for free during the second part of Electrodominance's resolution? (Choose all that are correct.)
A: The answer is...
A: Devious Cover-Up
B: Warden (of Warrant // Warden)
C: Master Warcraft
D: Wheel of Fate

The answer is
A and D: Devious Cover-Up and Wheel of Fate.
As Nathan covered two weeks ago, Electrodominance looks at the total CMC of a card in your hand and that's the combined CMC of both halves for a split card. This disqualifies Warrant//Warden.
While Electrodominance allows you to cast spells outside of their usual timing windows, such as creatures or sorceries, it can't overcome card-specific restrictions on when in a turn a card can be cast, such as the one on Master Warcraft. We're too late in the turn to cast it, so not even my impressive skill with Izzet lightning can make that happen.
A card with no printed mana cost, such as Wheel of Fate, has a CMC of 0 and is a legal choice to cast with Electrodominance for any value of X. (There's even a new variant of the Living End deck in Modern making use of this interaction!)
Devious Cover-Up is perhaps the strangest one of the options that's allowed here, at least if there's nothing else on the stack. However, we're casting the free spell during Electrodominance's resolution and so Electrodominance itself is still on the stack at that time and is a legal choice for what Devious Cover-Up will counter. It won't be there when Devious Cover-Up goes to resolve, but we can still get some value by shuffling back in some cards since Cover-Up is only countered if all of its targets are illegal, but the targets in the graveyard should still be legal. You choose these targets when you cast Devious Cover-Up, though, and so you can't shuffle Electrodominance back into your deck this way.

Ask the Audience? No thanks.
Places everyone! The curtain is about rise and Judith, the Scourge Diva is about to put on her greatest performance yet thanks to herself. If I enchant Judith with Infinite Reflection, how many other nontoken creatures do I need to control to kill an opponent who's at 20 with just the damage triggers from Judith and her reflections when the legend rule is applied?
A: The answer is...
A: 20
B: 10
C: 5
D: 4

The answer is
D: 4.
When we apply the legend rule here, we're going to have to choose a Judith to keep (the original, of course) and put all the rest of them into the graveyard. Each Judith will see all of these creatures dying and trigger from each death, including its own. With four other nontoken creatures, we'll have five Judiths, of which four die, meaning we have 5*4=20 triggers, which is enough to kill our hapless opponent. What a show!

I have three Rhizome Lurchers in my graveyard, along with two Llanowar Elves as the only other creature cards in my graveyard. I cast Immortal Servitude with X=4 to return the Lurchers to the battlefield. What's the power and toughness of our newly returned friends?

A: The answer is...
A: All three Lurchers are 4/4.
B: All three Lurchers are 7/7.
C: One Lurcher is 6/6, one is 5/5, and one is 4/4.
D: One Lurcher is 7/7, one is 6/6, and one is 5/5.

The answer is
B: All three Lurchers are 7/7.
Since Rhizome Lurcher enters the battlefield with counters, we have to apply this effect before it's on the battlefield, which means we count the number of creatures in the graveyard at that time, which includes the Rhizome Lurcher itself.
Even though the three returning Lurchers will get relative timestamps to each other, they do enter the battlefield simultaneously and not one at a time, so all of them will be the same size.
Since there are five creatures in the graveyard immediately before the Rhizome Lurchers enter, the battlefield each of them will enter the battlefield with five +1/+1 counters, making each of them 7/7.

I'm playing in a match at FNM and both me and my opponent are at 1 life. I activate and resolve Spear Spewer's ability, making the game a draw. Which of the following things are true about what happens later on in the match after the drawn game? (Choose all that are correct.)
A: The answer is...
A: We're allowed to sideboard before the next name starts.
B: My opponent choose who goes first in the next game because they didn't cause the draw.
C: We don't get any extra time for our match because of the draw.
D: At the end of the match, the draw needs to be recorded as part of the match result.

The answer is
A, C, and D.
When a game ends in a draw, the match proceeds pretty much as normal. Players are allowed to sideboard as normal for the next game, even if the drawn game was the first game. The player who had the play/draw choice in the drawn game maintains that choice in the next game and players mulligan as normal in the next game. No extra time is added to the match for the drawn game and the players need to try to finish your match in the time that's left in the round. (You might get some extra time if a judge has to explain what the draw means, but only enough to make up for the explanation.) Also, the drawn game definitely needs to be reported with the match result as this affects one of the tiebreaker used in tournaments.

Which one of the following spells will cause Blaze Commando's ability to trigger more rather than once?
A: The answer is...
A: Flames of the Raze-Boar while you control a creature with 4 power and your opponent controls multiple creatures.
B: Cone of Flame targeting three different opponents..
C: Blasphemous Act with three creatures on the battlefield.
D: Price of Progress when your opponent controls two nonbasic lands.

The answer is
A: Flames of the Raze-Boar.
A spell deals damage each time it uses the word "deals" in its text, no matter how many things its dealing damage to. This means that Cone of Flame and Blasphemous Act won't trigger Blaze Commando.
Spells like Price of Progress that deal damage "for each" of something calculate the total amount of damage and deal all the damage at once.

My opponent casts my Trostani Discordant, which they had exiled with their Thief of Sanity. When Trostani's end step trigger resolves, will I gain control of the tokens created by Trostani in addition to Trostani itself? Why or why not?
A: The answer is...
A: Yes. The tokens were created by a permanent I own, so I'm the owner of those tokens.
B: No. Tokens don't have an owner, so Trostani's trigger can't affect them.
C: No. Trostani's trigger only applies to nontoken creatures.
D: No. My opponent created the tokens, so they're the owner of those tokens.

The answer is
The owner of a token is the player who created it. Effects that create tokens instruct a player to create those tokens and that player is the owner of those tokens.
Previously, tokens were owned by the player who controlled the effect that created them, but that was confusing and unintuitive, so it was changed.
Trostani's ability doesn't differentiate between token creatures and nontoken creatures and will both types of creatures to their owners' control when it resolves.

Is that your final answer?
Which of the following entering the battlefield under your control will let you draw a card with Guardian Project's triggered ability? (Choose all that are correct.)
A: The answer is...
A: Two copies of the same legendary creature entering the battlefield simultaneously.
B: A face-down creature when you control another face down creature.
C: Clone copying an opponent's creature that you don't play in your deck when you have a Clone in your graveyard as well.
D: A token copy of an opponent's creature that you don't play in your deck created by Spitting Image.

The answer is
B and C.
To cause Guardian Project to trigger, a nontoken creature has to not share a name with another creature you control or a creature card in your graveyard as it enters the battlefield. For the trigger to resolve and draw you a card, that still has to be true when the trigger goes to resolve.
Two copies of the same legendary creature won't work here for both reasons, and a token from Spitting Image isn't a nontoken creature even if it's copying a nontoken creature.
A face-down creature has no name and an object with no name can't share a name with anything, even something else without a name, so the trigger will happen as normal for our morphy friend.
Clone will trigger Guardian Project in this situation because we don't check to see if Guardian Project will trigger until the creature enters the battlefield, at which point Clone is already a copy of the opponent's creature.

Well how did you do? Were you a worthy candidate or will be helping out Judith with her next performance? If you manage to survive until then, please join us again here next week!

- Charlotte

Re the Dimir question: the answer here is the correct answer in formats where graveyard order matters.

However, in formats where graveyard order doesn't matter, and you choose to, say, put all 4 cards into the graveyard, can you really do that in 24 different orders?

To which the answer is: yes, you technically still can, if you really want to. However, it's interesting to consider the combinatorics for when graveyard order doesn't count as a different arrangement, but library order still does count.

This calculation is more complicated... I'm not 100% sure I'm doing it right, but I believe the total in such a situation would be 65 different permutations.
#1 • Date: 2019-02-17 • Time: 22:19:24 •
Quote (phlip):
Re the Dimir question: the answer here is the correct answer in formats where graveyard order matters.

However, in formats where graveyard order doesn't matter, and you choose to, say, put all 4 cards into the graveyard, can you really do that in 24 different orders?

To which the answer is: yes, you technically still can, if you really want to. However, it's interesting to consider the combinatorics for when graveyard order doesn't count as a different arrangement, but library order still does count.

This calculation is more complicated... I'm not 100% sure I'm doing it right, but I believe the total in such a situation would be 65 different permutations.

I hadn't considered this take on the question, but you're right that it's an interesting angle. Your calculations of 65 also match my own, with 24 ways to arrange 4 cards going to library, 24 ways to arrange 3 cards to library and 1 to graveyard, 12 ways to arrange a 2/2 split, 4 ways to do a 1/3 split and 1 way to send all the cards to the graveyard.
#2 • Date: 2019-02-18 • Time: 12:30:00 •

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