Published on 02/25/2019

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Hello, and welcome to this week's Cranial Insertion, sponsored by the Azorius Senate. Now, as a proud representative of the Azorius, I do need to view your Intent to View Approved Azorius Materials before we begin... ok, it looks like you have your paperwork, signed and approved by at least two fellow guildmages- oh, and you also have it in triplicate. I see you've worked with us before. It looks like all of your paperwork is in order, so go right ahead into the reading chamber.

If you have any questions about the Azorius or the important work that we do, we'll be available after the event. If you have a Magic rules question, it's probably better that you address it to the writers here at Cranial Insertion. You can send them shorter questions at @CranialTweet, and longer questions can be sent to .

Q: I have an Experimental Frenzy in play, and the top card of my library is Sacred Foundry. If I play the Foundry, do I get to see the next card down before I decide whether or not to pay 2 life?

A: You do not. The Foundry has a replacement effect that applies before it enters the battlefield. Since it's not on the battlefield yet, that means it's still in its previous zone (in this case, the library). You'll have to choose whether or not to pay 2 life before you see the next card on top of your library (and before you know if you'll need that Foundry to cast a spell from the top of your library).

Q: Does Ashes of the Abhorrent prevent my opponent from putting a Gate Colossus from their graveyard on top of their library when they play a Gate?

A: No it does not. That ability is a triggered ability, and the Ashes only stops casting spells or activating abilities from the graveyard. The Ashes won't stop triggered abilities from cards in the graveyard, so your opponent will still be able to use the Colossus's ability when they play a Gate.

Q: It's my main phase, and I haven't played a land this turn. I cast a spell, and my opponent tries to counter it with Syncopate. Can I play a land in response to help pay for Syncopate?

A: No you can't. You can only play a land during one of your main phases when the stack is empty and you have a land drop available. You cannot play a land in response to a spell or ability, even if it's your main phase. Because your spell and your opponent's Syncopate are on the stack, you will not be able to play a land and help pay for Syncopate.

Q: I have a Transmogrifying Wand with one charge counter in play. My opponent exiles the Wand with Conclave Tribunal, and then I destroy the Tribunal. When the Wand returns, how many counters does it have on it?

A: Three counters. When it left the battlefield, it lost any counters that it had on it. But when it returned, it's a new permanent entering the battlefield, so it has a fresh set of three counters on it, ready to turn three more creatures into oxen.

Q: I have a Cliffhaven Vampire and some other creatures in play. I cast Fumigate. How many times does the Vampire trigger?

A: Zero times. With Fumigate, first, you destroy all of the creatures, then you gain the life. The Vampire was destroyed by Fumigate before you gained the life, so it won't trigger at all, so your opponent won't lose any life from the Vampire's triggered ability.

Q: My opponent has a blue creature enchanted by Aether Tunnel and attacks me with it. Can I cast Brave the Elements, giving my white creatures protection from blue, and block their attacking creature?

A: No you cannot. While protection does a lot of things, it doesn't let the creature block a creature that it can't normally block. Because of the Tunnel, their attacking creature can't be blocked. And while your creatures have protection from their attacking creature, it still can't block an attacking creature that can't be blocked.

Q: I have a Prime Speaker Vannifar in play. Can I cast Mulldrifter via evoke and sacrifice it to activate Vannifar's ability before it's sacrificed to evoke?

A: Nope, you can't do that. Vannifar's ability has a lot of text, but it's that last sentence that's the most important here: "Activate this ability only any time you could cast a sorcery". That means you can't activate it if there's another spell or ability on the stack. You won't get a chance to activate Vannifar's ability until after the evoke trigger (and after Mulldrifter has been sacrificed to the evoke trigger) has resolved.

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Q: I have a Siren Stormtamer in play, and over the course of the last few turns, my opponent has been putting prey counters on my creatures with Tetzimoc, Primal Death's activated ability. Finally, they get around to casting Tetzimoc. Can I use the Stormtamer's ability to counter Tetzimoc's triggered ability and prevent my creatures from being destroyed?

A: The Stormtamer won't save you here. The Stormtamer's ability can only target a spell or ability that targets you or a creature you control. While Tetzimoc's ability will certain affect your creatures when the trigger resolves, it's not targeting them, so the Stormtamer won't help. You can't activate the Stormtamer's ability targeting Tetzimoc's trigger and your creatures will be destroyed by Tetzimoc's trigger.

Q: I have a Thought Reflection in play, and I cast Enter the Infinite. Will I lose the game?

A: Depends: how many cards were in your library before the Infinite resolved?

Did you say anything besides zero? Then you're going to lose the game. The Infinite tells you to draw cards equal to the number of cards in your library, which the Reflection then doubles. You will end up drawing more cards than are in your library, and you'll end up losing the game right after the Infinite is done resolving, when state-based actions are checked (even though you library will end up with one card in it thanks to the last part of the Infinite's effect).

Q: If I equip a Boggart Brute with Vorrac Battlehorns, if I attack with the Brute, what can block it?

A: Effectively, nothing can block it. When declaring blockers, you have to obey all restrictions. Thanks to menace, the Brute can only be blocked by two or more creatures. But the Battlehorns say that it can't be blocked by more than one creature. Menace doesn't negate the effect from the Battlehorns (and vice versa), and since it's not possible to block it with both two or more creatures and just one creature, the Brute is unblockable.

Q: My opponent controls a Lavinia, Azorius Renegade. I cast Gut Shot by paying 2 life instead of one red mana. Does Lavinia counter Gut Shot?

A: Yes it will. Lavinia looks to see if you spent any mana to cast the spell. If you choose to pay 2 life instead of paying one red mana to cast Gut Shot, you haven't paid any mana to cast the spell, so Lavinia will trigger and will counter your Gut Shot. If you don't want it to be countered, you'd have to pay one red mana instead of life to cast it.

Q: I have Islands and a Jace, Memory Adept in play. My opponent attacks Jace with Benthic Behemoth. Can I block, since they're attacking my planeswalker and not me?

A: Nope, you can't block. While your opponent is attacking your planeswalker, you are still the defending player in this scenario, and because you control an island, you can't block the Behemoth. Thanks to your island and their islandwalker, you're not going to be able to block their attacking Behemoth.

Q: I have a Simic Initiate in play, and my opponent plays Phantasmal Image, choosing to copy Ashen Monstrosity. Can I use the graft trigger from my Squirter to kill the Image Monstrosity?

A: No you can't. While the Initiate's graft ability will trigger when your opponent's creature enters the battlefield, the graft trigger doesn't target the creature (even if you choose to move a counter to the creature). Since the Image isn't being targeted by the graft trigger, the Image's ability will not trigger and it will not be sacrificed.

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Q: if I enchant my opponent's creature with Spirit Link, who gains the life - me or my opponent?

A: You do. Spirit Link doesn't give the life gain trigger to the creature - it's an ability of Spirit Link itself. Even if you play Spirit Link on your opponent's creature, you still control the Link, and you'll be the one that gains life when the creature deals damage. Just note that Spirit Link isn't like the ability lifelink - you gain the life due to a triggered ability, not at the same time the enchanted creature deals damage. That means if you take lethal damage from their creature, you will lose the game before you can gain life from Spirit Link's trigger.

Q: I have a Duskwatch Recruiter in play with some +1/+1 counters on it. Then it transforms into Krallenhorde Howler. Will it keep its counters after it transforms?

A: Yes it will. When the Recruiter transforms into the Howler, it's still the same permanent, it just looks a little different. The Howler will keep any counters that it had on it when it was the Recruiter, as well as any auras or equipment that it had before it transformed.

Q: It's my opponent's end step, and my opponent passes priority to me. I activate Aether Vial, putting a Grand Abolisher onto the battlefield. Does my opponent get a chance to kill the Abolisher before their turn ends and it becomes my turn?

A: Yes they do. Even if they've already passed priority, they will always get priority again during the end step after the Vial's activated ability resolves. They aren't assumed to be passing priority since you decided to do something during their end step. If they have something like a Shock in their hand, they will always get the chance to cast it after the Vial's ability resolves, but before we move to the cleanup step and end their turn.

Q: I cast Raise the Alarm. In response, my opponent casts Gather Specimens. In response to my opponent's Specimens, I cast Crafty Cutpurse. In the end, who gets the tokens from Raise the Alarm?

A: You (the player that cast the Alarm) ends up with the tokens. When Raise the Alarm resolves, you would create two tokens. But we have a replacement effect that needs to apply (your opponent's Specimens), so we apply that replacment effect and your opponent would gets the tokens. But now that your opponent would be getting tokens, the effect from your Cutpurse applies, and you steal the tokens back. We're out of replacement effects to apply (we don't apply the Specimens to the event again since it can only apply once per event), so the net result is that you end up with the tokens, just as you originally planned.

Q: I control a Brago, King Eternal and a manifested creature enchanted by Cloudform. If I use Brago's trigger on the manifested creature, what happens to it?

A: Well, it depends on what the card actually is. When Brago's trigger resolves, it exiles the manifested card, and once it leaves play, it's back to its face up side. Then Brago's ability tries to return it, and one of two things will happen. If that manifested card was actually a permanent card, then Brago has no problems with it and it returns to the battlefield face up. But if that manifested card was actually an instant or a sorcery card, then it stays in exile. The game prohibits an instant or sorcery card from entering the battlefield, and if some effect tries to do that, it stays in the previous zone instead.

In short - if you manifested a permanent card, you're in good shape, since it will return face up. But if you manifested an instant or sorcery, it's stuck in exile and won't return to the battlefield.

Q: I'm in a multiplayer game, and I'm attacking one of my opponents with all of my creatures. Can I cast Foul-Tongue Shriek targeting a different opponent, or do I have to target the player I'm attacking?

A: The Shriek's target is "target opponent", not "target opponent that you're attacking with one or more creatures". You can attack one opponent, and cast the Shriek targeting a second opponent. Even though you're not attacking them, they'll still be affected by your spell and will be drained equal to the number of attacking creatures you control when the Shriek resolves.

Q: If I play Charisma on my teammate's creature, and that creature deals damage to an opponent's creature. Who gains control of the creature, me or my teammate?

A: You get the creature. Even though it's your teammate's creature dealing the damage, the trigger is from Charisma, and you still control Charisma, even though it's attached to your teammate's creature. That means that you'll gain control of the damaged creature (assuming it survived the damage), and not your teammate.

As a member of the Azorius, we thank you for your time and encourage you to return next week.


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