Published on 03/11/2019

Come Up to the Lab and See What's on the Slab

Cranial Translation
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Some may disagree with our research methods
here at CI Labs, but it's the results that matter!
Ah, hello there. I didn't see you come in. I was elbows deep in my latest... research project. We here at Cranial Insertion Labs work insane hours to bring you the finest in rules knowledge. Some may call us mad for working so hard, but soon we'll show them! WE'LL SHOW THEM ALL! Muahaahaha... err sorry, right, anyway...

Before I show you around and while you're filling out these waivers, it's a good time to remind you 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.

What? No, no... don't worry about the fine print there. I assure you, I don't even know what "vivisection" means and it's certainly nothing you should concern yourself with. Anyway, let me take you for a tour of the lab and show you some of our freshest specimens.

Q: I know that Electrodominance can cheat on the timing of sorceries like Living End, but can it circumvent specific timing rules on something like Necrologia?

A: No, it can't.
There is a difference between breaking a rule and directly contradicting a restriction put in place by another another card. You can do the first, because going beyond the rules is how most cards do anything at all, but you can't do the second. When two cards directly contradict one another, the card that says you can't do the thing will win. Necrologia can only ever be cast in your end step. You're not allowed to cast it by any means in any other step, phase, or turn.

Q: I control both Panharmonicon and Simic Ascendancy and I cast a Walking Ballista with X=5. Will Simic Ascendancy trigger twice?

A: No, it will only trigger once.
While entering the battlefield with counters counts as having those counters put on the permanent, it's the placing of counters that causes Simic Ascendancy to trigger here and not Walking Ballista entering the battlefield in general. This means that Panharmonicon doesn't care about the trigger and won't make it trigger twice.

Q: Is a transformed creature the same creature as before its transformation? For example, Thing in the Ice is targeted by Merfolk Trickster's ability in response to the trigger that would remove its last ice counter and transform it. Will Awoken Horror have any abilities or not?

A: A double-faced card that transforms without leaving the battlefield, which is most of them, is still the same object it was before it transformed except with different characteristics.
This means that when Thing in the Ice transforms in your example, Awoken Horror won't have any abilities and no creatures will be returned to their owners' hands.

Q: In a commander game I attack the player to my left. He casts Eye for an Eye and then the player to his left casts Darkness. Who takes damage if any when we get to combat damage step?

A: You'll take some damage from Eye for an Eye, maybe. It depends on how vindictive the player you're attacking is feeling. Both Darkness and Eye for an Eye want to modify/prevent the damage being dealt, so the player that would be dealt damage gets to choose which effect to apply to the combat damage from your creature first. If your opponent chooses to apply Darkness's effect first, then your creature won't deal any combat damage this turn and Eye for an Eye's effect will no longer apply to that damage.
If your opponent applies Eye for an Eye's effect first, then the combat damage to your opponent will be replaced with that same amount of combat damage and that amount of damage to you from Eye for an Eye. Darkness's effect is then applied and prevents the damage to your opponent, but you'll still be dealt the damage from Eye for an Eye.

Work on our mind control ray continues unabated
here at CI Labs. And you never heard about it.
Q: My opponent exiles my creature with Hostage Taker. I take control of the Hostage Taker with Mass Manipulation, who's allowed to cast my exiled creature: Me or my opponent?

A: Your opponent.
The effect that allows a player to cast the card exiled with Hostage Taker is part of the triggered ability that exiles the card and the player who controlled that ability will be the only one able to cast that creature from exile. It doesn't matter who controls Hostage Taker once it's on the battlefield.

Q: If both Hall of Gemstone and Contamination are on the battlefield, which one takes precedence?

A: Neither effect will take precedence and it's up to each player which effect will win for each land that they tap for colored mana. Technically both replacement effects will apply to each land that's tapped for mana, so you'll always end up with exactly one black mana or mana of the chosen color in the case of lands that tap for multiple mana.
Also, it's important to note that Hall of Gemstone's effect doesn't apply to colorless mana, so Contamination will always apply to colorless mana production first and then Hall of Gemstone will replace the black mana with mana of the chosen color.

Q: I control The Locust God enchanted with Darksteel Mutation. I equip and kill The Locust God with Skullclamp. Does The Locust God's death ability trigger?

A: No, it doesn't.
Even though The Locust God is no longer enchanted by Darksteel Mutation once it's in the graveyard, it was enchanted when it died and that's what the game looks at to see if anything triggers or not from permanents leaving the battlefield. Since it didn't have its return to hand ability at that time, there is nothing to trigger and The Locust God will be stuck in your graveyard for the time being.

Q: What's the interaction between Trinisphere and the Delve mechanic? Would a player be force to pay at least three actual mana for their Gurmag Angler when Trinisphere is on the battlefield?

A: Delve is one of the few things that can get around Trinisphere's ability. This is because Delve (along with Improvise and Convoke) is a payment mechanic and not a cost-reduction mechanic. The total cost of a spell is determined before any cards are delved away from your graveyard, and so Trinisphere has to just look on in disgust as your opponent casts their zombie fish by paying and exiling six cards from their graveyard.

Q: I've taken my opponent's Juggernaut with Vapor Snare and then another player takes control of it with Memnarch's activated abilities. What happens to Vapor Snare and who controls the Juggernaut?

A: Vapor Snare will remain attached to the Juggernaut, but Memnarch's controller will control it.
These two competing control-changing effects are both still applying to the Juggernaut, but the Memnarch player actually controls it because that player's effect is most recent.
You still control Vapor Snare, however, and will still have to pay its upkeep cost or sacrifice the aura.

Q: I enchant an opponent's creature with Shifting Shadow. On that opponent's upkeep, what happens if I use Word of Seizing on the enchanted creature in response to the trigger from Shifting Shadow?

A: Not what you want to happen.
Even though you now control the enchanted creature, the trigger from Shifting Shadow is still controlled by your opponent since they controlled the creature when the ability triggered. Your opponent will resolve the trigger fully, destroying the creature and replacing it with a new one as normal. Word of Seizing accomplishes nothing here.

Q: When looking at a mana cost restriction based on the source of the mana, like on Myr Superion, when are the mana source's characteristics checked? For example, if I tap an Inkmoth Nexus for mana and then animate the Nexus, can I spend that mana to pay for Myr Superion?

A: No, you can't.
Myr Superion only cares about the characteristics of the permanent when it produced the mana, and Inkmoth Nexus wasn't a creature when it was tapped for mana here and thus the mana can't be spent to cast Myr Superion.

Q: As part of casting Sudden Reclamation, am I allowed to not return a creature or land if don't want to?

A: No, you have to return a card of each type from your graveyard to your hand if possible. The graveyard is a public zone, so you can't "fail to find" a creature card or land card if one exists in the graveyard during the resolution of Sudden Reclamation. If it were optional to return those cards, it would say so in the spell's text.

Q: What happens when I control both Leonin Arbiter and Aven Mindcensor and an opponent wants to search their library?

A: Well, your opponent won't be able to search at all unless they pay for Leonin Arbiter's ability. If they pay, then they'll only be able to search the top four cards of their library becuase of Aven Mindcensor. Sounds like a bad deal to me, though.

CI Labs encourages reduced emissions via carpooling.
Q: Would a Lumbering Battlement equipped with Sword of Kaldra get +2/+2 for every creature it had damaged?

A: No. First of all, Sword of Kaldra is what's exiling the creatures dealt damage by Lumbering Battlement, not the creature itself. More importantly, however, is the fact that Lumbering Battlement's last ability is linked to its exile ability and will only count the cards exiled by that ability and not cards exiled by any other abilities it might gain.

Q: If I kick a Jilt and use it to bounce my Pestilent Spirit and deal damage to my opponent's 5/5 creature, will the damage Jilt deals have deathtouch?

A: No. When we go to resolve Jilt, we apply its effects in the order they're printed, so Pestilent Spirit is returned to your hand first and then 2 damage is dealt to your opponent's creature. Pestilent Spirit's ability only applies while it's on the battlefield, but it was no longer on the battlefield when Jilt dealt damage and so Jilt didn't have deathtouch when the damage was dealt and the creature won't die.

Q: I control both Winter Orb and Back to Basics. Am I right in thinking that each player can only untap a single basic land each turn?

A: Yes. Winter Orb limits the number of lands that a player can untap in each untap step to one and Back to Basics prevents nonbasic lands from untapping, so in combination they'll only allow each player to untap a single basic land in each of that player's untap steps.

Q: I control six mountains and cast Jaws of Stone targeting a single creature, then cast Radiate on it. Knowing that at least 1 damage must be dealt to every new target, can I divert 5 damage from every copy to an opponent?

A: No, that's not how this works.
When you copy a spell whose damage is divided as you choose between any number of targets, both the number of the targets and the division of the damage carry over onto the copy and can't be changed. Also, Radiate can only target a spell with a single target, so the original Jaws of Stone has to have been cast targeting a single creature for 6 damage. Each copy of Radiate will therefore deal 6 damage to its target and there is nothing you can change about this fact.

Q: I have a question about cards like Fact or Fiction in multiplayer. Since it just says "an opponent," do you choose the opponent or does it go in APNAP order or something else?

A: You get to choose an opponent when the spell resolves. You're not forced to pick the next player in turn order or anything like that and can pick any player who is your opponent.

Q: Do the tokens created by Tilonalli's Summoner attack trigger trigger Cavalcade of Calamity?

A: No. Cavalcade of Calamity triggers whenever a creature you control with power 1 or less attacks. A creature attacks when it's declared as an attacker in the declare attackers step. A token that's created attacking wasn't declared as an attacker and thus can't trigger any effects that trigger when a creature attacks.

Q: Does shuffling your graveyard into your library count as cards leaving your graveyard for the purposes of cards like Desecrated Tomb?

A: Yes.
Desecrated Tomb will trigger any time one or more creature cards move from your graveyard to another zone, be it your hand, exile, your library, or your command zone. All that's required is that a creature card goes from being in your graveyard to no longer being there. Where the card(s) end up doesn't matter.

Well now, that wasn't so bad, was it? I mean, if you comb your hair the right way, no one will even notice that hole or the missing piece of brain. Yes, I assure you that the procedure was strictly necessary and that there is nothing at all for you to worry about. Just get some rest and plenty of fluids and keep the hole packed with gauze. Oh, and don't forget to come back next week for your appointment with Dr. Nathan here at CI Labs!

- Charlotte


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