Published on 04/29/2019

Ravnica: Endgame

Cranial Translation
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Endings are just beginnings...
Greetings and welcome back to another issue of Cranial Insertion! If you went to a game store to attend a War of the Spark prerelease last weekend, you got to witness several brave heroes unite on a desperate mission to save the universe from a powerful supervillain. Personally, I went to a movie theater and I got to witness several brave heroes unite on a desperate mission to save the universe from a powerful supervillain... in IMAX 3D. Regardless of whether you went to a game store or to a movie theater, I'm sure you had a marvelous time.

With the imminent release of War of the Spark, it is time to take look at the fun card interactions this set has in store for us. As always, if you have questions for us, please email them to or tweet short questions to @CranialTweet. One of our authors will get back to you with an answer, and your question might appear in a future article.

Q: How does amass work when I control Divine Visitation?

A: Well, first off, if you already control an Army, it works like it does when you don't control Divine Visitation: You choose an Army you control and put the appropriate number of +1/+1 counters on it. If you don't control an Army, amass tells you to create one, and that's where Divine Visitation steps in and makes you create an Angel instead. Then, it tells you to choose an Army you control and put counters on it, which is impossible because you still don't control an Army.

Q: If I control Kasmina, Enigmatic Mentor and my opponent casts Command the Dreadhorde targeting a creature in my graveyard, does their spell cost more?

A: No. That creature in your graveyard is actually a creature card in your graveyard, and you own it but you don't control it. Kasmina's effect only applies to spells that target a creature or planeswalker on the battlefield. Command the Dreadhorde only targets cards in graveyards, so Kasmina's effect never applies to it.

Q: Can I cast Ancestral Vision with Bolas's Citadel?

A: Sure, that's no problem. When Ancestral Vision is the top card of your library, Bolas's Citadel allows you to cast that card for an alternative cost of "pay some life". Even though Ancestral Vision has an unpayable mana cost, you can always cast it for an alternative cost if an effect gives it an alternative cost; this is exactly how suspend itself lets you cast Ancestral Vision for free when its last time counter comes off. Bolas's Citadel lets you do it quite a bit faster by paying life equal to Ancestral Vision's converted mana cost, which is 0, so you get to cast it for free with Bolas's Citadel.

Q: I control Ashiok, Dream Render and use his -1 ability on my opponent. One of the cards they put into their graveyard is Gaea's Blessing. What happens?

A: Gaea's Blessing's ability triggers during the resolution of Ashiok's ability, but it has to wait for the ability to finish resolving before it can go on the stack. This means that your opponent's graveyard, including Gaea's Blessing, gets exiled. Then, Gaea's Blessing's ability still goes on the stack and resolves, which causes your opponent to shuffle their empty graveyard into their library, so they just shuffle their library.

Q: Ajani's Pridemate in War of the Spark has different wording that its Core Set 2019 version. If I control both versions and gain life, what happens?

A: What happens is that you always treat cards as if their Oracle text from Gatherer were printed on them. Ajani's Pridemate's current Oracle text matches the War of the Spark version, so all versions of Ajani's Pridemate behave like that version where the counter is mandatory.

Q: My opponent controls Gideon Blackblade and it's their turn, and I flash in Merfolk Trickster to take away Gideon's abilities. What does Gideon become, and what happens if I do this while Gideon is attacking?

A: Thanks to layers, Gideon is still a creature. His type-changing effect applies in layer 4, where he becomes a Legendary Planeswalker Creature — Human Soldier Gideon. In layer 6, he gives himself indestructible and then Merfolk Trickster's effect removes that ability along with all his other abilities. In layer 7b, his power and toughness get set to 4/4 even though the ability creating this effect no longer exists; because parts of the ability started to apply in an earlier layer, it gets to finish applying. When the dust settles, he's a 4/4 Human Soldier Gideon planeswalker creature without any abilities, and if he was attacking, he still is attacking.

Q: If my opponent controls Teyo, the Shieldmage, does Bond of Discipline still tap their creatures?

A: Absolutely. Bond of Discipline doesn't target your opponents or their creatures, so having hexproof doesn't spare your opponent from its effect.

Double your planeswalker,
Double your fun.
Q: What do I get when I use Clever Impersonator to copy a Spark Double that copied Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God?

A: There will be three Nicol Bolases on the battlefield, but somehow the universe can look past this paradox. Clever Impersonator copies the copiable characteristics of Spark Double, as modified by Spark Double's own copy effect. This means that Clever Impersonator copies Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God as printed, except that the Impersonator copy is not legendary, just like the Spark Double copy. The Impersonator will only enter with four loyalty counters, though, because the replacement effect that changed with how many counters the Spark Double copy entered was not a modification to Spark Double's copiable characteristics.

Q: If I target an opponent's creature and a planeswalker with Casualties of War and my opponent sacrifices the creature in response, does the planeswalker still get destroyed?

A: Sure. When a spell resolves, it checks if its targets are still legal, and if at least one of its targets is still legal, it'll resolve and do as much as it can. The creature is no longer a legal target, but the planeswalker is still a legal target, so it'll still get destroyed.

Q: Does Huatli, the Sun's Heart change how much damage a creature deals in a fight?

A: No. Huatli's ability doesn't change a creature's power. It only changes how much damage the creature deals in combat by changing the rules for the combat damage step. A fight is not the same as combat, and Huatli's ability does not change what happens in a fight.

Q: If I cast Lazotep Plating and then I cast a creature later in that turn, does that creature get hexproof, too?

A: No. Lazotep Plating creates an effect that only applies to creatures you control at the time it resolves. Creatures that come into your control after this effect has been created won't benefit from it.

Q: How exactly does Niv-Mizzet Reborn's ability work?

A: Well, you start by revealing the top ten cards of your library. Then, you get to choose one card for each of the ten color pairs that exist in Magic. To do this, start by setting aside the revealed cards that are colorless, those that have only one color, and those that have three or more colors, which leaves you with cards that have exactly two colors. Sort the two-colored cards into piles so that each pile has one color combination, i.e. the red/white cards go into one pile, the red/green cards go into another pile, and so on. Now, choose one card from each pile and put them into your hand. Shuffle all other revealed cards and put them on the bottom of your library, and you're done. Easy-peasey!

Q: If I control a Dovin, Hand of Control that was cast with white mana, does he still get exiled by Ravnica at War?

A: I'm afraid so. Ravnica at War exiles all multicolored permanents. In the absence of a color indicator or color-defining ability, a permanent's colors are determined by the colors of the symbols in its mana cost. Dovin, Hand of Control has a mana symbol in its mana cost that is white and blue, so Dovin is white and blue even if he was cast with only one color of mana.

Q: If I target an indestructible planeswalker with The Elderspell, what happens?

A: The same thing happens as if you hadn't targeted that planeswalker. It doesn't get destroyed, because that's impossible, and it doesn't count towards the number of planeswalkers "destroyed this way" because it wasn't actually destroyed this way.

Thunder, feel the thunder
Lightning and the thunder
Q: I control a Thunder Drake that has no counters on it, and I cast Contentious Plan as the second spell of my turn. Does Thunder Drake get a counter in time for me to proliferate it?

A: Yup. Thunder Drake's ability goes on top of stack above Contentious Plan, so the ability resolves first and gives the Drake a counter, which you can then proliferate when Contentious Plan resolves.

Q: If there are no creatures on the battlefield, can I cast Wanderer's Strike just to proliferate some loyalty counters on my planeswalkers?

A: No, that doesn't work. Wanderer's Strike has a target that's not optional. If the target were optional, the spell would read "Exile up to one target creature, then proliferate." It's not written that way, so you can't cast Wanderer's Strike without choosing a legal target. On a related note, if you do cast it on a legal target and the target becomes illegal in response, Wanderer's Strike doesn't resolve and you don't get to proliferate, which is kind of a bummer.

Q: If I cast Command the Dreadhorde and one of the planeswalkers I target is The Wanderer, does The Wanderer protect me from Command the Dreadhorde's damage?

A: No. You follow the instructions of Command the Dreadhorde in the order they're written on the card, so you're dealt damage first, and then you put the targeted cards onto the battlefield. Since The Wanderer wasn't on the battlefield yet, they were powerless to prevent the damage.

Q: Since The Wanderer doesn't have a planeswalker type, does that mean I can control multiple copies of them at the same time?

A: No, it doesn't work that way. Once upon a time there was the planeswalker uniqueness rule that cared about the planeswalker type, but that rule no longer exists. Planeswalkers are legendary permanents now — usually — and they are governed by the legend rule. If you control two The Wanderers, the legend rule will kick in and ask you to get rid of one of them.

Q: I'm playing War of the Spark Limited and I have nothing but planeswalkers in my opening hand. Do I get a free mulligan?

A: Not unless you're in a multiplayer game, in which case the first mulligan is free regardless of the contents of your opening hand. Otherwise, "Oops, all planeswalkers" is not a valid reason to get a free mulligan. I've heard of some casual play groups where you get a free mulligan for all-land or all-spells hands, but those aren't part of the official rules. If you want to mulligan that all-planeswalkers hand — and I strongly recommend you do — you'll have to go down to six cards.

Q: I'm in a War of the Spark draft, and the pack I just opened doesn't have a planeswalker in it. What should I do?

A: You should call a judge and let them deal with it. The Head Judge and the Tournament Organizer will decide whether to leave the pack in the draft or whether to replace it. It's likely that they will decide to replace the pack for the sake of customer service, but the decision is at their discretion and they are not required to replace the pack.

And that's it for this week. Thanks for reading, and please come back next week when Nathan brings us another round of Magic Rules Q&A.

- Carsten Haese

About the Author:
Carsten Haese is a former Level 2 judge based in Toledo, OH. He is retired from active judging, but he still writes for Cranial Insertion and helps organize an annual charity Magic tournament that benefits the National MS Society.

About the question for clone copying spark double copying Bolas.
Is the word clone refering to the card or just the cloning effect in general because I can't see how the clone card could copy a planeswalker.
#1 • Date: 2019-04-29 • Time: 00:48:50 •
Quote (Bonogringo):
About the question for clone copying spark double copying Bolas.
Is the word clone refering to the card or just the cloning effect in general because I can't see how the clone card could copy a planeswalker.

Thanks for catching our mistake there. I've changed Clone to Clever Impersonator.
#2 • Date: 2019-04-29 • Time: 05:45:48 •

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