Published on 06/03/2019

Just a Summer Break

Cranial Translation
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Last one in the pool is the last one in the pool!
Hi everyone, and welcome back to Cranial Insertion. For a lot of people, this is about the time you're getting out of school for the summer. You've learned all you can for the year, and now it's time for a few months off, to do as much (or as little) as you want. Enjoy it while you can, because in just a few month, you get to go back (or, if you graduated, it's even scarier, because now you get to join the rest of us in the working world).

In the meantime, we're still here, answering all of your rules questions, every week. We don't get things like "summer breaks" or "vacations", but we do get to share our rules knowledge with you. And if you have a rules question of your own you'd like us to answer, you can do that by following these instructions: You can send us short rules questions to our Twitter account at @CranialTweet, and you can send longer rules questions to .

Q: I control a 3/2 Kronch Wrangler and cast Turret Ogre. Will the Wrangler get the counter in time to trigger the Ogre's ability?

A: No it won't. After the Wrangler enters the battlefield, since a creature with power 4 or greater entered the battlefield, the Wrangler's ability will trigger. However, at the same time, the Ogre's ability is checking to see if you control another creature with power 4 or greater. The Ogre only sees one other creature, and it's a 3/2, so the Ogre's ability won't trigger. It doesn't matter that the Wrangler will become a 4/3 later on, the condition for the Ogre's ability wasn't true as it entered, so the Ogre's ability won't trigger.

Q: I have a 4/4 Ugin's Conjurant, and my opponent attacks me with Kraul Stinger. If I block with the Conjurant, will my Conjurant die?

A: No it won't. In order for deathtouch to apply, the creature with deathtouch has to deal damage to the creature. But the Conjurant won't be dealt any damage by the Stinger - the two damage it would deal is prevented and Ugin's Conjurant loses two +1/+1 counters instead. Since no damage was dealt to the Conjurant, deathtouch won't apply and the Conjurant will survive, but it's been cut down in size - from a 4/4 to a 2/2.

Q: My opponent controls Kasmina, Enigmatic Mentor. If I want to cast Chandra's Pyrohelix targeting my opponent's two 1/1s, how much do I have to pay to cast it, or ?

A: You'll pay to cast the Pyrohelix. Kasmina makes your spells that target their permanents two more to cast, but Kasmisa doesn't care how many times that spell is targeting their permanents. Even though you're targeting two of their creatures, Kasmina only taxes the spell once, and you'll only have to pay two more to cast the Pyrohelix with two targets, not four more.

Q: The only creature on the battlefield is my 2/2 Zombie Army token. If I cast Enter the God-Eternals targeting the token, will it survive, or do I end up with a new 4/4 token?

A: Your army survives as a 6/6. We don't check state-based actions in the middle of a spell or ability resolving. Even though Enter the God-Eternals will deal 4 damage to the 2/2 token, the token will get four +1/+1 counters from amass before the spell finishes resolving (and state-based actions are checked), and when we finally get around to checking state-based actions, the token is a 6/6 with four damage marked on it, and it survives.

Q: I control Gideon Blackblade and Ajani, the Greathearted. If I activate Ajani's -2 ability, will Gideon get a +1/+1 counter or a loyalty counter?

A: Why does it have to be one or the other? Why can't it be both?

Gideon is a creature, so Ajani's ability will give it a +1/+1 counter. But Gideon is also a planeswalker, so Ajani also gives it a loyalty counter. Ajani doesn't care if it's both a planeswalker and a creature, so Gideon will get both types of counters.

Q: My opponent controls a Gate Colossus that I really need to kill. I control Feather, the Redeemed and I have a Reckless Rage in my hand. Is it possible for me to kill my opponent's Gate Colossus by casting the Rage twice in the same turn?

A: Yep, that's possible. What you want to do is cast the Rage targeting the Colossus and one of your creatures, triggering Feather's ability and exiling the Rage when it resolves. During the end step, Feather's ability triggers and returns the Rage from exile to your hand. The four damage from the original Rage is still marked on the Colossus, so if you cast it again during your end step, the Colossus will have taken a total of eight damage and it will die (just keep in mind that the same is true for your creature - if you cast the Rage twice targeting your Feather, Feather will end up with four damage marked on it and Feather will also die).

Q: My opponent just cast Gideon Blackblade on their turn. I'm holding Negate and Essence Scatter in my hand. Which one do I need to cast to counter Gideon?

A: You need to cast Negate. The ability that makes Gideon into a creature only works as long as Gideon is on the battlefield. No matter whose turn it is, anywhere but the battlefield, Gideon is just a planeswalker card or spell, not a creature card or spell, so you'll need to cast Negate to counter Gideon, not Essence Scatter.

Wait - when was the last time I ate something?

Q: My opponent played and animated Sarkhan the Masterless with his +1 ability. Can I kill the now-creature Sarkhan with Cast Down?

A: No you cannot. While Sarkhan made himself into a creature, he keeps any supertypes that he had before he was animated. Sarkhan was a legendary planeswalker before the ability resolved, and after it resolved, he's a legendary creature, and since he's legendary, he's not a legal target for Cast Down. Perhaps next time, you should show him the Price of Fame.

Q: I cast Finale of Devastation with X=10. I search my libray for Avenger of Zendikar. Will the plant tokens I get from the Avenger's enter the battlefield trigger also get +10/+10 and haste?

A: No they won't. Before we can put the Avenger's enter the battlefield trigger on the stack, we have to finish resolving the Finale. The Finale will only affect creatures on the battlefield when it resolves, so while the Avenger will get the bonus, the tokens haven't entered the battlefield yet and won't be affected by the Finale's bonus. Sorry, no army of giant, hasty plant tokens for you.

Q: I control a tapped Gideon Blackblade and my opponent controls Meekstone. Will Gideon untap during my untap step?

A: No he will not. The untap step is the first step of your turn, and because it's your turn, Gideon is a creature. When we're checking to see what will untap, we see that Gideon is a 4/4 creature, and Meekstone steps in and stops Gideon from untapping.

Q: I control Parallel Lives, and I cast Relentless Advance with no armies under my control. What happens when I'm told to amass 3?

A: Since you don't control an army, you first make a 0/0 token. But because of Parallel Lives, instead of making one 0/0 zombie army token, you make two 0/0 zombie army tokens. Then you put three +1/+1 counters on an army you control. You'll choose one of the two tokens you just created, and put all three counters on that token (you can't choose to split up the counters - all three of them have to go on the same army). Then, we finish resolving the Advance and check state-based actions. The token that you didn't put any counters is a 0/0 and will die.

In short, Parallel Lives won't do very much here. It causes a second token to briefly appear, but it will die as a 0/0 shortly after it's created. It'll be useful if you have an enter the battlefield trigger or a dies trigger, but you can't do much else with it before it dies.

Q: I control a Teferi, Time Raveler. If my opponent casts Bloodbraid Elf, will they be able to cast the Lightning Bolt that they cascade in to?

A: No, your opponent won't be able to cast the spell they cascade in to. Cascade has you cast the spell while the cascade trigger is resolving, and "in the middle of triggered ability resolving" is not a time you can normally cast a sorcery spell. Teferi will turn off your opponent's cascade shenanigans, preventing them from getting free spells from cascade until Teferi goes away.

Q: My opponent controls a Legion Warboss. If I steal their Warboss using Yasova Dragonclaw's triggered ability, will I get a token from the Warboss' triggered ability?

A: No you won't. Yasova's triggered ability resolves during your beginning of combat step, so you can use it to gain control of your opponent's Warboss. But the Warboss did not start your beginning of combat step under your control. You'll gain control of the Warboss too late for its ability to trigger, and you will not get the goblin token.

Q: My opponent is attacking me with Gigantosaurus. If I block it with a Dream Fighter, do they phase out before or after damage is dealt?

A: Before. The Fighter's ability triggers when it blocks or becomes blocked, so the trigger will go on the stack and resolve during the declare blockers step. That's before combat damage is dealt during the combat damage step, so the Fighter will phase out Gigantosaurus along with itself and neither creature will deal or receive any damage that combat.

Can you at least try to get a little sleep this summer?

Q: If I use Elvish Piper to put Myojin of Life's Web onto the battlefield, will it enter with a divinity counter?

A: No it will not. The Myohin has to be cast from your hand in order for it to enter with a divinity counter. While the Piper is putting it from your hand onto the battlefield, it's not being cast. You still have an 8/8 for cheap, but since it was put onto the battlefield, not cast, you don't get the divinity counter as well.

Q: I control World Shaper. My opponent casts Jokulhaups. Will World Shaper's triggered ability return my lands that were just destroyed to the battlefield?

A: Yes it will! The trigger from World Shaper won't go on the stack until Jokulhaups is done resolving and after everything has been destroyed. All of your destroyed lands are in the graveyard by the time we're resolving World Shaper's trigger, so the lands that were just destroyed (as well as any other lands that happen to be in your graveyard) will be returned to the battlefield tapped.

Q: I am at six life, and my opponent controls Ruric Thar, the Unbowed. If I cast Revitalize, will I gain three life before Rurir Thar's trigger resolves?

A: No you won't. Ruric Thar triggers when you cast Revitalize, and the trigger from Ruric Thar will resolve before the spell that triggered it. You'll take six damage and lose the game, since you're now at 0 life, before you gain three life from Revitalize.

Q: I control Jace, Vryn's Prodigy with enough cards in my graveyard to transform him. My opponent casts Bonfire of the Damned. If I respond to the Bonfire by activating Jace's ability and transform him into a planeswalker, can my opponent target Jace with the Bonfire?

A: No they cannot. Your opponent has to choose a target player or planeswalker when they cast the Bonfire. At that point, Jace is still a creature - he's not a planeswalker yet, and can't be targeted. Even if you respond by activating Jace's ability and transforming him into a planeswalker, we're passed the point of choosing targets, and your opponent won't be able to change the target of their already-cast Bonfire to your planeswalker Jace.

Q: I control a Reaper King and a Naban, Dean of Iteration. If I cast Changeling Titan, do I get one or two Reaper King triggers?

A: You get two triggers! Changing Titan is all creature types, including scarecrow, so it counts for the King's trigger. But it's also a wizard, and since a wizard enter the battlefield is causing an ability to trigger, Naban steps in and causes that ability to trigger a second time. Even though the King's ability triggers when a scarecrow enters the battlefield, because the Titan is also a wizard, Naban also cares about the trigger and you'll get to destroy two permanents.

Q: Can I use Mastermind's Acquisition to bring a nontraditional Magic card, like a scheme or a plane into the game? I know I can't play them, but I want to get them into my graveyard to make my Tarmogoyf even bigger.

A: That's a big dream, but it isn't going to work. In a tournament, "outside the game" means from your sideboard, and you can't have cards like schemes or planes in your sideboard. Even if you're in a casual game, where the rules are a little looser, we have a rule (specifically, 108.5) that prohibits bringing nontraditional cards (like planes and schemes) from outside the game into the main game.

That's it for next week. Join us here again next week, when Charlotte will dive in to Modern Horizons!


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