Published on 06/10/2019

Going Horizontal

Cranial Translation
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"Don't mind me. Just up to grab an extra blanket. It's freezing in here."
Hello hello and welcome to another fabulous edition of Cranial Insertion! I'm so excited to finally get to answer all your pressing questions about Modern Horizons and all it cool and weird new cards! :D

Before we get to the questions, though, here's the usual reminder 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.

Modern Horizons is an amazing, wide-reaching set with a ton of cool new cards and returning mechanics, so please, if we didn't answer your question this week, write in and ask it and we'll get to it in the weeks to come! But now, the questions:

Q: Does my Treasure Nabber trigger when an opponent uses Urza, Lord High Artificer's ability to tap one of their artifacts for ?

A: No, it doesn't.
While it's true that your opponent is tapping one of their artifacts and getting mana in return, the artifact itself isn't the source of the ability and thus this doesn't meet the definition of being tapped for mana. To be tapped for mana, a permanents own activated mana ability which includes in its cost has to be used.

Q: When exactly does the effect of a spliced card happen when the spell it's spliced onto resolves? For example, if I splice Splicer's Skill onto Day of Judgment, will I create the golem token before or after creatures are destroyed?

A: The text of a card that's spliced onto another spell is added to the end of that spell's text, meaning it will happen after that spell's own normal effects. In your example, this means that you'll create a golem token immediately after destroying all the other creatures with Day of Judgment's normal effect.

Q: I attack with a creature that's enchanted with Smoke Shroud. My opponent doesn't block, and so I bounce it for the Ninjutsu ability of Ninja of the New Moon. Is Smoke Shrould in my graveyard in time to trigger and attach itself to my new ninja?

A: Yes, this works the way you want it to.
Returning an unblocked creature you control to your hand is part of the cost of activating a ninjutsu ability, and so any auras attached to the returned creature will be put into the graveyard by state-based actions before the ninjutsu ability resolves. This means that Smoke Shroud will be in your graveyard when Ninja of the New Moon enters the battlefield and trigger as expected.

Q: If I have two experience counters and control Mizzix of the Izmagnus, does it only cost to splice Everdream onto an instant or sorcery I cast?

A: While it's natural to look at things piece by piece with this sort of interaction, cost reduction effects like Mizzix's only look at the cost of the spell once you add in extra costs like splicing cards or kicker costs. If you have two experience counters, Mizzix will reduce that aggregated cost by , so Ponder with Everdream spliced onto it will cost , but Pieces of the Puzzle with Everdream spliced onto it will cost , since Mizzix only reduces the cost by once. She won't reduce Pieces of the Puzzle's mana cost and the splice cost by each.

Sometimes having boundaries can be healthy.
Q: How does Unbound Flourishing work with spells with multiple s in their mana costs? Let's say that I want to cast Walking Ballista with four mana available.

A: It works exactly the same as it does for spells with a single in their mana cost, either doubling the value of X for permanent spell or copying instants, sorceries, and activated abilities.

In your example, you can cast Walking Ballista with X=2 for a total cost of . Unbound Flourishing will then trigger and double the value of X from 2 to 4, meaning that Walking Ballista will have a converted mana cost of 8 and will enter the battlefield with four +1/+1 counters on it.

Q: I have the emblem from Wrenn and Six and Crashing Footfalls in my graveyard. Can I cast Crashing Footfalls using Retrace or not?

A: No, you can't.
Retrace on an instant or sorcery card in your graveyard lets you cast that card by discarding a land card in addition to paying that spell's other costs. Retrace isn't an alternate cost, so it requires that you either pay the card's mana cost or some other alternate cost. Crashing Footfalls has an unpayable mana cost, since a non-existent cost can't be paid. Without some alternate cost to pay, your footfalls won't be crashing any time soon.

Q: What happens when I control Ayula, Queen Among Bears, and I have another bear enter the battlefield while also controlling Panharmonicon? Can I have my new bear get counters and then fight?

A: Panharmonicon will cause Ayula to trigger twice instead of once and these are fully separate triggers, so you can choose different modes and targets for them. This means that you can indeed have your new bear recieve two +1/+1 counters and then fight for the glory of all bearkind. Hooray!

Q: My Morophon, the Boundless is naming Minotaur and I want to cast Boros Reckoner. Is it one or two mana cheaper? Basically, I just want to know how hybrid mana works with Morophon.

A: A hybrid mana symbol in a cost represents a choice to be made in the process of casting the spell or activating the ability with the hybrid cost. For each hybrid mana symbol in the cost, you choose which of the two options you're going to pay before you apply any cost reductions (such as Morophon's ability). What this means is that the amount that Morophon can reduce the cost by depends on the choices you make for it.
When you go to cast Boros Reckoner, you can choose to pay , , , or . Morophon will then reduce that cost as much as possible, meaning that you would end up paying , , , or depending on the choices you made for each mana symbol.

Q: Speaking of Morophon, will combining it with Fist of Suns make all my spells of the chosen creature type free?

A: Yes, it will.
When you cast a spell of the chosen creature type, you'll get Morophon's discount, but before that happens you'll have to choose if you're going to pay any alternate (and/or additional) costs for it. If you choose to pay the alternate cost from Fist of Suns, then that sets the spell's cost at . We can then apply Morophon's cost reduction effect, which will reduce the cost by , leaving a nice clean cost of left to pay.

Q: What exactly is snow mana? What can be used to cast Arcum's Astrolabe?

A: The snow mana symbol (), is a generic mana symbol that specifies that the cost can only be paid with mana produced by a permanent with the Snow supertype. This can be mana from a snow land, e.g. Snow-Covered Mountain, or from another snow permanent that make mana, e.g. Boreal Druid or another Arcum's Astrolabe. You can spend colorless mana or mana of any color to pay a cost, so long as the source of the mana has the Snow supertype.

Q: I've heard that there's some sort of loop I can do with Yawgmoth, Thran Physician and Geralf's Messenger, but I don't quite understand it. Could you explain it for me?

A: Certainly!
The combo actually works with any two creatures with Undying, using at least one Geralf's Messenger will allow you to slowly whittle away at your opponents' life totals.
So let's say that we control Yawgmoth and two Geralf's Messengers, one without any counters on it and one with a +1/+1 counter on it. We start the loop by sacrificing the Messenger without a counter on it to activate Yawgmoth's first activated ability, targeting the other Messenger. The sacrificed Messenger will return to the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter on it and cause an opponent to lose two life. Yawgmoth's ability then resolves, nullifying the counter on the other Messenger and drawing us a card. We're now back in the same situation we started in, except with the Messengers in reversed states. We can thus repeat the loop, each time sacrificing the counter-free Messenger, and do so for as much life as we have or as many cards as we have in our library or until our opponents are dead, whichever comes first.

Q: I cast an overloaded Winds of Abandon while my opponent has a bunch of creatures and I control Ob Nixilis, Unshackled. My opponent is in for a really bad time, right?

A: Oh yes, yes indeed.
Unlike similar cards, the search on Winds of Abandon is mandatory and so your opponent won't have any way to get around facing Ob Nixilis's wrath. Because of the wording necessary for Overload, Winds of Abandon causes a separate search for each creature exiled, which means that your opponent will lose 10 life for each creature exiled by Winds of Abandon. Ouch.

Q: If I cascade into another sliver off of The First Sliver's cast trigger, will that sliver cascade as well?

A: No, it won't.
While the First Sliver naturally has Cascade itself, it has to be on the battlefield in order to grant cascade to your other Sliver spells. Since it's still on the stack while you're resolving its cascade trigger, your other slivers won't cascade yet.

Cascade. Retrace. Minimalist Perfection.
Q: After casting a few spells, my opponent plays the last card in their hand, which is Weather the Storm. In response to the Storm trigger, I sacrifice my Ranger-Captain of Eos. What happens?

A: What happens isn't what you're hoping.
The sacrifice ability of Ranger-Captain of Eos doesn't affect any spells already on the stack but simply stops your opponents from casting further noncreature spells this turn after it resolves. Additionally, the copies of a spell created by its storm trigger aren't cast and so Weather the Storm's trigger will successfully make some copies of the spell and then all of those copies (and the original) will resolve normally.

Q: I have my Icehide Golem enchanted with Elemental Resonance. What mana do I add when Elemental Resonance's trigger resolves?

A: You'll add .
As I explained earlier, is just a marker for a generic mana that must be paid with mana created by a source with the snow supertype. Since is a generic mana symbol, Elemental Resonance's ability will add an equivalent amount of to your mana pool, which is one. Additionally, the mana is produced by Elemental Resonance and not Icehide Golem, so it can't be used to pay further costs.

Q: I'm a bit confused by Cabal Therapist. If an opponent casts a spell in response to the trigger, can I choose a different opponent for it or am I locked into targeting someone when my main phase starts?

A: Cabal Therapist's ability has what's known as reflexive trigger. This means that the you don't choose a target for its ability until the first part of the trigger resolves and you sacrifice a creature. If/when you sacrifice a creature to its trigger, you then target a player for the second half of the trigger. Everyone gets a chance to respond before this second part of the trigger resolves, though. Finally, when the second half of the trigger resolves, you'll name a card and the target will reveal their hand and discard.

Q: My opponent's only creature is God-Eternal Rhonas. I cast Kaya's Guile choosing the first two modes. Is Rhonas exiled or in my opponent's library when the dust settles?

A: Rhonas will be exiled.
When you resolve a modal spell like Kaya's Guile, the chosen modes are always resolved in the order they're printed on the card, so your opponent will sacrifice Rhonas before immediately exiling their graveyard, which contains Rhonas. While Rhonas's last ability will trigger when he's sacrificed, that trigger doesn't go on the stack until after Kaya's Guile has finished resolving and so the trigger won't be able to find Rhonas in the graveyard and will thus be unable to recover him. This is because effects that look for cards that change zones can only ever find them in the first zone they move to.

Q: When I cast Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis from my graveyard, is it possible to also delve Hogaak to help pay the cost?

A: No, you can't do this. The first step of casting any spell is to move it from where it is currently and put it on the stack. When you start to cast Hogaak, it's no longer in your graveyard and thus not eligible to be delved away.

Q: If my library is empty, can I dredge Shenanigans instead of drawing a card so that I don't lose the game?

A: No, this doesn't work. In order to replace a draw with a card's dredge ability, you must have enough cards in your library to do so. Since you don't have any cards in your library, you can't dredge 1 and thus you'll just draw normally on your draw step and lose the game.

Wow, that's a lot to take in. I wouldn't blame you if so many cool new cards and crazy abilities makes you need to lie down and have a nap. Don't sleep too long, though, or you'll miss next week's CI with even more awesome answers to crazy rules questions!
- Charlotte


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