Published on 06/17/2019

I'm Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot

Cranial Translation
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Artist's rendition of me every time
I go outside lately
It's the middle of June, and that means the plane I live on is hot, hot, hot. We're talking, like, "three angry Chandra" sort of heat. Jamaican vacation sort of heat. So, what better way to chill than with some cool rules questions? My mom won't buy me freeze pops anymore. It's tragic.

As always, if you've got any burning questions of your own, you should reach out to us! Email us at or tweet @CranialTweet. If your question is really good, we might feature it here!

With the preliminaries out of the way, let's lead this week off with a correction from last week's article, yeah? Yeah. Let's do that.

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: It'll be bad, but not that bad — they'll only search one time. We have a shiny new rule that covers just this situation:

701.18h An effect may instruct a player to search a library for one or more cards more than once before instructing a player to shuffle that library. This is the same as a single instruction for that player to search that library for all those cards. The player searches that library only once.

Q: Can I search for a Threads of Disloyalty with a Tallowisp?

A: No, you can't.

Tallowisp can only find an Aura with "Enchant creature." Threads of Disloyalty, on the other hand, has "Enchant creature with converted mana cost 2 or less." While these look related, they aren't quite the same. Tallowisp can only find something with exactly "Enchant creature" on it.

This also means, for instance, Tallowisp can't find Imprisoned in the Moon, since that has "Enchant creature, land, or planeswalker."

Q: My opponent controls a Trinisphere. I cast a Finale of Promise with X=1, targeting Shock and Burning Inquiry. What happens next?

A: It will cost you 3 mana to cast the Shock, and it will cost you 3 mana to cast the Burning Inquiry. Trinisphere doesn't care why you're casting a spell, or from where, or if something else lets you cast it for free — Trinisphere wants you to pay 3 mana, and it always gets what it wants.

Q: My opponent has a Spellskite. I activate Giver of Runes, targeting my Grizzly Bears, and my opponent activates Spellskite targeting the Giver of Runes' ability. What happens next?

A: Your opponent is sad.

Giver of Runes' ability targets a "creature you control." Since your opponent's Spellskite isn't a creature you control, Spellskite isn't a legal target for the ability, even though the Giver's ability is a legal target for Spellskite's ability!

What's cooler than being cool?

Q: If I control a Chief Engineer and an Icehide Golem, can I convoke to pay the cost of Arcum's Astrolabe?

A: No, you can't, though I get how you may have reached that conclusion under the previous version of the rules! Luckily, once again, the new rules are here to save the day:

107.4h The snow mana symbol represents one mana in a cost. This mana can be paid with one mana of any type produced by a snow permanent (see rule 205.4g). Effects that reduce the amount of generic mana you pay don't affect costs. Snow is neither a color nor a type of mana.

Snow mana used to be referred to as "generic mana," but not anymore!

Q: I cast a Jaya's Immolating Inferno, targeting my opponent's The Wanderer and two of their creatures. Do their creatures take damage or not?

A: They do not.

Jaya's Immolating Inferno deals its damage all at once, and at that moment, The Wanderer is still alive. Since you're trying to deal noncombat damage to your opponent's creatures, The Wanderer will prevent it. Then, after Inferno resolves, The Wanderer will die a noble death.

Q: If I have a Bolas's Citadel and my opponent controls a God-Pharaoh's Statue, how much will my spells cost me? Can I pay for the extra cost from the Statue with life?

A: They'll cost more, and no, you can't pay that extra cost with life.

Bolas's Citadel only lets you pay for the spell's converted mana cost (which is what's printed on the top right of the card) with life. For anything extra — tax effects like the Statue, additional costs like Strive or Kicker, and so on — you'll have to pay for them the usual way.

Q: If I cast a Spark Double to copy a 4/4 Zombie Army token, how big is the copy? Will it get menace and hexproof from Gleaming Overseer?

A: Your Spark Double will be a 1/1 Zombie Army.

Even though your Zombie Army token is a 4/4, all of that power and toughness is coming from counters, and counters aren't copyable! Your Spark-Double-Zombie-Army will be a small friend.

And, more bad news: Being a token isn't copyable, either! This means that, even though your Spark Double is a Zombie Army, it isn't a Zombie token, so it won't get any benefits from the Overseer, either.

Q: I control a Lazav, the Multifarious, and I make him a copy of Nezumi Graverobber. I manage to flip Lazav. What is Lazav now?

A: Lazav is now Nighteyes the Desecrator (except named Lazav, with Lazav's ability).

But wait! There's more!

Since "flipped" is a status of a card, Lazav will stay flipped until he leaves the battlefield. If he copies a "normal" card, nothing weird happens — if he copies a Grizzly Bears, for instance, he's just a Grizzly Bears (with Lazav's exceptions) with the "flipped" status, which is meaningless.

If, however, Lazav later copies a Kuon, Ogre Ascendant, he'll already be flipped, which means he'll have the characteristics of Kuon's Essence (with his exceptions, of course).

Q: I control a Monastery Swiftspear and target it with Scale Up. After everything has resolved, how big is my Swiftspear?

A: It'll be a 7/5.

Scale Up only changes the creature's base power and toughness, so even though the Prowess trigger resolves before Scale Up does, that doesn't matter. The +1/+1 effect applies in a later layer, so it's fine!

The end result is a 7/5 Green Wurm creature with haste and prowess. Seems pretty good to me.

Who's a pretty bird?
YOU'RE a pretty bird!

Q: I control a Feather, the Redeemed and a Direfleet Daredevil exiling my opponent's Rile. If I cast Rile targeting Feather, what happens to Rile?

A: Rile ends up in exile.

Feather's replacement effect only applies to cards that would enter your graveyard. Since an opponent's card can never go to your graveyard, Feather can't do anything here, so the Daredevil's "exile it instead" replacement effect is the only one that can apply.

Q: I Unearth my First-Sphere Gargantua, and then cast Ephemerate on it. Where does the Gargantua go? Is it gone for good?

A: Your Gargantua will come back to the battlefield. And, it won't be exiled at the beginning of the next end step, either!

Two things are going on here. First, Ephemerate exiles Gargantua. As far as Unearth is concerned, its "if it would leave the battlefield, exile it" bit has been satisfied. Unearth only cares that it was exiled; anything that happens after is no longer Unearth's responsibility.

Then, because the Gargantua that re-entered the battlefield is a different object from the one that left the battlefield, it isn't affected by the second part of Unearth, either!

Q: I control a Cast Through Time. I cast a Shock, and target it with a Narset's Reversal. At the beginning of my next upkeep, what happens?

A: The short version is that Narset's Reversal will never have a legal target if it's cast via Rebound.

Rebound triggers at the beginning of your upkeep, so there's no way to sneak a spell onto the stack under the Rebound trigger and anything cast in response would resolve first. This means that, when the Rebound trigger to cast Narset's Reversal resolves, there won't be any spells on the stack for it to target.

Q: How exactly does Horn of Greed work? I've heard different things from different people.

A: Horn of Greed only triggers from the special action of "playing a land for your turn." Other things that put lands onto the battlefield won't trigger it. This is a common mistake, and it made me very sad when I learned this was how it worked. For example if you have additional land plays, say from an Azusa, the Horn will trigger from those land plays in addition to your normal land play.

Q: I control an Endless Whispers. My Phage the Untouchable dies, and in response to the trigger, my opponent destroys Endless Whispers. Does my opponent still get my Phage?

A: They do! They will be unhappy, probably.

Endless Whispers triggers when a creature dies, and everything after that is all part of the same trigger. Your creature dying targets an opponent and creates a delayed trigger to return that creature to that opponent's control at the beginning of the next end step. Since the delayed trigger was part of the original trigger, it doesn't matter at all if Endless Whispers sticks around.

I said Whir, it's cold in here. There must
be some Karns in the atmosphere.

Q: My opponent controls a Karn, the Great Creator and a Mycosynth Lattice. Can I tap three artifacts to use Improvise to pay the part of Whir of Invention's cost??

A: No, you can't.

Even though Mycosynth Lattice lets you spend mana as though it were any color, Improvise doesn't actually make any mana. It just lets you tap an artifact to pay for of the spell's generic cost. The obviously isn't a generic cost, so your ingenuity here won't be appreciated.

Q: I control a Yixlid Jailer and my opponent has a Bridge from Below in their graveyard. If my Jailer dies, is the Bridge exiled?

A: It isn't.

Leaves-the-battlefield triggers look back in time to the game at the very last moment the creature was on the battlefield to figure out what should or shouldn't trigger. The last time the Jailer was on the battlefield, Bridge from Below didn't have any abilities, so it won't be exiled.

Q: My opponent has a Fairgrounds Warden exiling my Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite. I cast an Austere Command, choosing to destroy all creatures with converted mana cost 3 or less, and all creatures with converted mana cost 4 or more. Do I get to keep my Elesh Norn?

A: No, you don't.

Fairgrounds Warden has a one-shot effect, so the thing it's exiling returns immediately when the Warden leaves the battlefield. This means that, since the Warden was exiling your Elesh Norn, she'll come back to the battlefield for the briefest moment before she's destroyed by the next mode of Austere Command.

Compare Fairgrounds Warden to the wording on, say, Fiend Hunter — Fiend Hunter has a triggered ability to return the exiled card. That triggered ability wouldn't go on the stack until after Austere Command was completely done resolving.

I think that's all I have in me this week. It's too hot to think. I need some tasty waves and a cool buzz. Until next time, friends! I'm gonna go soak in the pool for a while.


About the Author:
Andrew is a Level 2 judge from Dallas, TX who spends too much time on his computer.


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