Published on 07/01/2019

Sunny Days

Cranial Translation
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It's really hard to not get a sunburn
when there's five suns out there
Hello once again, and welcome back to Cranial Insertion! We're deep into summer already, and we're soaking up the rays. We even opened up the office's sun roof so we can get a tan and answer your questions at the same time. But it's one of those slow, hand-crank devices, so it'll take 20 minutes to close in case of a sudden rainstorm. But it doesn't rain the summer, right?

Well, while I'm relaxing here at the CI office, I might as well answer your questions, right? I mean, that is what they're paying me for. But you can also send us your question, and we'll send you back some answers. If you have a short question, you can tweet us at @CranialTweet, and you can send longer questions to .

Q: I activate Giver of Runes, giving one of my other creatures protection from colorless. If that creature has a Sword of Sinew and Steel attached to it, does anything happen to the Sword?

A: Yep - the Sword will become unattached. One of the benefits of protection is that it can't have permanents of that type attached to it. Since the Sword is colorless, giving the creature protection from colorless means that the Sword can no longer be attached to the creature, so the Sword will unattach from the creature.

Q: I control Cunning Evasion, and I'm attacking my opponent with Fallen Shinobi and Changeling Outcast. If my opponent blocks my Shinobi but not my Outcast, will I get a chance to use the Shinobi's ninjutsu ability after the Evasion's trigger returns the Shinobi to my hand?

A: Yes you will. Once the Evasion's trigger has resolved during the declare blockers step, everyone gets priority again before we move on to the combat damage step. Your Shinobi is back in your hand, and your Outcast is an unblocked attacking creature, so you'll be able to use the ninjutsu ability of the Shinobi and still sneak in an extra point of damage (and get the Shinobi's trigger).

Q: If my opponent casts Ravnica at War, will my Watery Grave end up exiled?

A: Nope, your lands are safe. While Watery Grave can tap for multiple colors of mana, the Grave itself is a colorless card. You need to have two or more colors in order to be considered a multicolored card, so the Watery Grave won't be affected by Ravnica at War and will not be exiled.

Q: I have a Firesong and Sunspeaker in play, and I cast Solar Blaze. Am I going to gain a bunch of life when the Blaze resolves?

A: Nope, you won't gain any life. When the Blaze resolves, the Blaze isn't dealing any damage - the creatures themselves are the source of damage. While Solar Blaze does technically have lifelink thanks to Firesong's ability, having lifelink isn't relevant, since the Blaze isn't dealing any damage, and you won't gain any life because of the Blaze having lifelink.

Q: I have a 1/1 Dreadhorde Butcher in play. My opponent casts Spatial Contortion targeting the Butcher. How much damage do I get to deal with the Butcher's trigger?

A: 4 damage. When the Butcher's dies trigger resolves, it uses the last-known information about the Butcher's power to determine how much damage will be dealt. When the Butcher was last on the battlefield, it was a 4/-2. Since its power was 4 when it died, the Butcher's trigger will end up dealing 4 damage to the target.

Q: I control Ashiok, Dream Render. I activate its -1 ability targeting my opponent, and one of the card revealed is Nexus of Fate. Does the Nexus get shuffled in to their library or exiled?

A: The Nexus gets shuffled into your opponent's library. The Nexus has a replacement effect, so it gets shuffled into your opponent's library instead of going to their graveyard. The Nexus won't ever be in the graveyard, and won't be exiled by the second part of Ashiok's effect, since it won't be in the graveyard when Ashiok is exiling your opponent's graveyard.

Q: There are only two creatures on the battlefield - a pair of Universal Automatons, along with a Coat of Arms. How big are the Automatons?

A: They are 2/2s. Coat of Arms cares about how many creatures share a type, but it doesn't care how many creature types they share. While the Automatons will share hundreds of types thanks to changeling, Coat of Arms just cares that they share at least one type, so they'll only get +1/+1 from Coat of Arms, not plus hundreds/plus hundreds.

If you stay out in the sun too long,
then everything looks red (including yourself).

Q: My opponent controls Night of Souls' Betrayal. If I play Watcher for Tomorrow, what happens to the card I exile to the hideaway trigger?

A: One of two things - either the card ends up in your hand, or it remains exiled face down for the rest of the game. And the choice of what happens is up to you.

Once the Watcher enters the battlefield (and immediately dies thanks to the Night), we have two triggers waiting to go on the stack - the hideaway trigger that lets you exile one of the top four cards of your library face down, and a second ability that puts the exiled card into your hand. Since you control both triggers, you get to choose the order they're put on the stack. I'm going to assume you want that card in your hand, in which case you want the hideaway trigger to go on the stack last (so it resolves first), causing you to exile the card for a brief time before the leave the battlefield trigger puts it into your hand.

Resolving the triggers in the other order results in the leave the battlefield trigger resolving first, doing nothing, then the hideaway resolves and permanently exiles the card.

Q: I control High Priest of Penance and a Teysa Karlov. If my Priest takes damage and dies, will I get two High Priest triggers or just one?

A: Just one trigger. The High Priest's ability triggers when it's dealt damage. Being a 1/1, the Priest will likely die due to taking any damage, but it's an ability that triggers off of damage being dealt, not due to the High Priest dying, so Teysa ignores the ability and you only get a single High Priest trigger, not two triggers.

Q: If I control Melira, Sylvok Outcast and my opponent casts Nausea, will my creatures be affected?

A: Yep, your creatures will get -1/-1 from Nausea. Melira's ability only prevents -1/-1 counters from being put on your creatures. Nausea doesn't give anything counters though - it just gives all creatures -1/-1. Since they're not counters, Melira's ability won't do anything and your creatures will still get -1/-1 for the turn.

Q: I control Vraska, Golgari Queen and a Dakmor Salvage. If I activate Vraska's +2 ability and sacrifice the Salvage, can I dredge it back with the draw from Vraska?

A: Yes you can. When resolving Vraska's ability, you sacrifice first, then you draw and gain a life. By the time you would be drawing, the Salvage is in the graveyard and can be dredged back to your hand instead of drawing to the second part of Vraska's effect.

Q: If I'm resolving Mayael the Anima's activated ability, and one of the cards is a Serra Avatar, can I choose to put the Avatar onto the battlefield?

A: That depends - is your life total five or greater? The Avatar has a characteristic-defining ability - it works in every zone the Avatar is in, including your library. If your life total is five or greater, then the Avatar's power is also five or greater, and you'll be to put it onto the battlefield with Mayael's ability.

"Ok, five more minutes, then I turn around
so I can tan my back."

Q: I control Sigarda, Heron's Grace. If I cast Crib Swap, will it have hexproof and can't be targeted by my opponent's counter spells?

A: No it will not, for a few reasons. First, Sigarda only gives humans on the battlefield hexproof. While Crib Swap is all creature types (human included), it's never going to be on the battlefield, so Sigarda won't give it hexproof. Second, even if Sigarda gave hexproof to human spells on the stack, it wouldn't help out the spell. Hexproof only works as long as the card is on the battlefield, not on the stack or any other zone, so a spell with hexproof can still be targeted and countered like any other spell.

Q: I have the emblem from Wrenn and Six. I have no cards in hand, a single Island in play, and a Daze in my graveyard. Can I use retrace to cast Daze via it's alternate cost?

A: Surprisingly, this works! Retrace is an additional cost, not an alternate cost, so you'll be able to combine retrace and an alternate cost (like Daze's "return an Island card to its owner's hand" alternate cost) when casting the spell. And since you can pay costs in any order you choose, you can choose to return the Island in play to your hand, then discard that Island you just returned to fulfill the retrace additional cost. The net result is that even if you have an empty hand, you can still surprise your opponent with your retraced Daze.

Q: If I slivercycling a Homing Sliver, can I search for Sliver Hive?

A: No you cannot. Having the word "Sliver" in its name does not make Sliver Hive into a sliver card. To be a sliver card, it must have the creature type "sliver". While Sliver Hive can make sliver tokens and has the word "sliver" in its name, it is not a sliver card and cannot be searched for with Homing Sliver's slivercycling ability.

Q: I have a Dragon Breath in my graveyard. If I cast Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, can I attach the Breath to Emrakul?

A: Yes you can! Emrakul has protection from colored spells, but the Breath is not a spell at this point - it's a card in the graveyard. Since the Breath isn't a spell, Emrakul's protection from colored spells won't matter, and you'll be able to use the Breath's triggered ability and attach it to your Emrakul to give it haste.

Q: I control Bolas's Citadel and my opponent controls Ice Cave. If I cast Gleaming Overseer from the top of my library using Bolas's Citadel, does my opponent need to pay or 3 life to counter my spell?

A: They need to pay . You need to pay the mana cost to counter the spell, and the mana cost is what's printed in the upper right hand corner of the card, not what you paid to cast the spell. Even though you cast the Overseer by paying 3 life, the mana cost of the Overseer is still , so if your opponent want to use Ice Cave's trigger to counter your Overseer, they have to pay , not 3 life.

Q: I'm in a game of commander. If I control Sisay, Weatherlight Captain and a Najeela, the Blade-Blossom, how big is Sisay?

A: Sisay is just a 3/3 creature. You have one color among other legendary creatures you control (red), so Sisay only gets +1/+1 from her static ability. Remember, "color" and "color identity" are two different things. Najeela's color identity is all five colors (thanks to the five colored mana symbols in its text box), but Najeela is just a red card. Sisay doesn't care about Najeela's color identity, just its color, so Sisay only gets +1/+1 from Najeela, not +5/+5.

Q: I'm in a multiplayer game, and my three opponents each control three creatures while I have none. If I cast Linvala, the Preserver, how many angel tokens do I end up with?

A: Just one angel token, unfortunately. Linvala will check to see if any of your opponents control more creatures (and more life, for the other trigger) than you. But Linvala doesn't care how many players have more creatures than you. Since you control one creature (Linvala), and each of your opponents controls three creatures, Linvala's ability will trigger. But Linvala's trigger only generates one angel token, not three, since she doesn't care that multiple opponents control more creatures than you, just that at least one of them do.

Q: I control a Guardian Beast and a Rocket Launcher. If I activate Rocket Launcher's ability, will it be destroyed at the end of turn?

A: Nope, it survives. Guardian Beast is kind of a weird card, so don't try to read what's printed on it and just look at the Gatherer text of the card. As long as the Beast is untapped, your noncreature artifacts are indestructible, and the Launcher's delayed triggered ability would try to destroy it at the end of turn. But since the Launcher is indestructible, it won't be destroyed by the ability and it will stick around, and as long as you keep your Beast in play and untapped, you can keep pinging things for damage every turn without losing your Launcher.

That's it for this week. Remember, don't spend too much time in the sun, and we'll see you again next week, when we see what Core Set 2020 brings to the table!


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