Published on 07/15/2019

It's My Party And I'll Cry if I Want to

Cranial Translation
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This is the worst surprise party I've ever had.
People are DEAD, Derek.
So! Yesterday was my birthday, and I'm here for the presents you beautiful readers brought me.

...Oh. You got me... nothing. I see.

That's fine. I don't even like presents. It's not like I slaved away over this article just for you or anything.

Well, I'm already here, and I'm terrible at holding grudges, so I guess you still get your article. But I'm going to remember this next year, and the presents had better be very good.

Before we dive in, as always, if you have any questions, you should e-mail us at or tweet at us @CranialTweet. We try to respond to every question we get, and particularly cool ones might get featured on an upcoming post!

With all that out of the way, let's dive into some questions! I'm going to start this week off with a weird one that's been confirmed correct by the rules manager.

Q: I control Teysa Karlov and resolve a Massacre Girl. A 1/1 creature dies from Massacre Girl's enters-the-battlefield trigger. How many times does Massacre Girl's delayed trigger ("Whenever a creature dies this turn, each creature other than Massacre Girl gets -1/-1 until end of turn") trigger?

A: It triggers once.

See, what's triggering here isn't Massacre Girl — it's the delayed trigger that Massacre Girl's ETB trigger created. Since that delayed trigger isn't a permanent you control, Teysa won't make it trigger twice.

Yes, this is weird, but astute readers might remember some similar weird situations cropping up when Firesong and Sunspeaker came out.

Q: My opponent has a Lightning Greaves equipped on their Mizzix of the Izmagnus. Can I cast Decimate to destroy them both?

A: No, you can't.

You have to choose all the targets for Decimate when you put the spell on the stack, and Mizzix isn't a legal target when you do that because of the Greaves.

Q: If I resolve a Dauntless Bodyguard on my turn, choosing Gideon Blackblade, what happens on my opponent's turn? Can I still sacrifice the bodyguard to give Gideon indestructible?

A: You can!

Effects like this that refer back to the "chosen [thing]" only care that the thing you chose was the right sort of thing when you chose it. After that, the effect remembers what you chose, so it doesn't matter here if Gideon is a planeswalker or a land or anything else — the Bodyguard knows who he's protecting all the same.

Note that the Bodyguard can only protect Gideon from destruction. It'll save Gideon from, say, Bedevil, but not from being reduced to 0 loyalty.

Q: If I exile my opponent's Tibalt, Rakish Instigator with Vraska's Contempt, will I gain life?

A: Yes, you will.

You do the steps of Vraska's Contempt in sequence. First, you exile Tibalt. Then, after Tibalt is gone, you gain 2 life since Tibalt is no longer around to prevent it.

Standard problems require Modern solutions

Q: If I cast Scapeshift and get two Field of the Dead and six other lands all with different names, how many Zombies do I get?

A: You'll get 16 Zombies!

Field of the Dead will trigger for things that enter the battlefield at the same as it did. It'll look, and say "Okay, you control 7 lands with different names," and trigger for each land.

Both Fields will do the same thing, and since you just had 8 lands enter the battlefield, that's 8 triggers each, for a total of 16 triggers and 16 Zombies.

Q: I control a Bolas's Citadel and Vilis, Broker of Blood. If I choose to cast the top card of my library, what happens? Do I draw the card I just tried to cast??

A: No, you don't.

The first step of casting a spell is moving it to the stack. Later in the spellcasting process, you pay costs.

So, let's say you're casting a Llanowar Elves from the top of your library. You put it on the stack, and opt to pay 1 life to cast it. Vilis sees that you lost life, so Vilis's trigger goes on the stack above Llanowar Elves. You'll draw 1 card, then your spell will resolve.

Q: If my opponent targets me with Bribery and the only creature card in my deck is Phage the Untouchable, do they have to lose the game?

A: They don't have to, no. (But they can if they want to!)

When you're searching a hidden zone for cards with a certain quality (like in this case, a "creature card"), you never have to find something if you don't want to.

It's different, though, if you're just searching for "a card" like with Vampiric Tutor. In that case, you have to find that many cards if at all possible.

Q: If I Replicate a Shattering Spree can I destroy a Chalice of the Void with 1 charge counter on it?

A: Yes, you can.

While Chalice will counter the original Shattering Spree, it won't counter any of the copies. One of the copies can blow up the Chalice just fine.

You were expecting real questions
but it was me, Mairsil!

Q: If I have a Dominating Licid exiled with a cage counter because of Mairsil, the Pretender, what happens when I activate that ability with Mairsil?

A: Mairsil will be an Aura enchantment attached to target creature. You can pay U to end the effect.

But wait! You don't gain control of the enchanted creature!

Mairsil only gains the activated abilities of things he's caged. Since the Licid's "You control enchanted creature" is a static ability, Mairsil doesn't gain it. He can just go be best friends with another creature for a while.

Q: I control a Feather, the Redeemed. Can I target her with Aurelia's Fury and assign 0 damage to her so that I can get the card back?

A: No, you can't do that.

When you're splitting damage between targets, you have to assign at least 1 damage to each target for it to be valid. You can absolutely shoot your Feather for 1 and get Fury back, though!

Q: I control a Blood Scrivener and attack with Neheb, Dreadhorde Champion. If I discard the 4 cards in my hand, do I draw 5 cards and lose 1 life? Or something else?

A: You do, in fact, draw 5 cards and lose 1 life.

Blood Scrivener looks at each card you try to draw and evaluates if it should apply. When Neheb's trigger resolves, it tells you to draw 4 cards, which is really "draw 1 card, 4 times." Scrivener looks at that first card draw, sees you have no cards in hand, and applies to that draw, so it turns the first card into "draw 2 cards and lose 1 life." Then, for the other 3 draws, Scrivener has nothing to apply to, because your hand is no longer empty.

Q: I control a Yarok, the Desecrated and resolve a Deadeye Navigator. Can the Navigator soulbond to two creatures?

A: No, it can't.

This is one of those situations where the reminder text for soulbond really isn't great.

Soulbond's rules text reads, in part, "When this creature enters the battlefield, if you control both this creature and another creature and both are unpaired, you may pair this creature with another unpaired creature you control for as long as both remain creatures on the battlefield under your control."

That "if" clause in the middle is what's known as an "intervening if" clause. If that clause isn't true when the trigger would go on the stack, it doesn't go on the stack; and if that clause isn't true when the trigger would resolve, it just leaves the stack, doing nothing.

So, in this case, Navigator's soulbond trigger triggers twice. The first one resolves, pairing Navigator with one of your creatures. Then, the other trigger looks and sees that Navigator is paired now, so it leaves the stack without doing anything.

Q: I control a Desecrated Tomb and I cast a Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis from my graveyard, delving some creature cards from my graveyard. How many times does Desecrated Tomb trigger?

A: The Tomb will trigger twice.

First, it triggers one time when you choose to cast Hogaak — that is, it leaves your graveyard and you put it on the stack.

Then, later in the casting process, you delve away cards in your graveyard. This delve action all happens at once, so if you delve, say, 3 creatures and 2 noncreatures, the Tomb will just trigger once.

Turn around, bright eyes
Q: I control a Thassa, God of the Sea, and my current devotion to blue is 3. I cast an Ixidron. Is Thassa turned facedown?

A: No, she isn't.

Ixidron has to look at the battlefield and determine what's a creature and what isn't. Right now, Thassa isn't a creature, because your devotion isn't high enough. She won't be turned face down, even if Ixidron will provide enough devotion to make Thassa a creature when it enters.

Q: If I cast an Ingot Chewer and the only artifact on the battlefield is my Sol Ring, do I have to destroy it?

A: Unfortunately, you do.

Ingot Chewer's trigger isn't optional. If there is a legal target artifact, you have to choose it.

Q: My opponent controls a Skullclamp and activates its Equip ability targeting their 1/1. I cast Archmage's Charm to gain control of the Skullclamp. What happens?

A: Your opponent's 1/1 will die, and you'll draw 2 cards because of it.

Even though you took control of Skullclamp, your opponent still controls the activated Equip ability, which says, in part, "Attach this permanent to target creature you control." It doesn't care if your opponent controls the equipment and the creature.

So, you'll gain control of their Skullclump, they'll attach it to their creature, their creature will die, and you'll draw 2 cards. You'll also still keep control of their Skullclamp!

Q: Let's say I cast a Primal Surge, and I put a whole lot of permanents into play, one of which is a Rhythm of the Wild. Which creatures have riot?

A: Only creatures put onto the battlefield after Rhythm of the Wild will have riot.

Primal Surge doesn't put everything onto the battlefield at the same time. It puts them onto the battlefield one by one. This means that anything before Rhythm won't have riot, and anything after it will.

Q: What's this I hear about some changes in tournaments with Narset, Parter of Veils? I know she's been causing issues at events, but what's different as a player?

A: Basically, we drew a line in the sand that says "If your opponent makes a mistake but the mistake is because of a card you control, and you don't catch it immediately, you both get Warnings for Game Rule Violations." This hits your current Standard nemeses like Narset, Parter of Veils and Teferi, Time Raveler, but it also affects older formats!

For instance, for a long time if you controlled a Thalia, Guardian of Thraben or a similar "passive" effect, your opponent would get a Game Rule Violation if they forgot the tax, but you'd only get a Failure to Maintain Game State because you weren't "actively" involved in the problem.

That's cleaned up pretty well across the board, now, so be mindful of what you and your opponents control and what you're both doing! (Please. We are all very tired of writing Narset penalties.)

Since Narset got recategorized, the penalty is also less punishing! She follows the standard fixes for Game Rule Violation now, so instead of your opponent getting to "Thoughtseize fix" the extra cards out of your hand, we'll either back up the game state or leave it as-is.

That's all the weird stuff I have in me for this week, friends! Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to dinner with my mom for my birthday. At least someone around here appreciates me.

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


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