Published on 07/29/2019

A Lotus By Any Other Name

Cranial Translation
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The latest in a long line of Lotus cards.
Hi everyone, and welcome back to Cranial Insertion! I hope you've been enjoying playing Core Set 2020 as much as I have. And one of my favorite things is seeing twists on older, popular cards. Like Lotus Field - an obvious twist on the original Black Lotus, but it's also a fixed version of a really old card from Weatherlight called Lotus Vale. And while it'll probably see play at your local commander table, I've been happy to see that it's getting a little play in standard as well (turns out that Scapeshift is a card that's legal in standard right now too), and can lead to some interesting interactions (like the interaction in our first question!)

But we're not just here to provide three mana of any one color - we're also here to answer your Magic rules questions! If you have a short question, you can tweet us at @CranialTweet, and you can send longer questions to . But with that out of the way, let's dive right in!

Q: I have a Blood Sun in play. If I play Lotus Field, do I need to sacrifice any lands?

A: Nope, you don't have to sacrifice anything. Blood Sun removes all of Lotus Field's abilities except for the ability to tap for three mana of any one color. That means that the Field will lose the enter the battlefield trigger that makes you sacrifice two lands, and, as a bonus, it also removes the ability that makes it enter the battlefield tapped, meaning you can play it and immediately tap it for three mana.

But let's just hope that your opponent isn't playing Stone Rain - your Field no longer has hexproof either, meaning your opponent can target it like normal (and destroy it with something like Stone Rain).

Q: I control Sephara, Sky's Blade and three other creatures with flying. My opponent casts Planar Cleansing. Do any of my creatures survive?

A: Yep, your non-Sephara creatures will survive. Planar Cleansing destroys everything at the same time. Sephara is still on the battlefield when your other flyers would be destroyed, so they still have indestructible from Sephara and won't be destroyed (Sephara itself will be destroyed, since it doesn't give itself indestructible). The only surviving nonland permanents after the Cleansing has resolved will be your three other flyers.

Q: I have a Woodland Champion enchanted with a Wolfkin Bond, but my opponent Murders my Champion. If I cast Brought Back targeting the Champion and the Bond, can the Bond return attached to the Champion?

A: No it cannot. Both the Champion and the Bond are being put onto the battlefield at the same time, not one at a time. When we're determining which creature the Bond will return attached to, the Champion isn't a legal option since it's not on the battlefield yet. If you have another creature to attach it to, you can return the Bond attached to that other creature (or, if you have no creatures, you return it attached to an opponent's creature). But you won't be able to attach it to the returning Champion, since it's not on the battlefield yet.

Q: I'm attacking with a 1/2 Metropolis Sprite. Can I activate its ability five times and deal 6 damage to my opponent?

A: You can certainly activate it five times, but the outcome will not be a happy one for you. Barring some effect that boosts the Sprite's toughness, after the second activation resolve, the Sprite is a 3/0, and since it has a toughness of 0, it dies. Since you did this before combat damage was dealt, the Sprite is removed from combat (since it left the battlefield), and it won't deal any damage in combat at all.

Q: I control Agent of Treachery and I've stole two of my opponent's permanents already. Then I play Act of Treason and gain control of one of my opponent's creatures for the turn. Will I control the creature long enough to trigger the Agent's ability at the end of turn and draw three cards?

A: Yes you will! Act of Treason gives you control of the creature until the cleanup step of the turn, but the Agent's ability triggers (and resolves) a step earlier - in the end of turn step. Since you still control your opponent's other creature, the Agent's ability will trigger during your end step and you'll draw three cards before your opponent gets their Treasoned creature back.

Q: If my opponent casts Shifting Ceratops can I use Aether Gust to stop it from resolving?

A: Yes you can, as long as you're targeting the Ceratops spell on the stack. Aether Gust doesn't counter the spell, so the Ceratops being uncounterable doesn't matter. And protection only works if the card is on the battlefield (hence why you can't wait for it to resolve before you try to Gust it), so the Ceratops having protection from blue doesn't matter. You're free to cast the Gust targeting the Ceratops spell to stop it from resolving.

Q: I control a Nightpack Ambusher. I cast no spells during my turn, and I get the token during my end step. After the trigger resolves, can I cast an instant spell?

A: Sure, as long as that spell is an instant or a spell with flash. If you can get through your turn without casting a spell, the Ambusher's ability will trigger. But after that trigger resolves, you'll get priority again, and you can cast an instant spell. The Ambusher's trigger has already resolved, so it won't care that you're casting a spell now. As long as you're a little patient, you can get the token from the Ambusher plus cast an instant during your end step.

The black sheep of the Lotus family.
It doesn't even tap for three mana!

Q: I attack with a 2/3 Boros Challenger and a 1/1 Goblin Banneret. Can I stack the triggers so the Banneret gets a counter from the Challenger's mentor trigger, use the Banneret's ability to give itself +2/+0, then have the Challenger get a counter from the Banneret's mentor trigger?

A: Nope, that doesn't work. When you're putting the mentor trigger on the stack after attackers are declared, you have to choose a target attacking creature with a lower power than the creature with mentor. The Challenger is able to target the Banneret, since its power is two and the Banneret's power is one. But the Banneret cannot target the Challenger, since the Challenger does not have a lower power than the Banneret when we're putting the trigger on the stack. It doesn't matter that you'll be able to pump up the Banneret's power later on, what matters is that, at the point you're putting the Banneret's mentor trigger on the stack, the Challenger is not a legal target for the ability, so it cannot be targeted.

Q: I'm attacking with Ilharg, the Raze-Boar. If I put a creature with defender (like Colossus of Akros) onto the battlefield, will it be attacking?

A: Yes, the Colossus will be an attacking creature. Defender means that the creature can't be declared as an attacker, but it can be put onto the battlefield attacking. Using Ilharg, you can put the Colossus onto the battlefield attacking, and it will deal and receive damage like any other creature in combat (and without having to pay to make it monstrous first).

Q: I control Dread Presence and an Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth. Will playing any land cause the Presence to trigger?

A: Yep, you'll get triggers off of any land you play. We check to see if the Presence should trigger after the land is on the battlefield. And since the land is on the battlefield, it's affected by Urborg and is a Swamp in addition to its other types. A Swamp entered the battlefield, so the Presence will trigger, even if the land is not naturally a Swamp.

Q: I control Leyline of Abundance and a Heritage Druid. If I activate the Druid's ability, do I get three or four mana?

A: Only three mana. The Leyline's ability triggers when you tap a creature for mana, but the rules of Magic are a little picky here - to "tap a creature for mana", not only does the activated ability have to produce mana, but the ability has to use the tap symbol to qualify. While the Druid's ability does involve tapping Elves to activate the ability (which can include itself), the ability doesn't use the tap symbol, so the Leyline's ability will not trigger and you'll only get three mana from activating the Druid's ability, not four.

Q: I'm attacking with a Charging Monstrosaur, and my opponent blocks with Glissa, the Traitor. Do I still get to trample over Glissa?

A: No you won't. In order for the Monstrosaur to deal damage to the opponent via trample, it has to get to the point where it can assign its combat damage. But since Glissa has first strike, Glissa gets to assign and deal her damage first. And since Glissa also has deathtouch, the damage that Glissa deals to the Monstrosaur will kill it. The Monstrosaur dies before we get to the normal combat damage step, and the Monstrosaur won't get a chance to deal any damage in combat since it will die before the normal combat damage step.

Q: I have a Leyline of Singularity in play. Does that mean my Time of Need can search for any creature card now?

A: Nope, the Leyline won't change how Time of Need works. The Leyline only affects permanents on the battlefield - it doesn't affects cards in other zones like the library. Your permanents in play are legendary, but not the cards in your library, so Time of Need isn't affected by the Leyline's effect, and you can only search for naturally legendary creatures, not any creature.

Q: Can I tap a planeswalker to untap my Honor-Worn Shaku?

A: Yes you can. You need to tap a legendary permanent to activate the second ability of the Shaku, and because of the rules change back in Ixalan, all planeswalkers are now legendary. You can tap your planeswalkers to untap your Shaku (and a tapped planeswalker works the same as normal planeswalker - you can still activate its loyalty abilities like normal, and it can still be attacked and take damage like normal).

It's hard to top the original.

Q: I control Ashiok, Dream Render and Maralen of the Mornsong. When Maralen's trigger resolves on my opponent's turn, will Ashiok prevent them from searching?

A: No it won't. While your opponent would be searching their library, Ashiok only stops them from searching if they control the spell or ability that lets them search. You control Maralen's trigger, even if it's triggering for an opponent, so you control the triggered ability that would let them search. It's a triggered ability you control that's telling them to search, so your Ashiok won't stop them from searching and they'll be able to search their library for a card like normal.

Q: My only creature is a Bloodfire Colossus. My opponent cast Risky Move on their last turn and during my upkeep, I gained control of it. If I lose the flip, do I get a chance to sacrifice the Colossus before my opponent gains control of it?

A: No you don't. Flipping the coin, and the chosen opponent gaining control of one of your creatures if you lose the flip all happens as part of the triggered ability resolving. You're free to sacrifice the Colossus before the trigger resolves (and before you know the outcome of the flip), but if you let the trigger resolve, you'd better hope you win the flip, otherwise your opponent will gain control of the Colossus before you can activate its ability.

Q: I have an Aria of Flame in play, with four verse counters on it. On my opponent's turn, they cast Leyline of Sanctity to give themselves hexproof. If I cast a sorcery spell on my next turn, what happens?

A: You're going to be burning yourself (or a planeswalker) instead of your opponent. The Aria's triggered ability is not optional - you must target a player or a planeswalker with the trigger. Your opponent has hexproof thanks to their Leyline, so they're no longer a legal target for the trigger. And unless there's a planeswalker on the battlefield, there's only one legal target for the trigger - yourself. You'll end up dealing the damage to yourself with the Aria's trigger since you can't target your opponent anymore.

Q: Can I use the trigger from Forgotten Ancient to move counters onto my commander Skullbriar, the Walking Grave in my command zone?

A: No you can't. The Ancient only lets you move its counters onto other creatures, and "creatures" only exist on the battlefield. The Skullbriar in the command zone is a creature card, not a creature, and not a legal choice to move the counters to. If you want Skullbriar to get the counter from the Ancient's trigger, then it has to be on the battlefield, not another zone.

Q: I control a Wolf token and a Proteus Staff. If I activate the Staff's ability targeting my token, but I have no creatures in my library, what happens?

A: A little bit of bad balanced by a lot of good. You'll put your Wolf token on the bottom of your library, then you'll start revealing cards from your library. You'll reveal everything in your library, and put nothing onto the battlefield (not even the Wolf token, since it's not a card). But then the Staff has you put those revealed cards that you just revealed on the bottom of your library in any order you choose. That's every card in your library, put back in the order you choose, so you effectively get to stack your deck how you want to. In the end, you miss out on getting a creature, but you get to set up your future draws since you get to stack your deck how you want to.

Q: I tap all ten of my lands for mana, and I cast Flood of Tears. Do I have to tell my opponent that I have mana floating, or can I bluff being tapped out and hope my opponent wastes a Convolute on my spell?

A: If you pass priority to your opponent, and you have mana floating in your mana pool, you must point out how much mana and what colors of mana you have in your mana pool - you cannot stay silent. That means if you tap your ten Islands for mana but only use six of that mana on a spell, after casting the spell, you must tell also tell your opponent that you still have four blue mana in your mana pool (and they can't get tricked into thinking you don't have the mana to pay for Convolute).

Well, we're all tapped out for this week. We'll see you again next week!


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