Published on 09/02/2019

A Banned List Shake-Up

Cranial Translation
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If you didn't see this coming,
you probably don't play much Modern.
Hello everyone, and welcome back to Cranial Insertion! Last week, Wizards put out their banned list announcement, and while some cards (I'm looking at you, Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis) were expected, we also got a few unexpected changes to other formats. Faithless Looting also joined the Modern banned list, while Stoneforge Mystic is off the Modern banned list for the first time. Vintage players get to play around with four Fastbonds now, and Standard even has an unbanning, with Rampaging Ferocidon coming off the list (for about a month until it rotates out). So lots of changes in a variety of formats.

But that's your Magic News Minute - let's get back to the Magic rules questions. If you have a short question, you can send us a tweet at @CranialTweet, but if you have a longer question, you can send it to . And let's kick things off with some more Commander 2019 questions!

Q: I make a token copy of Ghired, Conclave Exile with Helm of the Host's trigger and I attack with the token. If I populate the token Ghired with its attack trigger, can I make an infinite amount of attacking Ghireds?

A: No you cannot. Ghired's ability only triggers if you declare Ghired as an attacker. The token created by Ghired's attack triggered ability is put onto the battlefield attacking, not declared as an attacker, so the new token's ability will not trigger and you won't get the chance to populate again.

Q: I control Rayami, First of the Fallen and I have a face down Gift of Doom that would die. Will Rayami exile the Gift with a blood counter on it? And will Rayami get deathtouch and indestructible from the Gift?

A: Yes, the Gift will be exiled...but it won't help out Rayami. The face down Gift is a creature, so Rayami's replacement effect will apply when it would die, and Rayami will exile it with a blood counter. But Rayami won't get anything from the Gift for two reasons - Rayami only looks for creature cards in exile with a blood counter on it, and once the Gift is in exile, it's face up (and an enchantment card and not a creature card). Second, the Gift doesn't have deathtouch or indestructible - it has an ability that gives the enchanted creature deathtouch and indestructible. Since it doesn't have deathtouch or indestructible, Rayami would not get anything from the exiled Gift.

Q: I control K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth. If I cast Gonti, Lord of Luxury and exile my opponent's Rushwood Elemental, can I cast it by paying 10 life?

A: No, they can't.

No you cannot. While Gonti lets you spend mana as though it were mana of any color to cast the colored spell, it doesn't change how K'rrik works. K'rrik only lets you pay 2 life for a in the cost, and there are no black mana symbols in the cost of the Elemental - just green mana symbols. You can cast the Elemental by paying five mana, but you cannot use K'rrik's ability to cast the Elemental by paying life.

Q: If I use Scroll of Fate to manifest my Kheru Spellsnatcher, how much do I have to pay to turn it face up, or ?

A: Either one works. Since you manifested the Spellsnatcher, you can turn it face up by paying its mana cost, which is . But since it's also a face down permanent with morph, you can also turn it face up by paying its morph cost of . No matter which cost you pay, you'll get the Spellsnatcher's trigger - it just triggers when it's turned face up and it doesn't care if it's being turned face up because of manifest or morph.

Q: I cast Ignite the Future from my graveyard. If I copy the Ignite with Reverberate, do I get to cast the spells from both Ignites for free?

A: Nope, only cards exiled by the original Ignite can be cast for free. Where you cast a spell from is not part of a spell's copiable characteristics. You can copy your flashbacked Ignite with Reverberate, but the Reverberate copy wasn't cast from the graveyard (it wasn't cast at all), and it doesn't copy where the original spell was cast from, so you'll still have to pay for cards exiled by the copy like normal.

Q: I control a Library of Leng. If I activate Anje Falkenrath's ability, can I put the card I discard on top of my library?

A: No you cannot. The Library only applies if you would discard a card due to an effect. Here, you're discarding the card as part of paying the cost of activating Anje's ability. Since a cost is not effect, you cannot choose to use the Library's ability to put the card you discarded on top of your library.

Q: I activate Golos, Tireless Pilgrim's ability at the end of my opponent's turn. I exile a Swamp, a Blood Burglar, and a Duress. Can I play some or all of those cards on my opponent's turn?

A: You can't play any of those cards. Golos's ability gives you a time frame in which you are allowed to play the cards - "this turn". That means that Golos doesn't change when you can play the cards, just from where. You ignore any instruction that would let you play a land on another player's turn, so you cannot play the Swamp from exile. And without help from a card like Leyline of Anticipation, you can't cast a creature spell or a sorcery spell on an opponent's turn, so those cards are also unplayable. Unless you're hoping to hit an instant or a card with flash, it's usually a bad idea to activate Golos's ability on an opponent's turn.

A Standard...unbanning?!?

Q: My opponent controls Teferi, Time Raveler. If I activate Chandra, Acolyte of Flame's -2 ability targeting Lightning Strike, will I be able to cast it?

A: Nope, Teferi is going to shut that down. Since Chandra's ability doesn't give you a time frame to cast the card, you cast it while the loyalty ability is resolving. But "in the middle of an ability resolving" is not a time you can normally cast a sorcery. Teferi will shut down Chandra's -2 ability, and you won't be able to cast the Strike.

Q: If my opponent controls Nissa, Who Shakes the World, will playing Tomik, Distinguished Advokist prevent them from turning their lands into creatures?

A: Yep, it will. Tomik's first ability makes it so your opponent can't target lands on the battlefield. It doesn't matter who controls the lands. Since Nissa's +1 requires a target land to activate, if you control Tomik, it will stop your opponent from turning their lands into creatures (but they'll still be able to activate the +1, since Nissa says "up to one target noncreature land", meaning they'll be able to target zero lands and still increase her loyalty).

Q: I control God-Eternal Oketra. If I cast Raise the Alarm, will Oketra trigger and give me a 4/4 token as well?

A: No it will not. Oketra will only trigger if you cast a creature spell. While Raise the Alarm will make creature tokens when it resolves, the Alarm is an instant spell, not a creature spell, so Oketra will not trigger when you cast Raise the Alarm.

Q: My opponent casts Surgical Extraction targeting a card in my graveyard. If I respond with Veil of Summer, what happens?

A: Well, your opponent has cast a black spell this turn, so you'll draw a card. And then you and your permanents will gain hexproof from blue and black until end of turn. But beyond that...well, you're out of luck. The Extraction only targets the card in your graveyard - it doesn't target you or any of your permanents, so having hexproof from black won't help. The Extraction will still resolve like normal, and they'll be able search your graveyard, hand, and library for cards with that name and exile them.

Q: Can I find Tromokratis if I'm resolving Mwonvuli Beast Tracker's triggered ability?

A: No you cannot. Tromokratis doesn't have hexproof - it has a static ability that can give it hexproof under the proper conditions. Since it doesn't have hexproof, you won't be able to find it when you're resolving the Tracker's triggered ability.

Q: I attack with a random 2/2, and my opponent blocks with Young Wolf. The Wolf dies, and it returns to the battlefield via undying. If I cast Fathom Fleet Cutthroat, can I target the Wolf and destroy it?

A: Nope, Young Wolf is not a legal target for the trigger. When the Wolf died and returned to the battlefield, it became a different permanent - the Wolf that's on the battlefield now is not the same permanent as the Wolf that was dealt damage in combat earlier in the turn. The returned Wolf has not been dealt any damage this turn, so it's not a legal target for the Cutthroat's ability and will not be destroyed.

Q: I control a Goblin Guide. If I cast Niveous Wisps targeting my Guide, does that make the Guide a red/white creature (and a legal target for Psychotic Fury)?

A: No it does not. The Wisps says to make it a white creature, but doesn't say it keeps its previous colors, so the Guide will be just a white creature once the Wisps resolves. It doesn't make it into a multicolored creature, so the Guide is still not a legal target for the Fury.

Q: I control Etched Champion with enough artifacts to enable metalcraft. My opponent attacks me with a 1/2 Monastery Swiftspear, and I block it with my Champion. If my opponent casts Skullcrack, will my Champion end up dying?

A: Yep, your Champion will die. Once Skullcrack resolves, it will make it so damage can't be prevented for the rest of the turn. That includes the benefit of protection that prevents damage from source of that type. And since your opponent cast a noncreature spell, prowess will trigger and will make the Swiftspear into a 2/3. When we get around to dealing combat damage, the damage from the Swiftspear isn't prevented, and the Champion will end up dead since it won't prevent the damage from the Swiftspear.

Bonus tip - if you have two Fastbonds in play,
you'll take two damage for every land
beyond the first that you play.

Q: I control Hexdrinker with seven level counters on it, and it has Sword of Truth and Justice attached to it. If I activate the level up ability of Hexdrinker to bring it up to eight level counters, what happens to the Sword?

A: The Sword will become unattached. Once Hexdrinker has eight level counters on it, it gains protection from everything, and one of the benefits of protection from everything is that it can't have permanents attached to it. While I'm sure you would appreciate it if the Sword stayed attached to the Hexdrinker, protection will cause the Sword to unattach from Hexdrinker.

Q: My opponent is attacking me with a Barkhide Mauler, and I block it with my Gorgon Recluse. Even though my Recluse will die, will my opponent's Mauler also be destroyed?

A: Yep, it will be destroyed. Blocking with the Recluse causes its ability to trigger, which sets up a delayed trigger to trigger at the end of combat. Even if the Recluse is no longer around (because it died during the combat damage step, for instance), that delayed triggered ability will still go on the stack at the end of combat and your opponent's Mauler will still be destroyed.

Q: I control ten Saproling tokens and a Furnace Celebration. If I cast Gluttonous Slime and sacrifice all ten of my tokens, does the Celebration trigger one time or ten times?

A: Ten times. The Celebration triggers each time you sacrifice a permanent. If you sacrifice multiple permanents at the same time, then the Celebration will trigger that many times. Just note that you have to pay for each trigger if you want to use it, so you'd need a total of 20 mana to be able to deal damage with every Celebration trigger.

Q: I have a Seer's Sundial in play. If I play a Forest, can I tap that Forest for mana to help pay for the Sundial's triggered ability and draw a card?

A: Yes you can. The trigger from the Sundial goes on the stack after your Forest has entered the battlefield. Since your Forest entered the battlefield untapped, you'll be able to tap it for mana to help pay for the Sundial's trigger when that trigger resolves.

Q: My opponent controls a Jace, the Mind Sculptor at eleven loyalty, an Elspeth, Sun's Champion at seven loyalty, and a Mirage Mirror. I have a Mycosynth Lattice in play. I cast and activate Mindslaver targeting my opponent. While controlling their turn, can I kill both of their planeswalkers by activating the Mirror's ability a total of two times, targeting Jace and Elspeth?

A: While it works in theory, it doesn't actually work in practice. While you can activate the Mirror's ability targeting Jace and Elspeth (thanks to them being artifacts because of the Lattice), the end result is only one of your opponent's planeswalkers dying, not both of them.

Let's say you activate the Mirror's ability targeting Jace, then in response activate it targeting Elspeth. After the first activation has resolved, we check state-based actions. Your opponent controls two Elspeth, Sun's Champion, so you'll choose one of them to keep and the other will go to the graveyard (so you can have them keep the Mirror Elspeth and lose the original). But we also have a second state-based action in effect here - the Mirror Elsepth is a planeswalker with zero loyalty counters on it. While you can choose for the original Elspeth to go to the graveyard, the Mirror Elsepth will also go to the graveyard since it's a planeswalker with zero loyalty counters on it. When the second activation resolves, nothing happens, since the Mirror is no longer on the battlefield, and your opponent will keep their Jace.

That's it for this week. We'll see you again next week!


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