Published on 09/16/2019

Equiznox 2: Eclectic Boogaloo

Cranial Translation
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Haven't we been here before?
Greetings and welcome back to another episode of Cranial Insertion! The September equinox is near, which means the days are getting shorter, people once again find pumpkin spice in places where it has no right to be, and stores are displaying Halloween decorations already. I suppose I should be glad of the latter, though, since Halloween is all that stands between us and Christmas decorations. Anyway, it has been three months since our last quiz, and with Throne of Eldraine just around the corner, I feel we should take stock of what you've learned in the past few months, so today's episode is another quiz.

As always, if you have rules questions for us, please email them to or tweet short questions to @CranialTweet. One of our writers will answer your question, and your question might appear in a future article to entertain and educate readers like yourself.

And now, without further ado, let's begin today's quiz!

Q: My opponent attacks me with Gorm the Great and Ochran Assassin. I control three creatures, and all three creatures are able to block either one of the attackers. Which declarations of blockers are legal?

A: The choices are...

A: All three blockers block Gorm.
B: Two blockers block Gorm, one blocker blocks Ochran Assassin.
C: One blocker blocks Gorm, two blockers block Ochran Assassin.
D: All three blockers block Ochran Assassin.
E: I'm having a mental block right now.

The answer is
B, C, and D.

Gorm and Ochran Assassin create blocking requirements, and you have to fulfill as many requirements as you can without disobeying any restrictions. There are no restrictions except the implicit restriction that your blockers can't block more than one attacker. Gorm creates two requirements, and Ochran Assassin creates one requirement per blocker, so that's a total of five requirements.

Option D fulfills three requirements, and there's no way to fulfill more than three requirements, so option D is legal. Moving one blocker from Ochran Assassin to Gorm still fulfills three requirements because you fulfill Gorm's first requirement at the expense of breaking one of Ochran Assassin's requirements, so option C is also legal. Moving another blocker to Gorm breaks another one of Ochran Assassin's requirements, but it fulfills Gorm's second requirement, so option B is also legal.

However, blocking Gorm with all three blockers only fulfills Gorm's requirements without fulfilling any of Ochran Assassin's requirements, so this only fulfills two requirements, so option A is not legal.

Q: Which of these cards can be in a Commander deck whose commander is Karn, Silver Golem

A: The choices are...

A: Karn, the Great Creator
B: Karn's Bastion
C: Transguild Courier
D: Eldrazi Displacer
E: Cheatyface

The answer is
A and B.

The cards you include in the deck must have a color identity that's included in the color identity of your commander. Karn, Silver Golem's color identity is colorless, so the cards in your deck must have a colorless color identity as well, which is different from just being colorless. Karn, the Great Creator and Karn's Bastion are legal for your deck because they only have colorless mana symbols in their mana cost and rules text, and they have no color indicator or characteristic-defining ability that would give it a forbidden color.

Transguild Courier doesn't have colored mana symbols on it, but its characteristic-defining ability gives it a color identity of "Oops, all colors!" Eldrazi Displacer is colorless due to its devoid ability, but its color identity is white because of the white mana symbol in its mana cost.

Hail Hydra!
Q: I control a Genesis Hydra with five +1/+1 counters on it. My opponent casts Ovinize on it and then follows up with Inside Out. What is Genesis Hydra's power and toughness after all that?

A: The choices are...

A: 1/0
B: 0/1
C: 6/5
D: 5/6
E: 42/42

The answer is

As you have probably guessed, this is a question about layers, specifically the sublayers of layer 7 where a creature's power and toughness are determined. In that layer, we start with Ovinize's effect of setting the base power and toughness to 0/1. Then we apply the +1/+1 counters. Finally we switch the power and toughness. The end result is a healthy 6/5 Hydra.

Q: I control Vela the Night-Clad and Cover of Darkness naming Ninja. If I attack my opponent with a blue Ninja, what can they block with?

A: The choices are...

A: An artifact creature.
B: A mono-black creature.
C: A mono-blue creature.
D: A blue and black creature.
E: This question intimidates me.

The answer is
A and D.

Both intimidate and fear set up blocking restrictions, and your opponent must obey all of them. Being an artifact creature obeys both of them, so an artifact creature can always block an attacker with intimidate and fear. A non-artifact creature must be black to satisfy fear, and it must share a color with the attacker to satisfy intimidate. A mono-black creature fails to satisfy intimidate and a mono-blue creature fails to satisfy fear, so a blocker must be both blue and black to satisfy both restrictions.

Q: Which of these statements about Sway of Illusion are true?

A: The choices are...

A: You can cast it without any targets.
B: If you target multiple creatures, they must have the same color to start with.
C: If you target multiple creatures, they will end up with the same color.
D: A creature targeted by Sway of Illusion can end up having more than one color.
E: Sway of Illusion is a bad card.

The answer is
A and C.

Sway of Illusion targets "any number" of creatures, and zero is a valid number of targets. The only case in which that doesn't hold is when you divide damage among any number of targets, for example Fiery Justice, where you need at least one target so the damage has somewhere to go, but that's not the case here.

There is no requirement that the targets have to share a color with each other, or that they have to have the same color, so the second statement is false.

When Sway of Illusion resolves, you choose one color, and all targets will get that color, so they'll all have the same color in the end. The new color overwrites any other colors the targets might have had, so the fourth statement is false.

Q: Arya plays Duplicant and exiles Bran's Consuming Aberration. What is Duplicant's power and toughness?

A: The choices are...

A: 0/0
B: 2/4
C: Equal to the number of cards in Bran's graveyard.
D: Equal to the number of cards in Arya's graveyard.
E: Hodor.

The answer is

Consuming Aberration is a creature card, so Duplicant takes the power and toughness from Consuming Aberration. Consuming Aberration has a characteristic-defining ability that defines its power and toughness, and this ability functions everywhere, even in exile. "Your opponents" refers to the opponents of Consuming Aberration's owner because Consuming Aberration doesn't have a controller while in exile, so the power and toughness that Duplicant takes are based on how many cards are in the graveyard of Bran's opponent, i.e. Arya's graveyard.

Not all time machines look like phone booths.
Q: Bill has equipped a creature with Helm of the Host and Assault Suit, and gave control of the creature to Ted. Assuming that Ted keeps the creature, who creates a token of the creature, and when?

A: The choices are...

A: Ted, during Ted's turn.
B: Bill, during Ted's turn.
C: Ted, during Bill's turn.
D: Bill, during Bill's turn.
E: Excellent.

The answer is

The token gets created because of the triggered ability of Helm of the Host. Even though Ted controls the creature, the Helm itself is still controlled by Bill, so Bill controls the ability. The ability triggers at the beginning of combat on Bill's turn, and Bill creates the token.

Q: During my opponent's turn, I cast Chance for Glory followed by Meditate. What happens next turn?

A: The choices are...

A: You take an extra turn. At the end of that turn, you lose the game.
B: You take an extra turn. At the end of that turn, you don't lose the game.
C: You take a regular turn. At the end of that turn, you lose the game.
D: You take a regular turn. At the end of that turn, you don't lose the game.
E: Your opponent takes an extra turn and loses the game.

The answer is

Chance for Glory inserts an extra turn into the turn sequence immediately after the current turn. Meditate sets up a replacement effect that causes you to skip that turn instead of taking it. The end step during which the "lose the game" trigger would have triggered never happened, so you don't lose the game.

Q: I control Doubling Season and Anointed Procession, and I cast a spell that makes one token. How many tokens do I get?

A: The choices are...

A: Two.
B: Three.
C: Four.
D: None. The game enters an infinite loop and ends in a draw.
E: Forty-Two.

The answer is

Both Doubling Season and Anointed Procession create replacement effects that want to double the number of tokens you're making, and both get a chance to apply. You choose the order in which to apply the two effects, but the order doesn't matter. The first effect doubles the number to two, and the second effect doubles the number to four. Once each effect has applied, they're done, so the game doesn't enter into an infinite loop of doubling the number over and over again.

Q: Which of these can be removed with Soul Diviner's ability?

A: The choices are...

A: A charge counter from your Chalice of the Void.
B: A loyalty counter from your opponent's planeswalker.
C: A poison counter from yourself.
D: A +1/+1 counter from your White Knight.
E: Your ability to answer this question.

The answer is
A and D.

Soul Diviner's ability can only take counters from permanents you control, so it can't take counters from an opponent's planeswalker, nor can it take counters from you because you're not a permanent as far as the game is concerned. Your White Knight has protection from black, but Soul Diviner's ability isn't targeting it or doing anything else that protection cares about, so Soul Diviner has no problem turning a +1/+1 counter on your White Knight into a card.

And that's the end of today's quiz. How did you do? If you got all ten questions right, congratulations! If you didn't, I hope you learned something new about the rules. Either way, I hope you had fun. Thanks for playing, and please come back next week for more Magic rules questions and answers.


About the Author:
Carsten Haese is a former Level 2 judge based in Toledo, OH. He is retired from active judging, but he still writes for Cranial Insertion and helps organize an annual charity Magic tournament that benefits the National MS Society.


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