Published on 09/23/2019

Goodbye to Ixalan and Dominaria

Cranial Translation
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Thankfully, I won't see this guy on the
opposite side of the table anymore.
Hello, and welcome back to Cranial Insertion! If you're a Standard Magic player and it's the end of September, you know two things: a new set is about to come out, and rotation is about to happen. This time, we're losing all of Ixalan block, plus Dominaria and Core Set 2019. That means fans of Dinosaurs, Vampires, and historic cards, among other cards, will see their favorite cards rotate out. Most players have already been combing the spoilers for Throne of Eldraine, trying to figure out if their favorite deck will survive rotation or if they have to find a new deck. While we haven't started looking at Throne of Eldraine here yet, we're planning on starting that story next week.

So if you have any questions about Throne of Eldraine or other Magic cards, feel free to send them to us, and we'll send you a reply back. Shorter questions can be sent to us via our Twitter account at @CranialTweet, and longer questions can be sent to our e-mail address moko@cranialinsertion.com .



Q: I have a Leyline of Sanctity in play, while my opponent controls Cavalcade of Calamity. If they attack me with three 1/1 Goblin tokens, will I take any damage from the Calamity triggers?

A: Yep, you'll still take damage like normal. The Calamity's trigger doesn't target you (since it doesn't use the word 'target'), so you having hexproof won't help. You'll still take damage like normal from your opponent's Calamity trigger.



Q: I made a token copy of Cavalier of Gales with Quasiduplicate. If the token Cavalier dies, what happens? Do I still shuffle my library? Do I still get to scry 2?

A: Yes and yes. The token has all of the Cavalier's abilities, including its dies trigger, so if the token Cavalier dies, the Cavalier's ability will trigger. Even if the Cavalier isn't in the graveyard when the trigger resolves (and, in this case, it won't be, since the token Cavalier ceased to exist before its triggered ability went on the stack), you'll still follow the instructions listed, and you'll still shuffle your library, then scry 2.



Q: I control a Siren Stormtamer. My opponent activates the second +1 ability of Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord, intending to sacrifice a Vampire token to deal three damage to me. If I want to counter the ability, do I have to do it before they sacrifice the token or after they sacrifice the token?

A: You'll always have to wait for them to sacrifice before you get a chance to activate the Stormtamer's ability. Sorin's +1 has what we call a reflexive trigger - the initial activated ability doesn't target anything (not the Vampire to be sacrificed or the player or permanent that will be dealt damage). When the activated ability resolves, if your opponent sacrifices a vampire, a triggered ability goes on the stack, and that trigger is the one that targets you. You can't even target the activated ability with the Stormtamer's ability, since it's not targeting you or a permanent you control. You have to let the activated ability resolve, watch as your opponent sacrifices their Vampire, then counter the ability with the Stormtamer's ability. You don't take any damage, your opponent won't gain any life, and your opponent will be out one Vampire token.



Q: I have an untapped Pristine Skywise in play. If I cast a noncreature spell, will my Pristine Skywise still gain protection from the color of my choice until end of turn?

A: Yes it will. The Skywise's trigger doesn't care if the Skywise is tapped or untapped when the trigger resolves. If it's already untapped, that part of the Skywise's triggered ability won't do anything, but the rest of the triggered ability will still resolve like normal. That means that even though the Skywise won't untap since it's already untapped, it will still gain protection from the color of your choice until end of turn.



Q: I cast Scout's Warning with no cards in my library. Once it starts resolving, can I cast Laboratory Maniac as though it had flash before I draw a card from the second part of the Warning resolving and win the game?

A: No you cannot. You don't get priority in the middle of a spell or ability resolving to cast a spell, even if that spell is an instant or a card with flash. While you can cast the Maniac as though it had flash, you won't get a chance to until you're completely done resolving the Warning, so you'll end up losing the game since you tried to draw from an empty library before you get priority to cast the Maniac.



Q: I control Nicol Bolas, the Ravager, which is enchanted by my opponent's Bound By Moonsilver. If I activate Nicol Bolas' ability to transform him, what happens?

A: You will have successfully turned Nicol Bolas into Nicol Bolas, the Arisen. Bound By Moonsilver prevents Nicol Bolas from transforming, but Nicol Bolas isn't like most cards with transform - he doesn't stay on the battlefield when he transforms, he exiles himself, then returns to the battlefield transformed. The Moonsilver won't follow Nicol Bolas into exile, so the Moonsilver won't stop Nicol Bolas from returning transformed, and you will have The Arisen under your control (and the Moonsilver will go to the graveyard since it's no longer attached to anything).


Tucking Teferi for the last time.


Q: I use Through the Breach to put Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger onto the battlefield. After attacking, I use Endless Sands's ability to exile Ulamog. What happens to my Ulamog at the end of turn?

A: Ulamog stays hidden in the sands, waiting for its moment to return. You only sacrifice the creature that the Breach put onto the battlefield if that creature is still on the battlefield when the delayed triggered ability resolves during the end step. If the creature is not on the battlefield (for instance, because you exiled it to Endless Sands), it won't be sacrificed and will stay where it is. You'll be able to hide your Ulamog in exile via Endless Sands, and then sacrifice the Sands later on when the time is right to return Ulamog to the battlefield.



Q: What happens if I imprint an artifact land like Darksteel Citadel onto my Prototype Portal? Does activating the Portal count as playing a land? Can I still make a copy of the Citadel on my opponent's turn?

A: The Portal lets you create a copy of the imprinted artifact and put it onto the battlefield. You're not playing the card, so putting a copy of the Citadel on the battlefield doesn't count towards you land drop for the turn. And since it's put on the battlefield, you'll be able to activate the Portal's ability on your opponent's turn to put a copy of the Citadel onto the battlefield, since you're not playing the land.



Q: I control a Protean Hydra with five +1/+1 counters on it. I then cast Black Sun's Zenith for four. At the end of turn, how big will my Hydra be?

A: Once the turn is over, the Hydra will be a 9/9 creature. The Hydra's triggered ability triggers any time a +1/+1 counter is removed from it. That includes when state-based action remove four +1/+1 counters (and four -1/-1 counters) after the Zenith is done resolving. The Hydra will be a 1/1 creature for a time, but if it can survive to your end step, its delayed triggered ability will trigger and the Hydra will get eight new +1/+1 counters and end up as a 9/9.



Q: I control a Seedborn Muse, and I just turned a Brine Elemental face up to stop my opponent from untapping. Will I still untap my permanents during my opponent's next turn?

A: No you will not. The Muse's static ability works during your opponent's untap step. But Brine Elemental tells your opponents to skip their next untap step. Since your opponent will not get an untap step on their next turn, the Muse's ability won't do anything and your permanents will not untap on your opponent's next turn.



Q: I have a face down Vesuvan Shapeshifter and a face up Weaver of Lies in play. If I turn my Shapeshifter face up and copy Weaver of Lies, can I turn the original Weaver of Lies face down?

A: Yes you can. When a card uses its name in its text box, it's just talking about itself, not about a card with the same name. When the Shapeshifter Weaver is turned face up, it can turn any other creature with morph you control face down besides itself, so it will be able to target the original Weaver and turn the Weaver (and any other creature with morph that you want to target) face down.



Q: I have a 4/4 Psychosis Crawler in play. If I play Tolarian Winds, will my Crawler die before I draw cards from the Winds?

A: Your Crawler won't die at all. While there will be a brief time while the Winds is resolving where you have zero cards in hand (making the Crawler a 0/0), state-based actions aren't checked in the middle of the Winds resolving. They won't be checked until after the Winds is completely done resolving (and you've drawn three cards), and your Crawler will survive as a 3/3, and you'll have three triggers from the Crawler since you drew three cards.



Q: I activate Bag of Holding's ability, discarding a Squee, Goblin Nabob. At the beginning of my next upkeep, will Squee return to my hand?

A: Nope, Squee will stay in exile. Bag of Holding's triggered ability is not optional - if you discard a card, you must exile it. And while the more recent Squee, the Immortal lets you cast it from exile, the original Squee does not - his ability only triggers if he's in the graveyard at the beginning of your upkeep. But since your Bag exiled Squee instead of letting him stay put in your graveyard, Squee stays in exile and won't return to your hand.


A reprint completely forgotten about until
Field of the Dead came around.



Q: I cast Scapeshift, and among other lands, I search for a Lake of the Dead and a Swamp. Can I choose to sacrifice the Swamp that I searched for to satisfy the Lake's ability?

A: No you may not. Lake of the Dead has a replacement effect that replaces entering the battlefield with either sacrificing a Swamp or putting the Lake into your graveyard. This happens before any of the lands you searched for with Scapeshift enter the battlefield, so you will not be able to sacrifice the incoming Swamp to satisfy the Lake's effect.

If you want to search for the Lake, make sure you don't sacrifice all of your Swamps when resolving Scapeshift, or your Lake won't make it to the battlefield at all.



Q: I have an Exploration in play. I play two lands, then I bounce Exploration back to my hand with Boomerang and replay it. Can I play a third land?

A: This used to work years ago, but it doesn't work anymore. It used to be that when you played a land, you would decide whether you were playing it as your land for the turn or due to a bonus effect like Exploration. But back during the release of Magic 2014, the rules changed. Now, to determine if you can play a land, you count how many lands you've played this turn, then compare it to the number of lands you're allowed to play. If the number of lands you're allowed to play is greater than the number of lands you have played, you can play your land.

For example, with Exploration in play, you're allowed to play two lands per turn. Bouncing Exploration to your hand makes you able to play one land per turn (note this won't do anything to the lands you already played this turn). Replaying Exploration means you're back up to playing two lands per turn. But since you've already played two lands this turn, and you only have permission to play two lands, you will not be able to play your third land this turn. You need to either wait for your next turn (to reset the lands you've played), or play a second Exploration to allow you to play your third land for the turn.



Q: If I have a Mirror Gallery in play along with Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker, can I target my legendary creatures with Kiki-Jiki's ability?

A: No you cannot. While Mirror Gallery will let you ignore the legendary rule as long as it's on the battlefield, it doesn't removed the legendary supertype from permanents. A legendary creature is still going to be legendary, and Kiki-Jiki still cannot target a legendary creature with its ability.



Q: My opponent controls Spreading Plague. If I cast Lingering Souls, do either of my tokens survive?

A: Nope, both of your tokens (and all white creatures) will be destroyed. After the Souls is done resolving, we have two Spreading Plague triggers waiting to go on the stack, one for each token that just entered. The first trigger to resolve will destroy all white creatures except the one Spirit token that triggered the Plague. Then the second Plague trigger resolves, and the surviving Spirit token will be destroyed. That Spirit is no longer on the battlefield when the second trigger resolves, so we use last-known information about the token to know which creatures will be destroyed, meaning that the surviving token will still end up destroyed by the second trigger.



Q: I have a manifested Dark Depths in play. If I target it with Skirk Alarmist's ability, what happens?

A: The Depths is a face down creature, so it's a legal target for the Alarmist's ability, so when the Alarmist's ability resolves, the Depths is turned face up. It's not entering the battlefield, so the Depths won't have any ice counters on it. Since the Depths has no ice counters on it, the Depth's triggered ability will trigger and you'll sacrifice the Depths and get your Marit Lage token. Had the Depths hung around, it would be sacrificed at the end of turn, but the delayed trigger from the Alarmist won't do anything here since the Depths is no longer on the battlefield.



Q: I attack with Yennett, Cryptic Sovereign and I reveal the card Connive // Concoct. Can I play the split card, or do I put it into my hand?

A: Yennet cares about the revealed card's converted mana cost, and a split card in every zone other than the stack has a converted mana cost of the sum of both sides. Here, the converted mana cost of Connive // Concoct is nine, so Yennett lets you cast it. But once you start to cast it, Yennett doesn't care what the spell's converted mana cost ends up being, so you can cast Connive, even though it has a converted mana cost of four.



Q: Can I use any planeswalker as my commander, since they're all legendary now?

A: For the most part, no. In commander, only a legendary creature can be your commander. There are also a few planeswalkers that have the text "This card can be your commander" from a few of the Commander sets (see a card like Estrid, the Masked), but that's pretty much the only exception.

You might be thinking of the recent format Brawl, which plays similar to Commander but only uses 60 card decks and uses standard-legal cards but allows you to use planeswalkers as your commander. But in actual Commander, your commander must be a legendary creature or the card must say it can be your commander.



That's all I have for you this week. We'll see you all next week, when we dive right into Throne of Eldraine.


 

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