Published on 11/11/2019

A Song of Ice and Ire

Cranial Translation
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Artist's rendition of my living room
Greetings and welcome back to another issue of Cranial Insertion. It's not even winter yet, but the temperatures here in Northwest Ohio have already plummeted dramatically. This week, we had highs barely above freezing and lows significantly below freezing. This cold is annoying because I've taken up the habit of going for hour-long walks around the neighborhood for exercise, and with the colder temperatures it becomes increasingly harder to wear enough layers to be comfortable.

Undaunted by the chill, we're here to answer more of your rules questions. If you have questions for us, feel free to email them to or tweet short questions to @CranialTweet. One of our authors will respond to you, and your question might appear in a future article to enlighten readers like yourself.

Q: I use Final Parting to put Gaea's Blessing into my graveyard of four cards. What's in my graveyard when everything is said and done?

A: In the end, nothing will be in your graveyard. Final Parting puts Gaea's Blessing into your graveyard, which triggers Gaea's Blessing's ability, but that ability has to wait for Final Parting to finish resolving before it can even go on the stack. Final Parting finishes resolving and goes to your graveyard. Now, Gaea's Blessing's trigger can go on the stack, and when it resolves, you shuffle your entire graveyard — including Final Parting — into your library.

Q: Can Granted bring an adventurer card from my sideboard into the game?

A: No, that wish can not be granted. Most of the time, an adventurer card only has its creature characteristics. The only exception to this is when it's on the stack and its adventure page was cast. In the sideboard, it only has its creature characteristics, so it's not a noncreature card.

Q: My opponent casts Blood Moon, which I attempt to counter with Drown in the Loch. My opponent Remands Drown in the Loch, and I respond with Force of Negation on Blood Moon, thinking that both Drown in the Loch and Remand will fizzle. Is that correct?

A: No, that's not correct. First off, "fizzle" was an informal term that referred to a spell being countered on resolution, which doesn't happen anymore. Under current rules, a spell whose targets are illegal is simply removed from the stack (and put into the graveyard) and fails to resolve. Unfortunately, this process doesn't have a handy name to refer to, but I'll resist the temptation to call it "fizzle." Let's call it "spell failure." The important thing to note is that this spell failure doesn't happen immediately when the spell's targets become illegal. The spell only checks its targets right before it resolves, and at that point in time it will fail if its targets are illegal. So, what actually happens after Force of Negation counters Blood Moon is that Remand starts to resolve. Its target is Drown in the Loch, which is legal, so Remand resolves, returns Drown in the Loch to your hand, and your opponent draws a card.

Q: I use Mind Harness to take control of my opponent's Korvold, Fae-Cursed King, and I decline to pay Mind Harness's cumulative upkeep cost, so I sacrifice Mind Harness. Does Korvold's "when you sacrifice a permanent" ability trigger?

A: Yup. The trigger in question belongs to the "leave the battlefield" category of triggered abilities, since triggering on sacrificing a permanent is a special case of leaving the battlefield. Such triggers look back in time, which means they trigger based on the game state immediately prior to the trigger event. Immediately prior to the event, you controlled Korvold, and you sacrificed a permanent you control, so Korvold's ability triggers for you.

Q: If I turn something into an artifact with Liquimetal Coating and then use Oko, Thief of Crowns's +1 ability to it, what will it be next turn after Liquimetal Coating's effect has worn off?

A: It'll still be a 3/3 Elk. The resolution of Oko's ability set up a continuous effect that makes the target into a 3/3 Elk, and that effect lasts forever. Liquimetal Coating's effect wearing off doesn't do anything to Oko's effect, and the permanent will be an Elk forever, or until some other continuous effect is created that does something else to it.

Q: In a recent Commander game, my opponent played something in his main phase that destroyed all my mana artifacts. In response, I tapped them all to float four mana, which my opponent allowed. Then, my opponent cast a few more creatures and then said "I'm done, go." I said that I'll use my floating mana to cast an overloaded Cyclonic Rift, but my opponent said that it's too late because the game has moved on to the end step and the mana emptied from my mana pool. Is that right?

A: No, that's not right at all. Your opponent saying "go" doesn't automatically advance the game to the end step. By saying "go", your opponent is simply passing priority and offering a shortcut to keep passing priority until you have priority in the end step. The game only advances to that point if you also pass priority in your opponent's main phase and keep passing priority until the game reaches the end step, and none of that is automatic. By stating that you want to use your floating mana, you're stating sufficiently clearly that you want to act in your opponent's main phase, so that's when you're acting, and your floating mana is available to you.

Your pumpkin spice Uber has arrived.
Q: If I control Harmonious Archon and crew my Enchanted Carriage, is it 3/3 or 4/4?

A: It's only 3/3. To determine a creature's power and toughness, you start with the values that are printed on it, and then you apply effects that modify its power and toughness. Crewing Enchanted Carriage doesn't set its power and toughness to 4/4; rather, it allows the normally meaningless 4/4 that's printed on the card to become meaningful. Harmonious Archon's effect applies on top of that and changes the power and toughness to 3/3.

Q: I control Harmonious Archon and Godhead of Awe, as well as three Grizzly Bears. It seems pretty clear that the Archon is 1/1 and the Godhead is 3/3, but what about the Bears and my opponent's creatures?

A: You're right that the Archon is 1/1, since only the Godhead's effect applies to it, and the Godhead is 3/3 since only the Archon's effect applies to it. For all other (non-Archon) creatures, both effects apply, and they're applied in timestamp order, so the more recent effect wins. If the Archon entered the battlefield last, the creatures will be 3/3. If the Godhead entered the battlefield last, they'll be 1/1.

Q: I control Torbran, Thane of Red Fell and my opponent controls four 3/3 creatures. Assume that they're Elk if you want. If I cast Pyrotechnics and target each for 1 damage, will that kill all of them?

A: It certainly will. Pyrotechnics wants to deal 1 damage to each of your opponent's maybe-Elk, and Torbran's effect kicks in and adds 2 to each of those damage events, ending up with 3 damage to each target.

Q: I still control Torbran, Thane of Red Fell, and now I attack my opponent with a Spark Elemental that's enchanted with Spirit Link. My opponent blocks it with a 1/1. What happens?

A: Torbran's effect doesn't kick in until damage is dealt, so you assign damage as you normally would. Since Spark Elemental has trample, you can assign 1 damage to the blocker and 2 damage to your opponent. When the damage is dealt, Torbran's effect increases this to 3 damage to the blocker and 4 damage to your opponent. Since Spark Elemental dealt 7 damage, the Spirit Link trigger causes you to gain 7 life.

Q: I control a Deputy of Detention that has exiled one of my opponent's planeswalkers. If they cast another planeswalker with the same name and then I blink Deputy of Detention with Eldrazi Displacer, what happens?

A: A lot of things happen, so let's go through them slowly. Eldrazi Displacer's ability exiles Deputy of Detention, which immediately returns the exiled planeswalker to the battlefield. Then Deputy of Detention is returned to the battlefield, which triggers its enter-the-battlefield ability. However, before that ability can even go on the stack, the game has to deal with state-based actions. There are two legendary permanents with the same name on the battlefield, so your opponent has to choose one to keep and put the other into the graveyard. Now, the returned Deputy of Detention's enter-the-battlefield ability goes on the stack and you choose a target for it, so you can choose and exile the planeswalker that your opponent decided to keep.

Q: If my opponent controls Narset, Parter of Veils, can I still use Tamiyo, Collector of Tales's +1 ability?

A: Certainly. Narset stops you from drawing more than one card each turn, but fortunately Tamiyo's ability doesn't ask you to draw a card. It tells you to put cards from your library into your hand, which looks a lot like drawing cards, but it's a different instruction, and Narset only cares about actual draw instructions.

Q: If Charming Prince and Reflector Mage enter the battlefield off Collected Company, is the Mage a legal target for Charming Prince's third mode?

A: Yup. Charming Prince and Reflector Mage enter the battlefield at the same time, and then their enter-the-battlefield abilities go on the stack in whichever order you want. When you choose the target for Charming Prince's ability, Reflector Mage is on the battlefield, so it's a legal target.

I wish for a short winter
Q: Does casting an adventurer card trigger prowess abilties?

A: That depends on which part of the card you cast. If you cast the adventure page, then you're casting a noncreature spell, so prowess triggers. If you cast the card as a creature, you're casting a creature spell, so prowess doesn't trigger.

Q: If I cast and copy Irencrag Feat, can I cast two more spells?

A: No, it doesn't work like that. Irencrag Feat may superficially look like it creates a permission, but it actually creates a casting restriction that prohibits you from casting any spells after you cast one more spell. The copy of Irencrag Feat creates the same restriction. After you cast one more spell, there are now two restrictions in place prohibiting you from casting any additional spells.

Q: Does creating Zombie tokens with Ghoulcaller Gisa trigger Warstorm Surge's ability that many times?

A: Absolutely. Creating a creature token causes a creature that wasn't there before to be on the battlefield, so a creature entered the battlefield, which triggers Warstorm Surge's ability, and creating X creature tokens triggers the ability X times.

Q: If I control Interplanar Beacon, can Incubation Druid produce any color of mana?

A: Absolutely. Incubation Druid looks at what types of mana any lands you control could produce if any of their ability were to resolve right now, using any legal choices you could make. If Interplanar Beacon's last ability were to resolve, it would produce one mana each of any two colors. For any color of mana you wish, there's a way that Interplanar Beacon could produce it, and hence Incubation Druid can produce it.

Q: I cast Fiery Gambit while neither my opponent nor I control any creatures. If I win one or more flips, where does the 3 damage go?

A: Well, you won't even get that far because you need a target to cast Fiery Gambit in the first place. Even though the part that uses the target is a few sentences in and is contingent on a condition that might not happen, you don't wait to see if the condition comes true to choose a target. As with any targeted spell, choosing targets is part of casting the spell, and since there are no creatures on the board, you can't cast Fiery Gambit in the first place.

And that's all the time we have for today. Thanks for reading, and I hope you stay warm until next time!

- Carsten Haese

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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