Published on 12/30/2019

2020 Vision

Cranial Translation
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They say that hindsight is 20/20, but I think we might
need to wait until 2021 to be sure.
Happy holidays and welcome to the final edition of Cranial Insertion of 2019. As we prepare to step forward into a new decade, it's important to remember the things that matter to all of us day-to-day as well. For most anyone reading, I hope that means that Magic is an important part of your life, a fun hobby that allows you to share good times with friends, express your creativity, and compete with other players for fun and prizes. We here at Cranial Insertion would like to thank you for making our weekly column a part of your lives as well and we promise that we'll still be here, week in and week out, for as long as you want to keep reading.

As we wait for midnight to strike, I'd like to remind you that if you'd like the CI team to answer your question, please send it to us via email at or tweet it to us @CranialTweet. We'll make sure to send you a reply and your question might also appear in a future CI column.

Q: if a player casts Spark Double when they control only one creature, and their opponent responds by removing that one creature, will Spark Double enter the battlefield as a 0/0 or will it have a +1/+1 counter on it?

A: The +1/+1 counter is part of what happens when Spark Double copies a creature. Without anything to copy, that ability doesn't get to apply at all and so Spark Double will enter the battlefield as a lonely 0/0 and die immediately.

Q: If I put a Clone into play using Show and Tell, can I copy the creature that my opponent puts onto the battlefield with the spell?

A: No, this doesn't work. Your clone can only copy something that's on the battlefield immediately before it would enter the battlefield. Since it's entering the battlefield at the same time as your opponent's creature, then that creature isn't a legal choice for that copy effect.

Q: Is there any simple way to know if an effect created by a card will last after it leaves the battlefield? I'm thinking of the difference between cards like Gwafa Hazid, Profiteer and Obsidian Fireheart.

A: Obsidian Fireheart does the entirety of its effect with a single ability, which allows that effect to persist beyond its presence on the battlefield. Gwafa, on the other hand, uses a separate static ability to pacify the creatures he has bribed, which means that his presence on the battlefield is required for his counters to do anything.

Q: If I have control Chief Engineer, can I convoke out Arcum's Astrolabe?

A: No, represents one mana that can only be paid with mana from a snow source. It's neither a colored or colorless mana symbol and can't be paid with convoke, even if you tap a snow creature.

Hopefully he won't show up to your New Year's Eve party...
Q: I have never really understood how the "Chain" cards work. So for Chain of Vapor, for example, can the spell only be copied once by the first permanent's controller or does it simply continue until someone decides they don't want it to keep going?

A: When Chain of Vapor resolves, its target is returned to its owner's hand. That target's controller then has the option to sacrifice a land. If they do, they can choose to copy Chain of Vapor and give it a new target. (A good idea since the original target is no longer on the battlefield.) That copy is a separate spell and goes on the stack as normal, though it isn't cast. When the copy resolves, the target is returned to its owner's hand and then the controller of the target can choose to copy it, etc. The chain continues for as long as players want to keep sacrificing land. The important thing to remember is that each copy is a separate spell and can be countered or responded to as normal.

Q: If an opponent controls Teferi, Time Raveler, but I control Hypersonic Dragon, does this mean that my sorcery spells still have flash?

A: You can cast your sorcery spells as though they have flash, sure, but you also have to cast them when Teferi says you can, i.e. at normal sorcery speed. An effect like Teferi's that restricts your ability to do something always takes precedence over an effect that gives you broader permission to do that thing. In other words, "can't" beats "can".

Q: I was at FNM the other night, playing Modern and my opponent played the Karn, the Great Creator and Mycosynth Lattice combo against me. How does this affect casting spells with convoke? Am I unable to pay the colored mana with creatures or does Lattice's ability that allows me "spend mana as though it were mana of any color"?

A: Convoke isn't making mana, so that ability of Mycosynth Lattice doesn't have any relevance for your convoke spells. This means that you can never pay for a convoke spell since your creatures are all colorless thanks to Mycosynth Lattice and thus none of them can pay the colored mana in the cost of those spells. TL;DR: No, convoke doesn't get you around the Karn/Lattice lock.

Q: If my Vizier of the Menagerie is in play, and a creature card with an adventure is on top of your library, can you cast the Adventure?

A: No, you can't. When you propose casting a spell, you look at what its characteristics would be on the stack and then check to see if you're allowed to cast it this way. In this scenario, you're proposing casting an Instant from the top of your library and you don't have any effects that allow you to do that, since Vizier only lets you cast creature spells from the top of your library and the Adventure isn't a creature spell.

Q: My Thieving Amalgam has manifested my opponent's Kozilek, Butcher of Truth. Will my opponent reshuffle their graveyard into their library when the face-down Kozilek dies or not?

A: While it's true that Kozilek won't have any abilities when it dies, its ability will still trigger from the graveyard. This is because abilities that trigger when the card they're on is put into its owner's graveyard from anywhere have to trigger in the graveyard since the card can be coming from a hidden zone, e.g. the hand or library.

Q: I was playing EDH the other day, and one of my opponents had eight non-token creatures, Mycosynth Lattice, and Mechanized Production enchanting one of the creatures. Another opponent then played Ixidron, turning all those creatures face down. Would the Mechanized Production cause my opponent to win on their next upkeep?

A: No, they won't win unless they control eight other artifacts with the same name, such as Islands. Face-down creatures have no name at all, as in they totally lack that characteristic. That means that they don't share their name with anything else, even themselves.

Q: If a card affects all permanents of a type with its ability, what happens if a permanent loses or gains that type during resolution of that ability? For example, I enchanted a creature with Imprisoned in the Moon, and my opponent used Nevinyrral's Disk to try to free it. Does the enchanted creature survive, or does it get destroyed by the Disk too?

A: A spell or ability that affects permanents of a specific type or types will only affect the objects that have those types as the ability resolves. In the scenario you describe, the creature will stop being a land once Imprisoned in the Moon is destroyed, but at that point Nevinyrral's Disk has already had its effect and won't somehow snipe the freed creature after the fact.

Q: I control Morophon, the Boundless, naming Avatar, and Fist of Suns. Can I cast Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis from my hand for free since I'm not actually spending any mana on it?

A: Yes, this works fine. Fist of Suns will set Hogaak's mana cost to and then Morophon will reduce it to , allowing you to pay nothing to cast the Arisen Necropolis.

Q: If my opponent uses the Painter's Servant / Grindstone combo to mill out my whole library, but I have a Worldspine Wurm and a Vigor in my deck, does the game get locked in a loop and become a draw?

A: No. These cards have triggers that trigger when they go into your graveyard, and those triggers won't go on the stack until after Grindstone's ability has finished resolving. In the scenario you describe, you'll just end up with Vigor and Worldspine Wurm as the only cards in your library after their triggers resolve. If you're looking to punish the Painter/Grindstone combo, you need cards like Nexus of Fate or Blightsteel Colossus that replace going to the graveyard with being shuffled in. If your deck contains at least two of these cards when the Grindstone ability begins to resolve, then the game will end in a draw as Grindstone's ability can never finish resolving.

Q: If you somehow remove all abilities from a card with Bestow, e.g. Boon Satyr, which is currently an aura, I assume that it falls off because it loses "enchant creature". But does it then become a creature, or does it go to the graveyard, as it no longer has the Bestow ability?

A: It will become a creature. An aura that loses its enchant ability can't legally enchant anything and would normally go to the graveyard when state-based actions are checked. However, casting a card for its bestow cost modifies this and causes the aura to stop being an aura and become a creature when it becomes unattached. The card will still have no abilities from whatever effect was affecting it, but that won't stop it becoming a creature when it would fall off the creature.

Q: My opponent has Living Lands in play and I play Blood Sun. Are forests still creatures?

A: Yes, all forests will still be creatures. Living Lands doesn't grant any abilities to lands but rather just adds the Creature type and gives them a power and toughness. There is nothing for Blood Sun's ability to remove, so it doesn't alter the effect of Living Lands in any way.

Q: How does Kaya's Ghostform interact with Grafdigger's Cage? Does the Cage prevent the return, or would the enchantment trigger just after the enchanted creature dies and before it enters the graveyard?

A: There's no such thing as a place between the battlefield and the graveyard, so Kaya's Ghostform can't return a creature to the battlefield from the graveyard while Grafdigger's Cage is around any more than a card like Animate Dead could.

Q: I was playing Ravenous Slime and I put a -1/-1 counter on one of my opponent's 1/1 creatures. Does Ravenous Slime get a +1/+1 counter when the creature dies or not?

A: Ravenous Slime won't get any counters here. The creature would have died because it had 0 toughness, so those are the stats that Ravenous Slime looks at when it determines how many counters to get. 0/0 when it left the battlefield means zero counters. It's as simple as that.

4… 3… 2… 1… Happy New Year!
Q: Is it possible to sacrifice a creature I stole with Helm of Possession to the same Helm of Possession in my untap step?

A: Sadly not. If you choose to untap Helm of Possession in your untap step, its control-changing effect ends immediately and you no longer control the creature it took. You'll need another sacrifice outlet (e.g. another Helm of Possession) in order to be able to get rid of your stolen creature so easily.

As we near the midnight countdown, I bid you adieu here from the CI offices. I hope you have a wonderful new year celebration with those you care about. Enjoy yourselves and we'll be with you again next week.

- Charlotte


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