Published on 01/13/2020

...And They All Lived Happily Every After

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And that's the end of our adventures on Eldraine!

Hi everyone, and welcome back to Cranial Insertion! This week, we're saying goodbye to Throne of Eldraine! Throne of Eldraine isn't going anywhere yet, but with the latest Magic set Theros Beyond Death on the horizon, players are about to shift their attention away from fairy tales and knights and to things like gods and enchantments! Stay tuned next week, when we'll start answering your Theros Beyond Death questions. This may be the end of Eldraine's story for now, but there's always room for a return and more stories to tell.

If you have a rules question you'd like to have answered, we're here to help! You can send us question that we'll answer, and we might even use your questions in a future article. You can send us short questions via our Twitter account at @CranialTweet, and you can send longer questions to our e-mail at .

Q: I control Cindervines and my opponent controls a 5/5 Stonecoil Serpent. Can I sacrifice my Cindervines to destroy the Serpent?

A: No you cannot. The Serpent has protection from multicolored, and Cindervines is a red and green card, making it multicolored. Since the activated ability targets the artifact or enchantment that would be destroyed, you won't be able to target your opponent's Serpent with the activated ability.

Q: I attack and hit my opponent with Rankle, Master of Pranks. Do I choose which modes when the trigger is put on the stack or when the trigger resolves?

A: When the trigger is put on the stack. Part of putting the trigger on the stack is choosing which modes you want to use. That means that everyone will know which modes were chosen by the time they get to respond and before the ability resolves. For instance, they will know if you picked the "discard a card" mode, and if they have one card in their hand that's an instant, they'll know that they'll have to play it or discard it to Rankle's trigger.

Q: I control a Pelt Collector that's currently a 1/1 and Garruk, Cursed Huntsman. If I activate Garruk's +0 ability to make two 2/2 tokens, does my Collector end up as a 2/2 or a 3/3?

A: Just a 2/2. Pelt Collector has an intervening if trigger - it checks the new creature's power when it enters to see if the Collector should trigger, and it checks again when it goes to resolve to make sure that the new creature still has a higher power than the Collector. In this case, the Collector's ability triggers twice, since two 2/2s entered and the Collector is a 1/1. The first trigger resolves, and the Collector becomes a 2/2. Then the second trigger goes to resolve, but does nothing since the 2/2 token doesn't have a higher power than the 2/2 Collector anymore, and the Collector ends up as a 2/2, not a 3/3.

Q: I have God-Eternal Kefnet in play and I reveal the first card I drew this turn - Censor. I won't be able to cast the copy, but can I cycle it?

A: Nope, you won't get the chance to cycle it. You create a copy of Censor when Kefnet's triggered ability resolves and it gives you the option of casting the copy. If you don't cast the copy, when we check state-based actions after Kefnet's trigger is done resolving, the copy ceases to exist since it's a copy of a card that's not on the stack. You won't be able to cycle it, since Kefnet only lets you cast the copy, not activate its abilities, and it ceases to exists if you don't cast it before you would get a chance to cycle it.

Q: If I cast Embercleave, can I use its enter the battlefield trigger to attach it to a creature with shroud like Deadly Insect?

A: No you cannot. The triggered ability targets the creature that you're going to attach it to. The Insect cannot be the target of any spell or ability, so you won't be able to use Embercleave's triggered ability to attach it to your Insect.

Q: If I cast Nevermore and I want to name the noncreature side of a creature with adventure (like Swift End), can I do that? And will that stop them from playing the creature side as well?

A: Yes, if you're instructed to choose a card name, you can choose the name of the adventure side of a creature card, so you can choose to name Swift End. However, that only stops them from casting it via adventure, since that's the only time it has the name "Swift End". Your opponent is still able to cast Murderous Rider like normal. Likewise, if you had named Murderous Rider instead with Nevermore, they could cast Swift End, but not Murderous Rider until Nevermore leaves play.

Sometimes, if we can't get to the end,
we have to bring the end to us.

Q: I control Urza, Lord High Artificer and my opponent controls Teferi, Time Raveler. If I activate Urza's last ability and I exile a nonland card, will I be able to cast it, or will Teferi shut it down?

A: You'll be able to cast it. Urza's ability gives you a time frame to played the exiled card in - "until end of turn". You're not playing the card while Urza's ability is resolving, so Teferi won't stop you from casting it. While you can still only play it when you could normally cast a sorcery, you will be able to cast the nonland card exiled by Urza.

Q: My opponent controls Mishra, Artificer Prodigy. If they cast Sword of Fire and Ice, is it possible for me to counter it with a Cancel and not let them get it back with Mishra's trigger?

A: Yep, you just need to let Mishra's trigger resolve before you cast Cancel. If you counter the opponent's Sword before Mishra's trigger resolves, they can get the just-countered Sword out of their graveyard and can put it onto the battlefield. But if you let Mishra's trigger resolve first, they won't be able to use the trigger to put it onto the battlefield.

Q: My opponents controls a Food token that's been turned into a Elk by Oko, Thief of Crowns. If I attack with Legion Loyalist and two other creatures, will my opponent be able to block with their Elkified Food?

A: Nope, they won't. "Tokenness" isn't something that can be added or removed from a card. While Oko make the Food into an Elk, it's still a token, and because of the Loyalist's battalion ability, your opponent won't be able to block with their token.

Q: I control a Forerunner of the Coalition. If I cast Grizzly Bears, is there a chance for me to cast Shields of Velis Vel to give the Bears all creature types and trigger the Forerunner?

A: No there is not. You could cast the Shield before the Bears resolves, but the Shield only affects creatures the targeted player controls when it resolve - it won't affect a creature that enters the battlefield after it resolves, so the Bears would not gain all creature types. And if you let the Bears resolve, before you get a chance to cast the Shields, we check to see if anything should trigger. The Bears are a Bear, not a Pirate, so the Forerunner won't trigger. It doesn't matter if you make the Bears into a Pirate later on, we're passed the point of the Forerunner's ability trigger, and it won't go back and trigger if the Bears become a Pirate.

Q: If my opponent casts Eldrazi Displacer, can I counter it with Ceremonious Rejection?

A: Yes you can! It costs to cast the Displacer, but the Displacer also has devoid, which means that it's a colorless card instead of a white card. Since it's colorless, it's a legal target for the Rejection, and it can be countered by the Rejection.

Q: If I activate Tezzeret the Seeker's -X ability for one and search out Pithing Needle, does my opponent get a chance to activate abilities before the Needle enters the battlefield?

A: Well, yes and no. Yes, they can respond to Tezzeret's ability by activating abilities. But they don't know what you're searching for with the ability yet - they won't find out until the ability is resolving and it's too late to respond. Once Tezzeret's ability is done resolving, the Needle is on the battlefield and the named card can't activate its abilities. So your opponent can activate abilities before Tezzeret's ability resolves, but if they let it resolve, they risk not being able to activate the named card's abilities.

Q: I have a token creature that has undying thanks to Mikaeus, the Unhallowed. If the token creature dies, will undying trigger and return it to the battlefield?

A: While undying will trigger, the token will not return. The token died without a +1/+1 counter on it, so undying will trigger. However, before that trigger can go on the stack, we check state-based actions, and the game sees there's a token that's not on the battlefield, so the token ceases to exist. When the undying trigger resolves, nothing happens, since the token is no longer in the graveyard, so it won't return to the battlefield.

We promised an ending, and we always deliver
(even if it comes in the form of an Eldrazi).

Q: My opponent controls a Chrome Mox that has Burning-Tree Emissary imprinted on it. If I cast Pull from Eternity targeting the Emissary, what happens to the Mox?

A: Your opponent has a pretty worthless Mox in play (is that even possible, a worthless mox?). For the Mox's ability to work, the card that's imprinted on it has to stay in exile. If the card leaves exile, the Mox loses track of it and won't be able to check its colors anymore to determine what colors of mana the Mox can tap for. By using Pull from Eternity on the imprinted card, you've deactivated their Mox and it won't be able to produce mana anymore.

Q: My opponent controls a Dragonlord Kolaghan, and I have a single card in my graveyard - a Gravecrawler, along with another zombie on the battlefield. If I cast Gravecrawler from my graveyard, will I lose 10 life?

A: Nope, the Dragonlord's ability won't trigger. When you start announcing Gravecrawler, you move it out of your graveyard and onto the stack. Once we finish announcement and we check to see if anything should trigger, the Dragonlord's ability will not trigger, since there's no card named "Gravecrawler" in your graveyard. You just cast it from your graveyard, but at the point when the spell becomes cast, Gravecrawler is on the stack, not in the graveyard, and won't count for the Dragonlord's triggered ability.

Q: Can I cast Reins of Power even if I don't control any creatures?

A: Yep, you can (and that's probably the best time to be casting it anyways). There's no requirement that you and/or the targeted opponent have to control any creatures to cast the Reins. The spell will still resolve like normal, even if one of the player won't end up getting any creatures. So if your opponent has an army of creatures and you have nothing, you can use the Reins to gain control of their army, and leave them with nothing to block with for the turn.

Q: I control Ezuri, Claw of Progress which has given me three experience counters and a Meren of Clan Nel Toth which has given me five experience counters. Are those counters tracked separately or do they count for each other?

A: They help each other out. Both creatures give you (the player) the experience counters, and counters with the same name are indistinguishable from each other - an experience counter from Ezuri works the same as an experience counter from Meren. Both cares care about the number of total experience counters you have, not how many experience counters that card produced, so both triggers will use your total number of experience counters - eight.

Q: My opponent controls a Notion Thief. If I play Consecrated Sphinx, can I force my opponent to deck themselves?

A: In general, yes you can. While the Sphinx's trigger is optional, the Thief's replacement effect is not option. When your opponent draws a card, that will cause your Sphinx to trigger. When the Sphinx's trigger resolves, if you choose to use it, your opponent will steal both of those draws, which will cause the Sphinx to trigger two more times.

Provided that no one can remove the Sphinx or the Thief, you can force your opponent to deck themselves and lose the game by making them draw cards from the Sphinx's trigger (and once they've lost, you can resolve the remaining triggers, drawing for some triggers and opting out of using the other triggers so you don't deck yourself).

Q: If I cast Demonic Consultation, can I cast Misdirection targeting it to make it affect my opponent, then name a card they're not playing to exile their whole library?

A: Nope, you can't do that. The Consultation doesn't have a target, so Misdirection can't even target it, since it's not a spell with a legal target. You won't be able to make the Consultation affect your opponent, so hopefully that Consultation works out for you.

Q: I have a combo that lets me deal an unlimited amount of damage (let's say Mikaeus, the Unhallowed + Triskelion), but my opponent has a combo that can let them gain an infinite amount of life (let's say Archangel of Thune + Kitchen Finks, both with hexproof so I can't target them with the Triskelion's ability). Who wins?

A: What we have here is two loops that will effectively be returning the game to the same game state - you can damage your opponent as much as you want with your combo, but your opponent can just gain life to survive. Luckily, we have rules that cover this so that the game can actually advance. In short, the active player will have to make a choice that doesn't put them back into their loop. So if it's your turn, you'll have to end your infinite damage combo, then your opponent, knowing how much damage they would take, can gain enough life to survive.

Of course, the tip here is to pass the turn to your opponent, then perform your combo. You're no longer the active player, your opponent is, so they'll have to stop their life gain combo first, then you'll be able to kill them with your infinite damage combo.

And that's it for this week. We'll see you next week on Theros!


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