Published on 01/27/2020

Cranial Insertion Bests the Mailbag

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Every now and then,
we should all take some time to reflect.
After a full week of prereleases and release drafts and all sorts of wonderful wallowing in the amazing new cards from Theros Beyond Death, it's time for me to get back to work and help you all understand the set better, so let's dip into the mailbag and get this party started.

Now it's time for your weekly reminder 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: My opponent controls Enemy of Enlightenment in a duel. I have two cards in hand, including Triumphant Surge. Can I target Enemy of Enlightenment with Triumphant Surge or not?

A: Yes, you can do this.
The first step in casting a spell is to move it from wherever the card was onto the stack. This means that you have only one card in hand and Enemy of Enlightenment will be 4/4 by the time you need to choose targets, meaning you can choose it as the Triumphant Surge's target.

Q: I have a Protean Thaumaturge on the battlefield when I enchant my opponent's Shimmerwing Chimera with Ichthyomorphosis. If I target the now fishy Chimera with the Thaumaturge's constellation ability, will Thaumaturge become a 0/1 Fish or a 3/2 flying Chimera?

A: It will be a 3/2 Chimera with flying, the upkeep trigger, and the constellation trigger. When something becomes a copy of something else, it looks at the printed characteristics of the object it's copying, not its current characteristics. The only thing that can modify this is if the thing that's being copied is copying something else itself, in which case it will look like that thing after the copy effect is applied.

Q: At the beginning of my turn, my only nonland permanent is The First Iroan Games with two lore counters. I draw Thryx, the Sudden Storm. Am I able to cast Thryx in time to be able to draw cards when the Saga trigger resolves?

A: Yes, you can. Lore counters are added to Sagas at the beginning of your precombat main phase, so you can cast Thryx either in your draw step or before the draw trigger from The First Iroan Games resolves. The trigger will go on the stack whether or not you control any 4-power creatures, but will only draw you cards if you control a big enough creature when the trigger resolves.

Q: How does Nyxbloom Ancient's ability interact with Sasaya's Essence? If I have ten Forests, how much mana can I produce?

A: Nyxbloom Ancient doesn't interact with Sasaya's Essence at all since the mana made by Sasaya's Essence is made by the enchantment and not the land itself. This means that you'll tap the Forest for three , and then Sasaya's Essence will trigger and give you nine more for a total of 12 mana each and 120 mana total.

Q: What happens when I use Doubling Cube while I control Nyxbloom Ancient? Does Doubling Cube tap for mana or not?

A: Good news! Doubling Cube does indeed tap for mana, so you'll get three times as much mana as you normally would from it thanks to Nyxbloom Ancient. Effectively, you'll be quadrupling the mana in your mana pool. For example, if your mana pool contained when you activate Doubling Cube, it would add .

Q: My opponent casts Drag to the Underworld on one of my creatures while they control Geralf's Messenger, paying only to cast it. Can I counter it with Spell Snare?

A: No, you can't. While your opponent is only paying two mana to cast Drag to the Underworld, its converted mana cost is still 4, meaning that it's not a legal target for Spell Snare. A spell's converted mana cost is always the sum of the mana cost printed on it, with any value of X factored into that cost while it's on the stack. It doesn't matter how much mana is being paid to cast it.

Q: If Nessian Boar is blocked by ten creatures, does its ability trigger ten times or just once? In other words, do I need Stifle or Summary Dismissal to get rid of them?

A: This is a job for Summary Dismissal. Nessian Boar's ability triggers separately for each creature that blocks it, so ten blockers means ten triggers, each of which would resolve separately.

Q: My Athreos, Shroud-Veiled has put a coin counter on my opponent's Kitchen Finks, which doesn't have any -1/-1 counters on it. Who gets the Kitchen Finks when it dies? Which trigger resolves first?

A: It depends on whose turn it is, since both Athreos's ability and Kitchen Finks's persist ability trigger at the same time. If it's your turn, then Athreos's trigger goes on the stack first with the persist trigger above it. The persist trigger will resolve first in this case, meaning that Athreos's ability does nothing. The opposite is true if it's your opponent's turn, with Athreos's trigger going on the stack above the persist trigger and resolving first. TL;DR: The player whose turn it is will always lose out here.

Q: If someone is casting a spell because another spell told them to, e.g. while resolving Allure of the Unknown, can other players respond to that spell to counter it or whatever?

A: Yes, that spell can be responded to. When a spell is cast during the resolution of another spell or ability, it goes on the stack as normal and has to wait to resolve. Once the spell or ability that instructed the player to cast it finishes resolving, a normal round of priority ensues before the new spell can resolve itself. This gives players a chance to counter, copy, or otherwise interact with that spell as normal.

Q: I'm playing Nightmare Shepherd and my commander, Rakdos, the Showstopper, dies. Can I choose to send Rakdos to the graveyard so that Nightmare Shepherd can make a token copy of him and then send Rakdos back to the command zone when he would be exiled from the graveyard? Does this work?

A: Yes, this is all perfectly legal to do, and is a really good way to get some extra oomph out of black commanders with ETB triggers. Even though you're sending your commander back to the command zone instead of exiling it, you'll still get a token copy of it since you're still choosing to do the optional action, albeit in a modified form.

Q: Why is the trigger of Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger worded so weirdly? It says "each opponent who didn't discard a nonland card this way loses 3 life." Isn't that the same thing as saying "each opponent who discarded a land card this way loses 3 life" or is there something I'm missing here?

A: You are missing something, which is what Kroxa does to an opponent who didn't have any cards to discard. In such a case, that player didn't discard a nonland card, so Kroxa will make them lose 3 life. If Kroxa was worded to punish just discarding lands, then a player with no cards to discard would get off without any punishment from our big hungry friend.

Q: When Bronzehide Lion dies, it says to return it to the battlefield as an Aura, but it doesn't say what to attach it to. Doesn't that mean it'll just go back to the graveyard right away because it'll be on the battlefield without enchanting anything?

A: Don't worry, the lion is smarter than that and knows how to pass on its protective hide to another one of your creatures. If an Aura would enter the battlefield and it wasn't cast and the effect putting it onto the battlefield didn't say what it enters the battlefield attached to, then the controller of the Aura chooses something it can legally enchant for it to enter the battlefield attached to.

Q: I have a card exiled with Furious Rise, but I no longer control a creature with power 4 or greater. I know that I won't be able to exile a new card, but how for how long will I be able to cast the card that's currently exiled by it?

A: You'll be able to cast that card for as long as it remains in exile if you haven't exiled another card with that same Furious Rise. This means that if Furious Rise leaves the battlefield or otherwise never triggers again, you'll have perpetual access to that card for the rest of the game. (Of course you can only cast it once, but still, that's a good deal.)

Hang on a second...
Q: If I enchant an enchantment with One with the Stars, does that actually accomplish anything if the enchanted enchantment didn't have any other types? If not, then why can I do it?

A: The reason that One with the Stars can enchant an enchantment is so it can stay attached to the permanent it enchants. If it only had enchant creature, then it would fall off the moment that it transformed the enchanted creature into an enchantment. (Also, it lets you enchant one of the Gods if its controller doesn't currently have sufficient devotion.)

Q: If I control Klothys, God of Destiny and Altar of the Pantheon and no other red or green permanents, is my devotion to red and green 3 or 5?

A: Your devotion to red and green is 3. Despite its confusing wording, Altar of the Pantheon just adds one to any devotion check. Just imagine it having a single five-color hybrid mana symbol in its mana cost, if that makes it easier to understand. Multiple Altars do stack, though, so two Altar of the Pantheon gives you +2 devotion, etc.

Q: My opponent controls Thousand-Year Storm, which just copied their Heroic Intervention twice. That spell was cast in response to my Storm's Wrath. If I want my opponent's creatures to be able to die, do I need to activate Shadowspear's ability three times or just once after all the Interventions have resolved?

A: Just once. Effects that remove keyword abilities will remove any number of instances of that ability, so a single Shadowspear activation is sufficient to cut through the Heroic Interventions and subject your opponent's creatures to your Storm's Wrath.

Q: If my opponent casts Ashiok's Erasure in response to me casting my commander and I send it to the command zone instead of exile, will I be able to cast it again right away or will I have to get rid of Erasure first?

A: You can cast your commander right away. Since your commander is in the command zone and not the exile zone, there's no card exiled with Ashiok's Erasure and so there's no prohibition against casting your commander because of it.

Q: Silver-bordered question: With so many new fancy cards around, I'm confused about what exactly Super Secret Tech affects anymore. Can you please help?

A: Sure thing. A premium card is any card that's not a normal nonfoil card. This means any foil card, any card with an alternate frame, such as the alternate art storybook cards from Throne of Eldraine, or the extended art and borderless cards from collector's boosters. Basically, if you have to say anything to distinguish it from a normal version of the card, it's premium. So yes, the Super Secret Tech is even more super than before!

That's all for this week. Thanks for reading. I hope you found my answers... enchanting.

- Charlotte

For clarification on the Nessian Boar question: I believe you can't use Whirlwind Denial to counter the triggers of your own Nessian Boar because, even though your opponent will be drawing the cards, you still control the ability.
#1 • Date: 2020-01-27 • Time: 02:25:24 •

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