Published on 03/09/2020

Catch Myth If You Can

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Wait, why couldn't Achilles's entire body be dunked
into the Styx? I guess you can't be completely immune...

Hello everyone, and welcome back to Cranial Insertion! As many of you have figured out, the world of Theros is heavily based on Greek myths and legends (and, if you didn't know, congratulations! Now you know). A lot of the references are pretty obvious - most of the Theros gods match up pretty well with classic Greek gods (or some combination of gods), but there are some references that may not be recognizable at first (for example, Bronzehide Lion and Nessian Boar are references to some of Heracles's 12 labors - just be thankful we don't have a card that references him having to clean the Augean Stables!)

But once you're done diving into Greek myths and legends, we have this week's article, full of truths about today's Magic rules. But if you have a question you'd like us to answer, feel free to send it to us. We might even us it in a future article. You can send shorter questions to us via Twitter account at @CranialTweet, and longer questions can be sent to us at .

Q: I attack with Leonin of the Lost Pride, and my opponent blocks with Loathsome Chimera. Will I be able to exile my opponent's Chimera with the Leonin's triggered ability?

A: Yes you can. The trigger from the Leonin can't go on the stack until after state-based actions have put the Leonin and the Chimera into the graveyard. When we're finally putting the Leonin's trigger on the stack, the Chimera is in your opponent's graveyard, and can be exiled by the Leonin's triggered ability

Q: I want to remove hexproof from my opponent's Wardscale Crocodile with Shadowspear's activated ability. Do I have to attach the Shadowspear to a creature first, or can I activate that ability even if it's unattached?

A: There's no need to equip it first - you can activate it even if it's not attached to anything. The activated ability that removes hexproof and indestructible from your opponent's creatures is an ability of Shadowspear itself, not an ability given to the equipped creature. You can activate Shadowspear's ability, even if it's not attached to anything, to remove hexproof from your opponent's Crocodile.

Q: I have an Underworld Breach in play and a Fae of Wishes in my graveyard. Can I choose to cast Granted from my graveyard?

A: Yep, you can cast Granted. You're casting the card from your graveyard, and nothing says you have to cast the creature side, so you can choose to cast the adventure side of Fae of Wishes from your graveyard. You'll still have to exile three other cards from your graveyard, and it will end up exiled and on an adventure when it resolves (just like if you had cast it from your hand), but you can cast the adventure side from your graveyard with the Breach.

Q: I control Tamiyo, Collector of Tales. If my opponent casts Yarok's Fenlurker, will Tamiyo's static ability prevent me from exiling a card from my hand?

A: Nope, you'll still have to exile. While the Fenlurker's ability might feel similar to discarding, it's not - the card is exiled and does not count as a discard since the effect doesn't say to discard the card. Tamiyo's ability doesn't stop the Fenlurker's trigger and you'll still have to exile a card from your hand.

Q: I have a Nightmare Shepherd, Teysa Karlov, and a Yarok's Fenlurker in play, and my Fenlurker dies. Will I end up getting two Fenlurker tokens?

A: Nope, you'll only get one token. The Shepherd does have a dies trigger, so Teysa will cause it to trigger twice instead of once. But in order to get the token, you have to be able to exile that creature card from your graveyard when the trigger resolves. When the first Shepherd trigger resolves, you can exile the Fenlurker and get a token copy of it. But when the second trigger resolves, you can't exile the Fenlurker, since it's no longer in your graveyard, and you won't get a second token.

Q: I control Mowu, Loyal Companion with three +1/+1 counters on it and a Hydra's Growth attached to it. During my upkeep, the Growth's ability triggers. How many counters does Mowu end up with?

A: Mowu ends up with seven +1/+1 counters. When the Growth's trigger resolves, it doubles the number of +1/+1 counters on Mowu from three to six. Since you're putting counters on Mowu, Mowu's replacement effect will kick in and give itself one more counter. The Growth's trigger ends up giving Mowu four +1/+1 counters instead of three, and Mowu ends up with a total of seven +1/+1 counters once the trigger is done resolving.

Q: If I control Thalia's Lieutenant and activate the +1 ability of Elspeth, Sun's Champion, will my Lieutenant get three +1/+1 counters?

A: No it will not. Elspeth's ability makes soldier tokens, but those tokens are not human. To count as a human, the effect that makes the tokens would have to say they're human. Compare the Sun's Champion to Elspeth, Sun's Nemesis - the tokens made by the -2 ability are both human and soldiers, so they would trigger the Lieutenant's ability.

What's in the box, Pandora?

Q: I control Leyline of Singularity and a Cabal Paladin. Does that mean the Paladin's ability will trigger every time I cast a spell?

A: Nope, those cards don't really interact in any way. The Leyline only affects nonland permanents on the battlefield. It won't affect cards in other zones like the stack. The Leyline won't make your spells legendary, so the Paladin won't trigger off of any spell you cast, only spells that are already legendary, artifacts, or sagas.

Q: I control Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner. If I play Batterskull, will I draw a card from the Germ token entering the battlefield?

A: Nope, Kiora won't trigger and you won't draw a card. When the living weapon trigger resolves, we create the 0/0 germ token, then attach Batterskull to that token. The token is not created with Batterskull attached to it. Right after the token enters, we check to see if anything should trigger. The token is a 0/0, and Kiora only triggers if the new creature's power is 4 or greater right after it enters, so Kiora won't trigger. Then we attach Batterskull to the token, but Kiora is already passed the point of caring about the new germ token and won't trigger at all.

Q: I control Torbran, Thane of Red Fell and a Hellrider. If I attack with both creatures, how much damage does Hellrider deal with its triggers?

A: A total of six damage. Those of you familiar with standard probably know this interaction very well (just replace Hellrider with Cavalcade of Calamity). Hellrider isn't triggering one time for both creature attacking, it's triggering two times. Each trigger is its own source of damage, so Torbran increases the damage each trigger deals by two. Before your opponent can even declare blockers, they've already taken a total of six damage from Hellrider's two triggers.

Q: My opponent controls an Isochron Scepter with a Counterspell imprinted on it. If I turn my Mirage Mirror into a copy of their Scepter, can I activate the ability and cast a copy of Counterspell?

A: You cannot. Your Mirror is a copy of their Scepter, but you don't get to copy what's imprinted on their Scepter. In addition, you don't get a chance to imprint anything onto your Mirror Scepter since it's not entering the battlefield when it becomes a copy of the Scepter. While you're free to activate the ability, you won't get to cast a copy of anything, since your Mirror Scepter doesn't have anything imprinted on it.

Q: My opponent controls March of the Machines. I control Coat of Arms, and I cast Prosperous Pirates. Will my treasure tokens survive as 1/1s or will they die?

A: Your treasure tokens will die. While treasure is an artifact subtype, Coat of Arms only counts creature types, not other subtypes the cards have. March of the Machines doesn't give your treasure tokens a creature type, so Coat of Arms won't boost your treasure tokens at all, and your treasure tokens will be 0/0 creatures and will die.

Q: Is it possible to activate Wasteland's ability targeting itself?

A: Yep, you can do that. We choose targets for the ability before costs are paid. Since Wasteland is still on the battlefield when we're choosing targets for the ability, you can activate the ability targeting itself (why you'd want to do is a mystery - maybe you're trying to dodge your opponent's Sowing Salt?)

The Sword of Damocles is hangin' over my head!

Q: I control a Craterhoof Behemoth and The Cauldron of Eternity. If I cast Natural Order, can I sacrifice the Behemoth and search for it with the Order?

A: Yes you can. You sacrifice the Behemoth as part of the cost of casting the Order. Since your Behemoth died, the Cauldron's ability will trigger and that trigger will go on the stack above the Order. You'll resolve the Cauldron's trigger first, putting the Behemoth on the bottom of your library, then you'll resolve the Order and can put the Behemoth that you just put on the bottom of your library onto the battlefield.

Q: If my opponent controls Aura of Silence, how much will it cost to cast Bow of Nylea, or ?

A: It will cost to cast the Bow. Aura of Silence has a single ability that increases the cost to cast an artifact or enchantment spell. It doesn't "double up" if the spell happens to be both an artifact and an enchantment. Even though the Bow is both an artifact and an enchantment, the Aura only taxes the spell once, not twice.

Q: If I cast Mana Vortex, then respond to the Vortex's cast trigger by casting Autumn's Veil, can I choose not to sacrifice a land and not have my Vortex countered?

A: Nope, that doesn't work. The Veil prevents your spells from being countered by blue or black spells, but they can still be countered by abilities from blue or black sources. You're free to cast the Veil in response to the Vortex's trigger, but you'll still need to sacrifice a land when that trigger resolves or your Vortex will be countered.

Q: My opponent just cast Force of Will via its alternate cost, exiling a blue card from their hand. Can I respond by casting Sleight of Mind on their Force of Will to make them exile a red card instead?

A: Nope, you can't do that. By the time you get priority after Force of Will has been cast, all costs have already been paid for. You're free to cast Sleight of Mind and change the text of the Will by replacing "blue" with "red", but since the cost to cast Force of Will has already been paid, your opponent won't be forced to exile a red card instead, and Force of Will will resolve like normal.

Q: If I control Siona, Captain of the Pyleas and enchant it with Shielded by Faith, will that let me make an unlimited number of creatures?

A: Yes it will! When the Faith becomes attached to Siona, Siona's ability will trigger and create a token. Since a creature entered the battlefield, the Faith's ability will trigger and you can move the Faith to the new creature. That causes Siona' ability to trigger again, and repeats. You'll be able to use this combo to make as many soldier tokens as you want (you can stop at any time since you don't have to move the Faith to the new creature if you don't want to). Hopefully, your opponent isn't holding a board wipe (or a Rakdos Charm)!

Q: I use Scroll of Fate to manifest a Rancor from my hand. If my face down Rancor dies, will it return to my hand?

A: No it will not. Rancor has a dies trigger, which means that it has to have that ability when it leaves the battlefield. When the Rancor was last on the battlefield, it was face down and had no abilities (including Rancor's dies trigger), so your manifested Rancor will go to the graveyard and stay there.

Q: I'm in a two-headed giant game. I control ten creatures, while my teammate controls two creatures. One of the opposing heads on the opposite team controls four creatures, and the other controls two. I activate the last ability of Shaman of Forgotten Ways. What do our life totals look like once the ability is done resolving?

A: In two-headed giant, if an effect tries to set each player's life total to a number, each team will choose one of its members and only that player will be affected. That means your team's life total won't be the sum of both teammate's creatures, but of the total creature that one head controls. Each team will choose one of its members (likely, the player that controls the most creatures), and the Shaman will only count that player's creatures to determine what their team's life total ends up as. Assuming both teams want the highest life totals, your team will pick the player with ten creatures, making your team's life total 10, while your opponents will pick the player with four creatures and their team's life total becomes 4.

Well, that's all I have for this week. See you again next week!


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