Published on 03/30/2020


Cranial Translation
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Have you ever questioned
the nature of your reality?
Greetings, and welcome back to another episode of Cranial Insertion. As Charlotte said last week, we're living in difficult times, but we'll continue to provide you with our usual brand of Magic rules education, puns, and pop culture references as much as possible, to provide much-needed levity and distraction. Today, we have a very special occasion to celebrate, as today marks the fifteen-year anniversary of Cranial Insertion's first article. To celebrate his fifteenth birthday, Moko is sipping a banana-brain daiquiri, and I'm bringing you a special present in the form of a quiz.

As always, if you have questions for us, please email them to , or tweet short questions to @CranialTweet. One of our authors will reply to you, and your question might appear in a future article to educate readers such as yourself.

And now, sit back, relax, have a drink of your choice, and enjoy this quiz!

Q: I control Nyxbloom Ancient and my opponent controls Vernal Bloom. If I tap a Forest for mana, how much mana does it produce?

A: The choices are...

A: Four mana
B: Six mana
C: You choose between four or six mana
D: Your opponent chooses between four or six mana
E: Mana mana

The answer is

Nyxbloom Ancient creates a replacement effect that changes how much mana the Forest produces, while Vernal Bloom has a triggered ability that makes Vernal Bloom produce mana. Only the mana the Forest makes itself gets tripled, so you get three mana from the Forest and one from Vernal Bloom, for a total of four mana.

Q: I just cast Welcome Home. Can I cast Flaxen Intruder from the exile zone right away if I have the necessary mana?

A: The choices are...

A: Yes
B: No
E: Options C and D have been quarantined.

The answer is

There is no requirement that an adventurer card has to be on an adventure for any length of time. As soon as it arrives in the exile zone after the adventure page has resolved, you have permission to cast it from there.

Freeze all motor functions!
Q: My opponent has enchanted my creature with two Oppressive Rays. How much extra does it cost to attack and to activate its abilities?

A: The choices are...

A: extra to attack, extra to activate
B: extra to attack, extra to activate
C: extra to attack, extra to activate
D: extra to attack, extra to activate
E: Moko says, "Ook!"

The answer is

Each Oppressive Rays creates two effects, one that imposes a cost on attacking (and blocking), and one that creates a cost increase for activating abilities. When you activate an ability of the creature, each cost-increasing effect applies, so the total activation cost increases by . Similarly, to attack with the creature you have to satisfy both costs, so you have to pay a total of to attack.

Q: Arya and Bran are playing Two-Headed Giant against Catelyn and Daenerys. Arya controls Zur's Weirding and has a Wheel of Fate suspended. Which of the statements below describe what happens when Wheel of Fate resolves?

A: The choices are...

A: Arya and Bran draw their cards first.
B: Catelyn and Daenerys draw their cards first.
C: Players alternate drawing individual cards.
D: Each player performs all their draws before the next player performs all their draws.
E: Hodor.

The answer is
A and D.

This situation is covered primarily by the following rule:

121.2d If a rule or effect instructs more than one player to draw cards in a game that's using the shared team turns option (such as a Two-Headed Giant game), first each player on the active team, in whatever order that team likes, performs their draws, then each player on each nonactive team in turn order does the same.

Since it's Arya's and Bran's turn, they are the active team, so they draw their cards first, and they choose whether Arya or Bran goes first. Then, Catelyn and Daenerys draw their cards, and they choose which of them goes first.

Q: My opponent has taken control of my Greenwarden of Murasa and it dies. What happens with its triggered ability?

A: The choices are...

A: The ability doesn't trigger.
B: You control the ability. You may exile Greenwarden and return a card from your graveyard to your hand.
C: Your opponent controls the ability. They may exile Greenwarden and return a card from their graveyard to their hand.
D: Your opponent controls the ability, but it does nothing.
E: My brain hurts.

The answer is

Since Greenwarden's ability is a dies trigger, it looks back in time and triggers based on the game state right before it died. At that time, your opponent controlled it, so they control the ability and they choose a card in their graveyard as its target. When the ability resolves, they perform its instructions, so they may exile Greenwarden even though it's in your graveyard now. Since the graveyard is a public zone, there's nothing stopping them from doing that. If they do, they get to return the targeted card to their hand.

Q: I control Alhammarret's Archive and Thought Reflection. How many cards do I draw in my draw step?

A: The choices are...

A: One
B: Two
C: Three
D: Four
E: All of them!

The answer is

When you start drawing your card for the turn, Alhammarret's Archive's replacement effect doesn't apply, but Thought Reflection's effect does and now you're drawing two cards, which you do one by one. When you get to the second of those draws, Alhammarret's Archive's effect now kicks in and instructs you to draw two cards instead, which you do one by one again. The third card you draw is still part of the original event of drawing for the turn, and both Alhammarret's Archive's effect and Thought Reflection's effect have been applied to this event, so they don't get to apply again, so you draw the third card and the event is finally done.

Is this now?
Q: Arnold, Bernard, Clementine, and Dolores are playing a game of Commander. Clementine controls Hive Mind. It's Arnold's turn, and he plays Time Warp. In which order will the extra turns be taken?

A: The choices are...

A: Dolores, Clementine, Bernard, Arnold.
B: Arnold, Bernard, Clementine, Dolores.
C: Arnold, Clementine, Dolores, Bernard.
D: Bernard, Dolores, Clementine, Arnold.
E: If you've seen Westworld, you know that this can't happen as described.

The answer is

Arnold casts Time Warp, which triggers Hive Mind's ability, so Hive Mind's ability gets put on the stack above Time Warp. When Hive Mind resolves, the other three players put copies of Time Warp on the stack above Arnold's original spell. The copies are put on the stack in turn order, so Dolores's copy is put on last and is on top of the stack, with Clementine's copy, Bernard's copy, and Arnold's original below it in that order. Now those Time Warps resolve, from top to bottom.

When Time Warp resolves, it inserts an extra turn for its controller into the turn sequence immediately following the current turn. Dolores's extra turn gets inserted first, but then Clementine's extra turn gets inserted before Dolores's extra turn, then Bernard's extra turn gets inserted before Clementine's extra turn, and finally Arnold's extra turn gets inserted before Bernard's extra turn.

Q: In a three-player game, player 1's creature somehow got player 2's and player 3's Swiftfoot Boots attached to it, following some trickery that's not relevant to this question. Which players can still target the creature?

A: The choices are...

A: Only player 1
B: Only players 2 and 3
C: All of them
D: None of them
E: How can a creature wear two pairs of boots at the same time?!?

The answer is

Swiftfoot Boots gives the creature hexproof regardless of who controls the Boots. Player 1's creature has hexproof, which means that it can't be targeted by spells and abilities controlled by players 2 and 3, so only player 1 can still target the creature.

Q: If I use Oko, Thief of Crowns to turn my opponent's Dryad of the Ilysian Grove into an Elk, what happens?

A: The choices are...

A: Your opponent's lands revert to their normal land types.
B: Your opponent's lands continue to be all basic land types in addition to their other types.
C: Your opponent can't play an additional land anymore.
D: Your opponent can still play additional lands.
E: You realize that this is a question about layers and call a judge.

The answer is
B and C.

Oko removes the Dryad's abilities, but because of the layers, the result is not entirely straightforward. Type-changing effects are applied in layer 4, while ability-removing effects are applied in layer 6, and removing an ability doesn't undo effects that have already been applied in an earlier layer. Therefore, your opponent's lands continue to have all basic land types even though the Dryad loses that ability.

Rules-changing effects such as the Dryad's additional-land ability are applied outside of layers, so this result is more intuitive: Since the Dryad doesn't have the ability that creates the effect, the rules-changing effect is not applied and your opponent is limited to the usual one land per turn.

Q: Which of these can I do with Richard Garfield, Ph.D. on the battlefield, assuming that we're playing with a Vintage card pool.

A: The choices are...

A: Cycle Aven Mindcensor as if it were Akroma's Blessing
B: Play a land as if it were Ancestral Vision
C: Play a land as if it were another land
D: Play Ornithopter as if it were Black Lotus
E: Sneak Reality Twist onto the battlefield as if it were Cheatyface

The answer is

Let's start with the easy one. You can definitely play Ornithopter as Black Lotus since both have the same mana cost of , provided that you haven't chosen Black Lotus before with this instance of Richard Garfield.

You can't play a land card as if it were another land card because land cards don't have a mana cost at all, so when the game asks if the two cards have the same mana cost, the comparison fails because there is nothing to compare. If you're having trouble following this logic, ask yourself if two bald people have the same hair color.

For the same reason, you can't pretend that a land is Ancestral Vision. However, even if your playgroup allows you to play a land as another land, using the logic that "no mana cost" is the same as "no mana cost", this wouldn't help you play a land as Ancestral Vision. To cast Ancestral Vision, you'd have to pay its mana cost, which is the unpayable empty cost.

Finally, Richard Garfield's ability only applies to playing or casting cards. It doesn't extend to activated abilities such as cycling.

And that's all the time we have for today. I hope you had fun and maybe you learned something new. As always, thanks for reading, stay safe, and please come back next week for more Magic rules entertainment.


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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