Published on 04/13/2020

Overlook Hotel

Cranial Translation
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Also sleeping power and lonely power!
Friends, I am slipping into madness. Time has lost all meaning. The only times that exist anymore are Awake, Sleep, and Writing Cranial Insertion. I have not seen or spoken to another human in weeks. I'd like to thank my cat, Mrs Whiskers, for her constant love and support while I was writing this article. I couldn't have done it without her.

If you have any questions, or if you're also losing your mind because of isolation, email us at ! We'll be happy to answer your rules questions, and at least one of us just really needs some human interaction. Haha. Please help.

You can also tweet us at @CranialTweet. And who knows, maybe if your question is great, it'll show up in one of these articles. Yay! You can be almost as famous as Mrs. Whiskers!

Q: I cast Flatten targeting my opponent's Forest Bear. They insist that they can cast Dromoka's Command choosing its first mode to prevent Flatten from doing anything. I think they're wrong. Which one of us is right?

A: You are! Dromoka's Command's first mode only prevents damage. Flatten doesn't deal any damage at all. It just reduces the target's power and toughness. Your opponent's creature will be small, and their Dromoka's Command will be sad and wasted.

Q: I control Skywinder Drake. My opponent attacks me with their Healer's Hawk, and I blocked it with Drake. After I blocked, my opponent cast Canopy Claws on their Hawk. Is their Hawk still blocked?

A: It sure is! Skywinder Drake only cares if something has flying when you're declaring blockers. If something loses flying after that, your Drake doesn't care.

Q: I control Viral Drake enchanted with Lifelink. My opponent controls Melira, Sylvok Outcast. If I attack with Viral Drake and my opponent doesn't block it, do I gain any life?

A: You do! Infect changes the result of damage to applying poison counters instead of loss of life, and Melira changes applying poison counters to not applying poison counters. However, you still did, technically, deal damage - even though it didn't actually do anything! - so you'll still gain 1 life.

We're doing just fine.
Q: I control Brink of Madness. In response to the trigger, my opponent makes me draw a card with Kenrith, the Returned King's activated ability. Do they still have to discard their hand?

A: No, they don't. Since Brink of Madness has an intervening if clause, its trigger condition has to still be true when it would resolve. Since you have a card in your hand now, it isn't true anymore, so the trigger won't do anything.

Q: I cast Browbeat targeting myself. In response, they cast Deflecting Palm, choosing Browbeat. When Browbeat resolves, do I still draw cards?

A: No, you don't. Browbeat doesn't care what its actual resolution ends up looking like - it just cares that an opponent makes the initial choice of "Have Browbeat deal 5 damage to me." They opted for Browbeat to deal damage, so even though the end result is something very different, you still won't draw cards.

Q: I control Library of Leng and have Incorrigible Youths in my hand. If my opponent makes me discard my hand somehow, can I cast Incorrigible Youths?

A: You sure can. Library of Leng and madness both want to apply a replacement effect to the discarded card, so you can choose which one you want to apply first, then the other one won't do anything. If you want to discard it to the top of your library, you're welcome to, but it'll just go to the top of your library. If you discard it into exile, though, the triggered ability of madness will trigger, and you'll be able to cast Youths if you choose to.

Note that if you don't cast Youths, it will end up in your graveyard, since Library of Leng's effect can no longer apply to it.

Q: I just resolved Forbidding Spirit. If I Cloudshift it, how much do my opponents have to pay to attack me?

A: They'll have to pay to attack you until your next turn. Every time Forbidding Spirit enters the battlefield, its trigger happens again, and those are additive. If you can manage to make your Spirit enter the battlefield multiple times, your opponent will have to pay for every time it entered.

Q: I control Estrid, the Masked and Doubling Season. If I use Estrid's -1, what happens to the Mask tokens?

A: You'll make two tokens, and they'll both end up on the same permanent. If that permanent would be destroyed, you'll choose the totem armor replacement effect from one of them, and that Mask will be destroyed — but the other will remain.

Q: I control Death-Mask Duplicant. My opponent's commander is Derevi, Empyrial Tactician. If I exile Derevi and my opponent puts it in the command zone, does Death-Mask Duplicant get any of its keywords?

A: No, it doesn't. Since the Death-Mask Duplicant is looking for a card "exiled with [this]," it's looking for cards specifically in the exile zone. Since Derevi is in the command zone, Death-Mask Duplicant's ability doesn't see it, so your Death-Mask Duplicant won't have flying.

Q: I control Deathmask Nezumi and have seven cards in my hand. My opponent targets it with Bring Down. In response, I cast Heartwarming Redemption. Does Bring Down still resolve?

A: It does. Bring Down only cares what your Nezumi's power is at two times: when it was originally cast, and when it wants to resolve. Even though your Nezumi is very briefly a 2/2 in the middle of Heartwarming Redemption, it's a 4/3 again after Redemption resolves. Then, Bring Down wants to resolve and sees that your Nezumi has power 4 or greater, so it's happy. Your Nezumi is not.

Q: I control a Grizzly Bears equipped with Mask of Avacyn. My opponent activates Bonds of Mortality. Can I re-equip my Bears with the Mask and protect it again?

A: Well, maybe. You'll have to equip the Mask to another creature you control first, then re-equip it to your Grizzly Bears. If Bears is the only creature you control, activating Mask's equip ability won't do anything meaningful.

Q: I enchanted my Grizzly Bears with Ancestral Mask. My opponent controls Eidolon of Blossoms. How big is my Grizzly Bears?

A: Your Grizzly Bears is 4/4. There are a couple things here. Ancestral Mask only counts other enchantments on the battlefield, so it won't count itself. Eidolon of Blossoms is definitely a enchantment — it's a creature too, but that doesn't make it any less an enchantment — Ancestral Mask will give your Grizzly Bears +2/+2 from that.

Q: I control no lands, and my opponent controls Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth. If I play Isolated Chapel, does it enter tapped or untapped?

A: It'll enter tapped. Even though Isolated Chapel will be a Swamp, it isn't right now when we're figuring out if it enters tapped or untapped. At this very moment, you don't control any Swamps, so Isolated Chapel enters tapped.

Q: I cast Mirrormade, and when it resolved I made it a copy of my Sol Ring. If my opponent wants to cast Isolate, what can they target?

A: They can either target the real Sol Ring or the Mirrormade-copy-of-Sol Ring. When you copy something, the copy has the same mana cost (and, thus, converted mana cost) of the original object.

Q: I exiled my opponent's planeswalker with Covetous Urge. If they cast Granted, can they get their planeswalker?

A: No, they can't. Something in exile is still in the game, even if it's very hard to interact with. "Outside the game" means "in your sideboard" if you're playing a sanctioned event.

Q: My opponent countered my commander with Memory Lapse, and I put it on top of my library. Next turn, someone attacks with Etali, Primal Storm. When they exile the top card of each opponent's library, I put my commander in the command zone. Can my opponent still cast it?

A: They sure can.

Etali cares about cards that you took the exile-as-a-verb action on. It isn't looking for cards in the exile zone — like, say, Oblivion Ring looking for "the exiled card," or Hostage Taker letting you cast things "as long as it remains exiled."

It has been brought to my attention that I don't even have a cat. I have to go sell so many bags of cat food.

Hopefully I'll see you next time, friends.

- Andrew

About the Author:
Andrew is a Level 2 judge from Dallas, TX who spends too much time on his computer.

About Viral Drake, shouldn't it lose infect due to Melira?

Maybe you need Glistening Oil with newer timestamp.
#1 • Date: 2020-04-12 • Time: 21:19:44 •
Regarding Derevi vs. Death-Mask Duplicant: I'm confused. How is the Duplicant exiling your opponent's Derevi? It can only exile from its controller's graveyard.
#2 • Date: 2020-04-23 • Time: 17:53:02 •

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