Published on 08/17/2020

A Summer's Break

Cranial Translation
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Surf's up!
Hiya everyone, and welcome back to Cranial Insertion! It's the middle of August, and you know what that means - everyone is getting tired of Standard. It isn't a bad thing, but we've been playing mostly the same decks for a while now (although those recent bans did shake things up a little), and we're all starting to look forward to the fall set and rotation. So we're going to take a break this week as well and focus on some older cards in other formats. I even managed to sneak in a banding question, so you have that to look forward to.

But if you have questions, no matter what format, you can send us your rules questions. We might even use your question in a future article. You can us send us shorter questions via Twitter at @CranialTweet, and you can send us longer questions at .

Q: I cast Muxus, Goblin Grandee. One of the cards I revealed with its trigger was Crib Swap. What happens with Crib Swap?

A: It goes on the bottom of your library. While Muxus loves goblins, he only loves goblin creatures. Crib Swap is a goblin, but it's an instant, not a creature, so Muxus doesn't care about it. The Swap will end up on the bottom of your library, along with the rest of the non-goblin creatures you revealed to the trigger.

Q: My opponent casts Banefire with X=90, targeting me. If I target Banefire with Narset's Reversal, what happens?

A: Bad things for your opponent. The Reversal isn't countering Banefire, so the fact that Banefire can't be countered isn't relevant. The Reversal will make a copy of Banefire, also with X=90, and your opponent's Banefire will be returned to their hand. Your Banefire can target any creature, player, or planeswalker (may I suggest the opponent who just tried to Banefire you for 90?).

Q: I control Pako, Arcane Retriever and a Haldan, Avid Arcanist. I attach Assault Suit to Pako, and one of my opponents gains control of it on their next turn. If they attack with Pako on their turn, can I play the cards Pako exiled with Haldan's ability?

A: Nope, you can't. Haldan only lets you play cards that you exiled with fetch counters. While Pako is a creature you own, you didn't control it when your opponent attacked with it. Since you didn't control Pako when your opponent attacked with it, you didn't exile those cards (your opponent did), so your Haldan won't have access to the cards exile when your opponent attacked with Pako.

Q: I control Guttersnipe. I want to cast Needle Drop, targeting my opponent, but they haven't been dealt damage yet this turn. Can I rely on Guttersnipe's trigger to deal damage and let my Drop resolve?

A: Nope, you need something else to deal damage first. Needle Drop requires a target that's been dealt damage this turn to be able to cast it. When you're choosing targets for the Drop, Guttersnipe hasn't even triggered yet, so you can't rely on the damage from Guttersnipe triggering off of the Drop to make your opponent a legal target. You'll need to find another way to damage your opponent first, then you can cast the Drop targeting your opponent.

Q: I control Syr Konrad, the Grim and a Mortuary. Another creature I control dies. How many Syr Konrad triggers do I get?

A: You get two triggers. When the creature dies, Syr Konrad triggers and Mortuary triggers, and Syr Konrad deals 1 damage to each opponent. Then, when Mortuary's trigger resolves, the creature moves from your graveyard to the top of your library. Since the creature left your graveyard, Syr Konrad triggers again and your opponent takes another damage. That's two damage for the price of one creature dying, and that creature is on top of your library, means you can play it again next turn.

Q: My opponent controls a Windbrisk Heights with a card on hideaway. I control Lavinia, Azorius Renegade. If my opponent plays the exiled card via the Height's ability, will Lavinia counter it?

A: If it's a spell, yes, it will be countered. They spent mana to activate the Height's ability, but not any mana on the spell itself. Since they're not paying mana to cast the spell, Lavinia will trigger and will counter the spell. Note that if their face down card is a land, they're free to play it and Lavinia won't interfere with playing the land.

Q: I control Mazirek, Kraul Death Priest and a random 5/5 creature. I cast Carrion, sacrificing the 5/5 creature. Will I get the tokens from Carrion in time for them to get the counters from Mazirek's triggered ability?

A: Nope, you won't. You sacrifice the 5/5 as part of the cost of casting Carrion, so Mazirek's trigger will go on the stack above Carrion. Mazirek's trigger will resolve first, and you'll put a +1/+1 counter on your creatures. Then Carrion will resolve, and you'll create five 0/1 tokens. But since those tokens were not on the battlefield when Mazirek's trigger resolved, they won't get the counters and will be 0/1s for the time being.

No, don't break the bridge.
We need to keep everyone safe.

Q: I cast Savor the Moment, then Time Warp. I get two extra turns, but which extra turn will I skip the untap step of?

A: If multiple extra turns are created on the same turn, the most recently created turn is taken first. If you cast Savor the Moment, then Time Warp, the extra turn from Time Warp happens first, so you'll get to untap on your first extra turn, but not on the second extra turn. If you cast them in the opposite order, then Savor the Moment's extra turn happens first, and you'll skip the untap step of your first extra turn, but the second extra turn is from Time Warp and you untap like normal.

Q: Can I activate Brain in a Jar's first ability even if I don't have a spell to cast?

A: Yep, that's allowed. There's no requirement that you have to cast a spell when the Jar's ability resolves, since it uses the word "may". So you're free to add counters to the Jar without having to worry about actually being able to cast a spell with the Jar's ability.

Q: If I attack with Armory Automaton, can I attach my opponent's Sword of Fire and Ice to it? If so, who gets the trigger when it deals combat damage to my opponent?

A: Yep, you can move an opponent's equipment to your Automaton, since the Automaton doesn't care who controls the equipment. However, attaching the equipment to your Automaton doesn't give you control of the equipment. Your opponent still controls the Sword, even though it's attached to your Automaton, so your opponent will control the Sword's trigger if the Automaton deals combat damage to a player. Your opponent will draw the card and will choose what will be dealt two damage with the Sword's triggered ability.

Q: I control a Changeling Outcast and a Changeling Sentinel. If I equip the Outcast with Stoneforge Masterwork, how big of a bonus will Outcast get?

A: It will only get +1/+1. The Masterwork only cares about the number of other creatures that share a type with it. The Masterwork doesn't care about how many types they share. While the Outcast and the Sentinel will share hundreds of creature types thanks to changeling, the Masterwork just cares that they share at least one creature type, so the Outcast only gets +1/+1 because of the Sentinel.

Q: I control an Undead Alchemist and a Whip of Erebos, giving my Alchemist lifelink. I attack with the Alchemist and they don't block. Do I gain 4 life and mill my opponent for four cards?

A: You get to mill your opponent, but you won't gain any life. The Alchemist's ability replaces the Alchemist dealing combat damage to your opponent with the opponent milling that many cards instead. The Alchemist didn't deal any damage, since the damage was replaced, so lifelink won't get a chance to apply and you won't gain any life.

Q: My opponent has a Relentless Rats deck that runs Thrumming Stone. If I play Grafdigger's Cage, will it stop my opponent's Stone from working?

A: Effectively, yes. With ripple, you're casting the cards from your library, since ripple doesn't say to move the cards to another zone before casting them. Since you're casting them from the library, the Cage will step in and prevent your opponent from casting the cards they rippled in to. Grafdigger's Cage will effectively prevent ripple from working, since they won't be able to cast the cards they ripple in to.

I told you there was a banding question.

Q: I control Progenitus and a Pikemen. When I attack, can I attack with Progenitus and Pikemen in a band?

A: Sure - but that may not be your best bet. Banding with another creature when they attack doesn't target any creature in the band, so Progenitus having protection from everything doesn't prevent it from getting into a band with Pikemen.

However, creatures in a band don't share any abilities. Progenitus won't give the Pikemen it's banded with protection from everything. And as long as one creature in the band can be blocked, the entire band is blocked, so your opponent can block your Progenitus/Pikemen band with something like an Eager Cadet and the entire band will be blocked.

Q: I control Ajani's Pridemate. My opponent casts Game of Chaos. If I win three flips before we stop flipping, how many times does the Pridemate trigger?

A: The Pridemate triggers three times. You gained life at three different points while the Game was resolving, so that counts as three different instances of life gain. Once the Game is done resolving, those three triggers will go on the stack and the Pridemate will get three +1/+1 counters.

Q: I control a Pestilence, and there's one creature on the battlefield - a Sandbar Crocodile. If the Crocodile phases out, will I lose the Pestilence at the end of that turn?

A: Yep, your Pestilence will be sacrificed. When a creature phases out, we treat it as though it doesn't exist. When the end of turn comes around, assuming no creatures have entered the battlefield in the meantime, Pestilence sees there's no creatures on the battlefield (the Crocodile is phased out, so Pestilence doesn't see it), so Pestilence's ability will trigger and you'll sacrifice it.

Q: I'm playing a game, and Yorion, Sky Nomad is my companion. I bring Yorion into my hand and cast it. Later in the game, my opponent manages to restart the game with Karn Liberated's -14 ability. Do I get to move Yorion back to my sideboard for the restarted game?

A: Nope, Yorion get shuffled into your library. Yorion was brought into the game from outside the game, and everything that's in the game when Karn's -14 ability resolves (except the cards it says not to) get shuffled into the library for the restarted game. You don't get the option to move a card that was brought into the game back to your sideboard, so Yorion will be shuffled into your library for the restarted game.

Q: I control an untapped Galecaster Colossus. My opponent casts Overwhelming Splendor targeting me. Do I get the chance to activate the Colossus's ability to bounce the Splendor back to their hand?

A: Nope, you don't. To be able to target the Splendor, it has to resolve and be on the battlefield. But if it's on the battlefield and attached to you, your Colossus loses its ability. You can bounce things before the Splendor resolves, but you won't be able to use the ability of the Colossus to bounce the Splendor itself.

Q: I have an emblem from Daretti, Scrap Savant and a Solemn Simulacrum in play. My opponent plays Ixidron and turns my Simulacrum face down. If the face down Solemn dies, will Daretti's emblem return it to my hand?

A: Nope, it stays in the graveyard. In order for Daretti's emblem to trigger, it must be an artifact when it goes to the graveyard. But the Simulacrum is a face down creature and isn't an artifact when it dies. Since it wasn't an artifact when it went to the graveyard, the emblem will not trigger and the Simulacrum will not return to the battlefield at the end of turn.

Q: I control Oriss, Samite Guardian equipped with a Spy Kit. Can I discard any creature card to activate Oriss's grandeur ability?

A: You cannot. Oriss requires you to discard a card with a specific name to activate its ability. That name also happens to be the name of the card itself, but that doesn't mean that the name of the card changing affects how grandeur works. Even if Oriss gains new names because of Spy Kit, you can still only discard cards named "Oriss, Samite Guardian" to activate its last ability.

That's all I have for you this week. We'll see you again next week!


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