Published on 09/07/2020

Are You Ready For Some Football?

Cranial Translation
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Cheering on our favorite team!
Hello everyone, and welcome back to Cranial Insertion! If it's September, we have two things to look forward to: school starting, and football season starting! We covered school last week, so let's get excited for the upcoming football season. I'm not much into the college football scene, but I do enjoy the NFL, especially the Minnesota Vikings ("Some year, maybe we'll win the Super Bowl. Maybe even this year" is what I tell myself every year). So I'll be on my couch every Sunday and cheering on my Vikings (and you can cheer on the Vikings too! Or whichever team you care about. You don't have to cheer for my team if you don't want to).

But now that we're done with pregame warm-ups, we can move on to what you're here for: answering Magic rules questions! You can short questions to us via our Twitter account at @CranialTweet, and longer questions can be e-mailed to us at . We might even feature your question in an upcoming article. Now let's kick things off!

Q: My opponent casts Traitorous Greed targeting one of my creatures. Can I respond by sacrificing the creature to Hobblefiend's ability so they don't gain control of it?

A: Yep, you can. You'll get priority before the Greed resolves, so you can sacrifice the creature they targeted with the Greed to Hobblefiend's ability. Your creature will die, but their Greed won't do anything when it resolves, since the Greed's only target is illegal (which means your opponent also wont' get two mana).

Q: I control Esperzoa and a Mana Crypt. Can I return Mana Crypt to my hand before I have to flip a coin?

A: Technically, yes, but that won't give you the result you want. When your upkeep begins, you have to put the Esperzoa and the Crypt triggers on the stack. While you're free to stack the triggers so Esperzoa resolves first, bouncing the Crypt won't stop the trigger that's on the stack from resolving. You can still return the Crypt to your hand, but the Crypt's trigger will still resolve and you'll still have to flip the coin and take damage if you lose the flip.

Q: My deck has no creatures in it. Can I run Kaheera, the Orphanguard as a companion?

A: Sure. The companion restriction for Kaheera is that all of the creature cards in your deck have to be a cat, elemental, nightmare, dinosaur, or beast. If you don't have any creature cards in your deck, then you fulfill that condition - there's no requirement that you actually have to creatures in your deck to run Kaheera. So if your deck doesn't have any creatures in it, then you have the option of using Kaheera as your companion.

Q: I control Heliod, Sun-Crowned, but my devotion to white is too low for Heliod to be a creature. Will it still allow me to cast a legendary sorcery like Urza's Ruinous Blast?

A: Nope, you can't cast the Blast. In order to be able to cast a legendary sorcery, you have to control a legendary creature or planeswalker. Heliod would be a legendary creature if your devotion is high enough, but if your devotion to white is four or less, then Heliod is just a legendary enchantment, not a creature. Since your devotion is too low, Heliod won't enable you to cast Urza's Ruinous Blast - you'll need to increase your devotion to white or find another legendary creature or planeswalker to be able to cast it.

Q: Can I target the same creature with both targets of Agony Warp, or do I need to target two different creatures?

A: You can target the same creature to give it -3/-3. Agony Warp uses the word 'target' twice, which means that it can target the same creature multiple times. If you want to turn Agony Warp into a Last Gasp, you can do that and target the same creature twice.

Q: I cast Recruiter of the Guard. Can I search for a Geist-Honored Monk with its trigger?

A: Geist-Honored Monk has a characteristic-defining ability - the ability works in every zone, not just the battlefield. The Recruiter is looking for a creature with a toughness of 2 or less, so if you control two or fewer creatures, then the Monk can be searched for with the Recruiter's trigger. But if you have three or more, the Monk's toughness is too big and you can't search for it.

What it must feel like if you're on the defensive life.

Q: My opponent controls Thalia, Guardian of Thraben. If I cast Electrodominance to kill it, will Thalia still tax the spell if I try to cast a noncreature spell with Electrodominance?

A: Yep, you'll still have to pay . Electrodominance will deal its damage, but Thalia won't die right away - we need to get around to checking state-based actions once Electrodominance is done resolving for Thalia to die. Thalia is still on the battlefield when you try to cast your free spell, so if you're trying to cast a noncreature spell, Thalia will make you pay to be able to cast it. Once Electrodominance is completely done resolving, then Thalia will finally die, but can still tax your free spell before she goes away.

Q: Can I use Magewright's Stone to untap Sigil Tracer?

A: You cannot. The Stone can only target a creature with an activated ability that uses the tap symbol. While Sigil Tracer's ability does involve tapping creatures to activate it, it doesn't use the tap symbol, which means that the Tracer can't be targeted by the Stone's ability.

Q: I have a Deep-Sea Kraken suspended with seven time counters on it. My opponent casts Regal Unicorn, but I Cancel it. Do I still get to remove a time counter from the Kraken?

A: Yep, you do. To cast a spell, you need to pay costs, choose targets and moded if needed, and put the spell on the stack. Even if the spell doesn't resolve, it's still considered cast. Before you can even cast Cancel, your Kraken trigger is on the stack, and countering their Unicorn won't stop the trigger from resolving and removing a counter from your suspended Kraken.

Q: My opponent and I both control five creatures. I control a Biovisionary. If I cast Mirrorweave on Biovisionary, who wins the game?

A: Whose turn is it? The player whose turn it is won't win the game. Mirrorweave will make all ten creatures on the battlefield into copies of Biovionary. When we get to the end step of the turn, the active player puts their Biovionsary triggers on the stack first, then the nonactive player puts their Biovionsary triggers on the stack, and the nonactive player will have their Biovionsary trigger resolve first. So if you want to win the game, you want to make sure you cast Mirrorweave on your opponent's turn, not your turn, so your trigger resolves first.

Q: I control a Gauntlet of Power, with "green" selected. If I tap a Stomping Ground for green mana, will I get an extra man from the Gauntlet?

A: No you will not. Gauntlet of Power will only trigger if a basic land is tapped for mana of the chosen color. Stomping Ground has basic land types, but is not a basic land itself, since it does not have the basic supertype. Stomping Ground isn't a basic land, so it won't interact with Gauntlet of Power.

Q: I have a Lotus Bloom that was just cast via suspend. If I turn the Bloom into an Elk with Oko, Thief of Crowns's +1 ability, since the Bloom came off of suspend this turn, does it have haste because of suspend?

A: Nope, it cannot attack. When the last time counter is removed and you cast the suspended spell, if the suspended spell is a creature spell, it will have haste. It won't have haste if it's not a creature spell. Lotus Bloom is an artifact spell, not a creature spell, so being cast via suspend won't give it haste, and animating it with Oko won't let it attack the turn it comes under your control.

Q: I control Contamination and have a Nether Spirit in my otherwise empty graveyard. Can I return the Spirit in time to sacrifice it to the Contamination trigger?

A: Yep, you can. You control both the Spirit and Contamination triggers, so you get to choose the order they're put on the stack. You can choose to resolve the Spirit trigger first, returning it to the battlfield, then sacrifice the Spirit to the Contamination trigger to keep Contamination on the battlefield.

Just note that if Nether Spirit is on the battlefield when your upkeep begins, while you can sacrifice it to the Contamination trigger, you won't be able to return it to the battlefield that same upkeep. That's because the Spirit's ability only triggers if it starts your upkeep in the graveyard - if it dies during your upkeep, it's too late for its ability to trigger that upkeep and it won't return.

Don't drop the ball!

Q: My opponent casts Archon of Valor's Reach, and names "instant". Do I get a chance to cast Beast Within on the Archon before it stops me from playing an instant?

A: Nope, you can't. The Archon doesn't have a triggered ability - it has a replacement effect. They choose the card type as the Archon enter the battlefield, and there's never a point where the Archon is on the battlefield and not stopping spells of the chosen type from being cast. You could cast Beast Within before the Archon resolves, but you won't be able to target the Archon itself with Beast Within if they choose "instant".

Q: I control Toothy, Imaginary Friend with five +1/+1 counters on it. I cast Essence Flux targeting Toothy. Will the new Toothy trigger from the cards drawn by the old Toothy's trigger?

A: Yep, Toothy will get its counters back. The Flux causes Toothy to leave and enter the battlefield while the Flux is resolving. Once the Flux is done resolving, Toothy is back, and the old Toothy's leave the battlefield trigger is put on the stack. New Toothy is around when old Toothy's trigger resolves, so you'll draw five cards, then new Toothy gets five counters - just like it had before it was Fluxed.

Q: I have an infinite amount of blue mana and a Phelddagrif in play. Can I activate the last ability enough time to force my opponent to draw too many cards and lose the game?

A: You can activate it a bunch - but it's unlikely your opponent will lose the game. You're free to activate last ability as many times as you want, and it will still resolve even if Phelddagrif is no longer on the battlefield. But drawing a card because of Phelddagrif's ability is optional - your opponent doesn't have to draw if they don't want to. Your opponent is free to draw as much as they want, but they can eventually choose to stop drawing so they don't lose due to drawing from an empty library.

Q: I control a Virulent Plague and a Forbidden Orchard. I cast Grismold, the Dreadsower, tapping my Orchard for mana and giving my opponent the token. Will the token dying cause Grismold to trigger?

A: It will not. The trigger from the Orchard goes on the stack above Grismold, and the trigger resolves first. Your opponent gets the spirit token, but because of the Plague, the token immediately dies. But Grismold is on the stack at that point, not on the battlefield, so it's ability won't trigger.

Q: I have a Scaretiller in my graveyard. If I return Scaretiller from my graveyard to the battlefield tapped with Alesha, Who Smiles at Death's triggered ability, do I also get Scaretiller's triggered ability?

A: No you do not. Scaretiller's ability triggers when it becomes tapped, but in order to become tapped, it must go from the untapped status to the tapped status. If it enters the battlefield tapped, it's not moving from the untapped status to the tapped status, so Scaretiller's ability won't trigger if it's entering the battlefield tapped.

Q: I control Arixmethes, Slumbering Isle, which is currently a land. I enchant it with Fertile Ground. When Arixmethes loses its last slumber counter, what happens to Fertile Ground?

A: The Ground goes to the graveyard. Fertile Ground can only be attached to a land. This normally isn't a problem, but with Arixmethes, once it loses all of its slumber counter, Arixmethes stops being a land and is just a creature. Since the Ground is no longer attached to a land, when state-based actions are checked after the last time counter is removed, the Ground is attached to an illegal object, and the Ground goes to the graveyard.

Q: I'm in a game, and my opponent resolves Shahrazad. But in the subgame, I draw the subgame due to an Earthquake. Who loses half of their life in the main game?

A: Everyone does. Shahrazad doesn't care who wins the subgames, but it does care who didn't win the subgame. Since the subgame was a draw, there was no winner, so everyone who was involved in the subgame will lose half of their life, rounded up in the main game.

Sorry, but that's the end of the game. No overtime this week. We'll see you all again next week!


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