Published on 09/14/2020

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Cranial Translation
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Welcome to Cranial Insertion, the world may seem slightly post apocalyptic but hey I can be your Kevin Costner and we can dig deep in the mail bag and see what questions we have to answer.

If you have any questions, you can email them to or tweet short questions to @CranialTweet. One of our authors will send you a reply, and your question might appear in a future article.

Q: I control Angel of Vitality, two Rhox Faithmenders, and a Food Token. When I sacrifice the Food Token to gain 3 life, how much do I actually gain?

A: As the controller of all 3 replacement effects, you control the order each replacement effect applies. So the answer varies depending which order you choose to apply them in.

The following are the options available to you:

Option A) Angel first (4), Rhox 2nd (8), Rhox 3rd (16 life gained)
Option B) Rhox first (6), Angel 2nd (7), Rhox 3rd (14 life gained)
Option C) Rhox first (6), Rhox 2nd (12), Angel 3rd (13 life gained)

I suggest Option A, as it grants the most life.

Q: Does Nighthowler's power and toughness change as creatures enter and leave graveyards?

A: Yes, it does. Nighthowler's stats constantly update, they are not set as it enters the battlefield.

Q: I'm attacking with a Giant Solifuge can I Blood Rush it with the Rubblebelt Maaka that is in my hand?

A: You can not. Blood Rush requires a target, and Shroud means not even you the controller can target the Solifuge.

Q: I target my opponent with Kitesail Freebooter's trigger, but before the trigger can resolve, my opponent Eliminate's the Freebooter. What happens when the trigger resolves?

A: You still get to look through the opponents hand, but because the freebooter is already dead, you don't get to remove any cards.

Q: I'm currently attacking with Kykar, Wind's Fury and three Spirit Tokens. All my lands are tapped out. Can I cast Embercleave this turn by sacrificing the tokens and attach it to my Kykar?

A: Yes, you can. This seems un-intuitive, but if you announce you are casting Embercleave before sacrificing any tokens, it locks in the reduced cost of , after costs are locked in you sacrifice 2 spirits, to pay the double red and you are golden. Kykar picks up the Embercleave and double punches your opponent.

Q: Can I put Porcelain Legionnaire in my Chevill, Bane of Monsters commander deck?

A: You can not. Commander has a color identity rule, where no card in your deck can have a mana symbol in its mana cost or rules text not also located on your commander. The Legionnaire has a white phyrexian mana symbol so its can't be in Chevill's deck.

Since we are on the subject you also can't put a Divinity of Pride in Chavill's deck as Hybrid mana symbols count as both their colors. You also couldn't run Sphinx of the Guildpact as it has a color identity of all 5 colors. But you could put Crypt Ghast in Chavill's deck because the hybrid mana symbol is part of the reminder text and isn't part of the normal text.

Q: I control Mindmoil. In my hand, I have 4 random cards and Capsize. I cast the Capsize paying the buyback and targeting an opponent's land. After everything resolves how many cards do I draw from Mindmoil and is the Capsize in my hand or library?

A: Short Answer: Draw 4 cards, Capsize in your hand.

Long Answer: Once the Capsize has been cast (but not yet resolved), the Mindmoil trigger will be put on the stack above it and resolve first. Mindmoil will make you place the 4 cards in your hand on the bottom of your library and then you draw 4 new cards. Then the Capsize will bounce the opponents land, and after that place itself back in your hand.

Q: I attack with my Polukranos, Unchained that has six +1/+1 counters on it. My opponent blocks it with a Moss Viper. Does Polukranos die to the deathtouch?

A: Nope. The deathtouch damage gets prevented, and Polukranos loses a +1/+1 counter.

Q: I cast Unexpected Fangs targeting my animated Mutavault. At end of turn, do the counters fall off?

A: They do not. A noncreature permanent can have and keep counters such as +1/+1 counters & lifelink counters.

Q: I control Ashnod's Altar, five 1/1 white soldier tokens, and five 1/1 green squirrel tokens. All my lands are tapped out. What is the most tokens I can make using March of the Multitudes this turn?

A: Because while casting a spell, you must make all mana you want to use before paying costs, you will be unable to sacrifice tokens that you also want to use for convoking March. Since March requires, you will need to leave 2 soldiers alive and 1 squirrel alive, and may sacrifice the rest to make 14 colorless mana. Allowing you to create 14 soldier tokens.

Q: I cast Devastation Tide and my opponent responds with Lazotep Plating. What happens?

A: I'm gonna assume not what your opponent hopes. Devastation Tide doesn't target the opponent or any of their permanents, so the opponent will create a 1/1 zombie army (or make a zombie army they already have slightly bigger) then all nonlands controlled by all players including the opponents fresh zombie army will bounce back to their owner's hands.

Q: I control The First Sliver and then cast Galerider Sliver. The only nonland card in my deck with less than one converted mana cost is Lotus Bloom. When I cascade into it, can I cast the Lotus Bloom even though it has no mana cost?

A: Yes you can. It is true you can't normally cast Lotus Bloom since it has no mana cost. Cascading is casting without paying its mana cost, which is exactly how Suspend casts a spell, by casting it with out paying its mana cost.

Q: I control a Panharmonicon and cast Phyrexian Ingester. The opponent controls two Bear Cubs and I target each one with a different Ingester trigger. After all that resolves how big is my Phyrexian Ingester?

A: The Ingester will be a 7/7. Each bear will get exiled and each will give the Ingester +2/+2.

Q: My opponent casts Path to Exile targeting my Leonin Arbiter. Can I still search for a basic land because of Path if I don't pay the Arbiter's tax?

A: You can. Because we resolve cards in the order they are written on the card, by the time you try searching for a land the Arbiter is no longer on the board prohibiting such action.

Q: I control Arcades, the Strategist and cast Shifting Wall for a X of zero. Do I still draw a card?

A: Yes, you do still draw a card, even though the Shifting Wall slips into the graveyard immediately upon entering the battlefield.

Q: I control Willbreaker and cast Exclusion Mage targeting my opponent's Bear Cub. After everything resolves, do I control a Bear Cub or is it in my opponent's hand?

A: You have gained a cute little cub. When Exclusion Mage's ability is put on the stack, Willbreaker creates a new trigger that goes above the Mage's Trigger and resolves first. Once Willbreaker's trigger resolves you now control the cub. Then the Exclusion Mage's ability tries to resolve, but fails to resolve as it now has an illegal target (its targeting a creature you control, instead of one your opponent controls).

Q: I currently have one experience counter, and control Daxos the Returned and a token created by Daxos. I then cast Opalescence. How big is the token made by Daxos?

A: The token is a 0/0 and falls immediately into the graveyard. The experience counter p/t ability is applied in layer 7a as its a characteristic defining ability (aka C.D.A.) making it a 2/2 since you gained an experience counter from casting the Opalescence, that gets overwritten by Opalescence during layer 7b and since the token has no mana cost it becomes a 0/0.

Q: I control Oath of Teferi, Brago, King Eternal, and Teferi, Hero of Dominaria who has activated 2 of his planeswalker abilities already this turn. If Brago goes unblocked this turn and I choose to "blink" Teferi, Hero of Dominaria with Brago, how many more times can I active Teferi, Hero of Dominaria this turn?

A: Twice, because once you 'blink" Teferi the game will treat him as a new object and won't remember he has already been activated twice this turn.

Q: I control Vivien, Monsters' Advocate. The top card of my library is Glowstone Recluse. Using Vivien's static abilities can I mutate the Recluse onto the battlefield?

A: Yes, you can. Vivien allows you to cast creatures from the top of your library. Mutate is an alternate cost, that is still casting it, so everything is good.

Q: I control two Wildwood Scourges each with four +1/+1 counters on them. I then cast Ego Erasure on myself. After that resolves I cast Battlefield Promotion targeting one of the Scourges. What happens next?

A: Most likely you just ended the game in a draw. Because neither Scourge is a Hydra anymore, each time one gets a counter, the other gets a counter. This is an infinite loop with no built in way to stop the loop since the actions are not optional.

If you or the opponent can counter one of the triggers or get one of the Scourges off the battlefield at instant speed, there is an option to stop the game from ending in draw. Otherwise this game is over, and no one wins.

"I know you, you were famous."

"I was once, sorta, kinda, not no more."

Well the bag is empty, hopefully I'll have more next time!

- Justin Hovdenes


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