Published on 09/21/2020

Party Rock Anthem

Cranial Translation
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Every day I'm shufflin'
Greetings and welcome back to another episode of Cranial Insertion. It's time to take a look at Zendikar Rising!

You find yourself in a spacious temple-like cavern. A large sign indicates that you are in the Zendikar Visitor Center. To the west, you see the gift shop, where mass-produced trinkets are being sold at unreasonable prices. To the east, you see the party meet-up point, where single adventurers can find other adventurers to round out their parties. To the north, you see the exit to Zendikar.

You go north.

By the exit, you see a warning sign. It states, "Warning! Beyond this point, there are many things that will try to harm or kill you, including the land itself. By proceeding, you acknowledge that you understand the risks and that you assume all liability for any harm that might come to you or your adventuring party. If you have any questions about this policy, please send an email to or tweet to @CranialTweet."

Undaunted, you proceed.

Q: If I control Kabira Plateau, turn it into a creature somehow and Momentary Blink it, what happens?

A: You just wasted a lot of effort to exile your card indefinitely. Momentary Blink exiles Kabira Plateau, which arrives in the exile zone with its front face up, so it'll be exiled as Kabira Takedown. Then Momentary Blink tries to return Kabira Takedown to the battlefield, which is impossible because an instant is not allowed on the battlefield, so the card just stays exiled.

Q: If I cast an instant spell and copy it with Lithoform Engine, does the copy trigger Rockslide Sorcerer's ability?

A: No. Rockslide Sorcerer's ability triggers, among other things, when you cast a spell. Lithoform Engine's middle ability copies a spell, which comes into existence on the stack without being cast, so Rockslide Sorcerer's ability doesn't get triggered by the copy.

Q: I cast a kicked Skyclave Sentinel and copy the spell with Lithoform Engine. Is the copy kicked, too?

A: Yup! When you copy a spell, the copy retains all choices that were made for the original spell, including the choice to kick it. Since the copy was kicked, the token it becomes also enters with two +1/+1 counters on it.

Q: If I copy a creature spell with Lithoform Engine while I control Doubling Season, will I get two token copies of the creature?

A: No. As the copy of the spell resolves, it enters the battlefield and becomes a token, but no effect instructed you to create a token. Doubling Season's effect specifically applies when an effect creates tokens, so it doesn't apply in this case.

Q: I activate the equip ability of Cliffhaven Kitesail and copy the ability with Lithoform Engine. Will this give two creatures flying?

A: Kind of, but one of the creatures' flight will be exceedingly brief. The Kitesail first gets attached to the creature you targeted with the copy. Before this creature can enjoy its new wings, the original equip ability resolves and moves the Kitesail to the creature you targeted with the original ability. This creature has flying as long as Cliffhaven Kitesail is attached to it, and the other creature just looks on in envy.

Q: I control Omnath, Locus of Creation and play my land for the turn, and I copy Omnath's landfall ability with Lithoform Engine. Which of Omnath's effects happen, and does the answer change if I use Ancient Greenwarden instead of Lithoform Engine?

A: You get the first and second effects, so you'll gain 4 life and add . The copy of the ability has the same source and is considered the same ability for the effect that counts how often it has resolved. The answer is the same if Ancient Greenwarden causes the ability to trigger twice. In both cases, the result is exactly the same as if you triggered Landfall twice by somehow getting two lands to enter the battlefield in one turn.

Q: Can I reveal Tajuru Paragon with Nahiri, Heir of the Ancients' -2 ability?

A: Yup. Tajuru Paragon has a characteristic-defining ability that gives it the creature types Cleric, Rogue, Warrior, and Wizard in addition to Elf, which is essentially the same as having those creature types printed on it. The ability functions at all times in all zones, so Tajuru Paragon is indeed a Warrior card in your library and can be revealed for Nahiri's ability.

Hey and away we go,
through the grass, across the snow,
Big brown beastie, big brown face,
I'd rather be with you than flying through space.
Q: Is Veteran Adventurer by itself a full party?

A: No, a single Veteran Adventurer is a party of one, which is not much of a party. It'll be dancing like nobody's watching because in fact nobody is there to watch. While Veteran Adventurer can take up any needed role in an adventuring party, it can only fill one role at a time. The party check counts creatures, not creature types, so if you control fewer than four creatures, you can't possibly have a full party.

Q: I control Teferi's Ageless Insight and use Jace, Mirror Mage's 0 ability. What happens?

A: Teferi's Ageless Insight replaces the "draw a card" instruction from Jace's ability with "draw two cards". Since the draw was replaced, any additional actions on the drawn card are not performed, even though the new action also involved you drawing cards. You don't reveal any of the two cards, and Jace doesn't lose any loyalty counters, which is a pretty good deal.

Q: I attack my opponent with a Rogue, which they choose not to block, so I activate Zareth San, the Trickster's ability to replace the Rogue with Zareth San. In response, my opponent kills the Rogue. Does Zareth's ability fail?

A: No, and your opponent can't do what they're trying to do. Returning the unblocked attacking Rogue to your hand is part of the cost to activate Zareth San's ability, and you pay the entire cost before your opponent gets the chance to respond. By the time your opponent can respond, your Rogue is already in your hand, and Zareth San's ability is on the stack waiting to resolve.

Q: I control Moraug, Fury of Akoum and play a land in my second main phase to get an additional combat phase. Will there be another main phase after that combat phase?

A: No. Moraug's ability only creates an additional combat phase, and a delayed trigger that triggers at the beginning of that combat phase. It doesn't say anything about creating another main phase, so it doesn't create another main phase.

Q: If Moraug, Fury of Akoum's ability triggers twice thanks to Ancient Greenwarden, what happens?

A: Each instance of the ability resolves and creates an additional combat phase with a delayed trigger that triggers at the beginning of that combat phase. The additional combat phases just get in line in a neat row, and they'll happen one after the other right after the current main phase is done. At the beginning of each of those combat phases you'll get to untap all your creatures so that you can unleash the fury of all your creatures on your opponent.

Q: I control two Confounding Conundrums and my opponent played a land for the turn and then put another land on the battlefield. Does my opponent have to return two lands to their hand?

A: Yup. Both Confounding Conundrums trigger separately and independently, so your opponent will have to return two lands to their hand in exchange for the second land they put on the battlefield.

Q: I control Verazol, the Split Current and cast a kicked Inscription of Abundance. Can I remove two +1/+1 counters from Verazol to copy the spell, let the copy put two +1/+1 counters on Verazol, and repeat this process as often as I want?

A: No, that doesn't work. Casting a kicked Inscription of Abundance triggers Verazol's ability, and you can use it to copy Inscription of Abundance once, but that's it. Verazol's ability isn't an activated ability that you can activate as often as you want, so you can't use it repeatedly to copy the same spell. Additionally, copying Inscription of Abundance doesn't trigger Verazol's ability again, for the same reason as in the Rockslide Sorcerer question above, so you can't repeat the process by copying the copies, either.

Kids and their music these days...
Q: If I control Bruvac the Grandiloquent and hit my opponent with a kicked Maddening Cacophony, do they lose the game right away?

A: Not right away, but probably very soon afterwards. Maddening Cacophony wants your opponent to mill half their library (rounded up), but Bruvac doubles that, so your opponent mills their entire library. The rounding ensures that if the library size is an odd number, the final number of milled cards is one more than that, so your opponent mills their entire library in every possible case. However, merely having an empty library is not a reason to lose the game right away. Your opponent will lose the game once they attempt to draw from their empty library, so they have a very small window of opportunity to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Q: I control Orah, Skyclave Hierophant along with three Clerics with converted mana costs 3, 2, and 1. If all of them die at the same time to some board wipe effect, can I bring back all three Clerics?

A: Yes, you can do that. Orah's ability sees itself and the three other Clerics dying at the same time, so the ability triggers for itself and the three other Clerics. By the time you choose targets for the triggers, all those creatures have arrived as Cleric cards in your graveyard. Orah's trigger for itself can target the Cleric with converted mana cost 3, the trigger for the Cleric with converted mana cost 3 can target the Cleric with converted mana cost 2, and so on. The only card that can't be brought back is Orah itself.

Q: If I control Ashaya, Soul of the Wild and cast Undergrowth Champion, does Undergrowth Champion trigger its own landfall ability?

A: Yup. As soon as Undergrowth Champion is on the battlefield, it's affected by Ashaya's ability, so it's a creature that's also a land. Then the game checks if any triggered abilities triggered, and Undergrowth Champion's ability sees that a land has entered the battlefield under your control, so its ability triggers.

Q: Can I run a booster draft with Zendikar Rising set boosters?

A: I'm gonna say no. The Magic Tournament Rules technically don't forbid this as of writing this, and only demand that every player receive the same amount and type of product, so running a draft with set boosters does not seem to be against the rules. However, such a draft would not be fun. Draft boosters are specifically designed and balanced for drafting, while set boosters are, well, not. Set boosters are designed to be experienced as a whole, and in a draft you don't have the time for this experience, and you don't get to keep all the cards. Also, the rarities of cards in set boosters are not balanced for drafting, which can lead to big power level discrepancies between different players' card pools. All in all, it seems that a draft with set boosters is one big pile of feel-bad moments that should be avoided.

Q: Are the full-art lands legal in Standard?

A: Absolutely. The full-art lands in Zendikar Rising are the five basic lands, which are always legal in Standard because they're reprinted in every set. The fact that they are full-art cards doesn't change their tournament legality at all.

And this concludes today's adventure. We hope that you enjoyed your stay and that you'll be back next week.

- Carsten Haese

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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