Published on 10/12/2020

Equiznox 3: Better Late Than Never!

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Deja Vu all over again.
Greetings and welcome to another issue of Cranial Insertion! The September equinox happened a few weeks ago, but we were too busy celebrating the release of Zendikar Rising, so we couldn't bring you a quiz episode at that time. Now that Zendikar Rising has been out for a few weeks, we can do a quiz to see what you've learned. Also, Moko is fresh out of brains and he urged me to do a quiz to identify the most worthy of our readers, because you love quizzes, Moko loves brains, and we love Moko.

As always, if you have Magic rules questions that need to be answered, please email them to or tweet short questions to @CranialTweet. One of our authors will respond to you, and your question might appear in a future article to educate and entertain our readers.

And now let us dive into today's quiz. Good luck!

Q: I control Fiery Emancipation, Torbran, Thane of Red Fell, and Brash Taunter. If I cast Blasphemous Act, how much damage will Brash Taunter deal to my opponent with its triggered ability?

A: The choices are...

A: 117
B: 119
C: 123
D: 141
E: OVER 9000!

The answer is

Let's walk through the steps carefully and do some math. Blasphemous Act resolves and wants to deal 13 damage each to Brash Taunter and to Torbran. Fiery Emancipation triples that to 39. Torbran's ability doesn't apply because this damage isn't being dealt to an opponent or a permanent an opponent controls. (Any creatures your opponents control will be dealt 41 or 45 damage depending on whether your opponent choose to apply Torbran's effect before or after Fiery Emancipation's effect.) Blasphemous Act resolves and deals 39 damage each to Torbran and Brash Taunter. Torbran dies and Brash Taunter's ability triggers. When it resolves, it wants to deal 39 damage to your opponent. Fiery Emancipation triples that to 117, and Torbran's effect doesn't apply because Torbran just died.

Q: I control Myriad Construct with one +1/+1 counter on it. My opponent casts a removal spell on it, and I respond by casting Fight as One on it. What happens?

A: The choices are...

A: You sacrifice Myriad Construct and make five tokens.
B: You sacrifice Myriad Construct and make ten tokens.
C: You don't sacrifice Myriad Construct and you make twelve tokens.
D: You don't sacrifice Myriad Construct and you don't make any tokens.
E: Myriad Construct deconstructs itself.

The answer is

Your opponent's removal spell triggered Myriad Construct's triggered ability, which went on the stack above the removal spell. Your Fight as One goes on the stack above the triggered ability, but casting it triggers the ability again, so another instance of the ability goes on the stack above Fight as One. When the ability resolves, you sacrifice Myriad Construct and make five tokens because Myriad Construct's power was 5 when it was last seen on the battlefield.

Next, Fight as One tries to resolve, but its target is gone, so it does nothing. Then another instance of Myriad Construct's triggered ability resolves. You're instructed to sacrifice Myriad Construct and to create tokens. Sacrificing Myriad Construct is impossible, but creating the tokens is possible and it's not contingent on actually sacrificing Myriad Construct, so you create five more tokens, for a total of ten tokens.

Q: Which of these things can be proliferated?

A: The choices are...

A: Time counters on a Lavacore Elemental
B: Time counters on a suspended Lotus Bloom
C: Loyalty counters on Jace, Mirror Mage
D: +1/+1 counters on Skullbriar, the Walking Grave in the graveyard
E: Arms and legs on The Fallen Apart

The answer is
A and C.

Proliferate only works on counters that are on players or on permanents, i.e. objects on the battlefield. Suspended cards are in exile, so they're not on the battlefield, and cards in the graveyard are definitely not on the battlefield, so answers B and D are out. For permanents, proliferate looks at all types of counters that are on the permanent, so if there's a time counter on it, it'll add another time counter; if there's a loyalty counter on it, it'll add another loyalty counter, and so on.

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
who's the smartest of them all?
Q: Amy controls Slitherwisp and Bob controls Bonecrusher Giant, and they're both one 1 life. During Amy's turn, she casts Capture Sphere on the Giant. Who loses the game?

A: The choices are...

A: Amy.
B: Bob.
C: It depends on choices Amy gets to make.
D: It depends on choices Bob gets to make.
E: Moko flips a coin to decide.

The answer is

Casting Capture Sphere triggers both Slitherwisp's and Bonecrusher Giant's abilities at the same time, so both abilities want to go on the stack at the same time. The APNAP rule kicks in in says that the active player's ability goes on the stack first, followed by the nonactive player's ability. This means that Bob's ability ends up on top of the stack and resolves first, killing Amy.

Q: Which of these spells trigger Verazol, the Split Current's ability?

A: The choices are...

A: Cunning Geysermage cast without kicker
B: Cunning Geysermage cast with kicker
C: Everflowing Chalice kicked twice
D: Mizzium Mortars cast with overload
E: Mother Kangaroo

The answer is
B and C.

Verazol's ability triggers when you cast a kicked spell, which means you cast a spell and you chose to pay some kicker cost for it. Casting a spell that has a kicker without paying the kicker doesn't count. Multikicker is a variant of kicker, so it does count. Finally, while overload can create an additional effect, it's something entirely different from kicker, so it doesn't count.

Q: What can I do with Lithoform Engine?

A: The choices are...

A: Copy Shock and choose a new target for the copy.
B: Copy a Capture Sphere on the stack and choose a new target for the copy.
C: Copy Cryptic Command and choose new modes for it.
D: Copy Chromatic Orrery's second ability.
E: Give your opponent a headache.

The answer is

Using the middle ability to copy an instant or sorcery spell allows you to choose new targets for the copy, but it doesn't allow you to choose new modes, so A works but C doesn't. Copying a permanent spell doesn't even allow you to choose new targets for the copy, so choice B is out as well. Finally, you can only copy an activated or triggered ability if it uses the stack, and mana abilities don't use the stack, so option D is out, too.

I hope you studied well for this quiz.
Q: I control Rishkar, Peema Renegade and a 1/1 Dog token with a +1/+1 counter on it. If my opponent casts Lignify on the Dog, which of the following statements about the Dog are true?

A: The choices are...

A: It's 0/4.
B: It's 1/5.
C: It has the ability to make .
D: It doesn't have the ability to make .
E: Its bark is worse than its bite.

The answer is
B and D.

Lignify sets the base power and toughness to 0/4, but the Dog still has a +1/+1 counter that applies on top of that, so it's 1/5. Rishkar gives the Dog the ability to make , but Lignify's effect is newer and takes that ability away, so in the end it doesn't have that ability.

Q: What can I do with a Kabira Takedown/Kabira Plateau in my graveyard?

A: The choices are...

A: Cast it as Kabira Takedown with Snapcaster Mage
B: Play it as Kabira Plateau with Crucible of Worlds
C: Return it to your hand with Living Lightning
D: Return it to your hand with Life from the Loam
E: Sneak it into your hand with Cheatyface

The answer is
A, B, and C.

Snapcaster Mage sees the card as an instant, so it can give it flashback to allow you to cast it Kabira Takedown from the graveyard. For the same reason, Living Lightning can return it to your hand, and Life from the Loam can't return it to your hand.

Option B is covered by this note in the Zendikar Rising Release Notes: "If an effect allows you to play a land or cast a spell from among a group of cards, you may play or cast a modal double-faced card with any face that fits the criteria of that effect." Crucible of Worlds allows you to play land cards from a group of cards, i.e. your graveyard, so can play the back face because it fits those criteria.

Q: I control Shark Typhoon and my opponent has seven cards in their graveyard. I want to cast Into the Story. Which of the following can happen?

A: The choices are...

A: You cast Into the Story for and get a 7/7 Shark.
B: You cast Into the Story for and get a 7/7 Shark.
C: You cast Into the Story for and get a 4/4 Shark.
D: You cast Into the Story for and get a 4/4 Shark.
E: A Hollywood executive gets an idea for another Sharknado sequel.

The answer is
The cost reduction on Into the Story is mandatory, so you couldn't pay the full mana cost for it if you wanted to. Fortunately, the converted mana cost of Into the Story doesn't depend on how much you pay for it. The converted mana cost is always based on the mana cost printed in the top right corner, so it's always 7, so you get a 7/7 Shark even if you don't pay the full mana cost.

Q: Does Rite of Flame count itself in the graveyard?

A: The choices are...

A: Yes.
B: No.
E: Choices C and D have gone on an adventure.

The answer is

When you cast Rite of Flame, you put it on the stack, and there it waits until it resolves. It moves to the graveyard only after it has finished resolving. This means that it's still on the stack while it's resolving, so it's not in the graveyard to be counted by itself.

And that's the end of today's quiz. If you got all ten questions right, please let us know so that Moko can visit and, um, congratulate you!


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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