Published on 11/09/2020


Cranial Translation
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Can't stop won't stop.
Hiya everyone, and welcome back to Cranial Insertion! If you're like me, you've probably spent a lot more time the last few months watching more TV shows and movies than in the past. I know I've used the time to catch up on a bunch of series that I've missed out on by just not having the time, and even with watching all those series the last few months, I feel like it's just a drop in the bucket of everything else that I want to watch.

But let's stop talking about TV and start talking rules questions. If you have a rules question you'd like answered, you can send it to us and we'll send an answer back. We might even use your question in a future article. You can send shorter questions to us via our Twitter account at @CranialTweet, and you can send longer questions to our e-mail account .

Q: I activate Sneaking Guide's ability targeting my Grotag Bug-Catcher, then I attack with the Bug-Catcher, making it a 3/2. Is it still unblockable?

A: Yep, the Bug-Catcher still can't be blocked. The Guide only cares about the creature's power at two times - when you activate the ability, and when the ability goes to resolve. Once the ability has resolved, the creature will remain unblockable for the rest of the turn, even if its power becomes three or greater. So even after the Bug-Catcher becomes a 3/2, the Bug-Catcher still can't be blocked for the turn.

Q: I cast Turntimber Symbiosis, and the only creature in the top seven cards is an Ivy Elemental. If I put it on the battlefield, will it die before it gets the three +1/+1 counters?

A: Your Elemental will survive. The Elemental enters the battlefield with the three counters from the Symbiosis. There's never a point where it's on the battlefield without the counters, so it survives as a 3/3 creature.

Q: I control a Skyclave Sentinel that doesn't have a counter on it. If I cast Vastwood Fortification and put a +1/+1 counter on the Sentinel, can it attack?

A: Yep, it can attack. As long as the Sentinel has at least one +1/+1 counter on it, it will be able to attack. It doesn't matter where that +1/+1 counter came from - whether it was because it was kicked, or if it was added via a spell or ability like the Fortification. Putting a +1/+1 counter on the Sentinel with the Fortification will let the Sentinel start attacking.

Q: I control an Iridescent Hornbeetle and a Crawling Barrens. Will activating the Barren's ability give me tokens at the end of turn?

A: The first activation never will. But if you activate it multiple times, it can.

The Hornbeetle will count the number of +1/+1 counters put on creatures you control when the trigger resolves. When the Barren's ability resolves, you first put two +1/+1 counters on the Barrens, then you get the choice of making it into a creature. So with the first activation, it won't be a creature when the counters are added, so the Hornbeetle won't count them. But if you activate the Barren's ability, making it a creature, then activate it a second time, the second activation is adding +1/+1 counters to a creature, so the Hornbeetle will count them.

Q: I control a Neyith of the Dire Hunt. I cast Taunting Arbormage kicked, targeting Neyith and attack with Neyith. If my opponent blocks Neyrith with three creatures, do I draw one card or three cards?

A: Just one card. Neyith's ability triggers when a creature you control becomes blocked. Those kind of triggers will only trigger once, even if multiple creatures blocked it (to get multiple triggers, it would have to be worded something like "Whenever one or more creatures you control fight or become blocked by a creature..."). So while Neyith was blocked by three creatures, its ability will only trigger once and you'll only draw one card, not three cards.

Q: If I cast Cleansing Wildfire targeting my Darksteel Citadel, do I get to search for a land?

A: Yep, you still get to search for a land. The Citadel is indestructible, so the first part of the Wildfire won't do anything to the Citadel. But the rest of the Wildfire will resolve like normal, so you'll still be able to search your library for a basic land card and put it onto the battlefield under your control. So less of a "trade one land for another" and more "a weird red Rampant Growth that also draws you a card".

We're done with that episode.
Let's just watch the next episode.

Q: I control Myriad Construct and my opponent controls Horobi, Death's Wail. If my opponent casts Victim of Night targeting my Construct, do I get the tokens or does Horobi destroy it first?

A: It doesn't actually matter here which trigger resolves first - you'll always get the tokens. The Construct doesn't have an "If you do..." in its triggered ability, so you get the tokens even if the Construct can't be sacrificed when its trigger resolves. If they cast the Night on your turn, Horobi's triggered ability will resolve first and the Construct will be destroyed, but you'll still get the tokens based on the Construct's last known power when the Construct's trigger resolves.

Q: I control a Terror of the Peaks and an Ohran Frostfang. If I attack with the Terror, and then flash in Pouncing Cheetah during my declare attackers step, will the creature damaged by the Terror's trigger be destroyed?

A: It will! Since the Terror is an attacking creature, it has deathtouch. And deathtouch will work off of any damage it deals, including damage from abilities. Targeting a creature with the Terror's ability will result in the creature's destruction since the damage is coming from a source with deathtouch.

Q: I activated Chaos Wand's ability targeting my opponent, but they don't have any instants or sorceries in their library. What happens?

A: A waste of an activation. The Wand's ability resolves, and will eventually exile all of the cards in your opponent's library. Once all of those cards are exiled, since they didn't exile an instant or sorcery card, you don't get to cast anything. Then all of those cards you just exiled get put on the bottom of their (empty) library in a random order (effectively, they shuffle their library). So you know they don't have any instants or sorceries left in their library, but you don't get to cast anything via the Wand's ability.

Q: My opponent controls Firesong and Sunspeaker. If they cast Solar Blaze, will Firesong's ability trigger from the creatures dealing damage to themselves?

A: Nope, it won't trigger. Solar Blaze isn't dealing any damage here - it's causing the creatures to deal damage to themselves. Since Solar Blaze isn't dealing any damage, the Blaze having lifelink won't matter, and the triggered ability of Firesong will not trigger from the damage dealt while Solar Blaze is resolving.

Q: I control a Bull Aurochs with a Snake Umbra attached to it. My opponent attacks me with a Attended Knight. If I block with my Aurochs, what happens in combat?

A: You lose your Umbra, but your opponent loses their Knight.

During the first strike combat damage step, the Knight deals 2 damage to the Aurochs. This would be enough damage to destroy the Aurochs, but the Umbra steps in and is destroyed instead (and the Aurochs loses the marked damage on it). But using up the totem armor doesn't remove the Aurochs from combat. So when we get around to the normal combat damage step, the Aurochs are still in combat, and they'll deal damage to the Knight, which is enough to kill it.

In short, you traded your Umbra to get rid of your opponent's Knight, and your Aurochs remains on the battlefield.

Q: I control Ashiok, Dream Render. If I cast Scheming Symmetry, will Ashiok stop my opponent from searching their library for a card?

A: Nope. Ashiok's static ability only applies if the opponent controls the spell that's doing the search. You cast the Symmetry, so you control the spell that's causing the search, and your opponent will be able to search their library for a card like normal.

Q: I control a Mazemind Tome and a Krark-Clan Ironworks. If I activate the Tome's last ability, can I sacrifice the Tome to the Ironwork's ability to pay for the cost?

A: You could sacrifice it... but then you'll fail to pay the cost to activate the Tome's ability. During announcement of a spell or ability, we have a step that lets you activate mana abilities before you pay the cost for that spell or ability. While you're free to sacrifice the Tome to the Ironworks to generate two colorless mana, when we get around to paying the cost to activate the ability afterwards, the Tome isn't on the battlefield to be tapped, which means we can't complete announcement of the ability and we back up announcement of the ability. So you can't sacrifice the Tome for mana and try to tap it to activate its own ability.

Q: I control a face down Lumithread Field and a Bazaar Trader. If I try to give my opponent the face down Field with the Trader's ability, and then turn it face up in response, will my opponent still gain control of it?

A: Nope, the Field is still yours. When you activated the ability, it was a creature, so it was a legal target for the Trader's ability. But when the ability checks its targets again when it goes to resolve, it's targeting an enchantment, and the Trader's ability can only target an artifact, creature, or land you control. The Field is no longer a legal target for the ability, and we can't do anything to an illegal target, so your opponent will not gain control of your Lumithread Field.

Hey, maybe I finally have time to finish
watching Game of Thrones!

Q: My opponent controls a Rule of Law and an Ensnaring Bridge, both of which I'd like to destroy. If I have Wear // Tear in my hand, can I cast it fused, or does that count as casting two spells?

A: You're free to cast Wear // Tear fused here. A spell cast via fuse is still just one spell, not two separate spells. Since you're only casting one spell, as long as you haven't cast another spell earlier in the turn, you'll be able to cast it fused to be destroy the Law and the Bridge.

Q: I control The Eldest Reborn and Necropotence. Do I still get to put a lore counter on the Reborn, even though I skip my draw step?

A: Yes, you still get the lore counter. While the reminder text for sagas say to add the counter after your draw step, the actual rules say to add the counter as a turn-based action during your precombat main phase. Skipping your draw step doesn't affect how your precombat main phase works, so the Reborn will still get its lore counter like normal.

Q: My opponent has an emblem from Tamiyo, the Moon Sage. They cast Counterspell on one of my spells. After Counterspell resolves, do I get the chance to cast Jund Charm with the "Exile all cards from target player's graveyard" mode to exile Counterspell from their graveyard before it returns to their hand?

A: You do! The emblem has a triggered ability, so their cards spend a little time in their graveyard before the card is returned to their hand. You can respond to that trigger by casting the Charm to exile the cards in their graveyard. Counterspell (and everything else that happens to be in their graveyard at the time) will be exiled, and the emblem's trigger won't do anything when it resolves since Counterspell is no longer in your opponent's graveyard.

Q: Does Soothsaying's last ability count as scrying?

A: Nope, it's not scrying. With Soothsaying, the cards all end up on top of the library in the order of your choice. But with scrying, some or all of those cards can end up on the bottom of the library instead. Since Soothsaying doesn't let you put the cards on the bottom, it does not count as scrying.

Q: I'm in a multiplayer game, and one of my opponents is at 5. I attack them with a Craw Giant that they can't block. If they cast Berserk on my attacking Giant, will the Giant be destroyed at the end of turn?

A: Nope, your Giant will survive. In order for your opponent's delayed triggered ability to go on the stack at the beginning of the end step, they have to be in the game when the end step begins. But since they died to your attacking Craw Giant, their delayed trigger won't go on the stack at the end of turn. It was a nice attempt, but your Craw Giant won't be destroyed at the end of turn.

Q: I'm in a game of two-headed giant, and I control Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs. If the opposing team attacks my teammate, will Kazuul trigger?

A: No, it won't trigger. While your team is being attacked, you are not the defending player here - your teammate is. Kazuul will only trigger if you're the defending player, so by attacking your teammate, your opponents will prevent your Kazuul from triggering.

That's all we have for this week. See you again next week!


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