Published on 04/01/2013

Happy April Fools' Day!

Cranial Translation
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Let's fool around!
Greetings! It's Monday, so it's time for another issue of Cranial Insertion. However, it's not only Monday, but also April 1st, so today you are getting the special April Fools' Day episode you narrowly avoided last year. All your questions about Jester's Cap will be answered! All the mysteries of Fool's Demise will be revealed! You will finally learn how Cosi's Trickster works!

As always, if you have questions for us, please email them to moko@cranialinsertion.com or tweet to @CranialTweet.

Now let's dive into our special fool-themed episode!



Q: Can I search for fewer than three cards with Jester's Cap?

A: Only if your library contains fewer than three cards. Jester's Cap's ability doesn't put any kind of conditions on the cards you're searching for, so the rule that allows you to fail to find the stated number of cards doesn't apply. As long as your library contains at least three cards, you have to find three cards.



Q: I'm playing a game of Commander, and my opponent just tucked my commander into my library with Terminus. Can I use Jester's Cap to get my commander back into the command zone?

A: Sure, that works. Jester's Cap exiles your commander, and the replacement effect that allows you to put your commander into the command zone applies to any zone change to the graveyard or to the exile zone. It's not exclusive to leaving the battlefield.



Q: I control a Geralf's Messenger that my opponent enchanted with Fool's Demise. If my opponent destroys Geralf's Messenger, who gets it?

A: That depends on whose turn it is. Destroying Geralf's Messenger triggers its undying ability and Fool's Demise's ability at the same time. The two abilities are put on the stack in APNAP order: The active player puts his ability on the stack first, followed by the nonactive player's trigger. Because of last-in-first-out, the nonactive player's trigger resolves first and returns the Messenger to the battlefield. Then, the active player's trigger can't find the card in the graveyard anymore, so it does nothing.



Q: I control Cosi's Trickster and my opponent searches up a creature with Green Sun's Zenith. Does my Trickster get one or two counters?

A: It'll get two counters! Green Sun's Zenith has two different instructions that tell your opponent to shuffle his library, so the Trickster's ability triggers twice, even if in reality your opponent probably shortcuts the two shuffle actions into just one shuffle.



Q: I control Fool's Tome and Voltaic Key, and I have no cards in my hand. Can I activate Fool's Tome, respond by untapping it with Voltaic Key, and then activate it again in order to draw two cards?

A: Sure, that's legal. Fool's Tome's ability has a restriction on activating it, and that restriction is only checked when you activate the ability. When you activated the ability, you had no cards in your hand both times, so both activations were legal.




So, did you think this entire episode was going to be fool-themed? Fooled you! Let's move on to real Magic rules questions now!



Q: There are ten cards in my graveyard, so my opponent's Consuming Aberration is way too big to die to the Mugging in my hand. There are only two cards in my opponent's graveyard, though, so could I Act of Treason the Aberration first and then kill it with Mugging?

A: I admire your ingenuity and resourcefulness, but that play won't work out the way you're hoping. While it's true that the Aberration will become a more manageable 2/2 upon switching to your side, casting Mugging triggers the Aberration's ability that will cause your opponent to mill cards into his graveyard. This ability goes on the stack above Mugging, so it resolves first, which means that the Aberration will be at least 3/3 when Mugging resolves.



Q: I used Burst of Strength to put a +1/+1 counter on my animated Simic Keyrune. Does the counter fall off at the end of the turn when the Keyrune stops being a creature?

A: Nope, the counter stays. There is no rule that prevents +1/+1 counters from being on a non-creature permanent, and no rule that removes +1/+1 counters from non-creature permanents. If there were such rules, Llanowar Reborn would be even sadder than it already is.




Self-awareness resides in the brain, so
"Off with his head!" should really be
"Off with his body!"
Q: My opponent just used his Knight of Obligation's extort ability against me. Can I use Executioner's Swing to kill his Knight?

A: No, that doesn't work. Extort doesn't deal damage, it causes loss of life. While damage sometimes causes loss of life, loss of life is not the same as damage.



Q: Can I use a 1/1 chump to get into a Pit Fight with a 6/6 and then use Executioner's Swing to finish off the 6/6?

A: Sure, you can do that. Pit Fight causes the 1/1 and the 6/6 to deal damage to each other. The 1/1 dies from this damage, but that doesn't change the fact that the 6/6 is now a creature that dealt damage this turn, so it is a legal target for Executioner's Swing.



Q: My opponent is targeting my Cartel Aristocrat and his Disciple of the Old Ways with Domri Rade's second ability. In response, I sacrifice a creature to give Cartel Aristocrat protection from green. What happens?

A: When Domri's ability tries to resolve, Cartel Aristocrat is now an illegal target for the ability, but the Disciple is still a legal target. Since the ability still has one legal target, it resolves and does as much as it can. However, the fight keyword needs both targets to be legal to do anything, so the ability does nothing at all.



Q: My opponent is attacking me with Alms Beast. I block it with Cinder Elemental and sacrifice the Elemental for X=6. Do I gain 6 life?

A: Yup! When Cinder Elemental's ability resolves, the game checks Cinder Elemental's characteristics to see if it has lifelink. Since Cinder Elemental is no longer on the battlefield, the game has to look at its last known information. Since it had lifelink at the last moment it was on the battlefield, it deals lifelink damage so you gain that much life.



Q: Last turn my opponent Act of Treasoned my Nightveil Specter, dealt combat damage to me with it, and exiled the top card of my library, but he didn't cast the card. Can I cast the card on my turn?

A: Sure! Nightveil Specter allows its current controller to cast cards that were exiled with its first ability. It doesn't keep track of who controlled it when the cards were exiled.



Q: My opponent controls a Cloudfin Raptor and just cast a Shambleshark. Can I steal Shambleshark in response to the evolve trigger to prevent Cloudfin Raptor from getting a counter?

A: You can respond with a control-changing effect, but that won't stop the counter. Even if you take control of Shambleshark in response to the trigger, it already entered the battlefield under your opponent's control and triggered evolve. The intervening if-clause in evolve's definition rechecks Shambleshark's power and toughness to make sure it's still bigger than Cloudfin Raptor's, but it doesn't care who controls Shambleshark then.



Q: I try to make a Grisly Spectacle of my opponent's Wojek Halberdiers and my opponent responds by making the Halberdiers indestructible with Boros Charm, what happens?

A: Being indestructible doesn't make the Halberdiers an illegal target for Grisly Spectacle, so the Spectacle still resolves, but it'll be slightly less grisly. It tries and fails to destroy the Halberdiers, but your opponent still has to mill three cards because the milling is not dependent on having destroyed the Halberdiers.




Do you like what you see?
Q: I exiled a bunch of cards with Bane Alley Broker and my opponent destroyed it. Can I still look at the cards that were exiled with it?

A: Yes, you may. While the effect that allowed you to look at the cards is no longer functional, the rules have a special exception that allows you to continue to look at them as long as they remain exiled:

406.3. Exiled cards are, by default, kept face up and may be examined by any player at any time. Cards "exiled face down" can't be examined by any player except when instructions allow it. However, once a player is allowed to look at a card exiled face down, that player may continue to look at that card as long as it remains exiled, even if the instruction allowing the player to do so no longer applies. (...)

Of course, the cards will remain exiled indefinitely and you can't return them to your hand even if you cast another Bane Alley Broker later, but at least you can look at them wistfully and sigh at the thought of what you might have done with them.




Q: If I take over my opponent's Bane Alley Broker with Act of Treason, can I put a card that my opponent exiled with it into my hand?

A: Not a chance! You can activate the ability, but the card you choose goes into its owner's hand. If your opponent exiled the card from his hand, he's its owner, so it goes back into his hand.



Q: I cast an entwined Reap and Sow, targeting my opponent's land, and in response my opponent sacrifices the land. Does Reap and Sow still let me search for a land?

A: Nope. An entwined Reap and Sow only has one target, namely the land you're trying to destroy. If that target is illegal when Reap and Sow resolves, the spell is countered on resolution and none of its effects happen.



Q: I control Jace, Architect of Thought and activate his -8 ability. If I exile an X spell such as Sphinx's Revelation, am I allowed to pay the mana cost so I can choose a nonzero value for X?

A: Sadly, no. During the resolution of Jace's ability, you're allowed to do one thing with the cards you find: Cast those cards without paying their mana costs. Casting the cards at this particular moment is only possible because that ability allows it, and this permission comes with the condition that you don't pay the card's mana cost.



Q: If I exile and copy a Void Maw with The Mimeoplasm, can I move the original Void Maw back into the graveyard with Mimeo-Maw's last ability?

A: No, that doesn't work because Void Maw has a pair of linked abilities. One ability includes an instruction to exile a card, and another ability refers to cards exiled with Void Maw, which is one of the ways in which two abilities can become linked:

607.2b If an object has an ability printed on it that generates a replacement effect which causes one or more cards to be exiled and an ability printed on it that refers either to "the exiled cards" or to cards "exiled with [this object]," these abilities are linked. The second ability refers only to cards in the exile zone that were put there as a direct result of a replacement event caused by the first ability. See rule 614, "Replacement Effects."

Because those two abilities are linked, the second ability only refers to cards exiled with the first ability. The Void Maw that was exiled with Mimeoplasm's copy ability wasn't exiled by Mimeo-Maw's middle ability, so it can't be used with Mimeo-Maw's last ability.



Q: The Slaughter Games question from last week made me wonder: If my opponent casts Slaughter Games, naming Sphinx's Revelation, and then asks me how many Sphinx's Revelation are in my deck, can I lie?

A: Yes, that's allowed. Even if your library is being revealed to your opponent, the contents of your deck still fall into private information. Questions from your opponent about private information don't have to be answered honestly, completely, or at all. You can tell the truth if you'd like, you can lie, or you can simply refuse to answer.




I think it's time to call it a day here. Before I go, I have a bit of bad news to share. Our writer and founder Eli Shiffrin was recently arrested for breaking an obscure Arizona law that effectively makes it illegal to play Magic in public. Of course we are fighting against this terrible miscarriage of justice and are trying to get him released, but while he's in jail he will be unable to write for Cranial Insertion. We have brought Level 2 judge Callum Milne on board to fill Eli's slot in the article rotation. While the circumstances are regrettable, we all wish Callum a warm welcome to our team.

Until next week, may you stay out of trouble!

- 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.


 
jskura
Wow. Best of luck to Eli. I wonder what kind of dumb law is there that prevents the playing of Magic.
#1 • Date: 2013-03-31 • Time: 22:24:41 •
BladewingX
On the Consuming Aberration + Mugging + Act of Treason Question, I feel it should be noted that you could actually cast the mugging first, followed by the Act of Treason giving you a 2/2 with 2 damage marked on it therefore killing it.
(While the Question only asks for one specific order, the Answer reads as if it wasn't possible to kill it with those cards at all)
#2 • Date: 2013-04-01 • Time: 03:23:39 •
slamgo
In the consuming aberration/ mugging/ act of treason question. Wouldn't mugging the aberration first then act of treasoning it kill it?
#3 • Date: 2013-04-01 • Time: 03:32:21 •
Eli
Yup, that kills it dead. We do tend to just look at the question asked, otherwise it'd take longer to write than it took me to flee through the desert!
#4 • Date: 2013-04-01 • Time: 03:52:03 •
empio
Hoping that the Eli\'s arrest is a bad Moko\'s joke (you know, Laws are sometimes actually weird, and authorities are some ofter very weird, I\'m italian...)

I was wondering about the \"slaughter game/I lie on the number of sphynxs revelation in my deck\"

It is legal to lie, ok, but what should an HJ do if called at a table where this has just happened, and the \"liar opponent\" is just trying to resolve his winning last sphynx revelation for 10?

I mean... i let it resolve easy and explain the rules about hidden info to the \"tricked player\" or is it somehow anyway unsporting conduct, and I should considered that spell \"already exiled during resolution of slaughter game\" ?
(or something in between)

I know it\'s not a rule but a ruling question, so it falls under the HJ decision maybe, but I\'m wondering about a \"straightforward TR/IPG approach\" to the thing :)

Thank you guyyyys!
#5 • Date: 2013-04-01 • Time: 10:06:48 •
Eli
Quote (empio):
It is legal to lie, ok, but what should an HJ do if called at a table where this has just happened, and the \"liar opponent\" is just trying to resolve his winning last sphynx revelation for 10?

I mean... i let it resolve easy and explain the rules about hidden info to the \"tricked player\" or is it somehow anyway unsporting conduct, and I should considered that spell \"already exiled during resolution of slaughter game\" ?
(or something in between)


It\'s legal to lie, and it\'s legal to not find all the copies of the card - no one\'s done anything wrong here. The Revelation still resolves just fine.

And no, I\'m not actually in jail, but we\'re going to run with that joke next week anyway. ;)

Hmm. What\'s with the backslashes appearing when I edit -_- Blargh code.
#6 • Date: 2013-04-01 • Time: 14:28:34 •
danielctw
I think you guys just been fooled with the Arizona thingy. :D
#7 • Date: 2013-04-01 • Time: 19:05:44 •
rogerdeuce



Last edited on 2013-04-02 21:16:21 by rogerdeuce
#8 • Date: 2013-04-02 • Time: 11:10:54 •
Xyron7777777
Hmm. With The Bane Alley Broker questions...
I know taking control of the treasonous broker allows you to look at the facedown cards your opponent exiled. But does the first broker question mean you can now look at his broker's facedown cards forever (assuming you looked at them already when the broker was haggling with you)? Meaning (in theory) you could always know what card your opponent returned from the broker as long as it was exiled before the Act of Treason?
#9 • Date: 2013-04-03 • Time: 13:49:04 •
Carsten
Quote (Xyron7777777):
Hmm. With The Bane Alley Broker questions...
I know taking control of the treasonous broker allows you to look at the facedown cards your opponent exiled. But does the first broker question mean you can now look at his broker's facedown cards forever (assuming you looked at them already when the broker was haggling with you)? Meaning (in theory) you could always know what card your opponent returned from the broker as long as it was exiled before the Act of Treason?


Yes, once you're allowed to look at a particular face-down exiled card, this permission continues indefinitely. It doesn't even matter whether you actually looked at the cards while you controlled BAB. What matters is that you were allowed to look at them.

Note that this permission is tracked on a per-card basis, so you won't be allowed to look at the cards that get exiled after you've given BAB back to your opponent.
#10 • Date: 2013-04-03 • Time: 18:33:45 •
 

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