Published on 05/20/2013

Happy Returns

or, Live from New England

Cranial Translation
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Note: This article is over two years old. Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes. Proceed with caution.

No eye-eating was required for Eli
to resume writing Cranial Insertion.
Mesdames et messieurs, I have returned! Well, "returned" is a strange way to put it, as I'm still in New England and I never really left Cranial Insertion... Anyway, time for my first feature-length article since I left the desert.

As always, a fine crop of questions has been harvested from our @CranialTweet Twitter account, the inbox, and the tear-stained wishes of random players that Moko ripped from the grasps of angels as they fell prey to his catapult, but mostly those first two. If you have more questions, send them in, and we'll get an answer back to you whether or not it ends up in the column.

Q: If I target a creature that can't block with Mark for Death, can the other creatures block?

A: Nope. The effect making other creatures unable to block doesn't care whether the targeted creature actually can block. That one victim is still the only creature that can do any blocking, even if it actually can't.

Q: What'll happen if I fuse Turn // Burn, choosing to Turn a Knight token and Burn Empty-Shrine Kannushi? My opponent only has white permanents so far.

A: Target legality is only checked as a spell begins to resolve, and the Kannushi is a legal target at that time. Then the Knight becomes a Weird red thing, and the Kannushi has protection from red. The spell attempts to deal damage to it... and the damage is prevented, since that's part of what protection does.

Q: Do Mesmeric Orb triggers resolve before or after "beginning of upkeep" triggers?

A: It'll be your choice! As your upkeep starts and the game tries to give you priority, all of the triggered abilities that triggered since the last time priority happened - that is, since the last cleanup step that went by without any triggers in the last turn - are put onto the stack at once. The player whose turn it is puts all of his triggers on the stack in any order he likes, and then the other player puts all of his onto the stack in any order he chooses. The order in which they actually triggered doesn't matter.

Q: Can I cast Myr Superion face down with Illusionary Mask by paying from basic lands?

A: All that the Mask cares about is whether or not you could pay the mana cost, not whether you could cast the spell. from two Plains can't cast Myr Superion, but it can sure pay , so you're good.

No, Eli did not die.
Q: Can Spellskite's ability target Counterspell?

A: Sure, Spellskite's ability can target any ability or spell. The real question you want to ask is whether it'll be good to do that, and the answer to that is no. Counterspell can't legally target Spellskite, so Spellskite trying to change its target won't do anything.

Q: I heard something about suspending two sorcery cards at weird times with one Quicken. How does that work?

A: First you cast Quicken. That's the easy part.

Suspend allows you to suspend things whenever you could legally begin to cast them. Thanks to Quicken, you can legally cast a sorcery now, so you can suspend one from your hand. Yay!

But you haven't actually cast a sorcery yet. Quicken's effect still applies to the next sorcery spell you cast. That means that you could legally cast another sorcery, and so you can suspend that one, too. Repeat until you're done.

Q: Can Runic Repetition get back a card I gave flashback with Snapcaster Mage?

A: The card in exile is a brand new shiny object with no relation to the card that was in the graveyard nor the spell that was on the stack. Nothing's giving this new object flashback, so Runic Repetition can't target it.

Q: Is Boneyard Wurm in my graveyard 0/0 or big/big?

A: It'll be big/big, or at least 1/1 which isn't generally considered big. A characteristic-defining ability works everywhere; there are a lot of rules on how to pick them out, but the most common one can be easily spotted: it'll define the */* power and toughness of a creature with that.

Q: Boneyard Wurm is the only creature card in my graveyard, and I scavenge it onto Varolz, the Scar-Striped. Does he get one counter or none?

A: It'll get one counter. Scavenge checks the power of the card that was in the graveyard as it last existed to determine how many counters it'll place, similar to how Fling looks at the creature as it last existed on the battlefield.

Q: If I Twincast my opponent's overloaded Mizzium Mortars, is my copy also overloaded?

A: Yup! Text-changing isn't copiable, but choices made when casting, including whether to cast it for its overload cost rather than its normal cost, are copiable. The copy has a copy of the text-changing ability that looks at that choice, sees it satisfied, and applies its own text-changing effect.

Q: Does Runner's Bane fall off if I raise the enchanted creature's power?

A: It will plop so hard it goes ¡plop!. The enchant ability of an Aura defines what it's allowed to enchant, and if it's ever unfulfilled, it will seek its happiness in your graveyard. Now, it's not liable to be happy there, but we have to let it makes its own mistakes, hmm? This is the same as putting Rancor on Inkmoth Nexus, only more likely to come up.

Q: I have a Progenitor Mimic kept alive with Gaea's Anthem, and cast Clone. As Clone's effect applies, I choose to copy the Mimic, and then I have the Mimic's effect to apply. So I choose it, and have the Mimic's effect to apply again! Do I get infinite Mimic triggers this way?

A: Nope. After you apply the Mimic's effect, it wipes everything on the card and becomes a copy of Progenitor Mimic with one instance of the trigger. When you apply it again, it wipes everything, including that one instance of the trigger, and becomes a copy of the Mimic with one instance of the trigger. You'll eventually need to choose not to copy something and get a Mimic with one copy-making trigger, not infinite triggers.

Q: What happens first if I sacrifice Yavimaya Elder to activate its ability?

A: The very first step of activating an ability is to put that ability onto the stack. Any triggered abilities that trigger while casting it, such as the Elder's when-it-dies trigger, will go on top of that ability and resolve first.

How about a nice bowl
of "what the bleeding heck"?
Q: One rule talks about a permanent with no permanent types. What is this madness?

A: Cast March of the Machines, then activate Neurok Transmuter targeting any artifact that's normally noncreature, like Sol Ring. Now you have a blue. It has no permanent types, but it's still a permanent and can be tapped, phase out, etc. Enjoy!

Q: My opponent controls Hive Mind and casts Last Chance - who takes an extra turn and loses first?

A: That'll be him. Extra turns are created to immediately follow the current turn. So if the turn order is OYOY (opponent, and you, where it's currently his turn on the left), then you get OYYOY after your copy resolves, and then his original Last Chance resolves making the turn order OOYYOY. The leftmost O ends, and then O's next turn begins, at the end of which he loses.

Q: As a follow-up to last week, can I use Lazav, Dimir Mastermind to get another name for my Gate count by animating one of my opponent's then killing it?

A: Only through the use of very convoluted setups, and we haven't figured out how to do that yet - it might not be possible. If you kill an animated Gate, it's not a creature card being put into a graveyard from anywhere, so Lazav's "copy that dead thing" ability won't trigger. The "from anywhere" clause makes it behave slightly differently from "whenever a creature dies" triggers.

Q: I have Clinging Anemones and cast Frostburn Weird. Can I pump it before resolving evolve so Clinging Anemones gets a counter?

A: Evolve won't trigger at all in this situation. At the moment that the Weird enters the battlefield, the Anemones looks at it and compares itself. It seems them as equals, so does not trigger in a fit of jealousy.

Q: How does Return to Ravnica/Gatecrash/Dragon's Maze draft work?

A: You open the DGM pack first, then GTC, then RTR. You remove the token or advertisement card no matter what, and if you get a nonfoil basic land, you remove that. The land in the back of your DGM pack stays, as well as any foil basic land.

Q: On pick four of pack one, we noticed that one player opened RTR instead of DGM first! How do we fix this?

A: There's no one standard fix. The easiest thing is really to just roll with it - yes, it's far from good, but there's no real fair way to pick up the cards and restart, and instructing the organizer to eat the cost of eight booster packs to make up for one player's mistake isn't something the DCI will do.

Q: Can we run a Grand Prix Trial with one of each pack from the old Ravnica block and each from the new one?

A: While you're allowed to sanction fun Sealed Deck mixes like that, you can't do it for a GPT. Premier-level events have fact sheets with strict mandates, and Sealed Deck GPTs are required to use the recommended product mix, which is two of each pack from the block now.

Q: I named Thragtusk for Council of the Absolute and we didn't notice until a couple of turns later. Now what?

A: A Council naming an absolutely illegal card is the same as a Council naming absolutely no card. You need to choose a legal name right now.

That's a wrap for this week, but join us next week when Carsten's back for more delicious questions. And, of course, then we'll have the exciting release of Modern Masters with its crazy drafting!

Until next time, may the changes in your life be awesome.

- Eli Shiffrin

About the Author:
Eli Shiffrin is currently in Lowell, Massachusetts and discovering how dense the east coast MTG community is. Legend has it that the Comprehensive Rules are inscribed on the folds of his brain.

Minor corrections:
q13 - \"while activating it\"
q14 - the answer seems to break in the middle (\"now you have a blue.\")Edit:Wait, that\'s the punchline, isn\'t it?

Last edited on 2013-05-20 06:41:19 by Rocket_Knight
#1 • Date: 2013-05-20 • Time: 06:29:50 •

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