Published on 04/04/2016

Madness? This is Innistrad!

Cranial Translation
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Let's take a close look at
what's happening on Innistrad.
Greetings, and welcome back to another episode of Cranial Insertion. We are back on Innistrad, and we couldn't be more excited! We are so deliriously happy to be back that our excitement almost borders on madness. This set promises many tricky card interactions, and we're looking forward to answering all the fun rules questions that this set has in store for us.

If you have questions for us about Shadows over Innistrad or anything else, please email them to or tweet short questions to @CranialTweet. You'll get a direct answer from one of our writers, and your question might appear in a future article to educate fellow readers like yourself.

With that, let us no longer skulk in the shadows, and let's investigate what's going on in Shadows over Innistrad!

Q: Does putting cards from the library into the graveyard, with Startled Awake for example, trigger madness?

A: No. Madness only applies if you're discarding a card, which means that the card has to go from your hand to your graveyard. Trips from other zones to the graveyard aren't discards.

Q: I control Call the Bloodline and I discard Malevolent Whispers to activate Call the Bloodline's token making ability. Can I target the new token with Malevolent Whispers to give it +2/+0 and haste?

A: Nice try, but that doesn't work. You start activating Call the Bloodline's ability by putting it on the stack, and later you pay the cost that includes discarding Malevolent Whispers, so the madness trigger goes on top of the token making ability and it resolves first. This means that the token doesn't exist yet when you cast Malevolent Whispers.

Q: I control Creeping Dread, and both my opponent and I choose to discard cards with madness to its ability. What happens?

A: First off, the card type comparison still works. Both cards were discarded into the exile zone, but they were discarded, so if your opponent's card shared a card type with yours, your opponent loses 3 life. The madness triggers then go on the stack in APNAP order: You're the active player, so your trigger goes on the stack first. Then, your opponent's trigger goes on the stack, so your opponent's madness trigger resolves first.

Q: If I have four cards in my graveyard and I discard a madness card to Jace, Vryn's Prodigy looting ability, does Jace transform?

A: No. Madness forces you to discard the card into the exile zone instead of into your graveyard. It won't move from the exile zone into the graveyard until the triggered ability resolves and asks you to choose between casting it or putting it into the graveyard, which only happens after Jace's ability is done resolving. At the time Jace's ability counts the cards in your graveyard, the newly discarded card is sitting in the exile zone and being generally unhelpful.

Q: What happens if I control multiple Crawling Sensations?

A: A lot of creepy crawly things will happen. Each Crawling Sensation's upkeep trigger goes on the stack and resolves separately, so you mill two cards for each of those triggers, if you want. The milling triggers are optional, but we'll assume you want to mill. Each time you do that you'll get an Insect token from each Crawling Sensation if that was the first time this turn that you milled at least one land.

For example, let's say you control three Crawling Sensations. In your upkeep, you mill two cards, and if there was a land among the milled cards, you get three Insect tokens. Then, you repeat this "mill two cards if you want, maybe get Insects" process two more times, but remember that you only get Insect tokens the first time you mill a land. You can choose to continue milling after that if you want to fill up your graveyard, but you won't get more Insects this turn. Phew!

Q: Can I discard Geralf's Masterpiece itself for its ability to return it from the graveyard to the battlefield?

A: No, that's not possible. Geralf's Masterpiece's ability only functions in the graveyard, which means that it has to be in the graveyard already when you announce that you're activating the ability.

Q: If I target one of my opponent's creatures with Expose Evil and she sacrifices the creature in response, do I still get a Clue token?

A: Nope, unfortunately you'll be clueless. You cast Expose Evil with just one target, and that target has become illegal, so all of its targets have become illegal. This means that Expose Evil is countered on resolution and none of its effects happen.

Moko's favorite snack!
Q: Can I use Brain in a Jar to cast a sorcery during my opponent's turn?

A: Sure. There is no rule that states that you can't cast a sorcery during your opponent's turn. The only reason why you normally can't do that is because nothing is giving you permission to do so. Brain in a Jar gives you permission to cast the sorcery during the resolution of its ability, so you can cast it at that time. If it weren't for this permission, you couldn't even cast an instant, since you normally can't cast anything during the resolution of an ability.

Q: If I use Arlinn Kord's 0 ability to transform her, can I activate an ability of her back face right away?

A: No. Unlike the Origins creature/planeswalker cards that exile themselves and return to the battlefield transformed, Arlinn Kord transforms while she's on the battlefield. She's still the same permanent that she was before, except that she looks a bit different now. Since you already activated a loyalty ability of this permanent this turn, you can't activate another loyalty ability of hers.

Q: If my opponent discards a card with madness, can I process it with Oracle of Dust before my opponent can cast it for its madness cost?

A: Absolutely! Discarding the card into the exile zone triggers an ability, and the card gets cast for its madness cost when that ability resolves. This triggered ability uses the stack, so you can respond to it. If you process the card, it won't be in the exile zone anymore when the madness trigger resolves, so your opponent will be unable to cast it. Well done!

Q: I'm a bit confused by the trigger condition on The Gitrog Monster. How can I tell whether something triggers the "one or more land cards are put into your graveyard from anywhere" ability once or multiple times?

A: Any time something happens in the game, the Monster's ability checks whether that something included one or more lands going to your graveyard from anywhere. If it did, the ability triggers once. If not, it doesn't trigger. Note that "something happens" can occur multiple times during the resolution of a spell or ability. Basically, each action that's taken during the resolution is a separate instance of "something happens." For example, Destroy the Evidence consists of two separate actions that each put a land into a graveyard, so it would trigger the Monster's ability twice. Similarly, Countryside Crusher's ability performs a loop of separate reveals and mills, so if you hit multiple lands in a row, the Monster's ability triggers that many times. On the other hand, Epiphany at the Drownyard makes you put the "other" pile into your graveyard all at once, so it triggers the Monster's ability only once if there's at least one land card in that pile.

Q: When do I choose the card to discard to activate Sinister Concoction? Do I have to choose before I start paying the whole cost, or can I wait to see what I mill so I can choose a different card type to get me to delirium faster?

A: You can wait to see what you mill. Choosing the card is part of the cost "discard a card", so you don't have to choose a card until you pay that cost, which you'll want to pay after the "put the top card of your library into your graveyard" cost.

The latest fashion on Innistrad
Q: Is there a point in equipping the same creature with multiple Haunted Cloaks?

A: Not really. The creature will have multiple instances of vigilance, trample, and haste, but all those abilities are redundant in multiples. The second Haunted Cloak won't make the creature any better, but it does make a bold fashion statement.

Q: Can I control both Archangel Avacyn and Avacyn, the Purifier at the same time?

A: Yes, that's no problem, at least as far as the rules are concerned. The legend rule looks at the full names of the cards, and "Archangel Avacyn" and "Avacyn, the Purifier" are two different card names, so their coexistence on the battlefield is perfectly fine. It doesn't make a lot of sense in terms of flavor to have both versions of the same character at the same time, but then again, we don't worry about how an Ooze can wield four swords and wear two helmets, either.

Q: If I control Archangel Avacyn and three creatures die, when and how often will she transform?

A: The three deaths trigger Archangel Avacyn's last ability three times, which creates three delayed triggers to transform Avacyn at the beginning of the next upkeep. However, only the first of those actually transform Avacyn. The other two delayed triggers do nothing because Avacyn has already been transformed.

Q: If I control Delver of Secrets, cast Moonmist and respond with a second Moonmist, does Delver of Secrets still transform twice, or does it transform only once now?

A: It still transforms twice. The rules change that prevents a double-faced card from transforming multiple times in a row only applies to transformations caused by the permanent's own abilities. External instructions to transform a permanent, like Moonmist, still transform the permanent without caring whether the permanent has already been transformed recently.

Q: I attack with a Wolf of Devil's Breach and pay the cost for its trigger by discarding Incorrigible Youths. If I cast Incorrigible Youths for its madness cost, can the Youths attack, too?

A: Nope. You have to declare all attackers at once, and you can only attack with creatures that you controlled at the time the declare attackers step began. The Youths weren't around when you declared attackers, so they're too late to join the party.

Q: If my opponent targets my Heir of Falkenrath with a destruction spell, can I transform the Heir in response to make my opponent's spell fizzle?

A: That depends on what kind of destruction spell your opponent is using, but the answer is most likely not. As with the Arlinn Kord question above, Heir of Falkenrath remains the same permanent after its transformation, so any spells that targeted it will continue to target it. The only way a spell that targeted Heir of Falkenrath could be countered on resolution after transformation would be if some characteristic of the back face somehow made it an illegal target for the spell. However, it's unlikely that your opponent cast a destruction spell that can target Heir of Falkenrath but not Heir to the Night.

Q: How does Obsessive Skinner's delirium ability work in Two-Headed Giant?

A: It works twice as well as in a duel! The ability triggers at the beginning of each opponent's upkeep, and in Two-Headed Giant you have two opponents who share an upkeep. This means that the ability triggers twice, so you get to put two +1/+1 counters on one creature, or one +1/+1 counter each on two creatures.

Q: Does Standard rotate when Shadows over Innistrad is released?

A: Yup! The release of Shadows over Innistrad marks the first step into the new Standard rotation of three two-set blocks. The Khans block is being chopped up for this rotation, and Khans of Tarkir and Fate Reforged are rotating out. After this rotation, Standard consists of Dragons of Tarkir, Magic Origins, Battle for Zendikar, Oath of the Gatewatch, and Shadows over Innistrad.

Q: I have four Jace, Vryn's Prodigy and four Uninvited Geist in my deck. Can I use checklist cards for the Jaces and not use checklist cards for the Geists?

A: No, you can't do that. Rule 3.5 of the Magic Tournament Rules covers this:

If a player uses a checklist card to represent a double-faced card in his or her deck, then all of the double-faced cards in the deck must be represented by checklist cards, [...]

In other words, use of checklist cards is all-or-nothing.

And that concludes our first look at Shadows over Innistrad. Thanks for reading, and please come back next week for an all new selection of Magic rules questions.

- 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.

While I agree that the rules change doesn't affect outside transformation sources like moonmist, in the above example, the delver can't transform twice because once it becomes an insectile abberation, moonmist won't make it transform because it's not a human, right?
#1 • Date: 2016-04-04 • Time: 05:21:56 •
Quote (blacob):
While I agree that the rules change doesn't affect outside transformation sources like moonmist, in the above example, the delver can't transform twice because once it becomes an insectile abberation, moonmist won't make it transform because it's not a human, right?

Insectile Aberration is a Human Insect, so it is a Human.
#2 • Date: 2016-04-04 • Time: 05:59:08 •
If there would be a card that would, hypothetically, says to put a card form my hand into the graveyard, this would not count as a discard and won't trigger madness like putting a card from my library into my hand don't count as a draw right?
#3 • Date: 2016-04-04 • Time: 06:25:13 •
Quote (Seawee):
If there would be a card that would, hypothetically, says to put a card form my hand into the graveyard, this would not count as a discard and won't trigger madness like putting a card from my library into my hand don't count as a draw right?

If you plop Mox Diamond (e.g. with Show and Tell) and don't discard a land card, Megrim won't trigger. At least I believe so.
#4 • Date: 2016-04-04 • Time: 07:00:22 •
To Seawee's question, hypothetical cards are a little tricky in that if a rules interaction doesn't exist, the rules don't usually have a rule for it yet. But I would imagine that you would be correct.
Elkin Lair is pretty close, but it exiles the card in between hand and graveyard.
Not entirely sure where bbbbbbbbba was going, but he is correct. On a side note, Mox Diamond has always said "discard a card", so there wasn't a time when its trigger wasn't a discard.
#5 • Date: 2016-04-04 • Time: 07:17:53 •
Defeat is a card that can target Heir of Falkenrath but not Heir to the Night.
#6 • Date: 2016-04-04 • Time: 13:12:57 •
The answer to the checklist card question has changed since the new rules update:

The rule that you must use all checklists or all double-faced cards in your deck has been relaxed to a per-card-name basis. So, you can have all of your Jace, Vryn's Prodigies be checklist cards in your deck and all of your Things in the Ice be the actual card without problems.
#7 • Date: 2016-04-05 • Time: 02:48:38 •

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