Published on 12/10/2018

Long Winter Nights

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 Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes.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.

Now with less light!
Welcome readers to another edition of Cranial Insertion! Excuse me for a moment while I light some more lamps. The days are awfully short for me this time of year, but I should have enough light to get through your questions this week.

If you'd like the CI team to answer your question, please send it to us via email at or tweet it to us @CranialTweet. We'll make sure to send you a private reply and your question might also appear in a future CI column.

Q: If I control both Krallenhorde Howler and Food Chain, is there a way to exile the Howler to cast a creature, while still getting the cost reduction from its ability?

A: Yes, you can do this.
Food Chain's ability is a mana ability, which means it can be activated while you're casting a creature spell. The point at which you activate mana abilities while casting a spell comes after you've determined that spell's total cost, and so the cost reduction effect from Krallenhorde Howler has already been applied and the total cost locked in. This means that sacrificing it now won't undo the cost reduction and so your creature can have its Howler and eat it too!

Q: If I discard a card with madness to cast a card with jump-start from my graveyard and then cast the discarded card for its madness cost, does it resolve before or after the jump-start spell?

A: It will resolve before the jump-start spell.
By the time that you're discarding a card to pay for the additional jump-start cost, the card with jump-start is already on the stack. The madness trigger of the discarded spell will go on the stack above the jump-start spell, as will the madness spell if you cast it.

Q: When I'm searching my library with Invent, can I find two copies of Discovery//Dispersal?

A: Yes, this works just fine.
While Discovery//Dispersal is both an instant card and a sorcery card, it's still only one card and so you can choose one as the instant card and one as the sorcery card.

Q: I cast Genesis Hydra, and put Essence of the Wild onto the battlefield with its cast trigger. Does the Hydra enter the battlefield with any counters or is it just a copy of Essence of the Wild?

A: It'll just be a copy of Essence of the Wild.
While both Genesis Hydra's counter ability and Essence of the Wild's copy ability want to modify how Genesis Hydra enters the battlefield, you have to apply the copy effect first before you can apply any other replacement effects. Once Essence's ability has been applied to the Hydra, it no longer has its counter ability and thus that ability can no longer happen.

Sometimes I suspect that winter will never end.
Q: I attack my opponent with Blade Splicer and its golem token and my opponent blocks Blade Splicer with a creature that has first strike. Will the golem deal first strike damage and regular damage here?

A: No, it will only deal combat damage once.
In the first combat damage step, your golem token and your opponent's creature with first strike will deal their combat damage. In the second combat damage step, your golem token no longer has first strike but it has already assigned combat damage this turn, so it won't be able to deal combat damage a second time. (Only creatures with double strike can do that.)

Q: When Volrath's Shapeshifter enters the battlefield, does it enter with the full text of the top card of my graveyard, if it's a creature? What does this mean for enters-the-battlefield triggered abilities (e.g. Thragtusk) or replacement effects (e.g. Meddling Mage)?

A: While Volrath's Shapeshifter is a weird card, it functions pretty normally here. If the top card of your graveyard is a creature card, then Volrath's Shapeshifter will enter the battlefield with the full text of that card, meaning that any applicable triggered abilities or replacement effects will happen normally. You'll gain life from Thragtusk's trigger or get to name a card for Meddling Mage's ability.

Q: Will Angel's Grace save you from losing the game effects from cards like Chance for Glory?

A: Yes.
Angel's Grace will stop you from losing the game for any reason this turn short of you conceding to your opponent. This works well for "lose the game" triggers like those on Pacts or Chance for Glory.

Q: I activate Lazav, the Multifarious and use it to copy Jace, Vryn's Prodigy in my graveyard. If I use the looting ability and have five cards in my graveyard, what happens?

A: When you resolves Lazav/Jace's activated ability, you'll draw a card and then discard a card. Then you'll exile Lazav/Jace and try to return it to the battlefield transformed... Unfortunately, Lazav isn't a double-faced card and thus can't enter the battlefield transformed, so he just stays exiled rather than coming back to the battlefield at all.

Q: With the Will Of The Council voting mechanic, can you respond to the vote of a single player? Is each vote on the stack?

A: Voting is done as part of the resolution of each will of the council card. Since a spell is currently resolving, players don't receive priority and can't take any actions until the spell finishes resolving. You can act before players vote and/or after players vote, but not in the middle of the voting process.

Q: If I control Celestial Kirin and Arcane Adaptation choosing Spirit, and I cast a face-down creature spell (e.g. Scornful Egotist), will the Kirin destroy all lands and all other permanents with a converted mana cost of 0?

A: Yes, this works the way you want it to. Celestial Kirin makes no exception for lands, so, um... have fun?

Q: Can I activate my Reef Shaman in response to Maze of Ith's activationg to keep Maze's ability from working?

A: No, this doesn't work.
While you can activate Reef Shaman in response to Maze's activation, it won't stop Maze's ability from resolving. By the time you can respond to Maze's activation, that ability is already on the stack and will resolve no matter what happens to Maze of Ith itself. If you really want to keep your creatures from getting lost, you should use Reef Shaman on Maze of Ith before you declare attackers when Maze of Ith can't yet do anything to your creatures.

Q: If I create a token with Echo Chamber and then change the creature into another token using Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer, do I still have to exile the token at end of turn because of the Echo Chamber's effect or do I get to keep it?

A: You'll still have to exile it. The token is still the same object that was created by Echo Chamber's ability and so it will be exiled when the delayed trigger resolves at the beginning of your end step. It doesn't matter that it has a different name and characteristics now.

Q: I was playing Commander and my friend was playing a Saskia the Unyeilding deck. Him and another opponents were each at 10 life. I reanimated his Saskia, and named the third player with her ability. I then attacked Saskia's owner for 20. I then said that the triggered ability would go on the stack to kill the third opponent, but Saskia's owner disagreed because Saskia was no longer on the battlefield when the trigger would resolve. Who's right here? Do I win the game or not?

A: While it's true that Saskia leaves the game when her owner does, her trigger still exists and resolves normally. No, there isn't currently a chosen player, but the ability can look at who the chosen player was when Saskia last existed on the battlefield and use that information to determine who Saskia deals damage to. In other words, you win! Yay!

Darkness aside, winter can be beautiful.
Q: If I am searching my deck, can I cast
a Panglacial Wurm that's the top card of my library using mana from Millikin?

A: Yes, this is perfectly fine so long as you start to cast Panglacial Wurm before you make mana with Millikin. When you cast a spell, the first thing you do is move the card from its currently location to the stack, so Panglacial Wurm leaves your library and is no longer the top card. This means that when you activate Millikin, something other than Panglacial Wurm will get milled off.

Q: For convoke on a card like March of the Multitudes, if I have a way to untap a creature, say with the Vizier of Remedies and Devoted Druid combo, can I tap the Devoted Druid as many times as I can to pay into the convoke cost?

A: No, this won't work. You tap creatures for convoke at the same time you pay mana and other costs for the spell. It's too late to activate any abilities, even mana abilities. Of course, you could just generate a million mana with your Druid before you start casting March of the Multitudes and take advantage of the combo that way...

Q: If I steal a creature with Bribery and my opponent plays a card that returns target nonland permanent to its owner's hand, does the creature I stole go to my hand or theirs?

A: It will go to their hand, not yours. Even though the creature you got with Bribery entered the battlefield under your control, it is still owned by your opponent. A card's owner is the player who began the game with that card in their library or sideboard. Short of old ante cards, nothing can change the ownership of a card or put a card owned by another player into your hand, graveyard, or library.

Q: How does Mirrorweave interact with face down creatures from morph or manifest?

A: It depends on what you're trying to do with Mirrorweave. If you're targeting a face up creature, then face down creatures become copies of that card, but their face down status overrides their characteristics to still make them colorless, nameless 2/2's. If you target a face down creature with Mirrorweave, then every creature becomes a colorless, nameless 2/2. The face up creatures are still face up, though.

Q: My commander is Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon and my opponent controls Solemnity, can Skithiryx still kill my opponent using commander damage?

A: Yes!
While Solemnity's ability will stop Skithiryx from giving your opponent any poison counters when it damages them (or having any other visible effect), it's still damaging them and that damage contributes towards a commander damage kill.

Q: If Nullhide Ferox is discarded and put onto the battlefield with its ability, does it still count as being discarded for effects like Raiders' Wake?

A: Yes.
Nullhide Ferox is still discarded, it just goes to the battlefield instead of to your graveyard as a result of being discarded. Raiders' Wake still sees a card being discarded and triggers as appropriate.

Q: Can you suspend Rift Bolt if you have Experimental Frenzy in play?

A: No, this isn't possible.
You can't suspend Rift Bolt from the top of your library since you can only suspend cards from your hand. Unfortunately, you can't suspend it from your hand either. Suspending a card from your hand requires you to be able to begin casting that card, but Experimental Frenzy stops you from playing any cards from your hand.

Q: I cast Reflector Mage and target my opponent's commander. If they choose to send it to the command zone instead, does it still mean that they can't cast their commander until my next turn?

A: Your opponent won't be able to cast their commander until your next turn. This latter part of Reflector Mage's ability doesn't depend on the ability's target going to its owner's hand, so as long as the ability's target is legal when it resolves, the prohibition will be in place no matter where the creature ends up because of replacement effects.

As my lamps burn low, it's time for me to bid you good night. The next time I write to you, the days will be getting longer at last. But you won't have to go all those weeks without any more light in your lives as Carsten will be back with more enlightenment for you next week! Until then, happy holidays to you and yours.

- Charlotte


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