Published on 01/07/2019

Running with Blades

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 Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes.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

Hmm... not quite a replicant...
Hello readers and welcome to 2019! In case you missed it, we're now living in the future and the era of Blade Runner has come to pass. So start packing your bags for the off-world colonies, study up for the Voigt-Kampff test, and watch out for replicants.

Before we lose ourselves in a cyberpunk dystopia, let's answer a few rules questions. 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 use Boseiju, Who Shelters All to cast Temporal Extortion while my opponent controls Thorn of Amethyst. Will Temporal Extortion still be countered if a player pays the life to counter it for its trigger?

A: No, it won't.
When you cast an instant or sorcery spell with the mana from Boseiju, that spell can't be countered for any reason. If a spell or ability tries to counter that spell, it won't be able to. In the case of Temporal Extortion's own triggered ability, it will resolve as normal except that it won't be able to counter the spell. Players can still pay half their life if they really want to, though.

Q: My opponent controls an Erebos, God of the Dead with enough devotion to black for him to be a creature. I want to copy Erebos with my Clone without any other devotion to black. Can I do this? What happens as Clone resolves?

A: Nothing special will happen here. As Clone resolves, you'll choose a creature for it to enter the battlefield as a copy of. Since your opponent has enough devotion to black, Erebos is a creature and can be chosen. Clone then enters the battlefield as a copy of Erebos. Unlike your opponent, you don't have enough devotion to black to keep Erebos as a creature, so your copy of Erebos enters the battlefield as a noncreature enchantment.

Q: I control Najeela, the Blade-Blossom equipped with Sword of Feast and Famine. If I were to attack with Najeela and she dealt damage to my opponent and my lands were untapped
via the Sword's trigger, would I be able to activate Najeela's ability before combat ends?

A: Yes, you can do this.
The timing restriction on Najeela's activated ability only requires that it be activated during combat, so that means any time between the Beginning of Combat step and the End of Combat step. Sword of Feast and Famine's trigger untaps your lands during the Combat Damage step, and so you can activate Najeela's ability in that step or in the End of Combat step still.

Q: If I would discard Nullhide Ferox to an spell or ability an opponent controls but put it onto the battlefield with its ability instead, does it still count as being discarded? Will abilities like the ones on Raiders' Wake still trigger?

A: Nullhide Ferox is still discarded here, but it just goes to a different zone than is usual for discarded cards. It still counts as being discarded and so you'll still lose life from the trigger on Raiders' Wake.

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe.
Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion.
I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate.
All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain...
Q: Can you suspend Rift Bolt if you have Experimental Frenzy in play?

A: No, you can't.
You can only suspend a card when you could normally begin to cast it from your hand, so you can't suspend a card from any zone other than your hand and you can't suspend a card in your hand if something (i.e. Experimental Frenzy's ability) prevents you from casting it from your hand.

Q: If I control both Pyromancer's Gauntlet and Angrath's Marauders, how do I determine which effect applies first when my Lightning Strike resolves?

A: It's not up to you to determine which effect applies first unless your Lightning Strike is targeting yourself or a permanent you control.
When multiple replacement effects want to modify the amount of damage dealt to something, the affected player or the controller of the affected object gets to choose the order in which those effects are applied. In the situation you describe, this means that your opponent will probably choose to have the Lightning Strike deal eight damage to them or their creature or planeswalker (double first then add two) rather than ten damage (add two then double).

Q: My opponent has Inalla, Archmage Ritualist as his commander. He casts Azami, Lady of Scrolls and pays to make a token copy with Inalla's trigger. Can he tap the token copy before he has to get rid of an Azami to the legend rule?

A: No, this isn't possible, though it is possible to draw two cards with the Azamis.
When Azami enters the battlefield and triggers Inalla, your opponent can respond to the trigger by tapping Azami to her own ability to draw a card. Once Inalla's trigger resolves and the token is created, state-based actions are checked and the legend rule is invoked, requiring your opponent to put one of his Azamis into the graveyard. If the original Azami is kept, then there's no benefit to creating the token at all here. If the token copy is kept, then it can be tapped to its own ability to draw another card. There's no way to keep the original Azami while drawing two cards, however.

Q: I control Propaganda and my opponent controls Goblin Rabblemaster. On my opponent's turn, they create the token and proceed to the Declare Attackers step. Can they me with only the Rabblemaster?

A: Yes, they can.
A player is never forced to pay a cost to attack or block with a creature even if doing so would increase the number of attacking or blocking requirements that are being fulfilled, such as in this case. In general, applying a cost to attack negates any requirements to attack.

Q: If I remove all of the lore counters from my Saga (e.g., The Eldest Reborn) while its chapter III trigger is on the stack, does that trigger still resolve normally? Also, next turn would I add a counter and trigger chapter I again?

A: The number of lore counters on a Saga doesn't matter once a chapter trigger is on the stack. That trigger will resolve as normal based on the number of lore counters that were on the Saga when it triggered.
Removing the counters from the Saga while the chapter III trigger is on the stack will keep the Saga from being put into its owner's graveyard when the chapter III trigger finishes resolving. At the beginning of your next precombat main phase, you'll add the first lore counter to that Saga again and thus trigger its chapter I ability.

Q: If I cast Taigam's Scheming and decide to put a Narcomoeba into my graveyard during its resolution, does Narcomoeba's ability trigger and put it onto the battlefield?

A: Yes.
The cards you're looking at are all still in your library while you're resolving Taigam's Scheming, so any cards that are put into the graveyard go there from your library. This means that cards like Narcomoeba, Creeping Chill, and Gaea's Blessing will all trigger if put into your graveyard during the resolution of this sort of effect.

Q: If I use Bioshift to move five +1/+1 counters from my Toothy, Imaginary Friend onto my counter-free Fathom Mage while I also control Pir, Imaginative Rascal, what happens? Help!

A: When you're dealing with a complex situation like this, you need to just look at it step by step.
As Bioshift resolves, it removes five counters from Toothy and wants to put them onto Fathom Mage. However, Pir's replacement effect steps in and increases that number by one, meaning that Fathom Mage gets six +1/+1 counters put onto it. This triggers Fathom Mage six times.
As each of the Fathom Mage triggers resolves, Toothy will trigger. When each of those triggers resolves, Toothy will get two +1/+1 counters: One from the trigger itself and an extra one from Pir's replacement effect.
When everything is said and done, you'll have drawn six cards with Fathom Mage, which will have six +1/+1 counters on it, and Toothy will have twelve +1/+1 counters on it in total.

Q: I have 12 life and control Death's Shadow. My opponent taps their Grove of the Burnwillows for . Is there any point before my Death's Shadow dies that I could activate my Mana Confluence or Bloodstained Mire to keep it alive?

A: No, this isn't normally possible.
When your opponent activates their Grove of the Burnwillows, you gain life as part of its mana ability resolving. This doesn't use the stack and can't be responded to. If your opponent is casting a spell or activating an ability, then Death's Shadow will die from state-based actions once that spell is cast or the ability is activated. If your opponent is just activating Grove of the Burnwillows while not in the middle of casting a spell or activating an ability, then state-based actions will be checked immediately.
The only possible way that your Death's Shadow could survive here is if your opponent is paying mana into something that you can also pay mana into, such as a spell with Assist or Join Forces. In these rare cases, you can use your Mana Confluence to reduce your life total before state-based actions are checked. Your fetchland is never going to be able to help you here, though.

Q: Do I stop searching my deck when I find something? That is, would I have the mana from a land found by Windswept Heath in time to use it to cast Panglacial Wurm from my deck?

A: Once you have found whatever it is you're searching for, your search is over and you can no longer search your library further. This means that you can't both cast a Panglacial Wurm that's found while searching from a Windswept Heath and use mana from the land found in that search to cast it.
Even with cards that find multiple lands, such as Harrow, all the searching is done before the lands are put onto the battlefield. All of these types of effects have you search, then move whatever you found, then shuffle. Once you move cards out of the library because of the search, the search is done.

No no no, not that sort of running blades...
Q: I have a Clever Impersonator in the graveyard and bring it back to the battlefield with Animate Dead, but I copy a non-creature permanent with it, making Animate Dead unable to attach to it. Does the Clever Impersonator stay on the field as the non-creature permanent or is it sacrificed when Animate Dead goes to the graveyard?

A: You'll have to sacrifice your Clever Impersonator despite the fact that it was never enchanted by Animate Dead while on the battlefield. Even though Animate Dead was unable to attach to the non-creature Impersonator, it's still the permanent that was returned to the battlefield by Animate Dead and thus it will be sacrificed when Animate Dead's trigger resolves. This is the same thing that happens if you try to reanimate a creature with protection from black, for example. (And no, it doesn't matter that Animate Dead says "that creature" in the sacrifice trigger. That's just shorthand for the permanent returned the battlefield, which is going to be a creature 99% of the time.)

Q: If I prevent damage from a black or red source with Samite Ministration, will gaining life from it trigger Firesong and Sunspeaker? If so, could this go infinite?

A: No, you won't trigger our minotaur friends here.
When Samite Ministration prevents damage from a black or red source, you gain life from a delayed triggered ability set up by Samite Ministration's resolution, but this triggered ability isn't Samite Ministration itself and so Firesong and Sunspeaker won't trigger. They'll only trigger off of the resolution of a white instant or sorcery spell itself causing you to gain life, e.g. Revitalize, and not from triggers set up by those spells.

Q: Does Goblin Electromancer reduces the Replicate cost of Pyromatics?

A: Not in the way you want it to, sadly.
When an effect reduces the cost of a spell, it reduces that spell's total cost and not just elements of the cost. This means that Goblin Electromancer will reduce the total cost of your replicated Pyromatics by , and not by for each copy of it. For example, if you want to cast Pyromatics and replicate it twice, Goblin Electromancer will reduce your total cost to and not all the way down to just .

Q: I exile my opponent's Sonic Assault with my Thief of Sanity. If I control two Goblin Electromancers, can I cast the Sonic Assault for only one mana?

A: No, this doesn't work.
Thief of Sanity's trigger allows you to cast the cards it exiles as though the mana you spend to cast them was mana of any type, but this doesn't change the card's mana cost in any actual way. (Yes, I know that Magic Arena shows these cards with their costs fully in generic mana, but that's a lie.) Sonic Assault still costs you to cast, and your Goblin Electromancers can reduce that cost by the generic component of the cost, i.e , making the total cost which you can pay with any mana you like.

Q: What happens if I cast Selective Snare targeting only Ink-Treader Nephilim?

A: Not a whole lot unless the battlefield is being overrun by a bunch of Nephilim.
Since Selective Snare needs to know the chosen creature type in order to determine which creatures it can target, that choice is made during the casting of the spell and becomes part of the spell's copiable characteristics. This means that Selective Snare is locked into only targeting Nephilim and thus Ink-Treader Nephilim's trigger will only create copies of Selective Snare for any other Nephilim that happen to be on the battlefield at the time.

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

A: Yes, this works just fine.
Skythiryx will still be dealing damage to your opponent even though they won't be getting any poison counters. This means that the damage will still be adding up towards a commander damage kill, so be sure to track it!

Well that's it, you've reached the end of this week's column. Were your questions answered? Is Charlotte a replicant? Wasn't there something about a unicorn in there? Well, it all depends on which version of this article you got to see. Maybe we should just ask Ridley Scott?

- Charlotte


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