Published on 06/29/2020


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Look at that good boy, leading his army
into battle. 14/10
Hi everyone, and welcome back to Cranial Insertion! Core Set 2021 is finally here, and while we could talk about the sweet reprints or nifty new cards, we all know what's actually the most important thing coming out of Core Set 2021 is dogs! Yep, as of Core Set 2021's release, everything that was hound is now a dog. And to celebrate, we even have a bunch of new dogs in the set itself, and can enjoying playing fetch with our old dogs like Isamaru or Pako.

But if you have pictures of your dogs (or, I guess, Magic rules questions), you can send them to us. Pictures will be treasured forever, and questions will receive answers. We might even use your question in a future article. You can us send us your shorter questions via Twitter at @CranialTweet, and you can send us your longer questions at .

Q: I control Garruk, Unleashed with two loyalty counters, and my opponent controls three more creatures than me. If I activate Garruk's -2 ability, will Garruk survive?

A: Nope, Garruk is dead. Right after you're done activating the ability, we check state-based actions. Garruk is at zero loyalty, so Garruk goes to the graveyard. When Garruk's ability resolves, you'll create the token, but since Garruk isn't on the battlefield, he won't get the loyalty counter.

Q: I control an Obsessive Stitcher. My opponent targets it with a Soul Sear. Can I activate the Sticher's last ability and have it return itself with its own ability?

A: No you cannot. When we're activating abilities, we choose targets before we pay the costs of the ability. When we're choosing targets for the ability, the Stitcher is still on the battlefield, not in the graveyard yet, so it can't target itself. You could target another creature card in the graveyard to return, but it won't be able to return itself.

Q: I have a Quirion Dryad in play. If I cast Indulging Patrician, will my Dryad get one or two counters?

A: Only one counter. The Dryad has a single triggered ability that triggers if the spell is white, blue, black, or red. The Dryad's ability does not care if the spell is multiple colors. You cast one spell, so the Dryad's ability will only trigger once and will only give it a single +1/+1 counter, not two counters since it's a black and white spell.

Q: My opponent cast Terror of the Peaks. If I want to Cancel it, do I also have to pay three life?

A: Nope, no life payment is required. The Terror's ability that taxes spells that target only works as long as the Terror is on the battlefield. It doesn't work in any other zone, like the stack. Countering the Terror will Cancel will just cost you 1UU, it won't require you to pay three life as well.

Q: I have Gadrak, the Crown-Scourge and four treasure tokens as my only artifacts. If I attack with Gadrak, can I sacrifice the treasure tokens for mana to cast Unleash Fury and still let Gadrak deal damage?

A: Yep, you can do that. As long as you declare Gadrak as an attacker, it won't matter what happens to your artifact count. You're able to attack with Gadrak, and then once it's attacking, sacrifice your treasures to cast your spell and Gadrak will still be an attacking creature (and likely a good target for the Fury).

Q: I control Azusa, Lost but Seeking, and I play three lands. I return Azusa to my hand with Unsubstantiate, then replay Azusa. Can I play two more lands this turn?

A: Nope, you can't play any more lands. To be able to play a land, we count the number of lands you've played thus turn and compare that number to the number of lands you're allowed to play. If the first number is less than the second number, you're allowed to play your land. After Azusa is bounced and replayed, we see that you have played three lands this turn, and that you're allowed to play three lands. Three is not less than three, so bouncing and replaying Azusa won't let you play more lands that turn.

Q: I control Double Vision. If I cast See the Truth, will the copy I get from the Vision let me put all three cards into my hand?

A: It will not. The copy made by the Vision is put on the stack, not cast. Since the copy was not cast, you do not fulfill the extra condition for the Truth, and you'll only get one of the three cards from the copy of the Truth, not all three cards.

Q: I cast Opt, and then I cast Double Vision. If I then cast Rain of Revelation, will I get a copy of the Rain?

A: Nope, you don't get a copy. The Vision only triggers for the first instant or sorcery you cast each turn. Even if the Vision wasn't on the battlefield when the Opt was cast, the Vision knows about it. When you cast the Rain, the Vision knows that the Rain is your second instant or sorcery of the turn, not the first, so it will not trigger and you won't get a copy of the Rain.

I normally don't condone this kind of violence,
but that puppers is just too cute. 12/10

Q: My opponent has one card in their hand. I cast Liliana, Waker of the Dead and activate the +1 ability. Can my opponent choose to lose 3 life instead of discarding their card?

A: They must discard their card. The only choice involved with Liliana's ability is which card from their hand they want to discard. They only lose 3 life if they're unable to discard, not if they don't want to discard. Since they have a card in their hand, they have to discard it and cannot choose to lose 3 life instead of discarding the card.

Q: My graveyard is empty, and I cast Frantic Inventory. How many cards do I draw?

A: Just one card. The Inventory won't go to the graveyard until the final step of resolution. When it's counting the number of cards named Frantic Inventory in your graveyard, the Inventory is still on the stack. Since you don't have any in your graveyard at that point, your first Inventory will only cause you to draw one card, not two cards.

Q: My opponent controls a Palladium Myr, and I control Kaervek, the Spiteful. If I cast a second Kaervek, will my opponent's Myr die?

A: The Myr is going to die. After the second Kaervek enters the battlefield, we check state-based actions. We see that you control two legendary permanents with the same name, so one of those Kaerveks will need to die. But at the same time, since you control two Kaerveks, all other creatures are getting -2/-2. That drops the Myr's toughness down to zero, so at the same time one of the Kaerveks is going to die, each other creature with a base toughness of two will also be going to the graveyard due to having a toughness of 0 or less.

Q: I control a tapped Baneslayer Angel. My opponent targets it with Enthralling Hold. If I untap the Angel with Sudden Spinnerets in response, will it prevent my opponent from gaining control of my Angel?

A: Nope. In fact, you helped your opponent out by untapping the Angel. When announcing the Hold, you have to choose a tapped creature as the target. But that's the only point that the Hold cares if it's tapped or untapped - it's not a targeting requirement like "target tapped creature". Even if you untap the Angel in response to the Hold, that won't do anything to the Hold, and it will still resolve like normal and your opponent will gain control of the Angel.

Q: I cast Sublime Epiphany, with the "return target nonland permanent to its owner's hand" and "create a token that's a copy of target creature you control" modes, both targeting my Barrin, Tolarian Archmage. What happens when the Epiphany resolves? Will I get a copy of Barrin?

A: Yes, you'll get your copy. When a spell or ability goes to resolve, it checks to make sure that its targets are still legal. In this case, Barrin is still in play, so it's still a legal target for both modes. But we won't check for legal targets in the middle of the Epiphany resolving. So we start resolving the Epiphany, following the instructions in the order they're printed on the card. First, we return Barrin to its owner's hand. Then we go to make a copy of it. Since Barrin was a legal target when the Epiphany started resolving, the game will use the last-known information about the creature, and you'll get your copy of Barrin, even though the original was bounced earlier on while the Epiphany was resolving.

Awwww, my bestest buddy is just so happy
to see me. 13/10

Q: I control Elder Gargaroth. My opponent attacks me with a 4/4 and a 2/2. If I block the 4/4 with the Gargaroth, can I use the token I get from the Gargaroth's trigger to block the 2/2?

A: You'll get your token, but it can't block their 2/2. All blockers are declared at the same time, not one at a time. When you block with Gargaroth, its ability will trigger, but that trigger won't go on the stack until we're done declaring blockers. By the time you get your 3/3 token from the Gargaroth's trigger, we're passed the point of declaring blockers, so the 3/3 token won't be able to block that combat.

Q: I return an Archfiend's Vessel to the battlefield with Call of the Death-Dweller. In response to the Vessel's triggered ability, I sacrifice the Vessel to Witch's Oven. Do I still get my Demon token?

A: No you do not. In order to get the token, you must exile it from the battlefield when the triggered ability resolves. Since the Vessel is no longer on the battlefield (since you sacrificed it to the Oven), it can't be exiled and you won't get your Demon token.

Q: I have a Containment Priest in play. My opponent casts Flicker of Fate targeting the Priest. Will the Priest return to the battlefield, or will its own ability exile it?

A: Your Priest will return to the battlefield like normal. The Priest's ability is a replacement effect, and it only works as long as the Priest is on the battlefield. It won't ever apply to the Priest itself entering, even if it wasn't cast. So even though your Priest is entering the battlefield and it wasn't cast, since it's not on the battlefield, its own replacement effect will not apply to itself and it will not exile itself.

Q: If I tap my Chromatic Orrery for mana, then use that colorless mana as though it was green mana to cast Garenbrig Paladin, will it enter with a +1/+1 counter?

A: It will not enter with a counter. While the Orrery will let you spend mana as though it were mana of any color, it doesn't actually change the color of that mana to the chosen color. Since the mana is still actually colorless mana, it doesn't fulfill the Paladin's adamant requirement and it will not enter with a +1/+1 counter.

Q: I cast Emergent Ultimatum. Can I search for Ugin, the Spirit Dragon as one of my three cards?

A: No you cannot. You need to find three monocolored cads with the Ultimatum, and monocolored means "exactly one color". Ugin is colorless, which means it has zero colors. Since Ugin isn't a monocolored card, you cannot search for it with the Ultimatum.

Q: If I cast Arcane Adaptation, can I choose "Shrine" to help out my Sanctum of Fruitful Harvest?

A: You cannot. If you're asked to choose a creature type, you have to choose a creature type. "Shrine" is an enchantment type, not a creature type, so you cannot choose Shrine as your type when the Adaptation enters the battlefield.

Q: Leslie, Tom, and Ann are in a multiplayer game. Leslie casts Nine Lives, then uses Harmless Offering to give Tom control of Nine Lives. Later on in the game, Leslie loses the game. What happens?

A: Tom ends up losing the game. When Leslie loses the game, everything she owns leaves the game with her, which includes her Nine Lives. Since the Lives left the battlefield, and it was under the control of a player still in the game, that will cause the Lives's leave the battlefield ability to trigger. Since it was under Tom's control, and Tom is still in the game, that trigger will still go on the stack and will still resolve, so Tom will end up losing the game as well (leaving Ann as the victor).

That's it for this week. We'll see you all again next week!


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