Published on 07/20/2020

Dogs and Cats, and Dinosaurs, Oh My!

Cranial Translation
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Who let the dogs out?
Greetings and welcome to another issue of Cranial Insertion! Jumpstart has just been released, and it looks like a ton of fun. Despite being an expert in the rules, I am not great at deckbuilding, so the idea of just shuffling up two boosters and playing with the resulting pile is really appealing to me. Additionally, the set contains some innovative new cards that are sure to lead to some interesting rules questions, so there's plenty of fun in store for us.

As always, if you have questions for us, whether about Jumpstart or anything else, you can email them to or tweet short questions to @CranialTweet. One of our writers will respond to you with an answer, and your question might show up in a future article.

And now, let's take a look at the burning questions that Jumpstart is generating. Will cats live in harmony with dogs? Can pirates work together with dinosaurs? We're not sure about the answers to those questions, so let's move on to some rules questions!

Q: Is Jumpstart legal in Standard?

A: Not as a whole, no. Jumpstart is not a core set or expansion set, so it does not enter into the Standard rotation. However, there are some cards you can find in a Jumpstart booster that are legal in Standard. Basically, there are three different categories of cards in a Jumpstart booster. First, there are cards that are unique to Jumpstart that have never been printed before; those cards are only legal in Legacy, Vintage, and Commander. Second, there are reprints of previously released cards; those cards are legal in whichever formats they were legal already, and some of them are currently legal in Standard, for example if they come from Ikoria. Lastly, there are cards from Core Set 2021 with the M21 expansion symbol on them, and all of those are of course legal in Standard.

Q: If I sacrifice Kels, Fight Fixer herself, does she trigger her own ability?

A: Yup! Triggered abilities that trigger on sacrificing a creature are a special case of leave-the-battlefield triggers, and such triggers look back in time, so they trigger based on the game state before the trigger event. Before the event, Kels was on the battlefield, so her ability triggers.

Q: What's the difference between the "can't attack" effect on Forced Worship and giving a creature defender with Sky Tether?

A: As far as the creature itself is concerned, there is no noticeable difference between the two. In either case, the creature finds itself unable to attack. However, there may be other cards that can interact with those effects, and they might notice a difference. For example, Overgrown Battlement counts how many creatures have defender, so it'll count a creature that's enchanted with Sky Tether, but not one enchanted with Forced Worship. Also, since Sky Tether gives the creature an ability while Forced Worship imposes an attack restriction without giving it an ability, the two behave differently with regards to ability-removing effects. Removing all abilities from a creature that's enchanted with Sky Tether will allow it to attack, whereas a creature that's enchanted with Forced Worship still can't attack.

Q: Can Flametongue Kavu shoot Teferi, Master of Time?

A: Nope. Flametongue Kavu's enter-the-battlefield can only target a creature, and Teferi is a planeswalker, not a creature.

Q: When Inniaz, the Gale Force's triggered ability resolves, can I just have it pass one permanent around the table to basically do nothing?

A: No, that doesn't work. Inniaz's ability creates one batch of control-changing effects simultaneously. When it resolves, you choose one permanent from each player, and then each of the chosen permanents goes one seat to the left.

Q: Can Inniaz, the Gale Force's ability change control of a permanent with hexproof?

A: Absolutely. The permanents that change controllers with Inniaz's ability aren't targets; they are simply chosen during resolution of the ability. Since they are not being targeted, abilities like hexproof or protection don't stop a permanent from being chosen.

Q: I use Inniaz, the Gale Force's ability to take my opponent's Mind Stone. Can she sacrifice it in response?

A: Yes and no. Inniaz's ability uses the stack and can be responded to, so your opponent could sacrifice her Mind Stone in response to the ability. However, as we've already established, you don't choose which permanents to pass around until the ability resolves, so your opponent doesn't actually know whether you'll take her Mind Stone at the time she responds by sacrificing it. If you announce the choice before the ability resolves, you get to choose something different if your opponent sacrifices it in response.

Big kitty, sharp kitty,
Angry ball of fur...
Q: Let's say player A uses Act of Treason to take a creature from player C, and the uses Inniaz, the Gale Force's ability to give that creature to player B. Does Act of Treason give the creature back to player C at the end of the turn?

A: No. Act of Treason doesn't actively do anything to "give back" the creature at the end of the turn. Its control-changing effect simply ends, and then the creature goes to whoever controls it in the absence of that effect. Normally this means that the creature goes back to its default controller, but in this case, there's still the effect from Inniaz's ability that lasts indefinitely. It gives control to player B, so player B contiues to control the creature.

Q: If I control Bruvac the Grandiloquent and copy it with Spark Double, does that triple or quadruple the number of cards my opponents have to mill?

A: It quadruples the number of cards! Each effect gets to apply, and each effect doubles the number of cards milled, for a grand total of four times the original number.

Q: If I control Bruvac the Grandiloquent and activate Grindstone on my opponent, what happens?

A: Grindstone tells your opponent to mill two cards, which gets changed into "mill four cards" by Bruvac's ability. Then, Grindstone checks to see if two of those four milled cards share a color, and if they do, they continue to mill four cards, and so on. The process continues until none of the four cards share a color or until your opponent runs out of cards to mill.

Q: How does Bruvac the Grandiloquent's ability interact with Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker's ability?

A: It doesn't. Bruvac's ability only interacts with effects that use the word "mill" in their Oracle text. Mirko Vosk's ability causes a player to put cards from their library into their graveyard, but it doesn't use the word "mill" even in its most recent Oracle text, so Bruvac isn't interested in it.

Q: If I activate Ghoulcaller Gisa's ability and my opponent Unsubstantiates it in response, do I still get the Zombie tokens?

A: Yup. Once Gisa's ability has been activated, it's on the stack as an ability that's independent from its source. Removing the source of an ability doesn't stop the ability from resolving, so you'll still get your Zombies.

Q: Can I sacrifice Gingerbrute to return Cauldron Familiar from the graveyard?

A: Absolutely. The activation cost is to sacrifice a Food, and Gingerbrute is a Food, among other things. There is no reason why the Food you sacrifice can't also be a creature.

Q: If I cast two Hunter's Insight on one creature and it deals combat damage to my opponent, do I get to draw twice the number of cards?

A: Yup! Each resolving Hunter's Insight sets up a delayed triggered ability that triggers when the creature deals combat damage to a player or planeswalker this turn. When the creature deals combat damage to your opponent, both of those delayed triggered abilities trigger, and each of them tells you to draw cards.

He works with a skeleton crew,
and his favorite tool is a skeleton key.
Q: I control Tinybones, Trinket Thief and three of my opponents discarded cards during the turn. Do I draw three cards at the end of the turn?

A: No, just one. Tinybones has a triggered ability that triggers (at most) once at the beginning of each end step, and it triggers conditionally on the condition that an opponent discarded a card this turn. As long as at least one of your opponents discarded a card, that condition is true, and more than one opponent discarding cards doesn't make the condition any more true. The ability triggers once, resolves once, and you draw one card and lose 1 life.

Q: Can I activate Tinybones, Trinket Thief's ability after the discard part of Dark Deal to make my opponents lose 10 life?

A: Nice try, but that doesn't work. While a spell or ability is resolving, players can't do anything except follow the instructions of that spell or ability. While Dark Deal is resolving, you don't get the chance to activate Tinybones' ability between the discard part and the draw part.

Q: I control Branching Evolution and cast Invigorating Surge on a creature that doesn't have any +1/+1 counters on it yet. What happens?

A: Invigorating Surge starts by telling you to put one +1/+1 counter on the creature, which Branching Evolution doubles to two counters. Then, Invigorating Surge tells you to double the number of +1/+1 counters on that creature, which means to put on as many counters as there are on it at the moment. As you put two more +1/+1 counters on it, Branching Evolution doubles that number, so you actually put four +1/+1 counters on the creature, for a grand total of six +1/+1 counters.

Q: I control Dragonspeaker Shaman and tap three lands to cast Lightning Shrieker. In response, my opponent Shocks the Shaman to death so I can't afford to cast Lightning Shrieker now. What happens?

A: Fortunately for you, you already did cast Lightning Shrieker. At the time your opponent responded with Shock, Lightning Shrieker was already on the stack, waiting to resolve. The fact that Lightning Shrieker would now cost more to cast doesn't affect the Lightning Shrieker you already cast, so it still resolves normally.

Q: I have Neyith of the Dire Hunt on the battlefield and I use Golden Guardian to fight one of my own creatures. How many cards do I draw with Neyith's ability?

A: Just one. Neyith's ability triggers whenever one or more creatures you control fight or become blocked. Two creatures you control are fighting at the same time, so this triggers Neyith's ability once.

Q: I play Thriving Moor while Blood Sun is on the battlefield, so I don't get to choose a color for it. Can it still make black mana?

A: Yup. It still has its mana ability, so you can activate it. When the mana ability resolves, you get to choose between making one mana of the chosen color or , but making mana of the chosen color is impossible because there is no chosen color, so you have to settle for making .

And that's all the time we have for now. Thanks for reading, and please join us next week for more rules questions and answers!

- 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.


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