Published on 07/27/2020

Just Milling Around

Cranial Translation
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Where it all began.

Hi everyone, and welcome back to Cranial Insertion! If you just want to join us over there. We're not really up to much, just hanging around and just not up to much. We figured that was the easiest way to celebrate "mill" becoming a keyword action in Core Set 2021 (and a little less painful than our backup plan of putting our noses to the Grindstone). So feel free to just hang and wait while we go through this week's article.

But if you're sick of just standing around and want to talk about things, how about sending us your Magic rules questions? We might even use your question in a future article. You can us send us short questions via Twitter at @CranialTweet, and you can send us long questions at .

Q: I cast Mind Rot, making my opponent discard two cards. Then I cast Tinybones, Trinket Thief. At the end of turn, will Tinybones's ability trigger and let me draw a card?

A: Yep, you'll get your trigger. Tinybones doesn't need to be on the battlefield when the opponent discards in order to trigger at the end of turn. As long as Tinybones is on the battlefield when your end step begins, Tinybones will know about the cards that your opponent discarded to Mind Rot, and Tinybones's ability will trigger to let you draw a card.

Q: My opponent controls Tamiyo, Collector of Tales and a fist full of cards. I cast Liliana, Waker of the Dead and activate the +1 ability. What happens?

A: You and your opponent discard a card. You're able to discard a card like normal, but Tamiyo means your opponent doesn't discard. Then Liliana checks to see if your opponent discarded a card. Because of Tamiyo, your opponent didn't discard a card, so your opponent loses 3 life. Liliana doesn't care why they didn't discard a card, just that they didn't discard a card. Tamiyo protects them from discarding to Liliana's ability, but that means they will lose 3 life since they didn't discard.

Q: I attack with a Gloom Sower. My opponent blocks it with a Forgotten Sentinel and a Llanowar Visionary. How many times does the Sower's ability trigger?

A: You get two triggers. The Sower's ability triggers each time it becomes blocked by a creature. Your opponent blocked the Sower with two creatures (the Sentinel and the Visionary), meaning that the Sower's ability will trigger two times and your opponent will lose a total of four life and you'll gain four life.

Q: Will a Runed Halo naming "Massacre Wurm" prevent me from losing life to the Wurm's triggered ability?

A: It does not. The Wurm's triggered ability does not damage, attach to, block, or target anything - it causes you to lose 2 life whenever a creature you control dies. A loss of life isn't damage, so you'll still lose life like normal to the Wurm's triggered ability.

Q: I control an Idol of Endurance, which has exiled an Alpine Watchdog. Can I activate the Idol's ability on my opponent's turn and flash in the Watchdog as a surprise blocker?

A: The Idol just gives you permission to cast it from exile without paying its mana cost. It doesn't change when you can cast the spell. While you're free to activate the Idol's ability on an opponent's turn, unless you choose a creature with flash, you won't be able to cast the selected creature on the opponent's turn. Alpine Watchdog doesn't have flash, you won't be able to cast it on your opponent's turn with the Idol's ability.

Q: I tap my Chromatic Orrery for mana, then use that mana to cast Mythos of Snapdax, treating the mana as white, black, and red mana. Do I get the bonus effect from the Mythos?

A: You do not. While you can treat the mana as though it were another color, the Orrery doesn't actually change the color of the mana. The colorless mana doesn't actually become colored, so even though you can treat the mana as though it were white, black, and red mana, it doesn't actually become white, black and red mana. Since you only used colorless mana to cast the Mythos, you don't get the bonus effect.

The card every mill player wants
in their opening hand.

Q: I control Teshar, Ancestor's Apostle. I cast Sparkhunter Masticore, discarding a Trained Armodon. Can I return the Armodon to the battlefield with Teshar's trigger?

A: Yep, you can. The Armodon is discarded as part of the cost of casting the Masticore. When the Masticore becomes cast and Teshar's trigger is being put on the stack, the Armodon is in the graveyard, and it's a legal target to return to the battlefield with Teshar's triggered ability.

Q: I control five creatures, one of which is Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose. Then I cast Kaya's Wrath. Will Vito trigger from the five life I gain?

A: Nope, Vito won't trigger. When you're resolving the Wrath, you follow the instructions in the order they're printed on the card. So first, we destroy all creatures, including Vito. Then you gain five life since you controlled five creatures that were destroyed by the Wrath. But Vito isn't on the battlefield when we gain the five life, so Vito won't trigger and your opponent won't lose any life.

Q: I cast Mastermind's Acquisition, choosing to get a card from outside the game. Can I choose to get a card that's in exile?

A: Nope, you can't. Many, many years ago, cards would be "removed from the game", which was considered to be outside of the game and Burning Wish-type effects could get them. But now, we don't remove cards from the game - we exile them. And exile is an in-game zone. Since exile is within the game, you can't use the Acquisition to get a card that was exiled earlier in the game.

Q: If I cast Mwonvuli Beast Tracker, can I search for a card with hexproof from black like Garruk's Harbinger?

A: Yes you can. Hexproof from black is a variant on hexproof, and anything that cares about hexproof will also care about hexproof variants like hexproof from black. You'll be able to search for the Harbinger with the Tracker's triggered ability.

Q: I control a Glistener Elf with a Grafted Wargear attached to it. My opponent uses their Oko, Thief of Crowns +1 ability to make my Wargrear into an Elk. Will I have to sacrifice my Elf as well?

A: Nope, you get to keep your Elf. Oko makes the Wargear into a 3/3 Elk with no abilities. Since it's now a creature, the Wargear will unattach from the Elf. But the Wargear has no abilities, which means it doesn't have the unattach trigger, and the Elf will not be sacrificed.

Q: I have a 3/3 equipped with a Skullclamp. My opponent targets my 3/3 with Blastfire Bolt. Will I draw two cards from my 3/3 dying?

A: Nope, you don't get a Skullclamp trigger. The Bolt deals 5 damage to the 3/3, then we destroy the Skullclamp that's attached to it. Once the Bolt is done resolving, we check state-based actions, and the 3/3 has lethal damage marked on it and dies. But since Skullclamp was destroyed before the 3/3 died, Skullclamp isn't around to trigger and you won't draw any cards from the 3/3 dying.

Q: I cast Gemrazer via mutate, but my opponent counters it with Desertion. What happens?

A: Their Desertion counters your Gemrazer. Even if you cast it via mutate, Gemrazer is still a creature spell, so instead of going to your graveyard, your opponent will put Gemrazer onto the battlefield under their control. And even though you cast it for its mutate cost, it's being put onto the battlefield under their contorl, so it's going to enter as a normal creature, not mutated with another creature.

Double the milling, double the fun!

Q: I have a Golgari Grave-Troll in my graveyard and exactly six cards in my library. My opponent controls Bruvac the Grandiloquent. Can I still dredge back my Grave-Troll?

A: Yep, you can. In order to use dredge, you need to have at least X cards in your library. It doesn't matter if some other effect will increase the number of cards milled, you just need at least X cards in your library to dredge. Even though Bruvac's ability would to cause you to mill twelve cards instead of six, because you have at least six cards in your library, you'll be able to dredge the Grave-Troll back to your hand (and you will also not lose the game, because even though you're instructed to mill twelve cards instead of six, you're not drawing a card, so you don't lose the game).

Q: I attack with Zur the Enchanter. Can I search for Nine Lives and put it on the battlefield under an opponent's control?

A: No you may not. While you can search for Nine Lives with the trigger, since Zur doesn't say that you can have the enchantment enter the battlefield under another player's control, it enters the battlefield under your control. Nine Lives will enter the battlefield under your control, and you'll need some other effect to give it to an opponent (Harmless Offering seems thematically appropriate).

Q: I control Arixmethes, Slumbering Isle and a Nesting Grounds. If I move a slumber counter from Arixmethes to an opponent's creature, what happens to my opponent's creature?

A: Nothing special. A slumber counter, like most counters, has no innate abilities. Having a slumber counter on a creature doesn't make it into a land. Arixmethes just has an ability that makes itself into a land as long as it has a slumber counter on it. While you can use the Grounds to move the slumber counter from Arixmethes to another creature, nothing really happens to that other creature and it won't turn the other creature into a land.

Q: I cast Show and Tell, intending to put Urabrask the Hidden onto the battlefield. But, as it turns out, my opponent is planning on putting their own Urabrask the Hidden onto the battlefield as well. Do they cause each other to enter the battlefield tapped?

A: Nope, they both enter the battlefield untapped. In order for Urabrask's to function, it must be on the battlefield when the opponent's creature would enter the battlefield. If Urabrask is entering the battlefield at the same time as an opponent's creature is entering, since Urbrask isn't on the battlefield yet, the opponent's creatures will enter untapped. In this case, since neither Urabrask is on the battlefield yet when the other Urbrask would enter, they don't apply to each other and they both enter the battlefield untapped.

Q: Can I activate Phyrexian Colossus's ability to untap itself even if it's already untapped?

A: Sure, you can do that, if you're just looking to lose a little life. There's no requirement that the Colossus has to be tapped in order to activate its ability, so if you really want to lose 8 life, you're free to activate its ability. The only requirement is that you have to have at least 8 life to activate the ability, so you can't activate it if you're at 7 or less life, but otherwise, you can activate the ability even if the Colossus is already untapped.

Q: My opponent controls Kaervek, the Spiteful. If I cast Benevolent Offering, will the spirit tokens I get from the first part of the Offering resolving count for the second part of the Offering?

A: They do! State-based actions are not checked in the middle of the Offering resolving - we have to completely finish resolving the spell before we check them. When the first part of the Offering resolves, you and the chosen opponent each creature three 1/1 spirit tokens. Because of Kaervek, they'll be 0/0s, but that's not relevant quite yet. Then we resolve the second part of the Offering, and you and the chosen opponent gain 2 life based on the number of creatures you each control. Those 0/0 spirits haven't died yet, so they'll still count for the Offering's effect. Then we finally finish resolving the Offering, and the tokens created by the Offering will finally die since we can check state-based actions.

Q: I'm in a Conspiracy draft, and I drafted Agent of Acquisitions and I decided to use its ability to draft the last 8 cards from this pack. But one of my opponents has a Canal Dredger drafted face up. How do we determine which card I drafted last to give to other drafter?

A: Even though you're drafting the last eight cards of that pack, you still get to choose the order those cards are drafted in (for effects that care about the order they're drafted in). You're choosing the order you're drafting those eight cards, so you'll ultimately get to choose which of those cards is the last one you draft from that pack and which card you're passing to the player with the Dredger.

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


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