Published on 02/15/2021

Puns N' Roses

Cranial Translation
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Welcome to the Jungle!
Greetings and welcome back to another issue of Cranial Insertion! Yesterday was Valentine's Day, a holiday that was invented by the retail industry to boost sales of flowers, candy, and greeting cards, I mean, a holiday that celebrates love. We love our audience, we love answering rules questions, and we love puns, so our Valentine's Day gift to you is answers to your questions, and puns! We'd give you roses, too, but we haven't figured out yet how to send roses through the internet.

As always, if you have rules questions for us, please email them to or tweet short questions to @CranialTweet. One of authors will respond to you, and your question might even appear in a future article to educate and entertain readers like yourself!

Q: A few turns ago I took over my opponent's Platinum Angel with In Bolas's Clutches, and I'm at 0 life now. Now my opponent tries to take back the Angel by enchanting my In Bolas's Clutches with their own In Bolas's Clutches. What happens?

A: Your opponent's In Bolas's Clutches resolves, and the Angel immediately goes over to them. Then, state-based actions are checked and there are two of them to perform: Your opponent has to choose which In Bolas's Clutches to keep for the legend rule, and you are a player at 0 life who has to lose the game. Both happen at the same time, so you lose the game regardless of which In Bolas's Clutches your opponent decides to keep.

Q: I control Jegantha, the Wellspring that's enchanted with Freed from the Real. I tap it for , use to untap it, and repeat many times to create a jeganthic, I mean gigantic, amount of white, black, red, and green mana. Can I use the black mana for a large Consume Spirit?

A: No, you can't do that. Even though there is a restriction on how the can be paid for, it is still a generic mana cost, so you'll have to find a different use for all that mana.

Q: Speaking of Jegantha, the Wellspring, pop quiz! Which of these cards can I include in my deck if Jegantha is my companion?

A: The choices are...

A: Fire // Ice
B: Depose // Deploy
C: Curious Pair
D: Birgi, God of Storytelling
E: Yes, there's a quiz question in this non-quiz article. Neat, huh?

The answer is
B, C, and D.

For split cards, Jegantha looks at the mana costs of both halves combined. Fire // Ice is not allowed because the symbol appears twice in this combined mana cost. Depose // Deploy has only distinct mana symbols because is distinct from both and .

Curious Pair is allowed because the adventure part does not exist while the card is in the library, so the mana symbol in its cost doesn't count. Similarly, for Birgi only the front face exists in the library, so the mana cost of the back face is not a problem.

Q: Let's say I activate Shelldock Isle's last ability while both my and my opponent's libraries have more than 20 cards in them, and then I respond with something that mills my opponent to fewer than 20 cards. Do I get to play the exiled card?

A: Yup. There is no restriction on when you can activate Shelldock Isle's last ability. The "if a library has twenty or fewer cards in it" condition is only checked when the ability resolves, so as long as it's true then, you get to play the exiled card.

Q: I cast some artifact spell and then I target that spell with Tibalt's Trickery. If my opponent Annuls my artifact spell, do I still get the effect from Tibalt's Trickery?

A: I'm afraid not. Annul resolves first and counters your artifact spell. When Tibalt's Trickery goes to resolve, it checks the legality of its target and finds that it can't find its target where it's supposed to be. Since its only target is now illegal, Tibalt's Trickery doesn't resolve and none of its effects happen.

Q: I control Toralf, God of Fury and a Rock, and the Rock is attached to a creature with deathtouch. If it throws the Rock to deal 2 damage to a 2/2, does that trigger Toralf's ability?

A: It does! Toralf's ability will trigger for 1 damage. As the Kaldheim release notes say, "Even 1 damage dealt to a creature from a source with deathtouch is considered lethal damage, so any amount greater than that will cause excess damage to be dealt", which means that Toralf's ability will trigger for 1 damage here. This is not obvious from the current version of the Comprehensive Rules, but the Magic rules manager has confirmed that this is the intended interaction and a future rules update will address this situation.

Q: I control a Sisay, Weatherlight Captain that's currently 3/3 and I activate her ability. Can I search for Valki, God of Lies and put it onto the battlefield as Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor?

A: No, that doesn't work. While effects that allow you to cast a modal double-faced card, such as cascade, allow you to cast either side, this does not apply to effects that put a card onto the battlefield. The rules say that a double-faced card that enters the battlefield from somewhere other than the stack enters front-face-up by default, and Sisay's ability does not override this default.

Use your Illusion
Q: I control an Illusionary Servant and my opponent targets it with Path to Exile. If I Negate Path to Exile, do I keep my Illusion?

A: Nope. Illusionary Servant already became the target of your opponent's spell, so its ability triggered and it's on the stack, waiting to resolve. Countering Path to Exile does not "untrigger" that ability, so your Illusion will still be sacrificed.

Q: Which of these triggers Hero of Bretagard's ability?

A: The choices are...

A: Sacrificing Evolving Wilds while you control Rest in Peace
B: Exiling an opponent's creature with Swords to Plowshares
C: Suspending Lotus Bloom
D: Discarding a card with madness
E: TWO quiz questions in a non-quiz article? That's madness!

The answer is
All of the above!

Rest in Peace replaces Evolving Wilds's trip to the graveyard with a trip to the exile zone, so you are in fact exiling a permanent from the battlefield. It doesn't matter who controls the permanent, only who does the exiling, so the Hero's ability also triggers when you Swords to Plowshares an opponent's creature.

Suspending a card involves exiling it from your hand, so that counts, too. Finally, madness replaces you discarding the card with discarding it into exile, so it goes from your hand into the exile zone and triggers the Hero's ability as well.

Q: I control Maelstrom Nexus and cast Fireball for X=4. The first card I reveal is Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded. Can I cast it or do I have to keep going?

A: You can cast it. Cascade looks at Fireball's converted mana cost, and for spells on the stack that have an X in their mana cost, the chosen value for X counts towards their converted mana cost. This means that your Fireball has a converted mana cost of five, and two is less than five.

Q: I cast Leveler, and in response to its enter-the-battlefield ability I use Magnetic Theft to attach Spy Kit to it. Then I let it exile my library, and finally I cast Arcane Savant. Can I copy one of the cards that I exiled with Leveler?

A: I really want to say yes because you put so much effort into this setup, but unfortunately the answer is no. Arcane Savant has a so-called "linked ability", and the second ability is linked to the first ability of cards that were named Arcane Savant before the game began, so Arcane Savant's ability can't access the cards that were exiled by Leveler.

Q: I control Mirage Mirror that's a copy of Synod Sanctum, and I use the first ability to exile a permanent. On a later turn, I copy Synod Sanctum again with Mirage Mirror. Can I return the card I exiled on a previous turn?

A: Nope. This, too, comes down to linked abilities. When Mirage Mirror becomes Synod Sanctum again, it acquires new versions of Synod Sanctum's abilities. The current version of the second ability is linked to the current version of the first ability, but the card was exiled by a previous version of the first ability, so the card is lost forever.

Q: There's a Treasure Cruise in my graveyard along with a bunch of other cards, and a Yixlid Jailer on the battlefield. Then I cast Underworld Breach. Can I use delve to pay part of Treasure Cruise's escape cost?

A: Yup. You start casting Treasure Cruise by moving it to the stack, so Yixlid Jailer stops applying to it. Treasure Cruise is now a spell with delve, and delve says that you can help pay its total cost by exiling cards from your graveyard.

Q: Can I cast Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger for and then Fling it in response to its sacrifice ability?

A: Absolutely! The "sacrifice me unless I escaped" ability is a regular enter-the-battlefield ability. It uses the stack and you can respond to it, for example by flinging it at your opponent's head.

Take me down to Paradise City
Where the mana is green
And the Elves are pretty
Q: Can Paradise Druid make snow mana?

A: Not without help. The Druid can make any color of mana, but "snow" is not a color of mana. "Snow mana" is short for "mana from a Snow permanent", and Paradise Druid is not usually a Snow permanent.

Q: What about Prismatic Omen? Does that allow my lands to make snow mana?

A: Nope. Prismatic Omen gives your lands the five basic land types, which are Plains, Island, Swamp, Mountain, and Forest. It does not add the supertype Snow that a land needs in order to make snow mana.

Q: My opponent casts Mythos of Snapdax. After I choose my permanents to keep, can I bounce one of my creatures to save it from being sacrificed, too?

A: No. The choices are made when Mythos of Snapdax resolves, and once it has started to resolve, players can't do anything except follow its instructions. You could always bounce one of your creatures in response to Mythos of Snapdax itself, but then you won't know which permanents your opponents will choose to keep when Mythos of Snapdax resolves.

Q: I control Tergrid, God of Fright and I cast Death Cloud. Do I get the lands that my opponent sacrifices?

A: Only if you don't sacrifice Tergid when you sacrifice creatures to Death Cloud. The four parts of Death Cloud happen one after the other, and lands gets sacrificed after creatures, so if you sacrifice Tergrid, it won't be around to trigger for any lands that get sacrified. However, note that if you do sacrifice Tergrid, it will at least trigger for any discarded cards and for any creatures that are sacrificed at the same time as it.

Q: In a multiplayer game, a player casts Kardur, Doomscourge and then loses the game. Does Kardur's effect last indefinitely?

A: Nope. The effect continues to last until that player's next turn would have started, and then the effect ends.

And that's all the time we have for today. Thanks for reading and please come back next week for more Magic 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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