Published on 04/05/2021

April Showers

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I think I just got some rain in my eye!
Hiya everyone, and welcome back to Cranial Insertion! We're getting into April now, which means that the weather's starting to warm up and we're (hopefully) done with snow until the end of fall, and now we're getting into the rainy season. Rain is definitely better than snow, and I don't think you need me to tell you that. And while I won't singing in the rain, I'll happily watch the rain outside my window, while I sit here and answer your rules questions.

If you have a question you'd like answered, you can send it in to us. We may even use your question in a future article.If you have a short question, you can send it to us via our Twitter account at @CranialTweet, and longer questions can be e-mailed to us at .

Q: If I cast two Kardur, Doomscourge during the same turn, will my opponents have to attack each other for the next two turns or just one turn?

A: Multiple Kardurs aren't very useful here. Kardur's effect will last until your next turn starts. It's not like skipping a step or phase (for example, if multiple Stonehorn Dignitarys enters the battlefield on the same turn). Having two Kardurs enter the battlefield on the same turn works about the same as having one Kardur entering the battlefield - your opponents would have to attack until your next turn, not two turns from now.

Q: My opponent controls Tergrid's Lantern. If I play Runed Halo, can I name "Tergrid's Lantern" and protect myself from the Lantern?

A: Yes to both. If you're asked to choose a card name, you can choose either face of a double-faced card, so you're able to name the Lantern. And since the Lantern's ability targets a player, having protection from Tergrid's Lantern means that your opponent can't target you with the Lantern's ability, so you're safe from its activated ability.

Q: I control a Reflections of Littjara, naming "Beast". If I cast Auspicious Starrix for its mutate cost, do I get a copy of the Starrix?

A: Yep, you get a copy of the Starrix spell. If you're casting a spell via mutate, you're still casting a creature spell. It's only when it resolves that it merges with the creature on the battlefield. The Starrix is a spell with the creature type "Beast", so the Reflections will copy the Starrix spell. The copy is also cast via mutate, but since nothing on the Reflections lets you change the target of the copy, it will be targeting the same creature that the original Starrix is targeting. The copy resolves first, and you'll mutate it with the creature, and you'll get the Starrix trigger. Then you'll do it again when the original Starrix resolves and mutates with that creature again (although you get two Starrix triggers instead of one).

Q: Can I cast Claim the Firstborn targeting my own Dreamstalker Manticore, just so I can play it and attack with it on the same turn?

A: Sure, you can do that. Claim the Firstborn can target anyone's creatures, including a creature you already control. The first part of the effect won't really have a noticeable effect, since you already control the Manticore, but Claim the Firstborn will still give it haste. So you can Claim your own creature if you want to give it haste for the turn.

Q: If I control Daxos, Blessed by the Sun, can I play Tyrite Sanctum and immediately activate its last ability to make Daxos indestructible?

A: No, you need to activate the other activated ability first. The last ability targets a God, but Daxos is a Demigod, not a God. You'll have to make Daxos into a God first before you can make him immortal by giving him the indestructible counter with the Sanctum's ability.

Q: I have five cards in hand. My opponent casts Skull Raid, and I choose to discard a Forest and a Loxodon Smiter. Will my Smiter end up on the battlefield or in my graveyard?

A: The Smiter ends up on the battlefield. While the choice of what cards to discard is made by you, the reason why you're discarding in the first place is because of your opponent's Skull Raid. They control the spell that's making you discard, so the Smiter's replacement effect will apply and the Smiter will end up on the battlefield instead of in your graveyard.

Q: I have the emblem from Kaya the Inexorable but no legendary permanents on the battlefield. Will the emblem still let me cast a legendary sorcery from exile like Karn's Temporal Sundering?

A: It will not. While the emblem will let you cast the legendary sorcery, you still need to obey other restrictions built into the card. In order to cast a legendary sorcery, you need to control a legendary creature or planeswalker. Even if Kaya's emblem gives you permission to cast the Sundering from exile, without a legendary creature or planeswalker under your control, you're still unable to cast your legendary sorcery.

It's raining numbers, just like in the Matrix!

Q: I stole my opponent's God-Eternal Oketra with an Act of Treason, and then I sacrificed Oketra. Who gets to choose if Oketra is put into its owner's library, me or my opponent?

A: You get to choose. You controlled Oketra when it died, so that means you control its dies trigger. Even though it ends up in your opponent's graveyard, you will get to make the choice if Oketra stays in your opponent's graveyard or if you'd rather put it back into your opponent's library.

Q: My opponent controls a Phantasmal Image that's a copy of Garruk's Gorehorn. If I target the Image Gorehorn with Olivia Voldaren's first ability, will Olivia get a +1/+1 counter?

A: She will not get a counter. Since the Image was targeted by a spell or ability, the Image's ability will trigger and the Image Gorehorn will be sacrificed. Later, when Olivia's ability goes to resolve, it sees that its only target is no longer legal (since the Image Gorehorn is no longer on the battlefield), so the entire ability does nothing. That includes the parts of the ability that don't target, so Olivia will not get a +1/+1 counter.

Q: If I suspend Chronomantic Escape, when I cast it when the last time counter is removed, do I get to suspend it again?

A: Yep, you do. The Escape doesn't care where you cast it from, when it resolves, part of resolving it involves exiling it with three more time counters. As long as it doesn't get countered, you'll effectively be able to cast the Escape every three turns for the rest of the game.

Q: Can I use the ability of Ion Storm to remove lore counters from a saga like Battle of Frost and Fire so I can repeat the chapter 1 ability every turn?

A: You cannot. Ion Storm can only remove +1/+1 or charge counters to activate its ability. Any other type of counter, like a lore counter, is off limits for its ability. Since Battle of Frost and Fire doesn't use +1/+1 or charge counters, you can't remove its counter to activate the Storm's ability (something like Power Conduit would work, however, since the Conduit can remove any type of counter).

Q: I cast Duplicant, exiling my opponent's Maro when my opponent has four cards in their hand. Is my Duplicant a 4/4, or does its power and toughness change based on the number of cards in my opponent's hand?

A: Duplicant's power and toughness will be in flux. Maro has a characteristic-defining ability - its ability works in every zone, including exile. As the number of cards in Maro's owner's hand changes, so does the power and toughness of Maro change. And Duplicant is constantly checking the power and toughness of the card it exiled, so Duplicant's power and toughness will also change as cards enter or leave your opponent's hand. But beware - if your opponent ever gets down to zero cards in hand, then your Duplicant will become a 0/0 and will die.

Q: If I cast Primal Surge and exile a Turntimber Symbiosis, can I put it onto the battlefield as Turntimber, Serpentine Wood? Can I keep exiling cards to the Surge?

A: No and no. Primal Surge looks at the card it just exiled and lets you put it onto the battlefield if it's a permanent card. You're not playing or casting the card, so the Surge only looks at the front face of the modal double-faced card, and the front face is a sorcery, not a permanent card. You won't be able to put it onto the battlefield. And since you didn't put a card onto the battlefield, you don't get to repeat the Surge's process and you don't get to keep exiling cards. So let it be known - putting Turntimber Symbiosis in your all permanent Primal Surge deck is a bad idea.

It's come to me that I forgot my umbrella.

Q: My opponent controls an Isochron Scepter with a Lightning Bolt imprinted on it. If I cast Meddling Mage and name "Lightning Bolt", will that stop my opponent from casting copies of the Bolt via the Scepter's ability?

A: Yes it will! It used to be that the Mage would only stop cards with the chosen name from being cast, and the copy made by the Scepter wasn't a copy and wouldn't be stopped by the Mage's ability. But last year, Meddling Mage's text was updated to say "Spells with the chosen name can't be cast". It doesn't refer to cards anymore. That means that a Meddling Mage will stop your opponent from casting copies of the named spell via the Scepter's ability, thus shutting down your opponent's Scepter until they can remove the Mage.

Q: I control Thalia, Guardian of Thraben. I want to cast Infernal Plunge, sacrificing Thalia. How much do I need to pay to cast the Plunge?

A: You're paying . When we're casting a spell, we lock in the cost to cast the spell before we start paying for the spell. So when we're figuring out the cost to cast the Plunge, Thalia is still on the battlefield, and will make you pay an additional 1 to cast the Plunge. It doesn't matter that you intend on sacrificing Thalia when you're paying costs, she's still on the battlefield when you're figuring out the cost, so your spell is taxed.

Q: I control Muldrotha, the Gravetide with a Ghoultree in my graveyard. If I want to cast Ghoultree from my graveyard, will it count for its own cost reduction?

A: It does not. When we cast a spell, the first thing we do is move that spell from where we're casting it from to the stack. Later on during announcement, we figure out the cost to cast the spell, and that's when Ghoultree looks at the number of creature cards in your graveyard. Ghoultree isn't in the graveyard at that point though, so it won't help out its own cost reduction effect.

Q: I control a Treasure Nabber. If my opponent acivates Urza, Lord High Artificer and taps their Construct token, will I gain control of the Construct token?

A: Nope, you won't gain control of it. The opponent is activating the ability of Urza (who is not an artifact), and whose cost involves tapping an artifact they control. They're not tapping the artifact for mana, because to "tap an artifact for mana" involves activating a mana ability of that permanent that uses the tap symbol. Treasure Nabber won't let you steal an artifact that the opponent taps to activate Urza's ability.

Q: If I have two Sphinx of the Second Suns in play, will I get two extra beginning phases?

A: Yep, you'll get multiple bonus beginning phases. When your postcombat main phase begins, both Sphinx's abilities will trigger, and each trigger will give you an extra beginning phase once the current main phase is finished. Once you're done with your postcombat main phase, you'll move into your first extra beginning phase. Once that beginning phase is over, you'll get a second extra beginning phase, and then once that second extra beginning phase is over, you'll finally move to your end step.

Q: One of my opponents cast Rootweaver Druid, and I choose to search for the lands and put one under their control. Later on, that opponent loses game. What happens to the land I gave them?

A: The land ends up exiled. The land entered the battlefield under your opponent's control, and when they left the game, we try to figure out what happens to the land you gave them. There's no change of control effect here, since it was put onto the battlefield under the opponent's control, so in the end, the land you gave the opponent ends up in exile, not under your control.

Q: Matt, Foggy, and Karen are playing in a game of Magic. Matt and Foggy both control Tergrid, God of Fright. If Karen activates Port of Karfell's ability, who gets the Port, Matt or Foggy?

A: It depends on whose turn it is. When we have multiple triggers that need to go on the stack, the active player will put any triggers they control on the stack in the order they choose, then we go in turn order, putting triggers on the stack. The last trigger put on the stack will be the first trigger to resolve, so that trigger would control who gets the Port when it's sacrificed.

Assuming the turn order is Matt -> Foggy -> Karen, if Karen sacrifices the Port on her turn, she doesn't have a trigger to put on the stack, but Matt is the next player in the turn order, so Matt's Tergrid trigger goes on the stack, then Foggy's Tergrid trigger goes on the stack, and Foggy's trigger will resolve first, giving Foggy control of the Port. If the Port is sacrificed on Matt's turn, the answer is the same - Matt's trigger goes on the stack first, then Foggy's trigger, and Foggy once again gets the Port. But if Karen sacrifices the Port on Foggy's turn, Foggy's trigger would go on the stack first, followed by Matt's trigger, and Matt would end up with the Port in play.

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


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