Published on 01/31/2022

Crab Rave!

Cranial Translation
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Claws up!

Hiya everyone, and welcome back to Cranial Insertion! It's the end of January, and we all know what that means - dance party time! C'mon, I'm sure you're sick of the winter blues by now, so what do you have to lose? Put your claws in the air, put on some music, and let's answer some rules questions!

And during the downtime between songs, feel free to send us your rules questions. we may ever use one of your questions in a future article! If you have a short question, you can Tweet it to us at @CranialTweet, and you can send us longer questions to our e-mail at .

Q: I cast Mulch, and one of the cards I reveal is Khalni Ambush. Can I put it into my hand since the back face is Khalni Territory?

A: No you cannot. Unless you are trying to play or cast the card, only the front face exists. We ignore whatever is on the back face of the double-faced card. If the front face was a land, then you could put it into your hand, but since the front face is a sorcery, you can't put the Ambush into your hand with Mulch.

Q: I control a Luminous Phantom. I play Kaya the Inexorable and activate the +1 targeting the Phantom. I'm forced to block with the Phantom, and it goes to exile. Will Lunarch Veteran return to my hand?

A: Yep, it'll come back to your hand. Kaya's +1 cares if the creature dies or is exiled. Because of the Phantom's replacement effect, instead of going to the graveyard, it ends up in exile. Since the Phantom was exiled, Kaya's ability will trigger and you'll return the Veteran to your hand.

Q: I control a Guardian Project. I cast Ugin's Conjurant with X=0. Will I end up drawing a card from the Project trigger?

A: Surprisingly, the answer is no! When the Conjurant enters the battlefield, you don't control another creature with the same name and you don't have a creature card with that name in your graveyard, so the Project will trigger. Then the Conjurant dies since it's a 0/0 creature. When the Project's trigger goes to resolve, it checks its condition again. You still don't have another Ugin's Conjurant in play, but you do have one in your graveyard (the Conjurant that recently died). Since there's an Ugin's Conjurant in your graveyard, the trigger condition is no longer true, so the Project's trigger does nothing and you do not draw a card.

Q: I control Defiant Bloodlord and my opponent controls nine creatures. If I cast Fumigate, will the Bloodlord trigger and cause my opponent to lose 10 life?

A: The Bloodlord won't even trigger here. When we resole Fumigate, we follow the instructions in the order they're printed on the card. First, we destroy all creatures (including the Bloodlord). Then you gain life equal to the number of creatures that were destroyed. But since the Bloodlord isn't in play when you're gaining the life, the Bloodlord won't trigger at all.

Q: I control Donal, Herald of Wings and an Archetype of Imagination. Does that mean that Donal can trigger off of all of my nonlegenday creature spells?

A: Nope, the Archetype doesn't help Donal at all. The Archetype only gives creatures you control that are on the battlefield flying - it won't give flying to your creature spells on the stack. Since Donal triggers when you cast the spell, it needs to have flying on the stack, so the Archetype won't cause Donal to trigger off of additional creatures.

Q: I control Laelia, the Blade Reforged. If I cast Abandon the Post for its flashback cost, will Laelia trigger after it resolves and is exiled?

A: Nope, Laelia will not trigger. Laelia will only trigger if the card is exiled from your library or graveyard. While the Post will ultimately make it to exile, it's not going to exile from the graveyard or library - it's going to be exiled from the stack. Since it's exiled from the stack, Laelia will not trigger off of the flashbacked Post.

Q: I control It That Betrays, while my opponent controls a Blightsteel Colossus. If I make my opponent sacrifice their Colossus, will I end up stealing it with It That Betrays?

A: You won't get the Colossus. The Colossus has a replacement effect, so it's shuffled into the library instead of going to the graveyard. And It That Betrays can only track the permanent if it ended up in a public zone. Their library is a hidden zone, so the Betrays cannot track it to the library, and you won't put their Colossus onto the battlefield with your Betrays trigger.

Enchant this with Utopia Vow and
dance the night away!

Q: If I give a colorless creature (like a creature with devoid) intimidate, what can block it?

A: Only artifact creatures. A creature with intimidate can only be blocked by creatures that share a color with it or by an artifact creature. Since the Hulk is colorless, no creature can share a color with it (not even other colorless creatures), so it can only be blocked by an artifact creature.

Q: Could my opponent block the Birthing Hulk with intimidate with a colored artifact creature, like Arcbound Tracker?

A: Yep the can. Since the Tracker is an artifact creature, it can block an attacking creature with intimidate. Having a color isn't relevant here - being an artifact is what matters, so the Tracker could block the Birthing Hulk with intimidate.

Q: My devotion to red and green is exactly seven, so my Xenagos, God of Revels is a creature. I activate the -3 ability of Garruk, Primal Hunter, removing the last three loyalty counters from Garruk and Garrul dies. Will Xenagos still count for Garruk's ability?

A: He will not. Garruk's ability will check the power among your creatures when the ability resolves. But because Garruk is no longer contributing its devotion, your Xenagos is no longer a creature. Hopefully, you control another creature, because Xenagos won't count for Garruk's ability when it resolves.

Q: When I play Grinding Station, will its untap ability trigger when it enters the battlefield?

A: Yep, it will. The Station will see itself entering the battlefield, so its untap ability will trigger. If you have a spare artifact to throw away, you'll be able to sacrifice it to activate the Station's ability, then have the Station untap itself.

Q: I control a Karmic Justice, along with a creature enchanted with my Celestial Mantle. If my opponent destroys my creature with a Doom Blade, will the aura going to the graveyard cause Karmic Justice to trigger, letting me destroy one of their permanents?

A: Nope, the Justice won't trigger. The creature is destroyed by Doom Blade, then the Mantle goes to the graveyard when state-based actions are checked and the game sees the Mantle is not attached to a creature. But the Mantle is going to the graveyard due to state-based actions, not because of a spell or ability controlled by an opponent, so the Justice will not trigger from the Mantle going to the graveyard.

Q: I control a Twilight Drover. If I phase out my tokens using something like Guardian of Faith's triggered ability, will that cause the Drover to get +1/+1 counters?

A: It will not. The Drover's ability only triggers when the token leaves the battlefield. A permanent that phases out doesn't leave the battlefield, its status just changes to "phased out". Since the tokens haven't left the battlefield, the Drover will not trigger and will not get any +1/+1 counters.

I want a dance rave this big!

Q: I control Fain, the Broker and a Putrid Goblin. Can I activate Fain's first ability, sacrificing Putrid Goblin, then return the Goblin and put the two +1/+1 counters from Fain's ability onto the Goblin?

A: You cannot. While you can target and sacrifice the Goblin to activate Fain's ability (and persist would cause the Goblin to return to the battlefield), since it left the battlefield and returned, it's a different object and isn't being targeted by Fain's ability anymore. So while the Goblin returns before Fain's ability resolves, it's not being targeted by Fain's ability and would not get the +1/+1 counters.

Q: My deck contains a single creature - a Worldspine Wurm. If I enchant it with Shifting Shadow, will I end up destroying the Wurm and putting it back onto the battlefield when the Shadow's trigger resolves?

A: This doesn't work how you want it to. The Wurm has a triggered ability that will cause it to be shuffled in when it dies. That trigger can't go on the stack until after the Shadow's trigger is completely done resolving, so the Wurm will die, you'll reveal all of the cards in your library (since you have no creatures), the Shadow goes to the graveyard since it's no longer attached to a creature, and then the two triggers from the Wurm will go on the stack. The Wurm ends up back in your library, but too late for it to be useful for the Shadkow, since the Shadow's trigger has finished resolving and the Shadow itself is in the graveyard.

Q: My opponent played a Pithing Needle and named "Witch Engine", and now they're saying I can't tap it for mana. But I thought Witch Engine had a mana ability. Will the Needle really stop me from activating the Engine's ability?

A: Yep, it will. And that's because the Engine doesn't actually have a mana ability. While the activated ability does produce mana, one of the requirements of mana abilities is that the ability cannot target, and the Engine's activated ability targets an opponent. Because of that, Witch Engine doesn't have a mana ability, and it can be turned off by Pithing Needle.

Q: I have a Maze of Ith, a land that can tap for mana, and an Argothian Elder in play. If I attack with the Elder, can I untap the Elder with the Maze, untap the Maze and the other land with the Elder's ability, and repeat?

A: Yep, you can use that to generate as much mana as you want. Despite what you may think, Maze of Ith doesn't remove the creature from combat - it just untaps the creature and prevents damage that would be dealt to it and by it. The Elder is still an attacking creature after the Maze's ability resolves, so you can use the Elder to untap your Maze and the other land, tap the other land for mana, then untap the Elder with the Maze and repeat.

Note this only works during the combat phase (since the Elder will stop being an attacking creature once the combat phase is over), so you'll only be able to use this mana to cast instants, cards with flash, or use abilities.

Q: My opponent cast Imperial Seal on their last turn. If I cast Chakram Retriever on my turn, can I target my opponent and force them to shuffle?

A: You can target them, but they don't have to search. The trigger that triggers when the Retriever enters the battlefield can target any player, including your opponent if you choose. However, searching with the trigger is optional - they don't have to search if they don't want to. So while you can target your opponent with the trigger, they can just opt out of searching and shuffling (especially if they don't have a Chakram Slinger in their deck) and keep the card they tutored for with the Seal.

Q: I control a Helm of the Host that's currently unattached and an Ardenn, Intrepid Archaeologist. Can I move to combat, use Ardenn's trigger to attach the Helm to a creature, and copy the creature, or does the Helm have to be attached to a creature for it to trigger?

A: You can do that. The Helm's ability will always trigger at the beginning of combat on your turn, even if it's not attached to anything. Since Ardenn's trigger is also triggering at the same time, you can stack the triggers and resolve Ardenn's trigger first, attaching the Helm to a creature, then resolve the Helm trigger and create a token copy of that creature.

Q: If I activate the +2 ability of Lord Windgrace with an empty hand, will I draw a card? Or do I have to discard a card to draw a card?

A: You'll draw a card here. Drawing a card from Lord Windgrace's ability isn't reliant upon being able to discard a card. If you have an empty hand when the ability resolves, you won't discard a card, but you will end up drawing one card from the ability.

That's all I have for you this week. See you again next week!


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