Published on 06/20/2022

Dad Jokes

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What do vegetarian Zombies crave?
Greetings and welcome to another issue of Cranial Insertion! Yesterday was Father's Day in the USA and other countries, so if you're a father or father figure, I wish you a happy Father's Day. I am a father myself, so my Father's Day gift to myself and to you is this article. It's a rules Q&A article much like any other article, but I've worked in some puns that reach "dad joke" levels of awfulness. Maybe I should feel sorry for inflicting them on you, but I don't.

Anyway, if you have questions for us, you can email them to us at or tweet short questions to @CranialTweet. One of our authors will send you an answer, and your question might appear in a future article!

Q: I control Esper Sentinel and my opponent casts Dress Down as the first spell of their turn. Does Esper Sentinel's ability still trigger?

A: Absolutely. Esper Sentinel's ability is triggered by your opponent casting Dress Down, which is well before Dress Down enters the battlefield and removes Esper Sentinel's abilities. The ability triggers and resolves before Dress Down resolves, so your opponent will have to pay or let you draw a card.

Q: If I give a creature with lifelink infect, do I still gain life when it deals damage?

A: Yup! When the creature deals damage, the game checks what abilities it has that modify the result of the damage, and infect and lifelink are not mutually exclusive. (If they were, Flensermite would probably not exist.) Since it has infect, it deals damage in the form of -1/-1 counters to creatures and poison counters to players. Since it has lifelink, an additional result of the damage is that you gain that much life.

Q: Do I draw a card with Concord with the Kami if I control Lucent Liminid?

A: Only if there's an Aura attached to it. Concord with the Kami's second mode checks whether you control an enchanted creature, i.e. a creature that has an Aura attached to it. It doesn't matter whether the creature is also an enchantment.

Q: I control Falco Spara, Pactweaver, and my opponent uses Deal Gone Bad to kill it and to make me mill three cards. Do I still get to see what the new top card of my library is after milling?

A: Certainly. Deal Gone Bad doesn't actually kill Falco Spara itself. It merely reduces his toughness to 0, and then lets state-based actions take care of moving Falco Spara to the graveyard whenever they get around to it. Before that can happen, Deal Gone Bad has to finish resolving, so you mill three cards, and since you still control Falco Spara, you can look at the next top card of your library.

Q: I attack with a 3/3 that has a shield counter on it and my opponent blocks it with four 1/1 creatures, how much damage does the shield counter prevent?

A: All of it! Since there's no first strike or double strike involved here, all combat damage is dealt at the same time, so all damage to your 3/3 is prevented and you remove the one shield counter that's on it.

Q: I resolve Show and Tell and choose Animate Dead as my card, and there are several creature cards in my graveyard. At what point do I choose which card to reanimate? Before or after I see my opponent's choice?

A: You make that choice after you see your opponent's card. After both you and your opponent have chosen a card, the chosen cards are revealed and put onto the battlefield simultaneosly. In the case of Animate Dead, the process of putting it onto the battlefield requires a choice to be made, namely the choice of which card to attach it to, and the game can only call for that choice once both Animate Dead and your opponent's chosen card have been revealed.

Q: Speaking of Show and Tell, how does the sequence of choices work in multiplayer games? Do players later in the turn sequence know whether the players earlier in the turn sequence have chosen cards?

A: Let's go through this slowly. All required choices are made in "APNAP" order, so starting with the active player, and proceeding with the non-active players in turn order from there. This means that the active player chooses first whether to put a card onto the battlefield, and if so, which card. They don't have to reveal the card, but the chosen card must be set aside such that it's clear to everybody which card was chosen. Then the next player in turn order does the same thing. They don't get to see the face of the card the first player chose, but they do see which card was chosen, and therefore they see whether a card was chosen. I'm not exactly sure how that tiny bit of knowledge might influence their choice, but they are entitled to that tiny bit of knowledge nevertheless.

Why is Abzan Falconer so content?
He has no egrets.
Q: I control Abzan Falconer and a Runeclaw Bear. I attack my opponent with the Bear, and they block it with a 1/1 Soldier. If I put a +1/+1 counter on the Bear with Vastwood Fortification to give it flying, does the Bear become unblocked?

A: That's an elaborate plan, but it doesn't work out. Blocking restrictions, such as the one that states a creature with flying can only be blocked by a creature with flying or reach, are only checked when blockers are declared. After that point, it doesn't matter whether anything changes in the game state that would make the block illegal. Your Bear remains blocked by the Soldier, and the two creatures will deal combat damage to each other in the combat damage step.

Q: I control Seedborn Muse and Sand Squid, and my opponent controls a Bear Cub. On my turn, I use Sand Squid to tap my opponent's Bear Cub. In what order do things happen in my opponent's untap step? Does Seedborn Muse's ability untap my Squid first, allowing the Bear Cub to untap, or does the Bear Cub remain tapped?

A: It remains tapped. Everything that can untap untaps at the same time. This means that the game first has to determine what can untap, before anything gets untapped, and then that set of permanents untaps all at once. At the time the game figures out what can untap, your Sand Squid is still tapped, so Bear Cub is not among the permanents that get to untap.

Q: Does Displacer Kitten reset Arcane Bombardment so that each new spell is the first spell that it sees?

A: Blinking Arcane Bombardment with Displacer Kitten does reset it, but not in the way you're hoping, because Arcane Bombardment doesn't count spells you cast. Whenever you cast a spell, Arcane Bombardment asks the game whether that was your first instant or sorcery spell that turn, and it triggers or doesn't trigger accordingly. If you've already cast three instants and/or sorceries this turn, Blinking Arcane Bombardment doesn't change the fact that the next instant or sorcery you cast is your fourth for that turn, so it won't trigger Arcane Bombardment's ability. The only thing that blinking it with the Kitten does is that Arcane Bombardment forgets which cards were exiled with it. The returned Arcane Bombardment can't access the cards that were exiled with its previous instance, so blinking it with the Kitten is the exact opposite of a good idea.

Q: Astral Dragon enters the battlefield and I choose to copy Curse of Opulence with its enter-the-battlefield ability. What happens?

A: A big bowl of nothing happens. The game wants you to create two token copies of Curse of Opulence that are also 3/3 Dragon creatures. Since they are Auras with enchant player, you'd have to choose players to attach those tokens to, but since they're also creatures, they can't be attached to anything, so there's no way to make a legal choice. Since creating the tokens requires a choice that can't be made legally, creating the tokens is impossible, so no tokens are created.

Q: If I goad a creature with Firkraag, Cunning Instigator, is it goaded permanently?

A: No, it's only goaded until your next turn. The keyword action "goad [creature]" essentially means "[creature] is goaded until your next turn", so the effect has a duration baked into it. Compare this to the abilities of Baeloth Barrityl, Entertainer and Jon Irenicus, Shattered One. The former has a static ability that causes creatures to be goaded while they meet a certain condition, and the latter has a triggered ability that causes a creature to be goaded for the rest of the game. Note that both of those use the wording "is goaded" to give the creature the goaded designation directly, instead of using the keyword action.

Q: I control my two partner commanders Yoshimaru, Ever Faithful and Reyhan, Last of the Abzan, and I also control Scion of Halaster. How does my draw step work?

A: Both of your commanders have the ability from Scion of Halaster, which creates a replacement effect that changes the first time you draw a card each turn. As you draw for the turn, both effects want to apply to that draw, so you choose one to apply. The draw gets replaced with looking at the top two cards, putting one into your graveyard and one back on top of your library, and then drawing a card. Since you're still drawing a card, the second replacement effect is still applicable, so you look at the new top two cards (of which one is the one you chose to put back), put one into your graveyard and the other on top, and then you draw the card you chose to put on top.

Why was Hunter of Eyeblights found
not guilty of murder?
It was acting in elf defense.
Q: My opponent controls a vague yet menacing creature that has a +1/+1 counter on it, and I use Hunter of Eyeblights's second ability to destroy it. In response, they use Bioshift to move the counter to another creature they control. Does the creature I targeted still get destroyed?

A: Not unless there's still some other counter left on the creature that you forgot to mention. When the ability starts to resolve, it checks whether its target is still legal. Since the creature is no longer a "creature with a counter on it", it is no longer a legal target for the ability. This means that the ability doesn't have a legal target, so it doesn't resolve.

Q: If High Priest of Penance gains indestructible, can its ability still trigger?

A: Sure! Indestructible doesn't mean "can't be dealt damage." It only means that it can't be destroyed by "destroy" effects or by lethal damage. Damage still gets dealt to it normally, which triggers its ability.

Q: I control Grim Hireling and my creatures deal combat damage to two opponents. Does Grim Hireling's ability trigger twice?

A: It does! The trigger condition is "Whenever one or more creatures you control deal combat damage to a player," so the ability triggers separately for each player that's being dealt combat damage by one or more creatures you control.

Q: Can I cast adventure cards from the graveyard with Gale, Waterdeep Prodigy?

A: Nope. You have to target an instant or sorcery card in your graveyard, but in the graveyard the game only sees the creature part of the adventure card, so it's not a legal target for the ability.

Q: I control a Vexing Puzzlebox and resolve Wild Endeavor. I roll a 2 and a 4, and I choose 2 for the number of Beast tokens. How many charge counters do I put on the Puzzlebox?

A: You'll put six counters on it. Wild Endeavor tells you to roll two dice, and you don't ignore any of them, so both dice are part of the result of the roll. The result is "2 and 4", so you put "2 and 4" counters on the Puzzlebox.

And that's all we have for this week. Thanks for reading, and I hope my dad jokes didn't cause you too much pain. See you next week for more Magic rules Q&A!

- 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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