Published on 07/25/2022


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I spy with my little eye...
The next Cranial Insertion writer?
Greetings and welcome back to another issue of Cranial Insertion! Recently the first pictures from the James Webb Space Telescope were released, and they are awesome on several levels. Not only are the pictures breathtakingly beautiful, but they illustrate how vast our universe is and what humanity can accomplish when brilliant people put their minds together.

While astronomers and astrophysicists use the James Webb Space Telescope in their quest to look into the origins of the universe, we here at Cranial Insertion are on a quest of our own. Since Andrew's departure a few months ago, we're down to three writers, and adding a fourth writer would be helpful, not only to spread out the workload a bit, but also to add more variety to our articles. Of course, the telescope we use to look for a new writer is a quiz!

Before we start the quiz, I'd like to remind you that you can send in questions by email to , or by Twitter to @CranialTweet. One of our writers will get back to you with an answer, and your question might even appear in a future article.

And now, let's begin our quiz! As always, be aware that the correct answer may include more than one choice.

Q: I just summoned a Bounty Agent. What can it do?

A: The choices are...

A: It can attack because it has vigilance.
B: It can be sacrificed to activate its own ability.
C: It can be tapped to activate Bramblesnap's ability.
D: It can crew an Aerial Surveyor.
E: It can do the safety dance.

The answer is
C and D.

A creature that has summoning sickness can't attack, and any of its activated abilities that include or in their cost can't be activated. Bounty Agent can't attack because the summoning sickness rule specifically prohibits it from attacking. The fact that attacking doesn't cause it to be tapped is irrelevant.

Its own activated ability can't be activated because the cost includes in addition to being sacrificed, so it also falls under the summoning sickness rule. However, the summoning sickness rule doesn't prohibit it from being tapped in general, or from being tapped to help pay for activated abilities of other permanents, so activating Bramblesnap and crewing a Vehicle is perfectly legal.

Q: I control Burrenton Forge-Tender and my opponent just cast Fury for its evoke cost, and they've announced that they'll put the evoke sacrifice trigger on the stack above the damage trigger. At which point in time can I sacrifice Burrenton Forge-Tender in order to prevent the damage from Fury?

A: The choices are...

A: In response to Fury.
B: After Fury has resolved, before the evoke trigger resolves.
C: After the evoke trigger has resolved, before the damage trigger resolves.
D: While the damage trigger is resolving.
E: At the end of the turn.

The answer is
A, B, and C.

When Burrenton Forge-Tender's ability asks you to choose a source of damage, you have a wide range of things you can choose. You can choose a permanent, or a spell, or even an object that no longer exists but that's being referred to by an ability on the stack. Consult rule 609.7 for a complete list of possibilities including the ones that aren't relevant to this situation.

The damage gets dealt as Fury's enter-the-battlefield ability resolves, even though Fury no longer exists as a permanent at that time. The source of the damage is Fury as it existed on the battlefield when it was a permanent. You're safe from the damage as long as the prevention effect gets established at some point before the enter-the-battlefield ability resolves. While the ability resolves is too late because you don't have priority to do anything during its resolution.

You can activate Burrenton Forge-Tender's ability as early as in response to Fury, choosing the Fury spell as the source. The prevention effect will continue to apply to the permanent it becomes. You can activate the ability in response to the evoke trigger and choose the Fury permanent as the source. You can even activate the ability in response to the enter-the-battlefield ability and choose the no longer existing Fury permanent as the source, because that permanent is being referred to by the enter-the-battlefield ability that's still on the stack.

Be your own bosk.
Q: I control a Blanchwood Treefolk and copy it with Spark Double, which enters with one +1/+1 counter on it. Then I copy that with another Spark Double. How many counters does the second Spark Double get?

A: The choices are...

A: 1
B: 2
C: 3
D: 4
E: All those numbers are making me numb and number.

The answer is

The second Spark Double only gets one +1/+1 counter on it. The counter that's on the Treefolk it's copying is not copiable, and the Treefolk it's copying doesn't have an ability that makes it enter the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter on it, since Spark Double lost that ability when it copied the Treefolk.

Q: I control Ashmouth Dragon and copy it with Reflection of Kiki-Jiki. What do I get?

A: The choices are...

A: You get a single-sided token of Smoldering Egg.
B: You get a single-sided token of Ashmouth Dragon.
C: You get a double-sided Egg/Dragon token, Egg side up.
D: You get a double-sided Egg/Dragon token, Dragon side up.
E: You get sued for copyright infringement.

The answer is

While Smoldering Egg's back face is up, it only has the characteristics of Ashmouth Dragon, so those are the characteristics that Reflection of Kiki-Jiki sees. It doesn't know or care that the permanent it's copying is a double-faced card or what the characteristics of the face-down side are.

Q: My opponent attacks me with three Battle Cry Goblins. In response to their Pack tactics abilities, I give one of them -2/-0. Does the Pack tactics effect still happen?

A: The choices are...

A: Yes.
B: No.
E: Choices C and D have gone to the beach.

The answer is

While the Pack tactics ability has an intervening-if clause which is rechecked when the ability resolves, the condition is somewhat unusual because it's tied to a particular moment in time. The condition checks what the total power of creatures you attacked with was at the moment you attacked with them. It doesn't recalculate the power at the time the ability resolves, so once the ability has triggered, there's nothing you can do to stop its intervening-if condition from being true.

Q: My opponent has the emblem from Chandra, Dressed to Kill. What types of protection will save a creature from getting targeted by it?

A: The choices are...

A: Protection from red
B: Protection from colorless
C: Protection from planeswalkers
D: Protection from everything
E: Protection from Everything Everywhere All At Once

The answer is
B and D.

The source of the ability that wants to deal the damage is the emblem itself, so in order to avoid getting targeted by that ability, a creature needs to have protection from a quality that the emblem has. It was created by a red planeswalker, but the emblem is neither red nor a planeswalker, so those types of protection don't help. Protection from colorless helps because the emblem is in fact colorless, and protection from everything helps because it grants protection from any object regardless of its characteristics.

Q: I control a Wingsteed Rider that's equipped with Livewire Lash. If I cast Martial Glory and target the Rider with both effects, what happens?

A: The choices are...

A: Wingsteed Rider deals 2 damage and gets one +1/+1 counter.
B: Wingsteed Rider deals 4 damage and gets one +1/+1 counter.
C: Wingsteed Rider deals 2 damage and gets two +1/+1 counters.
D: Wingsteed Rider deals 4 damage and gets two +1/+1 counters.
E: Wingsteed Rider becomes famous and gets a leading role in an upcoming superhero movie.

The answer is

This question boils down to how often Livewire Lash's trigger and Wingsteed Rider's Heroic abilities trigger. Let's start with the Heroic ability. It triggers whenever you cast a spell that targets the Rider. You've cast one spell, and the question of whether it targets the Rider is a yes or no question. Targeting the Rider with the same spell more than once doesn't change the answer to "more yes", so you only get one Heroic trigger.

Livewire Lash's trigger condition is slightly different, but it uses the same logic. This trigger looks at the transition from "the creature isn't the target of (some spell)" to "the creature is the target of (that spell)." Again, whether the Rider is the target of Martial Glory is strictly a yes or no question, so you only get one Livewire Lash trigger.

I'm gonna take my time
I'm gettin' the good sign
Dragon the line
Q: Which of these spells trigger Lozhan, Dragons' Legacy's ability?

A: The choices are...

A: Sea Hag
B: Aquatic Ingress
C: Avian Changeling
D: Dragonstorm
E: Adventure Awaits

The answer is
B and C.

As you cast a spell, Lozhan's ability looks at the type line to see if the spell has the subtype Dragon or the subtype Adventure. It doesn't matter whether the word Dragon or Adventure appears in the card name.

Casting the creature Sea Hag won't trigger the ability because the adventure page doesn't exist on the stack in that case. Casting the instant Aquatic Ingress triggers the ability just fine, because in that case the game sees the characteristics of Aquatic Ingress on the stack, and Aquatic Ingress has the subtype Adventure.

Avian Changeling doesn't look like it has the Dragon subtype on its type line, but that's just because there isn't enough room on the type line to print all the creature types it has. Thanks to its changeling ability, it actually has all creature types, including Dragon, so casting it triggers Lozhan's ability as well.

Q: What does goad do in a duel? If player A goads player B's creature, what happens?

A: The choices are...

A: It does nothing at all.
B: It creates an attacking requirement that can't be fulfilled, which looks like doing nothing.
C: It forces the creature to attack player A.
D: It forces the creature to attack player B, which is weird.
E: If forces the creature to attack itself, which is very weird.

The answer is

Goading a creature creates two attacking requirements for it, namely "must attack each combat if able" and "must attack a player other than player A if able." When player B declares attackers, they have to fulfill as many requirements as they can without violating any restrictions or game rules. Not attacking at all fulfills no requirements, while attacking player A fulfills one requirement, so they have to attack player A.

Q: In which formats besides Commander are cards from Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate, such as Aboleth Spawn, legal?

A: The choices are...

A: Standard
B: Modern
C: Legacy
D: Vintage
E: Prehistoric

The answer is
C and D.

Supplemental products like Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate don't affect card legality in any way. Any cards that are reprints of existing cards are only legal in whichever formats the original printings were already legal, and any new cards from that product, such as Aboleth Spawn, are only legal in eternal formats.

And that's it for today's quiz. If you got all ten questions right, congratulations, and here are some bonus questions for you: Do you have a passion for teaching Magic rules? Do you have a sense of humor? If the answers are yes, you might be the person we're looking for, and we'd appreciate it if you sent us an email to get in touch.

At any rate, thanks for playing along, and please come back next week for more Magic rules Q&A!


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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