Published on 08/15/2022

Into The Woods

Cranial Translation
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Have you ever questioned
the reality of your nature?
Greetings and welcome back to another issue of Cranial Insertion! As I'm writing this, I'm about to go on vacation, and by the time you're reading this, I'm basically already on my way back home, but I hope I will have had a wonderful time being away for a few days. I'm looking forward to getting away from the hectic city life and spending a few days in nature, hiking through woods, going swimming, and just relaxing as much as possible.

While I'm enjoying the last day of my vacation, please enjoy today's fresh selection of rules questions from our inbox. As always, if you have questions for us, please email them to or tweet short questions to @CranialTweet. One of our writers will reply with an answer, and your question might even appear in a future article!

Q: I control Cosima, God of the Voyage and I use Stolen Goods to cast my opponent's Sakashima of a Thousand Faces, and copy Cosima with it. On my next upkeep, I exile this copy. Am I exiling a Sakashima that has a landfall-like ability? If so, who controls this ability, and under whose control does this Sakashima eventually return to the battlefield?

A: First off, yes, you're exiling a Sakashima that has a landfall-like ability. The copy effect that made Sakashima look like Cosima ends when it gets exiled, but it gains the "Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control" ability from the effect that exiled it. The controller of a triggered ability is the controller of its source, but a card in exile doesn't have a controller, so the ability is controlled by the card's owner, i.e. your opponent. The fact that you controlled Sakashima on the battlefield is irrelevant.

Since your opponent controls the ability, they decide whether to put a voyage counter on the card or to return it to the battlefield. If they decide to return it to the battlefield, it returns under their control with X +1/+1 counters on it and they'll draw X cards, and since it's a Sakashima entering the battlefield, they get to choose what to copy with it.

Q: I've read that Dress Down loses its abilities along with other creatures if it somehow becomes a creature. Can you explain why that is?

A: At first glance this situation looks like a paradox: If Dress Down loses the ability that makes it lose its abilities, it should have its abilities, but then it should lose its abilities, and so on, repeat until your brain overheats. Fortunately, the layers system handles this conundrum quite easily. You start with the objects' base characteristics, apply all applicable effects in layer order, and then you're done. Also, once an effect starts to apply in a particular layer, it continues to apply in that and the later layers even if the ability that generates the effect is removed. In layer 6, Dress Down has its abilities, so you apply its effect that removes creatures' abilities. This removes its own ability, but the effect continues to apply, so it and the other creatures lose their abilities, and that's the end result.

Q: My opponent controls Dress Down and I cast Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer for its dash cost. Does it have haste?

A: No. One might think that it would have haste because Ragavan has the later timestamp, so the effect granting it haste would be applied after the effect that removes Ragavan's abilities. However, that's not actually how dash makes the creature have haste. The relevant part of dash is a static ability that says "As long as this permanent's dash cost was paid, it has haste." Dress Down causes Ragavan to lose that ability, so it's not around to create the effect of giving Ragavan haste. (Note that the "continues to apply" caveat from the previous question isn't relevant here because this ability hadn't started to apply in any layer yet.)

Q: If I control Divine Visitation, are the tokens from Launch the Fleet still going to be tapped and attacking?

A: Yup! Divine Visitation replaces the base characteristics of the tokens that are created to be 4/4 white Angels with flying and vigilance, but it doesn't change anything else about the effect that creates the tokens. In essence, you resolve the ability granted by Launch the Fleet as though it said "Whenever this creature attacks, create a 4/4 white Angel token with flying and vigilance that's tapped and attacking."

Q: I control Parnesse, the Subtle Brush and I cast Chef's Kiss in response to some spell, let's say for example Lightning Bolt. If I choose to let an opponent copy Lightning Bolt with Parnesse's ability, does the targeting restriction from Chef's Kiss apply to their copy?

A: No, they can choose a new target for their Lightning Bolt without any special restrictions. As Chef's Kiss resolves, you gain control of the original Lightning Bolt and you make a copy of it — which triggers Parnesse's second ability — and then you reselect the targets for the original Lightning Bolt and your copy randomly, with the restrictions given by Chef's Kiss. When that's done, Parnesse's ability goes on the stack and resolves, which instructs your opponent to copy Lightning Bolt and allows them to choose new targets for the copy. Chef's Kiss didn't alter the targeting clause of Lightning Bolt, so there's no restriction except that it must be legal target for Lightning Bolt.

The unbearable talent
of massive weight
Q: My opponent plays a Cultivator Colossus and puts a land onto the battlefield with its enter-the-battlefield ability. Can I respond to the card draw ability somehow?

A: Nope. The card draw and "repeat this process" bits of Cultivator Colossus are not a separate triggered ability. They are both part of its enter-the-battlefield ability. If your opponent put a land card onto the battlefield, they immediately proceed to draw a card and then they immediately repeat the process. No player gets priority to do anything else and no triggered abilities go on the stack until the ability is done resolving, which happens when your opponent is done putting lands onto the battlefield.

Q: If I control Raggadragga, Goreguts Boss and cast Thorn Mammoth, can I give it +7/+7 before it fights a creature?

A: Nope. Raggadragga's ability is triggered by casting Thorn Mammoth, so the Mammoth is still on the stack and it's not a legal target for Raggadragga's ability.

Q: Does Collector Ouphe stop the improvise ability?

A: Nope. Improvise is not an activated ability. It's a static ability that applies during the process of casting a spell by allowing its controller to pay part of its cost differently. Activated abilties are written in the form "[cost] : [effect]."

Q: Does Panharmonicon make Rampant Rejuvenator enter the battlefield with four +1/+1 counters on it?

A: No. The ability that gives Rampant Rejuvenator +1/+1 counters is not a triggered ability. It's a static ability that creates a replacement effect that changes how it enters the battlefield. Triggered abilities are written in the form "Whenever/When/At [condition], [effect]."

Q: Let's say I play Master of Waves, and in response to its enter-the-battlefield ability I target it with Mystic Reflection. Does that create an infinite number of Master of Waves copies?

A: No, you don't create an infinite number of anything, but the resulting number might be quite large. Let's say for the sake of example that your devotion to blue is three at the moment, including the Master of Waves whose enter-the-battlefield ability is about to resolve. When it resolves, you create three tokens, which enter as copies of Master of Waves due to Mystic Reflection. Your devotion to blue is now six because the three new Master of Waves tokens count towards your devotion to blue. You also get three Master of Waves triggers, and each one creates six 1/0 Elemental tokens (that get +4/+4 because there are four Masters of Waves on the battlefield now). Those Elemental tokens don't enter as copies of Master of Waves because Mystic Reflection only applied to the "next time" one or more creatures entered the battlefield, and that already happened. In the end, you got three additional Masters of Waves and eighteen +5/+4 Elemental tokens in this example.

Q: Does Exquisite Archangel's effect apply if I would lose the game to commander damage?

A: Kind of, but not in a useful way. The commander damage rule is a state-based action that checks if you've been dealt 21 or more damage by a single commander. If that condition is true, you lose the game, which gets replaced by Exquisite Archangel's effect, so instead you exile the Angel and reset your life total. However, this replacement effect does nothing about the fact that you've been dealt 21 or more damage by a single commander. State-based actions are checked again, and this condition is still true, so you lose the game and now there's nothing to replace this event, so you lose the game after all.

Eat prey, love.
Q: I control a Tlincalli Hunter and I pay to exile Battle Mammoth. Can I cast it from exile for on my next turn?

A: No, for two reasons. Both the foretell cost and the from Tlincalli Hunter's ability are alternative costs, and you can't apply two alternative costs to a single spell. Also, the permission to cast the card from exile only comes from the choice to cast it for its foretell cost. If you attempt to cast it for any other cost, you don't have permission to cast it from exile.

Q: If I control Platinum Emperion, can I activate Razaketh, the Foulblooded's ability without paying life?

A: Nope. If your life total can't change, paying any amount of life (other than 0) is an impossible action. While the game happily ignores impossible actions during the resolution of a spell or ability, an impossible action in a cost means that you can't pay that cost, which means that you can't activate the ability.

Q: Can Zur the Enchanter put an Aura onto a creature with shroud?

A: Sure. When Zur's ability resolves, you tutor up an enchantment and put it onto the battlefield. If that enchantment is an Aura, you choose something to attach it to, and unlike casting an Aura, this process doesn't target the creature, so it doesn't matter whether the creature has shroud.

Q: I'm in a four-player Commander game, and I cast Eon Frolicker, and I target the player across from me for the extra turn. Who gets the turn after that turn, the player to my left or the player to my right?

A: The player to your left. Extra turns are inserted into the regular turn order, and the regular turn order resumes after the extra turns have been completed. If you're player A and the regular turn order is A-B-C-D-A-B-C-D-etc, inserting the extra turn for player C changed the turn order to A-C(extra)-B-C-D-A-B-C-D-etc. After you finish your turn and player C finishes their extra turn, the turn order resumes with a turn for player B (unless someone decides to be clever and creates more extra turns).

Q: I control Jaheira, Friend of the Forest, Rain of Riches, and some Treasures. If I tap a Treasure to make with the ability it has from Jaheira and use that mana to cast a spell, does Rain of Riches give that spell cascade?

A: Certainly! The mana was added by an ability that the Treasure has, so you did in fact spend mana from a Treasure to cast the spell.

And that's it for today. Thanks for reading, and please come back 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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