Published on 09/12/2022

Total Karn-age

Cranial Translation
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Karn from his more pacifist days.

Hiya everyone, and welcome back to Cranial Insertion! Once again, Magic is returning to its home plane of Dominaria, and the home of everyone's favorite planeswalking Golem, Karn! Karn's been around for a surprisingly long time - his first card was in Urza's Saga, although he was a part of the Weatherlight story line that started before Urza's Saga came out, but then eventually gained a spark to become a planeswalker, lost that spark, then gained another one. He even went and created his own plane that one time (but we don't talk about Mirrodin anymore). And now Karn's just trying to fight off yet another Phyrexian invasion on Dominaria.

But enough about Karn, let's go on to this week's article. Remember, if you have a question that you don't see answered here, you can send it to us, and we'll send you an answer back. We may even use your question in a future article. If you have a short question, you can send it to our Twitter account at @CranialTweet, and if you have a longer question, you can send it to our e-mail at .

Q: I control Defiler of Faith, Defiler of Flesh, and Defiler of Instinct. If I want to cast Archangel of Wrath with both kickers, can I cast it using the abilities from each Defiler and pay and 6 life?

A: You cannot - only Defiler of Faith can be used here. Each Defiler can only be used on a permanent spell of that color, and kicker doesn't change the color of the spell. Even if you're casting the Archangel with both kickers, the Archangel is still only a white spell, not a white, black, and red spell. You can only use the white Defiler to help cast the Archangel, so you'll be able to pay and 2 life to cast it.

Q: If I cast Cosmic Epiphany, will it count itself for its own effect?

A: No it will not. While the Epiphany is resolving, it's still on the stack, not in your graveyard. Since it's not in the graveyard, it won't count for its own effect.

Q: It's the beginning of my end step, and I control The Raven Man. My opponent and I have each discarded two cards this turn. How many tokens do I get?

A: You get one token. The Raven Man cares if a player discarded a card this turn. He doesn't care if multiple players discarded a card or how many cards that player discarded. The Raven Man will only trigger once during your end step and will only create a single token, even if multiple players have discarded multiple cards this turn.

Q: What happens if I cast Threats Undetected but only search for two creatures?

A: You just paid three mana to shuffle your library. You're free to find fewer than four creatures with Threats Undetected. However, even if you find fewer than four, your opponent will still choose two of them to shuffle into your library. If you only find two creatures when resolving Threats Undetected, your opponent will just end up choosing both creatures to shuffle into your library and you won't get anything.

Q: I activate Inscribed Tablet's ability, just wanting to draw a card. If there's a land card in the revealed cards, can I ignore it and put it on the bottom so I can draw a card instead?

A: Nope, you can't ignore the land. If there's a land in those five revealed cards, you must choose it and put that land into your hand. You only get to draw a card if you resolved the ability and revealed no lands. You won't put any of the revealed cards into your hand in that case, so you'll be able to draw a card.

Q: I have Braids, Arisen Nightmare in play. If I sacrifice a Shield-Wall Sentinel to Braids's end step trigger, will my opponent have to sacrifice an artifact and a creature to Braids's ability?

A: Nope. The opponent needs to sacrifice a single permanent to satisfy Braids's trigger. The permanent just needs to share a card type with the permanent you sacrificed. Since you sacrificed an artifact creature, your opponent just needs to sacrifice an artifact or a creature to satisfy Braids's trigger, not an artifact and a creature.

Q: I control Vesuvan Duplimancy. If I cast Bite Down targeting a creature I control and a creature my opponent controls, will the Duplimancy trigger and give me a copy of my creature?

A: The Duplimancy will not trigger. The Duplimancy will only trigger if you cast a spell targeting only a single artifact or creature you control. Bite Down will always have two targets - a target creature you control and a target creature or planeswalker you don't control. It's not only targeting a creature you control, so the Duplimancy will not trigger and you won't get a copy of your creature.

Karn, Pantsless

Q: When Ertai Resurrected enters the battlefield, can I pick the first mode and have the trigger target itself so I can draw a card without having to counter or destroy anything?

A: No you cannot. A spell or ability is an illegal target for itself, so you cannot choose the first mode and have the trigger target itself.

Q: I move to combat, and my 5/5 attacks and is blocked by my opponent's 5/4, killing them both. After combat, I cast Rith, Liberated Primeval. Will Rith know about the opponent's 5/4 that died in combat and give me a token at the end of turn?

A: Yep, it will. Rith doesn't need to be on the battlefield when the opponent's creature is dealt excess damage. When your end step begins, since an opponent's creature was dealt excess damage that turn, Rith's ability will trigger and you'll get the 4/4 token. It doesn't matter that Rith wasn't on the battlefield when their creature died, it will know about the opponent's creature that was dealt excess damage earlier in the turn and can trigger.

Q: When Soul of Windgrace enters the battlefield, can I respond to its trigger by activating one of its abilities (and discarding a land), then returning the land I just discarded to the battlefield?

A: Yep, you can do that. Windgrace's enter the battlefield trigger doesn't target a land card in your graveyard. You choose a land card to return when the trigger resolves. If you have the mana, you can respond to the trigger by activating one of the Soul's other abilities, discarding a land, then return that land to the battlefield tapped when its enter the battlefield trigger resolves.

Q: If Orca, Siege Demon dies at the same time as other creatures, will their deaths help increase the damage from Orca's last triggered ability?

A: Nope. While Orca will trigger for creatures that died at the same time they did, Orca's dies trigger cares about its power when it was last on the battlefield. Those counters won't be added to Orca since they're not on the battlefield when the trigger resolves, so creatures dying at the same time as Orca won't help out Orca's dies trigger.

Q: I have Jodah, the Unifier in play. I cast Astor, Bearer of Blades and the card I reveal for Jodah's trigger is Valki, God of Lies. Can I cast the backside (Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor) or do I need to cast a legendary creature with a mana value of 8 or more to cast it?

A: Nope, you can Tibalt off of Jodah's trigger. Jodah's ability just cares about mana value of the card in exile, not the mana value of the spell on the stack. As long as the front face is a legendary nonland card with a low enough mana value, you can look at either face of the modal double faced card and you can cast either side, even if that side isn't legendary or has a higher mana value. So you'll be able to cast Tibalt when resolving Jodah's trigger.

Q: I control Jinnie Fay, Jetmir's Second and Queen Allenal of Ruadach. If I would make a Treasure token, what happens?

A: When you first make the Treasure token, only one replacement effect applies - Jinnie Fay. You're not creating a creature token, so Queen Allenal doesn't apply. If you choose to make the Treasure into a Cat or Dog token with Jinnie Fay, since you're making a creature token, Queen Allenal can now apply to the event and you'll make a Cat/Dog and a Soldier token. But that's it. Jinnie Fay has already applied to this token-creating event, so it doesn't get a second change to apply after Queen Allenal has applied to the event. You're going to end up with one Treasure token or a Cat/Dog token and a Soldier token.

What kind of math will Karn develop next?
Just wait and see.

Q: I control a Serra Paragon and a Cathar Commando that I cast via the Paragon's ability on an earlier turn. During my turn, my Commando dies. Can I use the Paragon's ability to flash the Commando back onto the battlefield before it's exiled?

A: Yep, you can do that! The Paragon gives the permanent a triggered ability that triggers when the permanent that was played with its ability goes to the graveyard. It's not a replacement effect. Since the permanent spends some time in the graveyard (and since the Commando has flash), you could respond to the trigger that would exile the Commando by casting it via the Paragon's ability. The Commando ends up back on the battlefield, and even if the trigger doesn't exile the card, you'll still gain two life.

Q: I control Ivy, Gleeful Spellthief and another creature. If I cast Pouncing Shoreshark for its mutate cost targeting my other creature, will I also get a copy targeting Ivy?

A: You will! The Shoreshark is a targeted spell that's targeting a single creature that's not Ivy, so Ivy will trigger. You'll be able to create a copy of the Shoreshark that's targeting Ivy, so you'll end up mutating a Shoreshark onto Ivy and a Shoreshark onto your other creature (and being able to bounce two creatures your opponent controls).

Q: How well do Serra Paragon and Hofri Ghostforge work together?

A: They work extremely well together. If you cast a creature with a mana value of 3 or less through the Paragon's ability, when that creature dies, there are two triggers waiting to go onto the stack: the trigger from Hofri and the trigger to exile it from the Paragon. You control both triggers, so you choose the order they're put on the stack. If you resolve Hofri's trigger first, you'll exile the creature card from your graveyard and create a token. When the trigger from the Paragon resolves, you won't exile it since it's not in the graveyard, but you'll gain 2 life. When that token creature dies later on, the trigger from Hofri will trigger and the creature card will return to your graveyard (and can be cast again via the Paragon's ability and you can repeat).

Q: I have an Archive Trap in my graveyard. Earlier in my turn, my opponent searched their library. Then I cast Founding the Third Path and choose for it to enter on chapter III. Can I exile Archive Trap, copy it, and cast it for ?

A: Yep, you can. There's no other alternate cost being applied to the copy of the Trap, so you're free to use an alternate cost to cast the copy. Since your opponent has searched their library this turn, you'll be able to cast the copy of the Trap by paying instead of its normal mana cost.

Q: Will Karn's Sylex stop my opponent from activating the ability of Arid Mesa to search for a land?

A: Yes it will. They would be paying life to activate the Mesa's ability, and the Mesa's activated ability is not a mana ability (since it's not producing mana), so the Sylex would stop your opponent from activating their Mesa's ability.

Q: If I control Karn's Sylex and a Protection Racket, will my opponents have to give me the revealed cards since they can't pay life?

A: Nope, they can still pay life like normal. The Sylex only prevents them from paying life to cast a spell or activate an ability. They can still pay life due to a resolving triggered ability. The Sylex won't interact with the Racket's triggered ability, so your opponents can still pay life to exile the revealed card instead of putting it into your hand.

Q: If I activate Sarkhan the Masterless's +1 ability to turn my planeswalkers into dragons, does that mean my Robaran Mercenaries will gain the activated abilities of all of my planeswalkers?

A: It sure does! Since your planeswalkers are now creatures (and are still legendary), your Mercenaries will acquire all of your planeswalker's loyalty abilities for the turn. But while your Mercenaries may have a lot of abilities now, there's two things you'll want to keep in mind. One, the Mercenaries are going to start with zero loyalty counters, so it'll take some time to build up loyalty. Second, you can still only activate one loyalty ability of that permanent each turn, so even if the Mercenaries get loyalty abilities from multiple planeswalkers, you can still only have the Mercenaries activate one loyalty ability per turn (and only during one of your main phases when the stack is empty).

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


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