Published on 09/26/2022

Fall in Love With Autumn

Cranial Translation
Deutsch Español Français

In America we call it Fall
Greetings and welcome back to another issue of Cranial Insertion! Fall has begun, and I have to say that Fall is my favorite season. For one, I can be outside without being in danger of spontaneously combusting or turning into an icicle. While that is also generally true in Spring, Fall is also the harbinger of fun activities such as Halloween, the holidays, and my birthday which is in December.

To celebrate the arrival of Fall, let's jump feet-first into a pile of fallen leaves, and then let's jump into a pile of rules questions from our inbox. Speaking of our inbox, 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 show up in a future article!

Q: My opponent controls Nemata, Primeval Warden and one of my token creatures dies in combat. Does my opponent get a Saproling token?

A: They do. Token creatures die just like non-token creatures, and they can move to any zone that a non-token creature can move to. The only difference is that state-based actions erase the token from existence shortly after the zone change. However, this does not change the fact that your opponent did exile your token, so the reflexive "when you do" trigger of Nemata's ability still triggers.

Q: My commander is Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar and my opponent has enchanted it with Pendrell Flux. During my upkeep, I say I'll just choose to pay , but they say I can't pay the mana cost because it doesn't have one. Who's right here?

A: Your opponent is right. The ability that Pendrell Flux gives the creature doesn't care about the creature's mana value. It cares about the actual mana cost. In the case of Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar, that mana cost is "this space intentionally left blank", which represents an unpayable cost. Since you can't choose to pay an unpayable cost, the only legal option is not to pay it and to sacrifice Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar.

Q: Let's say I've used Zur, Eternal Schemer to animate Legion's Landing, and now I attack with Legion's Landing and two Eager Cadets. What does Legion's Landing look like after it transforms, and is it still attacking?

A: After it transforms, it's still the same permanent it was before, so it's still affected by the continuous effect that was created by Zur's activated ability. That effect animates the permanent whose name is now Adanto, the First Fort into a land creature with base power and toughness of 1/1. It's still attacking since it's still a creature and nothing happened that would remove it from combat, and it's still tapped because nothing happened that would untap it. However, it no longer has deathtouch, lifelink, or hexproof from Zur's static ability, since it's no longer an enchantment.

Q: I control Cast Out that exiled my opponent's Leonin Arbiter. At the end of my turn, my Enigmatic Incarnation triggers and I choose to sacrifice Cast Out. Can I search for Ulamog's Reclaimer and put it onto the battlefield?

A: No, that won't work. Sacrificing Cast Out causes the Arbiter to be returned immediately after Cast Out leaves the battlefield, right in the middle of resolving Enigmatic Incarnation's ability. This means that the Arbiter is on the battlefield at the time Enigmatic Incarnation instructs you to search your library, rendering that action impossible. Also, you don't get the chance to pay to ignore the Arbiter's effect because you'd need priority to do that, which you don't have during the resolution of Enigmatic Incarnation's ability.

Q: Does Yasharn, Implacable Earth stop Thran Portal's mana abilities?

A: Yup. Thran Portal's mana abilities — which is usually just the one granted by the chosen basic land type, but also includes any other mana abilities it could gain — include the additional cost of "pay 1 life" to activate, which is impossible thanks to Yasharn's ability. Many effects that restrict the activation of abilities make an exception for mana abilities, but Yasharn doesn't care about that.

Q: I'm in a three player game with Arya and Bran, and I control Gisela, Blade of Goldnight. Arya attacks Bran with Dire Wolves, and Bran doesn't block but flashes in a Selfless Squire. How many counters does the Squire get?

A: Bran can choose between two and four. During the combat damage step, there are two applicable replacement/prevention effects that want to modify how Bran is affected by the damage. As the player who would be affected, Bran gets to choose one of those effects to apply, and this process is repeated until no more replacement/prevention effects are applicable. Bran could apply the Squire's effect first, which makes Gisela's effect not applicable anymore and the Squire gets two counters. If Bran applies Gisela's effect first, the Squire then prevents the doubled damage and gets four counters.

I need a heron!
Q: I control Heron of Hope and attack with an Ornithopter that got lifelink somehow. If it goes unblocked, do I gain 1 life?

A: No, that's too much to hope for. The unblocked Ornithopter deals 0 damage, which means it's not dealing damage at all, so there is no life gain event for the Heron's ability to apply to.

Q: My opponent controls Propaganda, and I control Coalition Skyknight and a Bear Cub that don't have summoning sickness, as well as a Phyrexian Tower. Can I attack with the Skynight, enlist the Bear Cub, and then sacrifice the Cub to the Tower in order to pay for Propaganda?

A: No, that won't work. Similar to the process of casting a spell, the declaration of attackers consists of several steps in a certain order. After you choose your attackers and tap them, you decide which optional attack costs (such as enlisting a creature) you wish to pay and determine the total cost to attack. Next, you get to activate mana abilties, and finally you pay the total cost in any order. If you choose to enlist the Bear Cub, you'd have to tap it in the last step to pay that part of the total attack cost, but you have to sacrifice it to the Tower in the step before that.

Q: Last turn I used Vodalian Mindsinger to take control of my opponent's Voice of Resurgence, and now I attack with both of them. Both get blocked and die in combat. Who gets the token from Voice of Resurgence?

A: If both the Voice and the Mindsinger die at the same time, which is the likely outcome unless first strike or double strike is involved, you'll get the token. Voice of Resurgence's death trigger looks back in time and triggers based on the game state immediately before it died. At that time, you controlled Voice of Resurgence, so you control its ability and you create the token.

Q: Can the emblem from Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor be used to cast Reality Smasher?

A: Kind of. If Tibalt exiled a Reality Smasher, the emblem will allow you cast it from exile. However, the "you may spend mana as though it were mana of any color" effect is not helpful here, since doesn't have any color, so the emblem won't allow you to pretend that colored mana is colorless. This means that you're allowed to cast Reality Smasher, but you need to have some way of making .

Q: If I control Elminster and play Cryptic Annelid, does Elminster create cost reduction effects for three different spells or just one spell?

A: The answer is largely up to you. During the resolution of Cryptic Annelid's enter-the-battlefield ability, Elminster's ability triggers three times, and those triggers go on the stack in any order of your choice. As each one resolves, it creates a cost reduction of , , or that applies to the next instant/sorcery spell you cast. If you don't cast any spells in between the resolution of those abilities, they'll all build up to a total reduction of for one spell, but you could cast instants in between the resolutions of Elminster's abilities to apply smaller reductions to different spells.

Q: I'm in a three player game and I control Ayara, First of Locthwain. If I cast Sower of Discord and choose my two opponents, does that create a loop that kills both of them?

A: Nope. Sower of Discord entering the battlefield triggers Ayara's ability, so each of your opponents lose 1 life and you gain 1 life, and that's it. Sower of Discord's ability triggers on one of the chosen players being dealt damage, and while damage often results in loss of life, loss of life is not the same as damage.

Squid pro quo
Q: I control a Chasm Skulker that has a +1/+1 counter on it, and my opponent kills it by dumping two -1/-1 counters on it. Does it still make a baby Squid?

A: It does! After Splendid Agony has resolved, there are two things wrong with the game state that need to be fixed by state-based actions. For one, there's a creature with toughness 0 on the battlefield, and for another, that creature has both +1/+1 and -1/-1 counters on it. The resulting actions of moving the creature to the graveyard and removing the +1/+1 counter happen at the same time, so at the last moment that Chasm Skuler was on the battlefield, it still had the +1/+1 counter on it.

Q: Does the tax from Anointed Peacekeeper stick around after the Peacekeeper dies?

A: No. The effects that impose the additional on spells and abilities are generated by Anointed Peacekeeper's static abilites, so those effects only last while those abilities function. Abilities of permanent cards only function on the battlefield unless they state otherwise, so the additional cost goes away when Anointed Peacekeeper leaves the battlefield.

Q: If I sacrifice a creature with power 0 to Greater Good, do I still discard three cards?

A: Yup. You follow all instructions in Greater Good's ability in order, and the instruction to discard three cards is not conditional on having drawn any cards.

Q: Does Plagiarize take over just my opponent's next card draw, or all their card draws for the remainder of the turn?

A: All their card draws for the remainder of the turn. Plagiarize's resolution creates a replacement effect with a duration ("until end turn"), and it modifies all applicable events during that time. If it were meant to replace only one draw, it would have to be worded similarly to Words of Wind.

Q: I'm at 5 life, I control a Blood Artist and five 1/1 creatures. My opponent attacks me with ten 1/1 creatures, and I block five of them. Does Blood Artist's ability gain me enough life from the dying attackers and blockers so that I survive the combat damage from the unblocked attackers?

A: I'm afraid not. During the combat damage step, the unblocked attackers reduce your life total to 0, and the blocked attackers and blockers mark 1 damage on each other, all at the same time. After that's done, state-based actions are checked and you lose the game for having 0 life at the same time as the lethally damaged attackers and blockers are destroyed, and Blood Artists ability doesn't even go on the stack, let alone resolve.

Q: Can I get rid of Decree of Silence with Krosan Grip?

A: Nope. Split second doesn't prevent triggered abilities from going on the stack or resolving, and it doesn't prevent Krosan Grip from being countered. Decree of Silence's ability will still go on the stack above Krosan Grip and will counter it. The spell you're looking for is Void Rend.

And that's all the time we have for this week. Please come back next week when it's time to take a look at Warhammer 40000!

- 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.


No comments yet.


Follow us @CranialTweet!

Send quick questions to us in English for a short answer.

Follow our RSS feed!