Published on 10/24/2022

Welcome to Magic 30!

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Maybe the most iconic creature in Magic's history.
Hiya everyone, and welcome back to Cranial Insertion! As you're reading this, myself and a lot of other Magic players are packing their bags for their trip to Las Vegas this weekend for the first big Magic 30 convention! It's my first big Magic tournament since early 2020, and I'm looking forward to seeing a lot of judge friends that I haven't seen in years, as well as just getting back into judging at a large tournament again. So if you happen to see me around the floor, feel free to say "Hi."

But as we look to Magic's past, let's take a look at some rules questions! Remember, you can send your questions to us, and we'll send you back an answer. 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 cast a kicked Hurloon Battle Hymn targeting my opponent's creature, but they sacrifice the creature in response. Will I still gain life when the spell resolves?

A: You don't gain any life. The Battle Hymn only has one target. If that target is illegal when the Battle Hymn goes to resolve, the entire spell does nothing. That includes the part of the spell that doesn't target, like gaining life. If the target for the Battle Hymn isn't legal when it goes to resolve, you won't gain any life either.

Q: My opponent controls a Knight of Dusk's Shadow. If I target the Knight with a kicked Tolarian Geyser, will I gain any life?

A: Yep, you'll gain life. When we're resolving the Geyser, we follow the instructions in the order they're listed on the card. The Knight will be returned to its owner's hand first, then you'll gain 3 life. Since the Knight isn't on the battlefield anymore, it won't stop you from gaining life, so you will gain 3 life from the kicked Geyser.

Q: My opponent controls an Academy Loremaster. Do I get to see my draw for the turn before I decide if I want to use the Loremaster's trigger?

A: You do! When your draw step begins, the first thing that happens is that you draw for the turn. After that, the Loremaster's trigger will go on the stack. You will know what card you've drawn for your turn before you have to resolve the Loremaster's trigger (and will know if you should be paying for another card or not).

Q: I have Braids, Arisen Nightmare and a Grave Pact in play, along with a Zombie token. During my end step, I sacrifice the Zombie token to Braid's triggered ability. Can I stack the triggers to make my opponent sacrifice to Grave Pact before they decide if they want to sacrifice to Braid's trigger?

A: Nope, you can't do that. Braids has a single triggered ability. It doesn't have a reflexive trigger - there is no second "when" or "whenever" in the triggered ability. When you sacrifice the Zombie token, the Pact will trigger, but that trigger can't go on the stack until after Braids's trigger is completely done resolving. Your opponent will get the chance to sacrifice a creature to the resolving Braids trigger before the Grave Pact trigger could go on the stack.

Q: On an earlier turn, I cast Vodalian Mindsinger and stole my opponent's Balduvian Berserker. Now, my opponent cast Gaea's Might targeting the Berserker I stole. Since the Berserker now has a higher power than my Mindsinger, does my opponent get their creature back?

A: They don't - you still control the Berserker. The Mindsinger cares about the power of the creature at two points: when the Mindsinger's trigger is put on the stack, and again when the trigger resolves. Once the trigger has resolved, what happens to the Mindsinger's power or the Berserker's power doesn't matter, you'll still control their Berserker. For your opponent to get the Berserker back, they'd have to
remove the Mindsinger from the battlefield, or cast the Might when the Mindsinger's trigger was on the stack to increase the Berserker's power and make it an illegal target.

Q: I control Zur, Eternal Schemer and a Wedding Festivity. If I turn the Festivity into a creature with Zur's ability, what's the power and toughness of my Festivity?

A: It's a 4/4 - a base 3/3 that gets +1/+1 from its own static ability. The mana value of the back face of a transforming double-faced card (like the Festivity) is the same as the front face. Since the front face has a mana value of 3, that's also the mana value of the back face, so turning the Festivity into a creature makes it a base 3/3.

If the Festivity wasn't a doubled faced card, for example if it was copied by Clever Impersonator, then there's no front side for the copy to reference, so the back side would be a base 0/0 (that gets +1/+1 due to its static ability).

Q: I have a Relic of Legends and a Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy in play. If I activate the second ability of the Relic, tapping my Kinnan, do I produce one or two mana?

A: One mana. To "tap a nonland permanent for mana" means you need to activate a mana ability that uses the tap symbol. While the Relic's second ability does involve tapping a legendary creature, it doesn't use the tap symbol, which means that Kinnan's triggered mana ability will not care about it and you will only get one mana from activating the Relic's ability.

The original aggro mono-red creature.

Q: If I attack with Tetsuo, Imperial Champion, can I use his trigger to cast a Profane Tutor from my hand?

A: If Tetsuo is equipped, yes. Profane Command has a mana value of 0, so if you attack with Tetsuo, you can pick the second mode and cast the Tutor without paying its mana cost (and without having to suspend it). But keep in mind that Tetsuo must have at least one equipment attached to it, since his ability will only trigger if he's equipped when you attack with him.

Q: If I control a Serra Paragon, can I play a land from my hand, then play a land from my graveyard using the Paragon's ability?

A: No you cannot. The Paragon changes where you can play lands from, but does not change how many lands you can play each turn. Unless you have the ability to play multiple lands in a turn, you can still only play one land each turn - whether that's from your hand or from your graveyard via the Paragon's ability, that's up to you.

Q: I control Jodah, the Unifier and a Laelia, the Blade Reforged. If I cast Rograkh, Son of Rohgahh, since I won't be able to find any cards with a negative mana value with Jodah's trigger, how many counters will Laelia get?

A: How many cards are in your library? Because that's how many counters Laelia will get. We don't know ahead of time how many cards are going to be exiled to Jodah's trigger, so we have to exile the cards one a time. Since each card is being exiled one at a time with Jodah's trigger, Laelia triggers for each card being exiled. In this case, if you have forty cards in your library when you're resolving Jodah's triggered ability, the forty cards are exiled one at a time, so that would result in forty Laelia triggers, not one Laelia trigger.

Q: If I cast Cut Down targeting my opponent's 2/3 Tarmogoyf with no instants in the graveyard, will my opponent's Tarmogoyf die?

A: Yep, it will die. When Cut Down resolves, the total power and toughness of Tarmogoyf is 5, so Cut Down will destroy it. Then Cut Down goes to the graveyard, but Tarmogoyf is already dead, so Tarmogoyf becoming a 3/4 in the graveyard won't save it.

This isn't like the classic situation of "try to Lightning Bolt my opponent's Tarmogoyf", since that Tarmogoyf isn't dying in the middle of the Bolt resolving, it would die when state-based actions are checked once the Bolt is done resolving (but won't die since it's a 3/4 by that point). Since Cut Down destroys Tarmogyof while it's resolving, Tarmogoyf is already dead by the time Cut Down goes to the graveyard.

Q: Can I use the ability of Jhoira, Ageless Innovator to put an artifact land like Silverbluff Bridge onto the battlefield?

A: Yes you can. A land has a mana value of 0, so you'll always be able to put an artifact land onto the battlefield with Jhoira's ability.

Q: I control a token copy of Femeref Enchantress that's an enchantment because of Myrkul, Lord of Bones's triggered ability. If my Enchantress dies, will its ability trigger?

A: Yes it will. Even though the Enchantress is currently an enchantment token, if it goes to the graveyard, the Enchantress will see that an enchantment was put into the graveyard from the battlefield, and its ability will trigger.

When you just need more Llanowar Elves...

Q: I activate Birthing Pod's ability by paying life and sacrificing Verrak, Warped Sengir. Will Verrak's ability trigger and let me copy the Pod's activated ability?

A: It will not. For Verrak to trigger, it has to be on the battlefield once you're done announcing the ability. But since you sacrificed him as a cost to activating the ability, he's not on the battlefield when the Pod's ability becomes activated. That means his ability will not trigger and you won't be able to get a copy of the ability.

Q: I crew the Golden Argosy with Spirited Companion then attack and exile the Companion. At the end of turn, can I return the Companion in time to blink it with the trigger from Teleportation Circle?

A: No you cannot. At the beginning of the end step, there are two triggers we need to put on the stack: the delayed trigger from the Argosy to return the Companion to the battlefield, and the trigger from the Circle. While you can stack the triggers however you want, the Circle's trigger has a target, and there's no way to resolve the Argosy's trigger before we have to put the Circle's trigger on the stack, so you will not be able to blink the returning Companion with the Circle's trigger during your end step.

Q: I'm at 0 life, but I'm still alive because I have Pact Weapon attached to a creature I control. I also control Defiler of Flesh. Can I still pay 2 life when casting a black permanent spell, since the Weapon is keeping me alive?

A: No, that doesn't work. In order to pay a cost that involves paying 1 or more life, you have to have at least that much life. Even though Pact Weapon is stopping you from losing the game, since you don't have at least 2 life, you're unable to use the Defiler's ability to help pay for your black permanent spells.

Q: I control Lier, Disciple of the Drowned with a Cryptic Command in my graveyard. My opponent casts a spell that I really want to counter. Can I cast the Command for its flashback cost, choosing the "counter target spell" and "return target permanent to its owner's hand" and bouncing my Lier so the Command can counter my opponent's spell?

A: No, that doesn't work. When we're resolving the Command, we perform the instructions in the order they're listed on the card. We don't get to pick which mode we resolve first. The "counter target spell" mode is listed first, so we will always perform that instruction first - but since Lier is still on the battlefield, the Command won't counter their spell. Then we do the next chosen mode, which bounces Lier back to your hand.

Q: I target my opponent's Teferi, Time Raveler with a lethal Electrodominance. Will I be able to cast my free spell off of Electrodominance?

A: Nope, you don't get the spell. While Teferi will be reduced to zero loyalty while Electrodominance is resolving, he won't leave the battlefield until we check state-based actions once we're done resolving Electrodominance. That means when Electrodominance would be letting you cast your free spell, Teferi is still stopping you from casting spells except when you could normally cast a sorcery, and you won't be able to cast your free spell.

Q: I have a Cleric Class in play. If I play Illusions of Grandeur, how much life will I gain?

A: You gain 21 life. Cleric Class adds 1 to the total amount of life gained. It does not double the life gained (you want Boon Reflection for that). Instead of gaining 20 life from the Illusion's enter the battlefield trigger, you'll gain 21 life.

Q: My opponent controls Yurlok of Scorch Thrash. During my main phase, I cast Drain Power, forcing them to tap their five lands for mana. Will my opponent lose life when Drain Power removes the mana from their mana pool?

A: Yep, they will. Yurlok will apply any time a player loses unspent mana from their mana pool. Normally, this would be when a step or phase ends and the player's mana pool empties, but Drain Power will also cause a player to lose unspent mana. Since Drain Power is causing unspent mana to be removed from your opponent's mana pool, Yurlok will cause them to lose that much life.

That's it for this week. See you again next week!


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