Published on 05/22/2023

A Happy 40th to Me!

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Finally, I have enough life to win the game.
Hiya everyone, and welcome back to Cranial Insertion! This week, I'm celebrating a personal achievement - my birthday! And not just any birthday, but my 40th birthday. I'll admit that I didn't actually do much on my birthday - turns out that weeks of traveling and working just before your birthday, and then having a day off on your birthday makes you less inclined to actually go out and celebrate, but that's just fine with me. So here's to another 40 years (plus some)!

But even with a recent birthday, you can still send us your questions and we'll send you an answer back. We may even use that question in a future article. If you have a shorter question, you can Tweet it to us at @CranialTweet, but if you have a longer question, you can e-mail us at .

Q: I have a Lightshield Array under my control. Will a creature that's put onto the battlefield attacking, like the creature from Arni Metalbrow's activated ability, get a counter at the end of turn?

A: It will not get the counter. The Array will give a +1/+1 counter for any creature that attacked that turn. But that only counts creatures that were declared as an attacker - creatures that were put onto the battlefield attacking will not count. The creature put onto the battlefield attacking won't get the counter from the Array at the end of turn.

Q: Do I have to attack with Ghalta and Mavren to get its attack trigger?

A: Nope, Ghalta and Mavren can stay on the sidelines and watch your other creatures attack and you'll still get their trigger. Ghalta and Mavren trigger whenever you attack, not when it attacks, so even if Ghalta and Mavren didn't attack (perhaps because you just cast them that turn), as long as you attack with at least one creature, you'll get their trigger and get a big Dinosaur token or some Vampire tokens.

Q: My only nonland permanent in play is a Flywheel Racer. If I cast Consuming Aetherborn, can I crew the Racer with the Aetherborn and target it with the Aetherborn's backup trigger?

A: Nope, that doesn't work. After the Aetherborn enters, before you get a chance to do anything, we have to put the Aetherborn's trigger on the stack. The Racer isn't a creature yet, so it can't be targeted, and the Aetherborn is the only legal target for the trigger. You're free to crew the Racer later on, but too late to target with the Aetherborn's backup trigger.

Q: I have Omnath, Locus of All in play. If I reveal Tribute to the World Tree, will I get three mana from Omnath's trigger?

A: You will! Omnath will look to see if the revealed card has at least three colored mana symbols in its mana cost. There's no requirement that those mana symbols have to be different colors. The Tribute's mana cost is , which is three colored mana symbols, so you'll get three green mana from Omnath's trigger (which will be handy if you want to cast the Tribute).

Q: How does Omnath, Locus of Creation interact with my own Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines? If I haven't played a land yet this turn and I play a land, what happens?

A: Because of Elesh Norn, Omnath's ability will trigger twice instead of once. But Omnath's trigger checks the number of times it's resolved, so those triggers won't do the same thing. The first trigger to resolve will give you life. The second trigger will give you mana. It doesn't matter that they're both triggering because of the same land entering, so you'll get two different effects from Omnath's trigger - you don't gain 4 life twice.

Q: I have no creatures in play, but I have a Garruk's Uprising in play. If I cast Towering Gibbon, will the Uprising trigger?

A: Yep, you'll get an Uprising trigger. Once the Gibbon is on the battlefield, it's going to be at least a 4/4 - the Gibbon will count its own mana value among creatures you control. When we're checking for enter the battlefield triggers, the Gibbon is a 4/4, so the Uprising sees that a creature with a power of 4 or greater has entered the battlefield and the Uprising will trigger.

Q: I have an Errant and Giada in play, letting me look at the top card of my library. If I cast Dance with Calamity, can I look at the new top card each time before I decide if I want to exile another card?

A: Yes you can. If the top card of your library changes in the middle of a spell or ability resolving, you can see the new top card. Each time you exile another card to the Dance, you'll be able to see what the next top card is before you decide if you want to exile another card, and you'll have full knowledge of when you want to stop exiling cards with the Dance and start casting spells.

At least I got my birthday off.

Q: What happens if I cast The Kenriths' Royal Funeral and exile my commander from my graveyard, but move it to the command zone? Do I still get to draw and lose life? Will I still get a discount on my legendary spells?

A: The first effect will still work like normal. You can't move your commander to the command zone until after the Funeral's trigger is done resolving, so the Funeral will still count your commander to determine how many cards you should draw and how much life you should lose.

But the static ability will only count cards that are currently exiled by the Funeral to determine how big of a discount your legendary spells get. If your commander leaves exile, then it's no longer exiled by the Funeral and won't count for the discount.

Q: What happens if I attack an invasion with a creature with infect?

A: Nothing special. Infect matters if it deals damage to a creature or player. It won't do anything special if it deals damage to a battle. In this case, the Goblin deals 2 damage to the battle, so the battle will lose two defense counters. There's no -1/-1 counters or poison counters put on anything here, since the battle is not a player or creature.

Q: My opponent casts Nethroi, Apex of Death via mutate targeting a creature they control. In response, I activate the ability of Amoeboid Changeling targeting their creature on the battlefield and give it all creature types. What happens when Nethroi goes to resolve?

A: A mutate spell can only target a non-Human creature. Since the target for Nethroi is a Human (since it has all creatures types) when it goes to resolve, Nethroi has an illegal target. Instead of resolving merged with the creature on the battlefield, it just resolves as a normal creature, not merged with anything. So while your opponent will still end up with Nethroi on the battlefield, they won't get its mutate trigger since it didn't merge with anything.

Q: I cast Psychic Possession targeting my opponent. Then I use the ability of Zedruu, the Greathearted to give my opponent control of the Possession. What happens?

A: The Possession ends up in the graveyard. The Possession can only be attached to an opponent, so attaching the Possession to your opponent, then giving that opponent control of the Possession means that the Possession is no longer attached to a legal player (since your opponent can't be their own opponent), and the Possession ends up going to the graveyard.

Q: If I put Underworld Connections on my opponent's land, can I tap their land to draw a card and lose 1 life?

A: Nope, you can't. The Connections gives the activated ability to the land. It doesn't matter who controls the Connections, what matters is who controls the land. While you can play the Connections on your opponent's land, since your opponent controls the land, they're the one that can activate the ability, not you.

Q: I cast Strata Scythe, choosing to exile my Swamp. Then I play Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth. Since all lands are now Swamps, will the Scythe give a bonus based on the number of lands in play?

A: No, it will not. Strata Scythe cares about the name of the lands, not what land types the land has. While Urborg will give all lands on the battlefield the Swamp type, it doesn't change the name of the land and the Scythe will continue to only count lands with the name "Swamp".

I don't have specific plans, but
I do have vague plans.

Q: My opponent controls a Possibility Storm, and I cast an enchantment from my hand. The Storm triggers, and the card I exile is an Urza's Saga. Can I play it?

A: No, you won't be able to play it. The Storm only lets you "cast" the exiled card, and since Urza's Saga is a land, it can only be played, it can't be cast. Since you can't cast Urza's Saga, you won't cast anything via the Possibility Storm trigger, and the Saga (along with anything else you exiled to the Storm trigger) ends up on the bottom of your library.

Q: I activate the ability of Witch Engine, targeting my opponent. In response, my opponent casts Lazotep Plating, giving themself hexproof. What happens?

A: The Engine's ability targets, which makes the ability not a mana ability, so it can be responded to. But since the only target for the ability (your opponent) isn't legal when the ability goes to resolve, the entire ability does nothing. So while you'll retain control of the Engine, you will also not get any mana from the Engine's ability since it won't resolve.

Q: Can I use mana from the last ability of Cavern of Souls to cast Slicer, High-Speed Antagonist?

A: No you cannot. If you're casting the back face of Slicer, you're casting a Vehicle spell, not a creature spell. Since the mana from the Cavern's last ability can only be used to cast a creature spell of the chosen type, you can't use that mana to cast the back face of Slicer. If you want Slicer to be uncounterable, you'll have to cast the front face, not the back face.

Q: I control Tivit, Seller of Secrets and Grudge Keeper. If I cast Plea for Power, since I have two votes, can I just vote for "time" and "knowledge" to make sure my opponents always lose 2 life from Grudge Keeper's ability?

A: Nope, you just ensured that none of your opponents will lose any life. After you're done voting, Grudge Keeper will compare your votes to what each opponent voted for. You voted for both options for Plea of Power, so it's not possible for an opponent to vote for a choice that you didn't vote for, so the Keeper's ability won't do anything when it resolves.

Q: If I have an original Urborg in play, can I use it to remove double strike from my opponent's Boros Swiftblade?

A: Nope. Urborg can only remove first strike from a creature. Double strike lets it deal damage during the first strike and normal combat damage step, but that doesn't mean that double strike is first strike. Since the Swiftblade doesn't have first strike, Urborg's ability won't do anything to it, and it will still have double strike.

Q: If I cast Flawless Forgery targeting a card in my opponent's graveyard, will casting the copy trigger my Tasha, the Witch Queen?

A: You don't get a trigger. While the original card is owned by your opponent, you're not casting the card - you're casting a copy. And the Forgery is telling you to create the copy of the card, so you're casting a spell that you own and Tasha will not trigger from the copy.

Q: I have my commander Sliver Legion in play that's enchanted by my opponent's Darksteel Mutation. If I tap my Path of Ancestry for mana and cast a Sliver spell, will I get to scry 1?

A: You will not get to scry. What creature types your commander is isn't set as the game begins. If it's in a public zone (like the battlefield), we'll look at what creature types it currently has and see if it matches the creature type of the spell you cast with the Path of Ancestry mana. Because of the Mutation, your commander is an Insect, which does not share a type with the Sliver spell you just cast, so you will not get to scry 1 from the Path.

That's it for this week. We'll see you again next week!


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