Published on 05/13/2024

Happy 41st Birthday to Me!

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I'm not quite to my 111th birthday yet...
Hi everyone, and welcome back to Cranial Insertion! This week, it's my birthday! If you're reading this on Monday, then you can celebrate my 41st birthday along with me. At the very least, there will be cake. Balloons to be decided, but I think I'm a little old to have a bouncy house for my birthday, so I guess we'll have to cancel that.

But don't worry about getting me a gift. In fact, I have a gift for all of you - a set of fresh rules questions and answers! And if you have questions of your own, feel free to send them in. We may even use them in future article. If you have a shorter question, you can find us at @CranialTweet, but if you have a longer question, you can e-mail us at .

Q: I saddle and attack with Fortune, Loyal Steed, but it dies in combat. Will it still be exiled and returned to the battlefield at the end of combat?

A: Unfortunately, your loyal steed will stay dead. Fortune will only exile itself and return it to the battlefield if it's still on the battlefield at the end of combat. If it died in combat, since it's no longer on the battlefield, it won't be exiled and returned to the battlefield. However, the creature you used to saddle Fortune can still be exiled and returned to the battlefield, assuming it's still on the battlefield at the end of combat.

Q: I control Rakdos, the Muscle. If I cast Act of Treason targeting my opponent's creature, can I wait until the end step, then sacrifice the stolen creature to Rakdos's activated ability and be able to cast the exiled cards until the end of my next turn?

A: Sure, that works just fine. If Rakdos's ability triggers during your end step, then you have permission to play the exiled cards until the end step on your next turn, so you have almost an entire turn cycle to play those exiled cards. Also, Act of Treason's effect will last until the cleanup step of your turn, which is after the end step, so you'll be able to sacrifice the stolen creature during your end step and cause Rakdos's ability to trigger.

Q: My opponent cast Hypothesizzle and chooses to discard a card to deal 4 damage to my creature. Can I counter it with Hindering Light and save my creature?

A: No, you can't cast Hindering Light here. Hypothesizzle (the spell) has no targets. It has a reflexive trigger that will trigger if they choose to discard a nonland card, but that's a separate trigger, not the spell itself targeting your creature. Since Hindering Light can only target a spell, not an ability, it can't target the reflexive trigger and you can't stop the trigger from dealing 4 damage to your creature.

Q: If I cast Burn the Accursed targeting my opponent's creature, will my Imodane, the Pyrohammer also trigger?

A: Yep, you'll get an Imodane trigger as well. While Burn the Accursed will deal damage to your opponent's creature and your opponent, Burn the Accused only targets the creature - your opponent isn't being targeted as well. Since Burn the Accursed is an instant with a single target creature, Imodane will trigger and your opponent will take 5 damage from Imodane on top of the 2 damage they took from Burn the Accursed.

Q: If I cast Krenko's Buzzcrusher, could I target my indestructible land (like Darksteel Citadel) to effectively get a free land?

A: No, that won't work. The Buzzcrusher's trigger does not target anything - you choose the nonbasic lands to destroy when the Buzzcrusher's trigger resolves. Since the Citadel is indestructible, it can't be chosen for the trigger (since you can't choose to destroy something that's indestructible). You could destroy a different nonbasic land you control if you wanted to search, but you can't choose to try to destroy your Darksteel Citadel with the trigger.

Q: If I have a Double Down in play, would I get an extra copy of Notorious Throng when I cast it?

A: You will! Since the Throng is a Rogue spell (thanks to tribal/kindred letting it have a creature type), Double Down will trigger when you cast the Throng and you'll get a copy of it. As a bonus, if you cast the original Throng for its prowl cost, the copy is considered to have its prowl cost paid as well, which means that on top of all of the Faerie tokens you just created, you'll get two additional turns after the current turn is over.

Q: My opponent controls an Invasion of Gobakhan and they're attacking it with three 1/1s to bring it to zero defense counters. After damage is dealt, if I cast Tishana's Tidebinder to counter the trigger from the Invasion, what happens to the Invasion?

A: It goes to the graveyard. If the Invasion is at 0 defense counters and the trigger to let you cast it transformed is no longer on the stack, the Invasion goes to the graveyard as a state-based action. Countering the cast trigger means your opponent doesn't get to cast the back face and the Invasion will end up in the graveyard.

I care that it's your birthday Davvol.

Q: I control an Ophiomancer, a Delney, Streetwise Lookout, and I have no Snakes in play. During the next upkeep, how many Snake tokens will I end up with?

A: You'll only end up with one token. While Ophiomancer's ability will trigger twice during the upkeep because of Delney, Ophiomancer has an intervening if trigger - when it goes to resolve, it checks to make sure that the condition of "you don't control any Snakes" is still true. If it's no longer true, the trigger does nothing and no token is created. So you won't be able to end up with more than one Snake token.

Now, if you had a sacrifice outlet, like a Carrion Feeder, you could respond after one Ophiomancer trigger resolves, before the second resolves, by sacrificing the Snake to Carrion Feeder. You still only end up with one Snake token, but you do get a free sacrifice to your Carrion Feeder in the meantime.

Q: I control a 1/1 Soldier token and A Tale for the Ages. My opponent casts Gift of Fangs targeting my 1/1 Soldier. What happens to my Soldier?

A: It survives as a 1/1. A Tale for the Ages doesn't care whose enchantment is attached to it, just that it's an enchanted creature. And there's never going to be a point where the game has applied the -2/-2 from Gift of Fangs and not the +2/+2 from A Tales for the Ages. The bonus from the Tale and the Gift effectively negate each other, and the token survives as a 1/1 creature.

Q: If I control Satoru, the Infiltrator and play Dryad Arbor as my land for the turn, will Satoru trigger and let me draw a card?

A: Yes you will! Satoru will trigger if you didn't cast Dryad Arbor, and since Dryad Arbor is a land, it can only be played - it can't be cast. Even if you're playing Dryad Arbor as your land for the turn, since Dryad Arbor is played and not cast, Satoru will trigger and you'll draw a card.

Q: I control The Gitrog, Ravenous Ride and an Avenger of Zendikar. If I tap the Avenger to saddle The Gitrog and attack with the Gitrog, assuming I choose to sacrifice the Avenger to the Gitrog's combat damage trigger, will the Avenger trigger from the lands I put onto the battlefield?

A: No, you don't get any Avenger triggers. When we're resolving The Gitrog's triggered ability, we sacrifice the Avenger before you draw and put the lands onto the battlefield. Since the Avenger was sacrificed first, it's not on the battlefield when you put the land cards onto the battlefield, so the Avenger will not trigger and your Plants will not grow.

Q: My opponent channeled Boseiju, Who Endures and destroys my land. Can I choose to search my library for a Wastes to put onto the battlefield?

A: No you cannot. Boseiju only lets you search for a land with a basic land type, not a basic land. Wastes are a basic land, but they don't have a basic land type, so you won't be able to search for a Wastes with Boseiju's ability.

Q: My opponent played a Mountain, triggering their Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle and targeted me with the trigger. In response, I turned my Boltbender face up and changed the target to my opponent. Will my opponent take damage?

A: Only if your opponent wants to take damage. Since Valakut uses the word "may", they choose whether or not to deal the damage when the trigger resolves. You're free to change the target of the trigger to your opponent instead of yourself, but when the trigger resolves, your opponent can choose not to use the ability and not take three damage (but at least you won't be taking three damage either).

And sometimes, even if it's your own party,
you need to step out for a minute.

Q: I have a Doc Aurlock, Grizzled Genius in play. If I discarded an Arrogant Wurm, will it only cost to cast via its madness trigger?

A: Yep, you'll get your 4/4 trampler for . Madness has you cast the discarded card from exile when the madness trigger resolves. And since you're casting it from exile, Doc Aurlock will reduce the cost by , and you'll end up paying to cast Arrogant Wurm for its madness cost.

Q: I activate Taii Wakeen, Perfect Shot with X=2, then I cast Fiery Confluence, choosing the first mode three times. How many triggers will I get for the damage the Confluence deals to Taii Wakeen?

A: You get three triggers. Taii's toughness is 3, which means that if you deal 3 noncombat damage to Taii Wakeen, their ability will trigger. The Confluence is going to deal 1 damage three times, but because of Taii Wakeen's effect, it's actually going to deal 3 damage three times. Since Taii Wakeen's toughness is three, that's going to be three triggers from Taii Wakeen being dealt damage (as well as dealing 9 damage to all creatures in play) and you'll draw three cards.

Q: If I control Kros, Defense Contractor and a Temporal Distortion, am I safe from my opponent's attacks? If they tap and attack me with a creature, will me putting an hourglass counter on the creature force it to attack another player due to Kros goading it?

A: Nope, this doesn't work out for you. The trigger from the Distortion won't go on the stack until after attackers have been declared. While you will end up putting a counter on their creature, triggering Kros's ability and goading it, goading an already attacking creature won't change who it's attacking. If they attacked you with the creature, it's still attacking you, even if you end up goading it after attackers were declared.

Q: Does Smirking Spelljacker cast the exiled card or a copy of the exiled card? Can I keep attacking with the Spelljacker every turn keep casting the spell spell each time?

A: The Spelljacker isn't creating a copy of the exiled card - you're casting the card itself when the Spelljacker attacks. Once you cast it, it leaves exile and goes on the stack, and then it will behave like any other spell at that point. If you attack with the Spelljacker again, since there's no card exiled to the Spelljacker, you won't cast the exiled card a second time.

Q: If I cast Rush of Dread with all three modes, can I choose different opponents for each mode, or do I have to pick the same player?

A: You can choose a different player for each mode. Each mode requires a target opponent. If you have multiple opponents, you can choose a different target for each mode (or, if you really don't like one player in particular, multiple modes targeting the same opponent).

Q: If I have Kellan, the Kid in play and I cast my commander from the command zone, do I get a Kellan trigger?

A: Yes you do. Kellan will trigger when you cast a spell from anywhere except your hand. The command zone is a different zone than your hand, so casting your commander from the command zone will cause Kellan to trigger.

Q: I have my commander Burakos, Party Leader in play, along with the background Folk Hero. If I cast Obsidian Battle-Axe, will I draw a card from the Folk Hero trigger?

A: You will! Folk Hero doesn't just trigger off of a creature spell - since Obsidian Battle-Axe is a Warrior (thanks to it having the tribal/kindred card type), the Battle-Axe shares a creature type with your commander. While the Battle-Axe isn't a creature, since it shares a creature type with your commander, that will cause the ability from Folk Hero to trigger and you'll draw a card.

That's it for my birthday article. Have a good week, and we'll see you again next week!


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