Published on 02/08/2016

All My Eldrazi

Cranial Translation
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Note: This article is over two years old. Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes. Proceed with caution.

Happens twice an episode...
As I sit here on the couch, recovering from being sick after a weekend of watching Moko (I don't want to blame Moko for everything...but this one is definitely Moko's fault), I've become quite addicted to the soap operas that play every afternoon. And it got me thinking: Ulamog, Kozilek, and Emrakul could have their own soap opera! We have Ulamog, who's been there since the beginning and just created chaos and fighting everywhere he goes. Then we have Kozilek, who just awoke from a coma and is trying to seek revenge. And we have Emrakul, who clearly faked his own death after that skydiving accident, and is just waiting for the perfect time to return. I'm not saying Wizards should do this... but hey, you're half ways there already.

While I finish writing up my draft for the first season and sending that off to Wizards, remember we're also here to answer your rules questions! If you have a short question, feel free to tweet as us at @CranialTweet, or e-mailing us your longer questions at . Your question might even guest star in a future Cranial Insertion article!

Q: My opponent controls Athreos, God of Passage, while I control a Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet. Will I have to pay the 3 life from Athreos' trigger to make sure they won't get their creature back?

A: Not only "no", but your opponent's Athreos won't even trigger. Kalitas has a replacement effect, not a triggered ability. It replaces your opponent's creature dying with the creature being exiled instead. Your opponent's creature won't die, so Athreos won't even trigger, and you won't have to worry about having to deal with Athreos' trigger.

Q: My opponent's hand is empty, and I control a Thought-Knot Seer and an Eldrazi Displacer. If I use the Displacer's ability targeting the Seer, will I be able to have my opponent draw a card, then exile that card?

A: Yep, this is super effective. The Displacer's ability exiles and returns the Seer while the Displacer's ability is resolving. After the ability is done resolving, we have two triggers waiting to go on the stack: the Seer's leave the battlefield trigger and the Seer's enter the battlefield trigger. Since you control both triggers, you get to choose the order they're put on the stack.

If you put the leave the battlefield trigger on the stack last, it will resolve first. Your opponent will draw a card, then you'll be able to look at their hand and exile a nonland card from their hand. Note that if your opponent drew an instant or a card with flash, they'll be able to cast it before the other trigger resolves, but if it's not, you'll be able to exile the card they just drew.

Q: I cast Inverter of Truth, and exiled all of the cards in my library. When do I get those cards back?

A: You don't. Nothing says that you get those cards back later, so they'll remain exiled for the rest of the game (unless your opponent feels like processing them for you).

Q: I have two Kozilek's Pathfinders on the battlefield. I activate the ability of one of the Pathfinders targeting my opponent's Malakir Familiar. Will the Familiar be unable to block either of my Pathfinders?

A: It can block the other Pathfinder. When a card uses its name in its text box, it's referring only to itself, not to any other card with the same name. When you activated the ability of the first Pathfinder, it make the Familiar unable to block that Pathfinder. It can still block the second Pathfinder if it wants to. If you didn't want the Familiar to block either of the Pathfinders, you'd have to activate the ability of both Pathfinders targeting the Familiar.

Q: My opponent has an annoying 5/5 on the battlefield. I control two Wastes, and I cast Titan's Presence, revealing Walker of the Wastes. Does my opponent's 5/5 get exiled?

A: Nope! The Walker is a 4/4 while it's in your hand, which means its power is not greater than or equal to the 5/5's power. The Walker's ability that gives it +1/+1 for each Wastes you control only works while the Walker is on the battlefield - it doesn't work if the Walker is in your hand or any other zone. The Walker just isn't quite big enough here to exile your opponent's creature.

Q: I have a Gideon, Ally of Zendikar on the battlefield. I turn him into a creature and attack. My opponent manages to flash in a Reflector Mage and bounce Gideon back to my hand. Will I be able to recast Gideon after combat?

A: Nope! Once the Mage's ability resolves, you won't be able to cast spells that share a name with the bounced creature until their next turn. It doesn't matter that you're trying to cast a planeswalker spell instead of a creature spell, what matters is that spell Gideon, Ally of Zendikar has the same name as the creature that was bounced by Reflector Mage's trigger. Due to the Mage's effect, you'll have to wait until your next turn to recast Gideon.

Q: What if they bounced Gideon, Battle-Forged instead? Would I be able to recast Kytheon, Hero of Akros?

A: Yes! Reflector Mage's effect cares about the name of the creature while it was on the battlefield. In this case, the creature's name was "Gideon, Battle-Forged". Kytheon has a different name, so you'll be able to recast Kytheon after combat.

My evil twin, bad weather friend

Q: I'm once again attacking with my animated Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, and he manages to pick up a +1/+1 counter. When Gideon stops being a creature at the end of the turn, does that +1/+1 counter turn into a loyalty counter?

A: Negative. There's no rule that says noncreatures can't have +1/+1 counters on them (Llanowar Reborn says "hi"), and there's also no rule that says a planeswalker that gains a counter will make that counter into a loyalty counter. Gideon will end up with both the +1/+1 and the loyalty counters on him, and they'll need to be tracked separately.

Q: I control Kozilek, the Great Distortion. My opponent casts Living End. Can I discard a land to counter Living End?

A: Yep, that works. The converted mana cost of Living End is 0, and the converted mana cost of a land is also 0. You'll be able to counter the End by discarding a land, since both cards have the same converted mana cost - 0.

Q: I have a Mosswort Bridge, which currently has a Verdant Force exiled face down. But then my opponent destroys my Bridge with their Tectonic Edge! Do I have to reveal my Force now?

A: Nope. The Force remains exiled face down. Nothing tells you that you reveal the exiled card if the Bridge leaves the battlefield, so your Force remains face down for the rest of the game. All your opponent knows is that you won't be able to play that card now, but they'll have no idea of what the true identity of that card actually is.

Q: I have a Boom // Bust in my graveyard, and I cast Goblin Dark-Dwellers. Can I target and cast Boom or Bust with the Dweller's triggered ability?

A: Yes, that works! The converted mana cost of Boom//Bust in the graveyard is 2 and 6. Since its converted mana cost is 2, it's a legal target for the Dweller's triggered ability. When the triggered ability resolves, you're casting the spell. Nothing says that you have to cast a side that has a converted mana cost of 3 or less, so you can cast either side of Boom//Bust with the Dweller's trigger. Have fun blowing up everyone's lands!

Q: My opponent controls a couple of artifacts, including a Sensei's Divining Top. I cast Tragic Arrogance. Can my opponent wait to see what artifact I'm going to let them keep, then tap the Top and put it on top of their library?

A: That doesn't work. The choice of what permanents will be kept happens when the Arrogance resolves. No one gets priority while the Arrogance is resolving. If they want to make sure their Top won't be sacrificed, they would have to activate its ability before the Arrogance resolves and before knowing what artifact you're planning on having them keep.

Q: My opponent controls a Grand Abolisher. Can I still turn my face down Hidden Dragonslayer face up on their turn?

A: You sure can. While you can't cast spell or activate abilities from your artifacts, creatures, or enchantments, turning a face down creature face up is a special action, and isn't stopped by the Abolisher's ability. Even if you're affected by your opponent's Abolisher, you'll still be able to turn your Dragonslayer face up and you'll still get to use its triggered ability.

Q: I have a Tarmogoyf on the table, and my opponent copies my Tarmogoyf with their Phantasmal Image. What happens if I cast Maelstrom Pulse targeting their Tarmogoyf?

A: It may not seem like it at first, but this works out in your favor. When you cast the Pulse targeting their Image Tarmogoyf, the "sacrifice me if targeted" ability goes on the stack above the Pulse. That trigger resolves first, and their Image Tarmogoyf will be sacrificed. Then your Pulse goes to resolve, but since its only target is no longer legal, the spell is countered, and your Tarmogoyf will not be destroyed.

Q: I have a Quicksilver Fountain, a bunch of Islands, and a Watery Grave on the battlefield. All of my opponent's lands have been converted to Islands thanks to my Fountain. At the end of the turn, will my opponent's lands lose their flood counters?

A: Yes they will. At the beginning of each end step, the Fountain will check to see if all lands on the battlefield have the land subtype Island. If they do, the Fountain's ability will trigger and will remove all of the flood counters. Watery Grave is both an Island and Swamp, so it counts as an Island when checking for the last ability.

Q: My opponent has a Swamp with a Genju of the Fens attached to it. They animate the Swamp with the Genju's ability, and attack with the Swamp. If I destroy the Genju with a Nature's Claim, will their Swamp still be a creature?

A: Yep, their land is still a creature and still attacking you. Once the ability has been activated and resolved, their Swamp will be a 2/2 creature with the pump ability. Removing the Genju won't make the Swamp stop being a creature, so while you've gotten rid of the Genju for the future, you'll still have to deal with the attacking Swamp this turn.

Wait, which character am I again?

Q: I'm at 1 life, and my opponent is at 20 life. I have a creature with extort on the battlefield, and I cast Reverse the Sands. Can I resolve Reverse the Sands first, setting my opponent's life total to 1, then resolve extort and drop them to 0?

A: No, that doesn't work. Extort triggers when the spell is cast, and that trigger will go on the stack above the spell that triggered it and will always resolve first. You could use the extort trigger, but all that will do is drop your opponent to 19 life (and bring you up to 2 life), then Reverse the Sand resolves and you can exchange life totals and go up to 19 life while dropping your opponent down to 2 life.

Q: I have a Kemba, Kha Regent on the battlefield, equipped with two Sword of Feast and Famine and 10 Plains. I attack and Kemba goes unblocked. If I have a White Sun's Zenith in my hand, how many tokens can I make?

A: You can end up with 27 Cat creature tokens. After Kemba deals combat damage, both Sword triggers go on the stack. After each trigger has resolved, all players get priority again before the next trigger resolves. And mana is not removed from your mana pool until the current step or phase ends, meaning you can float mana through the step, just as long as you don't let that step end.

What happens here is that you can tap your 10 Plains for mana, let the first Sword trigger resolve (untapping your lands), tap your Plains for 10 more white mana, let the second Sword trigger, then tap your Plains again for 10 more white mana. You now have 30 white mana in your mana pool, and you can spend that all on White Sun's Zenith with X=27 and get 27 Cat tokens.

Q: I'm in a game of two-headed giant, and my teammate has a Chandra, Roaring Flame with six loyalty counters on it. We'd really like to activate the ultimate this turn. Can my teammate activate Chandra's +1, then can I cast Dragonlord Silumgar, gaining control of my teammate's Chandra, then activate the -7 ability?

A: That's pretty sneaky, but it doesn't work. The rules for loyalty abilities say that you can only activate a loyalty ability of that permanent if no player has activated a loyalty ability of that permanent that turn. While you haven't activated a loyalty ability of Chandra that turn, your teammate has, so you won't be able to activate one of Chandra's abilities until your next turn.

Q: My local store holds two FNMs in one night. Is there a rule that says I can't play in both FNMs at the same time?

A: There's no real rules against it, but there would be some logistical issues with your plan. Namely, it's going to be tough to be playing in two matches at the same time and not run into issues with tardiness and slow play (since you can't really play in two matches in two different places at the same time). While ultimately it may come down to if the TO allows it or not, it's probably not going to be worth the hassle.

That's all I have for this week. I'm just going to write a pilot for my spin-off Day's Undoing of Our Lives, but in the meantime, we'll see you next week!

About the Inverter of Truth question - you most likely meant 'process' instead of 'ingest', just to state the obvious.
#1 • Date: 2016-02-08 • Time: 14:37:45 •
Yep, that's what I meant. Fixed. Thanks!
#2 • Date: 2016-02-11 • Time: 02:29:46 •

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