Published on 04/11/2016


How I Learned To Love the Number Thirteen

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 Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes.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.

Wait! Wait! Come back!
Hi everyone, and welcome back. Most people have a fear of the number 13 - they consider it unlucky, just like walking under a ladder or having a black cat cross their path. But 13 isn't unlucky to me. Maybe it's because I was born on Friday the 13th. Or maybe I think being afraid of a number is silly. But whatever the reason, we've come back to Innistrad, where I'm sure we'll have plenty of 13-related shenanigans like we used to.

Have some rules questions for us? Feel free to contact us! If you have a short question, you can tweet them at us via Twitter at @CranialTweet. If you have a longer question, you can contact us via e-mail at . We might even use your question in a future article! But let's get right to it.

Q: I cast a Byway Courier, but my opponent countered it with Broken Concentration. Will I get a clue token?

A: Sorry, but you're going to be a little clueless. The Courier's ability triggers when it dies, meaning that it has to go to the graveyard from the battlefield. But your Courier did not die - it went from the stack to the graveyard. Since it didn't die, you won't get the Courier's trigger and you won't get the clue token.

Q: I have an enchantment, creature, and artifact in my graveyard. I cast Descend upon the Sinful. Will the Descend count as a card in my graveyard while it's resolving, so I get the delirium bonus?

A: Sorry, that doesn't work. While an instant or sorcery spell is resolving, it's still on the stack. It doesn't go to the graveyard until the final step of resolution. While we're resolving the Descend, it's still on the stack, and will not count towards its delirium. Since you don't have four or more card types among the cards in your graveyard, you won't get the token.

Q: I have a 2/2 and a Murderer's Axe on the battlefield. I activate the Axe's ability, discarding Biting Rain and casting it via madness. Does the Axe become equipped before the Rain resolves?

A: Negative. The madness trigger goes on the stack above the Axe's activated ability and resolves first. If you cast Biting Rain via madness, the Rain will resolve before the equip ability resolves and before the Axe becomes attached to your 2/2. Your 2/2 will die before it gets the bonus from the Axe.

Q: I attacked with a 4/4 creature. My opponent cast Dance with Devils and blocked my 4/4 with both of his new Devil tokens. Is my 4/4 going to die?

A: That's up to you. If you want your 4/4 to survive, there's a way. While your 4/4 has to assign damage equal to its power among the creatures blocking it, there's no requirement that you have to assign lethal damage to all creatures blocking it if it's able to. If you want to, you can have your 4/4 assign all of its damage to just one of the Devil tokens and assign no damage to the other Devil token. Only that Devil token will die, while the other will survive. Since only one Devil token died, they'll only get to deal one more damage. Even if they target your 4/4, it will have only taken 3 damage this turn and it survives.

Q: My opponent controls an Accursed Witch. I gain control of the Witch with Malevolent Whispers, and the Witch dies under my control. Who will have Infectious Curse attached to them when it returns to the battlefield?

A: Your opponent is going to be shouting "Curses!" after this play. Since the Witch died under your control, you control the Witch's dies trigger. It doesn't matter that it ended up in your opponent's graveyard, what matters is that you controlled the Witch when it died. Since you controlled the Witch when it died, you get return it to the battlefield transformed, attached to your opponent.

Q: Last turn, I played Skin Invasion on one of my creatures. This turn, the enchanted creature died, and Skin Invasion transformed into Skin Shedder. Can I attack with Skin Shredder this turn?

A: It cannot attack. When the enchanted creature died, the Invasion's ability triggered and the Invasion went to the graveyard. When that trigger resolved, the Invasion returned to the battlefield transformed. However, it did leave your control for a short time, so when it returns as Skin Shedder, it did not start your turn under your control, and it will be affected by "summoning sickness" and can't attack this turn.

Q: I have a Falkenrath Gorger on the battlefield, and I discard Incorrigible Youths. If I want to cast it for its madness cost, do I need to pay or ?

A: It's your choice! When you discard the Youths, there's two replacement effects that want to apply: the madness effect from the Youth, and the madness effect given to the Youth by the Gorger. The player who is discarding the Youths gets to choose which replacement effect they want to apply. Assuming you wish to conserve your mana, you'll choose to exile it to the Youth's own madness ability and you'll be able to cast the Youths for .

Q: I control a Thalia's Lieutenant and five other humans. I exile all of them with Eerie Interlude. What happens when they return to the battlefield at the end of the turn?

A: You're going to get the best of both worlds. The Lieutenant enters the battlefield, so the first ability will trigger. But the Lieutenant also sees the other five Humans entering at the same time as itself, so its second ability will trigger five times. The end result is that your other Humans will get one +1/+1 counter placed on them, and the Lieutenant will end up with five +1/+1 counters on itself.

What a horrible night to have a fall

Q: I have Olivia, Mobilized for War on the battlefield, and cast Goblin Dark-Dwellers. Can I stack the triggers so can I discard Macabre Waltz to Olivia's trigger, then target it with the Dark-Dweller's triggered ability and cast it?

A: Nope. Both Olivia's trigger and the Dark-Dweller's ability trigger when the Dark-Dwellers enters the battlefield. While you can choose the order those triggers are put on the stack, since the Dark-Dweller's ability targets, you have to choose a target for the ability when it's put on the stack. At that point, the Waltz is still in your hand, not in the graveyard, so it's not a legal target for the ability.

Q: My opponent discarded Avacyn's Judgment, and cast it with via madness with X=5. Can I counter it with a Disdainful Stroke?

A: Nope. Converted mana cost is derived from the mana cost of the spell, not what you paid to cast the spell. Even if you cast Avacyn's Judgment via madness, it's converted mana cost is still two, no matter what value was picked for X. Even when cast by its madness cost, its converted mana cost is still two and is not a legal target for the Stroke.

Q: I have four different card types in my graveyard, giving me the delirium bonus. I attack with Paranoid Parish-Blade. After first strike combat damage has been dealt, I exile all of the cards in my graveyard to cast a Murderous Cut. Since my Parish-Blade no longer has first strike, will it be able to deal damage during the normal combat damage step?

A: Nope, that doesn't work. At the beginning of the normal combat damage step, all creatures that didn't have first or double strike when the first strike combat damage step began, plus all creatures with double strike, will get to deal damage. Although the Parish-Blade doesn't have first strike anymore, it did have first strike when the first strike combat damage step began, so it won't be able to deal any damage during the normal combat damage step.

Q: My opponent is attacking me with a 4/4 creature and a 4/4 with trample. I block both of them with Watcher in the Web. Will I take any trample damage?

A: You'll take up to three points of damage from the trampler. When you're assigning damage, you take damage that's being assigned by other creatures at the same time to determine if it has lethal damage assigned to it yet. The 4/4 trampler will see that the other 4/4 will assign four damage to the Watcher, so the trampler can assign one damage to the Watcher and the remaining three damage to the defending player.

Q: I have two cards in my hand, and a Geralf's Masterpiece in my graveyard. I really want to discard those two cards. Can I activate the Masterpiece's ability and only discard the two cards just to get them out of my hand?

A: Sorry, that's not allowed. We don't allow you to partially pay the cost of a spell or ability - it's an all or nothing affair. If you don't have three cards in your hand, you won't be able to activate the Masterpiece's ability, no matter how badly you want to get those other cards out of your hand.

Q: I cast Lightning Axe, discarding Geistblast. Can I activate Geistblast's ability and copy the Lightning Axe I just cast?

A: Yes you can! You discard Geistblast as part of the cost of casting Lightning Axe. After you're done announcing the Axe, the Geistblast is in your graveyard and the Axe is on the stack. You get priority before the Axe resolves, so you'll be able to activate Geistblast's ability and copy the Axe you just cast and make a copy of it.

Looks like someone walked under the wrong ladder.

Q: My opponent cast Magmatic Chasm. I counter it with Invasive Surgery while I have delirium. I decided it's in my best interest to leave the Chasm that I just countered in their graveyard. Can I do that?

A: That seems strange, but yes, you can do that. The Surgery tells you to search their graveyard, hand, and library for any number of cards with the same name as the countered sorcery. "Any number" includes 0. If you'd rather leave your opponent's Chasm in their graveyard instead of exiling it, you can do that.

Q: How does Brain in a Jar work with split cards? What about split cards with fuse?

A: Using a Brain in a Jar to cast your split cards is a pretty smart play. A split card has two converted mana costs. For instance, Dead // Gone has a converted mana cost of 1 and 3, not 4. If the Jar has either one or three counters on it when the ability resolves, you'll be able to cast Dead or Gone - your choice. You don't even have to cast the side with the same converted mana cost as the number of counters on the Jar - if the Jar had one counter on it, you could choose to cast Gone.

Things get even better if it's a split card with fuse, like Breaking // Entering. Since you're casting the card from your hand, you're able to cast the split card fused. That means if you have the Jar with two counters on it, you can choose to cast Breaking // Entering fused and get both effects at a pretty decent discount.

Q: I cast Thing in the Ice, and then sacrifice my Vampire Hexmage to remove all of the counters from the Thing. Will it immediately transform?

A: Well, not quite immediately, but you did take a big shortcut. Thing in the Ice only checks the number of counters on it when its triggered ability resolves. While you did manage to remove all of the counters from the Thing with the Hexmage, you still need to cast an instant or sorcery to cause the Thing's ability to trigger. It won't remove a counter (since it has no ice counters on it), but then it will transform.

Q: I control The Gitrog Monster and am enchanted by a Wheel of Sun and Moon. During my upkeep, I sacrifice a land. What happens?

A: Your Monster looks a little sad. The Monster's ability triggers when a land is put into your graveyard from anywhere. But Wheel of Sun and Moon replaces going to the graveyard with going to the bottom of your library instead. The land never makes it to the graveyard, so the Monster's ability won't trigger and you won't get to draw a card.

Q: Dracula, The Wolfman, and The Mummy are in a three player game. Dracula is at 13 life, The Wolfman is at 1 life, and The Mummy is at 7 life. Dracula has a Triskaidekaphobia on the battlefield, and chooses the mode "Each player with exactly 13 life loses the game, then each player loses 1 life" at the beginning of their upkeep. What happens when the trigger resolves?

A: Once a spell or ability starts to resolve, it will continue resolving, even that spell or ability's controller leaves the game in the middle of resolution. In this situation, the first thing that happens when Triskaidekaphobia's trigger resolves is that all players with 13 life lose the game, so Dracula is out. But that doesn't stop the rest of the trigger from resolving. The next thing that happens is that The Wolfman and The Mummy each lose 1 life, and they end up at 0 life and 6 life respectively. Now we check state-based actions, and The Wolfman loses the game since they're at 0 life, leaving The Mummy as the last monster standing.

Q: I want to play four Jace, Vryn's Prodigy and four Thing in the Ice in my deck. I can find enough checklist cards for Thing in the Ice, but not for Jace. What am I going to do?

A: You're fine! Shortly after our article from last week went up, the rules changed. If you're running a checklist card, then all versions of that card in your deck have to represented by checklist cards (that didn't change). But if you can only find checklist cards for your four Things in the Ice but not enough for the four Jaces you want to run, you can run the checklist cards for Thing in the Ice, and you can run the actual Jaces in your deck.

That's all I have for this week. We'll see you all next week!

Doesn't Avacyn's Judgement have cmc 6 while it's on the stack? I thought that x was always zero except while it was on the stack, which is where the Disdainful Stroke is looking for it. Is it because the x isn't part of the casting cost, but instead the madness cost? Or, is it because madness is an ability instead of an alternate casting cost, like with Bonfire of the Damned?
#1 • Date: 2016-04-11 • Time: 12:25:23 •
Converted mana cost of a spell is derived from the mana cost of the spell, not what you paid to cast it. The mana cost of the Judgment is always 1R, even if you're casting it via madness. There's no X in the mana cost of the Judgment, so it doesn't matter what value you pick for X when you cast it via madness - the converted mana cost stays the same.
#2 • Date: 2016-04-11 • Time: 17:42:23 •

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