Cranial Insertion: No More Wood Puns!



Cranial Insertion
No More Wood Puns!
By Eli Shiffrin, Brian Paskoff, and Carsten Haese
[This article is available in Spanish here.]
[This article is available in Italian here.]


Hope everyone had a hoppy
Easter! Muahahaha.
(Oh god don't eat me.)

Hey everyone! Thanks so much for all the birthday wishes! Since you guys were so nice to us, I'll spare you any more wood puns. This is our last article before we start our Rise of the Eldrazi question answerings! It's been rough telling you guys and gals that we can't answer your questions yet when you write in, but soon that'll all be behind us. Once the official FAQ comes out, that's your cue to send us questions about new cards!

Meanwhile, send in your questions about currently official cards to [email][email protected][/email]!




Q: There's a store around here that wants to start running tournaments, but there's no certified judge around. What can they do?
A: Contrary to popular belief, you don't need a certified judge to run your everyday tournaments like FNM. You will need a tournament organizer, but that's certainly not as hard as becoming a judge; all you need to know is the basic tournament stuff. You will need a judge, but that can easily be who ever is the most rules savvy player around at the time, or the tournament organizer themselves; they don't need to be certified. It can be helpful to find a certified judge nearby and ask if they can come show you the ropes of Wizards Event Reporter before you do it yourself, though!




Q: If I Burst Lightning my opponent's Merieke Ri Berit in response to her ability, does she get my creature forever?
A: She won't get your creature at all! If an effect would end before it even begins, it doesn't happen at all. She won't get your creature momentarily and then lose it, so it won't have summoning sickness if it didn't have it before.




Q: How exactly does Goblin Guide work in 2HG?
A: Whenever an effect asks you to find "the defending player" to do something in 2HG, you'll pick a defending player. So, pick a head!




Q: Does the same go for Hypnotic Specter? That's not asking for a defending player... do both players randomly discard a card?
A: That'd be awesome, but no - each creature must assign combat damage to a head. The end result is the same (the team's life total being reduced by 2), but which player taking the damage does come up from time to time, such as combat damage triggers like this one.





By now, any unfound Easter
eggs probably look like this.
Q: With a Aphetto Runecaster under my control, my Summoner's Egg gets destroyed and I flip a Tarmogoyf face up. Do I get to draw a card?
A: Nope - your Tarmogoyf is a permanent card, but it's not a permanent. That's only reserved for cards on the battlefield, and the Goyf is being turned face up while it's still exiled.




Q: Can I wait and see how my opponent is blocking, then give one of my blocked creatures some kind of evasion ability like flying or landwalk to make it unblocked?
A: You can give them any abilities you want, but it still won't change the fact that they've already been blocked. The legality of blockers only cares when it comes time to declare blockers; those evasion abilities don't have any effect for the rest of the combat step.




Q: If I control multiple Finest Hours, how many times can I swing with one creature?
A: Just twice, but you will get multiple attack steps. Attacking alone with the first creature triggers all the Finest Hours (that sounds like pretty good day), but they'll just untap it in the first combat phase. If the creature has vigilance or you have some other way to untap it, you can keep stacking on those exalted triggers, but otherwise you'll have to find some other creature(s) to bash with.




Q: I was digging through some old cards and found a Firestorm Phoenix and was wondering how it worked. How do I prove I'm casting a second Phoenix and not the original one that died, if I'm not willing to reveal my hand?
A: The updated Oracle wording of the card shows how - it wouldn't really work under modern day templating, so now the Phoenix's owner holds that card revealed in their hand until their next turn. Weird, huh?




Q: I have a Bitterblossom, an Archdemon of Unx and a Lord of the Pit. On my upkeep can I order the actions to create a Faerie token, sac it to the Archdemon's upkeep and then sac the 2/2 zombie token to the Lord of the Pit's upkeep?
A: That works! You can put all three of your triggered abilities on the stack in whichever order you want. Put the Lord of the Pit's trigger on the stack first, then the Archdemon's, then Bitterblossom, and you'll get a Faerie token, then a Zombie token, then most importantly, you won't lose 7 life.




Q: What happens if I accidentally shuffle my hand into my library, for example if I'm resolving a fetchland and... whoops.
A: Whoops indeed! This happens pretty rarely, but it's always embarassing... and always unfortunate when I have to tell the player that they have to carry on without a hand. It's just a Game Rule Violation, but we can't really back up here because it's impossible to recreate the game the way it was.




Q: If an indestructible creature without first strike would take lethal damage from a first-striker, is the indestructible creature removed from combat so it doesn't hit back?
A: Nope, it'll keep on charging into the regular combat damage step. You might be confusing this with regenerating creatures, which do leave combat if first strike damage hits them for lethal.




Q: Can I imprint a Dead/Gone on an Isochron Scepter?
A: Yup! Dead/Gone's converted mana cost is 1 and 3, so it can be imprinted. You can also choose which half of the card to play when you use the Scepter's ability.




Q: If I activate Terraformer's ability with a Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle under my control, can I play any land to deal 3 if I have enough lands already on the battlefield?
A: That won't work, for two reasons: For one, Terraformer's ability overwrites Valakut's land types, so it strips its current abilities and gives it the ones of the basic land types you chose. Second, Terraformer's ability only affects lands you control when its ability resolves.




Q: Does Skullclamp let me draw cards if there's a Leyline of the Void under my opponent's control?
A: No - the equipped creature has to be put into your graveyard for the ability to trigger, and they're not going anywhere near your yard with the Leyline out. Doesn't look so bannable now that it's just giving +1/-1, does it?




Q: If I copy a kicked Elemental Appeal, does the token created by the second Elemental Appeal get +7/+0? Or is it only the first token?
A: Both of them will get it, and you'll get a pair of hasty 14/1 tramplers. Copying a spell copies everything about it, including the choice made to kick the spell.




Q: Can I use Shaman's Trance to let me cast cards from my opponent's graveyard with my Chandra Ablaze's ultimate?
A: Hey, that works! The obscure card is good for something after all - Shaman's Trance lets you treat other players' graveyards as though they were yours for the purpose of casting spells, so it works beautifully with Chandra.





20/20 creatures aren't made
for the defense anyway.
Q: I know I get priority after first strike damage has resolved, so can I block with a Vampire Hexmage, then after first strike, sac it at Dark Depths to tag Marit Lage into the ring to block for me too?
A: Nope - though you get priority after first strike damage resolves, you don't get to declare blockers after the declare blockers step has passed. Barring some intervention by an extra combat step being generated, the next chance for Marit Lage to block is the next turn you're attacked.




Q: If a planeswalker somehow becomes a creature, can Sakashima the Impostor copy it with no problems about the whole staying on the battlefield thing?
A: Nope - while retaining its name lets it copy legendary creatures without a hassle, planeswalkers care about their subtype, which it will copy. Both it and the other planeswalker will die due to state-based actions.




Q: Why do I take 4 damage from a Ball Lightning blocked by a Kor Firewalker? Don't you have to assign enough damage to destroy it?
A: You have to assign lethal damage to all blocking creatures before assigning the rest to the defending player, but that doesn't take into account any abilities that'd prevent or modify that damage. The Kor Firewalker might survive, but if you're at 4 or less life that'll be pretty moot once you lose the game.




Q: When are Rise of the Eldrazi cards legal for EDH?
A: Compared to the other, lesser constructed formats, EDH is one step ahead again. You'll get to enjoy Rise of the Eldrazi cards one week early, because they're legal in EDH as of the set's prerelease.




The next time I see you, I'll be answering some Rise of the Eldrazi questions! Can't wait!

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