Cranial Insertion: Happy Almost Birthday!

Cranial Insertion
Happy Almost Birthday!
By Eli Shiffrin, Brian Paskoff, and Carsten Haese

[This article is available in Spanish here.]
[This article is available in Italian here.]

The fifth anniversary is also
the daisy anniversary. No joke there,
we just appreciate flowers!

Welcome back to Cranial Insertion! I don't know if you guys remembered (we're going to pretend you did), but next week is CI's fifth anniversary! And although I haven't been here for all five glorious years, being a part of CI has been an amazing experience and I can't wait for the anniversary dinner! Now the fifth anniversary is traditionally the wood anniversary, but I'm forbidden from making puns about that for mostly ethical reasons. It's also the silverware anniversary, so let's get started spoon-feeding you a heaping dish of questions!

Next week is a super special anniversary edition of Cranial Insertion, where we've got something super special planned, but please send in your questions to [email][email protected][/email] and we'll get to 'em ASAP!

Q: If my opponent controls an Aven Mincensor and I cast Gifts Ungiven, what do I do if the top four cards of my library don't all have different names?

A: You'll be forced to find only three or less cards with different names. However, even if you're able to find three cards with different names, you can find one or two if you want. After all, your opponent can't prove what the names of your top four cards are, so you can fail to find as many as you'd like. And that goes for other searches too where you're finding cards with specific qualities.

Q: So what do I shuffle if I'm being censored by an Aven Mindcensor? My whole library, or just the cards I searched through?

A: The whole thing. Aven Mindcensor replaces the searching part, but whenever you search, you shuffle your entire library.

Q: I know they occasionally reprint cards at new rarities, and Gatherer lists what rarities the card was in each different set. Is there any way to tell what the "official" rarity on a card is?

A: There's no "official" rarity. Many players who want to know the rarity of a card for some purposes (like Pauper Magic) look at the lowest printed rarity of a card (which is what I did for my all common/uncommon cube!), and some go with the most current printing, but your mileage may vary. Outside of Un-sets, the rarity of a card doesn't matter.

Q: With Treasure Hunt, am I drawing the cards or just putting them into my hand?

A: Treasure Hunt doesn't specifically mention the word "draw", so you're not drawing cards while you dig for buried treasure.

Magic cards are made out of paper,
which comes from wood pulp. So is the
fifth anniversary the Magic card
anniversary too?
Q: If I play a Wooded Foothills and enchant it with a Vastwood Zendikon, can I tap it, sac it, and get the land back in my hand right away, or does it have summoning sickness?

A: Even freshly walking woodlands can get summoning sick. If your Wooded Foothills was just played this turn, you can't tap it until your next turn since there's that pesky tap symbol in the activation cost. If the Foothills has been around for a while though, you can pop it right away and get it back in your hand.

Q: If I Twincast a copy of a Blue Elemental Blast copied by a Fork, what color is the Twincast copy?

A: Red! Copy effects copy the printed characteristics, plus any copy effects applying to the copied object. Fork says the copy it makes is red, so that's a copiable value. Twincast is the "fixed" version of Fork to avoid this kind of confusion.

Q: If I hook up a Siege-Gang Commander with a Basilisk Collar and then throw itself at a Wall of Wood, would the wall die to deathtouch?

A: The source of the damage will be Siege-Gang Commander as it last existed on the battlefield - and at that time, it had deathtouch and lifelink. Not only will the Wall crumble, but you'll gain 2 life, all thanks to Last Known Information!

Q: Have cards like Felidar Sovereign been errated in EDH or banned outright?

A: Nope, they work as printed. There's currently no power-level errata in EDH, which is why Karakas is now banned. Felidar Sovereign has to stick around for a turn to do its thing, AND requires you to be at the same amount of life or higher than you started the game with, which are probably among the reasons it hasn't gotten the ban stick yet.

Q: Is a Comet Storm with only one target selected a legal target for Swerve? What about a Comet Storm that had two targets, but one was exiled with a Path to Exile in response?

A: A Comet Storm with one target is a spell with only one target, so it can be Swerved just fine. But if it had two targets at the time it was cast, it still has two targets even though one will be found illegal when it goes to resolve, so there'll be no Swerving it there.

Well here's one gift no one wants.
Besides, judges have a hard enough
time winning games anyway!
Q: Can I pay the equip cost for a Whispersilk Cloak, target my Abyssal Persecutor, and then in response to that give the Persecutor to my opponent with Bazaar Trader? I think this works - I still control the equipment, and now he can't target the demon with removal spells, right?

A: Who doesn't want a 6/6 flying trampley shroudy demon on their side? However, this doesn't work fully as you want. Your opponent will just end up with the Persecutor, but Whispersilk Cloak won't be attached to it, as the equip ability will fizzle for lack of a legal target. "Equip" is short for "Attach this card to a creature you control", and by the time the Cloak's equip ability tries to resolve, the Demon's not a creature you control any longer.

Q: What about the same trick with a Canopy Cover? Who can't target the Abyssal Persecutor after I give it to another player?

A: You're the only one who can target it still. Canopy Cover isn't giving the creature "Troll shroud", so when it says "an opponent controls" it's talking about opponents of the controller of Canopy Cover.

Q: Can I cast a Burning Inquiry from my graveyard with Chandra Ablaze and then, during the resolution of the same Chandra ultimate, cast whatever I discard to the Burning Inquiry?

A: Nope. The fiery red-head will let you cast spells, and although they'll go onto the stack, they won't resolve until Chandra's ultimate has finished exploding.

Q: I cast a Jwari Shapeshifter to copy my Halimar Excavator, but my opponent Lightning Bolts the Excavator in response. I say it'll use last known information to come in as a copy of the Excavator, but my friend says it'll come in as a 0/0 and die right away. Who's right?

A: He is, but only if you have no other Allies, or for some reason don't choose to have it copy one. Jwari Shapeshifter doesn't target on the stack, or at all for that matter, so you saying you're going to copy the Excavator only tells him what your intent is to copy when it resolves.

Q: Can I kill a Kor Firewalker with Soul's Fire as long as the creature dealing the damage isn't red?

A: This seems like it could happen as Soul's Fire isn't dealing the damage, the creature is. Buuuut, Soul's Fire is the thing doing the targeting, and it can't target a creature with protection from red.

Q: If I use Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker to steal my opponent's Nyxathid, whose hand size does it count, mine or his?

A: It'll still count yours. The restriction about choosing an opponent only matters as Nyxathid enters the battlefield and an opponent of its controller is chosen. After that, the chosen player matters, so it'll still check your hand size to determine just how big it is (or isn't).

Q: Does Spellstutter Sprite count itself for its ability? And will it counter itself if there's only one other Faerie on the field when I cast it and there's no legal target on the stack?

A: Spellstutter Sprite will indeed check itself, because it'll presumably still be on the battlefield when its trigger resolves. Since it triggers when it enters the battlefield, at that time it's already resolved and therefore not on the stack to be a legal target for its ability anymore.

Q: My opponent has two lands in their graveyard. If I Bituminous Blast his Knight of the Reliquary in response to its ability, will it kill it?

A: Nope. Sacrificing the land is part of the cost to activate the ability, so it's a 5/5 before you get priority to cast the BitBlast.

Q: If I Mindslaver my opponent, can I make him cast a Pact of Negation from his hand and target itself?

A: As long as there's a valid target, you can. A spell needs a legal target to be cast, and a spell is never a legal target for itself. If he's got another spell he's able to cast, you can cast that, then Pact of Negation it.

Q: If I have two Empyrial Archangels out, am I invincible?

A: Not very, but it'll take a lot of damage to kill you or your Angels. Both set up a replacement effect that changes what happens when you would take damage, so you'll get to choose which Angel takes the hit each time you take damage. If you take 7 damage from an Enormous Baloth, you can redirect it to one Angel, and then if you take 7 damage from a Fireball later that turn you can redirect it to the other Angel, leaving both of them alive!

Well that's it for me this week! Tune in next week for a super special anniversary edition of CI!


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