Cranial Insertion: Worldwide Goyf Day



Cranial Insertion
Worldwide Goyf Day
By Eli Shiffrin, Brian Paskoff, and Carsten Haese

[This article is available in Italian here.]


Don't mean to be a downer, but this was
the only birthday-related flavor text
in all of Magic.
It's time to celebrate! Worldwake is finally released, we can finally get to all those Worldwake-related questions that have been piling up in our inbox, and oh yeah - it's my birthday! Once every few years, I get to write a Cranial Insertion that'll be published on my birthday, so to celebrate I tore the wrapping off some Worldwake questions that we couldn't answer and... uh... answered them. See, once the spoilers for a set start rolling in, we who answer the mailbox have to bite our tongues and not answer any questions about spoiled cards. Before the FAQ and the Gatherer update are released, spoilers are very unreliable, especially when it comes to an accurate card wording. So we don't answer any questions for fear of spreading misinformation. But once that FAQ and Gatherer for the next set come out, they're fair game, and we gleefully unwrap your questions like a kid at their birthday party! So let's get to celebrating Goyf Day in style!

Birthday questions can be sent to [email][email protected][/email]. I will also accept Tarmogoyfs in lieu of, or in addition to, your rules questions.




Q: I attack with two Slavering Nulls. One gets blocked by a Wind Zendikon, and the other gets unblocked and his triggered ability triggers. Does the defending player discard the land the Zendikon was enchanting if he had no cards in his hand before combat?

A: Yep! When combat damage resolves, state-based actions kick in and destroy the Zendikon. The triggered abilities of both the Zendikon and the Slavering Null will trigger, and go on the stack in Active Player/Non-Active Player order. His trigger will resolve first, and the land will momentarily go back in his hand before your trigger makes him discard it.




Q: I put a Brink of Disaster on a Quicksand. Can Quicksand's second ability even be used anymore? Since now it gets sacrificed when it's tapped and tapping it is part of the cost, and something can't be sacrificed twice...

A: Sacrificing Quicksand is part of the cost, which means it'll be sacrificed before Brink of Disaster's trigger even goes onto the stack! One of the last steps of activating an ability is to pay the costs for it in any order. It gets sacrificed and tapped (not necessarily in that order, but it doesn't matter) at which point Brink of Disaster triggers. But that trigger won't go onto the stack until the ability is fully activated, at which point Quicksand has already been sacrificed.




Q: I'm playing against some guy who drafted four Halimar Excavators and a bunch of allies. Can I just board in my entire sideboard and some lands, or do I need to stick with the same number of cards I had in game one?

A: In Limited, you can sideboard cards in or out as long as you keep a minimum of 40 cards. Just keep in mind that boarding in a bunch of other cards you wouldn't normally use to avoid being milled might make it harder for you to win as well!




Q: Can I use Ricochet Trap to steal a Crusher Zendikon from my opponent as he casts it and put it on one of my lands? If so, who controls the land creature it turns the land into?

A: You sure can! Auras target while they're on the stack, so they're a spell with a single target. Your opponent will control the Aura, but that doesn't change control of the land it's on. So it's your land dude to swing with.




Q: Even though drafts are supposed to be Zendikar, Zendikar, Worldwake, everyone at FNM wants to draft all Worldwake. Is that legal to sanction?

A: Sure - I personally wouldn't recommend it, as even Zendikar, Worldwake, Worldwake is pretty broken. But as long as everyone in the draft gets the same product, you can sanction anything that you want other than Un-sets.





Questions are the best birthday
presents, so send them in! (Or Goyfs.)
Q: I have a Talus Paladin on the field and I cast Join the Ranks. I know my Paladin gets two +1/+1 counters, but does it get two instances of lifelink as well?

A: It does, but they are very redundant. Lifelink isn't a triggered ability anymore, which is probably what allowed this card to be printed and not be completely broken.




Q: Could you Krosan Grip a Dovescape?

A: You could, but you'd just get a split-second explosion of birdies. Split Second doesn't stop triggered abilities like Dovescape's from triggering.




Q: Can an animated Raging Ravine be bounced with Into the Roil?

A: I'm sorry to say I saw players facing a manland-beatdown with an Into the Roil stuck in their hand many times during the prerelease. Into the Roil says it can only bounce non-land permanents, and although animated lands are creatures, they're still lands, and therefore not legal targets.




Q: If I put a Corrupted Zendikon on my Plains, can I attack with it right away?

A: Only if the land has been under your control since the beginning of your turn. Whether or not that land has been a creature is irrelevant; it can attack and use abilities that require T if the permanent has been under your control since the beginning of your turn.




Q: My opponent has his land enchanted with Crusher Zendikon. Then I play Spreading Seas on that land. What is it now?

A: A 4/2 land creature - Island Beast with trample that taps for U. Spreading Seas replaces the land's land subtype with Island, which replaces the land's original abilities with those of an Island, but doesn't override anything else or remove later-gained abilities.



Q: If I am the person on my team in a Two-Headed Giant game that controls a Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs, can my opponents declare an attack at my partner so that they don't have to pay the 3 and we don't get Ogre tokens?

A: The attacking creature's controlling head will have to pay the toll or their creatures will have to deal with some ogre bouncers. In 2HG, you attack a team, not a player, and both players become defending players.




Q: I have Anowon, the Ruin Sage on the battlefield, as well as Archdemon of Unx. Both require me to sacrifice either a non-Vampire creature or a non-Zombie creature at the beginning of my upkeep. Do they both get sacrificed to each other simultaneously or do I get to choose which one lives and which one gets sacrificed?

A: When numerous triggered abilities would go on the stack at the same time, the player who controls them chooses what order they go on the stack, and then they resolve one at a time. Once a creature is sacrificed to one triggered ability, it can't be sacrificed to another.




Q: My opponent controls a Lodestone Golem. If I cast Bloodbraid Elf and cascade into Blightning, do I have to pay an extra 1 to keep the Blightning from fizzling to the Golem?

A: Blightning is a non-artifact spell, so every Vintage player's new pet Golem will make it cost 1 more. This is true no matter what you're originally paying to cast it, even if you're casting it without its mana cost.

Note that the Blightning doesn't fizzle ("countered upon resolution for having only illegal targets"); it just can't be cast at all without paying.




Q: Without realizing my Calcite Snapper has shroud, my opponent tries to Path to Exile it. Whoops! Does he have to Path his own shroud-less creature now?

A: He attempted to cast Path to Exile illegally (on accident, one would hope). So it's going to go back into his hand, the land he tapped to cast it gets untapped, and the game rewinds to right before attempted to cast it with him getting the appropriate penalty. Nowhere do the game rules suggest he has to pick a different target for it.


"Just what I always wanted! A...
oh, an Immortal Coil.
Q: What if it was a Journey to Nowhere instead?

A: Then yes, he'd have to pick a legal target. Journey to Nowhere itself doesn't target, only its triggered ability does. So playing the Journey was legal, it's just that targeting your Turtle with the ability wasn't. He'd need to pick some other poor creature to go away, even if it is one of his own.




Q: There's only one certified judge in my area, but some other store just opened up and is running sanctioned tournaments without a judge. I thought you couldn't run a tournament without having a judge there?

A: Someone has to be entered in the tournament files as the judge and act as a judge for the event, but they don't need to be certified. In most cases where there's not a certified judge available, the tournament organizer will fill that role.




Q: I have a 2/2 Wolf token equipped with a Kitesail and no other creatures. My opponent only has one creature as well, a Welkin Tern. Can I pay Kitesail's equip cost to unequip it and swing unblocked?
A: Nope. The equip ability is an activated ability that needs a legal target to be activated. You can activate it targeting your hang-gliding Wolf, but it won't make him drop it. Equipment doesn't have any innate way to unattach it, only to attach it to something else.




Q: My 3/3 Beast token and myself are being hit with a landfall-enabled Searing Blaze. I want to use a Refraction Trap to redirect 1 damage that would be dealt to my creature and 2 damage that would be dealt to me, but my opponent says I can't do this because Searing Blaze deals damage in the order written on the card, so the "next 3 damage" is the damage that would be dealt to me. So can I do that?

A: Yep! Most effects on a card happen in the order written, but Searing Blaze uses only one instance of the word "deals," so all the damage happens as a single event. You can redirect part of the damage that would be dealt to your dude, and part of the damage that would be dealt to you.




Q: I'm at 10 life, which means my Death's Shadow is a respectable 3/3 for B. It's no Goyf, of course. If I'm being attacked by two 3/3s and use my 3/3 Death's Shadow to block, does it survive combat?

A: Surprisingly, it does. During the combat damage step, you and your Shadow are both dealt 3 damage. This puts your life total to 7, and your Death's Shadow instantly becomes a 6/6. Once state-based actions are checked, the attacking creature is destroyed due to lethal damage, but your bigger Shadow stays around.




Q: How does Death's Shadow work in Two-Headed Giant?

A: Slightly better than One-Headed Giant actually, since you technically "start" at 15. Death's Shadow wants to know your life total, not your whole team's, and in 2HG, your life total is half your team's life total rounded up. Once your team loses a mere 6 life, you can play your Shadow safely.




Q: If I Momentary Blink a Phage, the Untouchable, can I give it to you fast enough with Bazaar Trader to survive and kill you?

A: No matter how fast you toss Phage across the table like a hot potato, her triggered ability is still on the stack with you controlling it, and you'll lose as soon as it resolves. Giving her to your opponent won't trigger it for them, either, so you'd better think of something fast.




Well that's it for me! I'm going to eat a traditional Goyf birthday dinner (one of each card type). See you next time!

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