Cranial Insertion: She's On Fire



Cranial Insertion
She's On Fire
or, That Was Supposed To Be A Metaphor

By Eli Shiffrin, Brian Paskoff, and Aaron Stevenson


Does Aaron stay with CI?
Did Eli advance to Level 3?
Is Moko cheating on us all?
It's time for another episode of Cranial Insertion, where we mix your questions with the answers, some jocularity, and maybe a little bit of drama-not necessarily in that order of priority. The drama this week is wondering whether we managed to avoid yet another question about the process of Warping Worlds. There's only one way to find out! Actually, that's not true; there are several ways to find out: you could use the search function of your browser, track down the author and ask him, but you're best served by read all the questions and answers.

Now that I've killed the drama through overanalysis, my misplaced sense of timing tells me that this is a good point to remind you that your questions can be sent to [email][email protected][/email], where they're dissected, rated for consistency and texture, and mixed with a good dose of whatever the head chef is using that day.




Q: Let's say I attack with a creature and you block. After the block I use Jump to give the attacking creature flying so it's no longer blocked. One of my friends thinks the blocking creature is now free to block something else. I think he's an idiot. What's the verdict?

As it turns out, you're both wrong, because the creature remains blocked. Evasion abilities like flying affect what can legally be declared as a blocker, but after blockers have been declared, those assignments are locked in. Casting Jump on an attacker that's already been blocked won't make it unblocked; once those creatures engage in honorable combat they'll see it through to its conclusion.




Q: If I control both Glory of Warfare and Spellbreaker Behemoth, can my Battlegrace Angel be countered?

If you're concerned about the Angel being countered, it must be a spell, which means that it isn't yet a permanent. Your Glory of Warfare gives a bonus to "creatures", without qualification, which means that it applies only to permanents. The Angel on the stack doesn't qualify, so it's still just a 4/4, and it can be countered.




Q: I use Haakon, Stromgald Scourge to cast Crib Swap from my graveyard three times. Can my opponent now cast Ravenous Trap for free?

Yes, he can. Each time the Crib Swap changes zones, it's considered a new object. As far as the game is concerned, there were three cards that went to the graveyard this turn, even though they were all represented by the same physical card.




Q: If I give Saffi Eriksdotter a Graceful Reprieve, and I also control an Essence or Soul Warden, can I sacrifice Saffi an arbitrary number of times to gain that much life? Graceful Reprieve says Saffi comes back whenever she goes to the graveyard I assume it works this way.

Graceful Reprieve lets Saffi cheat death exactly once. After she leaves and re-enters the battlefield, she's considered a new object, not the same one that got a Reprieve, so if she dies a second time, she stays dead. Your arbitrarily large life total will require a bit more effort.




Q: My opponent has one fewer land than I do and casts Knight of the White Orchid. With his trigger on the stack, I then Path to Exile his Knight. If he searches for a land because of the Path, does that mean he won't get one from the Knight?

It sure does! Because the Knight's ability has an "intervening if clause", it checks for land inequity both when the ability would trigger and again when that ability resolves. If the condition isn't true on resolution, the ability does nothing. It looks like your opponent is only getting half-duty out of his Knight.




Q: Do I get to gain life if my opponent casts Path to Exile on my Grazing Gladehart?

No. The creature gets exiled and then you get to search up the land. By the time the land makes it onto the battlefield, your antelope is long gone, so its landfall ability won't trigger.





Everybody has burning questions
about this card.
Q: How does Twincast work with Pyromancer Ascension? Does Twincast count as playing another spell?

The answer is both no and yes. Twincast will put a copy of the targeted spell directly on the stack, and that copy won't cause Pyromancer Ascension to trigger, because you didn't cast it. You did cast the Twincast, so it could trigger the Ascension if there's another Twincast in your graveyard, or if the Ascension has two counters on it already.




Q: So, I have a Pyromancer Ascension with one counter on it, and a Lightning Bolt in my graveyard. I cast another Lightning Bolt, and my opponent responds with Jund Charm, choosing to exile my graveyard. Does my Ascension get a second counter?

It sure does! There has to be another Lightning Bolt in your graveyard for the Ascension to trigger, but the ability never checks the contents of your graveyard after that. It doesn't matter what's in there when the ability resolves; once that ability has triggered, the Ascension is going to get a second counter.




Q: If I activate a Quest for Pure Flame and attack with Ball Lightning, how much damage do I have to deal to my opponent's Runeclaw Bear to make it lethal? Is it 1 damage to the Bear and 5 to the player, because the damage is doubled, or do I have to deal 2 to the Bear and only trample for 8?

Unfortunately, the Quest for Pure Flame has no effect on how damage is assigned. You still have to assign lethal damage to the Bear before you can trample the rest over to your opponent. When the damage is actually dealt, that's when it's doubled, so if you hit your opponent as hard as you can, the final tally is 4 to the Bear and 8 to the opponent.




Q: I have a Sen Triplets that's locking down my opponent, but he has a Hive Mind. Does he get a copy of each sorcery I cast or do the Triplets stop him?

He'll get the copies. The Triplets make it so he can't cast any spells, but the Hive Mind just lets him copy your spell; he isn't actually casting anything.




Q: If I attack with seven creatures, does my Beastmaster Ascension make them bigger in time for them to deal extra damage this combat?

Yes! The Ascension triggers seven times and gets as many counters during the declare attackers step. As soon as the seventh counter goes on, the other ability is active, so your attacking creatures are beastly when you move on to assign combat damage.




Q: I attack with Fangren Pathcutter and a slew of other creatures. I also control Stonebrow, Krosan Hero. When the other creatures receive trample from the Pathcutter, will they also get +2/+2 from Stonebrow?

For Stonebrow to trigger, the creatures must have trample at the time that attackers are declared, but they won't get it until after the Pathcutter's ability has resolved, which is well after you've finished declaring attackers. You'll have to give the creatures trample some other way instead.




Q: If I copy a Chronozoa with a Cemetery Puca, then that creature is destroyed with zero time counters, I'm pretty sure I get two new creatures out of the deal. But are they Chronozoas or Cemetery Pucas? Or some weird hybrid?

Actually, "weird hybrid" is about the right way to describe those offspring. The ability that makes them instructs you to make two tokens that are copies of that creature over there, with a big arrow pointing to the space recently vacated by the Puca/Chronozoa. The effect that made the Puca into a Chronozoa is one of the things that gets copied (along with the Puca ability, since that's all part of the same effect) so you get two tokens that look exactly like Chronozoas, with the addition of the Puca ability. Now I'm getting out of here before you turn us all into grey goo.





This was supposed
to be a metaphor!
Q: Off of Warp World, my opponent and I both get Ob Nixilis, the Fallen and enough lands for lethal damage. Is the game a draw?

You couldn't leave it alone, could you? No, somebody will lose, and it's the active player, which is the one who asked about Warp World again -- I mean, the one whose turn it is. That player puts all of the triggers from his Ob Nixilis on the stack, and then the other player puts all of his on the stack. The latter will resolve first, putting the active player at a fatal life total, which ends the game before everything else resolves.




Q: My opponent used Jace Beleren to mill away the twelve cards I had left in my library, and then claimed he was victorious because I'd failed to mill at least one card. I thought I'd get a chance to cast Mnemonic Nexus on my upkeep to stay alive. Who's right?

You are. You lose the game if you fail to draw a card from an empty library, but failing to perform other operations on it doesn't hurt you a bit. You'll survive for long enough.




Q: When a player sacrifices Quest for Ancient Secrets and targets himself, does he shuffle the Quest in as well?

Certainly! He'll pay all the costs to activate the ability before the ability resolves, so the Quest will be sitting in the graveyard when it gets shuffled in.




Q: What is the interaction was between allies like Highland Berserker and -N/-N stuff like Ascendant Evincar? Do they die before kicking off all the good ally stuff?

The Berserker will enter the battlefield, then promptly drop dead because of a state-based action. But even though he's now gone, he did enter the battlefield, which triggered his own ability and those of his allies, so those all get to go on the stack. If you have an ally who's willing to take one for the team, he can still spread the love to his other allies.




Q: I control a Dovescape and Guile. If I cast a sorcery, can I get an arbitrary number of birds by repeatedly recasting the spell through Guile?

Yes, that works. Dovescape tries to counter the spell, but Guile replaces that by exiling it and allowing you to play the spell again. The Dovescape still makes some number of birds, though, as that part doesn't depend on actually countering the spell. And if you chose to cast the spell again, the Dovescape triggers again. Lather, rinse, and repeat until you have enough birds to trap your terrified opponent in a telephone booth.




Q: I used a Vampire Hexmage on my Dark Depths, and my opponent responded to the Marit Lage ability by Ghost Quartering the Dark Depths. I responded to that by using another Hexmage on the Depths so it would trigger again, but a judge ruled that it wouldn't trigger. Why is that?

Sacrificing the second Hexmage doesn't actually do anything relevant here; the Dark Depths has already lost its counters and triggered. As noted last week, the ability on Dark Depths has a state trigger -- one that triggers off of a particular game state. Those abilities can't trigger a second time until the first instance leaves the stack; they'd otherwise just trigger an infinite number of times, one right on top of another.

Q: So there's nothing I can do to get the token?

Actually, there is a rather counterintuitive way to get what you want. You can respond by Stifling the Dark Depths' ability. That'll remove it from the stack, allowing the Dark Depths to trigger again immediately and resolve before the Depths get sent to the Ghost Quarter. Oddly, the way to make sure you get your super-awesome creature token is to counter the ability that creates it.

Quote from 603.8 »
[...] A state-triggered ability doesn't trigger again until the ability has resolved, has been countered, or has otherwise left the stack. Then, if the object with the ability is still in the same zone and the game state still matches its trigger condition, the ability will trigger again.





Well, we hit the Warp World whammy, but as long as you folks keep asking us questions, we'll keep on answering them. Come back next week when we'll have some more, as well as a revelation that will keep you in suspense! Or will it? Dun-Dun-DUN!

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