Cranial Insertion: Morningtide!

Cranial Insertion
or, You Were Expecting a Bad Pun, Weren't You? We Like to Stay Unpredictable

By Eli Shiffrin, Tom Fowler, and Ted Dickinson

Maralen, my bitterness, I've
fallen to a stranger nightmare.
Now that Morningtide cards are floating around like faeries who inhaled helium to sound even squeakier, the questions will surely come flooding in.

Except, well, Morningtide is easy. Its worst questions already came up in Lorwyn. Good for you, bad for our mailbox, but that's okay - that just means that we won't have three months of almost exclusively Morningtide questions like we did with Lorwyn! Those questions were full of calories, and Moko's getting a little heavy.

On with the show!

Q: How do multiple kinship triggers work?

A: The same way as any other bunch of upkeep triggers.

Your upkeep starts, and you put them on the stack in any order you'd like. You resolve the first one, peek, and then possibly reveal it. The card never moves - it's still on top of your library, and without any other manipulation, you will reveal the same card for each trigger.

You can, however, use something like Sensei's Divining Top between each trigger, and some kinship triggers will cause the top card of your library to change all on their own.

Q: With combat damage on the stack, I hit my opponent's Rogue with Nameless Inversion. Can he still prowl out cards? Does it make a difference whether or not the creature dies?

A: It doesn't make a difference - he can't prowl. The game will either see a typeless creature dealing damage, or it will see a now-deceased creature dealing damage and use its last-known information, and that creature had no creature types just before it left play.

Bonus! The same applies to kinship. If you blast a critter into oblivion with Nameless Inversion, the resolving kinship trigger will remember its source as a creature with no types, so nothing at all can share a type with it.

Q: If I deal damage to my opponent with Shadowmage Infiltrator and then give him the subtype "Rogue" with the card I draw, does that count as having dealt damage with a Rogue for prowl?

A: Your Shadowmage is multiclassing in vain, for it did not deal damage as a Rogue. The definition of prowl includes this happy little bit:

...if a player was dealt combat damage this turn by a source that, at the time it dealt that damage, was under your control and had any of this spell's creature types.

Q: Does Stonybrook Banneret make Merfolk Wizards cost 2 less?

A: Ah, the most frequently asked question of the prerelease.


This is one ability and it only asks "Are you either a Merfolk or a Wizard?" In order to reduce the cost by 2, you'd need it to ask twice, like our good friend Auggy.

Now the war is gone and I am one.
Oh, Yawgmoth, help me.
Q: I have Veteran's Armaments attached to a Goldmeadow Stalwart and I attack. I also have a Militia's Pride, so I put the token-making trigger on top of the stack. Token comes into play, I attach the Armaments to it. Now who gets the bonus when the Armaments trigger resolves?

A: Your Stalwart will get the bonus. This is because the triggered ability is not tied to the Armaments. Rather, the Armaments grant the ability to the creature, and it's the Stalwart's trigger that resolves, not the Armaments'.

Your newborn Kithkin Soldier will be rather sad and disappointed, since it came into play attacking and was not declared an attacker, and thus will not get any sort of bonus from his shiny new Armaments.

Q: Through a series of silly cards (Conspiracy, Life and Limb), all of my creatures are also Forests now. Will I get Reach of Branches back right away after I use it to put a Saproling Forest into play?

A: Word is telling me to visit Saproling Forest. How I wish, Microsoft Word, how I wish.

If you have Reach of Branches in your graveyard, this odd little token will indeed bring it back; apply all continuous effects before checking for comes-into-play triggers.

But I said "if you have Reach of Branches in your graveyard" for a reason. The one that you just played and that just made that token? Yeah, it's still on the stack. It's not quite in your graveyard yet until the very last part of resolving, after spitting out a token. Since Reach's trigger mentions taking it out of the graveyard, it can only trigger if it's actually in the graveyard as the trigger event occurs.

Q: Can Heritage Druid tap itself right away for mana?

A: The tap symbol symbol is noticeably absent from our druidic friend here. That means that he - or any other freshly-played creatures - can be tapped to play his ability. The interplanar phenomena known as "summoning sickness" only restricts tapping in order to pay a cost of :symtap:, but not a cost of "tap."

Q: Since Deglamer says to choose the target, and not just "target," is the choice made on resolution?

A: Nope. Here's a handy rule of thumb that you can cross-stitch into a beautiful sampler and hang on your living room wall:

If there is a target, it will be chosen on announcement. Always.

Seriously. Always. That's part of what the word "target" means in Magic. Sometimes the word "target" appears in odd places due to different templates or attempts to make a card readable in plain English, but it never changes when a target is chosen.

Q: How does Slithermuse interact with my opponent's Plagiarize? Will my opponent deck himself since he keeps having more cards in hand than me?

A: Your opponent is unfortunately safe. Slithermuse isn't a very smart animal, so it has to make careful plans before it engages them. As the ability starts to resolve, it'll say "what is the difference between X and Y? Oh god, math is hard." Luckily, it has a calculator to help it subtract 3 from 5.

Now that the difference - 2 - has been determined, that is how many cards will be drawn, and the rest of the ability happens. It won't keep recalculating; that would involve far, far too much brain activity.

Q: Will Frogtosser Banneret reduce the prowl cost of my Rogue spells?

A: He will indeed! Prowl is an alternate cost, but it's still a cost that involves generic mana (Well, most of the time. If the prowl cost is B, you're out of luck.) so the Banneret will reduce it.

Q: In a Two-Headed Giant game, I control an Obsidian Battle-Axe and my teammate plays a changeling. Can I put my Axe on his guy?

A: Sure! The equip ability requires a target creature you control, but Equipments chafe against these harsh restraints, and will gladly sit anywhere you stick them, much like a zombified chimpanzee that will not get off my laptop stop that now or SO HELP ME

[Cranial Insertion is experiencing technical difficulties. We apologize for this delay. Please enjoy these soothing sounds of your computer fan humming during this intermission. -The Management]

As I was saying, the only normal restriction for which objects an Equipment can be attached to are 1) it must be a creature, and 2) it must not have protection from the Equipment's qualities. It doesn't matter who controls the equipped creature once the Equipment gets there.

Q: Auntie's Snitch gains trample, attacks, and deals damage to both my opponent and his blocker, who kills the Snitch. Will I get it back?

A: Your Snitch is going to be stuck in the graveyard for a bit. As combat damage is dealt, the Snitch is not in your graveyard, so its intervening "if" clause fails, and it won't trigger. The Snitch won't be in your graveyard until state-based effects are checked.

Bonus! If Auntie's Snitch somehow dies at the exact same time that damage is dealt, without waiting around for state-based effects to see lethal damage (hello Kill-Suit Cultist!) you'll get it back. This is because the trigger condition is combat damage being dealt to a player, so the trigger will be based on the game state immediately after the damage is dealt (but still before state-based effects are checked).

Q: What if I don't like any of the cards I see with Cream of the Crop? Can I put them all on the bottom?

A: That's not quite an option you have. As long as you're looking at at least one card, you'll have a card that you can put on the top. The "may" is tied to the looking, not the putting, so you are required to put one back.

Here's a Shoal again!
Q: What happens first when I sacrifice Flagstones of Trokair to Scapeshift?

A: You won't sacrifice the Flagstones until Scapeshift is already resolving; the sacrifices are not "as an additional cost," so they must be made on resolution. So now you'll complete the resolution of Scapeshift, dig up some shiny new lands, drop them into play tapped, shuffle, and then you're done with Scapeshift. It goes to the graveyard.

And then the Flagstones trigger is put on the stack! Hurra! You get to search for yet another land, this one with more restrictions. This will always be after you completely resolve Scapeshift; there's no way around this.

Q: If I have Leyline of the Void in play, will my opponent's Research the Deep return to his hand if he wins the clash?

A: Sure. The "clashback" spells never touch the graveyard; remember that being put into the graveyard is the very last part of resolution. During resolution, long before the grave, you perform the clash and possibly yoink the spell back to your hand, all while the spell is still on the stack.

Q: Sunflare Shaman dies with its ability on the stack. Will it deal 1 more damage, or none at all?

A: It'll deal 1 more damage. The Shaman's ability exists independently on the stack once activated, and it couldn't care less whether or not it actually deals damage to itself. The number of Elemental cards is also not counted until the resolution of the ability, giving you plenty of time to load up your grave with Elementals!

Q: Can Rivals' Duel target two artifact creatures?

A: Sure, if they don't share a creature type. Following the Great Creature Type update, Nameless Race is the only creature in all of Magic (ignoring Un- cards, which never get updates) which doesn't have a creature type.

Your question seems to hinge on creatures without types, such as two face-down critters. Since they have no types, they can't possibly share a type, and they will happily fight over the claim that one's brand of blankness is better than the other's.

Q: What happens if one of Rivals' Duel's targets is sacrificed in response?

A: Then nothing at all happens. The nonexistent target can't be dealt damage by the legal target, and since the nonexistent target is an illegal target, the Duel can't make it do something - in this case, it can't make it deal damage.

Q: How does Declaration of Naught work with split cards? Assault on the stack will never have the same name as Assault//Battery, so can it never be countered by Declaration?

A: When you're dealing with split cards, you need to remember that you'll always get two answers. In this case, the name of the card isn't simply "Assault//Battery" but rather both "Assault" and "Battery." So for a spell named "Assault" on the stack, ask the Declaration if it matches. Does "Assault" match "Battery?" No. Does "Assault" match "Assault?" Yes! That one "yes" is all you need, so it's countered.

Mark Gottlieb recently announced that the Comprehensive Rules will be updated to cover this more clearly.

Q: Can Negate counter a tribal spell?

A: It can. Tribal spells have creature types, but they are not creature spells, since they lack the card type "creature."

Q: Will Shared Animosity make my Militia's Pride token bigger?

A: Nope. Remember that a creature that is put into play attacking is an attacking creature, but it never attacked. A creature only "attacks" when it is chosen as an attacker during the Declare Attackers step of the Combat Phase.

Q: If I play two Mudbutton Clangers and I have an Obsidian Battle-Axe, one will get haste and then the other. Can they both attack now?

A: One had haste, but then it lost haste. It's feeling pretty sluggish now. Since it doesn't currently have haste and since you haven't controlled it continuously since your turn started, it's not going to attack for you.

That's enough for today, but we'll be back next week with a lot more odd little questions about Morningtide and lots of exciting Comprehensive Rules changes to go with the set. Remember, Morningtide will be legal for Constructed events the day it's released, at the end of next week!

Until next time, kick back, relax, and enjoy your dawn.

- Eli Shiffrin
Tucson, Arizona


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