Cranial Insertion: Until the End of the World

Cranial Insertion
Until the End of the World
or, Kaboom!

By Eli Shiffrin, Tom Fowler, and Ted Dickinson

So, did you all enjoy your Planar Chaos? Did the tectonic plates heave and toss your city into the roiling oceans? Did the stars align and bring forth the Great Old Ones to play sealed deck with you? Did you pwn Cthulhu in round one?

Somehow I doubt you'd be reading this article if you played against Cthulhu.

Quite a few of the cards in this set seem to have also devoured some people's minds. Following in Time Spiral's footsteps, almost every card needs to be read three or four times to pick up all of the little things it does, making for lots and lots of judge calls.

If you still have questions, just mail them to [email][email protected][/email] and we'll answer them for you. Your question could even end up in a column where we'll answer it with a monkey!

These questions came from the prereleases in Arizona and southern California. We'll start with the absolute best question of the day:

Q: (With five cards in hand) Do these cards together do what I think they do?

A: Um. Yes. No. Maybe. Maybe more information, please?

You do have the right to take a judge aside and ask. Please do so instead of being frustratingly vague.

Q: Does Piracy Charm stop Mire Boa from regenerating?

A: Arrr, the snake is a goner. Regeneration prevents destruction, but having 0 toughness doesn't destroy – it just plops the creature directly into the graveyard. Bye-bye, snake.

Q: Can I respond to Chronozoa's "sacrifice me" trigger by sacrificing it to Greater Gargadon and still get the babies?

A: That works just fine. It has no counters on it, and it's a dead li'l paramecium. You can definitely respond to the sacrifice ability, since it's a triggered ability (starts with "when").

Q: Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth lets all my other lands tap for Black mana, right?

A: That would be the whole point of those lands being Swamps! Happy swamping.

Note that even lands that normally can't produce mana can tap for Black mana now – including the Tomb itself – and things like the dual lands and painlands will tap for their other colors, too.

Q: If my opponent kills the creature I target with Whitemane Lion, is the Lion countered?

A: Well, for starters, Lion doesn't target. None of the rescue creatures do, so you'll get to (or rather, have to) rescue someone, possibly the rescue creature itself, and you'll choose who that is when the ability resolves.

The Lion's ability triggers when it comes into play, and is not part of playing it. It's already happily resolved by the time that its trigger goes on the stack.

Q: My opponent used Orim's Chant on me with kicker. In response, I drew a bunch of cards. Now it's the end of my turn and I have 9 cards in hand, including two Reckless Wurms. Can I play them yet?

A: You can. During the cleanup, first "until end of turn" and "this turn" effects end, and then you discard, and then (and only then) do triggers from those things go on the stack, such as madness triggers from discarding down to 7 cards.

Eli’s favorite new card.
Q: If I sacrifice Necrotic Sliver to blow something up, can my opponent sacrifice his sliver to blow something up in response?

A: Nope. As soon as the Necrotic Sliver leaves play, all other Slivers forget how to cast Vindicate. They apparently have the attention span of a goldfish, as indicated on Necrotic Sliver's own flavor text. Since the sacrifice is part of the cost to use the ability, they cannot respond until the Necrotic Sliver is long dead and pushing up the thallids.

Q: In Two-Headed Giant, can I discard one card and my teammate discard two to counter Phantasmagorian?

A: No, you and your teammate are not one player, even if you are Siamese twins. One player by himself must discard three cards to stop the Phantasmagorian.

Moko’s favorite new card.
Q: If I Pongify Stuffy Doll, do I get a monkey and keep my doll?

A: Either your doll gets a little monkey or your monkey gets a little doll. Moko prefers to own the doll so he can poke it with pins. I think he taped Mark Gottlieb's name on it because he let Ovinize be printed.

The Doll is indestructible, so the entire "destroy" part will fail miserably. But Pongify will still do as much as it can, and drop a monkey into play.

Q: Can I bounce a Soldier token and Stormfront Riders when I play it just so I get another token?

A: That works nicely. The token will go to your hand for a brief instant before it ceases to exist, and the Riders will trigger on their own leaving because they say they do.

Q: I put Dust Corona on a creature with flying. Can anything block it? Aether Membrane?

A: If there's anything aside from Flash Foliage that can block it, I can't think of it. Aether Membrane certainly can't.

For the purpose of checking blocker legality, Aether Membrane has flying. Since Dust Corona says that fliers can't block your flier, Membrane is out of luck. And ground-based creatures are right out since they can't block a creature with flying.

Q: If I have six cards in hand, and I have two Shadowmage Infiltrators attacking, with an untapped active Magus of the Library on the table. . . .

A: Didn't you ask the same question a while ago with Library of Alexandria? It still works. You draw from one Shadowmage trigger, then draw with the Library before the other Shadowmage trigger resolves.

Q: My opponent Sudden Shocked Jodah's Avenger. If I give him protection from Red later in the turn, will the two damage be there anymore?

A: Protection doesn't stop "Red damage" because damage is never Red – it may be from a Red source, but once it's been dealt, nothing cares about the color anymore.

At any rate, you're still out of luck because protection will only prevent damage being dealt. It will not travel back in time and stop it from having been dealt.

Q: What's the mana cost of a creature played face down?

A: No answer.


It has no mana cost. So its converted mana cost is 0.

Q: When do you pay life to counter Dash Hopes? I want to try to counter it with other stuff before I go and pay five life.

A: You won't have to make a choice until the triggered ability actually resolves. As soon as Dash Hopes is played, it triggers, and you can respond to that with a wide arsenal of counterspells (which may all have their Hopes Dashed, too) before you resort to spending your valuable life points to counter Dash Hopes.

Note that you can't pay life you don't have, so you can only counter so many Dash Hopes this way.

Q: What happens if I block a creature with trample, and then use Whitemane Lion to rescue my blocker?

A: Has combat damage been assigned yet?

If it has, damage will be dealt to you as assigned, and the damage assigned to the creature just won't happen.

If it hasn't, all the trample damage must be assigned to you. Oops.

Q: For Volcanic Hellion, can I choose to have it deal 2 damage to me and 2000 damage to a creature?

A: Nah, you only get to choose one number. And choosing 2000 is probably bad for your health.

Q: If I Momentary Blink Calciderm, does he come back into play with 4 time counters?

A: He would if you could, but you can't target him at all. Ghostway works much better for this trick. Or you can just Trickbind the triggered ability to sacrifice him.

Eli’s least favorite new card.
Q: I have Might Sliver, Fury Sliver, Sinew Sliver, Synchronous Sliver, and Spitting Sliver. My opponent Ovinized my Fury Sliver. Do any of my slivers have double strike? What does the Fury Sliver look like now?

A: It looks like a sheep. But a sheep not found anywhere on this world. Maybe a sheep straight out of hell.

You'll need to look at the layers to figure out this mess. The relevant layers here are:

5: Other, including gaining and losing abilities
6b: Other, including effects that set power and toughness
6d: Static abilities that modify power and toughness.

So your Fury Sheep, which is still a Sliver despite its woolen appearance, will be 0/1 in 6b, then get +3/+3 from its confused friends and become 3/4.

Now the fun starts.

Fury, Spitting, and Synchronous Slivers all play in layer 5. Because Fury Sliver's ability is dependent on Ovinize's ability-wiping effect, it won't be applied until very last, and the other Slivers will give their abilities to Fury Sliver first. In the end, none of them have double strike, and Fury Sliver loses all of the abilities they gave it.

That's all for this week, but Ted will be back next week with more questions about Planar Chaos.

Until next time, happy booming!

-Eli Shiffrin
Tucson, Arizona


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