Cranial Insertion: At the Supermarket

Cranial Insertion
At the Supermarket

By Eli Shiffrin, Thijs van Ommen, and Tom Fowler

As I was walking through the supermarket a few days before Easter, I had a few instructive experiences that I thought I'd share with you.

A man is standing next to a big pile of assorted tins. For some reason, he's looking at a tin of beans near the bottom. He notices me looking at him, and asks me to help him.

A: The stack always resolves in Last In, First Out order. The tin on top of the stack was last to go in, so it will be the first to go out. I hand the man the tin of maize that was sitting on top of the pile.

A woman in the fruits and vegetables section is closely examining two bunches of grapes, apparently unable to make a choice. People can be so indecisive sometimes.

A: If two cards have the same name in English, then both will use the same entry from the Oracle, even if one of the two cards was released several years before the other one and looks decidedly different. I tell the woman that the differences between the two bunches of grapes is purely aesthetical.

A man comes up and explains to me that his wife is worried about the fruit she is buying becoming rotten soon.

A: I recommend comboing the grapes with Mycosynth Lattice and Darksteel Forge. If they are indestructible, the grapes won't be destroyed at end of turn. This combo will solve many similar problems as well.

I'm walking down the canned foods aisle, and there's a lady standing there. She turns to me with a puzzled look, wondering if she has to pick one of the various cans to serve with dinner.

A: If an effect lets you to search for a card (or some number of cards), without specifying any specific characteristic for the card, you have to find that many cards if possible. You cannot voluntarily fail a search for some number of cards.

Standing next to her is a man who also looks at me with a slightly different puzzled look. He then tells me his wife asked him for stewed spinach, his face turning into a slight grimace. Does he really have to find a can of stewed spinach?

A: On the other hand, if an effect allows you to search for a card (or even multiple cards) with a specific characteristic, you can voluntarily fail that search. You are not required to find a card with a specific characteristic, even if your deck does contain such a card.

I pass by the vending machines. There's nobody trying to buy two sodas with a single coin today, so I move on.

I meet a Little Girl whose mother won't buy her one of those pink Giant Teddy Bears they occasionally sell here. I decide to offer my help in resolving this dispute.

A: Everybody knows that pink isn't a real color; it's just a shorthand for red and white combined. Thus, the mother's Absolute Law will keep the Bear from being damaged, enchanted/equipped, blocked and targeted by Little Girl (remember the acronym DEBT). However, buying the Bear is still perfectly legal (remember that something only targets if it uses the word "target"), so I put the Bear in the mother's shopping cart.

As I'm waiting in the line, I recognize the man standing in front of me. He has a puzzling question for me: can a player sacrifice himself to save his creatures from my opponent's spell?

A: Now why would anybody want to do that?

-Gandalf, a boat

This week was a short one due to Easter, but next week we'll start talking about Dissension on Cranial Insertion, so start sending your Dissension questions to [email][email protected][/email]! Other questions are of course still welcome, too.

-Thijs van Ommen, The Netherlands


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