Cranial Insertion: Special Pre-Ravnica Edition





Cranial Insertion
Special Pre-Ravnica Edition
By Eli Shiffrin, Thijs van Ommen, and Jeff Vondruska
Edited by Goblinboy


Welcome to this week's dose of Cranial Insertion! I'd like to inform everyone that Moko is quickly adjusting to his latest toy, the [email][email protected][/email] mailbox. While our little zombified monkey regrets that GMail doesn't provide him with brains to eat, he understands that this technological advancement will help life, the universe and everything to flourish, while providing a convenient way for you, our gentle reader, to send us questions.

Yeah. Questions. Let's get to those.




Oracle text:
Trample
If Phyrexian Dreadnought would come
into play, sacrifice any number of
creatures with total power 12 or
greater instead. If you do, put
Phyrexian Dreadnought into play. If
you don’t, put it into its owner’s
graveyard.

Oracle text:
Whenever a creature is put into a
graveyard from play and another
creature is in play, return the first
creature from that graveyard to play
under its owner’s control at end
of turn.

Q: I have a question on the interaction between Lifeline and Phyrexian Dreadnought.

Assume that there I control 12 power in creatures and there is another creature somewhere else on the table (to keep Lifeline operational). I play a Dreadnought (A), saccing all of the creatures. I then play another Dreadnought (B), saccing Dreadnought A.

At the end of turn, my assumption is that all of the creatures would come into play from the graveyard, but Dreadnought A would not see the other creatures coming back, forcing me to sac Dreadnought B, and then Dreadnought A and all of the creatures that died during the turn would come back, putting Dreadnought B in the graveyard to resurrect during the next turn.

Am I correct, or am I just losing my mind by using two rules headaches in the same deck?

A: You've already got the answer mostly correct, but you have more options than that. Lifeline works by creating a delayed triggered ability for each creature that dies. All these triggered abilities will go on the stack at end of turn, and they'll resolve one by one, not all at the same time. Because you control Lifeline, you choose the order in which the creatures come into play. You can choose to have Dreadnought A come back last, so that it will see the other creatures coming back, and you can sacrifice those creatures to it again. You'll be able to keep both Dreadnoughts in play that way (and the next turn, the other creatures will return, too).



Q: Instants and Sorceries go to the graveyard as part of their resolution, right? Does this mean that if I untap Kaho, Minamo Historian, I can play the instant I removed an additional time?

A: No, it doesn't work that way. The stack isn't just a neat way of expressing the Last In, First Out (LIFO) rule. When a spell is played, it is physically moved on the stack, and normally stays in that zone until it resolves. When you play the Instant card that you removed from the game for the first time, it will no longer be removed from the game, because it's sitting on the stack now. Even if you untap Kaho, you won't be able to play that same card again.



Q: I have a question about O-Naginata. Does it check to see if the creature's power is 3 or greater before or after its own +3/+0 bonus is applied?

A: A P/T bonus is an example of a continuous effect. As the name implies, such an effect functions continuously. Speaking of this in terms of before and after might not be the best way to look at this issue, but I'll answer in those terms anyway. There is nothing that happens "before" continuous effects are applied. Anything that wants to know some bit of information about the game only gets to see what the game state is "after" continous effects have been figured in. This means that you can Giant Growth your Birds of Paradise and equip them with O-Naginata. When the bonus from Giant Growth wears of, O-Naginata will stay on. A -1/-1 effect could cause it to fall off again, though.




I you catch your opponent playing
this, call over a judge immediately.
Q: Can I play Evermind if I combo it with Knight of the Hokey Pokey?

A: Ha! I don't even need to read more than four words of your question in order to answer it! Any question that starts with "Can I play Evermind" gets the answer "No."

/me goes off on a rant


Q: With Ivory Mask in play, does my opponent's Hypnotic Specter's discard ability still work?

A: Ah, another easy one. Eli answer this one last week when he covered some frequently asked questions. Hypnotic Specter doesn't mention the word "target" anywhere. This means that its ability doesn't target anything: the Mask can do nothing to stop it.

Preventing the damage using Circle of Protection: Black would be a better solution.



Q: This question is about a the new dual lands revealed by WotC to be in Ravnica. If I control Temple Garden but no actual Plains and have Valor in my graveyard, do my creatures have first strike?

A: Yes. Valor looks for lands with the subtype Plains, not just for cards named Plains. In fact, a card only cares about the name of another card if it specifically talks about a card "named [foo]"; otherwise, it's probably looking for a subtype. Like the original dual lands, these new dual lands in Ravnica will have basic land types, so they count.




Your panther is so fast, it's gone
before you can block with it.
Q: When my opponent attacks me, can I play Fleetfoot Panther, block his attacker with it, and then return the Panther back to my hand using its Gating ability (because I have no other creatures to return)?

A: No, that's impossible. Blockers are declared at the start of the declare blockers step, so you'd need to play the Panther before then. You can only move to the declare blockers step if all players pass on an empty stack. But the stack isn't empty, because the Gating ability just triggered. You'd need to resolve that ability first, but then you won't have the creature around at the moment you need to declare blockers.



Q: I play Reiver Demon from my hand. It comes into play and its CIP-ability goes on the stack. In response, my opponent plays Blind with Anger on the Demon. Does this stop its ability from destroying all nonblack, nonartifact creatures, because my opponent didn't play the card from his hand?

A: They'll still get Reived. It doesn't matter who controls the Demon as its ablility resolves; what matters is is that you still control the ability, and since you played the Demon from your hand, its ability goes through.



Q: I know that I have to *play* a Myojin from my hand if I want it to get a divinity counter on it; *putting* it into play with Elvish Piper isn't enough. Is the same distinction true for discarding a card vs. putting a card in the graveyard from my hand?

A: There is a distinction between the two terms: discarding, like playing, is a special term. Putting a card from one zone in another zone wouldn't be considered discarding or playing, no matter what zones the card is moving from/to. For example, Megrim wouldn't trigger for a card going from hand to graveyard due to Tainted Specter. The converse is not true: the action "discard" is perfectly capable of triggering an ability looking for a card being "put" somewhere. For example, Planar Void triggers to remove cards that were discarded.

*Extra*: While a discard usually means placing a card from a hand into a graveyard, this isn't always so. Madness lets you discard a card from your hand to the removed from the game zone, for example.




Q: What are the mean, mode, and
median of the number of Warriors
given a deck of
n cards, k of
which are lands?
Q: What happens if I'm resolving Rally the Horde and my library empties without revealing a land as the third card? Does the game go in an infinite loop and end in a draw?

A: No, this isn't an infinite loop. At some point Rally the Horde will be telling you to remove three cards from your library while your library is empty. Then it will check the condition, "If the last card removed isn't a land". Since you didn't remove any cards this time, the "last card removed" wasn't anything, and in particular, it wasn't a land. So you don't have to repeat the effect anymore, and you move on with the next bit: you get a pretty large army of 1/1 Warriors. You may need to start thinking about a plan to survive your next draw step, though.



Q: I play a sorcery using mana from Boseiju, Who Shelters All, then copy that sorcery with Twincast. Is the copy of the sorcery also uncounterable?

A: No, the copy can be countered. Effects that copy things, like Twincast, are actually quite limited in what they copy. They basically copy just the card as printed, ignoring modifications made by other effects. Modifications from other copy effects would get copied, but Boseiju's effect doesn't fall in that category.




-Thijs van Ommen, The Netherlands

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