Rulings Of Interest

Posted in Event Coverage on November 2, 2003

By Sheldon K. Menery

The first Extended Pro Tour since the spate of recent bannings, the introduction of a new Core Set, and the ten days-old legality of Mirrodin served up a spicy gumbo of rulings, keeping the New Orleans judging staff busy explaining the hows and whys of before-unseen card interactions.

Tinker/Chalice of the Void

Easily the most confusing of all was the case of playing Tinker with Chalice of the Void set to three. Chalice triggers when a spell with converted mana cost equal to the number of counters on the Chalice is played. The Tinker player can sacrifice his Chalice to pay for Tinker without fear of the Tinker being countered because the Chalice only triggers upon complete announcement of the spell in question. The spell becomes played when all steps of announcement, ending with paying all costs, have been completed (rule 409.1i). By the time the Chalice would trigger, it's no longer in play; there's nothing to trigger.

Isochron Scepter

Isochron Scepter

One of the more popular cards of weekend was Isochron Scepter. It's been the subject of many rules discussions over the weeks since its release, but it continued to generate many questions.

Unlike previous copy effects, the player actually plays the Imprinted spell; it's the card that's been copied. This means that the spell triggers abilities that look for a spell being played, such as Storm and the aforementioned Chalice of the Void.

Split cards that have at least one half that's an Instant with a converted mana cost of 2 or less can be Imprinted. The player can then choose to play either half, even if the converted mana cost of that half is greater than two, like the Reality half of Illusion/Reality. On the stack, the spell has the converted mana cost of only the half that's been played.

Isochron Scepter only pays the mana cost of the spell, which is the value listed in the upper right-hand corner of the card (and never changes). If the Imprinted card has an optional additional cost, such as Kicker or Buyback, the player has the option of paying that cost. Imprinting Orim's Chant is an interesting soft lock choice. All mandatory additional costs, such as that applied by Defense Grid, must be paid.

Sutured Ghoul

The Sutured Ghoul's creature card-removal ability applies as part of the resolution of the spell or ability that puts it into play; it's not a triggered ability. The difference is the wording "as ~this~ comes into play..." opposed to "when this comes into play..." The ability can't be responded to.

This created an interesting situation with Oath of Druids and Dragon Breath. If a player Oaths up a Ghoul, and one of the cards put into the graveyard by Oath is Dragon Breath, the game sees the Ghoul come into play and the Dragon Breath go into the graveyard at the same time. The Dragon Breath will trigger because the Sutured Ghoul's converted mana cost is greater than 6.



Exhume instructs both players to choose a creature card in the graveyard and then put them into play. It's not targeted, so the players choose upon resolution of Exhume. While the game sees the resolution of the spell as an indivisible action, players still make choices and put the creatures into play in APNAP order. The active player (the player that played Exhume, since it's a Sorcery) chooses a creature, then the non-active player chooses a creature. The active player then puts his into play, dealing with any "as ~this~ comes into play abilities," like the Suture Ghoul, then the non-active player does this same. The non-active player will always have the slight advantage of seeing what choices his opponent makes before having to make his own. If any abilities triggered from the creatures coming into play, they too go on the stack in APNAP order.

Kill Switch
Kill Switch taps all other artifacts when its ability is activated. Those artifacts won't untap on their controllers' next Untap Step if the Kill Switch is tapped. This creates two interesting situations.

First, only artifacts that were tapped by the Kill Switch remain locked down. The Kill Switch has a continuous effect generated by an activated ability, so only the applicable permanents in play when the ability resolved are affected by it (rule 418.3). Artifacts that come into play after the ability resolves and subsequently get tapped aren't affected and will untap normally.

Second, only the Kill Switch (with the above caveat) will untap during its controller's next Untap Step. The first thing that happens during Untap (save Phasing, which isn't important for our discussion) is the player determines what's going to untap (rule 302.2). Because the Kill Switch is at that time tapped, the artifacts stay locked down.


Wildly popular with both players and spectators, Mindslaver generated its own family of questions. Mindslaver allows a player to control the other player's turn. It doesn't give him control of his permanents, ownership of his cards, or the right to sit in his seat.

The Mindslaving player can make choices, but those choices must be legal. If he forces the player to play a search card, he can also make him fail to find anything because "failure to find" a legal option. If there's a choice that's not a search, a legal choice must be made. If, for example, the Mindslaving player has forced his opponent to play Living Wish, he must have him choose a creature or land card from his sideboard (assuming there is one).

In the case of dueling Mindslavers, the control of the permanents becomes important. "You" always refers to the controller of the permanent, spell, or ability. Forcing the opponent to activate his own Mindslaver will still have him control your turn. Note that since Mindslaver is Legendary, this situation shouldn't come up all that often (if at all), but it's nice to know that there's a rule for it.

Among the most interesting ways of winning with Mindslaver were forcing a player to Tinker for Phyrexian Processor then having him pay all his life, and forcing a player to play Cavern Harpy responding to its coming-into-play trigger by activating its pay-life ability to bounce it, and repeating twenty times.

Vampiric Tutor

When originally printed, paying two life was an additional cost of playing Vampiric Tutor. When the card was reprinted in 6th Edition, it was changed to become part of the resolution of the spell. If Vampiric Tutor is countered, the player does not lose any life.

Goblin Recruiter (and other search, reveal, and "stack" cards)

Multiple cards searched for, revealed, and returned to a specific part of the library (like the bottom or the top) may be placed there in any order (rule 217.2d). Although the cards are revealed to all players, you don't have to reveal the order in which you've placed them.

Taking Notes

Players may take notes during a match so long as they do so in a timely fashion. They may refer to those notes during the course of the match. They may not, however, refer to those notes in a subsequent match. All Day Two decklists were provided to the players, but bringing written notes from those decklists was still forbidden.

Latest Event Coverage Articles

December 19, 2019

Grand Prix Oklahoma City 2019 Final Standings by, Wizards of the Coast

Rank Player Points Prize Money 1 Carlson, Matt [US] 37 $6,000 2 Foreman, Matt [US] 37 $3,000 3 Cole, Conor [US] 36 $1,500 4 Majlaton, Alex [...

Learn More

December 11, 2019

Grand Prix Brisbane 2019 Final Standings by, Wizards of the Coast

Rank Player Points Prize Money 1 Gibson, Kyle [AU] 36 $6,000 2 Yeh, Chih-Cheng [TW] 37 $3,000 3 Thompson, Chris [AU] 37 $1,500 4 Lee, Anthon...

Learn More



Event Coverage Archive

Consult the archives for more articles!

See All