Aloha to the New Standard

Posted in Feature on March 4, 2006

By John Carter

Send your rules questions to Level Four Judge John Carter. Can't find the answer to your question somewhere else, like the Magic Comprehensive Rules? Maybe he's already answered it! Try the Saturday School Searchable Rules Database.

This weekend is Pro Tour Honolulu. The best players in the world are taking a break from the wintry weather (for the northern hemisphere, that is) to fly into paradise and sling some spells. Check here for the latest coverage.

Petrahydrox
Q: I wanted to know - what is the interaction between Petrahydrox and Spawnbroker? If Spawny comes into play and targets an opposing creature and Petrahydrox, when does Petry go to my hand? --Lauris

A: Spawny's ability is going to make Petry bouncy in response to the exchange ability. Since one of the targets isn't there when the exchange tries to resolve, the exchange does nothing. Fooey.

Q: In the Izzet Guildmage and Blaze for four question you responded by saying he could copy it if it were a Blaze for 1. I thought if a spell was copied and an X was in the cost the X always became zero. --Kyle

A: Copying a spell does copy the choices made for the spell, including the value of X. [CR 503.2] This can be confusing when comparing the copy of an existing spell to an effect that copies a card or lets you play something without paying the cost. For example, what is the value of X for a Heat Ray that's imprinted on an Isochron Scepter? Zero. What about playing a Heat Ray with Sunforger's ability? Also zero. The original you're copying (or playing) had nothing put into the X, so the copy (or spell played) does, too. But if you Twincast a Heat Ray for four, you'll get a copy with the same X value as the original.

Q: I have a Djinn Illuminatus. I play Jilt with kicker. If I replicate the Jilt, does the replicated copy have the kicker already paid for it or no? --Gabriel S.

A: Yes, the choice of paying kicker (or splice and buyback) will be copied, and you'll get the kicked version of the spell.

Q: I unattached Sunforger to get Gigadrowse and I replicate it four times. My opponent disagreed, saying Gigadrowse was played via Sunforger. Doesn't Sunforger's effect still constitute playing the spell, so wouldn't replicate still be in effect? --Viet H.

A: Gigadrowse isn't Red or White, so you're out of luck with Sunforger.

*Extra*: If Sunforger goes looking for Pyromatics, you could play the spell for free and pay an extra to replicate it. The Equipment covers the mana cost part, but you are playing the spell, so you can tack on the added replicate cost.

Q: The person I am playing against tries to Shock my Izzet Guildmage, and I play Mana Leak. If he responds to my Mana Leak with another Shock, can I copy my Leak? --Scott B.

A: Yes, the Mana Leak is still on the stack, so you can copy it and choose the other Shock as the new target.

*Extra*: Your opponent could have waited until the Leak countered the Shock and then Shocked the Guildmage. Patience and good communication is imperative for playing well.

Mizzium Transreliquat
Q: If I block a creature with a Mizzium Transreliquat that's permanently an artifact creature, can I use its ability and change it to a noncreature artifact and keep it from receiving damage? How does this affect trample damage? --Arn P.

A: Yes, making the artifact creature into a noncreature artifact will save it from damage. [CR 310.4c] Any damage that was assigned won't be dealt (and thus won't trigger abilities that rely on damage dealing).
What happens to trample depends on the timing. Tramplers must assign lethal damage (damage = or > than toughness) to all blockers before assigning to players. If you turn Mizzium into a noncreature after damage is assigned, the damage assigned to the Mizzium won't be dealt, but any assigned to the player will. If you turn Mizzium into a noncreature before damage is assigned, then no damage is assigned to the Mizzium, and all of it (minus other blockers, of course) can be assigned to the player.

Q: I had a Gelectrode out. I pinged my opponent, and then tried to kill one of his creatures with a Char. In response, he returned the creature to his hand. Even though the Char fizzled, do I still get to untap Gelectrode? What if he had countered my Char; would I get to untap Gelectrode? --John W.

A: You may untap you Gelectrode in either case. "Fizzle" is the informal term for "countered because all targets are illegal." Though the game or an opponent might counter the instant or sorcery, it was played, so the Gelectrode will trigger.

Q: Who does Char damage first? The one who played it or the target (such as a player)? What if they are both at two life? --Matthew A.

A: Char deals its damage simultaneously to the target and the controller. If this causes both players to have zero or less life, then the game is a draw. [CR 102.4a, 420.5a] State-based effects don't care if one player has more less-than-zero life or whose turn it is.

Q: What happens if I haunt a token creature, and the creature gets destroyed? --Jose

A: Token creatures do go the graveyard when destroyed, so the trigger from haunt will happen. The token itself will cease to exist just before the trigger is stacked.

Q: Can I play Reach Through Mists splicing two Psychic Puppetry onto it targeting one Izzet Boilerworks and then tap the Boilerworks in between resolving the Puppetries? --Oscar

A: You can target the Boilerworks with each Puppetry, but you can't tap the Boilerworks in between resolving the two effects.

*Extra*: Mana abilities can be played during the resolution of a spell or ability only if the spell or ability gives the option of a mana payment (such as paying while resolving a Mana Leak). [CR 413.2e]

Warp World
Q: I play Warp World. I reveal a Sparkmage Apprentice, and so does my opponent. Do we declare targets after the Warp resolves? What happens if they target one another? What would happen if he revealed a Night of Souls' Betrayal? What would happen if someone reveals a morph creature - could they put it in play face down? --Joe

A: Targets for triggered abilities will stack after the spell has resolved. If the Sparkmages target each other, both will be destroyed. If Warp World puts Night of Souls' Betrayal into play, both Sparkmages would trigger, but they would be 0/0 creatures and would be put into the graveyard before the triggers are stacked - you each pick a creature still in play or a player when you stack the triggers. You can't put a morph creature into play face down with Warp World.

Q: Does moving a counter from Forgotten Ancient to another creature trigger Doubling Season? --Eric

A: Doubling Season causes a replacement (not a trigger), and yes, you'll get twice the normal number of counters.

*Extra*: No, you can't move the counters from an Ancient onto itself to double them. If you had two Ancients, you could move the counters from one to the other (doubling them) and all the ones on that one - including the new counters, since how many to move and where is decided as the trigger resolves - to the original one (doubling them again) for each of your upkeeps.

Q: I played Farseek and went for Island Fish Jasconius. My friend says that I can't search for it. --Jason H.

A: Your friend is correct. Island Fish Jasconius is an "Island-Fish," not an Island. A hyphenated subtype is a single word. For example, Flying Men have one creature type - "Flying-Men," not "Flying" and "Men" (or even "Human").

Q: Junktroller and Tunnel Vision. Unfair and unjust. My friend puts a card I only own one copy of on the bottom of my library and Tunnel Visions it. --Jules H.

A: Junktroller and Tunnel Vision. Works and amusing.

Q: I was told that when Evermind is spliced onto a spell, it makes the whole spell Blue in addition to what colors it is made of. Your thoughts? --Gary T.

A: Evermind has a characteristic-setting ability - "Evermind is blue." - that makes the card Blue. Because splice copies all text, the CSA text is copied as well, and the spliced spell becomes Blue. This blueness completely overrides any colors the spell previously had.

*Extra*: While this can be confusing, just remember that the color change happens just before picking targets. You can't target a protection from blue creature with Glacial Ray if you're splicing on Evermind, but you can target and kill a protection from red creature with an Everminded Ray.

Land Cap
Q: Land Cap from Ice Age gets a depletion counter when tapped for or . This seems like a good counter-generator for Chisei, Heart of Oceans. Can I choose which effect takes precedence, or do they happen simultaneously? --Johan

A: The depletion lands actually have errata that eliminated the depletion counter, so Land Cap, much like its nearly identical twin Cloudcrest Lake, is no good with Chisei.

*Extra*: You'll have to content yourself with something like Mirrodin's Core. If you begin an upkeep with no counters on the Core, you could respond to Chisei's trigger by activating the Core ability to add a charge counter. You then remove that charge counter to feed Chisei.

Q: Can I tap Genesis Chamber after I have made creatures so my opponent doesn't benefit from it? Can I generally tap cards that don't have the tapping ability? --Mika S.

A: You can't gratuitously tap things just because you feel like it. If you can find a way to tap the Chamber as a cost or an effect, then you could manipulate how much use your opponent gets.

*Extra*: Speaking of which, Icy Manipulator can help you with tapping the Chamber. For extra pizzazz, you could try tapping the Chamber and a Clock of Omens to pay the cost for the Clock's untap ability.

Righteousness
Q: I have a Starlit Sanctum and a Cleric in play. It is my opponent's turn. Can I play a spell such as Righteousness or Hold the Line and sacrifice the Cleric to cause my opponent to lose large amounts of life? --Jason F.

A: You can play Righteousness only if there is a creature actually blocking. You could play Hold the Line regardless of what creatures are doing, but if there aren't any blocking creatures, nothing will get the +7/+7.

Q: In Constructed tournaments, does it matter if you use only one edition like Kamigawa, or can I combine Kamigawa and Ravnica? --Aaron M.

A: That depends on type of Constructed. For instance, this weekend the Pro Tour is using Standard Constructed. Standard uses the two most recent blocks (Ravnica and Kamigawa) plus the most recent Core Set (9th Edition). A Block Constructed event would use just the sets from that block such as Ravnica: City of Guilds and Guildpact for Ravnica Block (with Dissension added once it comes out to complete the block).

Q: A buddy was playing a Battle of Wits deck, and he had the Battle out with his opponent not being able to draw any answer. His opponent says go, and my buddy wins. Or should. His opponent asked him to count his cards to confirm the win. After counting, his opponent said to put the deck back in original order, but my buddy couldn't remember what stack went where and lost. Is this right? --Christopher B.

A: No, it's not right.
There are only a handful of outcomes from the Battle count. If he had 200 or more cards, he won, and the count only confirmed that. If he didn't, then we look at how messed up the deck is - a random deck before can easily be a random deck afterwards. But if the deck had cards in known locations (from Telling Time or Sensei's Divining Top), then you might have to give him a loss if a judge can't verify those cards are where they should be.
This scenario sounds an awful lot like the opponent was knowingly trying to pull a fast one. Shenanigans like this from the opponent will easily earn the ire of a good judge. If the judge believes the player was being deceitful, then the judge can - I'd say should - penalize the underhanded player. Unsporting conduct that is major or severe can earn a player a game loss, a match loss, or even get the player disqualified from an event.

That's all for this week. Check out the PT Honolulu coverage for the latest in Standard technology, and I'll be seeing you at the same time next week.

Class Dismissed.

--Carter

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