April School’s Day

Posted in Feature on April 2, 2005

By John Carter

Send your rules questions to Magic Rules Manager 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.

April is here, and about this time last year, Mark Rosewater was spoofing the idea that there'd be another "Un" set. Except it wasn't a spoof. This week is our little homage to Unhinged. Come next week, we're running headlong away from silver-bordered land and back into thousands of cards and a decade of errata!

Q: If a creature is in the absolutely-removed-from-the-freaking-game-forever zone, will the creature be shuffled back in, or is it removed from the game for the entire match? --Jensen B.

A: AWOLing a creature only lasts for that game. You might be thinking of the absolutely-removed-from-the-freaking-match-forever zone.

Q: My opponent has a face down creature in play, and I play Eradicate targeting it. Can I then remove copies of _____ (the nameless card from Unhinged) from the zones I search? --Jeffrey

A: According to the Unhinged FAQTIWDAWCC, _____ "in its natural state has no name." And according to the Comprehensive Rules, a morph creature is "a 2/2 face-down creature, with no text, no name, no subtypes…" [CR 502.26a] So yes, Eradicating a morph will let you remove copies of _____ from the game. (Eradicating _____ won't touch creatures with morph though.) Don't expect to try this outside of silver-bordered land though-- the "real" world tends to divide up their nothings a little more thoroughly.

Q: What happens when you use Retraced Image and _____ to bring an instant or sorcery into play? --Thomas E.

A: You'll reveal your hand. Then you'll get all excited at the thought of attacking with a Kodama's Reach (Reach out and touch someone… for 3), but then the mean old Comprehensive Rules would say you can't put instants or sorceries into play [CR 217.1a].

rds secret lair
Q: R&D's Secret Lair states: "Play cards as written. Ignore all errata." Errata is the plural of erratum, which means a spelling, grammatical, or literal error. I really have no idea how that can effect anything, so if you could explain this to me, or better yet, give me an example of how this card can be useful, then it would be greatly appreciated. --Evan

A: In Magic terms, "errata" has her turned into a verb meaning "to officially correct or update a card's text." For example, Birds of Paradise was originally a "Summon- Mana Bird". When 6th Edition came out, it became a "Creature- Bird". It doesn't matter if you play a Beta BoP or an 8ED one, the card is considered to have the official text as it appears in Oracle. Old cards often have errata because the game has shifted over time. Occasionally errata is issued to fix things that don't function quite the way R&D was intending.
For example, Great Whale (and the "free creatures") from Urza's Saga untaps lands when if comes into play. An erratum was issued to make it work only if played from your hand because it lead to abusive reanimation combos. So in tournaments, you'd play the card as Oracle says. With R&DSL, you can go back to breaking the card (with Recurring Nightmare, for example).

Q: Can I use R&D's Secret Lair to play Look at Me, I'm R&D as an instant? The card was at one point written as an instant, and then crossed out to say enchantment. --Ian

A: No. If I said yes, I'd have to travel the planet with a marker slashing "summon" and "interrupt" off cards. So marker marks, stickers or not, are not errata.

Q: If I play an Ashnod's Coupon with a R&D's Secret Lair in play does my opponent have to pay the costs for the drink? --Flo L.

A: What does "Errata: You pay any costs for the drink" even mean? [cost] : [effect] would lead us to believe that you "errata" and as the effect makes you pay costs for the drink. How does one even do "errata" when an errata would be an erratum? In the end, we're stuck with a player fetching a drink-- which in order to become yours you must pay the costs for, and there's also some odd line about performing a singular thing plurally and then paying costs for something in some other effect that's seems related but is separate.

Q: I was playing someone in an Unhinged draft, when he plays R&D's Secret Lair and then picks up his Vile Bile using his sleeves and proceeds to chase me around the room until he touches me 7 times with it. Is this legal?

A: What does R&D's Secret Lain have to do with the question?
As for Vile Bile, someone rubbing their Bile on you does not cause it to trigger. You've got to touch the Bile all on your own in order to get hurt. Just play it safe and use protection.

Q: Can Fraction Jackson get back Eight-and-a-Half-Tails? --Ken

A: Sadly, no. Old 8.5 would have to be written as Eight-and-1/2 Tails for Fraction Jackson's powers of division a recursion to work.

Meddling Kids
Q: Can Meddling Kids choose a word in the flavor text? For example, if I chose "flavor" as the word, could my opponent play a Gleemax? --Matt J.

A: Can Meddling Kids chose a word? Not so much-- they're made out of cardboard, but you can. This would thwart Gleemax's plans for world domination.

*Extra*: On the other hand, Floral Spuzzem gets to relive its artifact-hating heyday. Be careful though, Ol' Flory takes a while to decide.

Q: You say Frazzled Editor ignores flavor text, but the card only says that a card has to have 4 or more lines of text in the text box for it to be considered wordy. It doesn't specify rules text is different from flavor text or reminder text (and it seems like reminder text ought to be considered part of rules text anyway). --Ryan

A: Our actual frazzled editors don't ignore flavor text, but Protection from Wordy does. As for that little bit of reminder test about Pro: Wordy… [CR 207.2] reminds us that reminder text "has no game function". Of course, it can occasionally consume and confuse. But rest assured that "Wordy" only includes rules text. If you'll excuse me, I need to frazzle and editor for a bit.

Q: If I have a card that lets me put appropriate counters on Bingo (e.g. Giant Fan, Ambiguity) can I put them on whatever numbers I like? --Davide A.

A: Sure.

*Extra*: If you look at the original version of Cyclone. The card reads "Put one chip on Cyclone…" Since it wasn't clear if this was wood chip, micro chip, or potato chip, the concept started using "counter" so it wouldn't be confused with anything.

Q: You top deck a Mox Lotus and play it adding infinite mana to your mana pool, and then use that mana (turning of it to ) to play Stream of Life. How much life are you at? --Jonathan

A: You'll have to pick a number when you announce X, and infinity isn't a number you can choose for X. Just hope your opponent doesn't Mox Lotus + Fireball you next turn (since they'll know what X to pick that's greater than your X).

Q: I have a Yet Another AEther Vortex in play, and I have a Future Sight in play. If the top card of my library is a land, can I tap the land for mana, play the land, then tap it for mana again? --Jesse M.

A: Yes. By default, playing a land puts it into play untapped.

Q: My opponent plays Letter Bomb and shuffles it into my deck. I then play and activate Johnny, Combo Player, and put the Bomb into my hand. Does that mean I can now play the same Letter Bomb against my opponent? --John L.

A: Yes, you'll have to sign the Bomb, of course, but then you get to Return to Sender it back to your opponent.

Q: Would Graphic Violence work on tokens, in specific, on Symbol Status tokens? --Glen

A: It depends on the token. For example, a paper clip has no artist. The Magic Player Rewards tokens do have artists.

*Extra*: Minted since 1787, the U.S. one cent piece, the "penny", has had eleven designs. The artists on the current design of the penny are Victor David Brenner (heads) and Frank Gasparro (tails). Be sure to pick the artist that applies as Graphic Violence resolves. Their initials, in case you need a reminder, are on the bottom of Lincoln's left shoulder and to the right of the Memorial's shrubbery.

Q: Is it possible to change the toughness of a creature from 2 to -2 with Magical Hacker? --Jon

A: No. Magical Hacker needs to see a + or - in order to work. The number 2 is different than +2 or -2.

Q: Can I make the chosen sentence on loose lips something like "I hereby intentionally forfeit the game"? What would happen if my opponent chose to say this sentence? --Tim F.

A: Yes, but he wouldn't actually have to concede. You could even make the sentence "I have great ideas," but that doesn't make it true.

Q: My opponent activated his Tainted Monkey, naming "the", and I milled Stone-Cold Basilisk from my library. I picked the card up to read it closely for the trigger word, then slyly tossed it to him to let him read that "the" was not on the card. As he began to read, I announced the Basilisk trigger, which will turn him to stone. He argued that this ability would only trigger if the card were in play, not in the graveyard. --David B.

A: You have stoned your opponent. Reading (which is fundamental) applies in all zones, not just in play.

ach hans run
Q: I have an "Ach! Hans, Run!" in play, then at the beginning of my upkeep I use its effect to put a creature into play. If, before the end of my turn, I bounce the "Ach! Hans, Run!" back to my hand, do I still have to remove the creature from the game? --Louis

A: You still have to remove the creature from the game. The effect that put it into place also tagged it for doom at end of turn.

Q: I have an Ass Whuppin' and wanted to play it on another game, targeting Gleemax. But the controller told me that he has Gleemax and therefore may decide the targets of that spell. So instead of letting me choose Gleemax, he made me target a permanent in a game he could see. I couldn't see the cards in that game when seated. --Danny

A: He who controls Gleemax will make your decisions for you. Gleemax's influence will, in its omniscient benevolence, choose a target that's legal-- a silver-bordered permanent you can see in this case.

Q: I'm an Aussie, and I have no idea what my "American" shoe size would be for Avatar of Me. Just to make it easy, could I use my Australian shoe size? --Gwaga G.

A: Sadly, no. It's not that there's anything wrong with Australian shoes, so much as the need to discourage the chaos that would ensue if you started asking about height in Australian unit (centimeters, instead of feet, for example).

Q: Regarding Cheatyface, I was wondering what the ruling would be if you snuck it into play against an opponent who is legally blind? --Mike R.

A: It'd be two things… 1) You're a naughty person and your soul is now tainted, and 2) catching you doesn't necessarily mean seeing you. For instance, let's say the blind player kicks you under the table. Since you and the judge didn't see him do it, according you, it should be fine. On second thought, if he and your shins take damage, maybe that's fair.

Not So Unny

Q: Can I get a chronological order of when the Magic sets were released? --Tony B.

A: I've listed the sets in reverse chronological order starting with Ninth Edition and Saviors of Kamigawa that are both due later this summer. Here's the list of all sets-- do note that I'm not including promotional sets (such as Anthologies).

Set NameYearMonth
Ninth Edition200507
Saviors of Kamigawa200506
Betrayers of Kamigawa200502
Unhinged200411
Champions of Kamigawa200410
Fifth Dawn200406
Darksteel200402
Mirrodin200310
Eighth Edition200307
Scourge200305
Legions200302
Onslaught200210
Judgment200205
Torment200202
Odyssey200110
Apocalypse200106
Seventh Edition200104
Planeshift200102
Invasion200010
Prophecy200006
Nemesis200002
Mercadian Masques199910
Starter199907
Urza's Destiny199906
Portal Three Kingdoms199905
Classic (Sixth Edition)199904
Urza's Legacy199902
Urza's Saga199810
Unglued199808
Exodus199806
Portal Second Age199806
Stronghold199803
Tempest199710
Weatherlight199706
Portal199706
Fifth Edition199703
Visions199702
Mirage199610
Alliances199606
Homelands199510
Chronicles199508
Ice Age199506
Fourth Edition199505
Fallen Empires199411
The Dark199408
Legends199406
Revised199404
Antiquities199403
Arabian Nights199312
Unlimited199312
Beta199310
Alpha199308

That's all for this week. Next week, thankfully, it's back to black-and-white-bordered land.

Class dismissed.

--Carter

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