Back to the Real World

Posted in Feature on April 9, 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.

Here we are fresh from silver-bordered land. And none too soon, I'll say. Let's dig right in.

Orochi Hatchery
Q: With Orochi Hatchery, what's the second X for? --Chris

A: The cost means you pay the X value twice. If you want the Hatchery to have 2 counters, then you'll pay and for a total of when you play the Hatchery. If you only have five mana available, then the best you could do is make a Hatchery with 2 counters (spending and ).

Q: I want to discard to pay Disrupting Shoal against an mana cost card (like Orochi Hatchery). What kind of card do I discard, an Island, or match what they pay? --Nate

A: The in your Shoal's cost will be equal to the total of the in the Hatchery's cost. Or you'll have to remove a blue card that has a converted cost equal to the sum of and .
Do note that Islands, like all lands normally, are colorless. You can't remove a land in your hand to play any of the Shoals. (A Kobold is a red card though, so you can Blazing Shoal for 0 if your feel the urge.)

Q: I had Nature's Will with one Giant Growth in my hand and a Rhox with double strike on the table, while having all lands tapped out. When I attack, is it possible to cast Giant Growth on Rhox after the first combat step or after the Nature's Will triggers? --Clint C.

A: Yes, steps don't end until the stack is empty and both players pass priority. Combat damage (regular for first strike) starts with putting damage on the stack; once that resolves, Nature's Will's trigger will go on the stack. Once the Will trigger resolves, you haven't passed priority, yet, but your lands are untapped, so then you can play the Giant Growth. Resolve the Growth and then pass, and you've just passed on an empty stack. Of course, your opponent might do something after the Growth (like Sickening Shoal), but chances are he'll be taking a total of thirteen.

Q: When I play Gifts Ungiven, can I find as few cards as I want, since it's a tutor? Say, find just 2 cards and fail to find the other 2? --Chris J.

A: You can, but notice that the first thing Gifts does is put the chosen two into your graveyard. So if you find fewer than three cards, then the card or cards are going in your graveyard.

*Extra*: The key is the word "search", not the fact it's a tutor. Search is used in one of two ways: searching for a quantity of cards, and searching both quantity (usually "a") and quality of card (such as "creature" or "artifact"). The quality is an attribute about the card (not whether it's a "good" card). These qualitative searches don't require you to find a card (sometimes you can't-- I'll admit to cycling Eternal Dragon one time too many in a few games). If the search only wants a number of cards, then you have to find the number (everyone can verify a number). The quality the Gifts Ungiven looks for is "with different names." Here are a few others, but there are many more…
Quantity: Demonic Tutor, Intuition, Vampiric Tutor, and Parallel Thoughts
Quality: Enlightened Tutor; Gifts Ungiven; Sakura-Tribe Elder; and Lin Sivvi, Defiant Hero

Q: If I used Soul Foundry to copy a Iname, Life Aspect, would I still be able to use its graveyard ability? --KJ

A: The ability would trigger, but the token Iname ceases to exist just before you stack the ability. Thus, you won't be able to remove Iname, and the "if you do" part won't let you continue since you didn't. You can think of "if you do" as our way of saying, "and we mean it."

Darksteel Colossus
Q: How can I destroy an indestructible card? --Renzo

A: This question recurs quite often, so let's cover the five ways to deal with indestructibles in general terms with a few examples of each. The key is that being indestructible makes a permanent ignore destruction effect (destroy and lethal damage).

Counter It
Being indestructible doesn't help when you're on the stack. Countering a Darksteel Colossus works fine, though it'll get shuffled back into the deck. Dissipate will counter it for good. However, Darksteel Citadel is never a spell, so counters won't help here.
Examples: Counterspell, Dissipate, Hinder, Annul

Remove It from the Game
For when "destroy" just isn't enough, there's RFG. And because being removed from the game isn't destruction, being indestructible doesn't apply.
Examples: Altar's Light, Swords to Plowshares, Splinter

Sacrifice It While you can't sacrifice things you don't control, sometimes you can force others to get in on the sac act. Sacrificing something puts it in the graveyard without destroying it.
Examples: Chainer's Edict, Barter In Blood, Death Cloud, Molder Slug

State-Based Effects: Zero or Less Toughness
Another express trip to the graveyard is compliments of having no toughness. Lethal damage is different in that you have to have a toughness greater than 0 in order to have lethal damage kill you, but with no toughness, you're just plain dead.
Examples: Mutilate, Irradiate, Echoing Decay

State-Based Effects: The Legend Rule
The Legend Rule kicks in when two Legendary permanents of the same name are both in play. A tiny black hole opens up in the space-time continuum, and they both get plopped directly into their owner's graveyards.
Examples: Clone, your own indestructible Legendary guy

Q: Playing a game with Lethal Vapors and Endless Whispers both in play under my control. My opponent plays an Ornithopter. What happens? --Will B.

A: Endless Whispers gives a triggered ability to the Ornithopter, and Lethal Vapors' own trigger kill the 'Thopter (which triggers the Endless ability). At end of turn, ol' Orni hops into play under your control and restarts the insanity. However, the Endless trigger only returns dead folk At End of Turn, so you'll see him show up and die only once each turn. It's not an unbounded loop.

Q: My Angel is targeted with a spell, and I play a spell in response so it can't be targeted. Does that work? --Mike C.

A: It works fine. As the spell resolves, it will first check for legal targets and either be countered if the Angel was the only target, or it'll do nothing to the Angel and continue on if there were multiple targets (such as a Glacial Ray targeting you with Horobi's Whisper spliced on targeting your Angel-- the Angel is fine, but you'll still take 2).

Hystrodon
Q: I attack with a Hystrodon and my friend blocks with a Vodalian Zombie, does one damage still trample through the Zombie? --Mike Z.

A: Yes, though it's not exactly "through" the Zombie. Trample changes how you assign damage, so rather than having to assign all three to the Zombie, you only have to assign enough to be lethal. With a toughness of 2, that's 2 damage assigned to the Zombie, and the third can be assigned to the player. This will give you the option of drawing from the Hystrodon's triggered ability.

Q: I've seen the answer about using Chromatic Sphere with Thoughtcast. Can I play Somber Hoverguard the same way as Thoughtcast? --Dylan H.

A: The procedure is the same regardless of what type of spell you're playing. I'll spare you the extreme technical bits, but the order looks something like this:

  • Announce the spell: Somber Hoverguard
  • State any variable part (X, Splice, Kicker, Targets, How things are Affected): None
  • Determine cost (mana cost + additions - reductions): {5}{U} + {0} - your number of artifacts
  • Play mana abilities: Sacrifice Chromatic Sphere (which draws you a card)
  • Pay for the spell
  • The Somber Hoverguard is now "played" and waiting to resolve (and now you see what the card you drew off the Sphere is).

Q: My question is about rule 217.3f: "If a spell or ability causes a card to be drawn during the announcement of another spell or ability, the drawn card is kept face down until that spell or ability becomes played." Say you have a Brainstorm. Your opponent plays an instant, and you respond by Brainstorming. Is 217.3f saying the cards you draw from Brainstorm stay face down until the effect of the instant they put on the stack resolves? --Michael

A: No, it's very specifically referring to the act of announcing a spell. It doesn't apply to resolving a spell or resolving other spells. For example, if you play a Somber Hoverguard and use a Chromatic Sphere while announcing it, you won't know what card you drew until right after you've finished paying for the Hoverguard.

Vulshok Gauntlets
Q: Can Vulshok Gauntlets be simply unattached from the creature it was previously attached? Or if that isn't possible, can the equip cost be paid to move it to another creature? --Stewart T.

A: You can pay the equip cost to attach the Gauntlets to another creature, but you can't pay to just unequip a creature.

Q: My friend says that he can equip a creature with an equipment that is already equipped to a creature by just paying the equip cost. --Mike M.

A: Your friend is right. All that's required is a "target creature you control". The effect will do nothing when it resolves, but it does let you use up extra mana if needed.

Q: Let's say I make 20 Myr tokens from the Myr Incubator. Can I equip Lightning Greaves to all 20 tokens and give them all haste? --Carlos B.

A: Yes, but only one Myr at a time -- the one wearing the Greaves -- will have haste. For example, you're not going to be able to attack for 20 just yet.

Q: Do you get equipment if you play Murderous Spoils on an indestructible creature? -- Matt T.

A: Yes. Being indestructible will make your spell less murderous, but the "spoils" part you'll still get.

Power Conduit
Q: I have been successfully playing with my Clockwork theme deck for years. Its clear I can remove counters with Power Conduit and convert them to charge counters usefully for artifacts and artifact creatures that use the charge counter by name, but what of the reverse for my beloved Armageddon Clocks and Time Bombs? Can Energy Chamber or Power Conduit wind up the Clock or Bomb? --MD

A: Gatherer.Wizards.com can tell you what uses charge counters, but Armageddon Clock and Time Bomb use doom and time counters respectively. They can help wind up your clockwork people, but Energy Chamber and Power Conduit won't help them. You're stuck with trusty old Giant Fan for that.

Q: My friend says Devoted Caretaker won't protect a creature from Pyroclasm because it won't protect from Wrath of God. True? --Nick

A: Not true. Protection from instants and sorceries will prevent damage from instants and sorceries (like Pyroclasm) as will as making the creature untargetable to them (Shock, Befoul). Wrath of God still kills Pro: instant and sorcery guys because it's destroying them without damage and without targeting.

Q: My friend had a creature with Whispersilk Cloak equipped to it and I had No Mercy on the field. I told him that No Mercy doesn't target but didn't believe me. --Krishan P.

A: He should; untargetability doesn't save a creature from No Mercy (or Wrath of God, Myojin of Cleansing Fire, and other such things). Looking at the card is often enough, but if push comes to shove, Gatherer has the Oracle text for all cards, and if the word "target" doesn't appear on the card, then the card doesn't target.

Q: What happens if I have the three Kaldra equipments in play and March Of The Machines, then I create a Kaldra token? --Matthew

A: You get a 4/4 Legendary Avatar creature token that can't put its clothes on. Equipment that is a creature can't be attached to anything (and falls off it is).

Words of Worship
Q: If Words of Worship and Words of War were out, could I not draw and instead use both abilities or just one? --Hyo J.

A: Just one. You can activate both, but when you attempt to draw both will want to replace the draw, and you'll have to pick one. Once you apply the one you pick, the other won't be able to apply (since there's no draw happening anymore) and will wait around until the next time you try to draw (or the turn ends).

Q: If on a card, it is written, "When this comes into play, choose one color and this card gain protection of that color" when it's coming into play can that card choose what protection it has or opponent can kill it with any instant? --Puciek

A: No, an instant won't help, but that's because your wording is a little off. Such cards are written "As CARDNAME comes into play…" That "as" makes all the difference because the choice for "as comes into play" occurs before players can target it as a permanent. All the "choose a color" / "protection from the chosen color" cards use "as comes into play", not "when comes into play." A "when" would trigger and use the stack, and an instant could kill it, but that's not the same wording.

Q: I play Goblin Scouts. In response, I play Artificial Evolution on it, and change 'Scout' to 'Goblin'. Does the spell make Goblin tokens named "Goblin Goblin"? --Jason B.

A: You'll get three tokens that would have a text something like this:
"Goblin Goblin
Creature — Goblin Goblin
2/2
Mountainwalk"
They're red, and their mana cost is 0. They still get affected by things that look for creatures with the Goblin creature type (like Goblin King, but not a double bonus). However, if you Echoing Truth them, only tokens named "Goblin Goblin" will be returned. Tokens just named "Goblin" will not-- and vice versa.

Q: If during a subgame of Magic, a loop is created with no way to stop, does the main game result in a draw? --Franklin K.

A: A subgame is a game related to but independent of another game [CR 506.1]. Entering an unstoppable loop in the subgame causes a draw [CR 102.6] in the subgame. Since a draw ends a game, the players will return to the main game. If you were in a Shahrazad subgame, there was no winner, so each player loses half his or her life. If you were in an Enter the Dungeon subgame, there was no winner, so no one searches.

Well, we almost made it through a whole week without a silver lining, but one sneaking in at the end isn't so bad. For the more tournament-minded among you, there are two Grand Prix tournaments coming up on April 23rd and 24th. One is in Detroit, and the other is in Lisbon. They're both Kamigawa block sealed deck on Day 1 and booster draft on Day 2. Grand Prix are one step shy of the Pro Tour, but they're open for anyone to play in for cash and glory. Even if you're not interested in staying the whole weekend, the organizers plan plenty of fun smaller events on both days, there's plenty of people to trade with and card dealers looking to buy and sell, and GPs often have artist guests in case you've ever wanted to see the talent behind the look of Magic.

Class dismissed.

--Carter

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