Closing Shop on 2005

Posted in Feature on December 17, 2005

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.

The year is almost over. Wizards of the Coast will be scattered all over the place for the next few weeks as they celebrate the season with their friends and families. The next few weeks will be "Best of '05" content all across magicthegathering.com, with the site returning to new content beginning the first Wednesday of January.

Q: Can either Dizzy Spell or Dimir House Guard be used to transmute for Pain/Suffering? --Ben

A: Yes, the converted mana cost of Pain/Suffering is both 1 and 4, so effects asking for something equal to 1 or something equal to 4 will see the Pain/Suffering. You may play either half of the split card regardless of which transmute helped you find it.

*Extra*: You can even use Sunforger's ability to search for Fire/Ice because it is red (partially) with converted mana cost of 4 or less. You could choose to play the Ice half even though Sunforger says nothing about blue cards because choosing which half to use is part of playing it (which Sunforger is allowing for free).

Sunforger
Q: Using Sunforger's ability to search for an instant, does the card you searched for go to the graveyard, or is it reshuffled into your library after it resolves? --Tommy

A: The card is played like it normally would be played, and it'll be put into the graveyard if it's countered or resolved.

*Extra*: Thanks to everyone that wrote to remind us that Brightflame isn't an instant. Sunforger can't fetch Brightflame because Brightflame is a sorcery. If Sunforger tries to fetch an instant such as Heat Ray or Festival of the Guildpact, the value of X would be 0.

Q: If I play Copy Enchantment targeting Faith's Fetters, do I gain 4 life or not? Could I copy Threads of Disloyalty and put it on a creature with a converted mana cost more than 2? --J.L.

A: First of all, let's be clear that Copy Enchantment doesn't target (note the non-presence of the word "target"). You will gain 4 life from a Copy-Faith's-Fetters. Any as-comes-into-play abilities or comes-into-play triggered abilities the enchantment you're copying normally has would be copied. [CR 503.5] A Copy-Threads-of-Disloyalty can't be put on a creature with converted mana cost of more than 2. The Aura must be put on a permanent that fits it's enchant description (creature, converted mana cost 2 or less). [CR 212.4e]

*Extra*: Dream Leash is slightly different though. It has an enchant ability (restricting what it can be attached to) as well as a play ability (restricting what can be chosen when the Aura spell is played). Because "play… only on a tapped permanent" is only a play restriction, you can put a Copy Enchantment on anything without worry about whether it's tapped (so long as it's a permanent).

Q: If you play Followed Footsteps on your opponent's creature, then who gets the tokens? --Matt H.

A: You control the Footsteps, so you'll be the one getting the tokens.

Q: I have Genesis Chamber in play, and I play Sleeper Agent. If I stack the Chamber's trigger before the Agent's, would my opponent get the token? --Jason H.

A: You’ve got it right. You can choose what order the triggers stack, since you control them both. When Genesis Chamber’s ability resolves, it gives a token to the creature’s current controller, so if Sleeper Agent’s ability has already donated it, your opponent will get the Myr.

Q: Does Defense Grid affect cards like Circular Logic when played with madness? --Felix R.

A: Madness only covers the mana cost of the spell. [CR 502.24a] The additional cost from Defense Grid will still apply. A Circular Logic played with madness on an opponent's turn with Defense Grid in play will cost a total of .

Blind with Anger
Q: This question may sound strange, but my wife and I are fairly new players. After declaring my attackers with two creatures for five damage, she plays Blind with Anger. Can she untap her own creature as a target creature in order to declare it as a blocker/attacker to prevent all of the damage? If not, when targeting one of my attacking creatures without Vigilance, can she use it to block/attack with its now given haste ability? --James

A: I find it's best to avoid domestic disputes, but let me help you out here. Yes, your wife can play Blind with Anger on one of her creatures. It will untap and gain haste, so it will probably be able to attack or block that turn. She can also play it on one of your creatures, and will be able to use that creature to attack or block that turn. (If you were attacking with the stolen creature, it will no longer be attacking when you lose control of it.)

*Extra*: *Extra* By the way, you seem to have a few misconceptions about how the game works.

  • On a player’s turn, only that player can attack. If she steals one of your attacking creatures, she can’t attack with it, because it’s not her turn.
  • Each blocker can only block one attacker. If you attack with two creatures, and she only has one blocker, she will still take damage from the other attacking creature.

Q: Some people have said that you can have the cycling ability resolve before any stack. Is this true? --Tuukka

A: No, cycling and cycling triggers all use the stack.

*Extra*: People do often get confused with cycling triggers. The key is that in order for something to trigger off of cycling, the ability must get played. Playing the ability puts it on the stack. Since it's first on the stack, the cycling will be the last thing to resolve from the stack. So you'll always have to decide whether to fetch a basic land (and therefore shuffle) with Krosan Tusker's trigger before you draw the top card (a new one if you searched) of your library.

Q: If I have two or more Coat of Arms in play, do the effects stack upon each other? --Paul G.

A: "Stack" has a very particular meanings in Magic {stack: 1) v. to place upon the stack and await resolution in a last-in, first-out fashion. 2) n. the zone where spells and abilities are placed when played or triggered as they await resolution.), so I wouldn't say they "stack." However, they are cumulative--the net result of two is double that of one, and three is triple that of one.

*Extra*: Something like Levitation isn't cumulative; it's redundant. Generally if something is adding or taking away power and toughness, you can bet the effect will be cumulative.

Squelch
Q: I'm unable to see anywhere in the archives that creatures with the ability ": Add mana…" can't be Squelched. I understand land can't be Squelched. What about an ability of a creature? --Robert C.

A: Checking the archives is often a good idea. Artifacts, creatures, and any other permanent with a mana ability can't have that ability Squelched. Mana abilities don't use the stack. [CR 406.4, 408.2e] All types of permanent can have mana abilities, not just lands.

*Extra*: Elvish Spirit Guide even has a mana ability that's playable only from your hand where it's just a creature card, not even a creature.

Q: Does a creature that is regenerated spend some time in the graveyard at any point and therefore trigger cards like Grave Pact? --Wendy

A: No, regenerated creatures never leave play.

*Extra*: Imagine a salamander... No, not a Magic Salamander--a real life salamander (Magic ones don't regenerate, oddly enough). So this real salamander has its tail caught. This would often be lethal since getting your tail eaten often means the rest of you is eaten, too. However, the salamander drops its tail and regenerates a new one. The salamander isn't dead and then alive--it's just hard to make dead. Now let's say a truck hits the salamander. It's flat. We're talkin' definite 0/0 salamander here. No amount of regeneration is going to help that. So, with lethal damage, regeneration can save it, and it never dies. But if its toughness is reduced to nothing, regeneration won't matter--it's gone.

Q: If I have a Goblin War Drums and Familiar Ground in play doesn't this stop my opponents from blocking? Could a Fog Patch work against this? --Robert

Goblin War Drums
Familiar Ground

A: Yes, Goblin War Drums (no blocking with less than two) and Familiar Ground (no blocking with more than one) make your creatures effectively unblockable--by other creatures. Yes, Fog Patch (and effects like Trap Runner) can make the creature become blocked without a creature being declared as a blocker.

*Extra*: Don't forget that trample will all be assigned to the defending player if Fog Patch is the only thing stopping it--there's no body to take damage before the player does.

Q: My friend has a Skirk Fire Marshal and a Mogg Maniac in play (plus three other Goblins). I have a True Believer in play. He activates the Skirk to deal 10 damage to all creatures and players. Since the Mogg and Believer are dying at the same time, will he be able to target me? --Joe

A: Actually, yes. What happens is the Mogg triggers from the damage, and then all lethally damaged creatures are destroyed (the True Believer among them), and then your friend has to stack his triggered abilities. At this point the Believer is gone, so you're a valid target.

Q: If I have a Teferi's Puzzle Box in play, can a player draw their card for the turn, and then play an instant before the Box triggers? --Chad B.

A: No, the draw for the turn happens immediately, and the Box triggers before anyone can play anything. However, you can respond to the Box's trigger by playing instants and abilities if you have them available.

Q: One thing which has been seriously confusing me, is the thing with end of turn (EOT ) triggers. I've read that you can play a spell with an EOT clause in response to an EOT trigger, and somehow magically have that effect last till end of next turn. Could you possibly explain this tomfoolery to me? --Dorian B.

A: If the EOT phrase says "UNTIL end of turn," then no, the cleanup step will clean it up. What most people are talking about though is "AT end of turn" triggers. These AEOT triggers get only one chance to trigger--as the end of turn step commences. Players get priority after the end of turn step starts, so that's when they play things like Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker's ability to have a token stick around as long as possible. Since the AEOT triggers have already been looked at, a new Kiki-Jiki token wouldn't be spotted until the next EOT. Right after that is the cleanup step. The cleanup is actually designed to repeat itself until nothing odd happens so the next turn can start fresh, so until end of turn effect, which as handled by cleanup, don't stand a chance.

Q: Can I use Avarice Totem in conjunction with Guardian Beast or does the "exchange" rule prevent this? --Andi S.

A: Partial exchanges aren't allowed. Since Guardian Beast makes your opponents unable to gain control of your noncreature artifacts, it makes Avarice Totem ineffective.

Dual Nature
Q: If Dual Nature is in play and I use ninjutsu, does the token created by Dual Nature also come into play attacking? --Stephen H.

A: No, the token is a copy of the Ninja, but "tapped and attacking" (from the ninjutsu ability) isn't a copiable characteristic.

Q: I attack with a Genju of the Spires-enchanted Mountain. My opponent blocks with Patron of the Nezumi. Both die. Do I lose 1 life from the Patron's ability or 2? --Ian K.

A: You'll lose one life. The Mountain and Patron lethally damage each other. They're put into the graveyard as a state-based effect, and the Patron triggers. Then the Genju is put into the graveyard as a state-based effect since its Mountain is gone, but at this point the Patron isn't around to trigger.

Q: In Two-Headed Giant, if a creature has mountainwalk, and a member of the defending team has a Mountain, is the creature unblockable, or is it only unblockable by the team member that has a Mountain? --Mário A.

A: A creature with mountainwalk can't be blocked by any creature if the defending team controls a Mountain.

Q: Situation: It's Two-Headed Giant. They have 14 life. One of them has nine creatures, and the other has four. If we play Netherborn Phalanx, do we put them at 1 or at 3? They said that their life had to be divided, so that both of them had 7 life. One lost 9 life but went to 0 for some unknown reason. The other one lost 4 that put him at 3. 3+0 makes 3. This doesn't seem right. --Robin M.

A: Netherborn Phalanx doesn't need to know an individual player's life total, so dividing the lives doesn't apply. [CR 606.9] One player loses 9 life and the other loses 4 life, so they have 14-9-4 = 1 life left.

That's all for this year. The Guildpact prerelease is coming up in January, so you can expect plenty of hot new cards to warm your fingers next month. Until then…

Class dismissed, and happy holidays.

--Carter

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