The Days are Just Pact

Posted in Feature on January 21, 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.

In case you've been in a medically induced coma lately, the Guildpact prerelease is this weekend. If you're reading this early, you still have time to check your local listings for when and where to get yer Guild on.

Djinn Illuminatus
Q: What happens if I play Traumatize and copy it with Djinn Illuminatus? --Bryan C.

A: Assuming you target the same player, that player will put the top half of his or her library into his or her graveyard, and then he or she will do it again. Basically, you'll get the top 75% of the pre-Traumatize library, because what constitutes half of the library is recalculated each time Traumatize resolves.

Q: Would it be possible to replicate an epic spell if you control Djinn Illuminatus? --Eric

A: Yes, you could replicate the original epic spell if you can pay for the replicate cost. You'll get two epics on each of your turns.

*Extra*: When you make epic copies later, they're put directly on the stack, so you won't be able to replicate those.

Q: I have Djinn Illuminatus in play. I play Evermind, splicing Glacial Ray... [*screech*] --Brian K.

A: Whoa there, speedo. While conceptually amusing, Evermind doesn't cost . It costs [ ]. Objects with no mana cost can't be played as spells. [CR 213.1a]

Q: If I Firestorm for seven, then use the Izzet Guildmage to copy it, do the copies remember the discarded cards, or do I discard for each copy? --Luke

A: The Izzet's copy is smart enough to remember.

*Extra*: The same is true for any additional costs such as sacrificing an artifact for Shrapnel Blast.

Izzet Guildmage
Q: If I splice Desperate Ritual onto Lava Spike and have an Izzet Guildmage in play, is that an infinite damage combo? --Bryn

A: Infinite would imply that everybody else doesn't die at some point thus ending the game. But yes, if you can play Lava Spike with a spliced Desperate Ritual and then copy it with Izzet Guildmage, the copy will give you as it resolves, and you can spend that mana to make another copy of the original spell since it will still be on the stack.

*Extra*: Seething Song is in Ninth Edition, which makes for a very scary combo. Play Izzet Guildmage on turn 2. On turn 3, play Seething Song for . Use to play Lava Spike with Desperate Ritual spliced, and then use the remaining mana to play the Desperate Ritual itself (you only needed the card long enough to reveal it for splice). When the Ritual resolves, you get enough mana to jumpstart your Izzet Spike-O-Matic.

Q: If you pay to replicate a sorcery, does that supersede the rule that you can't play a sorcery when there is something on the stack? --Jason S.

A: The empty stack rule [CR 212.7a] doesn't actually apply. Replicate puts copies directly on the stack, so they're not actually "played." (Otherwise, replicate would loop off of itself.)

*Extra*: There are cards that do "break" the rule on sorceries. Things like Eye of the Storm and Spellweaver Helix can break that rule because of the first Golden Rule - cards' text can break the rules. [CR 103.1]

Q: If you control two Mindmoils, could I play an instant in response to the second Mindmoil trigger to cause more triggers. If so, then wouldn't Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind and Mindmoil be a combo? --Guille M.

A: You could play an instant in between resolving Mindmoil triggers to cause more Mindmoilage. I expect Niv-Mizzet would find it amusing.

Yore-Tiller Nephilim
Q: What would happen if I brought a creature with defender into play with Yore-Tiller Nephilim's ability? --James S.

A: You'd be controlling a tapped and attacking creature with defender. Creatures with defender can't be declared as attackers, but that doesn't stop them from getting sucked into the occasional Nephilim-induced blood lust.

Q: What happens and how many cards you would draw if you had two Bottled Cloisters in play? --Vivian G.

A: Simply put, you remove your hand on other people's turns and get your hand back plus draw two extra on your turn. At the beginning of each opponent's upkeep you remove you hand from the game face down twice--it's easiest to just stick your hand under the Bottle. At the beginning of your upkeep, you'd return whichever cards (if any) were removed by that Bottle and then draw a card for each Bottle your control.

*Extra*: The distinction about which Bottle removed which cards becomes important if you drew cards between resolving the effects on your opponent's turn. This is especially important if one of the Bottles is destroyed. You don't get cards back from a broken Bottle.

Q: With Tolsimir Wolfblood, do gold cards, say Selesnya Sagittars, count for each +1/+1 bonus? Is Courier Hawk an Orzhov card or Selesnya? --Bill O.

A: "Gold" cards are actually cards of every color in their mana cost. The frame is gold, but Selesnya Sagittars is considered Green and White. It, like Voja, will get both of Tolsimir's +1/+1s.
Courier Hawk is freelance. Guild cards either have guild mana in their costs, a guild mechanic on them, or some other feature to indicate they're multicolor-allied. A simple thing to look for is the guild watermark in the text box. Take a look at Roofstalker Wight's text box, and you'll see a Dimir watermark for example.

Q: I was wondering, if Dimir Doppelganger turns into something like Vulturous Zombie and gets counters, do the counters stay if the Doppelganger changes? --Jon

A: Yes. Counters remain on the creature. The same is true for whether it's tapped, attacking, flipped, or have Auras and Equipment on it.

Q: What is the minimum mana I must pay to give a creature haste with Boros Guildmage if I control Heartstone? --Leo S.

A: You'll spend with a Heartstone in play. The current Oracle text (easily found in Gatherer) makes this much clearer than the original Stronghold text.

Q: Can use convoke with Chorus of the Conclave's ability to add counters onto a creature I'm playing? --Blake M.

A: Yes, if the creature spell has convoke, you can tap your creatures to reduce the mana cost and the Chorus' additional cost.

Q: If Circu, Dimir Lobotomist, removes a card from a library it can't be played anymore as long as Circu is in play, or it can't be played anymore the entire game? --Titus

A: As long as Circu is in play he'll be locking out those spells. Once he goes, your mind is your own again.

Q: What happens if I use Soul Sculptor's ability to turn a creature into an enchantment, and then play a Copy Enchantment on that transformed enchantment? Will my Copy Enchantment turn into a creature if someone plays a creature? --Jonathan P.

A: Your Copy Enchantment will be an unsculpted copy of the creature. Soul Sculptor's effect allows you to copy the enchantment-creature, but the Sculptor's effect itself won't be copied. [CR 503.2]

Hideous Laughter
Q: Can protection from black or Privileged Position save my tokens from Hideous Laughter? --Luis R.

A: No, Hideous Laughter isn't damage and doesn't target, so neither would save tokens with toughness two or less.

Q: I have a Muscle Sliver and Spectral Sliver in play. My opponent plays Hideous Laughter. Will my Spectral survive? If I play Ward Sliver and then set it to Blue, can it be countered by Counterspell? Is Crystalline Sliver counterable? --Ric M.

A: Your Spectral Sliver will be put into the graveyard because the Muscle Sliver's bonus ended when it left play. Ward Sliver's protection doesn't kick in (or get chosen even) until it's entering play. The same is true for Crystalline Sliver's untargetability - both can be countered while they're spells.

Q: If I play Dracoplasm and sacrifice a creature that has something like Giant Growth on it, does the Dracoplasm get imbued with the creature's power and toughness as listed on the card or as it currently is due to the instant? --Buddhadev C.

A: Use the creature's power and toughness as it was sacrificed. Your Dracoplasm will be imbued indeed.

Q: May I announce a Spirit or Arcane spell, put a ki counter on a Petalmane Baku, then remove the ki counters from the Baku to pay the cost of that spell? If I have a Soilshaper in play and play a Devouring Greed, can I sacrifice the animated land to Devouring Greed? --Marcelo M.

A: In both cases you're trying to resolve a triggered ability while announcing a spell. Neither one will work. Triggers use the stack, and by then the spell is already played.

Q: I know it is a simple question, but I can't seem to ever understand... how can you tell the difference when a card has a ability if you can tap multiple times versus one where can do it only once? --Tyler

A: The first thing would be to fix the use of "tap." Tapping something means turning it sideways. Activating it means using its ability. The easy way to tell the difference is if the tap symbol is there. If the ability requires tapping, you can only activate it once (Sensei's Divining Top's second ability). If the ability doesn't require tapping, you can activate it many times (Sensei's Divining Top's and the Kamigawa Deceivers' first ability). Some cards will specify if there's a limit but no tap symbol (the Kamigawa Deceivers' second ability).

*Extra*: The tap symbol was introduced in Revised and Legends. For Alpha, Beta, Unlimited, Arabian Nights, and Antiquities, the word tap was often spelled out. On artifacts the terms "mono artifact" (tap) and "poly artifact" (no tap) were used.

Phage, the Untouchable
Q: My opponent plays a Flaring Pain and attacks with Phage, the Untouchable. What happens if I block with Cemetery Gate? --S.

A: The protection from black can't prevent Phage's damage. Phage's ability triggers, and the Gate is destroyed by the ability.

Q: When you set up a band, does the five-creature limit still apply or does that band count as one creature? --Chris

A: There is no five-creature limit, nor has there ever been one. Perhaps you're thinking of a house rule. For banding, the only limit on an attacking band is that all the creatures in the band must have banding plus one extra creature is allowed.

Q: If my opponent activates his Fire Ants' ability and in response I use my Royal Assassin, does the Ants' ability go to the stack and resolve? --Seth G.

A: The Ants' ability was already on the stack when you activated the Assassin. The ability will resolve shortly after the Ants is assassinated.

*Extra*: Questions like this come up often. There is a simple mantra that answers most of them. Feel free to chant along if it helps you remember…
Destroying the source does not stop the effect.

Q: Can I search for a card outside Extended card list in an Extended tournament with Burning Wish? --Wagner C.

A: No, the Wishes are limited in tournaments to what's in your sideboard and what's been removed from the game. Cards that aren't legal in Extended wouldn't be in either of those places.

Q: I tried to find out how to enter the Junior Super Series and where it is hosted, but I can't find either. Please help! --Salik H.

A: The Tournament Center has tons of information on all sorts of events. The JSS is found on the left side in the Programs box. You compete for an invitation to JSS Championship by playing in a JSS Challenge; it's that simple. The Winter Season is already underway. Check here for where you can play. And first and second place finishers win invitations and scholarship money in the JSS. Trust me on this one - Moms love scholarship money.

Yosei, the Morning Star
Q: I was in a two-headed giant match when our opponent played Yosei, the Morning Star one turn and another Yosei the turn after. They claimed that the untap step skipped us both for two turns. I want to verify this. ----Bill C.

A: Both heads will have to skip the untap step. [CR 606.6f] Once that untap has been skipped, the next time your team would have an untap step, the other Yosei skip will make you skip the untap again. Quadruple ouch.

It's been a week of combo-kills, confusion clarifications, and tournament torments. It's time to sit back and relax with that lovely aroma of freshly opened boosters at the Guildpact prerelease. See you there.

Class Dismissed.

--Carter

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