Drakes and Dragons and Drafts

Posted in Feature on April 23, 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.

Best of luck to everyone at the two Grand Prix this weekend. Two weeks from now is a Pro Tour in Richard Garfield's (and my) old stomping grounds -- Philadelphia. And two weeks after that it's time for Saviors of Kamigawa prereleases all over the world. Back to things were in Seattle though…

Horobi, Death's Wail
Q: I was wondering if I could equip Horobi, Death's Wail? --Jeremy W.

A: No, equipping targets, so Horobi's trigger would kill Horobi, and the equip ability would be countered.

*Extra*: Ronin Warclub could get attached to Horobi with the triggered ability-- the trigger says nothing about targeting. However, using the equip ability will kill Horobi just like other targetings would.

Q: If I will target Horobi, Death's Wail with a Magma Jet, will the scry ability of the magma jet resolve? What if I use Tel-Jilad Justice on an indestructible artifact? --Victor V.

A: The Magma Jet will be countered because Horobi's trigger will have finished him off already. The Tel-Jilad Justice won't destroy the indestructible artifact, but the scry still goes off.

Q: Can you please define a "ki counter" and tell me how you play or use it in the Kamigawa decks. Thanks --Vince R.

A: A "ki counter" is a counter named "ki". That's all there is to it.
How ki counters are used is written directly on the cards that use ki counters. Often they're needed to flip a Betrayers of Kamigawa flippers, and once flipped you can start removing counters to do things. Gatherer has a helpful list of cards with ki counters.

Konda's Banner
Q: With dual-type creatures now (ie: Human Samurai), will Konda's Banner give the +1/+1 for each creature type it shares with creatures? --Josef G.

A: Konda's Banner is much like Coat of Arms-- they only care if something is shared, not how many times over that thing is shared.
You can think of the Banner asking, "Do you share a color at all? Yes? Ok, have +1/+1. How about creature type, do you share any? Yes? Have another +1/+1" A legendary white and red creature that is a Human Samurai wearing a Banner will make the Banner give +1/+1 twice at most. Once is for being either red or white (or for being both), and once is for being either Human or Samurai (or for being both).

Q: Can I enchant creatures my opponent controls? I hate it when my opponent casts Oni Possession on my creature so I would sacrifice a creature on my upkeep. --Sonny J

A: Yes, but your opponent is the one who should be upset. You can enchant other people's things (unless the card specifically say so-- like Fire Whip). However, that player is still the one who controls the Oni Possession, so they are the one who will sac the creature, not you. Next time, thank them for the +3/+3, trample, Demon-ness.

*Extra*: Cards like Pacifism, Confiscate, and Arrest would be decidedly awful if you couldn't enchant other people's stuff. For a card that actually does what your opponent was trying to do, they'll have to look at Lingering Death.

Q: I have a Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker and a Rukh Egg in play. I make a copy of Rukh Egg. The token Egg dies at end of turn and there is a 4/4 Rukh token trigger. Do I get the token at the end of the turn I used Kiki or at the end of the next turn? --Kostas K.

A: You'll get it next turn. The end of turn triggers have happened for this turn, so the EoT trigger won't stack until the next EoT starts.

*Extra*: The fact EoT triggers wait until the EoT starts is what lets players double up with Kiki-Jiki tokens. For example, wait until their EoT. Then use Kiki to make a copy. Since you're in the EoT, that token won't be saced yet. Untap for your turn. Use Kiki again and make another token. Attack. At that EoT both tokens will trigger and be sacrificed. If they were Rukh eggs, you'd get both tokens at the end of your opponent's turn.

Godo, Bandit Warlord
Q: If I have a Godo, Bandit Warlord and a Quicksilver Elemental on the field, can I copy Godo's effect? --Andy B.

A: You'd be trying to copy his ability (the thing that makes the effect). However, Godo's ability isn't activated, so the Quicksilver Elemental wouldn't actually get anything when it tries to copy from Godo.

Q: I would like to know if I have to sac Shisato, Whispering Hunter if there are no Snakes in play, even though there's nothing written in the text. --Jerry

A: If there really are no Snakes in play, then you do nothing. However, I'll note that Shisato is a Snake, so unless she's had some work done, you'll have at least one to sacrifice.

Q: Cosmic Larva says "At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice Cosmic Larva unless you sacrifice two lands." Can I choose to sacrifice the lands even if I don't have two in play (similar to discarding two cards with only one or none in hand)? --James B.

A: No, you have to sacrifice two lands or the Larva. With something like Mind Rot, you do as much as you can. With the Larva, you either chose one or the other, and if "one" is impossible, then you have to choose "the other".

Q: When I play Fiery Gambit, and I win one flip and lose the next one, will the 3 damage to the creature be done? --Thomas

A: Nope, the whole thing has no effect if you lose a flip.

*Extra*: Fiery Gambit doesn't actually limit you to three flips. Winning more than three won't do anything extra, but only losing will actually make you stop (or a judge if you're at a tournament and have gone insane with four Krark's Thumbs and are on flip 100 or so).

Q: Does Browbeat work even if your opponent has Browbeat? --Jonatan

A: Yes, the "punisher" cards work regardless of what cards your opponent has.
The poster child of misreading the punisher wording would be Book Burning. Don't forget that Saturday School archives can help -- sometimes with what you're looking for, but also with a similar card that has the same issue.

Q: If I have Sparkcaster in play and I play Horned Kavu, can I return Sparkcaster to my hand? It's a golden card and I have to return a red or green creature to my hand! Can I return it? --Frank B.

A: Yes, the gold frame doesn't mean the card is "gold"-- it's red and green. Rather than have 20 different colored frames (5 mono, 10 dual-color, and 5 three-color), the decision was made to use gold as a universal multicolored color.

*Extra*: You've probably also seen a gold tint added to some land frames (starting with 8th Edition and Mirrodin), but that doesn't mean they are colored-- it means that land produces all five colors. If you look close, other lands have land frames without added tint, but colored mana producing lands also get a highlight to the piping inside the frame according to the colors that land produces. For example, Boseiju, Who Shelters All has no added tint and a grayish (ie: colorless) piping, Cloudcrest Lake has no added tint and white-and-blue piping, where Forbidden Orchard has a gold tint in the frame with gold highlight in the piping.

Q: Can you play angelic renewal on a turn when no creature cards have gone to your graveyard, but there are creature cards already in there from a previous turn? --Shaggy

A: No, Angelic Renewal triggers when a creature dies, so no death means no trigger.

*Extra*: If you want to sacrifice a dead-creature-returning enchantment when you feel like it (though it won't get back creatures that died on earlier turns), try No Rest for the Wicked.

Pestilence
Q: I am hoping you can settle a dispute that has been rumbling in our group for some time. During the end of turn step, after triggered abilities have gone on the stack and resolved and the stack is now empty, do players get priority to play instants and abilities like they do during other steps?
Basically, I have Pestilence in play, and my opponents have creatures. I want Pestilence's triggered ability to trigger, see that there are creatures in play and stick around, then activate it to clear the board and have it in play next turn. --Phil B. A: The Pestilence trick works fine. The key is that no step or phase ends until all players have passed on an empty stack. In your case, the Pestilence trigger occurs and is stacked. The active player gets priority and passes. You pass, so the trigger resolves. Since a spell or ability (etc.) has occurred, the active player gets priority again (and this time the stack is empty). He passes priority to you, and you Pestilence like a madman. [CR 408.1c, Glossary: Priority]

Q: If I play a Thirst for Knowledge, having Tomorrow, Azami's Familiar in play, will I look at top 3 cards, get one card and put the rest on bottom of my library for three times (for a total of 9 cards looked and 3 cards "drawn") and discard zero cards has replaced effect? --Fabrizio C.

A: You have the right idea, but we need to fix some details… Most importantly, Thirst for Knowledge doesn't care if you actually drew or not, you have to discard two cards (or an artifact) regardless of how many cards you actually drew. Secondly, the cards weren't drawn or "drawn", they were put into your hand (it's an important enough distinction to make sure it's clear). This means cards like Underworld Dreams won't trigger. Basically, you look at three and put one into your hand three times, and then you discard two (or an artifact).

Q: If I successfully play six spells before I play Temporal Fissure, and my opponent counters the Temporal Fissure, what happen to the other 'copies'? -- Corey Y.

A: They're copies and are independent of the original Temporal Fissure-- they'll resolve as normal.

Q: Can I use Power Conduit to avoid paying any cumulative upkeep at all? Or is the entire effect of cumulative upkeep atomic (i.e. uninterruptible)? For instance, can I add the age counter, then remove it, then pay nothing? My gut tells me no. --Kurt D.

A: You have smart guts. Power Conduit can make cumulative upkeep cheap but not quite free because adding the counter and paying for the upkeep are one indivisible (or atomic as you say) series of events. You can remove counters with Power Conduit so the age counters don't pile up over one.

Bomb Squad
Q: If I have two or more Bomb Squads in play, do they all trigger, or does a creature only receive one fuse counter during my upkeep no matter how many Bomb Squads I have in play? --Berkley N.

A: Each Bomb Squad will trigger and add fuse counters. A creature with one fuse counter will end up with three.

*Extra*: The triggered ability happens even if there aren't any creatures with fuse counters, and it doesn't add counters until the trigger resolves. What this means is that you can respond to the trigger by putting a counter on a creature, and the trigger will wind up putting a second counter on it when it resolves.

*Extra Extra*: So let's say you have a critter with no counters, and I have two Bomb Squads. My upkeep, I respond to the triggers by using each to put a fuse counter on your creature. Once both triggers have resolved, your critter has four counters, and both Squads trigger. Lo and behold, explosion #1 blows up the guy, and you take 4. Since it's a state-triggered ability (they don't recheck for the game state after they trigger until after they resolve), and since there's no "if you do" (like on Mogg Bombers), the second explosion still goes off-- you'd have to regenerate a second time (if possible) if you wanted to save it, and in any case you'll still take a second four. *Ka-pow-pow!*

Q: I have a Dragon deck with Drakes in it. I had the argument that Drakes are in the old sets' the word for Dragon and in the new sets the use the word Dragon. True? --S.

A: Drakes and Dragons are different, and you can reasonably expect to see more of both in the future. To verify what a card's creature type is, you can generally trust cards printed since 1999, but Gatherer is always available with the official Oracle text.

So how are they different?

In Magic's history there have been Dragons running from Alpha (8/93) to Champions of Kamigawa (10/04). Drakes were born in Mirage (10/96), and they have been around as recently as Fifth Dawn (6/04). Creatively speaking, Dragons are usually large winged creatures with forearms (thus the change to Quicksilver Dragon's art when it changed creature types in development). Dragons can appear in all colors or as multicolored, but they're most often red in full or in part (60.7%). Drakes are medium to small with only wings and legs, and they're usually blue (78.6%).

From a pure game-play standpoint, here's a side-by side comparison:
(Includes Clockwork Dragon as a 6/6 and Tek as a 2/2)

DrakesDragons
Total4256
In Standard510
Average P/T2.2/2.55.1/5.0
Largest4/39/9
Smallest1/11/1
CommonalityC, U, RU, R, Promo (Nalathni Dragon), Unique (Shichifukijin Dragon)

Q: I'm new to Magic and I was wondering... what exactly is drafting? --Leonard

A: "Draft" is a type of limited format. "Limited" means you show up, and the tournament organizer (or your buddies, in a casual setting) hand you sealed cards to build your deck out of-- the limited formats are made up of Draft and Sealed Deck.
"Draft" means you'll open boosters and choose cards from the boosters to build your deck-- there are several types of draft formats. The most common type is "booster draft" where you and others open a pack each, every person picks a card from their pack, and you all pass the rest one seat left. Everyone then picks up the pack they were passed, takes a card out of that pack, and passes that rest. Drafts usually have eight players, but the numbers can vary (sanctioned events require at least eight). You keep the cards you draft once the event is over (though in casual events people often redraft the rares as a sort of prize).

*Extra*: You can draft with your friends almost anywhere. Speaking of which, the Magic R&D department wants to say a big hello to our friends from Alpha Company. And rumors that a member of R&D has drafted while driving to a Pro Tour Qualifier as entirely unfounded -- I wasn't the one driving.

I can't recommend drafting and driving, but if you've got the draft bug, check out the Store Locator and look for a store near you. There are also casual groups and school groups all over the place that get together regularly. Enjoy!

Class dismissed.

--Carter

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