Off to the East Coast

Posted in Feature on June 10, 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.

Last weekend saw three Grand Prix being run as simultaneously as time zones would allow. Torino, Toronto, and Kuala Lumpur all hosted hundreds of players battling to get golden tickets to Kobe, Japan. Next weekend is Pro Tour--Charleston looming large with Ravnica Block Constructed on the horizon, but first we have questions to answer.

Coalition Victory
Q: Would Transguild Courier, Tundra, Blood Crypt and Forest be enough to satisfy the win condition on Coalition Victory? --Chris L.

A: Yes, the Courier covers the color requirements, and the three lands cover the land type requirement. (Note that it doesn't say "a basic land of each basic land type.")

Q: Does Darksteel Colossus remain in the graveyard after it has been turned into a graft creature with Cytoshape, or does his replacement effect still apply? And do "put-into-graveyard-from-play" effects trigger? --Florian B.

A: Becoming a copy of something will overwrite the Colossus' innate abilities. Being a 0/0 (since it won't have the counters a grafter does), it will be put into the graveyard as a state-based effect. Without the Colossus replacement to apply to going to the graveyard it finds itself in the graveyard with nothing special happening.

Q: Can an Azorius Guildmage counter a Kami of Ancient Law that has protection from white from destroying an enchantment? --Karl

A: The Kami's ability is activated, so the Guildmage can counter it. The Kami's protection applies only to the creature, not to abilities from that creature, and the Guildmage only targets the ability.

Q: I have Rise // Fall in my graveyard. I play Magnivore. How big is it? Does a Rise // Fall count as two sorceries, or one? --Brett B.

A: Magnivore counts cards that have the spell type sorcery. Even though Rise // Fall is a Sorcery // Sorcery, it is still only one card.

Windreaver
Q: If I were to forecast Writ of Passage on my Windreaver and later switch his power and toughness, would it still be unblockable? --Tim

A: With the forecast, it only matters what the power is when the ability tries to resolve. If it's three or more, the forecast will be countered, otherwise the unblockability lasts for the turn. Switching the power and toughness later won't make the creature blockable.

*Extra*: Writ of Passage as an enchantment is similar but different. There the power matters when the triggered ability triggers and resolves. If the enchanted creature has power three or more at either time, the ability won't work.

Q: If you play an Epic spell, can one still play a card with forecast? --D. O.

A: In technical terms, "play a card" means the same thing that the archaic term "cast" meant. What you're getting at is can you use the forecast ability on the card. Yes, you can activate the forecast ability even after an epic has resolved.

Q: If Sprouting Phytohydra has a +1/+1 counter and takes damage, will its triggered ability create a copy 1/3 or a copy 0/2? --Jon K.

A: You'll get 0/2 tokens. The effect that makes the token is copying the Sprouting Phytohydra. Copy effects copy 1) the original object and 2) any preexisting copy effects on that object.

*Extra*: If you Clone a Sprouting Phytohydra, the resulting tokens are more Sprouts, not Clones. You copied the original (Clone) and the preexisting copy effect (Sprout).

Q: If I control a Simic Ragworm with a +1/+1 counter on it, can I pay to untap my Experiment Kraj? --Joe P.

A: Yes, the ability the Kraj gets will refer to the Kraj, not to the other creature. Anytime something refers to itself by name, mentally swap that name with "this thing."

Q: Does Squealing Devil's ability trigger when it resolves or when it is put on the stack? When do you pay X mana? --Alex

A: Squealing Devil's trigger is based on coming into play, not being played. You'll pay once it's in play and that trigger has resolved. If the Devil's target is gone when the trigger would resolve, the ability is countered, and you'll not get a chance to pay anything (not that you'd want to).

*Extra*: Players often tap a lot of mana when playing Squealing Devil. This is a common shortcut to save time with the intent of sending that mana into the triggered ability. If the Devil is countered, it is a widely accepted practice to undo the shortcut and untap the lands for the X. It is best though to verify that the Devil has triggered and that trigger is resolving before actually tapping the lands.

Q: Is it possible to play a creature and then play Cytoshape on it and choose Desolation Angel to trigger the comes into play ability? --Ruediger D.

A: No. No matter how quickly you try to target the creature, it was already in play, and the new shape won't trigger.

Kill-Suit Cultist
Q: My friend claimed that because Kill-Suit Cultist's ability states "the next time damage" that the target creature must have been dealt damage before that time for the ability to work. He said "next time" means that there had to be a "first time". –Matthew

A: "Next" only refers to chronology, not to sequence. The Cultist's ability will work fine even if there is only one applicable damage event for the turn.

Q: If I imprint Blind Hunter on Soul Foundry, when the Blind Hunter tokens are destroyed do they still haunt a creature? --Tony

A: The haunt ability triggers, but the tokens will cease to exist and not be around to get removed and haunt anything. They are too ephemeral to be that scary.

Q: How does replicate interact with cards referring to a 'source of damage'? Does Lashknife Barrier prevent all damage from a replicated Pyromatics? --William A.

A: Each copy with replicate (or storm) is a separate source. Lashknife Barrier would prevent every point to your creatures from a replicated Pyromatics.

Q: I have Mesmeric Orb and 4 tapped cards in play at the beginning of my untap step. If the third card that goes into my graveyard is Gaea's Blessing, does my graveyard get shuffled into my library immediately or after the fourth card? --Dan H.

A: Untapping four permanents triggers the Orb four times. Each trigger resolves separately. The third resolution will trigger the Blessing, and that trigger goes on top of the fourth Orb trigger. You'll shuffle your library and graveyard together and then resolve the final Orb trigger.

Q: If Unstable Shapeshifter comes into play and then three other creatures are played, does the Unstable Shapeshifter get only the ability and power and toughness from the first creature or does he get the ability and power and toughness from all the creatures? --Angel A.

A: The Shapeshifter will be a copy of the creature that most recently came into play (plus having the Shapeshifter ability). With creatures A, B, and C, the Shapeshifter will become an A, then a B, and then a C (plus the trigger that keeps changing it), not an A or an ABC.

Q: If I use Fleeting Image to block a creature with trample, do I still get damage? --Omar O.

A: Most likely, yes. Being a 2/1, the most the Image could absorb is 1, but you opponent could assign more. Anything beyond that gets assigned to the defending player. If you return the Image before damage is assigned, then there's no toughness to require a damage assignment, so you'd take the entire amount.

Odds // Ends
Q: I attacked with my Meloku the Clouded Mirror. My opponent played Shining Shoal with X=2 targeting me and choosing Meloku as the damage source. I played Odds, which ended up as copying the Shoal. I re-targeted my opponent and chose my Meloku as the source again. Who will take the two damage? --Hui

A: Meloku will try to hit your opponent, Shoal #1 will send that damage back at you, then Shoal #2 kicks in and sends the damage back to the opponent where it sticks this time.

Q: If I have Tomorrow, Azami's Familiar in play it overrides the draw effect. Is it right then, that you can't lose the game by drawing a card from an empty library since it isn't really "drawn"? –Patrik

A: As long as you're using Azami's ability to replace the draw, you won't lose for drawing from an empty library. It's best to specify to your opponent that you're using the replacement, just in case there's confusion.

Q: My opponent has no cards at library and he has a Platinum Angel at play. Then he has to draw, but he can't. One turn later he puts cards on top of his library, but I kill his Angel. Will he die for the past turns when he was unable to draw? --Julio

A: No, drawing to death only looks at the time since state-base effects were last checked. Unless he drew sometime after the Angel was destroyed and SBEs were checked, he'll live.

*Extra*: Dismantling Blow with kicker is an example of how you could draw cards after destroying the Angel but before SBEs are checked.

Q: If I have Night of Souls' Betrayal in play and I play a second. The legend rule makes them both be destroyed. But is the second Night of Souls' Betrayal in play long enough for it's ability to hit the stack? Does everything for that split second receive -2/-2? --Ebbin

A: Yes, creatures that normally would be X/2s will be put into the graveyard at the same time as the pair of legendary enchantments.

Q: I'm placing numerous Auras, including Vanishing, on a creature. I want to know if I can protect the enchantments by phasing the creature out. Is my logic wrong? --Thomas L.

A: Your logic is fine with phasing. Phasing an object includes phasing things attached to that object (Auras and Equipment). All those object will phase back in at the same time.

*Extra*: In contrast, removing something from the game doesn't take Auras or Equipment with it - those will be left behind.

Q: Can any player play the ability of a card that I control? –Wes

A: Not unless the card says so (such as the Flailing creatures from Mercadian Masques).

Nimble Mongoose
Q: My opponent had a Nimble Mongoose out, with four cards in the graveyard. I cycled a Slice and Dice, but he said that the Mongoose wouldn't take damage because it "can't be the target of spells or abilities.” Who's right? --Cameron G.

A: Being untargetable doesn't affect untargeted damage. That 'goose is cooked.

*Extra*: If it had protection from red, then the damage would have been prevented. Protection offers both the untargetableness and prevention (among other things).

Q: I have a Two-headed Giant question. If one player on the opposing team controls a Ghostly Prison, can my team attack the other player and avoid paying Ghostly Prison's cost? --Tom

A: No, you attack the team, not the individual players.

Q: Can my opponent buy sleeves just before the tournament and sleeve his deck for 20 minutes? Can he time waste purposefully at the end of the round? When should I have called a judge, and what should his ruling have been? --Simon C.

A: No. Players have three minutes to shuffle and present their decks for any game. A player who is taking time to sleeve should be hurried along and cautioned. If a player intentionally is wasting time, then that player is either being unsportmanlike (no advantage gained) or that player is cheating (advantage gained). [PG 150-153,162] In your case the player was cheating.

The best time to call a judge (for anything) is as soon as you think there might be a problem. If there is no problem, then the game can get back on track. If there is a problem, then catching it sooner is better than later.

If Grand Prix and the Pro Tour--Charleston aren't your glass of sweet tea, next month is bound to let you chill out with Coldsnap prerelease July 8th and 9th and release events during the release weekend of July 22nd and 23rd.

Class Dismissed.

--Carter

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