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Q: Does phasing remove damage from a creature?
A: Phasing out a creature removes all damage
(Mirage rulebook, p.1) in the same way that ending a turn removes all damage. [CR 502.15e] However, phasing is not considered a damage-prevention or regeneration effect, and therefore a phasing effect cannot be played during damage prevention. For example, you cannot assign damage to a creature and then phase it out to avoid the creature's death.
[Ah, the days of damage prevention windows. Those timing whirlpools went away with the Sixth Edition rules update back in 1999.]
Q: When do phasing
creatures first objects phase in or out?
A: At the beginning of your untap
phase step, all phasing creatures objects you control that are in play phase out; simultaneously, all creatures you control that are "out of phase" objects that you controlled when they phased out phase in. A phasing creature normally phases out the turn after it's played, phases in the turn after that, phases out the next turn, and so on. However, effects that phase the permanent out throw it out of sequence. [The untap has been demoted to just being a step. And more than just creatures can phase. Most importantly, you phase your stuff in or out right before you actually untap.] Q: At what speed does phasing happen? A: Phasing is no faster or slower than any other fast effect, and fast effects resolve like instants. Let's say I phase out my Wild Elephant with Reality Ripple and in response you cast Dark Banishing on my Wild Elephant. According to the last-in, first-out rule, the Dark Banishing resolves first, burying my Wild Elephant. Because it has no target, my phasing spell then fizzles. On the other hand, let's say that you hit my Wild Elephant with Dark Banishing and in response, I phase the Elephant out. According to LIFO, my phasing spell resolves first and my Wild Elephant phases out. The Dark Banishing then resolves, but it has no target and therefore fizzles. [Speed? Ick. Just remember, phasing doesn't use the stack. The spell (like Reality Ripple) or ability that would cause the phasing uses the stack, but the actual action of phasing doesn't. You might have also noticed “fizzle”-- the fan favorite term for countering a spell with no legal targets.]
Q: Can phasing a card out save me from paying an upkeep cost?
A: Yes. If a permanent with an upkeep cost phases out during your upkeep, you do not pay the upkeep, just as if it had been destroyed. For example, if you enchant your opponent's phasing creature with Thirst, you will have to pay Thirst's upkeep during your upkeep only if your opponent's creature is in play--not if it's phased out--because Thirst phases out along with the creature. [Be careful though. Other upkeep effects, such as Benthic Djinn's, will trigger and resolve even if the object phases out before the trigger's resolution.]
Q: If I give a
legend or a legendary land legendary whatever phasing, can I, on the next turn, play another legend legendary whatever of the same name and give it phasing?
A: Yes. Because the first
legend one will phase out on the next turn, neither legend one will be in play at the same time, so you're not violating the rules for legends. [“Legend” as a creature type went away as the first casualty of the Kamigawa war.]
Q: The Fifth Edition rules say that only effects that give control of a card to someone permanently will remain on the card when it phases out (Mirage rulebook, p. 1). What does this mean?
Effects that permanently give control don't have a condition that might give the controlled card back to the previous controller. For instance, Gauntlets of Chaos lets you swap a land, creature, or artifact with your opponent. Nothing on the card says how that effect wears off, because it lasts for the rest of the game. Seasinger is an example of a control effect that's not permanent, because it provides a condition under which control wears off. So if you swapped a permanent via Gauntlets of Chaos, and that permanent phased out, you would keep control of the permanent. However, if you gained control of an opponent's creature via Seasinger and the creature phased out, you would lose control of it.
[The Fifth Edition rules in the Mirage rulebook? Ignore the time-continuum paradox, and remember that permanent effects (like Prismatic Lace) don't end with phasing, but temporary ones (Raging Spirit) do.]
Q: What's a local enchantment?
A local enchantment is an enchant artifact, enchant creature, enchant enchantment, enchant land, or enchant permanent (Mirage rulebook, p. 22).
Q: What's a global enchantment?
A global enchantment is an enchant world or an enchantment (Mirage rulebook, p. 22).
Q: What's the
casting mana cost of a token creature?
A: As before, token creatures are considered to have
a zero casting no mana cost and a converted mana cost of 0.
Q: Are the banding rules changed with flanking?
One creature can only be assigned to block one other creature (Mirage rulebook, p. 50), and banding doesn't change that. You still have to assign a blocking creature to block one specific member of a band. Although that blocking creature will block the entire attacking band, it's only assigned to block one member of that band, so unless you assign your creature to block the flanking one, the flanking will not have an effect. On the other hand, if you block a band that has Thicket Basilisk, the Basilisk's ability will still take effect, as it depends on whether or not it's blocked, not whether or not a creature is assigned to block it specifically.
[No, is all you need right now. We'll talk about banding later.]
Q: Is flanking cumulative?
In Fifth Edition rules, all creature abilities are. This doesn't always have an effect, however. Having first strike twice doesn't accomplish anything more than having it once. However, flanking is a triggered ability, and each instance of flanking will trigger whenever appropriate.
Q: Does a blocking creature with flanking give the attacking creature -1/-1?
A: No. Flanking, like trample, only works when attacking.
Q: How do interrupts work in Fifth Edition rules?
Interrupts that target spells and effects can only target the spell or effect they actually interrupt. For example, I cast Fireball, and you interrupt the Fireball to cast Counterspell. I could interrupt the Counterspell with Fork, but then I would have to target the Counterspell, and Fork can't target interrupts. Instead I can respond to Counterspell with Fork and add it to the batch that interrupts the Fireball. Notice that I can still only respond to an interrupt with an interrupt. Interrupts that target permanents rather than spells or effects are now played as instants. [Ack, run, it's an interrupt!]
Q: What does the rule about "pumping up" abilities really mean (Mirage rulebook, p. 3)?
The rulebook states that when you play an ability, you can now pay its cost only once, generating its effect only once each time it's activated. More specifically, every time you perform a fast effect, the active player has a chance to respond to it. If you're the active player, that means that you can keep stringing instants together and your opponent can't respond until you're done playing instants. If you're not the active player, then you only get to respond with one fast effect before the active player regains control.
[Look at it as an embryonic version of The Stack. It's a tad deformed so don't stare long. Better yet, don't look at all.]
Q: How can I tell if an interrupt that supplies mana is a mana source?
If all the interrupt does is provide mana during resolution, then it's a mana source. If it does something else during resolution, then you play it as an interrupt or instant, as appropriate. For example, Spoils of Evil provides mana (speed of a mana source) but also gives you life (speed of an instant), so you play it as an instant.
[Yes, 1996 was a different world. Interrupts and mana sources have all evolved into Stack-loving instants.]
Q: Are artifacts that generate mana considered mana sources as they are being cast?
A: No. The card itself is not a mana source, so you can counter the casting. [“Cast,” how quaint.]
Q: The sacrifice rules have been changed so that a card on its way to the graveyard can be sacrificed. Does this mean that I can sacrifice a creature after it has taken lethal damage?
No. Remember that sacrifice is a cost, and you cannot interrupt damage resolution to pay a cost; all you can pay for after damage assignment is damage prevention. Removing the "on its way to the graveyard" rule does not add a rule that all instants requiring a sacrifice are legal during damage prevention. When a creature is damaged, you automatically go into the damage-prevention stage and unless a sacrifice is preventing damage, you cannot sacrifice a creature that has already taken lethal damage.
[There's no sacrificing something that's dead or sacrificing something for two things. State-based effect don't play dat, yo.]
Q: In the Fifth Edition rules, burying is not the same as destruction without regeneration. How does this affect older cards such as Guardian Beast that were printed before the term "bury" even existed?
Previously Guardian Beast prevented its controller's artifacts from being destroyed by Shatterstorm or Jokulhaups. However, Shatterstorm and Jokulhaups both use the term "bury," and the new rules for burial prohibit any kind of prevention, even passive effects like Guardian Beast's.
[There is only destroy, destroy… can't be regenerated, and remove from the game. Bury has been buried.]
[Now that we've made it through what may or may not be all of the General Notes, let's look at some card-specifics, in no particular order at all, from October of '96.]
Q: Is discarding a hand of 0 cards a legal discard for activating Lion's Eye Diamond?
A: Yes. If you discard all your cards, you get the Diamond's effect. The size of your hand is irrelevant.
Q: Can you use the mana from Lion's Eye Diamond to cast spells in your hand before you discard them?
A: No. You have to have the mana for a spell or an effect in your mana pool before announcing that spell or effect. Because discarding your hand is part of the activation cost for Lion's Eye Diamond, you have to discard your hand to get the mana before you cast any spells from your hand, and by the time you get the mana, your hand is empty. [The “fixed” Black Lotus still needed errata so it can only be activated when you could play an instant-- you can't use it while playing a spell or ability.]
Q: Can the Mirage "fetch lands" like Mountain Valley be used to play a land during your opponent's turn? A: Yes. The activation of the lands is a fast effect. [Well, they're no longer “fast effects,” and you're not actually “playing” the land. But the “yes” is still correct.]
Q: If I have Verduran Enchantress in play, can I draw an extra card if I play a Mirage enchantment like Armor of Thorns as an instant?
A: Yes. When you play an "insta-chantment" like Armor of Thorns as an instant, you are still casting an enchantment spell; you're just casting it using the rules for instants. [Insta-chantment is awfully clunky for something instanty. Let's call 'em “instantments.” Instantments just got a new keyword-- substance. [CR 502.49] What does substance do? Nothing. It just sticks to the instantment if you played it like an instant. During cleanup, the substance falls off, and so does the enchantment. If you play the instantment like normal, you don't have to worry about substances or other goo messing up your plans. Why the substance and the cleanup? So Armor of Thorns will stay on your critter just as long as damage from that turn.]
Q: If I target a summon spell with Ersatz Gnomes, is the change to colorless permanent?
A: Yes. The ability of Ersatz Gnomes works just like -lacing or Hacking a spell; the change is permanent. [Summon spells are now known as creature spells. And yes, Ersatzing a spell that becomes a permanent will give you a colorless permanent.]
Q: Can I activate Hakim, Loreweaver's ability to put an enchantment from the graveyard on it and in response, activate it again--until I run out of mana or enchantments--even though the card says to use the ability if there are no enchantments on Hakim?
A: Yes. You do not check for restrictions on when you can play a spell or ability until the effect resolves.
Q: Zirilan of the Claw lets me bring a Dragon card from my library into play, and the Dragon is unaffected by summoning sickness and is removed from the game at the end of the turn. If I put the Dragon in Safe Haven after attacking, then next turn sacrifice the Safe Haven and release the Dragon, is it still removed from the game at the end of the turn?
All changes to the Dragon's original text are lost, just as if it had been put into the graveyard. However, if the Dragon is not put into Safe Haven and phases out instead, the permanent effects of Zirilan's ability remain.
[Zirilan doesn't actually change text, it just grants haste while springing forth burly Dragons. If you remove the Dragon from play before the end of turn, even with phasing, the Dragon won't be removed from the game at end of turn.]
Q: When I play Shimmer, can I choose a nonbasic land type?
A: Yes. Choosing a land type for Shimmer works exactly like choosing a land type for Illusionary Presence. [And we all remember Illusionary Presence, right? Here's the quick nonbasic land type list: Desert, Lair, Locus, Mine, Power-Plant, Tower, and Urza's. Sadly, “Island of Wak-Wak walk” no longer works with Illusionary Presence.]
Q: When casting Aleatory, do I have to declare the target creature I plan to give +1/+1 before the coin is tossed?
A: Yes. Even though the results of the spell are unpredictable, you must still choose Aleatory's target as you play it.
Q: Can you clarify Benevolent Unicorn's special ability?
A: The Unicorn's ability doesn't reduce damage from an enchantment assigning damage, a creature assigning damage, or a spell assigning -X/-X; it only reduces damage assigned by a spell. [Since Benevolent Unicorn is damage reduction, not prevention, it can reduce damage even from spells like Flames of the Blood Hand.]
Q: Do I have to show my opponents the creatures I put back in my library with Bone Harvest?
A: Yes. You must show all the creatures,
plus the order that you put them back on top of your library.
[You don't have to reveal the order any more. How lucky.]
Q: When, exactly, is the blocking creature's power halved by Catacomb Dragon?
A: The blocking creature's (or creatures') power is halved immediately after blockers are declared. Effects played later in the turn that increase power are not halved. [And by “immediately” we mean, “once the Dragon's trigger resolves.”]
Q: How does Celestial Dawn affect Drain Life?
Celestial Dawn changes all colored mana symbols in all appropriate cards to . Thus, it converts Drain Life's text to read: "For each you pay in addition . . ." to "For each you pay in addition. . . ."
[Celestial Dawn lets you spend as though it were any color of mana. Considering Celestial Dawn makes all your lands into Plains, and every drop of mana you can produce from anything would be , this is a good thing.]
Q: How does Dazzling Beauty affect trampling creatures?
A: A target creature with trample is considered blocked, but because it has trample, the damage goes through.
Q: Can you play Delirium on a tapped creature?
A: Yes. The tapping of the creature is not part of the cost. It is only part of the effect of the spell.
Q: When I choose two cards with Dream Cache, can I put one on top of my library and one on the bottom?
A: No. Both cards go together--either both on the top or both on the bottom of your library. [You decide where to put the cards after drawing the three cards. *If you replace the draws, you still have to put cards on top or on bottom, assuming you have either at least one or two left in your hand.]
Q: Can I keep one of the two cards from casting Preferred Selection?
A: No. Preferred Selection only says you get to look at the top two cards of your library. It doesn't say that you draw them or that you put them in your hand. [Basically, you look at two cards and put one on the bottom, or you look at two cards, sacrifice Preferred Selection and pay , and then put (not draw) one into your hand. The other one in either case stays on top of your library. *Preferred Selection's ability is triggered, not activated. Stifle would stop it before the controller looks or pays, but Pithing Needle won't help. *Multiple Preferred Selections are somewhat cumulative: you'll look at card #1 and #2 for one Selection, and then you'll look at either card #1 or #2 as well as card #3 for the other Selection.]
Q: If I put Lure on my Stalking Tiger, do all of my opponent's creatures have to block it even though it cannot be blocked by more than one creature?
A: No. One creature that is able to block the Tiger must do so; the others do not.
Q: What effects can happen between assigning a creature to block Dream Fighter and the creatures phasing out?
A: Dream Fighter's ability is a triggered effect, so
only other triggered effects (and mana sources) instants and most abilities can be played before Dream Fighter and the creature blocking it or blocked by it phase out. The phasing takes place even if an effect like flanking causes Dream Fighter to leave play. [Yes, triggered abilities used to have their own special timing-- like every other little thing before Sixth Edition.]
Q: Can I cast Phyrexian Dreadnought and do something else before I sacrifice creatures to pay for it?
No. This is another example of a triggered ability. Again, the only abilities that you can play are other abilities that are triggered (and mana sources).
[Phyrexian Dreadnought has a replacement effect that alters how it would come into play. You can respond to the Dreadnought spell, but one it begins to resolve, you have to finish processing the replacement before doing anything else.]
Q: What happens if I forget to attack with Ekundu Cyclops?
A: Players (or a judge if you're playing in a tournament) should decide whether or not it's possible to rerun the combat with the Cyclops attacking.
If it's too messy to restart the combat, then the Cyclops becomes tapped, as it would be tapped if it had attacked.
If so, redeclare the attackers. If not, leave the Cyclops as it is. If you're playing in a tournament, the player may receive a warning for misrepresenting the card, especially if he or she has previously forgotten. [The DCI has since decided that reverse engineering such things is generally a bad idea. Both players are responsible for making sure things happen correctly, and with Magic Online, the computer ever so politely throws that “attacking” flag right out there right away.]
Q: If I pay or 2 life to take control of Emberwilde Djinn during my upkeep, does it get summoning sickness?
A: Yes. Until you've had control of it from the beginning of your turn, it will have summoning sickness. [Each player can pay or 2 life only on his or her turn and only once.]
Q: Is the change in color caused by Grave Servitude permanent?
A: As long as Grave Servitude remains on the creature, the creature is black, so if you play the card as an instant, it will only last until the end of the turn. The color change also overwrites the creature's current color(s), just as if you had -laced it. [Laces. So powerful.]
Q: Does Mist Dragon have flying automatically?
A: No. After casting it, its controller must activate its flying ability by announcing that the Dragon is flying; until this happens, Mist Dragon does not have flying. [The gaining or losing flying is permanent. If the Dragon phases out, it will remember whether it flies or not when it phases back in.]
Q: Can I use Mystical Tutor to get land from my deck?
A: No. The mana-producing abilities of lands are mana
abilities, but the lands themselves are not, so you may not search for them with Mystical Tutor. Similarly, you may not search for Quirion Elves, Diamonds, and so on. [Mystical Tutor searches only for sorceries and instants nowadays-- which includes by errata what used to be interrupts and mana sources.]
Q: If I cast Polymorph, what happens if there are no creatures in the controller's library?
A: A creature targeted with Polymorph dies even if there are no creatures left in the controller's library. Because you reshuffle the revealed cards back into the library, the controller doesn't run out of cards.
Q: Can I cast Reign of Chaos if there are either no creatures or no lands in play?
A: To play Reign of Chaos, there must be both a target land and a target creature in play. Just like with any spell or effect, you have to have all the legal targets to cast the spell or activate the effect. If only one target remains when Reign of Chaos resolves, Reign of Chaos still destroys the other target. Again, just like any other spell or effect, once the spell is successfully cast or activated, it will generate as many of the effects as it can. If one effect fizzles, the rest will still happen. [In other words, “No, you have to have a target land and target creature to play Reign of Chaos.” *You can't mix targets from the two modes-- it's either Plains and white guy or Island and blue guy, not one of each. *You can blow up Ravnica dual lands that are half Plains or half Islands.]
Q: Can I generate a token with Sacred Mesa and then use that token to pay the upkeep cost?
No. You must pay the upkeep cost before you are allowed to use a permanent's ability. Remember too that you cannot play fast effects during your untap phase, so you cannot generate a token to sacrifice during your untap phase.
[Yes, you can respond to the upkeep trigger by creating a token.]
Q: Can I activate Searing Spear Askari's ability after blockers are assigned?
A: Yes, but if you wait until after blockers are assigned, it will have no effect.
Q: When, exactly, is Skulking Ghost
A: Skulking Ghost is
buried as soon as the spell or effect that targets it is played sacrificed once it's triggered ability resolves. The spell or effect targeting it then fizzles. For example, if Skulking Ghost is targeted by Flare, Skulking Ghost is buried before the batch of fast effects created by playing Flare is resolved. Then, when Flare resolves, it has no target and therefore fizzles. The player playing Flare would not draw a card at the beginning of the next upkeep. Note, however, that the spell or effect that targeted Skulking Ghost is still being cast. For example, if you target Skulking Ghost with Flare, you can still redirect the spell to another creature with Meddle. Flare will then fizzle or not (and give you a card, or not) based on what happens with the new target.
You can target Skulking Ghost to get it out of the graveyard (with Bone Harvest, for example) because its rules text doesn't apply while it's in the graveyard. The same is true if your opponent tries to counter it when it is being cast and the counter spell is then countered. In addition, damage prevention that doesn't target, such as
Healing Salve's Chant of Vitu-Ghazi, can be used to protect Skulking Ghost without triggering its bury effect ability. [Damage prevention used to have weird rules about targeting. It's much simpler now-- just look for the word “target” if you're in doubt.]
Q: When is the decision to remove counters from Soul Echo made?
A: If you control Soul Echo, your opponent makes the choice to remove counters instead of dealing damage at the beginning of your upkeep. You're then stuck with that decision until the beginning of your next upkeep. [Soul Echo keeps you alive at 0 or less life even if all of its counters are gone-- at least until it gets sacrificed during your next upkeep. *You can't pay life if you don't have any, but you can still lose life.]
Q: If I do not care to search my library for Spirit of the Night and put it into play, can I sacrifice Urborg Panther (without sacrificing Feral Shadow and Breathstealer), just to get the Panther out of play? A: No. The cost of the sacrifice is to sacrifice all three creatures, not just one. [What part of “Sacrifice a creature named Feral Shadow, a creature named Breathstealer, and Urborg Panther” did you not understand?] You can, however, play the ability even if you do not have a Spirit of the Night in your library.
Q: Can I choose not to tap Ventifact Bottle and thus not take the mana?
A: No. If Ventifact Bottle has charge counters on it, then you must tap it; if it has no counters, then you do not have to tap it. Your only choice is whether or not to put counters on the Bottle. [And putting counters on the Bottle can be done only when you could play a sorcery. We were a bit skittish about ungodly amounts of colorless mana being available back in the days before Tolarian Academy and Myr Enforcers for free.]
Q: What happens if I put Agility on Telim'Tor?
A: The flanking is cumulative. (See question
5 11.) Telim'Tor only gives attackers with flanking a flat +1/+1, and thus doesn't give itself +2/+2 while attacking.
That covers our trip down memory lane. The trees didn't come alive and attack along with flocks of winged monkeys, but the Stack lover in me definitely wants to go home. For completeness' sake, let's do a quick review of some of the mechanics that will be new to Magic Online with the online debut of Mirage. For details, you can also check out the current Comprehensive Rules.
Banding [CR 502.10]
- When attacking, you declare groups of attackers as a band.
- Each attacking band can have as many creature in it as you want, but all of them except for up to one must have banding. For example, you could attack as a band with one bander and regular creature, just two banders, or two banders and one regular creature.
- You may declare multiple bands, but a creature may only belong to only one band at a time.
- If one member of the band gets blocked, the whole band gets blocked.
- Removing a creature from combat removes the creature from the band.
- Removing banding after the band is declared doesn't break up the band.
- Removing banding before assigning damage will mean damage is assigned normally.
- If damage to a band is assigned by the band's controller.
- A creature blocked by a creature with banding has its damage assigned by the blocking (banding) creature's controller. No formal “blocking band” declarations are necessary.
Cumulative Upkeep [CR 502.13]
- Cumulative upkeep is an ever-growing upkeep.
- At the beginning of your upkeep, put an age counter on the permanent, and then pay the upkeep cost for each age counter, or sacrifice the permanent.
- All age counters are the same.
- Cumulative upkeep is cumulative if you have two instances. You'll have to pay twice each upkeep-- increased by one in between.
- Power Conduit and Chisei, Heart of Oceans work well with cumulative upkeep. You'll still have to pay at least the upkeep x1 as the cumulative trigger resolves though.
Flanking [CR 502.3]
- Is cumulative.
- Only works for attackers.
- Only triggers if the blocker doesn't have flanking.
- Triggers once for each non-flanker blocking the flanker.
Phasing [CR 502.15]
- At the beginning of your untap, before you untap, everything you control that has phasing phases out at the same time everything that you controlled when it phased out before phases in.
- You untap right after handling phasing.
- If your untap step is skipped, no phasing occurs. However, if an effect tells you not to untap (but doesn't skip the untap-- such as Exhaustion), phasing does occur.
- Phasing out an object also phases out anything attached (Auras and Equipment) to that object.
- Objects keep timestamp, choices made, counters, Auras, Equipment, and permanent effects when phasing.
- Objects lose damage and temporary effects when phasing.
- Creature that phase in can attack and tap as though they had haste.
- Auras and Equipment that phase in do so attached to whatever they were attached to if that permanent is still in play. If not, they phase in unattached to anything, and an Aura would then be put into the graveyard.
- An object that phases in is treated as the same object that it previously was.
- Unlike cantrips that let you draw as the spell resolves, slo-trips have you draw at the beginning of the next turn's upkeep. Playing a slo-trip on your turn means you'll draw at the beginning of your opponent's upkeep.
That about covers everything you'll need to know for Mirage's online premiere.