Friends Like These

Posted in Feature on March 25, 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 marked a new era for Magic. Two-Headed Giant was played at the Champs level for the first time. Not only was this a huge event for 2HG, it also kicked off the three-part Champs series. Rather than one Standard Champs each year in a given State (Territory, etc.) there will be three - 2HG, Limited, and Standard. Talking the players, the best part of last weekend wasn't the chance at triple-crown glory; it was the fun of playing side-by-side with your buddy.

Peel from Reality
Q: I attacked with three tokens, and after blocking, my friend played Peel from Reality to bounce token #1 and his Izzet Guildmage. He then copied the Peel from Reality targeting token #2 and his Guildmage (again). Wouldn't one of the spells be countered? --Neil P.

A: No, targeted spells are countered only if all the targets are illegal. The copy will return token #2 and the Guildmage. Then the original spell will do nothing to the already gone Guildmage, but it will return token #1.

Q: Can I use Izzet Guildmage's ability to copy Fork or Twincast targeting a spell with a cost greater than 2? --Jason P.

A: Yes, the Guildmage doesn't care what lies ahead for the Fork (or Twincast).

Q: I was wondering if there's any structure as to how creatures go to the graveyard at the end of combat. For example, I have three creatures going to the graveyard from combat damage. Can I put a creature with haunt in and have it haunt another creature going to the graveyard so its ability would trigger? --Joe B.

A: Lethally damaged creatures are destroyed and put into the graveyard during the combat damage step ("end of combat" is a step just after "combat damage"). All lethally damaged creatures will be put into the graveyard at the same time. Then anything that triggered from leaving play (like haunt) will be put on the stack. At this time the lethally damaged creatures are already gone, so the haunt will target a surviving creature (if applicable).

*Extra*: First (or double) strike adds another combat damage step into the normal course of things. You could get a haunt effect quickly if you block a first striker with a haunt creature and a regular creature with a soon-to-die creature. The first strike kills the creature with haunt, and the haunting goes to possess the chump that about the die from regular combat damage.

Q: I have a Djinn Illuminatus in play and play a Sickening Shoal by removing Moroii. Is the replicate , , or ? --Iain

A: The Betrayers of Kamigawa Shoals set the X value in relation to the card removed from the game, so the mana cost - and thereby, the replicate cost - of a Moroii-Shoal would be .

Q: How does Leyline of Singularity interact with the Mirror Gallery? --Sebastian

A: The Leyline mostly lies there looking useless while Mirror Gallery laughs. Making things legendary doesn't much matter if the legend rule doesn't apply.

*Extra*: Tsabo Tavoc and Karakas are big fans of Leyline of Singularity though.

Q: Do the cards that come into play while Leyline of Singularity is in play trigger come into play abilities if there is another one already in play? Does the legend rule cause you to sacrifice, destroy, or bury that particular permanent? --Frank M.

A: Duplicate legendary permanents will trigger comes into play effects. The sequence is like this: Enter play and cause trigger, get sent to the graveyard, stack triggered ability. The legend rule just puts legendary objects into the graveyard - no special term, just put it in the graveyard. (Don't forget it's all legendary objects with that name, not just the new one anymore.)

Shining Shoal
Q: With the popularity of the "Ghost Dad" Standard deck, a number of questions have come up on the interaction of Shining Shoal. If damage is on the stack, doesn't it matter if the target isn't there? --Dag N.

A: With redirection and targets involved, it's very easy to misstate something, so let's go through some options. First, if the target isn't there when the Shoal resolves, the spell is countered for lack of target, and no shield is ever created. Second, let's say the target was there, and the shield was created. However, at the time when the damage resolves, the target isn't there anymore. It doesn't matter if the source is still around. [CR 419.8a] However, it's vital that the target be around for the effect to do anything because the effect is redirecting the damage. If the target isn't there to take the damage, the redirection shield does nothing, and the damage happens like normal. [CR 419.6c]

Q: I play Razia's Purification. Does it force my opponent to sacrifice enchant creatures as well? --Bryan T.

A: Yes, Auras are permanents, too. In theory, you could choose to save three Auras and nothing else, but once the underlying permanents are sacrificed and Razia's Purification resolves, state-based effects would put the Auras into the graveyard because they're no longer on legal permanents.

Q: Everywhere I've looked, it says that each copy of Doubling Season results in twice the number of counters as with one fewer. That's not what I get (1 Doubling Season: you get the original effect, plus one for the double = 2). Please tell me what I'm doing wrong. --Hyrum T.

A: Doubling Season is a multiplication, not an addition. If the number to be doubled is Y, the equation would be (Y x 2), not (Y + 1). The answer is the same if Y = 1, but if it's not, or if there are multiple Seasons, then the answer varies. For example, four Doubling Seasons would take the original Y and then each Season would tack on a doubling. The equation would come out as (Y x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2) = (Y x 16).

*Extra*: Heartbeat of Spring, by contrast, is an additive process. It doesn't double mana; it just adds one additional. Four Heartbeats with a Forest making mana would look like ( + + + + ).

Q: If I play Faith's Fetters on a creature equipped with Umezawa's Jitte, are you still able to equip the Jitte to another creature, or is that also disabled by the Fetters? --Steve

A: The Fetters only applies to the permanent it's attached to. The Jitte can be used with no difficulty.

*Extra*: Faith's Fetters is an Enchant Permanent, so it can fetter Jitte. This won't stop counters from being put onto it if the equipped creature deals combat damage, but it stops the player from using the counters or from using the equip ability.

Privileged Position
Q: Is there any way to beat someone who plays two Privileged Positions every single game?
--Jason M.

A: Yes.

*Extra*: I guess you want details, so consider some options: 1) Untargeted effects like Wrath of God and Primeval Light. 2) Burning-Tree Shaman and his merry band of beatdown buddies.

Q: My friend has a Halcyon Glaze in play and plays a creature. After the Glaze becomes a creature, can I use spells like Smother to destroy it? My friend thinks its still an enchantment. --Maximilian E.

A: It is still an enchantment, one that's also a creature. And since converts to 3 or less, it's an "Enchantment Creature — Illusion" that's easy to Smother.

Q: My friend says that his Boros Swiftblade equipped with a Loxodon Warhammer could cut through my Sandskinned Lantern Kami. He says that my Lantern Kami survives but the other damage goes through to me. Could you please clarify? --Jordan Q.

A: The 4/2 Swiftblade must assign at least one point of damage to the Kami, and the other three can be assigned to you during the first/double strike damage step. The damage to the Kami would be prevented, and your friend would gain life for the damage you take. Here's the fun part, when it's time for regular damage, the Kami is still there and doesn't have any damage on it, so your opponent has to assign another point to the Kami and the rest to you. Maximizing the Swiftblade, you'd take six damage total, and your opponent would gain six life.

*Extra*: Without trample, the Swiftblade would just smack the Kami twice and be very confused as to how a blob of flame wound up with skin made of sand.

Q: If there is a Magnivore in play and there are four sorceries in all graveyards and a Wildfire is played, does the Magnivore die? Vulturous Zombie? --Robert

A: Magnivore lives; Vulturous Zombie dies. The key is in how each creature's toughness changes. Magnivore's toughness is constantly looking at sorceries. Once damage is dealt and lands are destroyed, Wildfire is put into the graveyard. This makes the Magnivore 5/5 immediately because of that continuous checking. On the other hand, Vulturous Zombie grows with counters, and those counters use a trigger. The Zombie Plant (how does undead foliage learn to fly?) will trigger to grow bigger from the lands and Wildfire put into an opponent's graveyard, but if it's not already big enough to live through the four damage, that damage will kill the Plant before the trigger resolves and counters can make it grow.

Gemini Engine
Q: I attack with a Gemini Engine and pay for Ghostly Prison. What happens with the Twin token and the Prison? --Daniel

A: Ghostly Prison is paid as attackers are declared. If something shows up as an attacker after that time (Yore-Tiller Nephilim and Ninjas included), the Prison won't contain them at all.

Q: What happens when you Eradicate a land that has been animated by a Genju while Blood Moon is in play? --Joe G.

A: You'll look for lands with that name and remove them from the game. Blood Moon doesn't change a land's name. If you Eradicate a Steam Vents with a Genju of the Spires on it, you'll look for cards named "Steam Vents."

*Extra*: Blood Moon can make Genju be put into the graveyard if the Genju were on nonbasic lands - except Genju of the Spires and Genju of the Realm. For example, Watery Grave with a Genju of the Falls on it would lose the Genju when Blood Moon makes Watery Grave's only land type Mountain.

Q: I control a Paladin en-Vec equipped with an Umezawa's Jitte. My opponent decides to block with all 7 of his 1/1 tokens. My quarrel is that since the Paladin dealt damage seven individual times, it should get 14 counters, but my friend said that it would only get two because its just one combat phase. --Dannon T.

A: The Jitte triggers off of a creature dealing damage, not off of how many things are damaged (likely two since the Paladin is only a 2/2 normally). One damage of two things or two damage to one thing is still just one instance of the Paladin dealing damage.

*Extra*: With double strike, a creature can trigger the Jitte twice in a combat phase.

Q: Is there a place for "fast effects" between the first combat phase and the second phase? I have an Akki Coalflinger attacking. My opponent blocks with a Myojin of Life's Web. Can I cast a Crushing Pain on the Myojin after my Flinger has dealt its first strike damage but before the Myojin assigns its 8? --Jason W.

A: Yes, you can play spells and abilities (archaically known as "fast effects") after resolving first or double strike damage, but before resolving normal damage. In your case, it won't help if the Myojin still has its divinity counter.

Q: The 2HG FAQ says: "Any type of communication is acceptable with the exception of written communication." My question: Does this include talking in a foreign language? --Erkan Y.

A: Two-Headed Giant was very liberal rules about communication. Specifically for 2HG, the teams are considered a single unit, so communication is left almost wide open regardless of language. (Written communication is generally prohibited because it can look like outside notes.) Other team events have more constraints on how much a team can share, but 2HG really does try to let you put your heads together.

Spring has sprung in the northern hemisphere, and April is just around the corner. And this April brings with it the conclusion of the Ravnica block in the form of Dissension. The city world might be coming to an end, but there's time for at least one more big bash.

Class Dismissed.

--Carter

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