Happy States Day!

Posted in Feature on October 23, 2004

By John Carter

Send your rules questions to Magic Rules Manager John Carter. Can't find the answer to your question somewhere else? Maybe he's already answered it! Try the Saturday School Searchable Rules Database.

Welcome to Saturday School on States Day (or Province, Island, Territory Day for our buddies in the UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand). I'll be in Seattle on States Day, and next week you can expect plenty of post-Kamigawa Standard questions as the environment shapes up. I'll be on a field trip to Pro Tour Columbus that weekend where I'll gather the latest in Extended format rules wackiness. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. First, it's more from Champions of Kamigawa.

From the Kamigawa Provinces

Time of Need
Q: Concerning the new Hero cards, if I were to Time of Need or use Captain Sisay's ability to search my library for a legendary card, could I go for one of the hero cards since their flipped version is a legend? --Vann B.

A: Sorry, no heroes. The only time a hero's Legendary self is unmasked is once the hero is in play and has met its flip requirement [CR 508.2]. At any other time, it's as if that side of the card just doesn't exist. R&D guys aren't the only ones with secret identities (not that Mago's is secret anymore).

Q: Can I deal one damage with my Frostwielder to a one toughness creature and then, while the damage is still on the stack, deal another damage with an Initiate of Blood? --Munchul

A: No, the creature hasn't taken damage. The Frostwielder's ability is on the stack, not the “damage”. Even when you put “combat damage on the stack” the damage hasn't resolved yet, and Initiate of Blood can't target anything unless that target has already taken some sort of damage this turn.

Q: If Samurai of the Pale Curtain is in play and an opponent is forced to discard a creature, is the creature removed from the game, or does it not count as a permanent yet, since it wasn't in play? –Corey

A: Discarded cards are not removed. In order for something to be a permanent it has to be in play.

Q: If I use Sensei Golden-Tail's ability on a samurai with bushido 2 what happens? –Will

A: You'll have a samurai with Bushido 2 and Bushido 1. If it blocks or is blocked, the abilities will each trigger giving +2/+2 and +1/+1 respectively.

*Extra* This is similar to Bushido 3, but Bushido 3 could be countered with only one Stifle where Bushido 1 and Bushido 2 would require two Stifles.

Q: Can I splice Glacial Ray onto a Lava Spike and then use Uyo, Silent Prophet's ability to copy the Lava Spike and deal 10 damage to a player? --Jaco M.

A: Yes, Uyo copies the entire spell including splices. The Glacial Ray will add (ie: copy onto) its text onto the Lava Spike [CR 502.40a] and Uyo's copy will include the printed value as modified by copy effects (copy effects copy other copy effects) [CR 503.2].

Q: Can I make Mistform Stalker a “Creature - Zubera Spirit” to sacrifice it for a Devouring Greed along with a Floating-Dream Zubera? --James B.

A: No, the Stalker can only make itself a “Spirit” or a “Zubera”. Changing a creature type replaces any existing creature types [CR 212.1b].

*Extra*

You could try using Mistform Sliver instead. Mistform Sliver specifies that its new creature type is “in addition to its other types”. Thus, you could be sacrificing a “Creature - Illusion Sliver Zubera Spirit”.

Q: If I activate Kiku, Night's Flower's ability targeting my opponent's Tephraderm to make it deals damage to itself, does the Tephraderm deal unlimited damage to itself? --Felix A.

A: No, the Tephraderm will eventually die as a state-based effect [CR 420.5c]. What happens is the Tephraderm (toughness of 5), deals four damage to itself because of Kiku. This triggers Tephraderm's “creature deals damage to Tephraderm” ability and causes the Tephraderm to damage itself a second time. This causes another trigger, but when state-based effects are checked, the Tephraderm has taken eight damage so far and is destroyed.

State-(Province, Island, Territory)-Based Effects

Night's Whisper
Q: If you were at 1 life with 1 card in your library and you played Night's Whisper would you die first by decking or life loss? --Adam

A: You die from both at the same time. All applicable state-based effects occur at the same time after Night's Whisper has resolved [CR 420.3].

*Extra* Let's say your opponent is at one and you have no cards in your library. If you use a Zap (one damage to him, you draw a card) on him, they'd lose from having no life [CR 420.5a], and you'd lose from failing to draw a card [CR 420.5g]. Since all the SBEs are checked at once, you both lose. A lose-lose game is considered a draw [CR 102.4].

Q: What would happen if there were three of the same legendary card in play, via Tooth and Nail? --Alex

A: They all are put into the graveyard. [CR 420.5e]

*Extra* Yes, this even kills the Brothers Yamazaki. One Brothers is never enough, two Brothers is ok (because the card says so [CR 103.1]), but three is too many.

Q: If my Corrupt is Misdirectioned to myself and I have more Swamps in play than life, will I die from the Corrupt or is life only checked after the spell has completely resolved, meaning after the life gain? --Harry

A: You'll live. State-based effects check when a player gets priority—something that doesn't happen while a spell is resolving. You started resolution at positive life, when to negative life, went back up to positive life, and then you finish resolving the Corrupt. The SBEs check right after doesn't see what happened during that resolution—it's just looking at the game right then.

Q: My opponent has Shared Fate in play and then plays Leveler. I could draw (from my library), but I instead must remove the top card of my opponent's library. Because I am unable to perform the replacement effect, do I lose? --Bryn

A: No, the replacement effect of Shared Fate saved you from being “required to draw” [CR 420.5g] that would otherwise kill someone with a Leveled library (albeit and opponent's Leveled library). It replaces your draw with removing a card from the game. Since you aren't actually drawing, you just “ignore the impossible instruction” [CR 419.5] and play on. All you have to worry about is that 10/10 guy… oh, and never getting drawing another card. I hope you're holding Naturalize (hint: aim for the Shared Fate).

Q: If Reya Dawnbringer is the top card of the graveyard and there is a Volrath's Shapeshifter in play, can the Shapeshifter bring Reya back with the resurrection ability and live to tell about it? --Robert C.

A: Yes, Volrath's Shapeshifter can successfully return Reya—assuming the new top card of your graveyard isn't another Reya. When the Shapeshifting-Reya's ability resolves you'd return the dead Reya to play. At the same time Shapeshifter would become its generic self (if there isn't a creature card on top of your graveyard), or it would become a Shapeshift of the new top card (if it's a creature card). This shift occurs just before you checked state-based effects, so you wouldn't see two Reyas in play when you do check for Legendary things (and all those other wonderful SBEs). You never have two Reyas in play.

Q: I have Hypnox in my graveyard (as the top card) and a Survival of the Fittest in play. I play a Volrath's Shapeshifter from my hand, forcing my opponent to remove their hand from the game. Later that turn, I choose to discard another creature through activating Survival's ability. Will my opponent still have his hand removed, or is the Hypnox counted as "having left play?" –Haven

A: Unless your opponent can get a Hypnox on the top of your graveyard, his hand is going to remain gone even when the no-longer-a-Hypnox-Shapeshifter leaves play.

Islands Unto Themselves

Trash for Treasure
Q: My opponent plays Trash For Treasure to put Leveler into play. He claims that since Trash for Treasure doesn't specify whose control it comes under he gets to choose. I disagree with him, but does he get the choice? –Sam

A: No, he doesn't get to choose—he gets the Leveler. Unless a spell or ability says otherwise, the player who puts a card into play will control that card [CR 200.6a]. Whether you mention this before or after the next time he plays Trash for Treasure, I'll leave that up to you.

Q: If I play a Dawn's Reflection on an opponent's land, who chooses what colors when the land is tapped for mana? –Liam S.

A: Usually, when a player is told to perform an action, that player makes all choices for it. Your opponent is told to add mana to his or her mana pool, and can decide what color the mana will be.

Q: I use to put a charge counter on Jeweled Amulet. I haven't previously put any counters on it with the Amulet's first ability. What happens when I use its second ability to remove that counter? --Josh S.

A: You get nothing. Since mana was used, there's no "type last used to put a charge counter on Jeweled Amulet ", so the Amulet produces nothing instead of an undefined type [CR 406.6].

Q: I have a question about the infamous Wizards…

A: It really is nice here even if it drizzles a lot (Seattle's not really rainy so much as sprinkle-y).

Q: My friend plays an Aphetto Grifter deck that he uses to tap everything…

A: Oh, those Wizards. Go on.

Q: My problem is that he says he can use it to tap my lands so I can't play a spell, even after I reveal the spell. Can you clarify exactly how Aphetto Grifter can be used (assuming other Wizards are in play)? --Ben

A: He can't stop you from making mana. Once you reveal (ie: announce and play) a spell an opponent trying to tap your lands won't stop you—you pay your costs before he can respond.

*Extra* What he should be doing is using his Grifters during your upkeep. You can still respond to their ability by tapping your lands for mana, but you'll have a frustrating choice: tap for mana during your upkeep, when you can only play instants, or lose your mana for the turn. Well, perhaps you might have a land to play, and you'll get to sneak a cheap spell in during your main phase. But you're right—those Wizards are tricky folk.

Arboria
Q: I have a question about the Legends card Arboria. The oracle text seems to imply that you cannot be attacked if you did not play a spell _and_ did not put a card into play whereas the card says _or_. Is this a functional change to the card? I'm planning on pairing it with Vedalken Orrery so people can't attack me but I can still play spells. –TK

A: The card works the same way with both wordings. The original was asking, “Did the guy do one or the other? No? Leave him alone.” The current wording is saying, “Look, the guy didn't do this and didn't do this, so let's leave him alone.” The end result is the same. If you play a spell, you can be attacked; and if you put a card into play, you can be attacked. Otherwise you can't.
And no, I'm not really sure what's happening to that guy in the picture either.

Q: I have Tyrranax (5/4) and activate its ability 8 times. Those resolve, making it a -3/12, but the game would see my Tyrranax as a 0/12,because the game treats all negatives as zero, while it still remembers them. So I have a very big-butted dinosaur. I equip a Bonesplitter. Does its power go up 2 points, becoming a 2/12, or does the game remember how weak it really is, -3, and only puts it up to -2, remaining at 0/16? --Jacob M.

A: The power goes up by 2 points, but that means it goes up to –1/12. The game knows when a creature's power is negative; it treats something like “dealing -3 damage” as “dealing 0 damage”. When you start doing arithmetic (adding, subtracting, multiplying), the negative part still applies.
Oh, and Tyrranax would be a big-butted Beast, not a Dinosaur.

Q: If I have a Minion of Leshrac in play and I play Eon Hub will I have to take 5 damage because I couldn't sacrifice a creature on my nonexistent upkeep? --Lim-Dul

A: No, when you skip your upkeep, you also skip the part about you taking damage. Best of luck with the cohorts and whatnot, Lim-Dul.

Q: Lets say I have 4 Forests, a Temple of the False God and a Joiner Adept. Will my Temple still be able to tap for 2 colorless mana? --Stian J.

A: Yes, the Temple will work for itself or with the Adept. Saying cards “have [Some ability in quotes]” means you take that quoted ability and add the ability along side of any other abilities it might already have.

Q: If my friend imprints Time Stretch onto a Panoptic Mirror, does that mean he can choose to have an unlimited amount of turns in a row? --Dimitrov T.

A: Yes, when he takes a turn his upkeep will include the Mirror trigger that would let him play a copy of Time Stretch that allows him to take two more turns. Ouch.

Go Go Golems

Q: I read the rules on kicker cost, and they say that kickers are not part of the converted mana costs. They are just played during resolution. Knowing this, how does Mycosynth Golem reduce the kicker for Emblazoned Golem? --Bob

A: Kicker is chosen and paid for while announcing the spell [CR 409.1b, 409.1f-h]. So although it isn't part of the card's mana cost, it's still part of the cost you pay as you play the spell (the “total cost”). Affinity doesn't change a card's mana cost either, but it does reduce the cost you pay as you play the spell.

Kicker: “You may pay an additional [cost] as you play this spell.”
Affinity: “This spell costs you {1} less to play for each [text] you control.”
Costs: Taken from [CR 409.1f]… “The total cost is the mana cost [EGolem = 2], activation cost, or alternative cost, plus all cost increases [kicker] and minus all cost reductions [affinity]...”

The error is in thinking you wait until resolution for kicker. Kicker doesn't affect converted mana costs, but it does affect the total cost. It's the total / final cost that Mycosynth Golem is reducing.

Krosan Drover
Q: Now, I understand that Mycosynth Golem-Emblazoned Golem works, and I'd guess Mycosynth Golem plus Ivy Elemental works the same way, but what about Ivy Elemental and Krosan Drover? Does that work? --Brian

A: Actually, Mycosynth Golem + Ivy Elemental doesn't work. Ivy Elemental isn't an artifact creature, so the Golem doesn't help it. Mycosynth Golem + Shifting Wall works just fine, though.
As for Krosan Drover, it all depends on how big an Elemental you want to make…
Ivy Elemental costs . This mana cost contains a variable, so unlike the mana cost of a kicker card, it will change based on the number you pick for X.
Krosan Drover reads, “Creature spells you play with converted mana cost 6 or more cost less to play.”
The secret is to get Ivy up to a cost of at least 6. How do you do that? Well, a 4/4 Ivy Elemental would cost (converted cost = 5). Not big enough.
So we need to make it bigger—5/5 or bigger and the Drover will kick in because is a converted mana cost of 6.
Yes, a 4/4 Ivy Elemental gets no Drover reduction and winds up costing you . But if you call now, Drover is standing by, and a 5/5 Elemental will cost you the low low price of = ! Act now. Supplies are limited!
But wait, that's not all. With two Drovers would you pay for a 5/5 Ivy Elemental? No! What about ? Not with two Drovers. That's right… The double-Drover super bargain of = . It's innnssaaaanne!

That's all for this week. Stay tuned next week for the Post-States Show.

Class dismissed.

--Carter

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