Invitations are in the Mail

Posted in Feature on February 11, 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 the official release of Guildpact. If your local store was anything like mine, it was packed over the weekend with people playing in release events and snatching up the second set of the Ravnica block. If you didn't swing by your store, then you missed a party. But enough with the cake and streamers, let's hit the questions…

Q: What happens if I replicate an instant or sorcery with haunt? --Sean R.

A: You'll get copies of the haunt spell, and the haunt will trigger (and a target is chosen) when the copies resolve, but there is no card to remove from the game, the haunt ability does nothing.

Curiosity
Q: If you enchant Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind with Curiosity, does this produce a infinite loop or would you deck yourself first? --Mike

A: Chances are your opponent will die from damage before you die to drawing from an empty library. Either way, this is a loop that winds up ending pretty quickly.

Q: If I play Shrieking Grotesque (paying Black mana to force an opponent to discard a card), and later I play Otherworldly Journey on it, does the comes-into-play effect happen again? --Andika S.

A: Enhanced creatures will not trigger their enhanced ability if an effect (such as Otherworldly Journey's) puts the creature into play.

Q: With splice the spliced effects are gone when the initial spell is countered, is this the same with replicate? --Akin S.

A: No, countering the original spell won't do anything to the replicate copies. In this way, replicate is more like storm than splice.

*Extra*: Also like storm, replicate causes a trigger, and when the trigger resolves, the player replicating will put copies n the stack. You could counter the original before or after the trigger, but the copies remain untouched.

Q: If you imprinted Gigadrowse on Isochron Scepter, could you pay the replicate cost as many times as you had mana for to lock down your opponent? --Nevin R.

A: Yes. Activating the Scepter will cost you , and when you play the copy the Scepter makes, you can spend as many times as you'd like for extra replications.

Q: I play a Brain Freeze with Djinn Illuminatus in play. I've already played three spells before the Freeze. If I replicate it three times, would I mill twenty-one cards or forty-eight? --Jeremy H.

A: Replicate puts copies on the stack, and so does storm. This isn't the same as playing a spell, so neither replicate nor storm's own trigger will trigger storm. Brain Freeze plus three storm copies plus three replications is seven Freezes, or twenty-one cards milled.

Q: Can I use Vedalken Plotter's ability to target Oboro, Palace in the Clouds and then return Oboro to my hand? --Johnson

A: You can, but the exchange won't happen. Everything that is to be exchanged has to be in play to be exchanged, or the exchange does nothing.

Q: Can Glimpse the Unthinkable be Stifled? --David B.

A: No, a spell (such as a sorcery or instant) isn't the same thing as an activated or triggered ability.

Souls of the Faultless
Q: I am at one life, and my opponent is at four. My opponent has Souls of the Faultless, and I have five 1/1 Saproling tokens. What happens if I attack with all five Saprolings? --Jeremy N.

A: The Saproling damage will trigger the Souls and put your opponent at zero. The opponent loses before ever getting to stack the Souls' trigger.

Q: How can Necroplasm get rid of Hunted Horror's token creatures? The token creatures have protection from black, and Necroplasm is black. --James

A: Necroplasm's effect isn't targeting or dealing damage. Much like protection from white not stopping Wrath of God, the destroy effect from Necroplasm will wipe out the Centaur tokens if the Necroplasm has no counters (the tokens have no converted mana cost, so their CMC is treated as zero).

Q: I make my Mizzium Transreliquat a copy of an Equipment and attach it to one of my creatures. I then use the ability to make it a copy of a different Equipment. Does it remain attached? --Braden H.

A: Yes, changing an Equipped Transreliquat into another Equipment doesn't change the fact it's equipped.

*Extra*: If you turn the Transreliquat into an artifact that isn't an Equipment, the no-longer-an-Equipment artifact will be unattached as a state-based effect.

Q: Can you use Hell's Caretaker's ability to return the sacrificed creature to play? Sacrificing the creature is a separate action and the creature would be in the graveyard by the time the ability activates. --Nate F.

A: No, you must choose your target before paying costs. It's true that the sacrificed creature will be put in the graveyard as part of activating the ability, but that comes after picking the target.

Q: If I just played Wildfire, and my opponent has no lands, does Fellwar Stone still tap for a colorless mana or no mana at all? --Joe S.

A: Fellwar Stone doesn't produce mana if your opponent controls no lands (or only lands that produce colorless).

*Extra*: If your opponent has a land such as Mirrodin's Core, the Fellwar Stone produces any color regardless of whether there are counters on the Core or not. The Stone can see past any conditional requirements for what mana the opponent's land could produce.

Final Fortune
Q: If I play Final Fortune on my opponent's turn, will I play my turn then another one, or will my next turn be the extra turn? --Pedro M.

A: The Final turn will be immediately after the turn it was played.

*Extra*: If multiple Final Fortunes or other "extra turn" effects occur in a turn, the last one to resolve will be the turn that's taken first. [CR 300.6]

Q: Last weekend I was playing some Standard with another player between rounds of a Release tournament, and during one of those games we arrived to the following situation: (Long story short, Ink-Eyes is damaged and then given -1/-1 with Umezawa's Jitte.) My opponent said I couldn't regenerate it because the creature would die because of the -1/-1 and not because of receiving damage. Could you clarify whether Ink-Eyes would die or not? --David L.

A: You can successfully regenerate Ink-Eyes. Whether you regenerate before it is damaged or before the -1/-1 means the damage is lethal doesn't matter.

*Extra*: The key question is "does the creature have a toughness greater than 0?" As long as the creature has one or more toughness, then it's lethal damage that's killing the creature. (Remember, damage stays with the creature until the turn ends, but it doesn't change the creature's toughness.) If the creature has had its toughness reduced to zero or less, then any amount of damage on it doesn't matter because it’s a lack of toughness that's sending the critter to the graveyard.

Q: If my opponents are playing with their hands revealed, can I activate Nebuchadnezzar for and force my opponent to discard any of his copies of the named card since his hand is already revealed? --Todd

A: Only cards revealed by Nebuchadnezzar's effect, not some other effect, would be discarded. You might know that your opponent is holding a given card, but unless Nebuchadnezzar sees it for himself, that card isn't going anywhere.

Gold Myr
Q: What happens if an indestructible Gold Myr blocks my Akroma, Angel of Wrath? --Gregor S.

A: With trampling creatures, a player must assign enough damage to the blocker(s) to equal or exceed the blocker's toughness minus any existing damage. [CR 502.9b] In this case, the attacking player assigns one (or more) damage to the Gold Myr, and the remainder is assigned to the defending player. That one (or more) damage just hangs out on the Myr until the turn ends.

*Extra*: Since the Myr already has lethal damage on it, if Akroma somehow attacks again in the same turn, all of the Angel's damage can be assigned to the player.

Q: How exactly does madness work? --John P.

A: Madness has two large components. The first is that a madness card is discarded but removed from the game instead of going to the graveyard. This triggers things that look for discards (like Megrim) but doesn't trigger graveyard effects (like Planar Void) because the going to the graveyard part is replaced.
The second large part is what to do with the removed card, and it has several details. First of all, when you remove the madness card (often called "discard with madness"), an ability triggers. You can play the madness card for its madness cost anytime that you have priority from the time that trigger resolves up until you pass priority - generally this means you play the spell right then or you don't. If you pass priority after that trigger has resolved, a second trigger occurs. As that second trigger resolves, you take the removed card that you didn't play and finally put it into the graveyard where it belongs. It's important to remember that you wait for the first trigger to resolve after discarding the card to the removed from the game zone, and then you play it for its madness cost before you pass priority, or the second trigger will sweep it into the graveyard.

Q: Can effects like Megrim (ones that trigger by discarding cards) take place during the cleanup step? --Sean

A: Yes, cleanup is normally handled without stopping, but triggered abilities and state-based effects can cause interruptions. [CR 314.3] In cleanup, first the active player will discard to his or her maximum hand size, then any effect that last "until end of turn" ("at end of turn" ended just before the cleanup step during the end of turn step) and damage wears off. And then state-based effects are checked. If state-based effects or a triggered ability did anything, then trigger are stacked and the active player gets priority. Once the stack is empty and all players pass in succession, then cleanup is repeated.

Q: I have always wanted to know how to use a side deck and how to make one. Can you help me?
--Jesse S.

A: For most tournaments, Magic uses decks and sideboards (not side deck). A sideboard is used in a match after the first game. The purpose of a sideboard is to make your deck stronger against particular decks or strategies by putting in more effective cards that might not be effective in general. For example, you might play Story Circle in your main deck for the first game since you'll potentially be playing against many different colors, but if your opponent this round is playing Black, you might sideboard out the Story Circle for the cheaper - but less flexible - Circle of Protection: Black in the second and third games of the round.

For Constructed events, your sideboard is either zero cards (you don't have a sideboard) or fifteen cards - no more, no less. Just before the second and later games in the match, you may swap cards from the main deck with your sideboard on a one-for-one basis. For Limited events (sealed deck and draft), your sideboard is everything from the event that isn't in your main deck (plus any basic lands you need which the staff should have on hand). Unlike Constructed, you can put in and out as many cards as you'd like in Limited. One-for-one aren't necessary - just make sure the deck stays at or above 40 cards.

How you make a sideboard is an area that players everywhere have debated for years. The general idea is that you're using cards that will help defend your deck's weaknesses or take advantage of an opposing deck's weaknesses. I'd suggest browsing the Tournament Center for recent decklists from Constructed events. Review those sideboards and ask yourself, "How would this be used? Could it serve multiple purposes? What has my deck struggled with that this could help against?"

Bringer of the Red Dawn
Q: It is an Emperor format game with 6 players. Each general has a range of 1, and each emperor has a range of 2. Team A's emperor controls a Bringer of the Red Dawn, and he takes control of a Vulturous Zombie that is currently controlled by the Team B general two seats to his right. During his main phase, he activates the deploy creature ability (: Target teammate gains control of this creature. Play this ability only when you could play a sorcery.) targeting his general to the left.
First, does the creature still remember the "until end of turn" now that it's controller has changed? More importantly, does it go back to its original controller now that the original controller is three seats to the right? --Julian P.

A: The "until end of turn" control effect will end during cleanup just like normal. However, the deploy effect hasn't ended, so Team A's general keeps the creature. If that control effect ends (by removing the general perhaps), then the creature returns to the Team B general it came from.

*Extra*: Control effects can be pictured like a stack of cards. Let's say a Plains is the person who played the creature. On top of that we put a Mountain to represent the Bringer's effect. On top of that we'll put an Island to represent the deploy effect. The top card tells us who keeps the creature. If we take away the Mountain in the middle, the Island is still on top.

In case you missed it voting is open for this year's Invitational. This is your chance to make your choices for which players you want in your All-Star tournament. Will we have a fan favorite win out and get immortalized on a card, or is Magic R&D going to choose one champion to lay the rest of the field to waste again this year? Choose wisely.

Don't forget, Guildpact is now legal in Limited events. It will be legal for Constructed on February 20th.

Class Dismissed.

--Carter

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