It’s Coming

Posted in Feature on September 3, 2005

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.

Little glimpses of the city world known as Ravnica have been seen. And soon we'll be having full force previews right here on magicthegathering.com. Saturday School will be here to help you wrap your brain around the most explosive set in years, but for now, let's take a trip back…

Q: There is an argument whether Spirit Mirror and Unnatural Selection is a combo or not. Some people say that "Reflection" isn't a creature type, it's the name of the token. Who's right? --Bobby J.

Spirit Mirror
Unnatural Selection

A: It's a combo-- Reflection is a valid creature type. In the case of Spirit Mirror, it's creating tokens that have the name and type "Reflection." The destruction ability on Spirit Mirror targets Reflections much like you might target Goblins or Elves-not "creatures named 'Reflection'."

Q: There are a few basic concepts in Magic that still confuse me. One is the stacking of damage. When combat damage is put on the stack, does it all go on at once and resolve as one, or do multiple instances happen separately? And how does that interact with spells that prevent the next 3 damage? --Mike

A: "Stacking damage" is a shorthand term for "putting combat damage assignments on the stack." This means that the players are telling each other where each creature in combat is dealing its damage (if first or double strike is involved, that damage assignment is handled separately from regular damage). These assignments of combat damage all occur as a single event (though the attacker will be the first one to actually say what's going where), and the damage itself will occur as the stacked assignment resolves (much like damage from a Shock happens as the spell resolves).
If you have an effect that prevents a number of points of damage (as opposed to damage from a given source, for instance), then you'll specify as the damage would occur which points are soaked up by the prevention. Since combat damage resolves at the same time, any of that damage could be chosen. For example, if you're attacked by three 2/2s-- a Hypnotic Specter, a creature wearing a Jitte, and a Grizzly Bears-- you could use Mending Hands and have the Hypnotic Specter's and Jitted creature's damage be prevented. In this case, you won't have to discard, and the Jitte won't get counters.

Q: How many cards maximum can you have in your hand? --Xian

A: At any time except when you discard for your turn (the first thing you do during the cleanup step), your maximum hand size doesn't matter. You could have no cards, or you could have dozens. Generally, your max hand size will be seven as you reach your cleanup, but effects such as Gnat Miser's, Spellbook's, or a Vanguard ability can change this.

*Extra*: Just add or subtract the numbers in the effects to determine your max hand size, but if one of the effects says you have no maximum size, don't bother-- arbitrarily large minus whatever means you still have no max hand size.

Kamahl, Fist of Krosa
Q: I play Kamahl, Fist of Krosa in my land destruction deck. I also play Engineered Plague. I know that I can't choose Land as type for the Plaque, but the creatures that Kamahl changes lands into have to have a type, have they not? --Floris G.

A: No, Kamahl makes them creatures without creature types (much like morphs and many artifact creatures).

*Extra*: You might consider Night of Soul's Betrayal as well. Since it affects all creatures, it can shrink Kamahl's typeless critter lands into 0/0s.

Q: A friend of mine plays a Horobi's Whisper and splices another Horobi's Whisper on it. Both of them are targeting the same green creature that can regenerate for a green mana. How does this work? I thought that the Whisper's effect comes on the stack as one effect and not two. --Marc D.

A: The Whisper is one spell, but that spell will be doing two effects-- destroying target creature. You'd have to create two regeneration shields before the Whisper + Whisper resolves in order to save your creature.

Q: At the end of a turn where I used Astral Slide to remove two creatures, do they come back in one at a time, or at the same time? --Jarod

A: You controlled the Slide, so you'll control the triggers. As the end of turn step begins, you'll have to stack both triggers in whichever order you prefer, and the creatures will return one at a time (last in, first out).

Q: Is "artifact" a creature type? Would Mana Echoes' ability trigger for a creature token with a type that comes into play? --Mike H.

A: "Artifact" and "creature" are both types; neither one is a subtype ("creature type" means "subtype of creature").
Mana Echoes says nothing about nontoken creatures, as opposed to Sosuke's Summons, for instance. Technically, it triggers for all creatures regardless of type, but it does nothing if the creature has no type. A Myr creature token from Myr Matrix, for example, will make Mana Echoes look for other Myr in play.

Q: If I have Marrow-Gnawer with Freed From the Real, and I imprint an Island on an Extraplanar Lens, will I burn myself when I try to untap him using Freed From the Real? --Mat

A: You will if you don't use up the extra . However, you can either use Marrow-Gnawer to gnaw the new tokens it makes and then use the Freed again, or you could just reactivate the Freed From the Real to use up the extra .

Q: What if I have two Graceful Antelopes out, and only one changed the lands to Plains and then he leaves play. Does the second Graceful Antelope let the lands stay Plains, or do you have to keep track of which Antelope changed which land? --Matt V.

A: You have to keep track.

*Extra*: Compare the Antelope to Sengir Autocrat. The Autocrat takes all Serf tokens with it regardless of whose they are or where they came from.

Q: If I cannot perform one of the actions when Sekki is damaged, do the others still resolve normally? Example: If have a Glorious Anthem in play and there are no counters left on Sekki, will I still get tokens whenever Sekki is damaged? --Brian M.

A: Yes, much like the Phantom creatures from Judgment, removing counters isn't necessary for preventing damage or making Spirits.

Gabriel Angelfire
Q: My friend uses Gabriel Angelfire and its rampage 3 ability. I've checked the rulebook and found nothing but he says all his monsters get +3/+3 when they block, he always does this when I attack with my Dakkon Blackblade. I was wondering, is this true? --Craig G.

A: There are at least three things wrong with what your friend is doing. First, Gabriel's ability triggers at the beginning of your friend's upkeep-- it's not something he or she does when you attack. Secondly, Gabriel only gives one of the possible abilities to itself, not to all his or her creatures. And third, rampage doesn't apply to blocking creatures.
As for how rampage really works, let's just quote the rule:

“Rampage X” means “Whenever this creature becomes blocked, it gets +X/+X until end of turn for each creature blocking it beyond the first.” [CR 502.12a]

It's only for blocked creatures, and only if blocked by multiple creatures.

*Extra*: If you're looking for something in the Comprehensive Rules, the Glossary is actually the easiest place to start looking.

Q: My opponent enchants one of his/her creatures with Serpent Skin. During my turn I use Blind With Anger putting the creature under my control. Then I use Yamabushi's Flame targeting the enchanted creature. Can my opponent utilize the ability of Serpent Skin and regenerate it? --Gerald D.

A: Yes, your opponent still controls the Serpent Skin even though you control the creature it's attached to, and the regeneration ability is still part of the Skin, not part of the creature, so using the Skin's ability will save the creature you control from the Flame.

Phyrexian Infiltrator
Q: I used a Phyrexian Infiltrator to exchange it with a creature; next I use Confiscate to retrieve the Phyrexian Infiltrator. If I apply once more the ability of the Phyrexian Infiltrator, will I still control the Infiltrator because of the Confiscate? --Karyna

A: No, the later timestamp of the new exchange ability's effect will override the effect from the Confiscate.

*Extra*: If you have enough mana to spend twice, and you opponent doesn't have a response between effects, you can swap your worst critter for their best one. Here's how…
Activate the Infiltrator targeting your worst creature. The exchange would do nothing if it resolved now, but you're not done. Then activate it a second time targeting the opponent's best creature. Now, what will happen is the best creature swaps with the Infiltrator. This puts the Infiltrator cleverly on the opposite side of your worst creature. Now the original swap you set up can resolve and cause the junk creature to go to your opponent, and you'll get the Infiltrator back.

Q: I don't understand your answer of "is the toughness greater than 0?" regarding the zero-toughness state-based effect. If it's toughness is 0 or less I wouldn't need to apply the -1/-1; it's already dead. If a 2/2 has one damage on it then it was destroyed by getting -1/-1 making it impossible to regenerate it right? --Sean M.

A: No. If a creature has toughness greater than 0, then the zero-toughness state-based effect isn't what's killing the creature. Giving a wounded 2/2 -1/-1 means you now have a lethally damaged 1/1. The lethal-damage/destroyed state-based effect is different than the zero-toughness state-based effect in that you can regenerate from lethal damage and destruction, but zero toughness puts the creature directly into the graveyard. If the creature's toughness is greater than 0, then the zero-toughness state-based effect can't apply.

Q: The card Goryo's Vengeance says the creature should be removed from the game at the end of the turn. If it is in the graveyard before the end of turn is it still removed from the game? --John

A: The returned card is removed only if it's still in play. If the creature goes to any other zone, the Vengeance won't find it where it's expecting it (ie: in play) when it looks for it, and so it's remove effect won't happen.

Q: When Windswept Heath's ability puts Temple Garden into play, the Garden is not "played" the usual way, from my hand. As a result, will the Garden hit the table untapped because the Heath's ability circumvents the Garden's? --Joe W.

A: No, but you will have the option of paying two life to have the Garden not be tapped.

Q: How does Reality Twist interact with the new Ravnica shocklands, and can they be enchanted by both Genju of the appropriate color? --Ben R.

A: Reality Twist would make a Temple Garden (Plains Forest) produce or . Yes, Genju of the Fields or Genju of the Cedars could enchant a Temple Garden.

Q: I play Magic pretty casually with my friends and I recently bought a prebuilt 9th Edition deck. Can I play with it? --Matt P.

A: Sanctioned events that use constructed decks require a minimum of 60 cards. A Ninth Edition theme deck will need some additions to be legal. What your friends allow when playing casually is up to you and them.

Q: I recently bought a Kami Reborn prebuilt deck and have been tweaking it here and there. If I have Long-Forgotten Gohei in play, and cast Swallowing Plague, will Long-Forgotten Gohei's Arcane spell cost reduction cover the first I spend on Swallowing Plague's cost? And does that mean I can spend and deal 1 damage without spending any additional mana? Does it mean that if I spend extra, I deal 4 damage? --Joe M.

A: Yes, yes, and yes. The Gohei's cost reduction can come out of any part of the Arcane spell's cost-- normal cost, value of X, or a splice payment.

Q: With the new two-headed giant rules, how does Mindslaver work?

A: Controlling one player's turn lets you control the entire team's turn [CR 606.6f].

Q: Are mulligans different in two-headed giant?

A: Yes, 2HG allows a "free mulligan" before the regular mulligans begin. This means each player can shuffle his or her opening hand back into his or her deck and draw seven cards one time. After that mulligan, the player has to draw one less card each time he or she shuffles and draws a new hand.

New for the Ravnica prerelease, some locations will be holding two-headed giant tournaments at the prerelease using the new set. Grab a buddy, and put your heads together starting September 24th. Check out the Ravnica Prerelease info page for more details.

Class dismissed.

--Carter

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