On the Mainland Again

Posted in Feature on March 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.

After a wild weekend of Pro Tour Honolulu, Magic's best players are winging their way back home around the globe. If you didn't read or watch it as it happened, you can find the coverage right here. Be careful not to fall into a volcano--or that guy with the trophy's gaping maw.

Q: What happens when I play Cerebral Vortex targeting my opponent and I have Plagiarize in effect? Who takes the damage? --Craig S.

A: Nobody takes damage. Your opponent's draws will be replaced by Plagiarize's effect. The "that player" (the one you targeted, not the one who wound up drawing in this case) didn't draw any cards, so the Vortex doesn't deal him or her damage--unless he or she drew cards earlier that turn.

Q: What is the relationship between Wee Dragonauts and flashback? Do Wee Dragonauts get +2/+0 or +4/+0 if I play and then flashback a Lava Dart? --Rudy

A: Sorceries and instant played with flashback are played. Wee Dragonauts will get +4/+0 (one +2/+0 for each playing). Flashback changes what you're paying and where the card is coming from, but it doesn't change the type of spell being played or the fact it is a spell being played.

Nullstone Gargoyle
Q: If Nullstone Gargoyle is in play, can I still replicate the first noncreature played? --James K.

A: Yes, and only the original spell will be countered. The copies made from the replicate trigger will resolves are normal.

*Extra*: You'd need a counter for the spell and something like a Stifle for the replicate trigger or another counter for each of the replications to stop all the spells.

Q: I had an Orochi Leafcaller and four Forests. I tapped them and played Ink-Treader Nephilim. My opponent felt that was illegal because I didn't declare what colors the mana were. Can I just add one "mana of any color" as the Leafcaller says? Or do I have to choose the actual colors? --Ben

A: Technically, you need to specify what color is being made. However, it would be a widely accepted shortcut if you just indicated the Leafcaller with enough for the colored portion of a spell without verbalizing the details. If you have leftover mana for some reason (Gaea's Cradle, perhaps), you'll want to clearly specify what mana you have remaining--there's not actually an "any-colored" mana.

Q: When there is a Leyline of Singularity in play, can you attach Konda's Banner to any creature you have, even a creature that isn't normally legendary? --Stephan E.

A: Yes, the Leyline makes all creatures into legendary creatures.

*Extra*: Legendary is a supertype. Creature type is a subtype. Some older cards have "Legend" where the creature types are. Konda's Banner attaches only to legendary creatures, but it won't give any bonus based on that supertype. Cards with the creature subtype legend have been errataed to have the legendary supertype instead.

Q: Does the animation effect of Siege of Towers end at the end of turn? --Efren

A: No, effects that don't specify "until end of turn" are permanent. (Check Gatherer for the current Oracle wording on older cards just to be sure.)

Q: You said if you Char a player and you both go to 0 life, it's a draw. What happens if your opponent is at 0 life but controls Platinum Angel, and you Char the Angel, killing yourself? Is it still a draw, or does the fact that your opponent has to go through two passes of SBEs to lose mean you will be the loser? --Yusheng W.

A: Good catch with the two SBE passes. You and the Angel will die, but the opponent lives. State-based effects (SBEs) check for anything that's broken, and handle it. At the time your opponent would die, the mortally wounded Angel tells the SBEs its controller isn't allowed to lose. If the game didn't end with your demise--such as in a three person game, SBEs would catch again to make sure everything was okay and find a dead opponent with no Angel protecting it.

Spectral Searchlight
Q: Can I use Spectral Searchlight to force mana burn on my opponent? --Jake H.

A: You can certainly try. You can use the Searchlight to give your opponent mana at inconvenient times (end of turn step being one), but if they have a way to use up the mana, they won't burn.

Q: With Concerted Effort and Pristine Angel, Pristine Angel has two instances of the same protection. If she becomes tapped does she lose all instances of that protection? --JW

A: Tapping Pristine Angel won't cause it to lose protection granted by Concerted Effort's ability. When an ability is removed, all instances of that ability are removed. [CR 407.3] However, removing an ability uses the word "lose," and tapping the Angel doesn't cause it to "lose protection." [CR 407.1] The Angel can no longer have its own protection but still have the Effort's.

Q: You have Thundersong Trumpeter. Your opponent declares his attack and taps his creature, and then you tap your Thundersong Trumpeter and say it can't attack. Does the creature untap and not attack or stay tapped and not attack? --Alfonso R.

A: As described, the creature is tapped and still attacking. Using the Trumpeter after attackers (or blockers) are declared doesn't undo the declared attack (or block). If the attacker rushed and didn't give you time to do things before attackers were declared, just let them know to slow down, and that target creature isn't able to attack (or block). In that case, you actually rewind the attack, and the attacker can declare some other set of attackers (including a set of zero attackers) without the targeted creature. If you don't stop the player and waited to see if anything else is happening (like a Giant Growth), or if you just plain forget until the game has moved on, you can't rewind anything.

Q: If I have two Patron Wizards in play and tap a Wizard, does that mean I will counter a spell unless my opponent pays ? --Joel V.

A: No, you've tapped one Wizard to activate one Patron. The other Patron is going to quietly wait for another Wizard who wants to tap.

Q: Can discarding be spontaneous? Specifically, I drew Akuta, Born of Ash in my initial seven. I let my opponent play first. On my turn I drew a card, had eight cards in my hand, and discarded Akuta. Then I played a Swamp. --Anthony H.

A: Players may discard only if a spell or ability specifically says so or if he or she is ending the turn with more cards than the maximum hand size--not spontaneously. You don't discard for having eight cards until your turn is ending. You wouldn't be able to go back and play a land.

*Extra*: As written, this question implies you looked at your hand and then decided who should play or draw. Players determine who plays or draws before anyone looks at a hand. If you look at your hand and you have the choice of playing or drawing, it is assumed that you are choosing to play.

Q: How does trample work with double strike? --Dan K.

A: Lethal damage must be assigned to the blocker, and extra can be assigned to the player just like normal trample. This can be weird in that "lethal damage" = creature's toughness - existing damage.
Let's say you have a 2/2 double striking trampler. If blocked by a 1/1, you assign 1 to the creature and 1 to the player for first strike, and then 2 to the player for regular damage. If blocked by a 2/2, you assign 2 to the creature for first strike, and then 2 to the player for regular damage. If blocked by a 3/3, you assign 2 to the creature for first strike, and then 1 to the creature (it's 3/3 with 2 damage already) and 1 to the player for regular damage.

False Cure
Q: If I play Beacon of Immortality targeting my opponent whose life total is 20, does he actually gain 20 life or does his life just become 40? I'm thinking of False Cure here... --Fred

A: Changes in life totals are treated as life gains (increases) or losses (decreases). [CR Glossary: "Life, Life Total"] The Beacon doubling 20 into 40 means a 20-point gain just occurred and will trigger False Cure.

Q: If I play a Clone choosing a creature in play that has a comes-into-play ability such as Nekrataal, does my clone come into play with the ability? --Jason S.

A: Yes, copying occurs as it comes into play, and the freshly copied object will get to do any related "as comes into play" or "comes into play" abilities of its own.

Q: If I have an Isochron Scepter in play with an Orim's Chant imprinted on it, and play Sculpting Steel targeting the Scepter, does it come into play as the Scepter with the imprinted Chant? --Ernie

A: No, you only copy the Scepter, not the imprint. The Sculpted Scepter will trigger so you can imprint onto it though.

Q: What happens when cards like Barrow Ghoul and Circling Vultures come into play and you have no cards in your graveyard yet? --Erik

A: Not much--they both trigger looking for corpses at the beginning of your upkeep, not when they come into play. Circling Vultures does have an ability that breaks the rules by letting you discard them from your hand when you could play an instant. This would let you feed either the Ghoul or Vultures if you had one in your hand--just toss it into the graveyard before the upkeep trigger resolves.

Evermind
Q: Could you elaborate on why Evermind makes spells change color as it does? I would read a spliced Glacial Ray as "Deal 2 damage to target creature or player. Draw a card. Evermind is blue." What has that got to do with the price of Ouphes? Shouldn't Evermind say "This spell is blue"? --Darroch W.

A: "Evermind is blue" is seen by splice as "CARDNAME is blue" for the spliced spell. For example, splicing Glacial Ray onto Kodama's Reach doesn't make the Glacial Ray in your hand deal two damage, it makes the Reach deal two.

Q: When I look at the top five cards from Lim-Dul's Vault, can I discard all the creature cards to Vampire Hounds and then pay 1 life to look at five more cards? --Pete S.

A: No. You're looking at the cards, not putting them into your hand. Additionally, you can't play spells or (non-mana) abilities while resolving a spell or ability.

Q: Does Dirge of Dread really give all creatures fear, or just the creatures I control? It seems pointless if everyone has fear. --Andrew M.

A: All creatures gain fear. It's not pointless because fear only matters for attackers. If I attack you, my 2/2 fear creature can only be blocked by black or artifact creatures. Fear on both sides does not cancel out. (Protection and landwalk doesn't either. Flying is a different matter, however.)

Q: I cracked a Dwarven Demolition Team in an Eighth Edition booster today. I'm curious how that interacts with the new definition of "defender." Will this card apply to defenders, or can it not target modern "Walls"? --Alex J.

A: The Team thankfully didn't make the Ninth Edition cut--they'd be useless in the current Standard. The Team can't target modern Walls (creatures that have defender but don't have the creature type "Wall").

Q: My brother bought a fat pack, and it seems that the printer was running out of ink. The text is very light (and almost nonexistent in some cases). Is there any other way to prove that the cards are real because the lack of ink makes them look very suspicious? --Jeremy

A: Chances are only one side of the card is misprinted. In any case, the card should still bend and shuffle like a Magic card. Collectors know that occasionally misprinted cards will slip into packs. Some people even prize misprinted cards because of their defects.

*Extra*: Dan Bock is a well-known collector of misprints. In one case he had a card that had an area that looked like a bubble of ink was missing. Much later he found another card from that same set and rarity that had a similar mark. The two cars lined up perfectly when placed side-by-side. Amazingly enough, Dan might have found the exact two cards that were on the uncut sheet next to each other when this large bubble occurred just before the card slicer split the sheet and put the cards into different booster packs.

That's enough with the miscuts, misplays, and misadventures for this week.

Class dismissed.

--Carter

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