Many Questions and One Proposal

Posted in Feature on December 24, 2005

By John Carter

Editor's Note: Unlike the other columns on the site, Saturday School is a bit tougher to find articles for rerun weeks. However, one of the things that makes individual articles that Carter has done stand out are the fun questions and answers he occasionally includes. More than any other Saturday School article this year, this one prompted an avalanche of reader email saying how funny they'd found the proposal question at the end, so I don't think it's any surprise that both Carter and I thought this would be a fun one to bring back.

Send your rules questions to Magic Rules Manager 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.

Ah, the smell of a fresh new format. In case you didn't hear, Standard is getting a facelift to the tune of no more Arcbound Ravager, Disciple of the Vault, or artifact lands. R&D looks forward to seeing what you can come up with in the new Standard.

Meanwhile, some of us went down to Table Top Games near Tacoma, Washington for a Vintage tournament last Saturday. The event wasn't sanctioned (or we couldn't have played because we're employees), but it does let R&D mingle with the public and get a feel for the pulse of a format. Yours truly was reminded why he judges more than he plays, but Randy Buehler dusted off his jewelry and did a little better. "A little better" for an ex-Pro Tour Champion who hasn't played in a tournament in about six years means he defeated a field of more than fifty players and took home first place and an Unlimited Black Lotus.

This weekend is Grand Prix Seattle at the base of the Space Needle in WotC's backyard. While you're reading this I'll be surrounded by hundreds of your fellow players all vying for a shot at Extended glory. But let's not forget this week's questions…

Shirei, Shizo's Caretaker
Q: What happens if I have Shirei, Shizo's Caretaker and a Deranged Hermit in play and I don't pay the Hermit's echo? --Ruediger D.

A: The Hermit will be put into the graveyard because you didn't pay the echo, and Shirei will trigger. At the end of your turn (assuming Shirei is alive and well), your Hermit will come back and bring along four new Squirrel friends.

Q: If you equip Umezawa's Jitte (without counters) onto Bushi Tenderfoot, can you remove counters from the Jitte to save your Bushi after combat damage? --Ho Kheng S.

A: If the blocking creature dealt any damage to Bushi, no. The same event that causes the Jitte to get counters (resolving combat damage) is also going to send Bushi to the graveyard, but being destroyed from lethal damage is a state-based effect and will happen before the triggered ability can add counters.

Q: If I play Iwamori of the Open Fist, can somebody put a "flip card" into play? --Matthew M.

A: No, the Legendary part of the flip card is ignored until 1) the creature is in play and 2) the flip event has occurred.

*Extra* You have a Nezumi Shortfang (1/1) flipped into a Stabwhisker the Odious (3/3). If your opponent uses Duplicant to remove the Stabwhisker from the game, the Duplicant's power will be only 1/1-- the Shortfang portion because he's no longer in play.

Q: If my opponent uses Humble on a creature with a Divinity Counter on it, is the creature still indestructible? --Zero

A: If you’re referring to one of the Myojin, Humble takes away the ability “Myojin of Whatever is indestructible as long as it has a divinity counter on it”, so the creature will no longer be indestructible.

If you have That Which Was Taken in play then yes, the Humbled creature is still indestructible because the indestructibility is granted via TWWT's second ability (the one that looks for things with divinity counters). Without TWWT, your non-Myojin divinity-countered guy is not indestructible, Humble or no.

Q: I have Genju of the Spires enchanting a Mountain and I play the ability to turn the Mountain into a land. In response, my opponent destroys the Genju. Will my Mountain still become a creature? If it does, and is destroyed during that turn, will I get to return the Genju back to my hand? --Mark

A: Yes, the Mountain will become a 6/1 red Spirit creature. Destroying the Genju does nothing to stop the Genju's effect once activated.
But no, the Genju will not return if that Mountain is destroyed that turn-- that ability ended as the Genju left play.

Q: I have a problem about the ninjutsu ability and animated lands. If I attack with an enchanted Island with Genju of the Falls on it, and it is not blocked, what happens then when I use ninjutsu on it? --Niels N.

A: You'll announce ninjutsu and pay your costs-- return the unblock creature (the Island) and pay some mana. Then state-based effects check and see a Genju all naked and alone, so the Genju is promptly put into the graveyard. After that players get priority, and eventually the Ninja enters play and smacks your opponent.

Genju of the Realm
Q: Is Genju of the Realm colorless or all five colors? --Benjamin

A: The card is all five colors. The Spirit that the land becomes is colorless.

Q: I have a Krark-Clan Ironworks and a Vedalken Orrery in play. I want to play Sway of the Stars as an instant. Can I put the Sway on the stack, then sacrifice the Orrery to the Ironworks to help pay for the Sway's mana cost? --Burgess S.

A: Yes. The Sway is already being played, so sacrificing the Orrery won't affect the Sway.

Q: If a Shimmering Glasskite is played while a Ronin Warclub is in play will the Warclub attach to the Glasskite? --Stephen

A: Yes, it will attach. The Warclub's triggered ability doesn't target, so the Glasskite ability doesn't notice it.

Q: I was at 6 life when I played Soulblast and sacrificed 6 creatures, enough to kill him, while my opponent had a Goblin Sharpshooter ready to fire and wanted to activate it for each creature I sent to the graveyard. The problem was that none of us were able to determine who would die first.
We're also a bit confused about ninjutsu since it says; "Return ...... creature to hand" What if I've stolen that creature from an opponent? It doesn't say "owner's." --Simon A.

A: The Sharpshooter will kill you. As you played Soulblast you sacrificed six creatures (five would have been enough for the Shooter if it was untapped). That triggered the Shooter six times. All those triggers stack on top of the Soulblast. Your opponent can then tap the Shooter to shoot and let a trigger resolve. Before resolving the next trigger, your opponent shoots again. The Soulblast will be close to resolving, but you'll be dead, so the game will end.
Using ninjutsu with a stolen creature will return the creature to its owner's hand [CR 217.1a, 502.43a]. This is also true if anything would put someone else's card into a graveyard or library - that card goes into the owner's graveyard or library as respectively.

Q: I currently have Possessed Portal paired up with a Leveler. However I had a game with a person who told me that I cannot play any spells or lay any cards down from my hand at all. When I asked him why he told me it was because you have to draw a card during your draw phase in order to play any cards from your hand. Is this true? --Kent B.

A: No, it's unequivocally not true. Replacing your draw is often a drawback, but it has no effect on your ability to keep playing. Do remember that trying to draw and failing (which is not the same thing) will cause you to lose.

Myojin of Life's Web
Q: If I have a Myojin of Life's Web in play and my opponent hits me with a Ferropede can my opponent remove my Myojin's divinity counter? --Trey

A: Yes, the Ferropede isn't picky about which counters it eats.

Q: Can you choose the same target twice for cards that say choose multiple targets, like Peace and Quiet, Dead Ringers? Do cards like Plague Spores still destroy a land even if there are no creatures in play? --Joe

A: If a spell says something like "two target…" for the same effect then you must target two things or the spell isn't legal (Peace and Quiet with only one enchantment isn't legal). You have to pick a target for each word target, or you can't play the spell (Plague Spores with only a land isn't legal). However, if you have two targeting choices and one target can fit both criteria, then you can (with the targeting rules change after Champions of Kamigawa) target the same thing with each of those choices. For instance, Plague Spores targeting an animated land as the " target nonblack creature" and the "target land" is legal.

Q: If a basic land becomes artifact in addition to their other types, does it become a nonbasic land? --Gergely G.

A: No, "basic" is a supertype, and adding on types (such as artifact or creature) has no effect on being basic.

Q: Can Stifle be used to counter a Gilded Drake's sacrifice?

A: No. Gilded Drake has errata so the sacrifice can't be countered. You either exchange the Drake or lose the Drake-- rules about illegal targets making the ability be countered are overruled by the Oracle wording on the card, and that wording also shuts down Stifle.

Q: I was wondering if the Mycosynth Golem has the same effect for sunburst as it does for Emblazoned Golem? --William

A: No, it doesn't. Sunburst looks at what mana was spent, so spending fewer colors is actually bad for sunburst. Emblazoned Golem however has kicker, and kicker doesn't care how it gets paid. The bonus from kicker will take the Mycosynth's bribes with no qualms.

Piracy
Q: Can you explain how the timing rules for adding mana to your mana pool from your opponent's lands would work under a resolved Piracy (from Starter)? This card looks extremely fun to play with, but it also seems to be a rules headache in the making. --Jon L.

A: Piracy hangs on my wall of rules nightmares under Volrath's Shapeshifter and left of Mirror Gallery. Here's the Oracle wording of Piracy:

Piracy
UU
Sorcery
Until end of turn, you may play mana abilities of lands you don't control, putting the mana they generate into your mana pool. Use mana produced this way only to play spells.

The problem with Piracy is that there's nothing stopping your opponent form tapping his or her lands. And who's to say you'll even have spells to use the mana on? It does put the mana into your pool, so you will burn for it if you don't use it. The solution is relatively simple-- if you have priority, you may tap your opponent's lands for mana. If you don't have priority, you can't tap them for mana. The exception for both is if there's a spell or ability requiring a mana payment (such as Mana Leak)-- use APNAP order for that (though your opponent could just add mana the last time the get priority before the Leak resolves). Whether you use the Piracy mana to actually play spells or to just burn horridly is up to you.

Q: If Clone is in a graveyard and a player casts Living Death, then what happens to Clone? --Robert N.

A: Players will remove all creature cards in their graveyards from the game. Then they'll sacrifice all creatures they control. Just before the removed creatures come into play, Clone looks around and finds nothing to copy, so it comes into play as a 0/0 and probably dies.

All Hallow's Eve
Q: Gatherer was confusing to me on All Hallow's Eve-- the card itself looks like a sorcery, but all the help text says it is an enchantment. --Thomas

A: All Hallow's Eve was misprinted as a sorcery but it has been errataed to be an enchantment.
Do note that the Eve effect of returning creatures is tied to removing the last counter. If there are no counters on the Eve, it does nothing. Otherwise, just after you remove the last time counter you'll complete the instructions of that second ability and everyone will return the creature cards in their graveyards to play.

Q: Can a player cast the enchant creature card Abduction on their own creatures. If so, could you Abduct your own creatures, and then throw a Wrath of God? --Adam D.

A: Yes, you can use Abduction to give your creatures a chance at a new life. You can also use False Demise to similar effect.

Q: I have a Crystal Shard, an Aether Vial set at three, and a Chittering Rats in play. Now when my opponent draws a card I activate Crystal Shard, return Chittering Rats and play them using Aether Vial. (Thinking that the card would have to be returned to the top of his library, barring it being an instant.) Can I force his only card back to the top of his deck during his draw phase? --Perry

A: That works fine. The key is that while the one draw per turn action doesn't use the stack, both players still have to pass priority on an empty stack before the draw step ends. When your opponent passes, rather than end the step, you use the Shard and Vial, and trigger the Rat. Barring instants, your opponent is in an unhappy place.

A Few Out of the Box Questions

Frazzled Editor
Q: What counts as a card's text box? Okay, let me rephrase that. Let's say I have a Frazzled Editor out and I am blocking a Budoka Gardener. As Budoka Gardener has 3 lines of rules text, but the card has six, does my Frazzled Editor have protection from it?

A: No, the only part that the Editor is going to see is the current flip side. For example, a Frazzled Editor would be protected from a Cunning Bandit, but the Editor wouldn't be safe from Azamuki, Treachery Incarnate.

Q: Can I play Curse of the Fire Penguin on Frazzled Editor?

A: Yes. The Editor will be confused and summarily consumed. Other Frazzled Editors will have protection from the Editor Penguin creature thing.

Q: As Frazzled Editor specifies only text, but all the rulings say "rules text". Can I change it "back" with R&D's Secret Lair? --Gavin M.

A: No. Rulings are not errata. R&D's Secret Lair doesn't affect rulings.

Q: I was playing in a multiplayer game with some friends of mine recently. One player played a proxy of the Richard Garfield unique card Proposal to propose to his girlfriend. I played Spelljack to remove it from the game. On my turn I used Mindslaver, targeting the player who had originally attempted to propose. On his turn, I played the Spelljacked Proposal using Vedalken Orrery, and since I make all decisions for that player, I had him accept my proposal and we become engaged to be married. We've set a date, but at this time there is some question as whether our marriage will be recognized by our state's constitution, which states that marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman. I understand that a previous ruling stated that the laws of local governments supersede the Magic Comprehensive Rules and DCI Floor Rules, but I am allowed by law to appeal constitutional matters and disputes with state governments to the Supreme Court, who may in turn overturn laws made at the state and federal level.
My question is, does the Proposal resolve, does it remain on the stack until the Supreme Court makes their final decision, or does it fizzle because our male/male union is currently outlawed by state law? Does it matter at all if the issue is on the Supreme Court docket for their next session?
If this were a sanctioned tournament, would we be granted a time extension for the round until the Supreme Court had made a decision? --John F.

A: No, the Proposal does not wait for the Supreme Court. As I understand it, it's the marriage, not the engagement that your local laws prohibit.
Unless your local laws prohibit engagements, you should be fine legality-wise.
It doesn't matter what's on the docket for the Supreme Court until you have to worry about your nuptials.
Additionally, I'll note that Proposal mentions "Richard" and "Lily" by name, so unless your middle name is Richard, or perhaps Lily, and your friend's name is the other, Proposal isn't going to work for you.
As for sanctioned events, the DCI is pursuing sanctioned multiplayer formats, but they still don't allow proxies, so your friend's copy of Proposal isn't going to work.

What Do You Think?

One of the jobs of the Rules Manager is to figure out with the Editing department what wordings convey the most accurate information quickly and effectively.

Given a card that lets you put lands into play or put spells on the stack from your graveyard but does not allow you to cycle or discard cards in your graveyard, which of the following wordings conveys that ability best?

Which wording is best?Until end of turn, you may play cards in your graveyard as though they were in your hand. Until end of turn, you may play cards in your graveyard.

--Carter

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