May Days

Posted in Feature on April 30, 2005

By John Carter

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.

They say April showers bring May flowers. But in Seattle, April showers bring May showers. So I'm going to just stay inside and run through some questions. Here we go…

A Little Kami to go with your Gawa

Wail of the Nim
Q: I have Horobi, Death's Wail and target him with an equipment or creature enchantment, knowing he'll die. I play Wail of the Nim to regenerate all my creatures. Would Horobi receive the targeting equipment/enchantment? --Roc O.

A: Yes. Horobi was going to be destroyed, but instead it tapped, all damage was removed from it, and it was removed from combat (were it in combat). None of these things affect the equip ability, so the equipment will get attached as normal, al.

Q: Suppose I have out Horobi, Deaths Wail, and two Soilshapers when I play an Arcane spell. I target the same land with both of the Soilshaper triggers. When the second Soilshaper trigger resolves, the land has become a creature; does the fact that targeting is re-checked when resolving an ability (and discovers that it is a creature that it is targeting) mean that Horobi, Deaths Wail will trigger, killing that creature (land)? --Ben S.

A: No, Horobi only looks for something that becomes targeted, not something that is being targeted. The recheck for legality doesn't mean the targeted land is retargeted. Your newly animated (twice over) land is safe from Horobi.

Q: I had a Teardrop Kami in play and he had two Myrs. One Myr had an Umezawa's Jitte with 4 counters on it and a Cranial Plating equipped to it. He declares an attack with the equipped creature, and in response I sacrifice the Kami to tap his declared creature to prevent it from attacking. His response to that was to equip both the Jitte and the Plating on the other Myr and attack. How does that work? --Maarten R.

A: There are several small issues that mass into a larger problem. In short, the opponent can't move the equipment, but he could attack with the unequipped Myr.
The thing both of you miss is that when a player declares attackers, they immediately become tapped, and Teardrop Kami can’t interrupt this process. To stop a creature attacking this way, you need to use tap them before your opponent has decided what’s attacking. The normal time to do this is the beginning of combat step. So, here’s how this situation actually played out: During the Beginning of Combat step, you use Teardrop Kami to tap the tooled-up Myr. Your opponent can’t move the Jitte now, because combat has started. (equip abilities are played as sorceries). The Plating could be moved using its other ability, though. Then, in the Declare Attackers step, your opponent can choose whether to attack with the untapped Myr.
Even if you can't remember the exact terms for the steps, just be clear in what you're trying to do. “In combat before you attack” works just as well as “during your beginning of combat step” as far as a judge would be concerned.

Q: I was fighting this guy who had an old school white green beat down deck. I attacked with an unblocked Teardrop Kami and ninjutsued a Ninja of the Deep Hours. Then he used Elephant Ambush and declared to block it. Is that possible? --Christian L.

A: Not possible. Here are the steps in the combat phase [CR 306-311]…
Beginning of Combat: Last chance to do stuff before attackers
Declare Attackers: Announce attackers—critters are now considered “attacking”. Then play stuff (like Elephant Ambush so you can block)
Declare Blockers: Announce blockers—critters are now considered “blocked” or “unblocked”. Then play stuff (like Giant Growth to deal more damage or Terror to avoid damage)
Combat Damage: Stack combat damage. Last chance to save critters—assuming you haven't let the stacked damage resolve.
End of Combat: End of combat triggers stack. Last chance to do stuff before combat ends.
As the phase ends, critters stop being “attacking”, “blocking”, or “blocked”.
Once you look at the order spelled out it becomes clear that you can't play something to block after the one point in time when you declare blockers (the first thing you do in that step).

Q: I have equipped my Sakura-Tribe Elder with an Umezawa's Jitte. What happens if I block, then sac the Sakura when the damage is on the stack? Will the Umezawa's Jitte get the counters and I get a basic land from Sakura? --Jürgen Ö.

A: No. If you fetch the land, you'll not have the Snake equipped when damage resolves. If you let the Snake stay equipped long enough to deal and receive damage, state-based effects will destroy it before you get priority to sacrifice it, but the Jitte will get counters.

Scythe of the Wretched
Q: Q: I have a Frostling equipped with Scythe of the Wretched, then I sacrifice the Frostling to deal one damage to himself, will the Scythe's effect go off and bring him back? --Nathan H.

A: No (x2). 1) The Frostling's ability will be countered for lack of target. 2) The Frostling was not equipped by the Scythe at the time when it would have dealt damage (see “No” #1).

Q: I have a question. If I have two Hondens of Night's Reach in play, does my opponent discard 4 cards (2 for each Honden) or just 2 cards? --Matej

A: Your opponent discards four cards. The Honden don't count unique names that are on permanents with the subtype "Shrine"; they count total Shrines. So if Mirror Gallery lets you keep multiples (they're legendary, of course), a pair of Honden will give you the doubled effect twice.

Q: I have Shirei, Shizo's Caretaker in play, and I play Etched Oracle (Sunburst = 4). Then I draw 3 cards with the Oracle, when it comes back, does it get +1/+1 counters again, or is he a 0/0 and returns just to die? --Llama

A: Sorry, Llama, the Oracle is doomed to re-die every turn. Sunburst is decidedly bad with reanimation (and Bribery) (and Tooth and Nail).

Q: Suppose I locked down some of my opponent's creatures with a Neko-Te. What happens when my opponent destroys my Neko-Te during his turn, and I play a new one during my turn? --Ton B.

A: Each Neko-Te knows what it's locking down [CR 202.2]. Having multiples in play or playing multiple sequentially will not have any added effect in those regards.

Oathkeeper, Takeno's Daisho
Q: If I have an Oathkeeper, Takeno's Daisho attached to a creature, and my friend plays Wear Away to destroy it and remove my creature from the game, can I play Blessed Breath to protect my creature? –Drew

A: Blessed Breath won't help. First of all, the Oathkeeper isn't doing something protection would stop (Damage, Enchant/Equip. Block, Target). Secondly, even if it were targeted (no word “target” means the ability isn't targeted), the Oathkeeper is colorless, so Blessed Breath couldn't get you the protection it would need.

Q: If I use Otherworldly Journey to remove a 1/1 Phantom Nishoba from the game, will it come back with 2 counters or 8 counters? --Jeff

A: It's a brand-new Nishoba. It has no idea it was on its last counter, so it's coming into play with its seven counters plus the Otherworldly one—it's 8/8.

Mirrodin Again

Q: Transmute Artifact... what are the consequences of my opponent Boomeranging my artifact in response to my playing the spell? --Sean

A: Transmute Artifact (like Reshape and Tinker) requires you to sacrifice an artifact as an additional cost. That means that you'll announce the spell, and by the time anyone can respond to the spell, the artifact is already in the graveyard.

Q: If my opponent targets my creature with Vedalken Shackles and in response I Oxidize the Shackles, what happens when the ability resolves? --Daniel Lee

A: The creature stays where it is. “As long as” sets a duration, and if a duration ends before the effect begins, the effect does nothing [CR 418.3d].

Q: Can I use Pentavus's ability to pump Arcbound Crusher up by removing a counter to put a Pentavite into play and sac the token to put a counter back on Pentavus over and over again? --Marc C.

A: Yes. Pentavus: it's not just for Vintage anymore.

Q: If an opponent has an Isochron Scepter and plays the imprinted spell, can you put a creature card from your hand into play with Hunting Grounds --miguel

A: Playing a copy of a card does result in playing a spell. (Meddling Mage is the two-mana multicolored card that insists on it being a card.) Happy Hunting.

Q: My opponent controls more creatures than I. I have a Panoptic Mirror with a Pulse of the Tangle imprinted on it. When I play the imprinted spell, what happens? --Noel D.

A: First, you'll put a token into play. Then you'll count the creatures to decide if you should put the copy into your hand. The copy goes either to your hand or to your graveyard. Then the copy will cease to exist as state-based effects are checked.

Q: I have a Birds of Paradise equipped with a Sword of Light and Shadow. My opponent takes control of the Birds of Paradise and attacks with it during his turn. After the Birds of Paradise deals damage, will I be able to gain 3 life and return a creature card from my graveyard to my hand since I control the Sword of Light and Shadow? --Justin

A: Yes. The Sword is what triggers because of the Bird—not the Bird triggering.

Onward and Backwards

Q: I have an Enduring Renewal, and I am sacrificing an Ornithopter. Does the Ornithopter actually reach the graveyard? Will it count as a creature going to the graveyard for Lightning Coils? --Jan

A: The Ornithopter never touches the graveyard, and the Coils won't get a counter. Enduring Renewal replaces the “put into your graveyard from play” with “put… into your hand”, so nothing that looks for going to the graveyard will ever see anything.

Ember Beast
Q: Can you attack with two Ember Beasts, and would it ignore the restraint? --Justin T.

A: Two Ember Beasts attacking together is fine. The simple way to process restraints like that is to take your intended group of attackers (or blockers) and lean back—is this group ok? Can they go together? A group of one Ember Beast will say it's not ok because it has no friend. A group of two will look at each other and chuckle (then smash).

Q: Player A attacks with a creature and player B blocks with a non-black creature. Can player A play a spell to give his creature fear and make the block illegal? –Taylor

A: Nope, giving fear after blockers are declared will not affect the existing block.

Q: If I have a Patron Wizard in play and five other Wizards in play, can I tap multiple Wizards for the same spell? --Kyle

A: Yes, you can. You can even tap one, see if your opponent pays, and then tap another before the original spell resolves.

Q: I have two Loxodon Anchorites and a Master Apothecary. My opponent attacks for 7 damage total. Can I use the Apothecary's ability to tap my Loxodon to prevent 8 damage? (2 from its own tapping ability and 2 from the Apothecary's ability) --Jimmy

A: The most you can prevent is 6. Using the Apothecary requires you to tap the creature as a cost, and the Loxodons have ““:” as their cost. You can't pay for both at the same time.

*Extra*: I'll remind people that tapping a creature to pay for an ability or because of an effect does not cause that creature's activated abilities to suddenly work—Twiddle can't force a Prodigal Sorcerer to do damage.

*Extra*Extra*: Some abilities do look for something to become tapped, but this is not the same as an activated ability with “:” in the cost.

Q: Firestorm says "Choose and discard X cards: Firestorm deals…” Does that mean if I discarded 4 cards then I can deal 4 damage to 4 targets or is the 4 damage divided up among up to 4 targets? --John

A: Four targets (which must be different) will take 4 damage each. On older cards it's often helpful to check Gatherer. This will show you the Oracle wording (i.e.: updated to modern templates) and many cards also have rulings listed at the bottom of their pop-up window. Here's the Oracle wording on Firestorm:

As an additional cost to play Firestorm, discard X cards.
Firestorm deals X damage to each of X target creatures and/or players.

Q: You've mentioned term state-triggered ability, how is it different from other triggered abilities? --CY

A: Here's a simple comparison
Plain triggers [CR 404]: Look for an event and trigger. “When CARDNAME comes into play…” “At the beginning of each player's upkeep, if that player controls fewer creatures than any of his or her opponents…”
State-triggered ability [CR 410.11]: Look a game state and trigger, but they don't retrigger until after the existing trigger resolves. Additionally, they don't recheck the game state to see if the trigger situation still exists as the trigger resolves (unlike a targeting check or “if” clause). “When you control no artifacts…” “When a player has no cards in hand…”

Q: If I use Rishadan Port to tap down a land in my opponent's upkeep step, can he tap it in response and then use the mana to pay for a spell in his upkeep? Or will he mana burn if he does so? –Jamie

A: The mana can be used during the upkeep step or draw step since they're both in the beginning phase (and mana burn happens at end of phase). Of course, only instants and abilities can be played at this time.

Q: If I attack with a Lowland Basilisk and he blocks with a Wall of Shadows, will the Wall of Shadows die at the end of combat? --Kelly

A: No, the Lowland Basilisk's ability requires the stoned creature take damage, and Wall of Shadows prevents damage.

*Extra*: The original Basilisk, Thicket Basilisk, doesn't care about damage, but he is friendly towards Walls. Sylvan Basilisk isn't so nice, and it would kill the Wall.

Formats and Magic

Chrome Mox
Q: What happens if I imprint Chrome Mox with an artifact or land? What formats is Chrome Mox legal in? –Kallie

A: Chrome Mox can't have lands or artifacts used for its imprint (note the card text). And if by some array of effects a colorless card is imprinted (think Vesuvan Doppelganger of a Death-Mask Duplicant switching to an animated Mox), the crazy Mox wouldn't produce anything. Chrome Mox is legal in all constructed formats (except the non-Mirrodin block constructed ones). Chrome Mox is restricted in Vintage.

Q: What is the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 tournaments? --Archangel

A: First, let's clarify what we're talking about. “Type 1” is the old name for the Vintage format. “Type 2” is the old name for the Standard format. And while we're at it, “Type 1.5” is now known as Legacy. And of course, there's the “Extended” format... known as, well, Extended. Or sometimes "Type 1.X".
The difference in all constructed formats is what sets are legal and what specific cards (if any) are banned. The list of banned cards is right here. Vintage also has a “restricted” list—cards that are allowed but limited to one per deck (or sideboard). The sets that are legal in Standard are the Eighth Edition, Mirrodin block (MIR, DST, 5DN), and Kamigawa block (CHK, BOK). The sets that are legal in Vintage are… all of them… and the promotional cards (like Nalathni Dragon and Mana CryptMana Crypt is restricted though). And since the card pool defines what's possible in a format, the Standard and Vintage experiences themselves are going to vary along with the card pool.

I'll be back on the East coast next weekend for Pro Tour Philadelphia. This will be the first time the Pro Tour pays the players for each round of play-- if you win, you get money, but if you don't win three times, you're out. It should be exciting to see the pressure mount as pro players watch the payouts and their own winnings rise over the course of the weekend.

One other thing for all you faithful readers out there… Sunday the 8th of May is just over a week away-- also known as Mother's Day. Just a heads up!

Class dismissed.


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