The New Standard Has Been Set

Posted in Feature on May 27, 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.

Regionals exploded the new Standard onto the world last weekend. Sporting reliable multicolored mana bases complements of the complete Ravnica dual land cycle augmented with the 9th Edition painlands, every color was out in a kaleidoscope of decks. Saturday School will leave the deck critique to the pros and put the prose to the rules…

Horobi, Death's Wail
Q: Can I VoidslimeHorobi, Death's Wail? I want to and then enchant Horobi with Shielding Plax. Can I? --Jonathan J.

A: You can Voidslime Horobi's triggered ability. In this case, you'd Plax the Wail, the Wail would trigger, you'd Slime the wailing, and then Horobi would be Plaxed.

Q: Can I use Sporeback Troll's second effect to regenerate one of my graft creatures after its last +1/+1 counter is moved to another creature? --Grae

A: If there's nothing else to keep the grafter alive, it will be put into the graveyard as a 0/0 before you could activate anything. Even if you set up the regeneration shield before the counter moved, regeneration doesn't help against zero-or-less toughness. If the grafter has something else keeping it alive, such as Glorious Anthem, losing its last counter means it's not a legal target for the Troll anymore.

Q: Does Grand Arbiter Augustin IV affect the cost of replication? --Terry

A: No. Augustin can reduce the amount you spend even if it's for a replication, but it won't reduce the cost of replication. For example, Train of Thought with a replicate would cost + = . Augustin takes out of that result not out of the mana cost and out of the replication cost. You'll pay for a Train with one replication.

Q: If I sacrifice Transguild Courier for the Bound part of Bound // Determined, can I take the Transguild back into my hand? --Morten U.

A: Yes. As Bound resolves, you sacrifice a creature (the Courier). Then you return cards to your hand (up to 5 because the Courier was all colors). Since the cards aren't targeted, you can return the just sacrificed Courier.

Swift Silence
Q: What bugs me with Swift Silence is how do you counter more than one spell? Do you have to sit and wait like if your opponent plays Putrefy on my creature: "Hey, why don't you put it to your graveyard?" "No I'm waiting if you play something else, and then I'm gonna counter them all in one go". --Zina

A: No, you can't wait out your opponent. Swift Silence is best at ending counter wars or stacks of spells. For example, if you play a spell, I try to counter it, you try to counter my counter, and then I play Swift Silence… the Silence will counter the original spell plus both of the counters, and I'll draw three cards. In normal, single-counter usage, it's an expensive Dismiss.

*Extra*: Swift Silence is also especially good against all those pesky replicate or storm copies. Just wait for the trigger that puts them on the stack to resolve, and then counter them all with the Silence.

Q: When does Condemn check the toughness of the creature it targets - after the target is removed from play or before? --Brian S.

A: The life gained is based on the toughness the creature had immediately prior to leaving play. This includes effects from counters, pumping or shrinking spells, and things like Coat of Arms or Night of Souls' Betrayal.

Q: What happens if I use Boseiju, Who Shelters All to play Pyromatics with a replication while Dovescape is in play? --Vincent

A: Dovescape and the replicate will trigger and be stacked in APNAP order. Dovescape doesn't trigger for the replicate copies since they're not played. Dovescape tries to turn the original Pyromatics into two Birds, but Boseiju shelters it from the countering. You'll wind up with one damage from the original, one damage from the copy, and two Birds.

Q: My friend Annexed one of my lands. Can I then use Simic Guildmage's ability to move the Annex onto one of his lands, and regain control of my land? --Joe

A: Yes, the opponent controls the Annexed land just long enough for the Guildmage to get the Aura moved, and then the previously Annexed land returns to your control.

Q: My opponent controls Dread Slag with no cards in hand. I play Compulsive Research targeting him thinking that it will kill the Slag, but someone said that it didn't work. Is this true? --Dan

A: The Slag will survive. The thing to remember is at what point state-based effects check. They check when a player is getting priority (and just before the turn ends). Players don't get priority while a spell is resolving.

In this case, the Slag starts as a 9/9. Drawing three cards means the Slag is temporarily -3/-3. Then your opponent discards one or two cards, and Compulsive Research finishes resolving. When you get priority, Mr. State-Based sees a 1/1 (or 5/5)--healthy enough to live.

Q: If the +1/+1 counters are removed from a creature controlled by Cytoplast Manipulator, does the creature go back to the owner? --Ed C.

A: No, the counter(s) need to be on the creature only when it's targeted by the ability and when the ability resolves. No longer having counters won't free the creature from the Manipulator's grip.

*Extra*: The key there is that the timeframe is as long as you control the Manipulator, not as longer as it has a counter and you control the Manipulator.

Coiling Oracle
Q: If Coiling Oracle reveals Simic Growth Chamber, does it come into play tapped or untapped? Does a land return? --Josh L.

A: Coiling Oracle's ability will put the land into play like normal. In the case of a Simic Growth Chamber, the land will come into play tapped, and you'll need to return a land to its owner's hand.

*Extra*: Since that effect doesn't count as your land for your turn, you could play that land you just bounced as your normal land for the turn (unless otherwise prevented).

Q: If I have a Cloudstone Curio in play and play Patagia Viper without blue mana, would I be able to use the bounce trigger set off by the tokens to return the Viper to my hand before having to sacrifice it? --Jeff

A: Yes, if you stack the triggers correctly. For instance, put the sacrifice trigger on the stack first, then stack the token creation, and then stack the Curio bounce. Unless you have another creature in play, the bounce will do nothing. Then the tokens come into play and trigger the Curio. Have one or both of the triggers target the Viper. By the time the sacrifice trigger resolves, the Viper is safely back in your hand.

Protean Hulk
Q: If my Protean Hulk is sent to the graveyard, may I search for all 12 free Kobolds and then something with a converted mana cost of 6? --Joe

A: Yes, 0 x 12 + 6 does total six or less. The number of creatures doesn't matter as long as their converted mana cost combined is six or less.

*Extra*: I'd suggest triplets of Kobold Taskmaster.

Q: How does Burning-Tree Shaman and the convoke ability interact with each other? --Dan

A: The Shaman doesn't even notice convoke - it's not an activated ability.

Q: How would a Necromancer's Magemark interact with a Swamp enchanted by a Genju of the Fens? --Brid S.

A: When your Genjued Swamp is animated, the Magemark will give it +1/+1 because it is a creature that is enchanted. It doesn't have to be an enchant creature Aura for the Magemark.

Q: I'm at 1 life and have a Phyrexian Arena in play. At the beginning of my next upkeep, can I Dredge Golgari Brownscale with the Arena and survive, or do I just curse the turn I put the Arena into play? --Lucian S.

A: You can Dredge the Brownscale and trigger the life gaining ability, but you won't live long enough to use it. By the time you would stack the trigger you've already lost that last life point and with it the game.

Q: I discard Phage the Untouchable and then use Dimir Doppelganger to copy Phage. I wouldn't lose the game, correct? --Daniel D.

A: Correct. The Doppelganger was already in play, so the Phagelganger never triggers for coming into play.

Q: Leyline of Singularity is in play. I play two Hatching Plans. Does the legend rule cause me to draw six cards? --Joe C.

A: The legend rule sends the duplicate legendary Hatchings to the graveyard, and their demise causes you to draw six cards.

Q: If someone uses the Izzet Guildmage / Lava Spike + Desperate Ritual combo, can I stop it by countering the copy, or do I have to counter the original in response to the copy? --Kelsey K.

A: If the opponent doesn't have mana to make another copy, then countering either would be fine. If you counter the copy, then it won't make more mana to keep the cycle going. If you counter the original in response to the Guildmage ability, then the ability will be countered for lack of target, and no copy will be made.

Q: If I equip a Loxodon Warhammer to a Sunhome Enforcer, do I get double the life every time it deals damage? --Kevin

A: Yes, the Warhammer and the Enforcer will both trigger, and each one will gain you life equal to the damage dealt.

Promise of Bunrei
Q: Can I sacrifice Kami of Ancient Law targeting my Promise of Bunrei and still get the tokens? --Russell

A: Yes, sacrificing the Kami is a cost. You'll announce the target (Promise) and pay the cost (Kami). Since the Kami just hit the graveyard, the Promise will trigger and get stacked on top of the Kami's ability. When that trigger resolves, the Promise is sacrificed, and your tokens are made. The Kami's ability is then countered since its target is gone.

Q: If I played Nomads en-Kor, could I activate that ability at any time even if there was no damage? --Sean

A: Yes. Damage redirection doesn't require damage to create shields. The shield won't do anything if no damage shows up - but your Daru Spiritualist will thank you nonetheless.

Q: If an opponent takes control of a creature with soulshift, who gets to use soulshift? --Johnna

A: The player who controlled the creature just before it die - your opponent.

Q: Some random guy was playing with my friends. He used Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker with Seeker of Skybreak. He did this at some point during the end of turn, and then he untapped for his turn and slew everybody in the 10 player game. What happens to spells and abilities that end at end of turn and are played during the end of turn step? --Dustin

A: "At end of turn" triggers ("at" is a trigger word) go on the stack only once per turn - when the end of turn step begins. Effects, like Kiki-Jiki's, that set up an end of turn trigger after that time will leave the trigger until the next end of turn. Effects that say until end of turn, like Giant Growth, wear off during the cleanup step - right after the end of turn step - along with damage.

Mycosynth Lattice
Q: If I have a Mycosynth Lattice in play, would I still have to play the blue to play Broodstar, or would the fact all spells are colorless (plus Broodstar's affinity) let me play it for free if I have 10 artifacts in play? --Mike S.

A: The spell is made colorless by the Lattice effect, but you still must pay the colored costs - albeit with any mana, complements of the Lattice. Affinity can't reduce the colored part of a spell even if the spell is colorless.

Q: If a double striking creature does first strike damage, and it loses the double strike, why won't it do normal damage? --Thomas D.

A: Normal damage comes from "attackers and blockers that didn’t assign combat damage in the first step, plus any creatures with double strike..." [CR 310.5] Since the previously-double-striking creature did assign damage in the first step and doesn't have double strike (anymore), it won't get to assign damage a second time.

Q: What happens if my opponent has the choice of play or draw but looks at his hand first?

A: Players who look at their hands without communicating a choice are considered to be playing.

Q: At Regionals this past weekend, I opened with Mountain and Kird Ape. My opponent played Mountain and Seal of Fire. On my second turn, I played a Forest. The judge said that playing the land doesn't use the stack, so my opponent couldn't respond by killing my Ape with the Seal. Can you explain this? Does this mean I can play lands when there's something on the stack if it's during my own main phase? --Ben C.

A: Playing a land doesn't use the stack, but there are other rules about when you can play lands. The stack must be empty, during your turn, and you can't have already played a land. Since your opponent didn't do anything before you entered your main phase, you were able to play the Forest, and the Ape immediately got bigger (continuous effects don't stack either).

After the long Memorial Day weekend here in the States, Monday, May 30th welcomes Dissension to Magic Online just in time for June. Mid-June sends us to Pro Tour--Charleston for some very hot team Block Constructed. June wraps up with the Limited round of Champs just before a chill creeps up in early July.

Class Dismissed.

--Carter

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