Ninja and Genju and Shirei, oh my!

Posted in Feature on March 26, 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.

The world is infested with Snakes, Ninja are popping out of the woodwork, and Affinity is dead. Oh happy day! To celebrate the first weekend of a post-Ravager world, we have an all Kamigawa, all the time, hot Kamigawa-on-Kamigawa questions week…

Q: Is it possible to chain Ninjutsu? Is it possible to continue Ninjutsu multiple times with a pair of Ninja and deal extra damage? --Keith

A: They can chain, but they won't deal extra damage. If you have an unblocked attacker and two Mistblade Shinobi, you could spend to return the attacker and put out a Mistblade. This would be an unblocked attacker, so you could use Mistblade #2 to Ninjutsu with Mistblade #1. However, once you've used up all your you'll only have one Mistblade in play to deal a whopping 1 damage.

*Extra*: Another chain-type trick that is more effective is using one Ninjutsu in response to itself in order to return multiple unblocked creatures. For instance, if you have a Ravenous Rats and Solemn Simulacrum unblocked you could use a Mistblade Shinobi to spend and return the Solemn and in response use it again to spend and return the Ravenous Rats. If you wait until after damage is stacked or until the end of combat step, you'll deal more damage, but the Shinobi won't trigger. If you do this before damage, you'll deal only 1 instead of 3, but the Shinobi will trigger (good if your opponent has a creature in play and no cards in hand since you're holding a Ravenous Rats now…). This lets you recycle both the Rat and Solemn comes-into-play effects even with one Ninja (and enough mana).

Q: I'm attacking with two creatures. My opponent decides to leave one unblocked, while blocking the other with his Sensei Golden-Tail, who has Oathkeeper, Takeno's Daisho attached to him. If the first one would kill Sensei and I Ninjutsu the other into a Throat Slitter, can I use Throat Slitter's triggered ability to kill Sensei after he returns to play unequipped? --Scel

A: While the opponent's triggers would resolve first, and Sensei would be back in play, when Throat Slitter's trigger was stacked you had to pick a target. The Sensei wasn't in play at that time, so you'll have to target some other throat for slitting.

Q: I have a Ronin Warclub in play and I Ninjutsu a Walker of Secret Ways into play. My opponent plays a direct damage spell equal to the toughness on the Ninja but won't the Warclub save it? --Jeremy W.

A: If your opponent lets the trigger resolve, then yes. However, the fact the Warclub's ability has to trigger and resolve does give your opponent a short period of time to fry your Ninja to death.

*Extra*: Of course, if you're holding another Ninja, you could respond to the burn spell and return the Walker to Ninjutsu the Ninja #2 out. Until more fire erupts for the opponent, the Club will get attached to the new Ninja, the burn spell will be countered for lack of target, and your opponent's face will get smashed. How fun.

Genju Genju Genju

Genju of the Falls
Q: If I play Genju of the Falls on my Tundra and then Genju of the Fields, can I activate them both and have a 5/7 blue and white Spirit with flying and "whenever this creature deals damage, you gain that much life"? Or does activating the second replace the first? -- Jason P.

A: No and no. Activating the second replaces most of the first in this case. The flying and the "whenever this creature deals damage, you gain that much life" will be there regardless of how many different Genju are activated. However, the color and the power and toughness will be overwritten with the last value to resolve.

*Extra*: If you attack with your 3/2 flying land and your opponent blocks with a 2/2, you could stack damage and then activate the Genju of the Fields to make your land into a 2/5. You'd gain 3 life since the damage was stacked, and your land would live since its toughness would now be 5.

Q: Can Vedalken Shackles keep a Genju of the Whichever even if that creature is a land again at the end of the turn? --Hugh D.

A: Yes, Shackles only cares about the creature being a creature when the ability is announced and when it resolves. Once resolved, the Shackles will hold the Genjued land until the Shackles is untapped (or leaves play).

Q: If I play a Genju of the Fens on my opponent's Swamp, pay its cost to turn that Swamp into a creature, and then play Eradicate on it, would it remove all of the Swamps from my opponent's library, graveyard and hand in the same way as it would any creature? --Paul W.

A: Whoops-- Genju of the Fens makes the land black. Eradicate couldn't target the animated Swamp in the first place because it hits non-black creatures.

*Extra*: How about we use Genju of the Realm instead? In that case, then yes, all cards named "Swamp" would be removable. (Note that cards like Badlands are partially Swamps, but they're not named "Swamp".) Eradicate doesn't care if the card is normally a creature, just that it was a non-black creature on announcement and on resolution.

Q: I have a 1/1 and a Genju, my opponent has an Icy Manipulator (the lame one). I declare my attack phase, and he proceeds to tap the 1/1. Can I the turn the Genju into a creature and attack? --Austin N.

A: Yes, your opponent used the Icy during the beginning of attack step, so you haven't declared attackers yet. Of course, if he didn't use the Icy you wouldn't have been able to animate the Genjued land because you would have both passed during that step.

*Extra*: Icy Manipulator is lame? Or is your opponent lame? Aaron Forsythe's foot was bugging him recently, but he's not lame anymore. I hope your opponent is feeling better (though the Genju face-smashing probably hurt more than it helped).

Q: What is the interaction between Kumano (and the rest of the Yamabushi gang) and the Genju? --Shamus L.

A: The Yamabushi gang will remove the animated land from the game instead of sending it to the graveyard, so the Genju will not trigger.

No Rest for the Wicked's Caretaker

Shirei, Shizo's Caretaker
Q: What would happen if I have Shirei, Shizo's Caretaker and a Bile Urchin in play and I play Night of Souls' Betrayal? Will I ever have the chance to sacrifice the Urchin? --Adam

A: You'll be able to sacrifice the Urchin in response to the NoSB spell, but once it resolves the Urchin will be a 0/0 and get put into the graveyard as a state-based effect. At the end of the turn, Shirei will return the Urchin only to see it die right away (as a 0/0).
You won't have time to sacrifice the returned Urchin, and at the end of the next turn Shirei (assuming he's still around) will return the Urchin again (and watch it die. Again.).

Q: If I had Shirei, Shizo's Caretaker and Night of Souls' Betrayal in play, and play Ravenous Rats, what happen at end of turn? TQ --Wesley H.

A: Unlike something such as Bile Urchin, Ravenous Rats has a triggered ability. At the end of the turn the dead Rat will come back, trigger, and then the Rat will go away again (triggering Shirei). You'll have the Rats's ability to stack, but Shirei will have to wait until the next "at end of turn" happens to put his fresh trigger on the stack.

Q: If I play an Eternal Witness with Shirei, Shizo's Caretaker and a Night of Soul's Betrayal out, would Shirei return the Witness at end of turn? --Alexander M.

A: Yes, Shirei sees that a 1/0 got to the graveyard and will return it at end of turn. Do notice that because the Witness dies before the trigger gets stacked, you could return the Witness itself to it's own ability (but Shirei would forget it at that point).

Q: Can Shirei, Shizo's Caretaker be used to return 1/1 tokens to play even though these aren't really creature cards? --Robert Nagel

A: Nope, tokens cease to exist after reaching the graveyard, so there's no corpse for Shirei to drag back into play.

Q: Say I have Shirei, Shizo's Caretaker, a Flametongue Kavu, a Phyrexian Plaguelord, and three 1/1 creatures out. Can I sacrifice the 3 1/1's to make the FTK a 1/0 and get them all back at the end of turn? --Zach

A: Close, but no. If you sacrifice the creatures to the Plaguelord in response to each other, you'll be able to target the Flametongue three times. However, once the second ability resolves the FtK is a 2/0 and is put into the graveyard. The third sacrifice that would make him small enough is countered because the FtK is already dead (the creature is still sacrificed, but it doesn't have a chance to reduce the FtK's power)..

*Extra*: There is a solution that works if your Phyrexian Plaguelord isn't summoning sick… Use the three 1/1s targeting the Plaguelord so he becomes a 1/1. Then use the Plaguelord's tap ability targeting the Flametongue Kavu. The three 1/1s were 1/1s. so Shirei is happy. The Plaguelord when sacrificed was a 1/1, so Shirei is extra happy. And the FtK will be a 0/-2 once the Plaguelord's ability resolves, and this makes Shirei so ecstatic that he brings the whole family back at the end of turn.

Other Bits and Pieces

Orochi Hatchery
Q: Can you sacrifice Snake tokens from playing Orochi Hatchery? --Charlie M.

A: Yes, they are Snake creatures. Anything that would need a creature sacrifice or a Snake sacrifice would work. Do note that sacrificing a normal Snake token for Patron of the Orochi would allow you to play the Patron when you could play an instant, but it wouldn't reduce the cost (it's technically reduced by 0).

Q: I play a Blazing Shoal for free on my creature by removing a Searing Wind from the game. Can I use Uyo, Silent Prophet to copy the Blazing Shoal, and will the copy give my creature +9/+9? --Jonathan R.

A: Do note that Blazing Shoal is +X/+0, not +X/+X… Otherwise, yes and yes. Uyo will copy the entire spell including the value of X and any splices. You could even pick a new target for the copied +9/+0 Shoal.

Q: If I pitch a card with converted mana cost at least 3 to pay for a Shoal, could it be countered by Thoughtbind? --Reuben B.

A: No; each of the Shoals is X + CC, so 3 + CC converts to 5.

Q: If I imprint a Shoal onto an Isochron Scepter, can I then activate the Scepter and remove a card of the appropriate color in my hand to have the Shoal's X equal the card's converted mana cost? --Travis M.

A: No; the mana cost, which includes the value of X, was already paid by the Scepter.

*Extra*: You can still splice onto arcane with the copy of the Shoal though.

Q: I have a Sacred Ground in play and I play two Gods' Eye, Gate to the Reikai. Do I get infinite tokens? --Xantiago

A: No, Sacred Ground won't trigger. The Gates will be put into the graveyard as a state-based effect, and no player controls SBEs. Thus, "a spell or ability an opponent controls" (what Sacred Ground looks for) doesn't apply.

*Extra*: Lethal damage is also a SBE, so burn spells and combat damage won't let Sacred Ground save your lands.

Q: Some cards from Kamigawa trigger off Spirits or Arcane. Does that mean that if you played Spirit cards from the Odyssey block, do you put on a counter? --Greg D.

A: If the card has "Spirit" on it's type line (like Phantom Centaur), then it works. It if has Spirit in its name (like Spirit Cairn) or makes Spirits (like Funeral Pyre), then it doesn't work.

Minamo Sightbender
Q: What does Heartstone do to abilities like Minamo Sightbender's with an X for the cost? --Jonathan Howard

A: First you decide on how much X will be, and then you figure out the cost. Then Heartstone tries to reduce the cost by 1, but it won't let you reduce it to less than . So if the X is 1, Heartstone does nothing. If X is 2, you reduce the cost to 1 and spend .
Do note that if your X is 0 (unblockable Ornithopter?), then Heartstone doesn't apply at all.

Q: If I splice Glacial Ray to Crack the Earth, will my opponent be able to sacrifice the Rayed creature to Crack the Earth? --Erald

A: Yes, the instructions on a spliced card are followed in order of splices after processing the original effect. In this case, the Crack will let your opponent sacrifice the Rayed guy, and the Ray effect will do nothing. (The legality check was already made, so the spell can't become illegal at this time.)

Q: Can you splice Torrent of Stone and Horobi's Whisper onto a Glacial Ray with nothing but 2 cards in your graveyard and 2 mountains in play? --Gareth P.

A: Yes, the key is that after adding mana to your pool you may pay costs in any order. So you add to your pool, you pay the mana for Glacial Ray, you sacrifice both Mountains for Torrent of Stone, and then you remove the two Mountains and two other cards from your graveyard to pay for Horobi's Whisper. Don't forget though that Horobi's Whisper won't do anything if you don't control a Swamp. Otherwise, wha-POW!

Q: With Moonring Mirror, can I look at the face down cards? Can you swap cards multiple times if Moonring Mirror is still in play? Thus, switching your hand from time to time... --Chris

A: You can't look at the face down cards, but you can swap the Moonring cards with your hand multiple times (once for each of your upkeeps).

Q: If I play out Long-Forgotten Gohei, and then I play Feast of Worms on my opponent's legendary land. Can he counter it with Thoughtbind because it costs 1 less then usual? --Alistair

A: Thoughtbind can't counter Feast of Worms. The cost is one less, but the converted cost (which is based on the printed cost) is still 5.

Q: If I play and have the legend rule kill two Yosei, the Morning Star, do I tap 10 of my opponent's permanents, and then do they skip two untap steps? --Steve

A: Yes, five permanents per Yosei, and one untap each. When the player tries to untap, one of the "skips" will be used up, but the other one won't have anything to apply to, so it waits for the next chance to apply. (The same thing goes for two Blinding Angels hitting your opponent.)

Kokusho, the Evening Star
Q: If I have a Kokusho, the Evening Star in play and in my graveyard, and then I play Zombify, and copy Zombify twice with Uyo, Silent Prophet would that be a life loss and gain for 20? --Nathan D.

A: No, the original spell and the first copy made lose their target when the last copy pulls Kokusho out of the graveyard and so they're countered.

*Extra*: If you have enough mana, you could do the following:
Play Zombify targeting the dead Kokusho (#1).
Make a copy also targeting #1.
Resolve the copy on #1.
This returns #1 to play and the legend rule (a state-based effect) puts both the Kokusho (#1 & #2) into the graveyard.
Before letting the original Zombify try to resolve (it'll be countered since #1 left), use Uyo to make two more copies to the original Zombify (it's still hanging there) targeting Kokusho #3 (the same card #1 used to be) and Kokusho #4 (the card #2 used to be).
The two copies resolve, SBEs kill both the Kokusho, and the original Zombify finally gets countered-- assuming the game didn't end already.

This all for this all-Kamigawa-block Saturday School. Best of luck in the new Standard!

Class dismissed.


Latest Feature Articles


July 21, 2022

Lost Legends by, Blake Rasmussen

A long time ago—1994 to be exact—in a warehouse just far enough away, Legends were . . . lost. Case after case of the beloved Legends set sat on shelves waiting to be rediscovered, waitin...

Learn More


June 24, 2022

Double Masters 2022 Release Notes by, Jess Dunks

Compiled by Jess Dunks Document last modified April 4, 2022 PDF Download Links:English | 中国话,汉语;中文 | Français | Deutsch | 日本語 The Release Notes include information concerning the relea...

Learn More



Feature Archive

Consult the archives for more articles!

See All