One Week to Championships Galore

Posted in Feature on October 15, 2005

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.

If you didn't make it to a release event at your local store last week, we missed you. The store I judged at was packed full, and everybody walked away with something. For the more competitive players out there, this is the last weekend to tune your Standard decks for the set rotation and next weekend's Championship Events.

Q:How does Flame Fusillade work with Time Vault? --Brian E.

A:That depends on how greedy you feel. If the Time Vault is in play when Flame Fusillade resolves, it will get “: This permanent deals 1 damage to target creature or player” added to its text box. Conveniently, the current wording of Time Vault has an activated ability that lets you untap the Vault, namely “Skip your next turn: Untap Time Vault and put a time counter on it.” This ability doesn't ask if you want to skip a turn you're about to take--you can give up future turns without a care in the world. This allows you to untap the Vault for each turn skipped; which in turn allows you to tap the Vault for the Fusillade's added ping ability. It doesn't much matter if your opponent would take the next twenty-one turns if he winds up dead before they arrive.

Boros Fury-Shield
Q:My opponent and I both have 6 life. He attacks with two Gleancrawlers. I play Boros Fury-Shield including some red mana. What is the result of this game? --Scott L.

A:The game is a draw. You'll take 6 from the unprevented Gleancrawler at the same time your opponent takes 6 from the Fury-Shield.

Q:Do non-card permanents such as token creatures contribute toward the number of cards a player reveals for Warp World? --Bret H. A:Yes, they do. Do feel free to skip shuffling into your deck the beads, pennies, lint, and wrappers that represent your Saproling horde. Just count up the sundry tokens and the normal permanents for your total, shuffle your cards, and then count out the total. And don't forget to throw the wrapper away once you finish your match.

Q:I understand that Farseek can fetch Ravnica dual lands, but can I pay two life to put the land into play untapped? --Sean

A:No, Farseek doesn't concern itself with the fancy dual land tricks and will put a land like Sacred Foundry into play tapped because Farseek insists.

Q:If I have a Sylvan Library in play and I choose to replace one or more of the draws with dredge, do I then pay 4 life for each card that I don't put back on top of my library? --Earl W.

A:If you draw any cards and use Sylvan Library, you'll have to put back or pay life. If you draw for the turn then dredge for the Sylvan and draw for the Sylvan, you'll have two cards you've drawn this turn-- put them back or pay. However, you could draw for the turn and dredge both the Sylvan draws and return or pay for only the one card. Or, if you have enough dredge in your graveyard and cards in your library, you could replace your regular draw and the Sylvan draws with three dredges and not have to pay anything.

Q:How do Sins of the Past and Fireball interact? --Markus B.

A:They don't play well together. The Fireball's X value would be 0.

Q:Does Flame-Kin Zealot affect itself? --Shaun E.

A:Yes, the Zealot has to enter play to trigger. Everything that's a creature you control when its trigger resolves, including the fresh Zealot, will get +1/+1 and gain haste until end of turn.

Circu, Dimir Lobotomist
Q:I have a Circu, Dimir Lobotomist, and I play Dimir Machinations. Can I place a card I don't want him to play on top of his library and then remove the top card with Circu? --Charles B.

A:You'll need a second spell (blue or black) to do that. When you play Dimir Machinations, Circu's trigger goes on the stack on top of the Machinations. You'll remove one card with Circu, and then you'll Machinate.

Q:I have Circu, Dimir Lobotomist, and I've removed a Wrath of God from the top of my opponent's library. He plays Boomerang on Circu. Can he now play Wrath of God again? --Chris

A:Yes, Wrath of God is playable again. Even with multiple Circu in play (thanks to Mirror Gallery perhaps), each Circu pays meticulous attention to which cards he's been scraping out of your opponent's deck. If you interrupt his work, he just has to start the experiments all over again.

Q:Szadek, Lord of Secrets using Surestrike Trident's ability won't make Szadek into a 10/10 and mill the opponent for five, right? --Cabi

A:Correct. Szadek's ability only works with combat damage. The damage from Surestrike Trident's ability isn't combat damage-- even if the turn is in the middle of combat.

Q:If I have Followed Footsteps upon a Clone, will it copy the creature the Clone is copying, or just copy the Clone, allowing me to copy any other viable creature? --Jim M.

A:You'll get a copy of whatever the Clone is at that time. Copying something gives you the base something (Clone) modified by any changes due to copy effects (Clone that is a Grizzly Bears or whatnot). You won't get to copy something new.

*Extra*: If you Followed in the Footsteps of a Dimir Doppelganger, you'll get a more interesting critter. The Dimir copies a corpse and gives itself the ability to copy again as part of the copy effect. This means that your Footstep copies will be whatever the Dimir was copying plus having a nifty presto-change-o ability of their own tacked on.

Q:What happens if you would add guild mana to your mana pool? For instance, you flip over Gleancrawler with Charmed Pendant. --Brian T.

A:Charmed Pendant got a tiny facelift for Ravnica. Its Oracle text now includes “add one mana of any of that symbol's colors.” For each half-half symbol you pick one of the two colors. Gleancrawler would let Charmed Pendant produce , , , or .

Q:If I play Brain Freeze with Eye of the Storm in play, the Freeze is removed from the game, I get a copy of it, and that when I play that copy, storm puts a copy of the Freeze on the stack for the original Brain Freeze that was removed, yes? --Michael P.

A:Yes. Even though the original Freeze gets removed, it was played, and the storm count for the copy that gets made will remember that for the copy's storm. The key is dealing with copies and storm is to look for the word “play.” Something like Mirari just copies and puts it directly on the stack, so Mirari won't trigger or increase storm, but copies made and played of Eye of the Storm will trigger storm (if they have if) and increase the storm count (if something later has it).

Q:Can Searing Meditation be Pithing Needled? --Justin

A:No, Searing Meditation's ability is triggered (“when,” “whenever,” or “at”), not activated (cost: effect).

Q:At a recent tournament, I equipped a Torpid Moloch with Peregrine Mask. My opponent was down to 2 life and had no blockers with flying. Can I swing for the kill with my Moloch? --Brooks L.

A:Peregrine Mask giveth defender, flying, and first strike. And Torpid Moloch taketh away defender. Thus, thine Moloch loseth all instances of defender. So sayeth the word. [CR 407.3] Smite away winged, sluggish, kingly, lancing lizard!

Before There Was Ravnica

Q:How can you declare blockers when your opponent has two creatures enchanted with Lure? --Paul S.

A:You block either of the Lured creatures (but not non-Lured ones, Wall of Glare style creatures excepted). All on one, all on the other, or a little on each is fine.

Inner Calm, Outer Strength
Q:For the instant card Inner Calm, Outer Strength, is the value of X set once the spell has been played, or can this change through the turn? --Martyn

A:The X value is determined as the spell resolves. Changing your hand size over the course of the turn doesn't modify the number that was determined on resolution.

*Extra*: Inner Calm, Outer Strength is Arcane. Thus, you can splice Evermind onto it. However, since you always start a spliced spell with the original text and then do splices, drawing from Evermind's splice will happen right after you counted cards in hand for the Strength.

Q:Does Aether Vial check the card's original mana cost, or the 'running time' casting cost of my Goblins thanks to Goblin Warchief? --Adam

A: Aether Vial looks at the mana cost as a single number (converted mana cost) and doesn't take into account anything thing that affects how much it would cost to play. Goblin Warchief, Sphere of Resistance, Feroz's Ban, Trinisphere, and Aluren will sit idly by while the Vial looks at the card.

Q:My wife and I play Magic regularly and she loves her green deck. If I block her Blanchwood Armored 10/10 Lone Wolf with a 1/1 creature does the combat damage become 1? Or do I take 10 damage? --Ryan

A:It's still 10 damage whether she decides to deal it to your unfortunate 1/1 or to Wolf it to her loving husband.

Q:What happens to cards that I play with Ornate Kanzashi? --Jeroen S.

A:Sorceries and instants will be put into their owner's (your opponent's) graveyard. Artifacts, creatures, enchantments, and land will go into play under your control as normal, but when they're destroyed, they'll be put into their owner's graveyard.

Q:With Konda's Banner on a Sliver Queen, how much do my Slivers get... +2/+2 or +6/+6? --Karyna

A:Generally, your Slivers will get +2/+2. +1/+1 is for being a Sliver like Mama Sliver. And +1/+1 is for sharing a color with the Queen. Sadly, only grown-up Slivers like Muscle Sliver and Ward Sliver have color. Sliver Queen's and Brood Sliver's own broodlings are colorless, and so is that pseudo Sliver, Metallic Sliver-- they'll only get the creature type bonus. Poor babies.

Q:Can colorless token creatures block creatures with fear? --Jerome P.

A:No, while artifacts tend to be colorless, lacking color doesn't make you an artifact and able to handle fear.

Q:If I have a Possessed Portal and a Tomorrow, Azami's Familiar in play, what happens at the draw step? --Rob F.

Possessed Portal
Tomorrow, Azami's Familiar

A:Both cause replacement effects, so when it's Azami's controller's turn, that player chooses which order to handle the effects. If you Portal first, you get nothing, and Azami doesn't apply anymore. If you Azami first, you look at three cards, keep one, put the other two on the bottom, and then the Portal doesn't apply anymore. I recommend plan “B.”

*Extra*: Ravnica's new dredge mechanic is also a draw replacement. With the help of your Golgari friends you, too, can sneak past the Possessed Portal.

Q:If an opponent Dominates a creature that I own, does my creature leave play when I die? --Tim

A:In one-on-one games, the game ends when one player dies. In multiplayer games, everything you own leaves the game when you do. [CR 600.4a]

Q: Howdy. I am breaking Goblin Game using Vedalken Orrery and Mindslaver. What kind of "items" must be hidden and revealed with Goblin Game? My other friend, a mathematician, says, "Countable items belong to a set that can be put into a 1-to-1 correspondence of natural numbers, meaning not imaginary numbers or infinity." That means a human doesn't need to be able to count them; they just have to be "countable", technically defined.
So can I take control of my opponent's turn, playing Goblin Game as an instant and then have my opponent hide 20 atoms of Einsteinium or Strontium? Won't this kill him? --Jeremy

A:I'm not going to argue about whether an atom is an item-- it is, but if you can't reveal it enough to get counted, you can't use it for Goblin Game. Until they make a pocket-sized electron microscope, you're stuck with nickel and dimes. Strontium, as I recall, isn't that scary, but you'll have to ask your head judge if he or she will allow actinoids in the tournament.

In years past, the Champs events have been in early November. This year, they're hours after the set rotation that takes Mirrodin, Darksteel, and Fifth Dawn out of Standard and replaces them with Ravnica. That first big weekend for the format is an excellent time to let skill and creativity shine. Then from October 28th to the 30th, the pros pull out the big guns for the new Extended format at Pro Tour Los Angeles. Best of luck.

Class dismissed.

--Carter

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