Pro Tour--Charleston is in full swing. Teams are playing for the elusive PT Champion title while trying to get their collective brains around the colorful array the Ravnica block. Next week we'll have a field trip report from the PT floor, but for now, let's cover the regular questions.
Q: I hear that using Cytoshape, you can do double strike damage? I think the theory went like this: you attack with you're 2/2, you stack the damage then Cytoshape the creature. Damage checks and reassigns the new amount plus the old amount. Is this possible? --David
A: Once damage is assigned (put on the stack) it never changes. Changing the creature's power doesn't change stacked damage. Killing the creature doesn't change stacked damage. Giving a creature double strike once regular damage has been assigned doesn't matter either.
*Extra*: The best you could do is turning a first striking creature into a double striker after first strike is assigned. When regular damage comes around, the game sees that the previously-first-striking creature has double strike and lets that creature assign its new power along with the regular creatures. Cytoshaping into a double striker before assigning any damage would, of course, let you assign for both damage steps.
A: Remand's return to hand is a self-replacement that requires the spell to actually be countered to work. The self-replacement matters when it replaces the "put the countered spell into the graveyard" part of the countering act with "put the countered spell into the owner's hand." Since Demonfire's hellbent ability stops the Remand from doing the countering, the return-to-hand modification of that countering doesn't do anything. The opponent will get to draw a card just before being fried to a crisp though.
*Extra*: Another famous self-replacement is Memory Lapse. Memory Lapse won't put a hellbent Demonfire onto your library either. The same goes for Obliterate, Kavu Chameleon, and Urza's Rage, among others.
A: No, Voidslime only targets a spell, activated ability, or triggered ability. The "until end of turn" wearing off isn't a triggered ability - it's the ending of an effect.
Q: If a Dimir Doppelganger becomes a Sprouting Phytohydra, can you in respond to the Sprout's trigger and have the Doppelganger become some other creature so that the tokens created are not Sprouts? --Dan C.
A: Yes, when the ability resolves, you'll put a copy into play that looks like the Sprout as it is or most recently was (if it's left play).
*Extra*: But wait - there's more! Copy effects copy the object plus any copy effects. [CR 503.2] The Doppelganger ability is a copy effect that gives itself a copy ability. The entire Doppel-Sprout, the Sprout plus the Doppelganging ability granted when the Doppelganger Doppelganged the Sprout, is copied. You can then use the token Doppel-Sprouts on their own to turn into whatever else you want to dig up. Vegetables are good for you.
A: The Ogre Savant's arrival in play would trigger itself and the Flame-Kin War Scout's triggered ability. These abilities are stacked in APNAP (Active Player, Non-Active Player) order. If it's your turn (likely unless Vedalken Orrery or Winding Canyons are involved), you'll stack the Ogre bounce, and your opponent will stack the War-Scout explosion. Your Savant will die in the explosion, and the Savant's trigger will be countered on resolution. If you could play the Savant on an opponent's turn, then the APNAP would favor you the way you'd prefer.
Q: If I play a Spawnbroker with a Cloudstone Curio in play, would I be able to stack the triggers so that the creature I select to pass to the other side of the table bounces back to my hand during the exchange? --Carlos B.
A: No. Either you'll return the to-be-exchanged creature, and the exchange will do nothing, or you'll exchange the creatures, and then the Curio creature you'd prefer will be under someone else's control.
*Extra*: Utter disaster strikes when you exchange and have only the opponent's creature left to return with the Curio. Don't forget that the "may" means it's an optional return.
Q: Can I activate the Hammerfist Giant's ability then untap it and use it again before the first resolves? --Justin M.
A: Yes, using something like Tidewater Minion, you could untap the Giant before the hammer comes down and reactivate the ability for two fisted Hammer fun.
Q: Can my opponent counter the spell I searched for in my library with Sunforger's ability? --Theodorakys M.
A: Yes, the spell played with Sunforger is still and spell and does use the stack like any other spell.
Q: I have Circu, Dimir Lobotomist in play and play a spell that removes a morph creature, does it still keep that morph card from being played? --D.
A: No, morphs have no name, so it can't match a removed card's name.
A: The color(s) of creature(s) you control would be [undefined]. Invoke Prejudice won't have a color to match against and the effect does nothing. The Prejudice can't evaluate the share-ness until you control a creature.
A: Black Knights die to Wrath of God. The key difference (besides the Almighty) is that the Wrath isn't damaging; it's just destroying. Protection can prevent damage, but it can't stop destroy effects.
*Extra*: Wave of Reckoning is like a Wrath, but it does involve damage. Specifically, it involves creatures damaging themselves. Empty-Shrine Kannushi would survive a Wave of Reckoning because it's protection would prevent the damage (from itself, a white source). Black Knight would still die because the Reckoning makes the Knight damage itself (a black source)
Q: How does Furnace of Rath interact with trample? --Ryan
A: With both trample and double strike, just assign the unmodified damage as normal. When that damage occurs, then the number is doubled. You don't figure out the total and then divvy it up - divvy then double.
*Extra*: For example, if you have a 3/3 and a 1/1 block a 2/2, the Furnace would cause the 2/2 to deal a total of 4 damage, but you can only divvy the 2 damage. That means one is assigned 2 that becomes 4, or both are assigned 1 that becomes 2.
Q: I can't find a decent explanation of the term phase out... --Nick
A: "Phase out" means to put an object into the phased-out zone. This is very similar to "remove from the game" which means to put into the removed from the game zone. The key difference is that phased out thing take Auras and Equipment with them, and if they come back, they come back to where they were with a memory of what happened. Removed from the game things leave Auras and Equipment behind (Auras are put into the graveyard as a state-based effect). Things that were removed from the game have no memory of what happened earlier if they are returned.
A: You may divide the Wall's damage up as you see fit. You don't need to split the damage evenly or assign it all to one creature.
*Extra*: If you kill three of the 2/2s with the first strike, your Wall will only take 10 damage. With the seven-toughness boost, your 7/12 Wall will glare at the opponent and survive.
Q: With Words of Worship, can you technically activate it more than one time for the same draw? --James H.
A: Technically, yes, you can. I don't recommend it because you won't get any added effect from the next draw. If you activate the Words twice, the next time you draw, one of those shields you created will be used, but the other one won't apply anymore since the draw was consumed. If you tried to draw a second time, then the other shield would pop and gain you more life but no card.
A: The land will come into play tapped, but the trigger ability won't happen. Blood Moon and the tapped ability are both affecting how it enters play. Shortly after, the triggered ability would go off, but the Blood Moon has removed it by then.
A: It is amazing but true.
Q: When a card says "Target attacking creature becomes blocked," does that mean an imaginary, nonexistent creature blocks it? --R. J.
A: Yes, an effect blocks the creature, but nothing is there to physically represent the blockage. This triggers abilities that look for a creature being blocked (such as bushido or Heat Stroke).
Q: I was playing at the Dissension release event, and I was making a decision where I would either win or lose the game. I took about 90 seconds to try and make a decision. The judge then told me I had to make my play now or he can give me a match loss for taking too long. Can the judge really threaten me with a match loss for this? --Zack W.
A: Let's ask the head of the DCI Judge Network, Andy Heckt for some feedback. Here are Andy's comments:
"This is a complicated board situation and I need time to think my move over" is not an acceptable excuse for slow play, regardless of the time on the clock. This is a game of evolving game states. An evolving game state is the fact that the current state is the result of many small changes over the course of a game.
So, yes, the judge should have said something. However, what you were doing would be officially called Slow Play - Playing Slowly. [PG 141] The worst that the judge should have said (judges shouldn't threaten) is that you have a warning and must make a play. If you make a habit of not advancing the game state, then you could be further censured up to and including disqualification for Cheating - Stalling (for intentional abuse of the clock). Getting lost in thought is best handled with a firm but gentle push from judges to get you back on track.
It's officially summertime, and as you know, school ends with summer. July 1st will be the last class of Saturday School, and then the school closes its doors. I've enjoyed our time together - some weeks were better than others, but I hope you've learned something along the way. The great news is that Scott Johns finally gets the weekend slot to launch a snazzy new series. I look forward to seeing the new hotness that's in store, and there are always the SS archives, the Rules Q&A forum, and your local judges to call upon for your questions and concerns.