Ravnica Preview Review

Posted in Feature on September 17, 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.

Next Saturday is the Ravnica: City of Guilds Prerelease event. If you've been following the previews here at magicthegathering.com, you already know that the world of Ravnica turns other worlds on their collective ears. In fact, there's so much going on with the previews you've already seen that we're going to use this space to help you get a leg up before next weekend's festivities. After the prerelease we'll talk about whatever cards you have in mind, but for now, let's look at the previewed cards.

Q: Grave-Shell Scarab [previewed here] has dredge, and dredge is a replacement effect, replacing any single draw. Is the decision to use a particular card's dredge ability something that can be responded to? If you are set to draw 3 cards, can you replace a specific one (not always the first draw) with the use of a dredge ability? --Mike Z.

A: No, you can't respond to the dredge replacement, but you might know it's coming. Unlike triggered abilities, replacements don't use the stack; they just replace what would happen with something different at the time the original event was scheduled to occur.
If your opponent is about to enter their draw step, during his or her upkeep would be the last chance you have to use something like Coffin Purge to remove the dredge card before their draw for the turn gives the option of dredging. If they play something like Serum Visions, you won't be able to stop the dredge once the Serum Visions is resolving, but if you anticipate dredging, you can respond to the Serum.
Yes, you can replace any draw with a dredge, even in the beginning, middle, or end of multiple draws.

*Extra*: If a card you dredge into your graveyard has dredge, you can dredge that card to your hand the next time you would draw. Let's say you have a Scarab in your graveyard. You play Counsel of the Soratami. Instead of drawing for the first card, you flip the top card of your library into your graveyard and return the Scarab. Lo and behold, the card you just put in the graveyard was another Scarab. The Counsel's second draw is nanoseconds away-- you can use that draw to dredge back the Scarab that just arrived in your graveyard.

Q: Can failing to dredge with multiple dredge cards cause you to draw multiple cards? It looks like each dredge card would tell you to draw a card. --Knick M.

A: No. You might want to replace a draw with multiple dredges, but only one dredge would be able to replace the draw. If you don't have enough cards to mill, then the "if you don't" draw could be used by something with a lower dredge number, but that's still only one effect from one draw.

*Extra*: Dredge will not save you from an empty library. If you try to replace a draw with a dredge that fails, the "if you don't" clause forces a draw anyway. Repeating this process is a loop, but not a mandatory one, so you'll eventually have to choose not to try and dredge. [CR 421.2]

Q: I have a Grave-Shell Scarab and Sensei's Divining Top in play, and my opponent targets the Scarab with Rend Flesh. If I tap the Top to draw, and then use the dredge ability, will the Sensei's Divining Top or the card on top of my deck be milled? --Lee B.

A: You'll mill the top card and then put the Top on top.

Q: If there is a Zur's Weirding in play and a Grave-Shell Scarab in my graveyard, can I draw a card from my deck during my draw step by choosing the Grave-Shell Scarab as the replacement effect and then choosing not to use its dredge ability? --Seth J.

A: No, if you can't mill enough cards, the draw the dredge forces will be seen by the Weirding.

*Extra*: Dredge uses the word "exactly" to denote that you can't partially mill and get the dredge. You either have the right number of cards, or you don't. Be sure to count before you start flipping them over. The "if you don't" draw is there because replacement effects try to do as much as they can, even if it's impossible. Without the "don't" clause dredge would be able to stop you from drawing from an empty library.

Q: If I add to my mana pool with Llanowar Elves while playing a spell with convoke previewed here, can I reduce the spell by and/or , or must the creature be tapped solely for the purpose of convoke? --Kurt

A: The creature must be tapped solely for convoke.

Q: How is it possible to tap summoning sick creatures for convoke or Prismatic Strands? What are the rules for this? --Alfredo C.

A: Summoning sickness stops a creature from using its own abilities that have a tap symbol in the cost. Convoke and cost that say "tap an untapped creature you control" don't use tap symbols (and aren't a part of that creature's abilities). [CR 212.3d]

*Extra*: One older example is Tradewind Rider. Tradewind Rider has a tap symbol in its activation, so it needs to not be sick, but the other creatures tapped to pay for the ability don't mind either way.

Q: If Temple Garden is a Forest and Plains, then would it be considered a basic land? --Blake B.

A: No, it doesn't have the "basic" supertype. [CR 212.6f]

Q: Do the Ravnica lands like Temple Garden count as two basic land types for the Invasion domain cards, so that I can have them see 5 basic land types with just 3 lands? --Nafthali W.

A: Though Temple Garden isn't basic itself, its land types are basic land types. Domain card like Ordered Migration and Global Ruin will count Temple Garden as two of the five basic land types.

Back to the Champs and Beyond

Q: I played Neverending Torment on my opponent. It resolved, and the next turn he removed the Neverending Torment from my graveyard with Withered Wretch. He claims that the Torment isn't added to the stack anymore since the card is no longer in the game. --Sunny

A: Removing the physical card does nothing to the epic ability. Epic remembers the spell from its original resolution.

Q: Does a Myojin that is played using Fist of Suns come into play with a divinity counter? --Brian W.

A: Yes. Fist of Suns allows you to pay to play the spell, but you are still playing it. Unlike things that put the Myojin into play, you will get your divinity counter.

Auriok Windwalker
Q: Can I use an Auriok Windwalker to move an equipment that gives first strike from my creature after first strike damage has been assigned? Will my creature gain the equivalent of double strike for the turn? --Christopher

A: You can move the equipment, but the creature won't deal damage a second time. The creature it's moved to will deal damage as normal even though it now has first strike. Combat handles first striker and regular damage as "critters with first strike" and "everybody who didn't just deal damage." Double strikers will deal damage at both of those times.

*Extra*: Creatures with double strike by definition deal their damage with the first strikers and with regular damage. If a first striker gets double strike after first strike has been assigned (with Sunhome, Fortress of the Legion [previewed here], perhaps), it will deal damage during the regular damage compliments of the double strike. Careful though-- using Sunhome on a regular creature after first strike has been assigned doesn't help at all.

Q: Will a Chalice of the Void with no counters counter any spells with converted mana cost 0 (like Black Lotus, the Moxes, a Force of Will using it's alternative cost that includes no mana)? --Thierry

A: Black Lotus and other artifacts would be countered. However, Force of Will's converted mana cost is still 5 regardless of how the spell was played.
On the other hand, Sphere of Resistance won't save Moxes from a 0 counter Chalice even though you'd have to pay to play them. Cost increasers (outside of the cost for an value) make things more expensive, but they don't change the converted mana cost itself.

*Extra*: The cost equation is Mana Cost + Increases - Reductions = Cost to Play. Stuck on the end of that is Trinisphere. Trinisphere looks at what cost you're going to pay and then forces you to spend at least . Black Lotus would cost with Trinisphere with or without a Sphere of Resistance in play. Force of Will would cost even if you remove a blue card and pay a life to play it.

Q: If my opponent plays Furnace Dragon, does it remove the artifacts in my deck too aside from the ones in play and my graveyard? --Jae

A: Artifacts are only in play-- not in your graveyard or library. When not in play, they're called "artifact cards."

Choking Vines
Q: I attack my opponent with two 2/2's and a 1/1 - is it legal for him to play a Choking Vines using X=5 to do two damage to my 2/2's and one to my 1/1? --Chad M.

A: No, Choking Vines doesn't allow targeting a creature multiple times. Targets generally can't be chosen multiple times for the same effect. [CR 409.1c]

*Extra*: Compare Choking Vines to Hail of Arrows. The Hail is only targeting something once, but it specifically allows the amount of damage to be divided as you choose. Hail of Arrows for 5 can kill off two 2/2s and a 1/1.

Q: I have a Sacred Ground in play, my opponent has a Smokestack with 2 counters on it. During my upkeep I sacrifice 2 lands to the Smokestack. Do I get those sacked lands back? --John D.

A: Yes, though you made the choice of which lands were sacrificed, it was your opponent's ability that caused the sacrifice. That's enough to satisfy the Sacred Ground.

*Extra*: If you have a way to use the mana before your main phase, you could tap the lands you'll be sacrificing, and your opponent's Smokestack would actually be helping you generate extra mana with help from Sacred Ground.

Q: My friend played a Victimize with only one creature under his control. I was told that additional costs for spells were paid when the spell resolves. If so, if I Terminate the creature would Victimize fizzle out? --Jon D.

A: Additional costs are written as "as an additional cost." These costs are paid with the normal mana cost as the spell is being played. Victimize was errataed after the Sixth Edition rules update, so you'd have to check gatherer.wizards.com to find out it does indeed have the additional cost wording. Because Victimize's additional cost is paid on announcement, Terminate won't help because the creature will be gone before you can respond.

Q: I have a Soulgorger Orgg (I lost 19 life when it came into play) and a Vesuvan Doppelganger in play. At the beginning of my upkeep I copy the Soulgorger with the Vesuvan. After that I bounce the Vesuvan Doppelganger. How much life do I then gain, 0 or 19? --Joakim B.

A: You won't gain anything. The Vesuvan doesn't have any reference for how much life to give you back.

Q: Does Divine Presence's ability count as damage prevention? I ask because I was wondering about its interaction with Flaring Pain. --Christopher

A: Divine Presence's effect is a replacement, not prevention. Flaring Pain has no effect on Divine Presence. An easy way to tell is that prevention effects use the word "prevent" while replacement effects use "instead."

Q: If a player has a number of en-Kor creatures out and an opponent plays a card that delivers 9 damage to every creature on the board, can the owner of the en-Kor creatures redirect all the damage from the creatures to a wall? --Lance T.

A: The controller (who might not be the owner) of the en-Kors could redirect damage to some other creature-- a Wall or perhaps one hapless en-Kor.

Next week is it-- the Ravnica prerelease. As a special bonus, the Ravnica prereleases will also be the first series of widely available Two-Headed Giant tournaments. Best of luck, and don’t miss it!

Class dismissed.


Latest Feature Articles


May 18, 2022

Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate Mechanics by, Jess Dunks

The beloved adventure of Dungeons & Dragons returns to Magic once more in Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate. This set visits one of D&D's most iconic settings, introduce...

Learn More


May 17, 2022

Collecting Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate by, Max McCall

Editor's Note: We wanted to provide a clarification that the card Faceless One does not come in the foil-etched or traditional foil treatments. Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gat...

Learn More



Feature Archive

Consult the archives for more articles!

See All