Ravnica's Prerelease Weekend

Posted in Feature on September 24, 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.

It's finally here. Ravnica, City of Gold, I mean Guilds. There are prereleases all over the place, and if you're reading this early, print it out and have a buddy read it on the way if you have to, but get to the prerelease. This set's so good that at least one Tournament Organizer has gone so far as to offer a money-back guarantee!

From The FAQ

Last week we talked about Ravnica's new dredge mechanic. The Ravnica FAQ was published earlier this week, and we have the official wording for dredge. "Dredge N" means "As long as you have at least N cards in your library, if you would draw a card, instead you may put N cards from the top of your library into your graveyard and return this card from your graveyard to your hand." While there is a slight difference between the final text and the reminder text, it's the final text that matters. Candidly, this is all for the best, as the more formal version doesn't allow loop loopholes.

Some other adjustments to the FAQ, courtesy of Mark Gottlieb: Under the "Hybrid Cards" section, it erroneously says this:

As you play a hybrid card, you choose which color of mana you will spend for each half-half mana symbol at the same time you would choose modes or choose a value for X. If an effect then reduces the cost of that spell by one or more colored mana, it does so if those colors are part of the cost you determined for the spell. The spell is all the card's colors, no matter what mana you pay its cost with.

The first sentence is wrong. You don't make such choices until you actually pay mana. (409.1h, not 409.1b). The second sentence is also wrong. Reducing a spell's cost by a colored mana reduces the total cost of that spell by a mana of the same color, or (if there isn't any) by a mana denoted by a half-half mana symbol that includes that color, or (if there isn't any) by a generic mana.The third sentence is correct.

This is what it should have said:

As you play a hybrid card, you don't choose which color of mana you will spend for each half-half mana symbol until you pay the spell's cost. If an effect reduces the cost to play that spell by one or more colored mana, that reduction can be applied to half-half mana symbols that include the appropriate color. The spell is all the card's colors, no matter what mana you pay its cost with.

The Chord of Calling entry is also incorrect, though it's minor. It says: "You announce what X is first, and then announce which creatures you're tapping to reduce the cost to play the spell."

It should say: "You announce what X is first, and then announce which colors of creatures you're tapping to reduce the cost to play the spell."

The Sunhome, Fortress of the Legion entry is missing a qualifier in the second statement. It says: "If you give double strike to a creature after either first-strike or normal combat damage has been put on the stack, it won't help that creature deal any additional combat damage."

It should say: "If you give double strike to a creature without first-strike after either first-strike or normal combat damage has been put on the stack, it won't help that creature deal any additional combat damage."

Little Girl
Q: Can I use Mons's Goblin Waiters's mana and what's left over from a Little Girl to pay for a Boros Recruit? --Oz M.

A: No, half-half symbols are paid for with one color or the other. Paying half and half isn't an option. [CR 104.3f]

Q: Could I reveal Sacred Foundry with my Goblin Charbelcher and have it deal double the damage? --Leon K.

A: Yes, all lands that have the Mountain land type will double the damage, not just basic Mountains.

Q: My opponent tries to Shock my 2/2 creature. I play Induce Paranoia using black mana to play it. Then my opponent plays Counterspell on my Induce Paranoia. If I Twincast my Induce Paranoia and target their Counterspell, will they have to take 2 cards off the top of their library for the countered Counterspell? --Ryan

A: No, the extra effect looks at the cost paid, and nothing was paid for the copy (only for the Twincast).

Q: If I have a Concerted Effort and Pristine Angel, do all of my creatures have protection from everything as well or only when they are untapped, or what? --Garett B.

A: As Concerted Effort's trigger resolves, it looks at all your creatures. An untapped Angel would be giving itself protection from artifacts and from all colors (not "everything," but close), so the Effort would give the same to all your creatures. Being tapped or untapped wouldn't affect the status of the Concerted protection.

*Extra*: Responding to the Effort trigger with Mother of Runes would allow the Effort to give your creatures protection from whatever you chose as Mom's ability resolved. The same is true for any other activated ability that grants something the Effort will replicate. Activating Sunhome, Fortress of the Legion in response to the Effort's trigger with a weenie horde out is Good Thing.

Q: Does Long-Forgotten Gohei reduce the costs of splicing as well as reducing the actual Arcane, too? Can you splice more than one Arcane on to a spell? --Brent

A: Gohei will reduce from anywhere in the cost, but it reduces only . Splicing a Kodama's Might onto a Glacial Ray or vice versa winds up with a cost to play of . Splicing Glacial Ray onto another Ray costs no matter how you s(p)lice it.
Splicing multiple copies of an Arcane onto a spell is fine. All splices are revealed simultaneously, so you have to show both Kodama's Mights when splicing them onto a Kodama's Reach. [CR 502.40a]

Q: If I Twincast a Corrupt, will the copy do as much damage as I have swamps or as much as the opponent has? --Vincent

A: The Twincast copy will do damage for the swamps you, the Twincaster, have.

Hallow
Q: I tap Heartless Hidetsugu and play Overblaze. If Hallow is played on Overblaze, does it prevent any damage? Wouldn't Heartless Hidetsugu deal the damage? --Leon

A: Hallow won't do anything because it's Hidetsugu dealing the damage.

Q: I played Wrath of God, and he played Hallow saying destroy effects deal one damage over the creature's toughness. Does this work? --KC

A: No, effects that say "destroy" really do just destroy things. If an effect is damaging something it will use the word "damage." Hallow does nothing with Wrath of God.

*Extra*: State-based effects say that lethally damaged creatures with toughness greater than 0 are destroyed. [CR 420.5c] This is how the game converts damaging a creature into destroying the creature, but the reverse (destroy = damage) isn't true.

Q: I tried to tap all my land to play a Fireball to kill my opponent. He states that he is going to tap one of my lands with his Icy Manipulator so that he will live. Please help. --Keith S.

A: Once you start playing Fireball, no one can do anything until you're done playing it. [CR 409.1a-h] Then you'll get priority. [CR 409.1i] It's much too late to tap one of your lands once the Fireball has been played. Icy Manipulator can't be used to counter, modify, or otherwise mess with a spell.

*Extra*: If your opponent suspects a fiery demise, he or she could use the Icy during your upkeep or draw so you wouldn't have the mana during your main phase. They could even use the Icy during combat if you didn't roast them during the first main phase.

Q: When Zirilan of the Claw says "at the end of any turn," does that mean you can remove the Dragon on whatever turn you want, or you have to remove it on the turn you used it? --Jed

A: You'll have to remove the Dragon the next time the end of turn step begins. This is usually on the same turn, but it can be on the turn after that if you used Zirilan during the end of turn step.

*Extra*: Zirilan's Oracle wording just says "at end of turn," not "at end of any turn" (anymore), so a well timed Time Stop-- in response to the EoT trigger-- can save a Dragon.

Q: When I activate Story Circle's ability and I chose a source, is all damage made by that source in the whole turn prevented? Or have I to pay one mana each time that source will deal damage? --Maurice

A: You'll need to spend per damage event. Preventing from a double striker, for example, would cost and then again to be totally safe.

Q: Is it true that if I only have one Rukh Egg, the Hell's Caretaker combo won't work? (Sacrifice the Egg, take the sacrificed Egg back from the graveyard, and at the end of the turn get a 4/4 Rukh.)

A: With only an Egg you won't be getting anywhere. If you had a Durkwood Boars dead in your graveyard, then you could crack the Egg to make a small omelet (with ham). To really get cooking, chef Caretaker would need one dead and one live Egg.

*Extra*: As of Ninth Edition, the Rukhs have gone extinct. Rukh Eggs now hatch Birds.

Q: If an attacking 4/4 creature has Spirit Link, does it deal 4 damage if it is blocked by a 1/1 creature, or will it only deal 1 damage? --Jussi L.

A: Four damage is dealt regardless of the creature's toughness.

Test of Faith
Q: If a 4/4 creature attacks and is blocked by a 1/1 and Test of Faith is used, the 1/1 becomes a 4/4. Would the attacking creature die? --John P.

A: Generally, no. The creature would have 4 damage and 1 damage assigned. Then the 1/1 would get 3 prevented and get three counters at the same time the 4/4 is taking the 1 it was assigned. However, if the 4/4 is a first striker and the 1/1 isn't, then the 1/1 wouldn't have assigned damage yet, and so the Test would pump the 1/1 in time to kill the 4/4. And, if the 4/4 is a double striker and the 1/1 is normal, then the first strike would pump the 1/1, and the regular damage would kill them both. Simple, huh?

Q: Does Wrath of God kill creatures in any specific order or all at once? What about cards like Rotlung Reanimator and Vengeful Dead? --Chris

A: Wrath kills all creatures simultaneously.
When dealing with Rotlung and other leaves-play triggers, the game must look at the game right before the event that caused the trigger. [CR 410.10d] So the game will see all your Clerics and all your Zombies being put into the graveyard by the Wrath and give you tokens or cause life loss for each Cleric or Zombie accordingly.

Q: When I provoke a creature, am I allowed to provoke an untapped creature? --Dave

A: Yes. The targeting for provoke is "target creature," and the effect is to untap it and force a block. The target isn't "target untapped creature." If the creature is already untapped, then the untap portion doesn't do anything, but the block requirement still exists.

Q: At a FNM we had a situation occur where a player attacked with two creatures, one equipped with Sword of Light and Shadow. The opponent blocked the unequipped creature killing it. The player then tried to get the killed creature back with SoLaS. Is this legal? --Jeff

A: You can get back the creature killed in that combat. The Sword's trigger will stack only after the damage has been dealt and state-based effect have been handled. Here's a timeline: Assign damage (nothing yet. Wait for it…) Damage deal (trigger!) Check SBEs (put the corpse in the bin) Stack trigger (target fresh corpse)

Q: I have a Sliver Queen, Acidic Sliver, two 1/1 Sliver tokens, Ashnod's Altar, and a Heartstone. My opponent has a Bloodshot Cyclops and a Serra Avatar. We're both at 20. How exactly does stacking work in this situation? --Richard W.

A: The key here is that you can add things to the stack and resolve things without resolving the whole stack. Heartstone, Ashnod's Altar, and Sliver Queen can generate tons of mana. Sacrifice one of the Slivers for . Use to make another Sliver. Rinse and repeat one step at a time until you have plenty of mana. Now make tokens for tossing, again, one at a time. Once you have a horde of tokens and a ton of mana, toss one at your opponent. If they do nothing, adjust life totals for the damage and toss another. As long as you don't sacrifice all your tokens, you can use any one token to get going.

Faceless Butcher
Q: Is it possible to remove a Faceless Butcher with another Faceless Butcher when they both were brought back from graveyard with Patriarch's Bidding at the same time? --Maggi

A: Yes, both Butchers will trigger, and their abilities will be stacked with the active player's (whose turn it is) triggers stacked first, and the nonactive player's stacked last. This is important because if Butcher #1 targets #2, but then is removed by #2's trigger before the #1 trigger resolves, #1's leaves-play trigger will stack and be resolved before #2 ever goes away. Then the original trigger will remove #2 forever, and #1 will come back from #2s leaves-play trigger and be able to Butcher again.

Q: Can you name a card for Divining Witch that doesn't exist or isn't a Magic card? --James M.

A: You do have to name a Magic card (the game doesn't know any other cards), but that doesn't mean you have to name one that's legal in the format. Contract From Below, for example, might prove to be a useful name if you just want to remove your library from the game in sanctioned play.

Q: If I activate Mindslaver on an opponent and then, on their turn, play Chain of Plasma, can I make them discard their entire hand, dealing 3 times X damage to themselves or their creatures? Also, how would this work in 2HG? --Marc G.

A: Yes, you'll inform the player of what choices they will make ("Discard your Counterspell to copy the Chain and have it hit yourself in the face again."). The same is true for all the Chains if the player can meet the copy and targeting requirements.
In Two-Headed Giant, taking control of one player's turn means you control the entire team's turn. [CR 606.6f] Have fun bouncing Chains between them.

If you've been to the prerelease already, then you know what I'm talking about. If not, we're done for this week, so get going!

Class dismissed.

--Carter

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