Records Are Made to Be Broken

Posted in Feature on October 1, 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.

Ravnica has finally made its public debut, and what a weekend it was. Reports from all over mention huge crowds and massive demand from the community. As a longtime advocate for casual players—whom I believe are Magic's heart and soul—I'm glad to hear the players who are looking for a fun and relaxed event roar loud enough that Wizards could hear. As for Seattle's own prerelease, Cascade Games broke their all-time attendance record on Saturday, and if the rough reports I was taking on Sunday are to be believed, other organizers did as well.

Q: If I Flickerform an Auratouched Mage enchanted with Galvanic Arc, does the Arc deal damage when the Mage returns?

A: Yes, Galvanic Arc will deal damage when it's coming into play from being played or from being put into play. You'll even get to use the Auratouched Mage's triggered ability as well.

*Extra*: If someone is playing Galvanic Arc on a creature, destroying the creature or giving it protection from red will make the creature an illegal target for the spell. This counters the spell, so you won't get to trigger the Arc in those cases.

Q: How do colorless creatures and radiance work together? What happens if I use Wojek Siren on a token created by Promise of Bunrei? --Brendan

A: The targeted creature, and only the targeted creature, will get the Siren bonus. Radiance is beyond sub-optimal with colorless creatures.

Q: If I target a sorcery card with Sins of the Past, must I respect normal timing restrictions or am I allowed to play it at "instant speed"? --Bruno D.

A: One of those past sins involved knees caps and a baseball bat, pay the timing rules their proper respect, and we won't have to worry about backsliding. (Ie: No, you can't play the now free sorcery except when you could play a sorcery normally.)

Hex
Q: Can Hex be played if there are less than six creatures in play? Can you have the card target one creature six times? --Abraham L.

A: Nope, there have to be six separate targetable creatures in play. Five just isn't enough.

*Extra*: Once announced, making targets illegal won't help for the remaining creatures about to be Hexed—any legal targets remaining will be destroyed as the Hex resolves. Only making all of them illegal will counter the spell. [CR 413.2a]

Q: How does variable cost work with the new transmute mechanic? Could I transmute Muddle the Mixture to get Psychic Drain? --Craig

A: The X value is 0 anywhere except on the stack, so you can transmute a Muddle the Mixture into a Psychic Drain (or Mana Drain, or Drain Power, or even Drain Life).

Q: Does the "At the beginning of each player's upkeep, all creatures you control…” on Concerted Effort mean that every turn you get the effects, or whoever's turn it is gets the effects? --Kevin P.

A: The “you” is you who controls the Concerted Effort, you-you not them-you.

*Extra*: The Effort's trigger doesn't know what it's going to give to your creatures until it resolves. Giving critters abilities or stealing critters can change the who and what happens with the Effort. For instance, if in response to the trigger you lose control of a flier but gain control of a double striker, all the creatures you control as the ability resolves will share that double strike.

Q: Will Necroplasm destroy all token creatures at the end of the turn it is played? --Nafthali W.

A: Often, but not always. Most tokens are created with only the more simple characteristics—like the tokens from an Orochi Hatchery. However, if the token is a copy of something, like from Followed Footsteps or Soul Foundry, the mana cost is included in the copying. Generally though, tokens will be wiped out at the end of the turn you play the Necroplasm.

Q: When I was playing in the prerelease, I played a Conclave Phalanx with one creature in play. I thought that I gained only one life, but my opponent said that I should gain two. Isn't the number of creatures taken as the creature comes into play and, thus, before it is in play? --Marcus

A: You don't count creatures until the trigger resolves. [CR 413.2b] The ability is a trigger—denoted by “when”—that triggers on the Phalanx's arrival on the battlefield.

Golgari Rot Farm
Q: Can you just play guild lands like the Golgari Rot Farm tapped so you can get 3 mana on turn two? --Brian

A: No, when the Rot Farm's trigger resolves on turn one, you'll have at least one land to return—the Rot Farm itself.

*Extra*: This triggered ability might sound familiar. Creatures from Kjeldoran Dead to Vindictive Mob have had a similar wording—when they come into play they want a creature sacrificed. If there's no other creature around, one of these hungry minions will munch on itself.

Q: I have Circu, Dimir Lobotomist in play, and I play a black and blue spell like Clutch of the Undercity. Do I remove two cards from the top of my opponent's library? --Charles B.

A: Yes, each of the Lobotomist's triggered abilities will yank another card off your opponent's deck. If you're especially lucky, you just might lobotomize the permanent you just Clutched (lands are exempted from the “How lucky!”).

*Extra*: Hybrid spells like Lurking Informant are especially insidious. Though you might spend only or to play it, it's still both black and blue, so Circu will take two swipes for the playing of his Lurking buddy. Not to mention the joy of having both of them playing games together with your opponent's brain…

Q: Doubling Season doubles the +1/+1 counters on the Arcbound creatures when they come into play, but what happens when they leave play? So I could remove one +1/+1 counter from a creature to put two +1/+1 counters on Arcbound Fiend? --Andries B.

A: You'll get a double bonus with modular and with Arcbound Fiend's ability.

*Extra*: Let's not forget about our Tempest block friends, the Spikes. They'll get the Doubling bonus entering play and granting counters. A Spike can target itself with its ability, so if you have a 2/2 Spike, you could spend and remove one of those counters to give itself two more.

Q: If my Undercity Shade is enchanted with Clinging Darkness, what do I have to do to keep him alive for the next few turns? --David H.

A: During your cleanup step, the Undercity Shade will become a –3/0 and be put into your graveyard. There's no amount or timing of pumping the Shade that could keep it alive beyond the turn darkness starts clinging to it.

Eye of the Storm
Q: I have Eye of the Storm in play and play Enduring Ideal. It gets removed from the game and added to the Storm's effect. If my opponent plays an instant or sorcery and the Ideal gets copied, does that mean they can no longer play spells? --Austin

A: For each copy the Eye makes, the player may or may not play the copy. If they play the Enduring Ideal copy, then the epic ability won't allow them to play any more spells (even the spell copies from the Eye that have yet to be played). The player could choose to not play the Enduring Ideal copy and go on as normal though.

*Extra*: All the Eye copies are made at the same time, and then played one after the other in the order the copying player chooses. If there are multiple spells in the Eye, and one is an epic, the player could play the other spells and then throw in the epic to maximize what gets played before taking advantage of the epic spell. Don't forget though—the spells resolve last in, first out. This means the epic will resolve first.

Q: I was just wondering how Eye of the Storm and the storm cards would work. –Blake

A: Simply put, the Eye works well with storm. Storm looks for spells played and then puts copies on the stack. [CR 502.30a] Eye of the Storm makes copies and then let's you play them. These copies aren't cards (so EotS won't loop on its own ability), but they do get played, and that will up the storm count for each Eye of the Storm copy.

Q: Is a copy of a card a card? Does Isochron Scepter trigger Eye of the Storm? When a copy of a card is removed from the game, does it go 'poof', like tokens? --Ian B.

A: A copy of a card is not itself a card. The copy from Isochron Scepter won't trigger Eye of the Storm, but Meddling Mage won't shut out that same copy, either.
Copies of spells make more of a 'pfiszt' noise than the 'poof' tokens make. Like tokens that aren't in play, copies of spells that aren't on the stack cease to exist. This is a state-based effect, and it's why Isochron Scepter and Eye of the Storm let you use their copies right after making them—if they waited for a player to get priority, the copy would have ceased to exist already.

Q: Can you use Mistfolk's ability to counter a spell that targets Mistform Ultimus as MU is a Mistfolk? --Jef O.

A: Mistfolk says “Mistfolk,” not “a Mistfolk,” so no. The “Mistfolk” on Mistfolk could be read as “~this~.”

Q: If someone has a negative maximum hand size does that mean they can't draw cards? --Alex D.

A: No, they can still draw cards. Hand size only matters 1) when a spell or ability is asking about it like the Saviors of Kamigawa Maro cards, or 2) as you start your cleanup step and have to discard to you max hand size. [CR 314.1]

Q: Does the Phyrexian Dreadnought / Stifle combo still work if it's a replacement effect? --John

A: Stifle doesn't work with the Dreadnought. Phyrexian Dreadnought's Oracle text has it as a replacement effect. This has been that way since before Stifle came out, so this never was a combo in the first place.

Q: I am having difficulties understanding when to declare what creature Clone is copying. If I play a Clone when the only creature in play is a Sakura-Tribe Elder my opponent controls, can my opponent sacrifice his creature in response causing Clone to Clone nothing and die? --Karl

A: If your opponent responds to the Clone spell by sacrificing the only creature in play, your Clone is a goner. If that person allows you to choose a creature, he or she can't stop you halfway through to sacrifice the creature.

Q: Splicing onto Arcane would effectively allow me to counteract Rule of Law, would it not? --Cabi

A: You can't counteract, but you can rules-lawyer Rule of Law with splice. You still only get one spell, but with multiple splices, it could be a very, very big spell.

Fight or Flight
Q: When would the opponent have to choose which pile gets to attack for Fight or Flight? During the beginning of combat phase, or during the declare attackers phase? --Zachary

A: Fight or Flight divides piles during the beginning of attack step. That is when the player chooses which pile can attack. During the declare attackers step, only creatures in the pile that was chosen can attack.

Q: I have a Blastoderm and a 2/2 creature in play. My opponent plays a Topple, saying the Blastoderm is destroyed. I tell her that Topple is actually targeting, and the 2/2 creature is the one destroyed. Am I right? --Ivan R.

A: No, you're not. The Topple can only target a creature with the largest power, and Blastoderm can't be targeted, so Topple is useless until the 'Derm goes away

Q: Can Empty-Shrine Kannushi be equipped or enchanted? --Robert L.

A: Maybe. With Thran Lens in play, yes. Otherwise, you're fine with equipping the Kannushi because “silver,” “brown,” and “artifacty” aren't colors the Kannushi can see. However, Auras will generally either not be playable because you have a permanent of that color already, or when the Aura enters play you'll have one, and the Kannushi's protection will counter the spell or put the enchantment into the graveyard respectively.

Q: If a creature is equipped with a Sword of Light and Shadow, and a Shifting Sky is played and black is chosen, does the protection granted by the Sword cause it to be illegally equipped since the Sword of L&S is also now black? --Eric McD.

A: Yes, the Light and Shadow will Shift, and a protection from black creature that has a black piece or equipment attached to it will have the equipment fall off the next time state-based effects are checked.

If you missed the prerelease, Ravnica goes on sale next Friday, October 7th. You might want to let your local store know you're interested early—this set is poised to be hot, and your input helps the store owners order enough to meet your demands. That's all for this week.

Class dismissed.

--Carter

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