Saturday School #15

Posted in Feature on February 15, 2003

By Rune Horvik

Send your rules questions to level 4 judge Rune Horvik at He answers approximately 30 questions every week.

Can't find the answer to your question? Maybe he's already answered it! Try the Saturday School Searchable Rules Database.

Beginner Questions

Silvos, Rogue Elemental

Q: If my friend has a Silvos, Rogue Elemental and attacks with it. I block it with a creature that has at least 5 power and first strike, then he regenerates Silvos. Does Silvos still deal damage?

A: Silvos won't deal damage. When a creature regenerates, it becomes tapped, all damage is removed from it, and it's removed from combat. It won't get to deal combat damage because it was removed from combat in the first strike damage step, and isn't in combat when regular combat damage is assigned.

Q: I just received a card by the name of Peer Pressure. At the bottom of the text it reads, "This effect doesn't end at the end of turn." Does this mean that the effect lasts all game or ends at the end of the next players turn?

A: The text means that the effect lasts for the rest of the game. All effects are considered “permanent” unless a duration is stated (like “until end of turn”).

Q: If I kill a Squirrel token with my Goblin Sharpshooter, does the token go to the graveyard and then cease to exist, causing the Sharpshooter to untap, or does it disappear as soon as it is dealt lethal damage without going to the graveyard?

A: A token goes to the graveyard like any other creature when it's destroyed, and it then ceases to exist. Killing a token will trigger the Sharpshooter's effect. Read more about tokens in section 216 of the Comprehensive Rules.

Q: I have an Akroma, Angel of Wrath in play and my opponent plays Pacifism on her. I then play another Akroma and then I destroy the Akroma with the Pacifism on it. He says that I can never play the second Akroma in the first place. I say that their can be only one in play and I get to choose the that gets destroyed. Who is right?
--"Scuba Steve"

A: Neither of you is correct, though your friend is closer. Any time there are two Legends with the same name in play, you have to put the newer one into the graveyard. Therefore, you are allowed to play a second copy of Akroma, but it will be the newer one, so it won't stay around very long. Read more about the Legend rule in section 215 of the Comprehensive Rules.

Q: There are cards with the ability to put creatures into play from your library, like Moggcatcher or Call of the Wild. Suppose someone uses Moggcatcher and goes for a Goblin. Is that Goblin considered a spell? I mean, could someone use a Counterspell, since the Goblin is a spell about to be played, even though it isn't cast with mana?

A: No, Moggcatcher's ability can't be affected with Counterspell. A card doesn't become a spell unless you've "played" it, and Moggcatcher doesn't say anything about "playing" the card—it simply puts cards from your library into play.

(Compare this with, for example, Spelljack and Future Sight, which do allow you to "play" cards. When you use one of these effects, your opponent can counter the card you play.)

Legions Questions

Riptide Mangler

Q: I have a Riptide Mangler with Mythic Proportions on it. Then I activate the Mangler targeting a Grizzly Bears, making the Mangler 2/11. What happens if someone Disenchants the Mythic Proportions later? Is the Mangler a 2/3, a –6/3, or what?

A: The Mangler will be 2/3. When the Mangler's power is calculated, its effect will overwrite any counters and modifiers that started before Mangler's effect started. Removing modifiers that are “earlier” than the Mangler's effect, like Mythic Proportions in this case, won't affect its power at all.

Q: What happens if my opponent controls both a Windborn Muse and a Grand Melee?

If I control three creatures that can attack, can I contradict Grand Melee by choosing not to pay the cost or can I contradict Windborn Muse and attack with my three creatures without paying the cost for Windborn Muse?
--Taylor Tan, SF, California

A: You don't have to pay the cost. Grand Melee says that creatures attack "if able." If they're not currently able to attack, then it has no effect; you don't need to make them able.

Q: If I enchant a Daru Stinger with Sadistic Glee (or use any other card that adds +1/+1 counters), do the counters from Sadistic Glee count for the Stinger's tap ability?

A: The counters count. All +1/+1 counters on a creature are interchangeable; Daru Stinger will see all +1/+1 counters on itself, regardless of the reason they are there, and deal damage equal to that number.

Q: I have made a new Sliver deck. If I put out Ward Sliver set to red, then I play Blade Sliver or any other red Sliver, do the red Slivers' abilities still work on all Slivers?

A: The Slivers' abilities will still be shared. Protection does not stop effects that affect “all” creatures; it only affects damage, local enchantments, blocking and targeting.

Note that Ward Sliver set to red will stop Magma Sliver's ability from being able to be used by red Slivers, since the activated ability from it needs a target.

Q: Can I sacrifice three Dark Supplicants in response to my own Wrath of God, then stack the ability so that Scion of Darkness comes into play after Wrath of God resolves?
--Robert Duffey, Paradise, California

A: No, you can't. You can only put abilities on top of the stack, and anything done in response to Wrath of God will go on the stack on top of Wrath, and will resolve before Wrath. Bringing in the Scion in response to Wrath of God causes it to be destroyed along with all other creatures.

Q: If I have a Dermoplasm in play face down, and I use Planar Guide's ability, does the Dermoplasm get turned up, and do I get to put a creature into play?

A: Dermoplasm and other morph-triggered abilities can only trigger when it's directly turned face up, for example by paying the morph cost or using Break Open. Effects like Planar Guide's (and Astral Slide's) simply remove the creature from the game, and when it's put back into play, it's comes into play in it's “basic” state, which is face up. The card is not turned by an effect; it's just removed face down and returned face up.

Another way to think about it is that it turns face up while not in play, so its ability won't work.

Q: With Seedborn Muse, do all your permanents untap, even if they say they don't have to untap during your untap step, such as Seasinger or Thran Weaponry?

A: Yes, you will have to untap them. Like all other cards of this type, Seasinger says "You may choose not to untap Seasinger during your untap step". This doesn't do anything in other players' untap steps.

Chromeshell Crab

Q: Skirk Alarmist has on it "sacrifice the creature at end of turn," but if I turn up a Chromeshell Crab and use its ability to target itself and exchange it for a better creature, will it still be sacrificed? Or will the opponent now own him and not be effected by the Skirk Alarmist's ability?
--Dan the Mad Magic Man

A: Chromeshell Crab (or whatever creature you give away) won't be sacrificed at end of turn if you've given it to another player. You control the triggered ability, and it instructs you to sacrifice the creature at the end of turn. The rules prohibit you from sacrificing a permanent you don't control, so nothing happens.

Q: What would happen if you enchant a Ridgetop Raptor with Reflexes? Will it gain first strike as a separate ability and be able to inflict first strike damage, then double strike damage, and do twelve points of damage?

A: Having both first strike and double strike has no particular effect on the game. Combat only has two damage steps, first strikers and double strikers deal damage at the same time in the first damage step, having both abilities doesn't let the creature deal damage an extra time.

General / Older Card Questions

Q: I have a face-down Krosan Colossus in play and another in my hand. If I cast Retraced Image, can I put the second Krosan Colossus into play face up?

A: No, you can't. Cards that are face down have no name, which means that no creature can share names with it. Retraced Image doesn't know what the face-down card is, so it can't put the revealed card into play.

Q: If I have two copies of Conspiracy in play naming different creature types, are my creatures one type of my choice or both?

A: Creatures have only one type, the type selected by the latest Conspiracy. When multiple effects modify the characteristics of a card (like creature type), they are applied in timestamp order, and the latest effect wins. Giving a card a new creature type will overwrite all previous type unless the effect says it doesn't. See Mistform Sliver, for example.

Q: If an opponent has a Skyship Weatherlight in play and I Confiscate it will I be able to pay and tap it and put those cards into play under my control?
--Daniel C. Kulp, Colorado Springs

A: You can activate the Skyship, but the removed cards will return to their owner's hand, and that will be your opponent's hand. You can never have an opponent's card in your library, hand or graveyard.

Q: My friend played Chain of Plasma on one of my creatures and I responded with a Mage's Guile so that it could not be the target of that spell. Do I still have the right to discard a card and make a copy of Chain of Plasma, or does it just fizzle out?

A: Mage's Guile makes the target illegal, so the spell will be countered and have no effect at all. You won't have the option to copy it, since no parts of the effect will happen.

Q: Card like Fact or Fiction say reveal the top five cards of your library. In what zone are they when being revealed? Is the pile being put into the graveyard considered going from your hand to the graveyard? Would Gaea's Blessing or Mangara's Blessing trigger if in that pile?

A: The cards are still counted as being in the library when they're revealed. The pile going to the graveyard goes there directly from the library, and will trigger Gaea's Blessing. Mangara's Blessing won't trigger, since the cards aren't discarded, they were never in your hand.

Cephalid Aristocrat

Q: Can I use en-Kor ability to target one of my creatures even if there is no damage asigned to that en-Kor? For example I want to target my Cephalid Aristocrat three times using Nomads en-Kor's ability during my main phase (there is no damage assigned to Nomads en-Kor).
--Szymon Knitter, Poland

A: You can activate an en-Kor even if there is no damage. When the ability resolves, it will set up a shield that will move the next point of damage that would be dealt to it. You're allowed to use the en-Kor ability to target Cephalid Aristocrat as many times as you wish, even if there is no damage to be moved.

Q: My opponent attacks with a 3/3 creature. I have a Battlefield Medic and two Benevolent Bodyguards in play. I block with a Bodyguard, and then tap the Battlefield Medic to prevent three damage. My opponent responds by playing a Standardize to turn all creatures to Beasts. When does the amount of damage that is prevented get calculated, when the Battlefield Medic is tapped to activate its ability, or when the ability resolves?
--John B.

A: The Clerics are counted when the ability resolves, and in your case, there won't be any Clerics in play at that time. The only things done when a spell or ability is played are:

1) Choose whether to play the card face down (if it has morph), which half of the card to play (if it's a split card), or which mode to use (for spells which say "Choose one").

2) Choose targets (and, if different targets get different effects, choose which one gets which).

3) Pay the costs (and decide how to pay them—alternate costs, kicker costs, the value of X if it's part of the cost, etc).

Everything else is done on resolution.

Q: I have Megrim and Cephalid Broker in play under my control and my opponent has 0 cards in his hand. I use the Broker's ability targeting him, forcing him to draw two cards and then discard them, thus taking 4 damage. Can he cycle the card(s) or use one or both as instants before he has to discard them and therefore avoid the damage? Or does the Broker's ability count as a whole and he has no choice but to discard and take the damage?

A: No player gets priority between the time the Broker's ability starts to resolve until it has finished resolving, so the cards can't be cycled or played, unless they have madness, which lets you remove the discarded card from the game instead of putting it in the graveyard.

Note that part of the cost to cycle a card is that you have to discard it, so it will still trigger Megrim, and of course, cycling a card will make you draw another one, which you would then have to discard as well! So even if it were possible, that would be suicidal.

Q: How does Worship work? Is it damage prevention? Can it be overcome by a Flaring Pain? Same question with Ali from Cairo.
--Thomas Bossuyt

A: Any time damage gets dealt to a player, the rules cause that player to lose life. Worship affects this loss of life, replacing it with "your life total becomes 1." It doesn't affect the damage directly; it affects the consequences of the damage... so Flaring Pain can't stop this.

Similarly, if an effect wants to know how much damage has been dealt (Spirit Link, for example), Worship won't change the count. Worship doesn't change how much damage was dealt—only what consequences that damage had.

Ali from Cairo works exactly the same way for all intents and purposes.

Q: I was wondering how Camouflage would affect morphed creatures. I have a deck with Camouflage and, among other things, Krosan Cloudscraper. If he is face down when he attacks and I cast Camouflage, does he turn face up when I "reveal" my creatures? If morphed creatures do turn face up with Camouflage, do their morph effects trigger? Also, if I have a creature with morph that is face up at the beginning of the attack, after he is turned face down, can I then pay the morph cost to turn him over before Camouflage forces me to reveal him? I'm pretty perplexed about how these interact.
--Scott Harris

A: Camouflage has received errata so that it works differently than what is printed on the card. It no longer turns cards face up or down, it assigns random blockers for the defending player. It doesn't interact with morph at all anymore.

The updated Oracle wording reads: "Play Camouflage only during the declare attackers step. This turn, instead of declaring blockers, the defending player chooses any number of creatures he or she controls and divides them into a number of piles equal to the number of attacking creatures. Assign each pile to a different attacking creature at random, and any creatures in that pile that can block the creature do so. (Piles can be empty.)"

Q: I would like to reverse Trade Secrets and name myself as the target opponent, so that I am allowed to draw two cards and my opponent has to draw four cards. Will a Willbender be sufficient or do I need to change the controller of Trade Secrets? If so, how do I do that and is it possible at all? All cards are allowed in my group.
--Rory Groenewegen van der Weijden, The Netherlands

A: You can't make it work using your own Trade Secrets. The way to do this is to hope that your opponent has a Trade Secrets in his hand (possibly using Jester's Mask on him to make sure he has it in his hand), and then force him to play the card using Word of Command. Since you played Word of Command, you make all the decisions, and you can choose that he draws four cards every time you draw two cards. Since you are the target of the spell, you can choose that this is repeated as many times as you like. If your deck has at least half the number of cards your opponent's deck has, he will run out of cards before you do.

This still depends on your opponent having Trade Secrets in his deck, and you need to play with Word of Command. This situation won’t come up very often.

Q: If copy Persecute with Mirari, do I get to choose a new color? There are modal spells, but they always have the choices in the text.
--Jamal, Australia

A: You get to choose a new color. Mirari copies in everything done on announcement (mode, X, additional costs, targets, and paid costs), and then lets you choose new targets. Everything else, including choosing a color, is done on resolution, and you get to choose another color when the copy resolves.

Voodoo Doll

Q: If I have a Meekstone in play, and I tap it using my Icy Manipulator during my opponent's turn, will my creatures untap as normal during my turn? Does tapping a continuous artifact like that cause its effects to cease?

A: Tapping an artifact that generates a continuous effect doesn't have any effect on the game unless it specifically says. You used to be able to “shut off” artifacts with Icy Manipulator under an older set of rules, but this doesn't work anymore, except for a few cards (Winter Orb, Static Orb, Storage Matrix, Howling Mine, Watchdog and Voodoo Doll), because those cards have errata to say "If CARDNAME is untapped", or they've always said it.

Q: If you have a Pandemonium and a creature phases in, does the creature deal damage?

A: No, it doesn't. Phasing in doesn't trigger comes-into-play abilities (Rule 502.15d in the Comprehensive Rulebook).

Q: If my Cephalid Inkshrouder is enchanted and I discard a card to use its abilities, is the enchantment destroyed?

A: No, it isn't. A local enchantment doesn't target the permanent it enchants; making the permanent untargetable doesn't affect enchantments on it. Local enchantments only target when they're played, after they have resolved, they don't target anymore.

Q: If I sacrifice Doomed Necromancer, does it hit the graveyard before I have to choose a target for its ability? In other words, can I use its ability to bring itself back into play? I want to use it as a combo with Rotlung Reanimator.
--Matt Burch

A: You always choose targets before you pay the costs, so it can't choose to return itself. You have to choose a creature card that's in the graveyard when you start playing the ability, before you pay the cost.

Thanks to Laurie Cheers for feedback and proofreading.

Can't find the answer to your question? Maybe he's already answered it! Try the Saturday School Searchable Rules Database.

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