Saturday School #26

Posted in Feature on May 3, 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

Q: Whenever Doubtless One deals combat damage, I gain that much life. Does this mean that if my Doubtless One is a 5/5 and kills a 1/1 creature in combat I gain 1 life or do I gain 5 life?
--Ross Seely, Estacada, Oregon

A: You gain 5 life, because the creature deals 5 damage in combat. A creature can deal more damage to a creature than it has toughness.

Fallen Cleric

Q: Can I sacrifice my Fallen Cleric (protection from Clerics) for the effect of my Cabal Archon?
--James Greensweight, Cassa Grande, AZ

A: Yes, you can. The Archon says that you sacrifice “a” Cleric to pay for the activation cost, not “target” Cleric. The ability does not damage, enchant, block or target the Cleric you sacrifice, and since those are the only things Protection can stop, it isn’t relevant in this case.

Q: Can Counterspell affect Gaea's Herald at the time it comes into play? Also, if I play a creature at the same time as Gaea's Herald, can that creature be countered?
--Stephen Donkersley

A: Counterspell can only counter spells on the stack, before they come into play. Abilities on creatures and other permanents only work when the cards are in play, so Gaea’s Herald can’t prevent itself from being countered. Once it has come into play, it’s not possible to target it with Counterspell anymore, since it’s not a spell anymore.

It’s not possible to play two spells at the same time; you have to play your creatures in order.

Q: If I play Battle Screech, can I tap my two tokens I just created plus a Suntail Hawk to pay the Screech's flashback cost, or must I wait until my tokens don't have summoning sickness? Can enchantments, spells, or costs tap creatures with summoning sickness?
--Davis H., Bellevue, WA

A: You can tap the tokens and the Hawk to pay for the flashback cost. “Summoning sickness” only stops creatures from using the symbol, they can still be tapped to other cost or effects, and Battle Screech says “Tap”; it doesn’t use the symbol.

Q: Is Roar of the Wurm able to circumvent cards like Aether Storm and Soul Barrier entirely?
--Christopher Tomasso

A: Roar of the Wurm is not affected by either of the cards you mention. Roar of the Wurm is a sorcery card that puts a creature token into play when it resolves, but it’s not a creature card or a creature spell (it doesn’t say “creature” in the type line under the picture), so you can play Roar without any extra costs.

Q: How would Coat of Arms affect a deck full of doubly typed creatures? Do they get +1/+1 for each creature type such a Zombie Cleric? That would prove to be some pretty powerful mojo to throw at your opponent.
--M. Collins

A: Coat of Arms says that each creature gets the bonus for each other creature that shares a type with it. It gets the bonus for each creature that shares a type, not for each creature type they share. Two Zombie Clerics only get +1/+1 from each other, even if they share two types.

Legions Questions

Elvish Soultiller

Q: What happens when an Elvish Soultiller hits the graveyard and I choose Elf? Does the Soultiller get shuffled into the library? Or does he remain in the graveyard and the other Elves get shuffled into the library?
--Sean Fahey

A: The Soultiller gets shuffled back in. The ability triggers when it’s put into the graveyard, meaning that it would be in the graveyard when the ability is put on the stack. When the ability resolves, you choose the type, and all creatures of that type are shuffled back in, including the Soultiller.

Q: I don't understand how Conspiracy and amplify can interact. Doesn't the amplify ability say right on the card what types of creature you can reveal? How can you reveal Goblins instead of Birds and/or Soldiers?

A: The text on the card is in parenthesis, meaning that it’s just reminder text. The rules for Amplify (502.27 in the Comprehensive Rulebook) says that you can reveal any card that shares a type with the card that comes into play, the specific types are just listed on the card for easy reference under “normal circumstances.” When effects like Conspiracy’s change the cards creature type, it also changes which cards you can reveal.

The current Oracle text of the card reads “As Conspiracy comes into play, choose a creature type. Creatures you control and creature cards you own that aren't in play are of the chosen type.” You own the cards that are on the stack and in your hand, and they aren’t in play, so Conspiracy changes their types. The printed version of the card didn’t affect cards on the stack, but it was changed to make it work with amplify.

Q: I have a question for you about the interaction of Commando Raid and creatures with double strike. Would I be correct in assuming that, since the creature deals combat damage to the player twice, I could have it deal damage equal to it's power twice to one creature or once each to two creatures?
--Alvaro "BigCheese" Ibáñez

A: You are correct. Commando Raid’s ability triggers each time the enchanted creature deals combat damage to the player, and an unblocked double striker will deal damage twice to the player. You can choose the same target for both triggered abilities, or you can target two different creatures if you want.

General / Older Card Questions

Q: I have a Reparations in play and my opponent plays Life Burst targeting himself. If I play a card like Misdirection or an ability like Willbender to change the target of the Life Burst to me, would I get the opportunity to draw a card from Reparations?

A: No, you wouldn’t. Reparations can only trigger when the spell is being played, if it targets you at that time. If a spell’s target is changed later, it won’t trigger Reparations.

Q: I have a card called Daunting Defender. What happens if my opponent plays Pestilence and taps 5 swamps simultaneously? Since Daunting Defender reduces damage from sources by 1, can it still do 4 damage and kill my Daunting Defender? Or does the damage count as separate sources and is all prevented?

A: The damage counts as separate sources, and it’s all prevented. This is because Pestilence deals only one damage for each activation of the ability, and each activation counts as a different source.


Q: In play there is a Reef Shaman, a Volcanic Island, and my opponent's Conversion. If I tap my Shaman to make my Volcanic Island (which is currently a plains) a mountain, does the Conversion overwrite it again making it a plains?
--Mr Sleep

A: It would be a Mountain. The effects are independent of each other, and are applied in timestamp order, and the last effect "wins".

Note that this would work slightly different if the land had been, for example, a Bayou (which is a forest and a swamp). In this case Conversion would make it a plains. because of one of the more complex rules in the game, regarding how continuous effects depend on each other (see section 418.5 in the Comprehensive Rulebook). Using the Reef Shaman changes what Conversion applies to – it will now affect something it didn't before. This causes Reef Shaman's ability to have to be applied before Conversion's, Conversion's ability has to wait until after Reef Shaman has applied, before applying itself. This means Conversion will override Reef Shaman, causing the land to be a plains in the end.

In the first case, Conversion applied to the land already (since Volcanic Island is a mountain), so using Reef Shaman to turn it into a Mountain wouldn't change what Conversion applies to, which means that the dependency rules don't apply.

Q: I have seen many deck ideas on the website that are all about using Kamahl, Fist of Krosa to turn lands into creatures and then Goblin Sharpshooter pings them away. Do they still count as creatures as they hit the graveyard? This is one thing I'm not too sure about, and I don't think they do.
--Clifton Jones, Roseville, CA

A: The lands stop being creatures immediately when they hit the graveyard, but they count as creatures when they are destroyed, so effects that trigger off creatures leaving play or going to the graveyard would see them as creatures. This is because of rule 410.10d in the Comprehensive Rulebook, which paraphrased says that when permanents leave play, the game looks at the game state right before the permanents left play to determine if anything triggers.

Q: If I turn an opponent's creature into a Wall with Mistform Mutant or Imagecrafter, does that mean that creature cannot attack?
--Ben Hart

A: That's right. The creature is now a Wall, and the rules say that Walls can't attack.

However, in order to do this, you must turn the creature into a Wall before your opponent declares his attackers and taps the creature. Once a creature has started attacking, turning it into a Wall can't stop it.

Note that both of the creatures you mentioned have text that specifically forbids you from choosing "Wall" when the ability resolves, but other cards—such a Mistform Mask—let you turn creatures into Walls.

Q: When you have threshold, does that mean that Masked Gorgon has protection from green and white, and those creatures no longer have protection from Gorgons, or do both have protection from each other?
--Dustin Murphy, Arizona

A: When you have threshold, extra text appears on the card, in addition to what is there when you don’t have threshold. As long as Masked Gorgon is in play, green and white creatures have protection from Gorgons. When you have threshold, Masked Gorgon gets protection from white and green, and green and white creatures still have protection from Gorgons.

Karmic Justice

Q: I have a Karmic Justice in play and some other permanents. If my opponent destroys everything with a Nevinyrral's Disk, can I use Karmic Justice, or does it just die at exactly the same time so the effect doesn't resolve? If I can destroy my opponent's permanents, please explain why so I can tell my opponent why his lands are being destroyed!

A: When many permanents leave play at the same time, each one can see all the other permanents leaving play. Karmic Justice is destroyed at the same time as everything else, and it triggers for each destroyed permanent, including itself. When the Disk ability has finished resolving, you can destroy one of your opponent’s lands (or other permanents, but he’s not likely to have any) for each of your destroyed permanents.

Q: If an opponent has Genesis in his graveyard and he is attempting to use it, can I use my Tormod's Crypt before he can use the Genesis ability so his land stays tapped and the Genesis effect doesn't happen?

A: Not exactly. The target for Genesis’ ability is chosen when the ability triggers, but the mana isn’t paid until the ability resolves. If you remove your opponent’s graveyard in response to the creature being targeted, your opponent can just choose to not pay the mana. If you let your opponent pay the mana, the creature returns right away, and it’s too late to remove it with Tormod’s Crypt.

Q: If I were to play Wormfang Manta I would skip my next turn. But if I were to destroy it within the same turn, sending it to my graveyard, what would happen? Would I get an extra turn after that one then my opponent would get two turns? Or would the two abilities negate each other, or would something else happen?
--Cole McNaughton

A: The two abilities would effectively negate each other. The Manta’s leaves-play inserts an extra turn into the turn sequence when it dies. You don’t skip turns until it comes up, and the skipped turn would be the extra turn you got from the Manta leaving play.

Q: I have a Wild Mongrel in play and a Basking Rootwalla and an Arrogant Wurm in my hand, and my opponent plays Wrath of God. Can I discard the Rootwalla and/or the Wurm to the Mongrel and have them come into play after the Wrath of God has resolved? Or what if I had an Anurid Brushhopper in play? Then could I "flicker" him by discarding the Rootwalla and Wurm and have them come into play after the Wrath has resolved? My friends said that it's possible while playing Magic Online, so I was curious how that would happen and what the rules were about it.

A: None of this works the way you want. If you discard the cards in response to Wrath of God, you have to play them and put them into play before the Wrath resolves, causing them to be destroyed by the Wrath.

The only beneficial thing here is that you can remove the Brushhopper from the game before Wrath resolves, so it’s not affected by Wrath, but any creatures you play with madness would be destroyed. Your friend might have meant that he could save the Brushhopper, but you can’t “hold” madness spells until other spells on the stack have resolved and play them later – you have to play them before spells under them on the stack have resolved.

Q: If a player cycles a land card with an Astral Slide in play and targets his Cartographer, removing it from the game until end of turn, is he able to return a land card to his hand when Cartographer is returned to play? I would think that the remove from game works like Phasing, where the "comes into play" abilities do not trigger when the creature phases in but the "leaves play" abilities do trigger.
--James Clemons, Marshall, TX

A: He can return a land to his hand. Abilities that trigger when something comes into play triggers regardless of how the permanent came into play if it doesn’t say otherwise. Phasing has special rules to not trigger anything when phased-out cards return to play, but these only apply when you deal with phasing. Being removed from the game and phased out are two different things, even if they seem similar in many regards.

Minion of the Wastes

Q: If I have Dual Nature in play, and my friend plays Minion of the Wastes, does he have to pay life separately for the token? What if he does put a token into play, and then I use Parallel Evolution?
--Tony Windschitl, Oak Grove, MN

A: He must pay life separately for the token. The token has the same text as the original, and when it comes into play, he can pay any amount of life for the token. The same goes for Parallel Evolution – when the tokens come into play, life must be paid for each token, setting their power and toughness.

Q: If I play a Verdeloth the Ancient with kicker of 5 and my opponent counters it with Desertion, who gets the tokens? I think it would be him since it comes into play under my opponent's control, but I am the owner of the spell.

A: Nobody gets tokens. The Verdeloth spell that was paid for is countered. The second part of Desertion puts the card into play instead of into the graveyard, but the card doesn’t remember that it was a spell and that a kicker cost was paid, so no tokens are put into play.

Q: I have three Juggernauts, one of them enchanted with Errantry. Can I choose to attack with the Errantried Juggernaut, making the other two unable to do so, or do I have to attack with the other two?

A: You have to attack with the other two. Since attacking with the Errantried Juggernaut only satisfies one “must-attack” requirement, and attacking with the other two satisfies two, the game rules (rules 500.1-5 in the Comprehensive Rulebook) says that the second set of attackers is that one that is legal.

Q: I trap my opponent's Spined Wurm in my Ice Floe. He later untaps the Wurm with Seeker of Skybreak. Is the Ice Floe still in effect, meaning the Wurm won't untap normally? Or did it break free?

A: The Ice Floe is still in effect, the Wurm won’t untap as normal as long as Ice Floe is tapped. Effects that untap creatures only “free” them that specific time, Ice Floe’s effect lasts until Ice Floe gets untapped or leaves play.

Q: If I have a Wurm token from Roar of the Wurm, and my opponent plays Recoil on it, can I discard the token? I think I can because the token doesn't disappear until Recoil is finished resolving. My opponent thinks the token disappears right when it's returned to my hand. Who's right?

A: You can’t discard the token, since Recoil says you must discard a card. The token is technically in your hand when you discard, but tokens aren’t cards, so it’s not possible to discard the Wurm token.

Flaring Pain

Q: Can Earthquake + Flaring Pain kill a creature with protection from red, such as a Disciple of Law?
--Conrad Corbett

A: Yes it can. Protection from red means that red damage is prevented, but Flaring Pain says that damage can’t be prevented. When one effect says something can happen and another says it can't, the "can't" effect wins, says rule 103.2 in the Comprehensive Rulebook.

Q: Does the effect of False Cure stack? If you play two False Cures and then a Healing Salve, does the player lose six life?

A: Yes, False Cure’s effect does “stack”. When False Cure resolves, it sets up a triggered ability that triggers each time life is gained. So when your Healing Salve resolves, the player will gain 3 life, then lose 6 life, then lose another 6: a net loss of 9 life.

Q: I have Natural Emergence and Treetop Village in play. What happens if I activate the Treetop Village's ability to supposedly turn it into a 3/3 trample? Would it become a 3/3 trample; would it become a 3/3 trample, first strike; or would it remain a 2/2 first strike?
--David Bennett, Cupertino, CA

A: Treetop Village would be a 3/3 creature with trample and first strike. To determine what the lands look like, you apply the effects in timestamp order. It keeps all abilities added during the process, and the “last” ability finally sets the power/toughness.

If Treetop Village had been activated before Natural Emergence was played, it would be 2/2 and have trample and first strike.

Q: Does the 4 Basking Rootwalla, Mountain, Rites of Initiation, Anger combo allow a first turn kill?

A: No, it doesn’t. You discard cards to Rites of Initiation when it resolves, and the madness-triggered abilities don’t go on the stack until after the Rites has finished resolving. Rites of Initiation only applies to permanents that are in play when it resolves. Since the Rootwallas can’t be played until after this, they don’t get the bonus. You can still attack with them, because of Anger, but they won’t deal more than 4 points of damage.

Q: I have a Gloom and Blind Seer in play. My opponent plays, for example, a red spell, and I use my Blind Seer to change that red spell to a white spell. What exactly happens?
--Clinton Pickering, Sanbornton, NH

A: Not much. Gloom makes white spells cost more when you play them (put them on the stack), but changing the color of the spell after the spell has been played and paid for doesn’t force you to pay extra. Gloom only affects the spell as you are playing it, not later.

Last Week's Poll Results

If a spell affected “black cards,” which of these things would you expect to be affected?

(A) A white card turned black by Darkest Hour?
(B) A Possessed Centaur whose controller has threshold?
(C) A Clone that is copying a black creature?

A & B180312.15%
A & C5463.68%
B & C3662.47%
A, B & C988766.61%

The correct answer is “all of the above” – A, B and C are all affected by spells that affect black cards, they are all cards with the color black. (But note that if Clone copied a card that wasn’t initially black, but just black to some effect like Deathlace, Clone would be the “original” color of the card, it just copies the printed card, not any external effects).

If a spell affected “creature cards,” which of these things would you expect to be affected?

(D) An animated Nantuko Monastery?
(E) A Copy Artifact which is copying an artifact creature?

D & E769859.92%

The correct answer is only E.
D is a land card, which is at the moment being a land creature permanent; E is at the physical level an Enchantment card, but has a copy effect, which changes its printed values, making it an enchantment artifact creature card.

The intent of this poll was to help decide the fate of "card types." Currently, the Magic rules make a distinction between "card type" and "permanent type" – that is, you can turn a card into a creature, but that doesn't make it a "creature card".

However, the rules don't make any such distinction between "card color" and "permanent color", or "card name" and "permanent name", and so on. So when Darkest Hour says that a card is black, it's a "black card".

Does this distinction make sense? Perhaps. But judging by these polls, I think a fair summary of the general opinion would be... confused.

What happens next? Most likely, the gurus will go away and argue inconclusively about these results for the next few weeks, and then Paul Barclay (the rules manager) will choose whichever solution we hate least. (Or sometimes it's the one we hate most.)

--Laurie Cheers

Thanks to Laurie Cheers for feedback and proofreading.

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