Saturday School #35

Posted in Feature on July 5, 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: There are some players in my school who do not believe that you can play more than one creature per turn, so I'd like to show them something official-looking, such as your article, because the rulebook doesn't seem to explicitly say that you can play more than one creature a turn, but it doesn't say you can't either. Thanks for everything,
--Spencer Doehlert

A: You are allowed to play more than one creature, or any other spell, each turn, assuming you have the resources available to pay for them.

You are restricted to playing one land per turn, but this doesn't affect any other card type.

Q: When exactly does the game check to see if cost(s) for a spell or ability has been paid: when it is put onto the stack, when it resolves, or some other time?

A: You pay the cost of a spell as part of playing it, when you put it on the stack. You go through a series of steps, announcing which spell you’re playing, which mode it has, which target it has etc, and then you pay the costs. If you can’t pay the cost of the spell, the entire action is reversed. Playing a spell is counted as a single action, and once you have started to play the spell, your opponent can’t stop you from paying the cost. Once the cost has been paid, the spell is considered “played”.

The process you go through when you play a spell or ability is detailed in rules 409.1a-h in the Comprehensive Rulebook.

Tsabo Tavoc

Q: What does it mean when Tsabo Tavoc has protection from Legends when there can only be one Legend in play at one time?

A: There can be multiple Legends in play at the same time, as long as they have different names. For example, you can have Tsabo Tavoc in play at the same time as Visara the Dreadful, but there can’t be two copies of Tsabo Tavoc in play. Having protection from Legends means that all damage from Legends is prevented, it can’t be blocked by Legends, and it can’t be targeted by Legends. It’s not legal to target Tsabo Tavoc with Visara’s ability.

Scourge Questions

Q: If you have no permanents in play, can you still use Dispersal Shield to counter a morph, since they have a converted mana cost of zero?
--Jacob Masters

A: You can counter a morph, or any other spell with converted mana cost zero, even if you don’t have any permanents in play. If you don’t have any permanents in play, the highest converted mana cost among them can’t be determined, and is therefore treated as zero, according to rule 104.2 in the Comprehensive Rulebook.

Q: If I block a creature with a Soul Collector and both the creature and my Soul Collector dies, do I get to keep the blocked creature?
--Alejandro Moreno, Guadalajara, Mexico

A: Yes, you do. The creatures die at the same time, so they each see each other go to the graveyard at the same time, and Soul Collector’s ability triggers. When the ability resolves, you will gain control over your opponent’s creature.

Q: If I attack with a Krosan Warchief and my opponent plays Wing Shards, can I kill my own Beast with Contested Cliffs and regenerate it to make it "stop attacking"?

A: You can do this (assuming you can choose a second target to activate the Cliffs). When a creature regenerates, damage from it is removed, it taps, and it’s removed from combat. Being removed from combat means that it’s no longer attacking, and it’s no longer eligible to be sacrificed.

Q: Can I Stifle a madness ability? If so can you please explain how it work step by step?

A: You can Stifle madness. Instead of discarding the card with madness, you remove it from the game – this is a replacement effect. Then a triggered ability goes on the stack, saying “you may play this”, and if you Stifle this ability, you can’t play the card, and the card stays removed from the game forever.

If the triggered ability resolves, and the card isn’t played before the player passes priority, another triggered ability triggers, wanting to put the card in the graveyard. This ability can also be Stifled, and if it is, the card will also be removed forever, unable to be played.

Q: I have a Call to the Grave in play and my friend has a Forgotten Ancient and another creature in play. At the beginning of my friend's upkeep, he wants to sac the Forgotten Ancient; is he allowed to move counters from it before he sacs it?

A: No, he isn’t. Since it’s your opponent’s turn, he is the active player, and his triggered abilities go on the stack first (the “move counters” ability from the Ancient). Then the non-active player’s triggered abilities go on the stack (Call to the Grave). The top ability will resolve first, so your friend must sacrifice a creature (either the Ancient or the other creature) before any counters can be moved.

Flaring Pain

Q: Does Flaring Pain allow me to kill a Dawn Elemental with Volcanic Hammer? If so, will it allow me to kill a Silver Knight with Volcanic Hammer?

A: Flaring Pain stops any damage prevention from working, so you can kill Dawn Elemental with Volcanic Hammer if you have resolved Flaring Pain. You still can’t kill Silver Knight with the Hammer, since it has protection from red, and it can’t be the target of red spells. Flaring Pain allows you to kill Silver Knight with untargeted red spells, like Earthquake, but you can still not target it with red spells.

Q: I have an Anurid Brushopper in play and my opponent plays an Innocent Blood. I discard the two cards to my Brushhopper to save him. Then my opponent plays Stifle saying he counters the come back into play ability of the Anurid Brushhopper. I argue that it can’t be countered because it's part of the discard ability, which he did not counter, but my opponent says it a separate triggered ability. So would my Anurid Brushhopper come back into play or is it lost forever?

A: It’s lost forever (unless you Wish it back). When the “remove from game” ability from the Brushhopper resolves, it sets up a delayed triggered ability that triggers and goes to the stack at end of turn. This can be countered just like any other triggered ability, and if it is, it has no effect – the Brushhopper doesn’t return.

Q: I morph Mischievous Quanar; can I copy the sorceries and instants from the graveyard or just as the spell is played?

A: You can only copy spells that are on the stack, you can only copy spells between the time they are played and the time they resolve. Once they have finished resolving, they are removed from the stack and go to the graveyard, and they can’t be copied anymore.

General / Older Cards Questions

Q: If a legendary land is transformed into a creature, is it a legendary creature? Why or why not?

A: Under Eighth Edition rules, a legendary permanent that is turned into a creature will be a legendary creature, without a creature type, unless it’s given one by some effect (This is a change from older rules). Legendary is a "supertype" that is retained even if the permanent changes type. The rule for this is 215.2 in the Comprehensive Rulebook.

You’re not allowed to have two legendary permanents with the same name in play, so you can’t have an animated Karakas and a regular Karakas in play at the same time, for example.

Q: With the release and implementation of the new "Eighth Edition Rules Update" it appears to me that the long awaited use of Coat of Arms with lands is now possible. In his column explaining these new rules, Paul Barclay wrote "Changing a land's type now works just like changing a creature's type." He also stated that "a Forest is 'Basic Land - Forest'. " So, assuming that one way or another, I changed all of my lands into creatures, all of the forests now have the type: Forest (according to the new rules). Does this mean that Coat of Arms and Alpha Status can now work on lands?

A: No, it doesn’t. “Forest” is a land type, not a creature type, and they aren’t interchangeable. Land types don’t count as creature types even if the land turns into a creature. Animated lands don’t have a creature type unless they’re given one by an effect.

Kjeldoran Frostbeast

Q: Kjeldoran Frostbeast from the Ice Age expansion has creature type Frostbeast; can it be considered a Beast so that it can be used with several tribal cards requiring Beasts?
--Valerie Schrey, Belgium

A: No, it can’t. Creatures must have exactly the same type to share a type. Even though a Frostbeast may share many characteristics with regular Beasts, they’re not the same, and don’t share a type. The same goes for types like Mage, Wizard and Sorcerer – they may appear to be very similar, but they must be exactly the same to share types.

Q: If my opponent plays a Meddling Mage and chooses Gempalm Polluter, can I cycle the Gempalm? The Mage says the card can't be played, and I'm not playing the Gempalm, I'm cycling it.

A: You can still cycle the Gempalm. Meddling Mage only prevents you from playing the card as a spell – you are still allowed to use it for other effects, and you can cycle it.

Q: I have Sparksmith, Mistform Wakecaster, and two other creatures in play. I also control Gratuitous Violence. I activate the Wakecaster to make all my creatures Goblins, then tap Sparksmith to deal 8 damage to my opponent's big creature. This is easy to get. What we argued about is whether I took 4 or 8 damage. The judge ruled 8, and I lost the game. Was this correct?

A: The judge was correct. Gratuitous Violence doubles any damage that a creature you control would deal – it would usually deal 4 damage to the target, and 4 to you, then each is doubled from the Violence. Both you and the target take 8 damage.

Q: My opponent puts a Pariah on my Akroma, he says that if Akroma deals damage to him, then she gets dealt that much damage because he controls the enchantment. But wouldn't Pariah only deal damage to Akroma if I were dealt damage since I control the creature the enchantment is on?

A: No, your opponent was right. The enchantment and creature have separate controllers, and the replacement effect is on the enchantment – so “you” means be the controller of the enchantment, which is your opponent. Damage to your opponent will be dealt to Akroma instead.

Q: I wish to tap one of my opponent's attacking creatures with an Ice Floe. He insists that the creature deals its damage to me before being "tapped out," while I feel sure that the Ice Floe's ability happens basically at instant speed, and taps out the creature before it can deal its damage to me. Which of us is correct?

A: Your friend is correct. Ice Floe taps the creature, and prevents it from untapping, but it doesn’t say that the creature is removed from combat, so it will still deal combat damage as usual. It’s just unable to untap next turn. Just tapping or untapping attacking creatures does not affect their status in combat; they’re still attacking, and will deal damage as usual.

Mana Web

Q: I play a Mana Web when my opponent has out five Forests. With Mana Web's effect, can he still utilize all of his land or does all of one type of land get tapped when the first is tapped for mana?

A: Mana Web has a triggered ability that goes on the stack, so it’s possible to respond to the ability and tap more lands before all the lands are tapped.

Q: When you put an enchantment on a creature, does it count as targeting the creature? If so, can I use Willbender on say, a Mythic Proportions my opponent is trying to put on an Elf onto one of my creatures? Also, can I Willbend an enchantment after it was put on a creature? I read somewhere in the rules that enchantments permanently target the creature they're on until something removes them.
--Chris Yang

A: A local enchantment, like an enchant creature spell, targets when you play it, so you can use Willbender to put Mythic Proportions on another creature when it’s being played. Once the enchantment spell has resolved, it’s not targeting the creature anymore, it’s just “enchanting” it, and you can’t Willbend it. Local enchantments only target the permanent while they are on the stack, not after they have resolved.

Q: Can you escape the effect of Manabarbs with a Circle of Protection: Red? It would seem that each land would trigger separately, thus you can’t escape it, but I'm not sure.
--Thomas Jones, Orange Park, FL

A: Manabarbs triggers each time a player taps a land for mana, even when activating the Circle. The only way Circles would be useful against Manabarbs is if you can get mana from non-land sources, like artifacts or creatures, or if the land you tap produce more than one mana. That way you can use one mana to protect yourself with the Circle, and the other can be used to play a spell.

Q: I have Gorilla Berserkers and Goblin War Drums. Does that mean that Gorilla Berserkers can't be blocked by fewer than 5 creatures?

A: No, it doesn’t. These don’t add up, they are separate restrictions. If you block the Berserkers with 3 creatures or more, the Gorillas’ requirement is fulfilled, and so is the War Drums’.

Q: I heard from some guys at the local comic shop about decks they were planning to make using many cards that allowed them to shuffle their library (fetch lands, Quiet Speculation, landcycling, etc.). They said that the deck would win matches by winning the first game and stalling out the rest of the match time by shuffling. They said that 3 minutes were allotted for each time the library is shuffled and the match clock could easily be run out. Is this a realistic way to win matches? If so, how would a 1 win, 0 loss, and 1 draw match stack up in swiss tournament standings?

A: Players are not allowed to abuse the clock to stall out the match. The three-minute time limit is between games, where players must both sideboard and shuffle within the time limit. Regular in-game shuffles should never take more than one minute, and players can be told to shuffle faster if necessary. Players who abuse the time limits are likely to face severe penalties in the tournament. It’s usually a better strategy to try to win two games rather than just winning the first and hoping time runs out.

If time is called, and the match isn’t completed, the player with the most game wins wins the match. A win, no loss and a draw means that that player wins the match, and receives 3 match points, the same as winning 2-0 or 2-1.


Q: If I have an Abundance and a Sylvan Library in play and instead of drawing with my library I reveal the cards with my Abundance. So I get three cards in my hand. Do I have to put any back because of the Sylvan Library's affect?

A: You get to keep all three cards, you don’t have to put any cards back. This is because Sylvan Library says that you must choose two cards in your hand that you have drawn this turn, but since you replaced the draw effect with Abundance’s effect, you haven’t drawn any cards (Abundance simply says "Put that card into your hand", which isn't the same as drawing a card). Therefore, you’re unable to find any drawn cards in your hand, and you won’t have to pay any life.

Q: I have all three of the Urza's lands (Urza's Mine, Urza's Power Plant, and Urza's Tower). If I want to play a 6-mana card, can I tap one of them for 1 mana so I don't have to deal with mana burn?

A: No, you can’t. Each of the Urza lands has a built-in replacement effect that causes them to produce 2 or 3 mana rather than the usual 1 when you tap them. This is not optional.

Q: If I enchant a land with Living Terrain, can I attack with it the same turn I played the spell?

A: You can attack with it if you have controlled the land continuously since the beginning of your turn. Summoning sickness only applies to the creature (which is the land), it doesn’t matter if you played the enchantment this turn – it’s how long you have controlled the permanent that wants to attack that matters.

Q: I have a Zombie in play. I also have a Coat of Arms. I play Riptide Replicator, pick black Zombie, and make X=0. When I use the Replicator, will the 0/0 token die as soon as it enters play?

A: The token will live. Coat of Arms modifies all the creatures’ power and toughness when they are in play, so the token enters at 0/0 and is boosted to 1/1 before the game checks if it should destroy the creature or not.

Q: I have a Dingus Egg and a Sacred Ground in play and my opponent destroys one of my lands. Does Sacred Ground's ability override Dingus Egg's, or do I still take 2 damage?

A: You still take 2 damage. Both Sacred Ground and Dingus Egg have triggered abilities that trigger when the land is destroyed. Dingus Egg doesn’t care if the land returns to play, the land still went to the graveyard, and you will take two damage from the Egg.

Q: If I have an Aquamoeba in play that is a 3/1 and I play Castle to make it a 3/3 what happens when I discard to it? Will it it's power become 3 and it's toughness will become 5 due to Castle? And if so, would that be an endless cycle from 3/3 to 3/5 to 5/7 to 7/9 to 9/11 until you run out of cards?
--Chris Uehlein, Portland, Oregon

A: All the power/toughness boosting and switching effects are applied in timestamp order. You first apply Castle (making it 3/3), then the switch (making it 3/3 again). Discarding more cards won’t boost it at all unless you have more power or toughness modifiers.

Q: I use Sneak Attack to put Viashino Cutthroat into play. At end of turn, can I return it to my hand before I have to sacrifice it?
--Italo, Caracas, Venezuela

A: You can do that. At end of turn, both the ability from Sneak Attack and the ability from the Cutthroat trigger, and since you control both, you choose the order. Putting the Cutthroat trigger on the stack last means it resolves first, and will be returned to your hand before Sneak Attack wants you to sacrifice it. Since it’s not in play anymore, you don’t have to sacrifice it.

Thanks to Laurie Cheers for feedback and proofreading.

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