Saturday School #4

Posted in Feature on November 16, 2002

By Rune Horvik

Because Rune had to head judge the recent Pro Tour, his batch of questions is a little smaller this week. The full-sized version will return next Saturday.

Keep sending in those questions!

General / Older Card Questions

Q: If a Drudge Skeletons is destroyed in combat, do you have to play the regeneration ability the turn it is put into a graveyard or can you play it later? And what about cards that say "destroy target nonblack creature, it can't be regenerated," does that mean it can regenerate on the next turn?

A: Regeneration must be played before the creature would die for it to have an effect. Regeneration is activated like a normal ability, and when it resolves, the creature gets a “shield” that will prevent its next destruction this turn. Regeneration is usually played in response to whatever would destroy the creature, so the shield resolves and is put up before the creature is destroyed. Regeneration can’t be played after the creature is put in the graveyard. If an effect says a creature can’t be regenerated, the shield won’t have any effect, and the creature will be destroyed as if it didn’t have a shield.

Regeneration is rule 419.6b in the Comprehensive Rulebook.

Q: What is the difference between "During your upkeep..." and "At the beginning of your upkeep..." or is there no difference?

A: Under the current rules, there is a difference. Abilities that say “At the beginning of your upkeep” are triggered, and go on the stack automatically when the upkeep starts. Other abilities say that they only may be played “during your upkeep,” indicating that they can be played at any time during the upkeep, but not at any other time. Many old cards used the text “during your upkeep” to indicate that the card had an upkeep “cost” which needed to be paid “some time” during the upkeep, but after the Sixth Edition rules were introduced, all upkeep costs and abilities that can only be used once each upkeep were changed to triggered abilities that go on the stack at the beginning of the upkeep. See the Oracle for current card texts of all cards.

Q: Does the "comes into play" ability of a card apply when the card is played from the graveyard (examples Animate Dead or Zombify on Nekrataal) or was removed from the game and comes back to play (not phasing).
--Michel Martin

A: Comes-into-play abilities apply any time the card comes into play unless they specifically say that they only apply under certain conditions (Palinchron will only untap lands when played from your hand, for example). Phasing has special rules saying comes-into-play abilities don’t apply when permanents phase in. So yes, a Nekrataal's ability will trigger when it comes into play from the graveyard.

Q: Suppose on my first turn I have Firestorm, a Mountain and five other cards. I played the Mountain and Firestorm, discarding the remaining 5 cards. I target my opponent, is dealt 5 damage 5 times? If so, then this card is very powerful... please enlighten me.
--Avel, Philippines

A: Rule 409.1c in the Comprehensive Rulebook says that a spell with multiple targets can’t choose the same target multiple times. The Firestorm can only target your opponent once.

Q: What is mana burn?

A: Mana burn happens when you end a phase with unspent mana left in your mana pool. Under normal circumstances you only tap enough lands to produce exactly the right amount of mana to pay for the spells you play, but sometimes you get too much, for example when you use Dark Ritual or Cabal Coffers. If you have mana left in your pool at the end of the phase, you lose 1 life for each unspent mana, and then the mana pool is emptied.

Q: If i had an Engineered Plague out set on Goblins and my opponent plays a Mogg Fanatic, would he be able to sacrifice it before it dies or would it die to the Plague?
--Cory Martin

A: Engineered Plague (and any other effect that modifies power and/or toughness of creatures) changes the power and toughness as the creature comes into play. The Mogg Fanatic would enter play as a 0/0 creature, and would be destroyed by a state-based effect (having zero toughness) before any of its abilities could be used. Note that it did come into play for a short while, so anything that would trigger on creatures coming into play, such as Soul Warden, would still trigger.

Q: I know the floor rules clearly state that proxies are not allowed if you don't have the card but want to use it anyway. But what if the situation is different? I'll give an example.

Say I'm playing in a Type 1 tournament I own a Black Lotus, and I want to play it, but I don't want to risk it losing its condition through my own reckless shuffling or my opponent's. Would I be allowed to play a proxy version of it if I have the real one with me or not, and replace it with the real one when the situation warrants it? Or is it the discretion of the tournament organizer?
--William Renzy

A: You are only allowed to use proxies in a sanctioned tournament if the card becomes damaged by accident, or if the card was miscut or damaged right out of the packaging at a Limited event. The proxy card will then be created by a judge, usually by writing on a basic land card. You can’t make your own proxies just because you don’t want to damage your card. You’re advised to use good card sleeves when you play with expensive cards.

Q: If there is a Tolarian Academy in play, would it be legal to play a second Academy and then tap it for mana before the Legend Rule sends it to the graveyard? I remember reading some match coverage of an old Pro Tour where players would do this, but Crystal Keep says that it is illegal.
--Eric Gagnon, Maine

A: It used to be allowed back in the day, but since the introduction of Sixth Edition rules, this is no longer possible. The Legend Rule (420.5e in the Comprehensive Rulebook) is a state-based effect, and it’s checked before you get priority to tap it. The rule will put the second Academy in the graveyard before it can be used.

Onslaught Questions

Q: Regarding the Callous Oppressor, what happens when I use it to control one of my opponent's creatures in response to a spell that kills the Oppressor? What about the reverse, when the Oppressor is killed in response to me using it?

A: In the first case, you gain control of the creature for a very short period of time, and give it back when the Oppressor actually leaves play. In the other case, when the Oppressor goes away before the ability resolves, you will never get control over the other creature. This ability is a so-called “Tap and hold” ability, and if the “as long as” part stops being true before the effect resolves, the effect never happens. Cards in the graveyard are neither tapped nor untapped, so the effect won’t happen. This type of effect is described in rule 418.3d in the Comprehensive Rulebook.

Q: What happens if I play Unearth and target a creature with morph? Can I put that creature into play morphed, or can't morph be used for an Unearth? Can I put a creature that costs more that three into play face-down in this way, since morph costs three?
--Alex Springer, Faribault, MN

A: You can only use morph when you play the card using the stack. If other effects put cards directly into play, you’re not allowed to use morph and put them into play face down.

Q: Let's say that I play Tinker and put a Riptide Replicator into play. Does that mean that the Riptide Replicator makes 0/0 creatures? And if so, how long do these creatures last once they are created?
--Hy Pailakian, Montreal, Canada

A: If you put the Replicator into play without paying the mana cost, it will assume X is zero, and you’ll only be able to create 0/0 creatures. These will die as soon as they enter play. They’ll trigger abilities that trigger on creatures coming into play, such as Soul Warden, but you won’t be able to use them for anything else.

Q: I was wondering if i put an Arrest on a Rotlung Reanimator, would it still allow that player to put Zombie tokens into play?

A: Arrest only stops activated abilities (with a cost). Rotlung Reanimator’s ability is triggered, and happens automatically when a Cleric or Rotlung Reanimator is put into the graveyard. It is not stopped by Arrest.

Q: I have the white Onslaught enchantment Sigil of the New Dawn along with two creatures in play. My friend plays Nevinyrral's Disk, which he later uses to destroy all creatures, artifacts, and enchantments. Since both of my creatures and the enchantment go to the graveyard at the same time, is it possible for me to use the Sigil's ability to return those creatures to my hand, or is it too late to activate the card's ability?
--Jim Kemp

A: When multiple permanents go to the graveyard from play at the same time, they all see each other going to the graveyard at the same time. The Sigil will trigger for each creature being destroyed at the same time as itself, and you’ll be able to pay to put the creature cards back in your hand when the triggered abilities resolve.

Q: I have 2 Ancestor's Prophet in play plus three other Clerics; if I were to tap all five Clerics, would I gain 20 life? Why or why not?
--Russell Kemp, Utah

A: You have to announce the use of the Prophet before you can tap creatures for it, and when you’ve tapped all five Clerics to pay for one of them, you can’t use them to pay for the other, since they’re already tapped. You can only pay one cost at a time. You will only be able to gain 10 life.

Q: I have Arcanis the Omnipotent and a Mistform Mutant in play. Can I use the Mutant's ability to change Arcanis' creature type to, say, Wurm, and then Clone him? Would the Clone become the original Arcanis and therefore be destroyed, or would he permanently be a copy of the mutated "Wurm" Arcanis?

A: You can change Arcanis to a Wurm and Clone him. The Clone becomes a copy of the original Arcanis (as it’s printed on the card), and it will be a Legend. Copy cards don’t copy effects on cards other than other copy effects. Since the original Arcanis isn’t a Legend, it will be able to co-exist with the Cloned, Legend Arcanis until end of turn, when the effect of the Mutant wears off. Then the original Arcanis will have been a Legend for the shortest period of time, and will be put into the graveyard by the Legend Rule.

Bonus Question

Q: I know it's a stupid question, but I have to ask: Is your name really Rune? What a cool name, I mean, a guy who knows tons about Magic and probably plays, named Rune.

A: Rune is my real, given name. Its a common Nordic name (about 20,000 Norwegians are named Rune), the name means “mystery” or “secret”, and has roots in the Runic alphabet used in the Nordic countries more than thousand years ago.

Rune will answer more of your questions next week and every week here at "Saturday School." You can search past Saturday School questions using our Saturday School Searchable Rules Database.

Send your rules questions to

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