Saturday School #64

Posted in Feature on February 7, 2004

By Rune Horvik

Send your rules questions to level 4 judge Rune Horvik at saturdayschool@horvik.com. 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.

Darksteel Questions

Iridescent Angel
Q: If Death-Mask Duplicant imprints an Iridescent Angel, does it have protection from all colors? I ask because the colors are not spelled out individually, like on Paladin en-Vec.
-- Ari Lipkin

A: It gets protection from all colors. The Angel card has protection, and Death-Mask Duplicant gets the same protection ability, also having protection from all colors. It can also get non-color protection abilities, such as a Beloved Chaplain's “protection from creatures” ability (if you can manage to imprint the card) or similar.

Q: What would happen if I had a Trinisphere and a Chalice of the Void with 3 charge counters on it?
Would that effectively counter all spells with mana cost less than or equal to 3? (including cards casted with affnity?) or am I missing something.
-- James Tyra

A: This doesn't work. Chalice of the Void only looks at the converted mana cost of the spell you play, this is determined by looking at the symbols in the top right corner of the card. It doesn't matter what you actually pay for the spell, only what the converted mana cost is. Nothing can change the converted mana cost of a card, and Trinisphere only changes what you pay to play it, this does not interact with the Chalice.

Darksteel Brute
Q: What is the relationship between +1/+1 counters and noncreature permanents? Namely if one of my modular creatures is destroyed and I transfer it's counters to my Darksteel Brute or Blinkmoth Nexus while they're creatures do the counters stay attached when they're no longer creatures? And if they stay attached would my Nexus suddenly be vulnerable to damage or being reduced to 0 toughness ?

A: The +1/+1 counters remain on the permanent, but they have no effect while it's not a creature. A permanent that's not a creature doesn't have power or toughness, and anything trying to modify these characteristics won't do anything. It would still not be possible to deal damage to the permanents when they aren't creatures, or reduce the toughness, since they don't have toughness value.
When you later activate the Brute or the Nexus again, the counters will modify the creature's power and toughness again.

Q: I just have a question about the "echoing" cards in Darksteel. They talk about creatures of the same name, so what about morph creatures. What name do morph creatures have? Can I Echoing Decay a morph creature and all other morph creatures in play would get it to?
-- Timothy Bernard

A: I assume that you mean face-down creatures when saying “morph creatures”. A creature that is face down has no name, and if creatures don't have a name, it's not possible for them to have the same name. The effect will not carry over to any other creatures if you play it on a face-down creature.

Q: Test of Faith says: "Prevent the next 3 damage that would be dealt to target creature this turn, and put a +1/+1 counter on that creature for each 1 damage prevented this way."
Does this mean the creature keep the counters past this turn?
-- Antonio Balmaseda

A: Yes, it does. Since the effect doesn't tell you to remove the counters at any point, the counters stay on “forever” even past the end of the turn.

Reshape
Q: If I play Reshape and sacrifice a modular creature to search for another modular creature will I be able to put the counters from the first on the one I searched for? Does the sacrificed creature go on the stack first, or will the spell?

A: You can't move the counters to the creature you searched for. The modular ability triggers when you sacrifice the creature to pay for Reshape's cost, and it goes on the stack on top of Reshape. You have to choose a target, and put the counters on the target before Reshape resolves, and the “new” creature won't have come into play yet.

Q: Do I have to put my +1+1 counters on my opponents artifact creature if one of my Arcbound leaves and I have no other creatures to transfer the counters to?
-- Crystal Sage

A: No, you don't. Modular says that you may put the counters on another artifact creature – if you don't want to put the counters on anything, you can choose not to.

Dismantle
Q: I am curious about how Dismantle combines with the Arcbound creatures. If you Dismantle your own Arcbound do you get to move its counters as well as place the new ones gained from the Dismantle or only one of them?
-- Jordan Morrison

A: You get counters from both. Dismantle gives the same amount of counters to that the targeted artifact had to something else, but it doesn't give the actual counters away. The modular effect does the same, even though the reminder text on the card says “move”. Both the effects just determine how many counters the permanent had, and lets you put that many counters on something else.

Q: Can Dismantle choose different targets in its distribution of counters?
-- Bryan Martinez

A: No, it can't. Its effect tells you to put “that many counters on an artifact you control”. This is singular, and you can only choose one artifact. All the counters go on the same artifact, you can't split them up.

Q: What happens at the end of the turn when I turn my Darksteel Brute into a creature and equip it? Does the equipment stays on the Brute or unattach itself ?
-- Bruno Siracusa

A: It gets unattached. Rule 212.2i in the Comprehensive Rulebook says that an quipment that equips an illegal or nonexistent permanent stops equipping that permanent, but remains in play. Rule 212.2g says that equipment can't be attached to something that's not a creature, so when the Brute stops being a creature, the equipment “falls off” and stays in play as an unattached equipment. You can attach it to something else later, of course.

Q: Is it possible to target creature spells (on the stack) with Hallow, for instance a Crater Hellion and if so, what would happen?
-- Sander Verdonschot

A: Hallow can target any spell on the stack, including creature spells, and rule 419.8a in the Comprehensive Rulebook says that if the player chooses an artifact, creature, or enchantment spell as the source, the prevention will apply to any damage from that spell and from the permanent that it becomes when it resolves.
You will also gain life from all the damage the card deals, which means that you will gain 4 life for each creature in play.

Panoptic Mirror
Q: Can you imprint an X spell such as Fireball on Panoptic Mirror by paying the X cost when you imprint it (such as if you imprint Fireball paying and doing 3 damage every time you use it)?

A: No, this doesn't work. When you imprint a card with Panoptic Mirror, you only pay the activation cost for the imprint ability, and the card is removed from the game. You can't pay any cost at this time, and you don't get to choose the value of X.
When Panoptic Mirror creates a copy of the imprinted card in the upkeep, you are allowed to play the copy, but since you are not paying the mana cost, the only value for X you are allowed to choose is zero, and you don't get to do any damage with the Fireball.

Q: How does it work if I imprint many instants or sorceries on Panoptic Mirror, do I get to choose which one will be the copied?
For example: I imprint both Time Walk and Ancestral Recall - will I get to choose or will the last imprinted apply only?
-- Jyri Kataja

A: You get to choose which card is copied. Panoptic Mirror says that you “may copy and imprinted instant or sorcery card”, it doesn't say anything about the “last card”, so you can choose any of the cards. Only one card can be copied, of course.

Mirrodin's Core
Q: If Mirrodin's Core has more then one charge counter on it, can I remove more than one charge counter and add more then one mana to my mana pool when I tap it?

A: No, you can't. The activation cost is to tap it, and remove “a” charge counter, which means one counter.
You have to pay that cost every time you activate the ability, and you can't pay any more or any less than that. You have to tap the Core in addition to removing the counter, so you need to get the Core untapped before you can activate it again and remove another counter.

Q: According to the wording on Lich's Tomb, it states (damage causes loss of life). Now, if I have a Grinning Demon in play and I am set to lose 2 life during my upkeep would I have to sacrifice two permanents or since I am not being damaged, but just losing life, do I sacrifice no permanents?

A: You still have to sacrifice two permanents. The text on Lich's Tomb is a reminder text, telling you that damage causes loss of life, but this is not the only way you can lose life. Any effect that specifically says that you lose life will also trigger the Tomb, causing you to sacrifice permanents.

Mycosynth Lattice
Q: If I have Mycosynth Lattice and March of the Machines in play, do enchant creatures that are in play fall off the creature they enchant and become artifact creatures?

A: Yes, they do. The Lattice causes the enchantments to become artifacts, and then March of the Machines turns them into creatures. A local enchantment that's also a creature can't enchant anything. It's put into its owner's graveyard the next time state-based effects are checked.

Q: What happens when I have Skullclamp on a creature and my opponent destroys both of them with Pernicious Deed? Does it matter who's turn is active?
-- Mauro Lemos

A: You still get to draw the card. Multiple permanents that go to the graveyard at the same time see the other cards going to the graveyard at the same time, Skullclamp's ability will trigger, and you can draw cards. You would not get to draw the card if Skullclamp was destroyed first, but in this case, they are destroyed at the same time.

General/Older Card Questions

Aura Graft
Q: Can you Aura Graft a Control Magic onto a Troll Ascetic? It seems like since Aura Graft doesn't actually target that "another permanent", you could.

A: You can do this. Aura Graft only targets the enchantment, and it can be moved to any permanent it could legally enchant.
Local enchantments only target when they are played, after they have resolved, they are just “attached” to the permanent they enchant, and doesn't target anymore. Moving a local enchantment doesn't target unless the spell or ability specifically say it does.
The one thing the Control Magic can't enchant is a creature with protection from any of the qualities of the Control Magic card – it can't be moved to anything with protection from blue or protection from enchantments, since it can't enchant this.

Q: Let's say I have a Mistform Ultimus and a Mistform Mutant in play, with two islands untapped. My opponent activates his Wirefly Hive and loses the flip. Can I use the Mutant's ability to save the Ultimus?
-- Ross Okapal

A: If you want to change the creature type of the Ultimus, you must do so before the Hive's ability resolves. Once the coin has been flipped, and lost, all creatures with the type Wirefly are immediately destroyed – you can't play any spells or abilities during the resolution of another spell or ability. You can use the Mutant to change the type of the Ultimus in response to the activation of Wirefly Hive, but you have to do so before seeing the result of the coin flip.

Q: If I sacrifice Mindslaver and make my opponent cast Spoils of the Vault, if I name a card that isn't in his/her library will he still be damaged by all the cards, and are they removed from the game?

A: This is all correct. When you have used Mindslaver, you make all the decisions for the other player on the turn you control, including choosing the card name. The player who is being controlled is still the player playing the spell, and will suffer the consequence from the “bad choice”. The spells effect causes the player who plays it to lose life, and the cards are removed from the game.

Q: I have a Clone card in play (say it has cloned Birds of Paradise) and I play Day of the Dragons. My Clone card gets taken out of play. If my opponent destroys Day of the Dragons and Clone comes back, do I get to Clone another creature, or does it remain a Bird?

A: Since the Clone comes into play again, you get to Clone another creature, if there is one available. Once Clone leaves play, it forgets everything about its previous existence, and if there aren't any Birds of Paradise in play when the Clone comes back, you can't choose to copy the Birds.

Duplicant
Q: Playing on Magic Online, whenever I cast Duplicant and imprint an equipped creature on it, the Duplicant doesn't benefit from power/toughness increases from the equipment. Is that correct? Because the wording on Duplicant plainly says 'gets target creature's power/toughness'. That's confusing to me.
-- Todd Brown

A: Magic Online has it correct. Duplicant doesn't say that it gets target creature's power and toughness, it gets the power and toughness of the imprinted card. When the card is removed from the game, it's no longer equipped (and any other effects on it also wear off), so Duplicant only get the power and toughness printed on the card, without considering any modifiers it had when it was in play.

Q: Does the spell Choking Vines stop all damage from trampling creatures? -- Steffen Foss

A: No, it doesn't. Choking Vines causes the creatures to become blocked, but in the combat damage step, creatures with trample still get to assign damage to the player if they deal more damage than is needed to destroy all the blocking creatures. Since there aren't any blocking creatures here, all the damage can be assigned directly to the player.

Q: If I play Deconstruct and my opponent sacrifices the targeted artifact in response, will I still get the 3 green mana back?

A: No, you won't. A spell that doesn't have any legal target when it tries to resolve is countered, and has no effect at all. Deconstruct only targets the artifact, and if the artifact isn't there when it resolves, nothing happens, and you don't get any mana.

Q: Can Power Conduit remove poison counters from yourself. I don't think so because I am not a permanent, but I don't really know.
-- Bryan Gerding

A: Power Conduit can only remove counters from permanents, so poison counters can't be removed, as they are on a player, and a player is not a permanent.
It can't take counters of anything else that's not a permanent either, such as an Ertai's Meddling that is removed from the game, waiting to resolve.

Q: The card "The Abyss" says that a player puts target creature into the graveyard. Does this mean that a card with protection from black can survive if it's the only creature a player controls?
-- Hans Kamerman

A: This is correct. You have to choose a legal target for the ability when it's put on the stack, and if a creature can't be targeted, or has protection from black, you can't target it with The Abyss. If there are no legal targets, the ability is removed from the stack, and has no effect.

Q: If March of the Machines is in play, and you have a Sculpting Steel which is a copy of Aladdin's Lamp, is it a 3/3 or a 10/10 creature?
-- Josh Gunnison

A: It's a 10/10 creature. Sculpting Steel will for all purposes count as an Aladdin's Lamp, it takes on all the characteristics of whatever it copies, including the mana cost.

Thanks to Lee Sharpe for feedback and proofreading.

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