Saturday School #69

Posted in Feature on March 13, 2004

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.

Darksteel Questions

Q: I have a question regarding Darksteel Colossus. Is it possible to remove Darksteel Colossus from the game if I pay enough with Disintegrate, since with Disintegrate it states that "if the creature would be put into a graveyard this turn, remove it from the game instead", or would Darksteel Colossus be shuffled back into my opponent's Library?
-- Jon Rhodes

A: Darksteel Colossus has two relevant abilities here. First, it's indestructible. Lethal damage and "destroy" effects simply don't work on it. No effect will even try to put it into a graveyard, so there's nothing for Disintegrate to replace.
Instead, let's suppose you Disintegrate it first, and then play Chainer's Edict to put it into a graveyard. In this case, the controller of the Colossus may decide whether it's removed from the game or shuffled back into its owner's library. Both the Colossus and the Disintegrate create replacement effects when the Colossus would leave play. When replacement effects conflict, the controller of the affected permanent (the Colossus) chooses the order they are applied in.

Q: I have an untapped Blinkmoth Nexus, an Arcbound Ravager and some other artifacts in play. My opponent plays Wrath of God or Akroma's Vengeance. Can I sacrifice all the artifacts, let Wrath resolve, and then change Blinkmoth Nexus into a creature to put the counters on it? My friend says that it doesn't work, because I can't respond the time the counters are put on the stack, and I must choose a target before that. Who is right?

A: Your friend is right. The Ravager's ability triggers when the Ravager is put in the graveyard, and the ability goes on the stack the next time a player gets priority, which is right after the Wrath has resolved. You must choose a target right away, and if there is no legal target, the ability is removed from the stack and won't have any effect. This happens before you can change the Nexus into a creature.

Q: What happens when Screams from Within comes back into play? Must it enchant another creature? If there are no creatures to enchant, I would imagine the spell would then go back to the graveyard, but if there is a creature in play that it can enchant, must it?
-- Oliver Pierce

A: When a creature enchanted with Screams from Within is put into the graveyard, you have to choose another creature for it to return to if there is one. The Screams first go to the graveyard, then you choose where it goes. If there is no legal creature to enchant, the Screams stay in the graveyard, and won't return to play again.

Geth's Grimoire
Q: If my opponent cycles a card, does that trigger my Geth's Grimoire?
-- Richard Lemesany

A: Yes, it does. Geth's Grimoire triggers any time your opponent discards a card, for whatever reason. One of the costs of cycling a card is discarding it, which triggers the Grimoire.

Q: My opponent has the enchantment Aurification in play, and I attack and deal damage with my Blinkmoth Nexus. It will turn into a Wall, which is a creature, but will it change back into a land when the turn ends?
-- Kevin Li

A: Yes, it will. Aurification's second ability wants to affect "each creature with a gold counter on it". It constantly checks the in-play zone for things that fit this description.
When Blinkmoth Nexus's ability wears off at the end of the turn, there's nothing to make it a creature, so Aurification will stop having any effect on it.
Turning into a land will not remove the gold counter, though – if you use Blinkmoth Nexus's ability again, it will once again be a "creature with a gold counter on it", and Aurification will turn it back into a Wall.

General/Older Card Questions

Magma Sliver
Q: I have Magma Sliver, Hunter Sliver, and Crypt Sliver in play. Knowing that all Slivers share abilities, they have each other's abilities. Now, if my Magma Sliver is put into my graveyard, do the other Slivers in play lose the ability that Magma Sliver gave them?
-- Anthony Makdessi

A: Yes, they do. All the Slivers have static abilities that are "on" as long as the Slivers are in play. The Slivers don't give each other abilities permanently, they only share abilities as long as they are in play. When Magma Sliver leaves play, the Slivers will lose the abilities given by it.

Q: My opponent plays a Hidden Spider, I play a Winged Sliver. Does this activate the Hidden Spiders effect (Winged Sliver does not explicitly state that it is itself a flying creature), or does any subsequent slivers (for example Brood Sliver) that I play which is given flying by Winged Sliver activate Hidden Spiders effect?
-- Peter Clancy

A: Yes, Hidden Spider will trigger. It only cares what a creature looks like when it's in play, not what it looked like before. Winged Sliver has flying as soon as it's in play - there is never a moment when it's in play but unaffected by its ability.
This also applies to any Slivers that come into play when a Winged Sliver is in play.

Q: If I play Leonin Abunas and equip it with Lightning Greaves, and my opponent uses Chainer's Edict or a card forces a player to sacrifice a creature, can it destroy my Abunas? My friend says that I have to sacrifice my Leonin Abunas with Lightning Greaves because the spell doesn't affect my creature, he says that this effect affects me. Is this right?

A: Yes, it is. Chainer's Edict only targets the player, not the creature, and if you are a legal target when the spell resolves, you have to sacrifice a creature. Sacrificing creatures that are untargetable or creatures with protection with black is possible, since the creature is not targeted.

Rule of Law
Q: I play a spell with storm, but Rule of Law is in play. Does the storm work?

A: The storm works. Storm is a triggered ability that triggers when the spell it's on is played. When the triggered ability resolves, it puts copies of the spell directly on the stack, without "playing" them, which is what Rule of Law works against.

Q: If my opponent has a Humility in play, and I pay to turn Mishra's Factory into a creature. Does the Factory turn back into "just a land" at the end of my turn or does it stay in its 1/1 mode until Humility is removed?
-- Toni Uusvuo

A: The Factory reverts to being just a land at the end of the turn. The effect that keeps the Factory turned into a creature has a duration, set when the ability is activated, and this is not affected by Humility. When the duration of the effect is over, the land stops being a creature, and is not affected by Humility anymore.

Q: Can Fork legally copy a spell that has no targets, for example Fact or Fiction or Read the Runes?

A: Yes, it can. Fork can copy any instant or sorcery spell. It allows you to choose new targets if the spell has any, but there is no requirement that the targeted spell must have targets to be copied.

Oracle en-Vec
Q: On the card Oracle en-Vec from Tempest, can your opponent choose zero creatures?
-- Anthony Sinconis

A: Yes, that is possible. This means that none of your opponent's creatures are able to attack. If a spell or ability tells you to choose any number of something, you can usually choose zero.

Q: I have a Skittering Skirge in play. I play a Spined Fluke. Can I sacrifice the Skittering Skirge to fulfill the Spined Fluke's ability? -- Rebecca Martin

A: No, you can't. Skittering Skirge's ability triggers when another creature spell is played (i.e, when you announce the spell), whereas Spined Fluke's ability triggers shortly afterwards, when it comes into play (i.e, when the spell resolves).
The sequence of actions goes like this (assuming no other responses):

  1. Spined Fluke spell is played.
  2. Skittering Skirge's ability triggers, and goes on the stack.
  3. The Skirge's ability resolves, and you must sacrifice the Skirge.
  4. Spined Fluke spell resolves, and comes into play.
  5. Spined Fluke's ability triggers and goes on the stack.
Spined Fluke's ability resolves, and you must sacrifice a creature. If you don't have another creature to sacrifice, you must sacrifice Spined Fluke. (A creature can't regenerate from a sacrifice).

Chromatic Sphere
Q: I have six artifacts in play, including a Chromatic Sphere. I have a Myr Enforcer in my hand, and one untapped Island. Can I play the Enforcer and use the Sphere (and draw a card) to pay for it this turn?
-- Nathaniel Shar

A: You can do this. The process of paying for spells is divided into three parts, all done as during the announcement of the spell.
First, determine the spell's cost. The cost is locked in and won't be changed later. The cost to play the Enforcer now is .
You can then play mana abilities, and this would be the time you sacrifice the Chromatic Sphere to get one mana and draw a card.
Finally, you pay the cost, using the mana you got from the Sphere to pay for the Enforcer.

Q: If I have a Deranged Hermit in play with four squirrel tokens (which then are 2/2 creatures), if another player plays Holy Light successfully, would it kill all the tokens and the Hermit at the same time?

A: It would kill them very close to the same time. All the creatures would get -1/-1, so the Hermit would be 0/0 and the Squirrels 1/1. When the game checks for state-based effects right after Holy Light resolves, the Hermit is put into the graveyard for having zero toughness. The game then checks for state-based effects again, since something happened, and because the Hermit is gone, the Squirrels no longer have the +1/+1 bonus, and are also 0/0. The Squirrels are put in the graveyard and cease to exist.

Q: I have a Canopy Dragon that is enchanted with a Rancor. If I use the activated ability that gives it flying and takes away trample, will it still have trample because of the Rancor or is the trample given to it by the Rancor lost as well?

A: It will not have trample at all. Removing an ability from a creature will remove all instances of it, so even if the Dragon has trample twice, it won't have trample after it has activated its ability. This is explained in rule 407.3 in the Comprehensive Rulebook.
Note: If you use the Dragon's ability first, and then enchant it with Rancor, it will have trample. In general, continuous effects are applied in the order they are created.

Q: Last week you said, that a sacrificed Cathodion's mana can't be used for Reshape's mana cost, because Cathodion's ability uses the stack. But isn't it a mana-ability and therefore gives you the mana as soon as it triggers?
-- Christine Scalisi

A: No. This bit of the rules is weirder than usual - Cathodion's ability produces mana, but it is not a mana ability.
The only triggered mana abilities are the ones which are triggered by playing mana abilities. So for example, Wild Growth and Overabundance are mana abilities, but Cathodion, Eladamri's Vineyard, Quirion Sentinel etc are not.
This is explained in rule 411.3 in the Comprehensive Rulebook.

Q: Can Doomsday be included as part of your graveyard if you have just played it? Are you allowed to put it back into your five card library or does the card get played out, then the Doomsday is put into your empty graveyard?
-- Brandon Schultz

A: You can not put the Doomsday that is resolving back in your five-card library. When Doomsday is resolving, the card is still on the stack, and you are only allowed to search for cards in your graveyard and your library to keep in your five-card library. Doomsday will only be put in your graveyard when it has finished resolving, after the five cards have been chosen.

Q: My friend and I played a game in which I played Snuff Out on his creature, paying the alternate cost. He then cast Rethink. We were a bit confused, but we came to the consensus that I could pay 4 mana for the spell to not be countered. Is this right?
-- Tim Froehlig

A: This is correct. Rethink gives the controller the option of paying X mana, but the X is always equal to the converted mana cost, regardless of what was actually paid for the spell. In this case, you could pay 4 mana to negate the effect of Rethink. The converted mana cost is always found by looking in the upper right corner of the card.

Genesis Chamber
Q: I have Genesis Chamber in play, and I play Shrieking Drake. Can I return to my hand and play it again, creating a lot of Myrs?

A: Yes, you can. Shrieking Drake asks you to return a creature when it comes into play, and you can choose to have it return itself. You can replay it as many times as you can pay its cost, creating a Myr token each time it comes into play.

Q: Can Wild Growth be played on the land that brought it into play? Also can multiple Wild Growths be played on the same land?
-- Matthew Jacobs

A: Wild Growth can be played on any land in play, including the land used to pay for it. (Of course, this doesn't increase the amount of mana the land has already made.) You can also play multiple Wild Growths on the same land, allowing it to tap for more mana. Each Wild Growth has a triggered ability that adds mana to your pool when the land is tapped for mana, more Wild Growths means more mana.

Q: If I have a Gauntlet of Might and a Badlands in play can I get 1 red and 1 black mana?
-- Kim Bergdahl

A: Yes, you can. Gauntlet of Might adds to your mana pool whenever a mountain is tapped for mana, and Badlands is both a mountain and a swamp. The Gauntlet will trigger regardless of which color Badlands is tapped for, so you can either get or when you tap it.

Food Chain
Q: Can I use mana from Food Chain to play morphs? How about kicker costs of creatures?
-- Lars Node

A: You can use mana from Food Chain to pay for both of these. Both the kicker costs and the to play morphs are included in the cost you pay to play the creatures, and since the spells are creature spells, you can use Food Chain mana for this. Food Chain doesn't separate the basic cost for the creature and additional costs.
(However, Food Chain mana cannot be used to pay the cost to turn a morphed creature face-up.)

Q: Am I allowed to take notes during play? For example, if I Duress my opponent, may I write down, what cards has he in his hand?
-- Michal Skrabal

A: During tournament games you can take any notes you want, as long as you don't spend too much time doing so. Noting down which cards your opponent has left in his hand after a Duress is fine. You can do this while the hand is revealed.

Thanks to Laurie Cheers and Lee Sharpe for feedback and proofreading.

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