Saturday School #85

Posted in Feature on July 3, 2004

By Rune Horvik

Can't find the answer to your question? Maybe it's already been answered! Try the Saturday School Searchable Rules Database.

Fifth Dawn Questions

Contamination
Q: What happens when Joiner Adept and Contamination are in play at the same time? I would think the order you play them makes a difference.
-- Carlos Benitez

A: It doesn't make any difference – the lands will always tap for black mana and nothing else. Joiner Adept gives the ability to tap for any color of mana to all lands. Contamination has a replacement effect (indicated by the word "instead") that replaces whichever mana you tap the land for with . Timestamp is not relevant here.

Q: Does playing a land from your graveyard using Crucible of Worlds count as your one land?

A: Yes, it does. You're normally only allowed to play one land each turn, and Crucible of Worlds just adds another place you can play the land from, it doesn't change the number of lands you can play.

Q: When using Plunge into Darkness, can you sacrifice your opponent's creatures to gain life
-- Karl Chattington

A: No, you can't. You can only sacrifice creatures you control, it's not possible to sacrifice something you don't control.
See the Glossary entry for "sacrifice" in the Comprehensive Rulebook.

Silent Arbiter
Q: When I have a Silent Arbiter in play, can I first declare an attacker and wait for my opponent to see if he is going to declare his blocker and, if any, can I destroy it before it can block?
-- Adrian Vincent Samoy

A: This doesn't work. After you have declared attackers, both players have the opportunity to play spells and abilities, and once both players pass without doing anything in this step, the game goes to the declare blockers step, where your opponent can declare his blocker. He does this in the beginning of this step, and after this, both players can play spells and abilities again, but once your opponent has the chance to block, there is nothing you can do to stop him from doing so.
If you want to stop your opponent from blocking you must do so right after your attacker is declared, once you give your opponent the opportunity to block, he does so right away.

Q: When an instant or sorcery card has the effect of "add [something] to your mana pool", such as Mana Geyser, does the mana stay there forever, or will it go away due to mana burn?

A: When something adds mana to your mana pool, you have to spend it by the end of the current phase, otherwise you get mana burn, and lose life for all unspent mana. The unused mana goes away when you take mana burn. It's not possible to keep mana forever unless you use Upwelling.

Q: If my opponent has Dawn's Reflection enchanting a land he controls, can my Sylvok Explorer create any type of mana?
-- Curtis Hart

A: No, it can't. Sylvok Explorer can produce only the same mana as your opponent's lands can, and Dawn's Reflection doesn't give the land the ability to tap for any color of mana (like Joiner Adept), it just adds extra mana when you tap the land for it's usual color of mana. This mana is produced directly by Dawn's Reflection, and Sylvok Explorer doesn't see this.

General/Older Card Questions

Whipcorder
Q: I have a Whipcorder, block a creature with it, and then tap it in response to blocking to tap another creature. Is this legal?
-- Michael Shewmaker

A: Yes, it is, but it may not accomplish what you want to do. Tapping an attacking creature after it has been legally declared an attacker doesn't stop it from attacking or remove it from combat. You can of course just tap another creature if that's what you want. Your Whipcorder will still deal combat damage to the creature it blocks, even if it's tapped when you assign combat damage.

Q: I have a Magnivore in play. Its power/toughness is 4/4, since there are four sorcery cards in the graveyard. My opponent plays Blaze to damage Magnivore for 4 points. Will Magnivore die or not?
-- Maciej Laba

A: It survives. When Blaze resolves, the Magnivore takes 4 damage, then the Blaze card is put into the graveyard. The game doesn't check for lethal damage during the resolution of a spell or ability, only after the spell has resolved, and at that point, the Magnivore has 5 toughness, since the Blaze is in the graveyard.
Checking for lethal damage is a state-based effects, and checking this is only done when a player would gain priority – after putting something on the stack, after resolving something or after playing a land.

Q: I was wondering about the card Consecrate Land from Beta. Its Oracle text states
"Enchanted land can't be enchanted except by Consecrate Land. If enchanted land would be destroyed, remove all damage from it instead."
Does that mean that according to magic rules "destroy" effects are "damage" effects? And if so, a land destroyed by for example a Stone Rain would have been dealt lethal damage? I think that there must be something really wrong in that Oracle text, or am I wrong?
-- Joakim Andersson

A: Destroying something is not damage. The Oracle text works fine.
Consecrate Land has a replacement effect that replaces one thing (being destroyed) with another (removing damage). This assures that regardless of how the land is destroyed, the land will remain in play. The original event is completely replaces and doesn't happen, only the new event, and this means that the land isn't destroyed. There is no need to specifically say that the land isn't destroyed.
It's not enough to just say that the land "isn't destroyed", because if it has lethal damage, and it's an animated land, it would just be destroyed again immediately after not being destroyed, so it's necessary to also remove all the damage from it for the card to work as originally intended, and by replacing the destruction with removing damage instead, this is accomplished.
If the card was made today, it would probably make the land indestructible.

Dingus Egg
Q: There is a Dingus Egg and a Mycosynth Lattice in play. A player plays Shatterstorm. Will the damage from the lands be dealt or is the Dingus Egg in the graveyard before its ability goes on the stack?
-- Martijn Vastert

A: Dingus Egg will deal damage for anything destroyed at the same time as itself. Shatterstorm destroys all the artifacts at the same time, in this case all permanents. When an ability triggers off a permanent leaving play, the game looks back in time to determine what triggers, which means that Dingus Egg will be able to trigger off any land that leaves play at the same time as itself. Once the ability has triggered, it doesn't matter if the Dingus Egg is in play anymore, damage is still dealt even if Dingus Egg has left play.

Q: I have March of the Machines and Darksteel Ingot in play, and my opponent plays a Duplicant, imprinting my Darksteel Ingot, which is a creature because of March. How big will the Duplicant be? 2/4, 3/3 or 0/0?

A: The Duplicant will be 2/4. Duplicant only takes on the power and toughness of the imprinted card if the card is a creature card, in any other case, Duplicant has its default 2/4 power and toughness. It doesn't matter what the card's power and toughness were when it was in play, if it's not a creature card (having "creature" on its type line), it doesn't affect the values of Duplicant.

Q: With Epic Struggle in play "at the beginning of your upkeep, if you control twenty or more creatures, you win the game."
Natural Affinity, being an instant, can be played in the upkeep. Assuming it's not countered and it stays on top of the stack without being trifled with, would those lands count towards the twenty needed to win? The term "At the beginning" is what is making me ask.
-- John Gatens

A: The animated lands would count towards the twenty creatures when the ability resolves, but the ability only triggers if there are twenty creatures in play when the upkeep begins, so they would usually not be needed.
Epic Struggle has a condition that must be met for it to trigger, this condition is listed after the word "if". At the beginning of the upkeep, the ability only goes on the stack if you control more than twenty creatures. If you don't have twenty creatures, the ability doesn't trigger, and nothing happens. It doesn't matter if you manage to have twenty creatures later in the upkeep, they must be there when the upkeep begins for you to be able to win the game like this.
See rule 404.3 in the Comprehensive Rulebook.

Heartseeker
Q: If my opponent has a creature with protection from black, for example White Knight, and my Heartseeker card is equipped to my black creature, can I use the Heartseeker's unattach ability to destroy my opponent's creature?

A: No, you can't. Heartseeker gives the ability to the creature it equips, and the source of the activated ability is the creature. Since the source is a black creature, you're not allowed to target anything with protection from black, which means that you can't destroy the White Knight like this.

Q: For Legend cards, are you allowed to have more than one of the same Legend card? For example, are you allowed to have two Silvos, Rogue Elemental?
-- Sean Clark

A: You are allowed to have four of a Legend card in your deck, but no more than one Legend with the same name can be in play at any time.
If a second copy of a Legend is put into play, the one that has been a Legend the longest remains in play and the other is put into its owner's graveyard.
The same is also true for legendary permanents, like Mindslaver.
This is known as the Legend Rule, and is rule 420.5e in the Comprehensive Rulebook.

Q: I play Meddling Mage and say that Vindicate can't be played. Then I return Meddling Mage to my hand to summon Silver Drake. At the moment Meddling Mage is back in my hand again, can my opponent play Vindicate?

A: Yes, he can. Continuous effects from static abilities on permanents are only active as long as the permanent is in play. Once Meddling Mage leaves play, its effect ends, and Vindicate can be played again. It's not possible to use the same Mage to stop many cards from being played by repeatedly returning it to your hand and replaying it.

Q: If you have tapped cards in play and you draw, as if it were the beginning of your turn, and you forgot to untap those cards can you untap them after your draw step?

A: It's not allowed to "forget" to untap permanents. Sometimes you may end up doing things in the wrong order because you're playing too fast, such as drawing your card before untapping, in this case you just have to untap right away.
Note that you're not allowed to intentionally do this to gain more information, for example by drawing your card before choosing which land to untap with Winter Orb in play. But if it's just a mistake, you would be allowed to untap even if it's slightly at the wrong time.

Nim Devourer
Q: The card Nim Devourer has an activated ability ": return this card from the graveyard to play", does this mean that activated abilities such as the new equip ability can be played from the graveyard, (eg, equip to a dead creature, then bring back that creature subsequently bringing back the equipment attached to it.)
-- Doug Coule

A: This doesn't work. The only abilities you can activate on a card that's in a graveyard are abilities that specifically say that they can be activated when the card is in the graveyard (such as Glory) and abilities that can only work when the card is in the graveyard (usually abilities that return cards from the graveyard to play, such as Undead Gladiator). Other abilities can only be activated when the card is in play, it's not possible to activate equipment in the graveyard, and it's not possible to equip something in the graveyard.
See rule 402.8 in the Comprehensive Rulebook.

Q: My friend puts a Polar Kraken into play using Sneak Attack. He states there is a rule that says "if an effect instructs a player to put an object into play, that object is not considered played." He insists that the Polar Kraken does not come into play tapped because of this rule. I said if that were true then you could use Phage in a Sneak Attack deck and ignore the "comes into play" penalty. Please help.
-- Patrick Simmons

A: Your friend is only partially correct. An effect that puts something into play is not the same as "playing it", but this is not relevant here. Sneak Attack puts creatures directly into play, and won't trigger anything that says "if you played this from your hand...", but Polar Kraken doesn't say this. It just says that it comes into play tapped, and this applies regardless of how it comes into play.
If Phage comes into play and isn't "played from your hand", you lose the game, and this also happens if you put it into play with Sneak Attack.

Q: I know equipment doesn't change owners if a player takes control of your equipped creature but what if I had a Nightmare Lash attached? Does the creature still get the bonus for the Swamps I control?

A: The creature still gets the bonus. The equipment that gives the bonus is still controlled by you, and still refers to you when it counts the Swamps. The equipped creature will get +1/+1 for each Swamp you control, even if you are not the controller of the creature.

Pulse of the Forge
Q: Are you allowed to play Pulse of the Forge targeting yourself, and having it return to your hand, even if your opponents have a lower life total than you?
--Jake Hoshgothen

A: This doesn't work. Pulse of the Forge only returns if "that player" has more life than you, and this means the targeted player. You can never have more life than yourself, which means that the Pulse can never return to your hand if you target yourself.

Results of last week's poll:

It's your turn and the only card in your hand is Prosperity. You play it with X = 1, so that each player simultaneously draws a card. Your opponent uses Words of Waste, so that you draw a card and simultaneously discard the card of your choice.
You draw the card and have to discard it.445751.1%
You draw the card, and you can't discard anything because your hand is empty.315236.2%
You can decide whether to do A or B, but you don't get to see what the card is first.7208.3%
You can look at the card and decide whether to do A or B.3874.4%
Total8716100.0%

The correct answer is that you draw the card, and you can't discard anything because your hand is empty. Prosperity makes both players draw a card at the same time, but Words of Waste causes you to discard a card at the same time as your opponent would draw a card. This means that you're supposed to discard and draw a card at the same time, and since you need to decide what you're supposed to discard at the same as you're doing it, you can't choose the card you're drawing, as it appears in your had at the exact same time as you're discarding it.

Saturday School will take a break for the summer, and will be back some time in August.

Thanks to Lee Sharpe for feedback and proofreading.

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