Seven of Ten

Posted in Feature on February 25, 2006

By John Carter

Send your rules questions to Level Four Judge John Carter. Can't find the answer to your question somewhere else, like the Magic Comprehensive Rules? Maybe he's already answered it! Try the Saturday School Searchable Rules Database.

Guildpact is now tournament legal in Constructed. We're two-thirds of the way through the Ravnica block, and the Standard format is up in the air right now. Of course there are Guildpact goodies, but we also have bits and pieces from all over Magic's history this week, including a card that just showed up on Magic Online at the end of last year.

Leyline of Lightning
Q: If I have Leyline of Lightning out on the board and I play a creature with bloodthirst, does the creature get its bloodthirst if I pay to do damage to an opponent? --Jordan F.

A: Yes, the Leyline trigger goes on the stack on top of the thirsty creature spell. By the time the creature arrives, your opponent has been bloodied.

Q: A Skarrgan Firebird is put into play via Killer Instinct, attacks for three damage, and gets sacrificed to Scorched Rusalka. If I resurrect it with its own ability, does it still have to be sacrificed at end of turn? --Simon K.

A: No, once the Firebird has left play, Killer Instinct loses track of it.

*Extra*: You don't even need the Rusalka to get the Firebird back. Take the same scenario, but the Firebird is sacrificed to the Instinct at the end of turn. Before leaving the step, you could activate the now dead Firebird's return ability.

Q: What happens if I have in play two Ink-Treader Nephilim and target one of them with Giant Growth? Will I get endless multiplication of the spell? --Luca M.

A: No, the copies made by the Ink-Treader aren't played (they're put directly on the stack), so the other Ink-Treader doesn't trigger.

Q: If I have Poisonbelly Ogre in play and I play a Hunted Phantasm does it trigger once or five times?
--Noel

A: The Ogre triggers once for your creature and five times for your opponent's new Goblins.

Q: If I remove a haunted creature from the game with Voyager Staff, will it still be haunted when it comes back into play? --Ben M.

A: No, the creature returned to play isn't the same creature that was haunted.

Q: What would happen if I sacrificed Ghost Council of Orzhova to its own ability? --John

A: It would be put into the graveyard and wouldn't come back into play.

Hissing Miasma
Q: Will my opponent be dealt one damage by Hissing Miasma for each attacking creature or just one damage regardless of how many creatures attack that turn? --Ted S.

A: Hissing Miasma triggers once for each creature. Also, it's losing life, not damage - an important distinction, since prevention and Worship won't stop the Miasma.

Q: My friend has Izzet Guildmage and he plays a Blaze for four. Can he copy the Blaze with the Guildmage? Does the copy deal 0 damage? --Emmanuel V.

A: A Blaze for four has a converted mana cost of five, so you can't copy it with the Guildmage. If you play Blaze for one, then you could copy it and have the copy deal one as well.

*Extra*: Compared to Blazing for one with the Guildmage, Pyromatics is a slightly more efficient way of spreading around damage.

Q: With all the new multicolor cards, what I've really been wondering is do they count as each color separately and as multicolor, or just as multicolor alone? --Eric

A: A multicolored card is multicolored and counts for each of its colors. For instance, Izzet Guildmage can be countered or destroyed with Pyroblast (Blue) or Hydroblast (Red) and will trigger Rewards of Diversity (multicolored).

Q: If I have Woodwraith Corrupter in play and have already made a Forest into an Elemental (which doesn't seem to end at end of turn), what happens if a Plague Boiler goes off? --John R.

A: Plague Boiler won't destroy Forests that have been made into Elementals (which doesn't end with the turn). Effects looking for nonland permanents ignore things that are both a land and creature.

Q: Is it possible to Stifle away the two Centaurs from Hunted Horror? --Robert A.

A: As is Blue's style, Stifle can't stop the creatures themselves, but it can stop the triggered ability from ever creating them.

Q: If I were to pay into Thoughtpicker Witch, does this ability happen one-by-one for each mana, or does it just inflate once? --Giles H.

A: You'll pay ten times and do the effect ten times in a row. Don't forget there's also a cost of sacrificing a creature that you must ay as well - once per activation.

*Extra*: Because you're looking at two and removing one, any next resolution in sequence you'll be looking at the one you left there and the second one down. You'll have to wait for the top card to change before reactivating it if you want to look at two new cards.

Q: My opponent enchanted my Greater Mossdog with Stasis Cell. Later I sacrificed the Mossdog to Golgari Rotwurm. He argued that he could move the Cell before SBEs were checked. Who is correct? --Ethan T.

A: State-based effects (SBEs) are checked just before a player gets priority. Your opponent can't event try to activate the Cell after you sacrifice the Mossdog. You'll announce the Rotwurm ability, spend and put the Mossdog in the graveyard, SBEs will put the Cell in the graveyard, and then the active player gets priority.

Q: Can I activate Sparksmith and a use Reroute to change the target of the ability so my opponent would take damage instead of me? --Tristan W.

A: You can change the target with Reroute, but the player being damaged isn't the target - a creature is. Whatever the target is, the controller of that ability is going to take the damage.

Q: My opponent has three creatures and Glare of Subdual in play. I attacked him with my six creatures. Then he blocks three of my creatures then tapped my three unblocked creatures using the Glare. Is that legal? --Wilson

A: Technically, it's legal, but it doesn't normally do anything. In particular, the three Glared creatures are still attacking and will still deal damage to you. In order to keep a creature from attacking, you must tap it before it's declared as an attacker (such as during the beginning of attack step). Tapping it later won't undo the attack.

*Extra*: Such a tactic wouldn't normally matter, but if your opponent is attacking with creatures that have Vigilance and you can live through the unblocked damage, you might play that way to kill a few attackers and tap the vigilant creatures so they won't be able to block later.

Drop of Honey
Q: I have an Argothian Enchantress and Drop of Honey in play. Will the Drop be forced to try and target the Enchantress or will it skip over it because it can't be the target of spells or abilities? --Karl G.

A: The Drop will target another zero-power creature if there is a targetable one in play. Otherwise, the Drop will do nothing, since a one or more power creature doesn't have the least power. The Enchantress will keep the Drop of Honey in play since it is a creature, untargetable or not.

Q: How do the layers work?

A: "Layers" are the system the game uses to apply continuous effects to figure out how an object's characteristics are affected. For example, does a creature you own get a bonus from your Glorious Anthem if your opponent plays Dream Leash? (No.) There are six layers with the sixth layer having five sub-layers. Here's a breakdown of the layers (with examples):
1- Copy (Clone)
2- Control (Dream Leash)
3- Text (Sleight of Mind, Magical Hack)
4- Type (Blood Moon)
5- Other except P/T (the haste portion of Grab the Reins, etc.)
6- P/T
6a- P/T characteristic-setting abilities (Mortivore)
6b- Other effects not in 6c-6e (P/T setting, etc.)
6c- Counters (Dragon Blood)
6d- Modifying, but not setting, P/T (Crusade)
6e- Switching P/T (Dwarven Thaumaturgist)

Let's say you Clone (1) my Revenant, and I Persuasion (2) the Clone. The copy layer makes the Clone look like a Revenant, and the control layer makes the persuaded Revenant/Clone look at my graveyard, not yours.

Q: Could you please explain to me how Barbarian Bully's ability works? My wife and I disagree on it, and we need to find out what the exact meaning is. --Robert A.

A: The ability activates by discarding a card at random. When the ability resolves, players have two choices, either let the Bully get +2/+2 or take four damage from the Bully's ability. If any player takes the four damage, then the Bully stays a 2/2. If not, it becomes a 4/4.

Q: My deck involves Flash. I looked at the Gatherer text, but I'm still a little confused. Does Flash still put the creature into play if I don't pay the creature's now reduced cost, or does the creature go directly into the graveyard and never enter play? --Noah W.

A: As printed, the creature card was put into play. At the time, this wasn't a huge problem, but as creatures had better and better comes into play or leaves play abilities, this loophole needed closing. With errata, creature card goes into play if the cost difference is paid or directly into the graveyard if it isn't.

*Extra*: You can thank Academy Rector and friends for spoiling the party.

Enduring Ideal
Q: Normally White Knight couldn't be targeted by the Enfeeblement, but what if it were put directly into play (let's say with Enduring Ideal - like with Confiscate and Kodama of the North Tree)? My question is: if this event were to happen, what would be the result? --Derek S.

A: Before I get the question, let me make it clear that Enduring Ideal will let you ignore "can't be the target of spells or abilities," but it will not let you ignore protection. You can Confiscate a Kodama of the North Tree with Enduring Ideal, but not if it has protection from Blue.

That said, we could work Enfeeblement onto a White Knight with a little help from our friend Swirl the Mists. Let's make our White Knight Blue with Thoughtlace, and then play Sunken City and Swirl the Mists (choosing Blue). We now have a protection from Blue White Knight that's Blue and is 3/3. Now Enfeeblement the Knight - it's a 1/1 Blue guy with pro: blue thanks to Swirl the Mists. Play another Swirl and choose Black this time. The Blue Knight loses the +1/+1 from the Sunken City and it's pro: blue turns to pro: black. When state-based effects are checked, the game sees a 0/0 Knight and a Black Aura on a pro: black creature. Both are put into the graveyard.

Q: In Two-Headed Giant, if an opponent damages us with a Hypnotic Specter, do we both discard a card or only one of us and who chooses? --Jered M.

A: Only one player will discard. When combat damage is assigned in Two-Headed Giant, damage dealt by a given attacking creature to an opposing team is assigned to just one of the players by the attacking team (likely the creature's controller, though teams may confer quickly to be sure of their choice).

Q: My friend and I have been playing Magic for a long time. Recently, my friend started reading the rulebook and showering me with challenges: He is in his main phase and he plays an Arachnoid. He doesn't attack and says, "I end my turn." It's only then that I realize that I have a Remove Soul. I know that he has already finished, but I think I should still get to play it since I haven't started my untap step. --Jonathan R.

A: Players must give each other the opportunity to respond to spells. A player can't just play a spell and say they're done without that opportunity to respond. However, if you indicate you have no response, you can't go back afterwards if you realize you could have done something. Your opponent can't rush you, but you can forget.

For high-level events, players will often be very careful about confirming whether the opponent has a response. "Ok" isn't always clear because it could signify that the spell has been heard or that there is no response. Often players will actually say "no response" or "it resolves" to maximize clarity. Sometimes something as simple as eye contact or a nod is fine, but no player can end a turn or resolve a spell without giving the opponent a change to do something.

Monday is the online launch for Guildpact. That weekend is Pro Tour Honolulu, featuring the best players in the world playing in the fresh new Standard format. Tune in to magicthegathering.com for plenty of coverage and highlights.

Class Dismissed.

--Carter

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