Last weekend Saturday School took a field trip to one of the many Team Constructed Pro Tour Charleston Qualifiers. We open today with several questions directly from that event.
Q: What is unified deck construction?
A: Unified deck construction means that the entire mixture of all decks and sideboards on a given team is legal in the format. For example, no more than four copies of any card except basic lands can appear in the combined mixture regardless of what decks they actually are in. If your opponent plays four Umezawa's Jitte, your teammates' opponents on that team won't have any.
A: Pithing Needle won't affect Zur's Weirding - the Weirding is a continuous ability generating a replacement effect (uses "instead"). Pithing Needle shuts down only Firemane Angel's return to play graveyard ability - the other abilities aren't activated.
Q: Does Umezawa's Jitte get counters if I sacrifice the creature it was attached to after stacking damage?
A: If the creature is no longer in play when the damage resolves, then the Jitte can't be attached to it. Thus, the Jitte isn't equipping anything and will not get counters.
Q: Does playing a second Ghost Council of Orzhova cause it to trigger?
A: Yes, the fact the legend rule will put both into the graveyard as a state-based effect doesn't negate the fact it came into play and its ability triggered.
*Extra*: State-based effects are checked when a player gets priority and resolve immediately. If both are in play, you won't have the opportunity to save one before SBEs kick in. You could respond to the Ghost spell by sacrificing the Ghost in play to itself so the upcoming Ghost will be the only one around.
Q: What happens if I remove Ghost Council of Orzhova from the game with its ability, play another one, and them remove that one, too?
A: At the end of turn, you'll have two triggers to stack. One trigger will return a Ghost, and a new trigger will drain your opponent for one (giving it to you). When the other Ghost's trigger resolves, the Ghost will come into play and trigger; SBEs will put both Ghosts into the graveyard, and then you'll get to stack the second drain trigger.
A: Keiga will be destroyed and trigger, you'll put a 1/1 white Spirit token creature into play, and Seize the Soul's haunt will trigger. Then both triggers will be put on the stack (active player first, then non-active player - APNAP) targeting the only possible target - the brand new token.
A: Yes, Threads of Disloyalty is an Aura with enchant creature. The "with converted mana cost 2 or less" modifies what kind of enchant creature it is, but it's still an enchant creature.
A: Yes, the Shoal doesn't take away the "combatness" of the creature's damage, even if the player damaged isn't the defending player.
A: A "source" is a permanent in play, a spell on the stack, or an object referred to by something on the stack (an ability or combat damage, for example). The source does not need to be in play when Shining Shoal resolves or when the damage resolves - the object that referenced the source that was on the stack is connection enough for Shining Shoal to remember the source.
*Extra*: You can think of Shining Shoal as affecting three pieces. Those pieces are the target, the source, and the shielded player and creatures. The main piece is the target. It must be named while announcing the Shoal. If the target is illegal when the Shoal would resolve, the Shoal is countered. If the target is gone when the Shoal would redirect damage, nothing happens. The source is chosen as the Shoal resolves. It doesn't matter if something happens to the source after the Shoal resolves. The final piece is the creatures and player protected. If a creature or player that was going to take damage doesn't (the creature was bounced or destroyed before the source's damage resolved), the redirection shield sits there waiting for the next time that source would deal damage - not likely in most turns.
Q: If our third game is a draw, who starts the fourth game?
A: If the first three games end in a tied match (1-1-1 or 0-0-3), and there's time left in the round, a fourth game is played. The player who had the choice of playing or drawing at the start of the drawn game gets to choose again.
Q: An opponent plays a Beastmaster's Magemark on his creature. His teammate also has Glorious Anthem in play. He stated that all of his creatures get the Magemark bonus since Glorious Anthem is "enchanting them." That doesn't work, right? --Cho
A: No, being affected by an enchantment isn't the same as being enchanted by an enchantment. Only Auras, not regular enchantments, will cause the Magemark bonuses.
Q: Does a Genju'd land count as an enchanted creature for the Magemark effects if the Magemark is attached to a different creature you control? --Mo
A: Yes, animated Genjus will get Magemark bonuses. The Magemarks ask two simple questions: Is it a creature? Is it enchanted? Magemarks don't actually care if the Aura is an enchant creature.
Q: The effects of the cards Necromancer's Magemark and Leyline of the Void have been ruled to prevent cards from reaching the graveyard thru their activated ability. How does this work if a creature is sent to the graveyard because of lethal damage or 0 toughness (since they're state-based effects)? --Dan
A: It doesn't matter what is sending the card to the graveyard, those replacement effects (uses "instead") will replace the graveyard event with a return to hand or remove from game event instead.
*Extra*: Be careful with words like "prevent." Prevent has a very particular meaning in Magic lingo which is unrelated to Magemarks or Leylines. Amusingly enough though, prevention effects are a specialized subset of replacement effects (like replacing damage with [null]).
A: If you hope and dream that you'll untap, gain control of, and haste-ify every targetable nonlegendary and creature in play, yes, it does.
A: Each Rally the Righteous will untap creatures, compliments of the Boros' radiate ability. If some of your creatures happen to untap, then you'll be able to ping again before the next spell on the stack resolves. Don't forget that the original Rally will be the last one to resolve (if anyone's left alive).
*Extra*: Since you're stacking all the copies, try to stack them in a way that maximizes your benefits. If you don't want your opponents to untap first, stack the Rallys that target their creatures last. In a group game, don't forget that killing someone means their creatures won't be there for the Rally copies to resolve. This can affect how often your own creatures untap. Let a guy live until his creatures' Rally radiates have helped you out, and then mercilessly poke him to death.
A: Shining Shoal can protect a player's creature as well as the player. In this case, you'll take two and then draw a card.
Q: If my opponent has a Wurm's Tooth out and plays Fists of Ironwood on his Llanowar Elves. I play Shock on his Elf before Fists resolves. Would he still gain life? Would the tokens come into play? --Chad F.
A: Though the Fists of Ironwood is countered for lack of target, the opponent will gain life. Abilities that trigger off the playing of something don't care if the something actually resolves. However, since the Fists never came into play, no Saprolings will be generated.
*Extra*: Be careful with when the Shadow is played. You don't name the card until Cranial Extraction resolves, and if the Extraction is resolving, you won't have time to play Shadow of Doubt. Technically, you'll be predicting that something bad for you will be chosen - a safe enough bet.
A: Yes, summoning sickness won't stop you from tapping a creature for convoke or Sandsower. Summoning sickness only stops
A: The Angel doesn't go anywhere. It stays in the graveyard, and the turn ends.
A: Searing Meditation has a triggered ability and won't be affected by Pithing Needle. "When", "whenever", and "at" are good indicators of triggered abilities. For activated abilities, just look for the colon (:). If you see ":" on a card, you can bet the ability is activated no matter what the language is.
Q: Would replacing the "draw a card" from Phyrexian Arena with dredge prevent me from taking the 1 damage from that enchantment? --Jayson
A: No, replacing the card draw doesn't replace any other part of Phyrexian Arena's effect.
A: That player will continue revealing cards until an Ornithopter sets off the Trap. Being an opponent only matters while the Booby Trap is resolving. Once the Trap is set, giving it to another player has no effect the outcome.
A: The official name of a split card is both halves of the name. You'll see them written as "Name 1 // Name 2." You can find only one copy of Crime // Punishment with Gifts Ungiven.
Q: How does Dark Confidant's ability interact with split cards? Which mana cost will determine the life lost? --Ryan C.
A: Dark Confidant asks for the converted mana cost and gets both answers. The resulting life loss is a sum of those answers. In the case of Crime // Punishment, and converts into 5 and 2, so 7 life is lost total.
After the sneak peek at the end of March, Dissension previews begin in earnest on Monday and continue every weekday until the prerelease. The prerelease itself is only two weeks away on the 22nd and 23rd of this month. Rest assured that we'll be covering questions on previewed cards as well as our normal slew of entries in the weeks to come.