Surely You Joust

Posted in Feature on August 13, 2005

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.


The town that birthed Thurgood Marshall and finished off Edgar Allan Poe in the state whose official sport is jousting plays host to this year's US Nationals and Junior Super Series Championships. I'm in Baltimore for the weekend, and next week Saturday School will include questions straight from the floor of those events.

Q: If I have a Horobi, Death's Wail in play, and my opponent is attacking me, can I play Hail of Arrows, paying only , targeting all his/her creatures to deal them zero damage, thus, triggering Horobi's ability and killing all of his/her creatures? --Pedro F.

A: No, you'll have to spend something for the if you want to target anything. If you're dividing or distributing an effect (such as the damage that would come from the Arrows) among objects while playing a spell, you must assign at least one to each of the objects [CR 409.1e]. You can't assign 0, and you can't assign fractional portions.

Q: I was wondering, my friend is playing Enduring Ideal, and he has three Honden in play, can he stack the triggers from the Honden and the trigger from Enduring Ideal so that he can get triggers for four Honden? --Evan B.

A: Yes, he can stack the Honden triggers first, and then the epic trigger. The Enduring Ideal fetches another Honden, and each of the three triggers will see four Shrines in play as they resolve.

Q: If I play Eternal Witness, get a card, then use Otherworldly Journey on Eternal Witness could I get another card? Does this work on all cards that say "when this comes into play"? --Kyan

A: Yes, the Witness will retrieve another card (perhaps the Otherworldly Journey) when it triggers after coming back from the Journey. Coming into play from Otherworldly Journey will generally cause "comes into play" triggered abilities to trigger. The only exception would be if there were a condition with the triggered ability such as Iname as One's "if you played it from your hand" condition since it wasn't just played from your hand.

Promise of Bunrei
Q: I have two Lantern Kami out and a Promise of Bunrei. I play Wrath of God. If I sac my Promise of Bunrei after the Kami go to the graveyard, do I get 8 tokens or just 4? --Scott W.

A: You'll get four tokens. Though the Promise will trigger for each Kami, once you sacrifice the Promise for the first trigger to resolve it won't be able to get sacrificed a second time, and the "if you do" condition on putting tokens into play can't be met for the following triggers.

Q: Does Erayo, Soratami Ascendant count itself when counting the four spells played in a turn?

A: Yes. Basically, the game counts spells every turn, and Erayo just asks the game if the current spell is spell #4. Be careful though, if Erayo is the fourth spell, it won't be in play in order to trigger and flip, and any subsequent spells would be #5, #6, and so on-- Erayo would have to wait for some other turn to be able to flip.

Q: Does flipping a creature use the stack? So for instance, if my opponent has eight other creatures and uses Orochi Eggwatcher's ability, could I Starstorm for 1 and get the 1/1 Snake token coming into play and the Eggwatcher before it flips?

A: Not quite. Flip cards flip either from a triggered ability (like Erayo, Soratami Ascendant) or from an activated ability, like Orochi Eggwatcher, and it's that trigger or that activation that uses the stack. You won't be able to Starstorm for 1 to kill the Eggwatcher and all the tokens because the new token is created and immediately after that the Eggwatcher flips as the activation resolves. Your bet option is to play the Starstorm before the ability resolves, wipe out the Eggwatcher before it flips and its eight babies, and then face down the lonely 1/1 token.

Q: If I play Orim's Thunder, can flipping a Willbender change the target artifact or enchantment being destroyed?

A: Willbender's triggered ability can change the target of Orim's Thunder from an artifact to an enchantment. Orim's Thunder isn't modal like Hull Breach, so the new target can be either an enchantment or an artifact (changing a target doesn't allow you to change modes). However, if the kicker was paid, Orim's Thunder will have two targets, and you won't be able to use the Willbender.

*Extra* Now that the flip cards exist, be careful when talking about morphs. Willbender, for example, is "turned face-up" (or in casual terms "morphed" or "unmorphed") not "flipped."

Q: My opponent plays Shining Shoal for 3 targeting my Mogg Fanatic. If I sac the Mogg Fanatic, will the Shining Shoal be countered since its target is illegal? --Ryan

A: Yes.

Hell's Caretaker
Q: My friend had a Hell's Caretaker and a Kokusho, the Evening Star in play. He tapped the Caretaker to sacrifice Kokusho. Then he targeted the Kokusho (now in the graveyard) and brought him back. Reading your part about playing spells where the cost is paid last, can my friend do that? --Simon

A: No, he can't. Targets are chosen [CR 409.1c] before costs are paid [CR 409.1h]. In order to use the ability at all he has to have at least one creature card in the graveyard to target, and then he sacrifices the creature in play to bring forth what he was after. A dead Kokusho and a live one would make his combo work fine though.

Q: I played Enduring Ideal last turn and now I want to bring in Form of the Dragon at the beginning of my upkeep. Does Form of the Dragon trigger right away? --Benjamin L.

A: No, the Form won't trigger because your upkeep has already started.

Q: With the new enchant keyword, what would happen if a card had two instances of "Enchant" on it? --Leonard C.

A: The powers that be are out there to help stop craziness like that from happening. But let's imagine for a moment an Aura that can enchant only a blue creature, and now imagine an Aura that can enchant only a white creature. The combined Aura-- enchant |white| and |blue| creature-- would be able to enchant only creatures that were both blue and white (like Meddling Mage or Sliver Queen). Essentially, you'd determine a sum of the total enchant restrictions.

*Extra* Looking at Mind Harness, you can see an example of a complex Aura. I use "complex" meaning that there's more to the enchant line than just "enchant [type]." Unlike the imaginary Aura just mentioned, Mind Harness uses "or" between two colors. This means the creature can be one relevant color, the other relevant color, or both. Mix Mind Harness with our imaginary Aura, and you'd have "enchant |white|, |blue|, and |red or green| creature." Treva, the Renewer serves as a white-blue-green creature, or Lightning Angel could be the white-blue-red creature, and of course Sliver Overlord would be applicable.

Culling Scales
Q: I have two Culling Scales, Hypnotic Specters, and Darksteel Ingot in play. Can I use the Scales both to target Darksteel Ingot instead of my Specters? --Tommy S.

A: Yes, and being indestructible, the Scales would have no effect on the Ingots.

*Extra* There's nothing stopping you from having all your Scales target the same permanent. You could target just one Ingot with each Scale trigger. If you have two Specters and Scales but nothing else, you could target just one of the Scales (or Specters) with both triggers. The second trigger would be countered since the first one to resolve would destroy its target. Whether you save both Specters and a Scale or both Scales and a Specter is up to you.

Q: I play an Imaginary Pet that was the last card in my hand. On my next turn, when I draw a card, does it return to my hand or stay in play? --Myles D.

A: The Pet will stay in play because your upkeep step (when its trigger would return it) is before your draw step. Though many players impulsively draw as soon as their turn starts, the correct order of the first phase's (cleverly called the beginning phase) steps is untap, upkeep, and then the draw. Usually messing up the order is easy to fix, but some players would benefit from a friendly reminder.

Q: My friend was using Royal Assassin against one of my attacking creatures. I used a creature with the ninjutsu ability. Is the creature with ninjutsu unblockable, or can he still declare a blocker since he was trying to deal with the original creature? --Daniel E.

A: You can't use ninjutsu until the creature you're returning is unblocked (after blockers have been declared, and with no blockers declared for that creature). If your opponent hasn't declared blockers (or the lack thereof) yet, then you can't use ninjutsu. If your opponent has declared blockers (or declared that he's not blocking), then it's too late to block any more.

Q: My friend and I have been debating whether or not Megrim would deal damage to a player if Traumatize were used to put cards from the library into the discard pile. --Jeremy K.

A: No, Megrim looks for cards that are discarded, and putting a card in the graveyard isn't the same as discarding. Traumatize, Millstone, and permanents going to the graveyard don't trigger Megrim.

Aven Brigadier
Q: If I have Bird Soldiers (like Dive Bomber) in play, does Aven Brigadier give +1/+1 for being a Bird and another +1/+1 for being a Soldier or do they only get +1/+1? --Ace D.

A: The Brigadier has two abilities that make creatures bigger, and each one will affect whatever creatures it's after separately. Dive Bomber would be a 4/4. Hoo-hah.

Q: If a Rotlung Reanimator and several Clerics are in play, and Wrath of God destroys them all, you still get replacement zombies. I don't understand why this should work though. --Chris

A: Wrath kills everything at once, then the game checks for triggers. The triggers use the game state immediately prior to the event to determine what happens. [CR410.10d]

Imagine for a moment if you steal a player's Rotlung. Then they kill the Rotlung. Who gets the token? You do because you controlled it when it died. How does the game know-- after all, the Rotlung is owned by the other guy, and it goes to the other guy's graveyard. But the trigger looks to the state right before the event to figure out "who controlled me and my trigger?"

Assault/Battery

Q: Who gets the next turn from Timesifter when your opponent reveals Assault // Battery and you reveal a Grey Ogre? --Torsten R.

A: The split card (in this case) wins because the Battery half costs more than Grey Ogre (4 versus 3). When the Timesifter asks for everyone's converted mana cost, it gets one answer for the Ogre and two for the split card. Timesifter doesn't add up the converted mana costs, it just asks which is higher: Ogre's 3, Assault's 1, or Battery's 4)? If the split card was Fire // Ice instead, then Grey Ogre would win because Fire and Ice both convert to 2.

*Extra* In contrast, effects like Pyromancy's or Infernal Genesis' use the converted mana cost to produce a result. If you Infernal Genesis put Assault // Battery into the graveyard, you'd get 1 (Assault) and 4 (Battery) Minions-- five total.

Q: If I have Second Sunrise and Renounce in my hand and two Eternal Witnesses in play, do I have infinite mana and life (by sacrificing lands and Witnesses to Renounce, returning them with Second Sunrise, and returning Renounce and Second Sunrise to my hand with the Witnesses)? --Chris G.

A: With sufficient land to kick off the loop, you'd have an arbitrarily large life total and amount of mana in your mana pool after going through the Renounce / Sunrise / Witness loop.

Q: What are all of the sets and set symbols in Magic: the Gathering including sets like Chronicles and Starter? --Mitch W.

A: All sets and set symbols can be found in Gatherer. In order to list every set, Gatherer actually uses placeholder symbols for sets that didn't have their own symbol. For example, the "C-globe" symbol for Chronicles, Chronicles C-globe, is used in Gatherer, but a Chronicles card is white bordered with the expansion symbol of the set the card originally appeared in-- a practice no longer used today. One convenient place to find most set symbols in chronological order is on the Magic product page

Q: I checked out the FAQ for Two-Headed Giant play, but I couldn't find information about cards that affect "each opponent". Is each player considered a separate opponent or is the opposing team one opponent? For example, if the opposing team has 40 life and I play Sizzle, will their life total be 37 or 34 after Sizzle resolves? --Zach A.

A: Opponents are players that aren't on your team. Sizzle will deal three to each player on the opposing team, and that team's life total will go from 40 to 34.

Next week we'll have questions from the Championships. As an added bonus, Saturday School is off to GenCon this year, so you can expect back-to-back field trip questions. And it's not much longer before we get to journey into the world of Ravnica.

Class dismissed.

--Carter

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