Two-Headed Weekend

Posted in Feature on November 12, 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.

This weekend is the launch of in-store sanctioned two-headed giant play. There are special events being held all over featuring a promotional Underworld Dreams in foil with original art. Make sure to read Matt Vienneau's excellent strategy article on the format, then check out the details here, or--if you're reading this column early--give your local store a call and see if they're hosting an event. Now, on to the questions…

Rally the Righteous
Q: Does Rally the Righteous' target creature have to be tapped? --Drew D.

A: No, the Rally can be used on an untapped creature. The untap effect won't do much for that creature, but it could help the creatures that are affected by the radiation.

*Extra* Targeted spells have a phrase to describe its legal target(s). Rally the Righteous' target phrase is "target creature." Compare this to Royal Assassin's "target tapped creature," and the difference becomes clearer. Targeting phrases can be more complicated, such as Giant Trap Door Spider's "target creature without flying that's attacking you."

Q: With Warp World, would I be able to stack Ravenous Rats triggers before my opponent puts his cards into play? --Ley S.

A: No, though the Rats trigger while the spell is resolving, the abilities won't be stacked until after the spell has finished resolving.

Q: Can I remove a blood counter from Bloodletter Quill before I lose life if I have enough mana? --Ike

A: Yes, if you respond to the card drawing activation with the counter removing ability, you can reduce or eliminate the amount of blood that gets let.

*Extra* If you're playing Magic Online, holding the Ctrl key while you activate the draw ability tells the game not to pass priority so that you can respond to yourself.

Q: I have a Cloudstone Curio and Genesis Chamber in play. If I play a creature and the creature and token resolve, can I return the creature I played to my hand? Even though Curio says nonartifact, the token is also a creature. --Joshua L.

A: Being a creature doesn't mean it isn't an artifact also. Cloudstone Curio won't trigger from Genesis Chamber tokens or any artifact creatures.

Q: Is the ability on Worship an activated ability? I.E. if I enchant an opponent's Worship with Faith's Fetters can his life total go below 1 from damage? --Ryan F.

A: Worship's ability isn't activated. The replacement effect from Worship won't be tied down by Faith's Fetters (though that would be amusing given their names).

*Extra* Faith's Fetters is an enchant permanent, so if you really just need four life, you can play the Fetters on almost anything even if the Arrest-style effect does nothing.

Q: If I play the last card in my hand and my opponent uses Perplex, can I discard my hand for the Perplex? --Ryan D.

A: Yes, you always have a hand, even if it contains no cards. You can discard that hand of zero cards to Perplex if you want your spell to resolve.

Scion of the Wild
Q: My opponent has a Scion of the Wild and 7 Saprolings (1/1s) in play. I play Mutilate controlling 5 Swamps. I say the Scion dies; my opponent says it lives. Who is correct? --Tom

A: All the creatures die. First, the Saprolings are put into the graveyard. At this point, the Scion's power and toughness are updated-- 1/1 for itself with -5/-5 from Mutilate = -4/-4)

Q: How do Gaea's Balance and the new Ravnica "dual" lands interact? --Nick B.

A: Gaea's Balance only care about the basic land types, not the supertype basic, so you can find five (with each one representing a different land type) Ravnica dual lands with Gaea's Balance. For each one you'll have to decide if you'd like to pay two life or have it come into play tapped.

Q: I was wondering if a card like Ground Seal would have any effect on cards using the dredge mechanic? --Donna

A: Ground Seal doesn't affect dredge. Dredge doesn't target.

Q: Does a Seat of the Synod get destroyed when you use Nevinyrral's Disk? --Juan S.

A: Yes, being an artifact means it will be destroyed.

*Extra* Comparatively, Nevinyrral's Disk's modern equivalent, Oblivion Stone, doesn't destroy Seat of the Synod because it specifies nonland permanents.

Q: In a recent match online I Confiscated a creature during my first main phase. But when I tried to use that creature to attack, Magic Online treated it as though it had summoning sickness. Have I been playing Confiscate wrong over the years? --Eugene O.

A: Yes, MTGO is correct in giving Confiscated creatures summoning sickness. The key is that you haven't controlled the creature since the start of your most recent turn.

Q: My friend played Death Ward and took my creature from the graveyard. Is this legal? They said that it's like a Monster Reborn. –Kris

A: Regeneration (what Death Ward wants to do) only works on things that aren't quite dead yet. Magic is more complex than many other games, but that complexity also adds a richness to what you can do.

*Extra* A card that's trying to put a creature from a graveyard into play would be more like Breath of Life or Zombify (for your own graveyard) or Necromancy (for anyone's graveyard).

Q: I was at a Pro Tour Qualifier, and I had Goblin Piledriver equipped with Umezawa's Jitte. My opponent blocked with Arcbound Ravager. We put damage on the stack. While damage is on the stack my opponent sacrifices his Ravager to it's own ability. The judge at the time ruled that the Jitte would get no counters. Is this right or did I get hosed? --John H.

A: The Jitte gets no counters because the creature wasn't there to have damage dealt to it.

*Extra* "Hosed" implies some sort of error or problem occurred. I believe the word you're looking for is "pwned." Yes, you did get pwned.

Mana Web
Q: Someone said that if I tap a Forest while my opponent controls a Mana Web, all my Forests will be tapped and add mana to my mana pool. Is this legal? --Joe

A: Your Forests will become tapped, but they won't be forced to make mana. If you want mana from them, you'll need to tap all the Forest you desire before the rest become tapped by the triggered ability.

*Extra* Don't forget that Mana Web looks at mana that could be produced. If you tap a Forest, all your land that make will be tapped. If you tap a Mirrodin's Core, all your mana producing lands will be tapped.

Q: What would happen if I sacrifice a Bile Urchin with a Shirei, Shizo's Caretaker in play and then turn Shirei into an enchantment with Soul Sculptor? --Marcus

A: Shirei's triggered ability only cares if Shirei is still in play. Being an enchantment at the end of turn doesn't matter.

*Extra* Shirei does care if it's some other Shirei-- if the first one was destroyed and you played a second one, for instance. For the ability to work, it has to be the same Shirei. Usually when a card refers to itself by name you can think of it as saying "this card right here."

Q: I have some doubts with the cards that have the ability "return target permanent to its owner's hand." Can I return permanents that are in a graveyard? --Jaum

A: "Permanents" refers only to objects (cards and tokens) in play. In a graveyard, the object would be a card.

Myojin of Life's Web
Q: My opponent has a Kokusho, the Evening Star in play. I am at 5 life, and he is at 20. On my turn I play a Myojin of Life's Web then remove the counter to drop four Kokusho out of my hand. Which Kokushos go off first? --Matt B.

A: Your opponent's trigger stacks first. When multiple triggers need stacking, the active player (person whose turn it is) then nonactive player stacks them - a handy and commonly used acronym for this is "APNAP" (active player – nonactive player).

*Extra* Myojin of Life's Web's ability can also be played on your opponent's turn. If you wait for his upkeep and then use the Myojin, you'll be the nonactive player and will get to stack your triggers on top.

Q: What is the infinite turn combo with Wormfang Manta if there is one? I heard of one that needs the card Vanishing. –Eric

A: Vanishing doesn't combo with Wormfang Manta. Previously phasing worked slightly differently, but with Mirage about to be available on Magic Online, R&D saw an opportunity to make the rules cleaner and clearer. They accomplished this by having phasing not trigger comes-into or leaves-play abilities. [CR 502.15d]

Q: My opponent has a Nimble Mongoose in play and a Cabal Therapy in his graveyard. Would he be able to use the Therapy's flashback cost on the Mongoose or not? --Lee R.

A: Yes, you can sacrifice an untargetable creature to pay for Cabal Therapy's flashback. You're not using the Therapy on the 'goose, you're sacking the 'goose to pay for flashback.

Q: If I have Sakura-Tribe Elder in play when I play Wildfire, can I sacrifice the Elder after Wildfire's land sacking effect but before it dies to the damage? --Zach

A: No, you'll have to sacrifice the Elder before Wildfire resolves or not at all.

Q: My opponent has skipped a draw with Island Sanctuary so non-flying creatures can't attack him. What happens if I attack with an Ornithopter and use ninjutsu? --Matthias H.

A: A Ninja will come screaming out of the sky on their Or-ninj-opter and smack your opponent around. Ninjas are sneaky, you know. And the fact is that Island Sanctuary keeps nonfliers from attacking, but it doesn't do anything about swapping a bicycle with wings for a lethal guy in pajamas after you've attacked (and not been blocked).

Q: I have a Nezumi Graverobber with Umezawa's Jitte equipped. My opponent plays Kiku's Shadow on the Graverobber. Is it possible for the spell to decide it's doing two damage to it then pump it with one of the counters on my Jitte? --Max K.

A: No, the Graverobber is a goner. As much as I love to personify spells and talk about them deciding to do things, Kiku's Shadow is still going to stubbornly wait until it resolves before deciding how much damage occurs.

Q: How does Doubling Season interact with poison counters? --Antoine

A: Sadly, it doesn't. Doubling Season's counter doubling only affects permanents you control. Your opponent is neither a permanent nor under your control, so you don't get to double the poison.

Zzzyxas's Abyss
Q: I was wondering how Zzzyxas's Abyss interacts with face-down morph cards. --Sly

A: So, how do you alphabetize [null]? Unsurprisingly, Googling for "alphabetizing _____" isn't super helpful. But if we turn back to Gatherer.Wizards.com, we find the card _____ (being a placeholder for [null]) listed first. So I'm going to say that _____ and face-down cards are alphabetically first and therefore will be destroyed first by Zzzyxas's Abyss.

Q: What is drafting? I've only got an Eighth Edition Starter Set, so will it say in the rulebook? --Daniel N.

A: Drafting is a way to play Magic using a limited selection of cards. Drafting is covered in tournament documents, not in the rulebook, and there are many casual types of drafts as well. The one theme all the different types of draft have in common is each player takes a turn picking a card or cards.

The most common type of draft is booster draft. With booster draft, all the drafters (usually eight, but numbers can vary) sit around a table and open one of three booster packs. Often the three packs are from a given block like Champions, Betrayers, and Saviors or as many as the block has released with the base set filling holes like Ravnica, Ravnica, and Guildpact in a few months. The players look at their pack, pick one card, and then pass the remaining cards to the left. That is repeated until the pack is gone, and then the second pack is opened, and the process repeats except the cards pass to the right. The final pack passes back to the left. Then players add basic lands of their choice and construct 40-card decks.

Speaking of draft, I do believe I hear MTGO calling my name. Or would that be "calling my login"? Of course, as convenient as drafting online is, there's nothing that matches the fun of drafting with friends at your local store. I try my best to spend time and money at places like Brave New Worlds near Philadelphia or Shane's Big League Sports Cards and Monster Gaming near Seattle, for example. And here I thought Thanksgiving was weeks away.

Class dismissed.

--Carter

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