Two Weeks Until Ravnica

Posted in Feature on September 10, 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.

We're well into September now, and that can only mean one thing: new set previews! To make sure you've got the latest scoop on the newest cards, Saturday School will be answering questions for cards previewed here on So let's hit the questions…

Q: Do hybrids in the upcoming Ravnica set count as both colors regardless of what colors of mana are spent to play them? --Evan

A: Yes, the spell and permanent are both whatever colors are in its cost regardless of how it was played or put into play. Check out Mark Gottlieb's Ask Wizards answer from September 7th for a more detailed answer.

Q: In regard to the Temple Garden from Ravnica, is it legal to enchant it with Genju of the Cedars and Genju of the Fields? If so what would happen if both Genju abilities are activated? --James S.

A: Yes, you could enchant Temple Garden with both of the appropriate Genju. What happens once both are activated depends on the order they're activated. If the Genju grants an extra ability (all do except for Genju of the Cedars and Spire), your resulting creature will have the extra abilities granted by each and the power and toughness granted by the last one to resolve. Resolving the Fields' ability and then the Cedars' ability would give you a 4/4 Spirit creature with “Whenever this creature deals damage, you gain that much life.” Of course, it's still a land.

Q: I'm new to Magic but have a fondness for the Mirrodin block. When Ravnica is brought in, will cards from Mirrodin, Darksteel, and Fifth Dawn still be accepted in Standard (Type 2) tournament play? --Dane K.

A: When Standard rotates Ravnica in on October 20th, all three of the Mirrodin block sets will rotate out to let the new cards have their day in the sun. Mirrodin block will remain legal in Extended for years to come though, and it will always be legal in Vintage and Legacy.

Erayo, Soratami Ascendant
Q: If I were to play Arcane Laboratory and have Erayo's Essence out, would that combo work to effectively stop my opponents from playing spells on their turn? --Adam

A: The combo would work to stop your opponents on every turn.

*Extra*: If you use Rule of Law instead of Arcane Laboratory, you'll be able to make the combo Standard legal (until October 20th when Ravnica rotates in). This interaction is why Erayo, Soratami Ascendant is banned in Two-Headed Giant (effective 9/20/05). It proved much too easy with a team working together to flip Erayo in the first turn or two of a game.

Q: If I sac a Hearth Kami to destroy an artifact, can my opponent respond by using Eight-and-a-Half-Tails to turn my Hearth Kami white and give his artifact protection? --Mike L

A: Eight-and-a-Half-Tails' whitewashing ability targets only spells and permanents, not abilities. If the Kami were made white before activating its ability, then 8.5 could protect the artifact. Chances are though that your opponent will sense you trickery and activate the Kami in response to the whitewash-- countering that ability and making the now dead Kami an illegal target for any others.

*Extra*: Eight-and-a-Half-Tails can target spells, and artifact, creature, or enchantment spells that have their color changed will make permanents that come into play as that color. With 8.5, this only lasts until the end of turn, but it could allow you to make the Hearth Kami spell white while it's on the stack. This will make the Hearth Kami white for a while-- perhaps long enough for you to find an answer.

Q: Can my opponent pay the cost for Molting Skin anytime he wants (so long as a creature is in play)? How do I destroy the enchantment then? --Johnny M.

A: Molting Skin's ability can be used any time the controller has priority (almost anytime) so long as a targetable creature exists. Because the return is a cost, Naturalize style effects would be nearly useless. Instead, you'll have to explore one of three options: 1) Make all targets illegal (kill with Wrath of God or Mind Bend an Absolute Law). Then you'll be able to destroy the Skin without your opponent having a target to regenerate. 2) Counter the Skin so it never sees play. Stifle won't help you, but Condescend and Rewind will. 3) Force the player to discard it. Duress and Nezumi Shortfang are your friends.

Measure of Wickedness
Q: My opponent has 8 lands, and I only have 5 plus a Measure of Wickedness. If I play Armageddon, which player will gain control of Measure of Wickedness? --Dany

A: Your opponent will-- Armageddon destroying lands on both sides doesn't interest the Measure. As Armageddon resolves, five lands are put in your graveyard and eight into your opponent's, and then Armageddon goes to your graveyard. This triggers Measure of Wickedness six times, and when you get priority you'll have to put all those triggers on the stack. Only after one of those triggers resolves does your opponent gain control of the Measure.

Q: Someone played a spell that I tried to counter with a Condescend. He then used a Willbender to change Condescend's target to itself. With Condescend countering itself, will I still get to scry? --Frank U.

A: A spell can't target itself. [CR Glossary: Target] The Willbender trigger won't be able to do anything with the Condescend unless there's a third spell on the stack. Additionally, if a Condescend is countered, that player won't get to scry.

*Extra*: Misdirection and Deflection are sometimes used much like Willbender, but because they are spells themselves, they can be slightly trickier. In the same scenario with a Deflection instead of Willbender's ability, you could choose the Deflection as the new target for the Condescend. After making that choice, Deflection finishes resolving and is removed from the stack. This leaves us with a Condescend targeting a spell that's resolved-- an illegal target, and the Condescend is countered as a game rule. [CR 413.2a]

Q: I control Horobi, Death's Wail, and my brother has Daru Encampment in play. Could my creatures (which are not soldiers) be targeted for the Encampment's ability? And the same with Shinka, the Bloodsoaked Keep? --Thomas

A: Unless they're Soldiers, the Encampment doesn't matter. Shinka doesn't matter for most creatures, but Horobi is a legendary creature, so Shinka could target Horobi, and Horobi's own trigger would finish off its master.

Safe Haven
Q: If I Living Wish for a creature removed by Safe Haven, what happens when I sacrifice Safe Haven? Is this like Goryo's Vengeance not removing the creature from the game if that creature has changed zones? --Pao M.

A: Safe Haven will not affect the Living Wished creature in any way. Any other Havened creatures will be returned as normal. Conceptually this is just like Goryo's Vengeance with a creature that is no longer in play. The Haven looks in the removed from the game zone, and the Vengeance looks in play, and neither one finds what they're looking for.

Q: What are the differences among- 1) before declaring attacker step, 2) after declaring attacker step, 3) before declaring blocker step, 4) after declaring blocker step? --Gijafu L.

A: The combat phase is made up of five steps-- Beginning of Combat, Declare Attackers, Declare Blockers, Combat Damage, End of Combat. Before declaring attackers (1) would be the beginning of combat step. The first thing you do in the declare attackers step is… declare attackers. After declaring attackers (2) and before declaring blockers (3) are the rest of the declare attackers step after you're made the declaration. The first thing you do in the declare blockers step is… wait for it… declare blockers. After declaring blockers (4) is the rest of the declare blockers step. This is the last chance to get rid of or enhance creatures before moving on to damage. Combat damage starts with… it probably seems easy by now… assigning combat damage (aka "stacking damage"). Once damage is assigned player can do stuff to save their creatures, but pumping power won't change the damage already assigned. Combat finished with the end of combat step. That's the step where "at end of combat" things trigger and is your last chance to do stuff before going back into a main phase.

Q: Is it true in every case that Emperor Crocodile can't be saved if I don't control any other creature? Some time ago I thought of this: in response to the triggered ability of the Emperor Crocodile I play a Stifle, and in response to Stifle I play a Needlebug. The Needlebug resolves first, then the Stifle counters the triggered ability of the Emperor Crocodile and the creature is saved! --Galluccio A.

A: Yes, you can save the Emperor if you're careful. Emperor Crocodile's triggered ability is a special kind of trigger-- it's a state-triggered ability. [CR 410.11] State-triggered abilities are unlike regular triggers in two ways. They don't recheck the game condition as they resolve (unlike most targeted triggers that verify their target is still valid). Secondly, they don't retrigger until after their existing trigger has resolved (or you'd get unbounded numbers of triggers with no way to stop them from triggering forever).
Galluccio's "instant-creature" + Stifle method works fine, but only if you resolve the creature first, and then the Stifle. Putting a creature into play without the Stifle won't stop the trigger, and Stifling the trigger without a creature already in play to stop the ability from retriggering won't stop the ability from going off again.

Q: Let's say I'm at four life with four untapped swamps, two of which my opponent has enchanted with Psychic Venom. I have a Demon's Horn in play. I tap all my swamps and play Drain Life targeting my opponent for two points of damage. Do I die as soon as I tap the swamps? Or does Drain Life go on the stack, and because it's on the stack after the damage from the Psychic Venom, can I gain the life from Drain Life before I take the damage? When does the Demon's Horn trigger? --Jason E.

A: You won't die until the triggers resolve, but you're likely dead. If you tap the swamps before playing the Drain Life, the triggers will kill you before you can play the spell because it's a sorcery, and the stack won't be empty after the swamps have been tapped. If you play the Drain Life and tap the swamps while playing the Drain, the Demon's Horn triggers just after you've paid your mana, and the triggers from Horn and Psychic Venoms will all be waiting to go on the stack. The problem here is that the active player's triggers stack first (Horn) followed by the nonactive player's (Psychic Venom x2). You're still dead.

*Extra*: With Vedalken Orrery, you could wait until your opponent's turn to play the Drain Life. The triggers would stack in your favor then, and you'd live.

Enduring Renewal
Q: Since the effect of Enduring Renewal is a replacement effect, if Myr Retriever dies with E.R. in play, does it get to bring an artifact back to your hand or not? --Taylor A.

A: No, the Retriever never makes it to the graveyard.
Replacement effects are kinda like Magic's mafia goons. Youse guys thought you'd put that Retriever in the graveyard? Huh? No, Enduring Renewal does the garbage collection aroun' here, and Eddie don' see no dead Retriever. The return of this Myr friend of yours… is a offer from the Renewal you can't refuse. Youse thought it happened, but it nevah happened; fugedaboudit.

Q: I was wondering if there was at all a full list of what is tournament legal in Vintage (Type 1), and where it is? --Heather M.

A: Gatherer can produce just such a list. Section 3 is where you apply filters like the "format or set" filter. Choose the Vintage format, and you'll get a list of all 7093 card currently legal in Vintage.

*Extra*: Once October 20th arrives that number will jump more than normal. The Portal sets as well as Ravnica will be legal for Vintage starting that Thursday.

That's all for this week. Next week on will be stuffed with more previews, and we'll have more of your Ravnica questions answered. Don't forget though-- prereleases are September 24th and 25th, just two weeks away! Check here for locations.

Class dismissed.


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