Visions of Dissension

Posted in Feature on April 15, 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.

Visions, the set that brought the world River Boa, Fireblast, and Vampiric Tutor, went on sale last Monday, and is bound to shake up cyber-Magic as well. Check out the release events while you can - after finishing Saturday School, of course.

Q: I play Experiment Kraj with an Arcbound Ravager in play. Kraj now has the ability "Sacrifice an artifact: Put a +1/+1 counter on Arcbound Ravager." Since Kraj isn't named Arcbound Ravager, does the ability simply fizzle? --Eric S.

A: No, an ability that refers to the card it's on by name will adjust the name if it's copied by another card. You can think of Arcbound Ravager's ability as saying, "… Put a +1/+1 counter on this."

Q: Why is the Rakdos the Defiler, leader of the Rakdos, illustrated by a guy named Boros?

A: There may have been a trade-off planned, but "Donato Rakdos" doesn't seem to have stuck.

Q: I play Mortify targeting a Dominating Licid that's an Aura. My opponent changes the Licid back into a creature. Does the Licid go to the graveyard, or is my spell countered? --John K.

A: The Licid is destroyed. Mortify isn't modal - it's not destroying a target creature or a target enchantment. Mortify destroys a target that's a creature or enchantment even if the target changed between the two before the spell resolved.

Q: My opponent plays Wrath of God. I tried to save my tokens by playing Ghostway. Will those tokens return at end of turn or not? --Wilson

A: No, they've ceased to exist. When Ghostway resolves, it removes the tokens from the game, and the spell is put into the graveyard. Just after that, state-based effects are checked and find an army of tokens that aren't in play. The SBEs immediately wipe out the tokens. The tokens won't be around to get returned later.

Q: My opponent controls Mindmoil and plays Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind. He says that he gets to draw the cards from Mindmoil and that I take the damage from Niv-Mizzet. Could you explain how that works please? --Evan

A: I could if it did, but it doesn't. Playing Niv-Mizzet does trigger Mindmoil, however, the trigger would then stack on top of Niv-Mizzet and resolve before Niv ever enters play. Since Niv is just a spell at this point, the triggered ability the creature will have once it's resolved doesn't apply yet. Your opponent will just have to wait for the next spell after Niv is in play to have his Timmyesque Mindmoil fun.

Q: With Ghost Council of Orzhova, can you remove a second Council in response to the first's return to play triggered ability? For the price of a turn, you could have them swap and both survive though at different times? --Yacob

A: Yes, you can swap a pair of Councils, but it will cost you plus the sacrifice of a creature every turn. The key is that end of turn triggers only trigger once per turn (as the end of turn step starts). They way you can do this is to respond to the end of turn trigger from one by removing the other. The trigger will then return the one that was gone, and the one that was just removed won't trigger until the next end of turn.

*Extra*: The turn you don't remove the Council that's in play both Councils will be put into the graveyard as a state-based effect. If you don't have another creature to sacrifice, you can sacrifice the Council to itself. That one won't come back, but at least it will be gone before the other one returns.

Q: How does Spawnbroker interact with Hunted Wumpus? If the Wumpus is exchanged, does the other person get to put a creature into play? --Russell

A: If you happen to have a spare six-or-more power creature lying around to exchange with Hunted Wumpus, then Spawnbroker will be happy to work out the details. However, the Wumpus changing teams doesn't cause it to retrigger - it's already in play, just changing jerseys.

Culling Sun
Q: If I played a creature spell that costs two with a kicker cost of two, and my opponent plays Culling Sun during his or her turn, will my creature still die? --Max

A: Your creature is destroyed. The fact you spent more than three two play the creature doesn't change the mana cost or converted mana cost. Mana cost (and what it converts to) is based on what is printed in the upper-right corner of the card.

*Extra*: The one caveat is that the value of X is part of a mana cost. Be careful though. The X value is treated as zero anywhere except on the stack. A 5/5 Phyrexian Marauder will get destroyed by Culling Sun just as easily as a Phyrexian Walker will.

Q: Suppose I control two Hissing Miasma, and an opponent has a 6/6 creature. My life is at 6, and his is at 2. He attacks. Who dies first? --Redington

A: The Miasma each trigger, and he'll wind up at zero once they've resolved. He dies, and you'll win before the 6/6 can come close to hitting you.

Q: I play Congregation at Dawn. As I am looking through my deck my opponent suddenly decides to counter it. Is this legal? --Forrest C.

A: No, players can't counter a spell once it has begun resolving. Be sure to allow your opponent time to respond before resolving any spell or ability that involves manipulating your library. You can't rush an opponent out of the opportunity to do something.

*Extra*: I'd recommend making eye contact and verbally verifying if the opponent has a response before picking up your library. If your opponent says he or she isn't doing anything, they can't change their mind while you're pawing through your deck.

Q: I have a Nullmage Shepherd in play with three other creatures. My opponent has Searing Meditation and a Firemane Angel in play with another Angel in the graveyard. Can I respond to the first triggering of the Meditation to destroy it before the other one happens? --G.

A: You can, respond to the first Meditation trigger by destroying it with the Shepherd's ability. Since you let the Meditation trigger, your opponent will get a chance to spend when that trigger resolves.

*Extra*: A better play would be to respond to the Angel triggers rather than wait for one of them to resolve. If you Shepherd the Meditation before one of the Angel triggers resolves, the Meditation won't be around to trigger when your opponent gains life.

Q: My friend used a Boros Fury-Shield on my Szadek, Lord of Secrets. Szadek says, "instead of dealing combat damage…" Does the Boros Fury-Shield's prevention effect still work? --Jaime

A: Prevention and replacement effects are very similar - you could think of prevention effects as a specialized style of replacement. The thing to remember is that when two prevention or replacement effects are trying to do something to an event, the player affected or the controller of what's being affected chooses which to apply first. [CR 419.9a] Since your friend is the one who will either have damage prevented or damage turned into milling and counters, your friend chooses which to apply first. Since each one turns the entire event into something that doesn't damage, the other effect will no longer apply.

Veteran Armorer
Q: I control a Veteran Armorer, and I play Moldervine Cloak on it. My opponent plays Shock on the Armorer. Where does the Cloak go? --Rowan H.

A: The Cloak is countered for lack of target and goes on top of the Armorer's corpse in your graveyard.

Q: If I kill my own Spirit tokens from Twilight Drover via the activated ability of my Trophy Hunter, will the Hunter get +1/+1 counters? --Chris

A: Yes, tokens do go to the graveyard like other creatures. The fact they'll cease to exist right afterwards doesn't stop the Hunter's ability from triggering.

Q: I was flicking through Gatherer and I saw a card, Champion's Victory, and I was wondering how you play it, seeing as it's a sorcery? --Rhys B.

A: This is where Golden Rule #1 comes in. [CR 103.1] Basically, that rule states that if a card and the rules disagree, the card wins. In this case, Champion's Victory can be played at an odd time, even though it's a sorcery, because it says so.

*Extra*: If Champion's Victory were reprinted today, you could expect an updated spell type. As for the redundancy of the name (losers tend to not be victorious), even the mighty Oracle can't help that one.

Q: If you enchant a creature with Pemmin's Aura, attack with it, and then untap it, can you attack with it again? --Jeffrey

A: No, untapping a creature doesn't allow it to attack a second time.

*Extra*: Likewise, untapping a creatures doesn't remove it from combat, undo something it tapped to do, or otherwise do anything other than just untapping it.

Q: I have Lord of the Pit and Cosmic Horror in play. I can't pay for the Horror, and at the beginning of my upkeep, I stack the triggers so that the LotP's resolves first. If I sacrifice CH, what happens next? Cosmic Horror obviously is not there to sacrifice, but do I still take the 7 damage? --Todd B.

A: You'll still take the 7 unless you pay . The Legends wording and the current Oracle wording are more clear that the damage and sacrifice are two outcomes of not paying. The Fourth Edition version did temporarily make the damage dependant on the sacrifice until Oracle return the wording to the original idea.

Sneak Attack
Q: If I play Akroma, Angel of Wrath using Sneak Attack, will it be removed from the game at end of turn even though it has protection from red? --Amati

A: Yes, protection doesn't protect unless it's one of the four parts: Damage, Enchanting/Equipping, Blocking, and Targeting (DEBT). Sneak Attack isn't any of those.

*Extra*: Ron Spears and Akroma might take issue at you referring to the Angel of Wrath as "it."

Q: If a 2/2 and a 3/3 attack me, can I play Shining Shoal with X = 5 to redirect all the combat damage source to another creature or player? --Craig

A: No, "combat damage" in the general sense isn't a source. Combat damage from a specific creature is a source. You can choose the 3/3's or the 2/2's combat damage as your source, not the combined total of combat damage.

Q: When resolving Gifts Ungiven, can I search for less than four cards since it specifies the characteristic that they have to have different names? --Pedro

A: Yes, and for exactly the reason you specified - differing name is a criterion, and you aren't required to find cards when searching for criteria (as opposed to just quantity).

*Extra*: Notice that the Gifts puts cards into the graveyard first, then the hand. If you find only three cards, you'll only get one in your hand.

Q: If I sacrifice Kokusho, the Evening Star to Greater Good, which one goes on the stack first? -- Rodriguez

A: Greater Good's ability went on the stack when you announced it. While playing the ability you paid the cost, so the trigger must go onto the stack after Greater Good.

Q: My friend uses Azami, Lady of Scrolls the first turn it's in play to tap Wizards since the ability is not their own ability. Is this true? --Philippe C.

A: Azami can even tap herself as soon as she's in play. It doesn't matter whether the ability is written on the creature or on another creature. What matters is that the ability doesn't have the symbol in it. Since the cost is written as "Tap an untapped Wizard you control," any of your friend's untapped Wizards will work fine right away.

If the Visions online release wasn't enough, next weekend is the real world prerelease for the final installment of the Ravnica block. The Azorius, Rakdos, and Simic join the other Guilds to round out the world, and you know there are plenty of goodies to power up the punches for the big showdown. Check out the prerelease page for more information.

Class Dismissed.

--Carter

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