Welcome to Regionals Weekend

Posted in Feature on June 25, 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.

Regionals events the world over are being held today. Regional tournaments are the proving ground for the latest in Standard constructed deck technology. This is also the first weekend of constructed with the full Kamigawa block legal. There are many new sites for Regionals this year, so check out the Regionals page to confirm the site that's best for you.

Pithing Needle
Q: A fellow gentlemanly Magic player and I came nigh to blows over a rules question. Simply put he felt that a Pithing Needle could be bounced and set to different cards repeatedly and would affect all of them. I felt that it lost its memory of other named cards when it was bounced. Could you please clear this up for us? --Michael F.

A: Avoid the fisticuffs, and have your chap buy you a pint when next you're at the pub. Every time he pulls the Needle out, it stops having an effect. Every time he stabs it back in, it starts affecting the card he just named. The Needle doesn't remember old cards any better than you can play activated abilities of the current one.

Q: With Choice of Damnations, what if they choose zero? Nothing happens, right? --Hanna

A: Much more than nothing happens. Basically, you announce Choice of Damnations (show the card, pay its cost), and then as it resolves your opponent picks a number. Once you know what the number is, you can make that player either lose that much life or wipe out everything he or she has in play except for that number of permanents. If they pick 0, you can make them sacrifice down to 0 permanents (ie: sacrifice all their permanents). If they pick 20, you could make them lose 20 life. The choice for them is the number and for you it's what to do with the number. Perhaps the card would be more accurate as "Choices of Damnation."

Q: If I put an instant like Death Denied on Kaho, Minamo Historian, how do I manage the X cost; or is this ability similar to attaching a Shoal to Isochron Scepter? --Scott C.

A: Like a Shoal on a Scepter, the X is 0. This isn't very effective, but you still can splice onto the spell. The key to remember is that if an alternate cost is being paid, X is 0. Only pitching cards to the Betrayers pitch cards (the Shoals) will let you set an X, and only then because of how those pitch cards are designed.

Q: If my opponent plays Cranial Extraction, and I play Twincast on it, can I then play a Counterspell on the Cranial Extraction so that his Extraction does nothing, do I still get my spell copy, or does Twincast fail because of the Counterspell? --Michael H.

A: It depends on how you play it. After your opponent plays Cranial Extraction, you play Twincast. As the Twincast resolves, it will create a copy of the Cranial Extraction and put it on the stack. Once the Twincast is done resolving, then you can counter the original Cranial Extraction without affecting the copy. If you counter the Extraction before letting Twincast resolve, the Twincast will be countered for lack of target.

*Extra*: If you have another Twincast, you can even let the first Twincast resolve, then let the copied Cranial Extraction resolve before deciding if you want to play the second Twincast.

*Extra*: Be careful when searching an opponent's deck. You're the one responsible for finding all the copies of the card, and if you missed one in the deck, you can't go back after you've finished with the search.

Q: My brother said if he plays Blademane Baku that when it gets a ki that Horobi, Death's Wail's effect does not affect him. Is this true? --Tyler

A: True. A Baku getting ki counters doesn't target the Baku. You can tell, because the ability doesn’t say the word “target”.

*Extra*: Quillmane Baku will still require removing counters equal to converted mana cost to target, and Waxmane Baku will need a counter per target, but Skullmane Baku is especially good with Horobi, Death's Wail. Skullmane Baku removes counters to give -X/-X, but you can choose to remove 0 counters. Skullmane Baku with Horobi essentially becomes, ", : Trigger Horobi to kill target creature."

Celestial Kirin
Q: Do the tokens from Endless Swarm come in one by one like the Beacon of Creation? If so, can you Blasting Station them like you can with the beacon? --Joshua H.

A: The tokens from both Endless Swarm and Beacon of Creation come into play all at the same time, not one at a time. However, while Blasting Station sees creatures coming into play simultaneously, its ability triggers once for each of them. These triggers then resolve one after another, untapping it repeatedly, so you can respond to each trigger by tossing a token at a hapless target.

Q: If I had a Celestial Kirin in play and played a Yosei, the Morning Star, would it kill Yosei along with the other permanents with 6 converted mana cost?

A: No, the Kirin trigger off of playing Spirits or Arcane spells, so Yosei is still on the stack when the Celestial Kirin's trigger resolves.

Q: My opponent has Jugan, the Rising Star and a 2/3 creature. I sacrifice Kagemaro, First to Suffer with five cards in my hand. Can my opponent put the counters from the Jugan onto his other creature and have it survive? --Colin N.

A: No, both Jugan and the previously 2/3 creature (now -3/-2) are put into the graveyard at the same time because they have 0 or less toughness.

Q: After taking three years off from Magic, I was browsing through card lists and noticed Panoptic Mirror and wondered how, if at all, it would interact with Evermind? Would Evermind's converted mana cost be treated as 0? Or since it has no cost, can it be imprinted onto the Mirror at all? --Josh S.

A: You can imprint Evermind on Panoptic Mirror by spending 0 and tapping the Mirror, but when the Mirror's triggered ability makes a copy of Evermind, you won't be able to play it. The only thing that can be played that doesn't have a mana cost is land.

Q: Does the copy of a spell targeted by Twincast count toward the four spells required to flip Erayo, Soratami Ascendant? --Blaine C.

A: No, the copy Twincast makes isn't "played"-- it's put directly on the stack. Erayo only cares about spells that are played.

Q: I have Horizon Seed in play. If I play a Spirit or Arcane spell, can I regenerate a creature from the graveyard? --Tadeo

A: No, regeneration is used to save living creatures from becoming dead ones (or dead-er if you're talking about the undead regenerating). Once something is in the graveyard, regeneration won't matter. Additionally, Horizon Seed says, "target creature," and that means a creature in play. A creature in the graveyard would be called a "creature card."

*Extra*: The question of regenerating from out of the graveyard gets asked often. "Regeneration" is a bit misleading as far as the English meaning of the word. It does fit on a card better than "tough to kill-ation."

Q: Does Bloodthirsty Ogre lose his devotion counters when he uses his second ability?
--Tommy

A: No, neither of the abilities removes counters.

Master Apothecary
Q: My opponent has Master Apothecary with a group of other Clerics in play and I have Fumiko the Lowblood. Is my opponent allowed to tap his Clerics (to prevent damage) although they aren't being dealt damage, so he doesn't have to attack? --Mitja C.

A: Yes, damage prevention doesn't require that something be taking damage at the time when the prevention shields are being created.

*Extra*: Prior to Sixth Edition there was a "damage prevention window" during which was the only time such abilities could be used. The many windows and sub-windows were scrapped in exchange for the Stack. The end result is a better system that's been around since April of 1999.

Q: Let's say I have a Cunning Bandit flipped with three counters on it. If I gain control of a creature, does it have haste? And can I take control of my opponent's creatures before they attack? --DB

A: Azamuki, Treachery Incarnate's ability only lets you take a creature. It doesn't give it haste, and it doesn't untap the creature (unlike Blind with Anger). If you want to take an untapped creature, you'll have to do so before it is declared as an attacker. If you just want to remove it from combat, you can steal it after it has attacked you (especially good with a creature that has vigilance, so you can block).

Cards from Before the Kami War

Q: I was playing a game and my opponent played Sphere of Resistance while I had an Isochron Scepter out. He argues that it costs three to play the spells from the Scepter since the Sphere raises the cost to play spells by 1, and the Scepter is playing a spell. I think that it would still only cost 2 since the addition goes towards the total mana cost, which the Scepter says not to pay. Who is right here and what is actually happening? --Tom

A: Sphere of Resistance imposes an additional cost. This doesn't change the mana cost (or converted mana cost) of the spell, and that mana cost is all Isochron Scepter pays for. You'll wind up spending to activate the Scepter, and when you play the copy the Scepter makes you spend and additional from the Sphere to play the copy.

Seasinger
Q: Does my opponent have to control Islands at all times while using the Seasinger's ability, or only when I first gain control of the creature? --Blaine H.

A: Your opponent only needs an Island when you announce the Seasinger's ability and when the ability resolves. You, on the other hand, always need an Island, or you'll have to sacrifice the Seasinger.

Q: If my opponent uses Vedalken Shackles to take control of one of my creatures that is tapped, does the creature go to that player untapped or tapped? --Adam P.

A: The creature stays in whatever tapped state it was in. Gaining control of a creature doesn't tap or untap the creature (unless the effect itself says so).

Q: When does damage get redirected? Before or after damage is placed on the stack? Does the source color stay the same? --Andrei

A: Damage is redirected as the damage would normally occur. For combat damage, this is when it resolves-- yes, that’s after it was put onto the stack. In the case of a spell or ability dealing damage, this is while the spell or ability is resolving. The attributes of the damage stay the same (what source is dealing it, whether it's combat damage or not, etc.) even after you redirect it.

Q: I have a Squandered Resources out and attempt to tap my Gemstone Mine with one counter left on it and also sacrifice it to get an additional mana. My friend points out that the Mine has no counters and thus cannot be sacrificed to the Resources. Is this true? --Matthew F.

A: The "if" clause is tacked onto the mana ability and handled immediately after getting the one mana of any color. You won't have any opportunity to sacrifice the Mine.

Q: I have Mephidross Vampire and Triskelion on the field. My opponent plays Duplicant. I destroy the Duplicant with the Triskelion-Vampire combo. How does the Duplicant's effect resolve? --Trannie K.

A: The Duplicant's remove from the game effect doesn't need Duplicant to be in play in order to remove the creature. Compare Duplicant's trigger to Myr Servitor's trigger, and you notice an "if… is in play" that the Duplicant doesn't have.

Frozen Shade
Q: On the card Frozen Shade it says : +1/+1. It doesn't say "until end of turn," so when you add the +1/+1 is it permanent? I just was wondering if Wizards of the Coast had published an errata for that card. --Will N.

A: Actually, the wording on the card depends on the set the card came from. Frozen Shade was in Alpha through Fifth Edition, and the Alpha through Revised versions are written as you noted. If you look at the Fourth or Fifth Edition versions you're see the "until end of turn."

*Extra*: The reason for the different wording dates back to templating philosophy. For a time, effects were assumed to wear off each turn-- things that didn't wear off were specifically noted (such as the wording of the Fifth Edition Ashnod's Transmogrant).
Atog is an excellent example of templating changes over time. No two of the four versions of the original Atog are alike. The Antiquities version takes 51 words (counting and +2/+2 as one word each) whereas the same ability on the Mirrodin Atog takes only 10 words.

Tournament Questions

Q: In a DCI sanctioned tournament, are there any restrictions on including foil cards in your deck? --Jay S.

A: Foils are allowed in all sanctioned events. Judges will sometimes look at a player's deck or watch a player if the judge is concerned about the player, thinking that he or she is gaining some sort of advantage-- just like a judge would intervene if a player used regular cards that had been bent or were sticky. From my own experience, either all foil or all non-foil, or a relatively random mix of the two tends to put observers at ease. Seeing something like all of one card in foil or all of a type of card in foil would make spectators and judges wonder if something is going on.

Q: Is it legal to roll dice instead of flipping coins? For example, can I roll a 20-sided die and call odds or evens instead of heads or tails? --John F.

A: Rolling a die, or some other 50/50 randomization method is fine so long as you and your opponent agree. Just remember that flipping a coin (or rolling a die) is used only to determine who chooses play-or-draw and for effects within the game. Flipping or rolling to decide who wins and loses isn't allowed in sanctioned events.

*Extra*: Another easy method if you don't have a die or coin handy is the use the collector number on a card. For example, you could ask your opponent if the number on the card (such as a Swamp) is odd or even. Once your opponent chooses odd or even, reveal the card to determine who won the "flip."

Best of luck to everyone this weekend. Don't forget to check back on magicthegathering.com after the weekend is over-- decklists should be pouring in fast and furious from the top performers all around the world.

Class dismissed.

--Carter

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