Saturday School #57

Posted in Feature on December 20, 2003

By Rune Horvik

Send your rules questions to level 4 judge Rune Horvik at He answers approximately 30 questions every week.

Can't find the answer to your question? Maybe he's already answered it! Try the Saturday School Searchable Rules Database.

Mirrodin Questions


Lightning Greaves

Q: Does the 'Equip' ability of a piece of Equipment continue to target the equipped creature after the equip effect has resolved and attached the artifact to the creature? The reason I ask is because of Lightning Greaves. The way people in this area have been playing it is that if you have one or more pieces of equipment already attached to a creature, and then equip it with a Lightning Greaves, all the other pieces of equipment fall off due to the "untargetable" effect that the Greaves bestow on the equipped creature. On a related note, would a Lightning Greaves equipped to a creature remove any local enchantments already attached to the creature?
-- Patrick Wever

A: No, an equipment card doesn't "target" anything - we just say it's "attached to" or "equipping" the creature. The same applies to local enchantments, which "enchant" a creature without targeting it. (If Lightning Greaves did make equipment fall off, the card would be fairly pointless - it would do the same thing to itself.)

NB - Although the cards themselves don't target anything, their "equip" ability does. You can't attach new equipment cards to a creature that's equipped with Lightning Greaves.

Q: What happens if I have two or more Extraplanar Lens in play imprinted with the same land such as a Swamp. How much mana do my lands produce?
-- Jack Montalto

A: Your lands produce two additional mana, for a total of three. Each Lens has a triggered mana ability, which will trigger separately, and each gives an additional mana of the given type.

Q: About Living Hive... plain and simply put, if Living Hive deals damage in a turn, since it's power is 6, does it put six tokens into play, or is that one token each time it attacks?
-- Frank Sarabia

A: You get one token for each point of damage. The text “that many” refers back to the amount of damage dealt, which is the amount of damage dealt to the player. Note that only the damage to the player counts, so if the Hive was blocked by a 2/2 creature, only 4 damage would trample over to the player, and you would only get four tokens.

Q: When you use Quicksilver Elemental to copy Callous Oppressors ability you can ": Gain control of target creature that isn't of the chosen type as long as Quicksilver Elemental remains tapped." I assume that the creature type is the same one 'remembered' by the original card, but what happens at the end of the turn when the Elemental loses the ability but is still in play? Do you keep the a controlled creature permanently or lose control of it?
-- Weldon T. Green

A: Actually, the Elemental only copies the ability, not any choices that were made along with it – so Quicksilver Elemental would be able to take control over creatures with any type, since it doesn’t have a “chosen type”.
The duration of the effect is “as long as Quicksilver Elemental remains tapped”, and this duration is known even though the Elemental itself has lost the ability – once activated, it’s independent of the source. You will keep control over the stolen creature until the Elemental stops being tapped (by becoming untapped or leaving play).


Soul Foundry

Q: My friend has a Soul Foundry in play with Ornithopter imprinted on it, a Dross Scorpion, and an Atog. Can he continuously tap the Soul Foundry to make an Ornithopter, sacrifice it to give the Atog +2/+2, and then untap the Soul Foundry since the Ornithopter went to the graveyard?
-- Austin Smith

A: This would work. Soul Foundry’s tokens go to the graveyard like all creatures, and this will trigger Dross Scorpion’s ability, which can untap the Foundry again. The tokes would immediately be removed from the game when in the graveyard, but you can use this combo to make your Atog as big as you want to.

Q: Last week, you noted that local enchantments being put into play from a Synod Sanctum could not be placed on other permanents coming into play from the Sanctum. Does this same sort of effect apply to enchantments coming into play because of Replenish?
Suppose Opalescence is in play and I have a Spirit Link and a Pestilence in my graveyard. If I were to play Replenish, could I enchant the Pestilence with the Spirit Link?

A: The same effect applies to Replenish or any other effect that put multiple permanents into play at the same time.
In your example, you couldn’t enchant Pestilence with Spirit Link, since you have to determine where the Spirit Link goes before putting any permanents into play. You can only choose legal permanents to enchant that are already in play, then everything is put into play at the same time.


Blinding Beam

Q: If I play Blinding Beam after my opponent declares attackers, do I still take the damage?
-- Michael C. Villanueva

A: Yes, you do. Tapping or untapping creatures that are already attacking doesn’t do anything in particular if the effect doesn’t say that the creatures are also removed from combat. Most of the time, creatures tap when they attack, so tapping them has absolutely no effect.

You could play Blinding Beam before the attack is declared, to stop the creatures attacking in the first place; or you could use Blinding Beam to keep all tapped creatures locked down for a turn so they won’t untap in the player’s next untap step, but damage would still be dealt as normal.

Q: If you equip Fireshrieker on a creature that already has first strike does said creature essentially have triple strike?
-- Dan Anderson

A: No, it doesn’t. First strike and double strike don’t add up. Having both first strike and double strike has no particular effect on the game. Combat only has two damage steps, first strikers and double strikers deal damage at the same time in the first damage step, having both abilities doesn't let the creature deal damage an extra time.

Q: If I use Mindslaver to take control of an opponent's turn, then use a card like Liar's Pendulum or Cursed Scroll, do I get to make the choices for him?

A: Yes, you do. You get to make all choices that player would usually make, including naming cards for effects of spells and abilities.

Q: If I imprint a card with morph onto Soul Foundry, can I put morphed tokens of the imprinted card into play?

A: No, you can’t. Soul Foundry puts a copy of the card directly into play, and this will always be face up. Morph only lets you play the card face down when you play it the usual way, it doesn’t work when the card (or copies of it) is put directly into play through other means.

Q: If I play Mindslaver’s ability, and rearrange my opponent’s library (with Insidious Dreams) does my opponent get to know the new order of his library or can I keep it a secret?

A: He gets to know the order. It is actually your opponent that orders the cards, you just choose the order and tell him in which order to put the cards. Mindslaver just lets you tell the player what to do, you never perform any actions or play any spells or abilities for your opponent.

Q: If I have Chalice of the Void with zero counters in play, are tokens countered?
-- Marcel Oliveira Alves

A: No, they aren’t, unless the spell that puts the token into play has a converted mana cost of zero. While tokens do usually have a converted mana cost of zero, the Chalice only counters spells, it doesn’t affect permanents at all. For example, Raise the Alarm has a converted mana cost of 2, and puts two tokens with converted mana cost 0 into play. The spell is only countered by the Chalice if it has two counters.

General/Older Card Questions



Q: We recently had a friendly debate about whether Giant Spider's ability to block flyers is optional, since it uses the word "may". If my opponent attacks with a creature that has flying, and is enchanted by Lure, can I choose not to exercise its ability to block flyers? If so, could it block something else instead? Can it only block a non-flyer, since I chose it to not have flying for purposes of blocking?

A: When the Spider blocks, you choose whether it blocks as usual (blocking only non-fliers) or if it blocks as if it had flying, meaning it can block both creatures with and without flying.
Lure only affects how the creatures block, but doesn’t force you to make it possible for your creature to block. If you choose to have the Spider block as usual, it won’t be able to block fliers, and won’t have to block a flying creature enchanted with Lure.

Q: For any creature that deals damage as though it weren't blocked (such as Thorn Elemental, Rhox or Pride of Lions) when you assign damage, does it all have to be dealt to player or creature or can you spread the damage however you like?

A: When you assign damage, you either have to assign damage like normal (to the blocking creatures), or “as if it weren’t blocked”, in which case all the damage goes to the player. It doesn’t let you divide damage freely. Butcher Orgg lets you do this, but it has a different template for its text.


Magical Hack

Q: Can I play Massacre without paying the mana cost using the alternate playing cost, but changing Plains to Island using Magical Hack?
-- Claudio Felicioli

A: No, you can’t. The alternate play cost is determined as you are playing the spell, and you can’t respond to the spell, changing text on it, until it has been successfully played and is on the stack. If you can’t pay the cost for the spell as it’s being played, you have to back up and try something else. Magical Hack can only change text on spells that have been successfully played (or permanents), not during the announcement of the spell.

Q: If I play the Fire side of Fire/Ice and I have Mirari in play and copy it, will I have a copy of Fire, or could it be a copy of Ice?
-- Wayne Cochran

A: It will be a copy of Fire. Mirari creates an exact copy of the spell that was played, and the only thing you are allowed to change is target. You can’t change number of targets, which side of a split card that was used or the mode of a spell.

Q: If I gain control of an opponent’s creature with Chamber of Manipulation, and turn it into an enchantment, via Soul Sculptor, do I get to keep it?
-- Sherry Dickerson

A: No, you don’t. It will return to its original controller when the control effect wears off, in the cleanup step. Chamber of Manipulation looks for a legal target when you activate it, and when the ability resolves. Once the ability has resolved, you will keep control over that permanent for the duration of the effect, regardless of which form it has. At the end of the turn, the effect automatically expires, and the creature/enchantment returns to the original controller.

Q: If I have Crystal Rod in play, does the (blue) spell being cast have to be successfully cast in order to gain 1 life or can it be countered and you still get to pay 1 mana to gain 1 life?
-- P Shields

A: Crystal Rod triggers when the spell has been played (and paid for), and after this time, it doesn’t matter if the spell is countered or resolves – you still get to pay to gain life. The “successfully cast” text comes from an older version of the card, and under the rules that applied then, spells had to be countered immediately after being played, and spells only became “successfully cast” if they weren’t countered. Anything that had this text now triggers on the spell being “played”, and will trigger even if the spell is countered at a later point in time.


Eye of Singularity

Q: If I have an Eye of Singularity and an Akroma, Angel of Wrath in play, and my opponent plays an Akroma, which one is sent to the graveyard? Does the Legend Rule apply or the ability of Eye of Singularity?

A: Both apply. When the second Akroma comes into play, the Eye’s ability triggers. Then the game checks for state-based effects, and as there are two Legends in play with the same name, the most recent one is put in the graveyard. Then the player gets priority, and the Eye’s ability goes on the stack. When it resolves, the effect destroys all other permanents that have the same name as the permanent that came into play, and the first Akroma is destroyed, even if the second one is no longer in play.

Q: Can you use the ability on Strands of Night with a Celestial Dawn in play?
-- Andrew Wallace

A: No, you can’t. Celestial Dawn changes all your lands to Plains, and while all the mana symbols are changed to , the names of land types on the cards remains unchanged, and you will be unable to pay the cost of sacrificing a Swamp, since you don’t have any.

Q: My opoonent has a Contamination in play, and I’ve got Riftstone Portal in my graveyard. Can I use the ability to still produce green or white mana?
-- Steven Daviea

A: No, you can’t. The Portal has a static ability that gives your lands the ability to tap for green or white mana, but when you activate the ability, the replacement effect from Contamination kicks in, and replaces the mana given by black mana. Any mana you tap your land for will be replaced by one black mana.


Chance Encounter

Q: For Chance Encounter, what constitutes "winning a flip"? Obviously I win a flip if it comes up as called. But what about flips that aren't called, such as those on Mana Clash?
-- Ross Vandegrift

A: You win a flip if you get the result you called for a coin flip, or if your opponent loses a flip he called. These flips involve calling heads or tails as the coin is being flipped. Flips that give a specific result if heads or tails comes up aren’t called, and don’t trigger Chance Encounter. Mana Clash and Goblin Assassin are examples of cards that have coin flips that aren’t won or lost.

Q: What happens if I activate the Manta Riders' ability after a non-flying creature was designed to block it?

A: Nothing in particular. You only check for legal blocks as blockers are being declared, and if the block is legal then, the attacking creature remains blocked until end of combat, even if the blocker is later destroyed or the blocker would be seen as an illegal blocker. The attacker and the blocker will still assign combat damage to each other.

Q: If I play Animal Magnetism, and the creature put into play has a converted mana cost of 6 or greater, and among the cards put into the graveyard is a Dragon Fangs, can the enchantment be put onto that creature?
-- Antti Koivisto

A: The creature is put into play at the same time as Dragon Fangs and the other cards are put into the graveyard, and when the game checks for triggered abilities, Dragon Fangs sees the creature that came into play at the same time as it entered the graveyard, and it will trigger.



Q: I have Abundance in play. At the beginning of my upkeep, my opponent casts Plagiarize. For my draw (and any drawing of cards later in my turn) can I activate Abundance to replace my draw(s) so that I get cards but my opponent does not, or does Plagiarize take precedence?
-- Steve House

A: You get to choose the order the effects apply in. Both Abundance and Plagiarize have replacement effects that try to replace the same event (your draw), and since you are the affected player, you choose the order they are applied in. Applying Abundance first lets you search for a land or nonland card and put it into your hand, and then Plagiarize can’t apply, since there is no “draw” to replace anymore. The opposite happens if you apply Plagiarize first – your opponent draws a card instead, and you do nothing.

Q: My opponent has activates his Preacher, and I choose to give him a Forest that is animated by my Ambush Commander.
The Forest stops being a creature when it changes controller, but does he get to keep it then? And do I get it back when he untaps the Preacher?
-- Lauge Rosendahl

A: He gets to keep the (unanimated) Forest as long as Preacher remains tapped. Preacher’s effect only requires that a creature is given, once the creature has changed controller, it will remain for the duration of the effect (until Preacher is no longer tapped). If Preacher becomes untapped or leaves play, the effect stops, and the Forest returns to its original controller.

Q: Riptide Replicator asks me to choose a creature type and a color. Is it legal to choose "orange" for color and "crazydog" for type? Or is there a list of the allowed types?

A: When anything asks for a color, you are only allowed to choose among the five colors of Magic – white, blue, black, red and green. Artifact, land, colorless and gold are not colors in the game, and neither is any other color, like orange and purple.
When choosing creature type, you can only choose a single type that already exists in the game, this can be any type referred to by a card, usually types on creature types or cards that create tokens. You can find the full list in the Glossary of the Comprehensive Rulebook under “Creature Type”

Q: I have a question about Circle of Protection. It says “the next time a source of your choice would deal damage to you...”, does that mean you have to target the source? For example, my opponent has a Circle of Protection: Green, and I have a Troll Ascetic that is attacking. Can he prevent the damage, even though the Troll Ascetic can't be targeted by him?

A: Circles of Protection ask you to choose a source, but doesn’t use the word target, so you’re free to choose any creature that matches the quality asked for (in this case “green”). You can also choose untargetable creatures.
Note that since you don’t target the source, you choose what to prevent damage from when the ability resolves, not when you activate the Circle.

Q: Lich and Worship. What happens if I have these cards in play and I am dealt damage. Does Worship prevent the damage so I do not have to sacrifice permanents?
-- Heiner Litz

A: Worship can’t help you here. Worship doesn’t prevent damage at all, it only makes your life total be 1 after taking damage if the damage caused your life total to go below 1 life. No damage is prevented, and since you are already under 1 life, your life total won’t be adjusted. You have to sacrifice the appropriate amount of permanents, one for each point of damage.

Q: Can I Stifle the Sutured Ghoul ability when it comes into play, so that no cards can be removed from the graveyard?

A: No, you can’t. Sutured Ghoul’s ability is a static ability that modifies how the creature comes into play, it is not a triggered ability (which would start with “at”, “when” or “whenever”), nor an activated ability (which would be worded as cost:effect). You can’t Stifle this ability to stop the player from removing cards to boost the Ghoul’s power and toughness.

Thanks to Laurie Cheers for feedback and proofreading.

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