Saturday School #63

Posted in Feature on January 31, 2004

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.


Death-Mask Duplicant

Q: I have a question about Death-Mask Duplicant. If I have a Pristine Angel in my graveyard and imprint it on my Death-Mask Duplicant, will my creature have protection from all colors and artifacts? Will it also have the limit about having to be untapped?
-- Matt Pares

A: Imprinting Pristine Angel on Death-Mask Duplicant will give the Duplicant flying, but not any protection abilities. It can’t get abilities that rely on a certain condition to be true, the ability that checks if the condition is not active when the condition is in play, so while the Angel is removed from the game, it doesn’t have the protection ability.

Q: I have a question on how Death-Mask Duplicant works. Can I repeatedly pay to imprint several creature cards onto the Duplicant? Or do I pay when it comes into play and it imprints the card when it comes into play?
-- John McCarroll

A: You can imprint as many cards as you want, as long as you can pay for them, and it will take on the abilities from all the imprinted cards. The imprint ability is an activated ability that can be activated any time you could play an instant.

Q: I play a Panoptic Mirror. Do I have to imprint when the card comes into play or can I pay the imprint cost at any time.
-- John Glass

A: Unlike the imprint cards from Mirrodin, Panoptic Mirror doesn’t automatically let you imprint a card when it comes into play. You have to pay the imprint cost to imprint something. You can activate the imprint ability any time you could play an instant, just like regular activated abilities.


Panoptic Mirror

Q: Panoptic Mirror allows you to play sorceries when you normally wouldn't be able. How does it work imprinted with Savage Beating or any other spell with entwine?

A: Savage Beating says “Play this only during your turn and only during combat.”, so you aren't allowed to play Savage Beating at all. While the Mirror overrides the normal rules for when the rules let you play spells, it doesn't override other restrictions on playing a spell, such as that of Savage Beating's. You simply couldn't play it, and the Mirror's ability would do nothing when it resolved.
However, if you have another card imprinted, you can pay the entwine cost of that, since you can pay entwine on a spell any time you can play the spell, even though you usually can’t play spells at this time.
Note: because Panoptic Mirror’s imprint ability is an activated ability, you can play it more than once, and imprint more than one card on it.

Q: Can I cast Dismantle targeting my own indestructible artifact, for example Darksteel Reactor? Would Dismantle double the counters of the reactor (with the second effect) while not destroying it, because it is indestructible, or would the second effect not happen because the first never did?
-- Peter Rodgers

A: Dismantle would double the number of counters on the Reactor. As long as Dismantle’s target is legal when the spell resolves, the spell will do as much as possible, and Dismantle doesn’t require that the artifact is actually destroyed for you to able to put counters on an artifact (it doesn’t say “If the artifact is destroyed…”). After Dismantle has tried to destroy the target, you can choose any artifact you control and put counters on it, and since the Reactor is still in play, you can put the counters on it.


Echoing Decay

Q: Does an indestructible creature die if its toughness is reduced to zero? For example, I cast Echoing Decay on a Darksteel Brute. Would this kill the Brute, or would it just leave my opponent with a 0/0 creature that simply won't die (because technically, it would be taking lethal damage, which wouldn't apply to the Brute)?
-- Peter LaCara

A: In this case, the Brute would be put in the graveyard. Rule 420.5b in the Comprehensive Rulebook says that creatures with toughness of 0 or less are put directly into its owner’s graveyard. This is not a “destroy”-effect, so indestructible doesn’t stop it from happening. Creatures that die from having 0 or less toughness are not considered to die from lethal damage, regeneration doesn’t work either.
This is a state-based effect.

Q: Can I sacrifice an indestructible artifact like Darksteel Ingot to give my Megatog +3/+3?
-- Joshue Romero

A: Yes, you can. A sacrifice is not a “destroy”-effect, it simply puts the permanent in the graveyard, and this is not affected by it being indestructible.


Shield of Kaldra

Q: What happens if a Shield of Kaldra is in play, and I play another one? Doesn't the Shield's indestructibility keep it from being destroyed by the Legend Rule?
-- Nathaniel Shar

A: No, it doesn’t. The Legend Rule (420.5e in the Comprehensive Rulebook) says that the duplicate Legend is put directly into the graveyard, This does not use the word "destroy", so it's not prevented by being indestructible.
This is a state-based effect.

Q: Do creature tokens such as 1/1 Insect tokens created by Wirewood Hivemaster have names? Can the card Echoing Courage give all Insect creature tokens +2/+2?

A: Tokens have names. The spell or ability that creates the token sets both its name and creature type at the same time. An Insect token would have both name and creature type Insect, and all tokens named “Insect” would be affected by Echoing Courage.
Note that tokens always keep their name, even though their creature type may later be changed by spells such as Trickery Charm.

Q: Does Words of Waste combine with Geth's Grimoire so that each time you draw a card, you may continue paying until your opponent has no cards in his/her hand?
-- Sam Knight

A: This works. You replace your initial draw with Words of Waste, causing your opponent to discard a card. This triggers Geth’s Grimoire, and you can respond to the ability by activating Words of Waste again. You skip that draw, and your opponent discards another card etc.



Q: How does Trinisphere really work?

A: Trinisphere makes all spells that are being played cost at least 3 mana. The additional mana can be of any color. For example, a spell which costs or will end up costing ; a spell costing will cost , and so on.
You first find the spell’s cost by applying all alternative and additional costs, as well as any modifiers, then if the amount of mana you have to pay is less than 3, you have to pay 3 mana.
This affects cards such as Aluren, Isochron Scepter, and Mind’s Desire, which all let you play spells without paying for them – you still have to pay 3 mana to play these spells.

Q: With Sundering Titan, can you select to destroy any land, or only lands you control?

A: You can choose any land in play, both your own and your opponents, but only one of each land type. You have to choose one land of each type if there is one, it doesn’t matter who controls the lands.
If a land has multiple land types, for example like the dual land Taiga, you can choose the same land for all its types if you want to.

Q: What happens if I play Murderous Spoils on an opponent’s creature with Skullclamp?
-- Jason Scott Lemahieu

A: You perform the actions on Murderous Spoils in the order listed. You first destroy the creature. This triggers Skullclamp’s ability. Then you gain control of Skullclamp. When you gain priority after Murderous Spoils has resolved, the triggered ability goes on the stack. It triggered for the player that controlled the Skullclamp at the moment it triggered, so your opponent will be the one to draw the cards, even though you control the Skullclamp at this time.


Serum Powder

Q: I don’t understand the wording of Serum Powder - you remove the cards from the game, say 7 with Serum Powder - then draw 7 new cards, but what does it mean by you can do this in addition to taking mulligans.
-- Ken Feldhaus

A: You can use Serum Powder at any time you could take a mulligan, but using the card’s ability doesn’t doesn’t count as a mulligan, and doesn't prevent you from taking additional mulligans. If you don’t like the new hand you get after using Serum Powder, you can take a regular mulligan, shuffling in your current hand and drawing one card less. The cards that are removed from the game along with Serum Powder stay removed, and can only be retrieved by Wishing for them or similar.
You can also normally mulligan your hand (without removing Serum Powder from the game and drawing one less card). This reminder text simply means this doesn't taking away your ability to mulligan, it's just also allowing you to do something else.

Q: Can Shunt counter a Counterspell? If so, can it counter Last Word?
-- Mike Auen

A: Shunt cannot counter anything on its own, but like Misdirection and Deflection, you can use it to change the target of a Counterspell to the Shunt itself (Shunt is on the stack while it’s resolving, and is a new legal target for Counterspell), and the Counterspell will be countered when it tries to resolve, as the Shunt is no longer there. The same trick works with Last Word – while Last Word can’t be countered by spells or abilities, it can be countered by the game rules, such as having an illegal or non-present target when it tries to resolve.



Q: At a prerelease I Domineered my opponent's Arcbound Bruiser. When it died in combat a couple of turns later, I told my opponent that the controller of the creature (me) was the one who can move counters to another artifact creature and not my opponent (owner). Was I right to do so?
-- Jiri Baert

A: Yes, you were. A triggered ability is controlled by the player who controls the permanent the ability comes from, and abilities that trigger off a permanent leaving play looks back in time to right before the event happened to determine what triggers. At this time, you were the controller of the Bruiser, and you control the triggered ability and get to choose target for the counters.

Q: When Hallow says "Prevent all damage target spell would do this turn", does that mean all damage to all things? For example, 24 Myr artifact creatures created by Myr Incubator are threatened by a Pyroclasm. This one white mana card gains you 48 life?
-- Robert Tuxbury

A: This is correct. Hallow prevents all the damage the spell would deal this turn, even if it is to many different things, and you gain life for all the prevented damage. This also goes for similar spells like Fireball, Earthquake or Hurricane.


Gemini Engine

Q: I’m looking for a rules clarification for the card Gemini Engine. Exactly what characteristics of the original are copied when it attacks? Does a Loxodon Warhammer on the original affect the copy? Do +1/+1 counters on the original affect the copy?
-- Dustin Polizzi

A: This is not a copy effect like Clone, for example, since it doesn’t use the word copy.
Gemini Engine’s ability simply reads the power and toughness from Gemini Engine when the ability resolves, and puts the token into play with those values. It includes any modifiers done by counters and effects such as Loxodon Warhammer’s. It doesn’t gain anything else from Gemini Engine, for example, it wouldn’t gain the life-gain ability given by the Warhammer.

Q: Can Psychic Overload tap an enchantment? If so does that enchantment still work tapped?
-- Hart Hansen

A: Psychic Overload can enchant and tap any permanent, though tapping an enchantment is rarely useful. Enchantments are always “on”, tapping them don’t shut them off.

Q: What happens if I use Quicksilver Elemental on a creature equipped by Heartseeker?

A: Quicksilver Elemental will gain the ability ", Unattach Heartseeker: Destroy target creature”. It will refer to the Heartseeker that equips the original creature, and you can pay the activation cost by tapping Quicksilver Elemental and unattaching Heartseeker from the creature it’s equipped to. You can do this even if you don’t control Heartseeker, and even if Heartseeker equips another creature than the Elemental. The ability only requires that Heartseeker is attached to something, you can’t unattach it if it’s not attached to a creature.

Thanks to Laurie Cheers and Lee Sharpe for feedback and proofreading.

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