Saturday School #80

Posted in Feature on May 29, 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.

Fifth Dawn Questions


Grafted Wargear
Q: I have question regarding Grafted Wargear. What will happen if it equips a creature that stops being a creature at the end of the turn (Ensouled Scimitar or Guardian Idol)? The Wargear says "Whenever Grafted Wargear becomes unattached from a creature, sacrifice that creature." At the end of turn, the Wargear will be equipping an illegal permanent and will fall off. Since the Scimitar and the Idol are no longer creatures when the Wargear becomes unattached, they will not have to be sacrificed. Is this correct?
-Ryan Carper

A: No, it's not. The definition of "unattach" in the Comprehensive Rulebook says that the equipment becomes unattached if it was attached to a creature and then it's not – and when the creature de-animates, this description is matched. It was attached to a creature, then it's not (it's attached to an artifact). This causes the ability to trigger and you have to sacrifice the Idol or Scimitar the Wargear was attached to.

Q: If I have Grafted Wargear equipped to a creature and Wargear gets destroyed by a spell or ability, do I have to sacrifice the creature? In other words, is an equipment card that's destroyed considered to also be unattached?
-- Jonathan Lacey

A: The creature will be sacrificed if the Wargear is destroyed while equipping the creature. Equipment is considered to become unattached if it was attached to a creature, and then it's not. This is also true when the Wargear no longer attached because it was destroyed – the ability triggers, and you have to sacrifice the creature.
This can be found in the Glossary definition for Unattach in the Comprehensive Rulebook.

Q: Can Bringer of the Red Dawn target an untapped creature?
-- Yong Hon Chong

A: Yes, it can. You can target any creature with the Bringer (the only targeting condition is that it is a creature), untapping the creature is just part of the effect, and it doesn't matter for anything if the creature is already untapped.


Fist of Suns
Q: Does Fist of Suns let you play X-mana spells for 5 mana? Could you cast a Fireball with X=100 for with Fist of Suns?
-- David Locanthi

A: This doesn't work. Fist of Suns lets you pay instead of the mana cost of any spell, so you can play the Fireball, but if you're playing a spell that has X in its mana cost and an effect lets you play it without paying any cost that includes X, the only legal choice for X is 0.
This can be found in the Glossary definition for X in the Comprehensive Rulebook.

Q: I have Fist of Suns in play, and an artifact with sunburst that costs less (or more) than five mana in my hand. Can I pay all five colors of mana to play a spell? if I do so, will it count towards sunburst?
-- Alex Perez

A: You can use all five colors to pay for the spell you play, and this will count for sunburst. Sunburst looks at the mana you actually paid for the spell, and is not tied to the usual, printed mana cost on the card. Fist of the Suns lets you pay one of each mana to play the spell, and this will cause sunburst to give five counters to the card.

Q: With Mycosynth Golem, March of the Machines and Mycosynth Lattice in play, do all cards in my hand (or anywhere else) have affinity for artifacts/permanents?
-- Josh Schneider

A: No, they don't. All artifact creature spells you play will have affinity for artifacts, and every permanent in play will count (since they are all artifacts), but the cards in your hand are just colorless, they aren't automatically artifacts.


False Cure
Q: Does Beacon of Immortality count as life gain for the purposes of False Cure? If so, that's an instant win combo, isn't it?
-- Jim Bruene

A: If Beacon of Immortality causes a life total to increase, the game sees this as life gain, and False Cure will cause the player to lose twice that amount of life, which causes the player to lose the game (unless the player has a Platinum Angel, or something else that causes you to not lose by having 0 life).

Q: If I cast Reversal of Fortune, and copy one of the Beacon cards, such as Beacon of Immortality, does the player have to shuffle the card from his hand into his library?

A: No, he doesn't. Reversal of Fortune says it creates a copy of the Beacon. Since your spell created it, you own the copy, so when the copy resolves, you try to shuffle it into its owner's library – i.e. yours.
Since it's just a copy, it disappears when you try to move it, and you end up simply shuffling your library.

Q: Can I use Artificial Evolution to change the text on Helm of Kaldra so that it does not produce Avatar Legend tokens, but instead produces Soldier tokens? Then if I have all the Kaldra equipment out I can make 4/4 soldier tokens at instant speed for 1 mana each; does this work?
-- Patrick Korseck

A: This works. Artificial Evolution lets you replace a creature type on a permanent with another, so you can replace "Legend" with "Soldier", and the Helm will let you make Avatar Soldier tokens instead, which are not Legends, and you can have multiples of them in play.


Goblin Brawler
Q: My question pertains to Goblin Brawler - can you equip a Healer's Headdress to it with the "attach" ability? I know it cannot be equipped, but ": Attach this to target creature you control" doesn't say anything about equipping it. This came up at the Fifth Dawn Prerelease and there were mixed thoughts on it.
-- Bill Gutendorf

A: You can't equip the Healer's Headdress to Goblin Brawler, even when using the "attach" ability. You're allowed to activate the ability targeting the Brawler, but it will fail when it resolves, as the Brawler can't be equipped. The phrase "can't be equipped" means that there can't be any equipment on it, and anything that tries to move equipment onto the creature will fail.
The only real difference between the "attach" and "equip" abilities are that the equip ability can only be played whenever you could play a sorcery.

Q: If I play a Fold into Aether and have it counter itself, will I be able to put a creature from my hand into play, or will the spell have no effect?
-- Reid Hughes

A: This won't work, as you're not allowed to choose a spell as a target for itself (according to rule 415.6 in the Comprehensive Rulebook) – a counterspell can never counter itself. For you to be able to put a creature into play with Fold into Aether you have to play another spell first, then counter it with the Fold).

Q: I have Endless Whispers in play and I sacrifice my Phage the Untouchable to Spawning Pit. When Phage comes into play under my opponents control will he lose the game? I am also wondering if my opponent would skip his next two turns if I sacrificed I Eater of Days.

A: The answer to both of these is "yes". Endless Whispers puts the creature card into play under the opponent's control, and triggered abilities from permanents always trigger for the player that controls them. Phage was not played from the hand, and your opponent will lose the game. The same goes for Eater of Days – your opponent will have to skip his next two turns when he puts it into play... though he will have a 9/8 creature in play.


Razormane Masticore
Q: If I have Eon Hub in play, which makes me skip my upkeep step, would my Razormane Masticore die because I won't be able to discard a card?

A: No, it won't. Since you skip your upkeep, the ability will never trigger. The part about sacrificing the Masticore is a part of the ability, and if the ability never triggered, you won't have the opportunity to discard a card or to sacrifice the Masticore.

Q: Rule 502.15d says, "Because no player receives priority during the untap step, any abilities triggering off of the phasing event won't go onto the stack until the upkeep step begins." If Eon Hub is in play, what happens to such an ability?
-- Tyler Wolf

A: It will be put on the stack the next time the player receives priority, which is usually the draw step.
(If an effect such as Necropotence makes to skip your draw step too, then it will be in your main phase, and so on.)
Skipping your upkeep would cause anything that triggers in the upkeep step to not trigger, anything that triggered earlier in the turn waits around until later to be put on the stack.

Q: If I have an Arcbound Ravager in play, a Mycosynth Lattice, and a Summoning Station, can I make my Ravager an infinite/infinite by sacrificing the 2/2 produced by the summoning station? Will the triggered ability on Summoning Station trigger when you sacrifice the 2/2 made artifact by Mycosynth Lattice, or will the 2/2 turn colorless when it hits the graveyard, then get removed?
-- Ed Pelekai

A: This combo works, and you can make your Ravager as large as you want by repeating the cycle as many times you want. The token is an artifact when it goes to the graveyard, which triggers the untap ability of Summoning Station. Abilities that triggers on permanents leaving play looks back in time at the characteristics the permanents had when it was last in play to determine if anything triggers, according to rule 410.10d in the Comprehensive Rulebook.
Note that nothing can be "infinitely large", you have to choose exactly how many times you repeat the combo.


Conjurer's Bauble
Q: If I have a Conjurer's Bauble in play, can I activate it to return itself to the bottom of my library (because you have to sacrifice it)?
-- Duncan Burggraf

A: No, you can't. When playing a spell or ability, you always have to choose targets before paying the costs, and since the sacrifice is part of the cost, it won't be in the graveyard when you choose the target. You can only target cards that are already in the graveyard before you sacrifice the Bauble.
See rule 409.1a-i in the Comprehensive Rulebook for the steps used when playing spells and abilities.

Q: My friend and I were playing a team battle after the prerelease of Fifth Dawn, and then a question came about when my friend played a Serum Visions. We were wondering if the Scry comes first or second or whenever the player chooses.
-- Damon Earl

A: Scry is an action, just like "Draw a card" is. You perform the actions on a spell in the order listed (from top to bottom, left to right), and on all the cards currently printed, Scry comes last. With Serum Visions, you first draw the card, then look at the top two cards and put them back on top and/or bottom of the library in the order you choose.

Q: If I have a Myr Quadropod equipped with a Bonesplitter and I then pay 3 mana to
switch its power and toughness, do I have a 4/3 or a 6/1 creature?
-- Richard Lovell

A: You have a 4/3 creature. You apply all the modifiers in timestamp order.

  1. Myr Quadropod is 1/4
  2. Apply Bonesplitter, Myr Quadropod is 3/4
  3. Apply the switch effect, Myr Quadropod is 4/3.


Myr Quadropod
Q: However, if instead I pay to switch my Myr Quadropod's power and toughness before equipping it with the Bonesplitter , am I right in thinking that it is a 6/1 creature that becomes a 3/4 creature after the end of my turn?
-- Richard Lovell

A: Correct. Applying the effects in timestamp order again:

  1. Myr Quadropod is 1/4
  2. Apply the switch effect, Myr Quadropod is 4/1
  3. Apply Bonesplitter, Myr Quadropod is 6/1

When the turn ends, the switch effect ends, and the effects are then:

  1. Myr Quadropod is 1/4
  2. Apply Bonesplitter, Myr Quadropod is 3/4

Q: I have two creatures in play - creature A and creature B - and my opponent has an Avarice Totem. I attack with both creatures, and my opponent activates the Totem to exchange it for creature A. Before my opponent declares blockers, I activate the Totem to get back control of creature A. Is creature A still attacking at this point?
-- Fábio Poeiras

A: No, it's not. When a creature changes controller (or leaves play, or stops being a creature), it leaves combat, and is no longer an attacking or blocking creature. Your opponent won't be able to block with it, but since it's not attacking anymore, it won't deal any damage to your opponent.
Rule 306.2 specifies when a creature is removed from combat.


Dawn's Reflection
Q: With Dawn's Reflection, am I correct in assuming that the two mana added by the enchantment is in addition to the land's normal mana, as the word "instead" doesn't appear?
-- Chris Ingersoll

A: You are correct. You tap the land for its regular mana, then Dawn's Reflection triggers and gives you two additional mana. It does not replace the original mana from the land. This means that most lands will tap for three mana in total.

Q: Can I use Avarice Totem's ability to target something, sacrifice it to Grinding Station and still get my opponents permanent?

A: This won't work. Whenever you make an "exchange", you have to give something away to get something, and if you can't give the Totem away, you won't get your opponent's permanent, the ability will do nothing.
See "Exchange" in the Glossary of the Comprehensive Rulebook

Q: If I have a Silent Arbiter in play, as well as a Gemini Engine, am I right in saying I can attack with the Engine and get in two attackers?
-- Derek Martin

A: You are correct. Silent Arbiter only affects the declaration of attackers, and you only declare one creature as an attacker. This causes the Engine's ability to trigger, and you will get an additional attacker directly into play. You only check for legal attackers at one specific time, getting the extra attacker later will get around the Arbiter's effect.


Artificer's Intuition
Q: Can you search for artifact lands like Ancient Den with Artificer's Intuition, even when they don't have a mana cost printed on them?

A: Yes, you can. By default lands have a mana cost of zero, which also is their converted mana cost. Artifact lands are artifact cards, and you can search for them with Artificer's Intuition.

Q: Can I return Engineered Explosives from my graveyard to my hand with Auriok Salvager?
-- Israël Blais

A: Yes, you can. The mana cost of Engineered Explosives is , and when the card is not on the stack, the X is considered to be zero. The converted mana cost of Engineered Explosives in the graveyard is zero, and you can return it with the Salvager.

General/Older Card Questions

Q: Can you take a Mulligan when you have lands on your hands? Do you have to reveal your cards?

A: When drawing your opening hands, you can take a Mulligan for any reason you choose, regardless of which cards are in your hand. You don't have to reveal them to anyone, you just shuffle the cards back into your deck, and draw a new hand with one card less.
Previously (before 1998) you had the "no-land" and "all-land" Mulligans, which let you redraw a hand of seven cards if you had no or all lands in your opening hand, and you had to reveal this so the opponent could verify. We later abandoned this rule, and only have the rule listed in the first paragraph, and in rule 101.4 in the Comprehensive Rulebook.


Q: When you play Timetwister and draw your new 7 cards, can you Mulligan that hand and draw 6 and so on? Or are you stuck with the 7 you draw after Timetwister is played?
-- Art Geigel

A: You can only take a Mulligan when the game begins, you can't Mulligan at any other time, even if you redraw a hand with 7 cards.

Q: On the Goblin Archaeologist card from Darksteel... who calls the flip?
-- Ducon Dann Pelletier

A: The player who activates the ability flips the coin, and the other player calls heads or tails. When flipping coins, it's always the other player who calls the flip, to avoid people manipulating the flip.

Q: If my opponent has a Golgothian Sylex or an Apocalypse Chime in play, and activates it to destroy permanents of the given expansion, would it destroy cards that were reprints from those expansions? Say, a seventh or eighth edition card?
-- Mark Burton

A: No, it won't. The Sylex and the Chime (and also City in a Bottle) look for the expansion symbol of the card set, and if the card doesn't have the symbol, it's not affected. Only reprints in expansions like Chronicles and Anthologies have the original symbol, cards reprinted in basic sets don't.

Results of last week's poll:

You have Platinum Angel in play, and are at -5 life. You play Beacon of Immortality. What is your life total afterwards?
-10 9928 63.1%
0 4208 26.7%
-5 1609 10.2%
Total 15745 100.0%

The correct answer is -10 life. Beacon of Immortality doubles your life total, and the double of -5 is -10. This means that you lose 5 life for effects that care about that.

A negative life total is considered to be zero except for changing it, according to rule 104.2. Because Beacon of Immortality is altering your life total, it uses the “real value” of your life.

Compare this with Lurking Evil, which lets you pay half your life to activate its ability. This is simply giving you the option to pay an amount of life, and checking your life total to work out the amount. Calculating an amount of life isn’t directly raising or lowering your life total, so you will be allowed to pay 0 life if your total is negative

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

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