Saturday School #2
General / Older Card Questions
Q: I have a question regarding what happens to token creatures when they are killed. I've seen players use combos of Battle Screech to put Bird tokens into play and Soulcatchers' Aerie to add +1/+1 counters "whenever a Bird is put into your graveyard from play." When a bird token is killed, Magic Online adds a +1/+1 counter to Soulcatchers' Aerie, but obviously the token does not physically exist in the graveyard. Is this a mistake, or does the token legally go to the graveyard before disappearing?
--Ed Christian, East Stroudsburg, PA, USA
A: Tokens go to the graveyard as regular creatures, and are removed as a "state-based effect" when a player gets priority again. They stay in the graveyard long enough to trigger abilities, like the one of Soulcatchers' Aerie, before they are removed. In casual play, people generally don’t bother putting the token (coin/piece of paper/dice) in the graveyard because it’s removed right after, but it’s supposed to be put in the graveyard. Read more about this and other State-Based Effects in the Comprehensive Rulebook, section 420.
Q: With cards like Mox Diamond and Lotus Vale, you either have to discard a land or sacrifice lands when they some into play. Since they are in play when you have to pay extra for them, can you tap them for mana in as an instant before you sacrifice them (assuming you don't sack or discard land)?
--Benjamin Andrew Munroe, Rutland, MA
A: Both the cards have errata. The Lotus Vale requires that you sacrifice two untapped lands if it would come into play; if you don’t, it’s put into the graveyard before you can use it. The Mox Diamond has an extra cost of discarding a land card from your hand when you play it. If you don’t discard the land card, you’re not even allowed to play it.
Many, many cards, especially those printed before 1999 (when Sixth Edition Rules came out) have had their texts significantly changed from what’s printed on the card. You can always find the most up-to-date texts in the Oracle, available here.
Q: When is a spell considered to be "played"? Is it when it hits the stack or after it resolves?
--Derek DeBoer, Oak Harbor, WA
A: A spell is considered to be "played" when you’ve put it on the stack and completed all choices and payments for it.
See rule 409.1a-g in the Comprehensive Rulebook for the complete list of steps to be completed when playing a spell.
Q: Warrior en-Kor reads: ": redirect 1 damage from Warrior en-Kor to a creature you control." My question is, am I able to use the en-Kor's ability to filter all damage dealt to it by creatures to my Beloved Chaplain? The Chaplain has "protection from creatures," but the en-Kor doesn't require me to target a creature I control.
A: The en-Kor’s text has been updated in the Oracle. The official text of the card now reads: ": The next 1 damage that would be dealt to Warrior en-Kor this turn is dealt to target creature you control instead." It has been changed to target the creature which ends up with the damage. You can’t target creatures with protection from creatures with abilities from creatures.
Q: Yesterday, I was playing my mono-black against my friend's mono-black. He had a Crypt Rats in play, and decided to go for a suicide maneuver, tapping out to do around 10-15 damage. I responded by playing Afflict on the Crypt Rats, which killed it. Would this counter Crypt Rats' ability? I told him that he could have placed the ability on the stack multiple times, but he refused to believe me and accused me of cheating.
--Sean Wheeler, Riverside California
A: Abilities are independent of their source once they have been played, and killing the source has no affect on the ability on the stack. Since your friend had already activated the Rats, all you accomplish by Afflicting it is drawing a card; the damage will still resolve as normal. (And if you had priority, and had Afflicted it first, he could still have responded by activating the Rats).
Q: Can Mirari copy the same spell twice in a row? I know it is a triggered ability, so it should only work once per spell; however, it says, "put a copy of that spell onto the stack." Wouldn't you then be able to copy the copy? It is still a spell, and since it is copying a sorcery or instant, wouldn't the copy be a sorcery or instant as well? Technically, it wouldn't be copying the same spell twice, but please answer me if this is possible.
A: You can’t copy the copy with Mirari. The Mirari triggers when you play a spell, and the copies are just "put on the stack." This means it can never trigger off its own copies.
Q: I've read the comprehensive rulebook, and still cannot resolve this dilemma: My opponent has a creature out with 2 Quicksilver Daggers enchanting it. Can my opponent tap his creature to do 2 damage to me and draw 2 cards?
--Joe Schlieff, Whitman, Massachusetts
A: No, he can’t. Each Dagger gives the creature the ability to deal 1 damage and draw a card, and they each cost "Tap" to activate. Tapping it will only pay the cost of one of the abilities; each ability must be activated separately.
Q: Let's say that you have a Nightscape Familiar and a Deadapult in play. If you sacrifice the Familiar to the Deadapult, can you regenerate it? My friends say you can't but I think you can, since you are saving it from going into the graveyard.
--Erik B. Hage, Lanoka Harbor NJ, United States
A: Regeneration saves a permanent from going to the graveyard due to lethal damage or other effects that say that it would be destroyed. A Sacrifice is defined as the action of moving a permanent from play to the graveyard (usually to pay for some spell or ability, or as part of the effect of a spell or ability). This is different from "Destruction", you can’t regenerate from a Sacrifice. Read more on "Destroy", "Regeneration" and "Sacrifice" in the glossary of the Comprehensive Rulebook.
Q: If you countered Verdeloth the Ancient with a Spelljack, could you make one million 1/1 Saprolings for no mana?
--Oren Elliott, Peterborough, NH
A: No. Spelljack only says that you don’t have to pay the Mana Cost (which is the symbols in the corner of the card). If you want the Kicker to have an effect, you must pay extra for it.
Q: I recently read that between Faceless Butcher and Nantuko Husk, you could remove a creature from the game permanently. If this is true, than you should be able to do the same with a Parallax Wave and a Disenchant by stacking the remove creature effects, then Disenchanting the Parallax Wave, so that it's leaves-play effect (the returning of the removed creatures) resolves with no creature to return to play, then the remove creature effects resolve, permanently handling your enemy's creatures. My question is, does this work?
A: This doesn’t work, because the Wave has errata saying that it needs to be in play when it resolves for the "remove" effect to happen (Remove a fade counter from Parallax Wave: Remove target creature from the game if Parallax Wave is in play). If you put "remove" on the stack, then Disenchant in response, the "remove" effect will do nothing.
Q: I was wondering if a player had Mobilization out (Attacking does not cause soldiers to tap) and then had a Gustcloak Runner (Whenever Gustcloak ~ becomes blocked, you may untap it and remove it from combat.). Could a person still use the Gustcloak ability even though untapping the creature would be impossible?
A: Yes. Untapping the card is just part of the effect, the effect will do as much as possible when it resolves, it will just not be able to untap the creature. It’ll still be removed from combat.
Q: I play a red/green Elf/Beast deck. If I have Wirewood Savage in play, and a Hystrodon face down, then I turn Hystrodon face up, do I get to draw a card?
-- Adam DeMarco
A: No. The card is already in play. Turning a face-down creature face up will never trigger any comes-into-play abilities, it just changes its characteristics.
Q: OK, say I'm playing a creature/land control deck and I played Kamahl, Fist of Krosa and used his ability to turn one of my opponent's land into a 1/1. Then I played Paralyze on the land. Would Paralyze stay after the turn was over?
--Will Foster, Downers Grove, IL
A: When the turn ends, the land stops being a creature. The game will then check for State-Based Effects, and see that there is an Enchant Creature card without a legal permanent to enchant (it can’t be on a permanent that’s just land), and the enchantment will be put in its owner’s graveyard.
Q: I cycle a card to remove a creature from play using Astral Slide, let the "remove from game" effect resolve, and Disenchant the Astral Slide. Does the creature remain removed from the game indefinitely?
A: No. The effect that removes it from the game also tells it when to return by setting up a delayed triggered ability that will return the creature to play at the next end of turn. This effect is will happen even if the Slide is no longer in play at that time.
Q: If a player has multiple copies of Taunting Elf in play and attacks with more than one, which Elf is blocked by all creatures? Or are the creatures divided up between each of the Taunting Elves?
A: The defending player chooses how his or her creatures block between the two Elves. As long as the creatures block either of the Elves, the block will be considered legal.
Q: If a player plays a Tempting Wurm, can the opponents use abilities like kicker costs and morph when they put creatures into play for free?
A: No. Tempting Wurm puts the creatures directly into play. You’re only allowed to use Morph, Kicker, Buyback, etc. when you play the spell using the stack.
Q: I've used the card Alter Reality with older cards that have the "Fear" ability, but it is not keyworded, for example, Frightcrawler. With the advent of Onslaught, is it possible to change the text of the ability fear?
A: No. All the old cards with the ability similar to Fear have been updated to read "Fear" instead of the original text. Alter Reality only changes the text on the card; it can’t change keywords. It can change the reminder text, but that will just make the reminder text inaccurate. Fear is still defined by the rulebook.
Q: In post-November Type 1, will it be possible to sacrifice Wooded Foothills and search for a Volcanic Island?
--Massimo de Seta (Italy)
A: Yes, you can. Volcanic Island is both a Mountain and an Island, and it can be "fetched" by lands that search for either of the types. (However, cards that search for basic Mountain or Island cards can’t get Volcanic Island, since it’s still a non-basic land card).
Q: What happens if I play Lavamancer's Skill, Psionic Gift, or a similar enchantment on Tephraderm and then tap Tephraderm to do 1 damage to itself? Will the damage loop infinitely until Tephraderm is destroyed (since it reads "whenever a creature deals damage to Tephraderm, Tephraderm deals that much damage to that creature") or will it just deal two damage to itself instead of one (one plus one from the "revenge" ability)?
--Jørgen, Trondheim, Norway
A: The Tephraderm will trigger on dealing damage to itself, putting a triggered ability on the stack. When it resolves, it’ll trigger again, and this cycle will repeat until the Tephraderm is destroyed from lethal damage, or the damage is somehow prevented.
Q: What happens when a player plays Do or Die and there are face-down morph creatures in play? Do or Die says to make the piles "face up". Do the morph creatures get revealed?
--Craig Sullivan, Tampa, FL
A: No, the cards aren’t revealed. The "Divvy"-cards like Do or Die, Bend or Break, etc. have errata to remove the words "face up". The words were there for their meaning in English; it was an indicator that the piles wouldn’t be divided at random. When the Rules Team noticed that the text would interfere with the Face Down mechanic, the words were removed. The functionality of the cards remains the same.
Rune will answer more of your questions next week and every week here at "Saturday School."Send your rules questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.