Cranial Insertion: 99 Questions of Rules on the Wall
By Thijs van Ommen on February 19th, 2007 · Filed in Cranial Insertion · Comments not available just now
99 Questions of Rules on the Wall
By Eli Shiffrin, Thijs van Ommen, Jeff Vondruska,
Tom Fowler, Brian Schenck, Ted Dickinson,
and, of course, Moko the Zombie Rules Chimp
As today's title may or may not suggest, this article is number 100 in a long list of Cranial Insertion articles! The really old among you will remember a time when I, Gandalf-in-a-boat the Grey, was one of the adventurous fellows to embark on a perilous quest to stuff bunnies into people's heads. Today we'll be taking a road trip down memory lane, looking back at all those articles by picking one question from each of them.
Enough with the journey metaphors, on with the questions!
From Cranial Insertion: Full Saviors of Kamigawa Spoiler!, Mar 27th 2005:
Q: I edited the CompRules so that now I start with 50 life.
A: You are the reason that the DCI recently hired a crack squad of ninja penguins. The real CompRules remain unchanged, and that is what matters.
However, suppose that some prankster changed the CompRules in the Wizards database so that you now start with 50 life. That is obviously wrong. In any tournament, the head judge has the final say, and can overrule the CompRules AND Oracle if he believes that they have an error. This is very rare, but in this hypothetical situation, it would be the correct course of action.
By the way, that wasn’t even a question. You lose.
From Cranial Insertion: Fly, Monkey, Fly!, Apr 3rd 2005:
Q: I used Buried Alive to put a creature card from my library into the graveyard, and then played Zombify to put it into play. Zombify reads, "Return target creature card from your graveyard to play." But the creature has never been in play! What happens?
A: It is put into play. "Return to play" means the same thing as "put into play"; the former is used in certain situations because... well, mostly because it has been that way since Alpha.
(No monkeys were buried alive, zombified or otherwise harmed during the writing of *this* answer.)
From Cranial Insertion: Dawn of the Dead, Apr 10th 2005:
Q: If my opponent taps his Prodigal Sorcerer to throw a monk- er, to ping me for one, and I Shock it in response, do I still take one damage?
A: Unfortunately, you do. Let’s look at our recent simian transport situation. Say that Thijs has loaded up his monkeypult and launched it. Seeing this, I send a team of highly-skilled Dutch ninjas to kill him in his sleep (even flying by catapult, it takes a long time to cross the Atlantic...) The ninjas are successful, and now I only have to take down Jeff to become the sole writer of the column! But wait! There’s still 100 pounds of flying undead Pan troglodytes headed my way! Alas, I failed to stop the incoming Moko by having Thijs inhumed.
This is also referred to as the “hand grenade scenario” – killing the grenadier doesn't stop the grenade, and killing the source doesn’t stop the ability. The CompRules are more technical:
If you want to stop the ability, you’ll need to Stifle or Squelch it.
Originally Posted by Comprehensive Rules
402.6. Once activated or triggered, an ability exists independently of its source as an ability on the stack. Destruction or removal of the source after that time won’t affect the ability.
**Don’t worry, Thijs is still alive. We already have one zombie in this column, two would be gratuitous.**
From Cranial Insertion: Who's Afraid of Continuous Effects?, Apr 17th 2005:
Q: I have a Forest enchanted with Genju of the Cedars. I also control a Conspiracy which changes all my creatures, creature spells and creature cards to have subtype Monkey. When I activate my Genju, what creature type will my animated Forest be?
A: Both effects we are dealing with fall in layer 4, so we have to resort to the dependency rules. Let's see what the dependencies between the two effects are. Applying Conspiracy before the Genju doesn't change what the Genju does: the Genju's effect will just animate the land and make it a Spirit. So Genju doesn't depend on Conspiracy. However, applying Genju before Conspiracy would change what Conspiracy applies to: it will only affect the Forest in question if it has been changed into a creature. Conspiracy depends on the Genju's effect, so the Genju's effect is applied first, creating a Spirit creature. Then Conspiracy will come along and change the Spirit into a Monkey.
From Cranial Insertion: Where the Judgely Things Are, Apr 24th 2005:
Q: Let's say I'm attacking with an unblocked Kitsune Blademaster. With first strike damage on the stack (or resolved), can I Ninjitsu out Ninja of the Deep Hours and he will deal his regular damage, letting me draw a card?
A: This works just fine, further proving that Ninjas are sneaky. Once an opponent does not declare a blocker for an attacking creature, that creature is an “unblocked, attacking creature” until the end of combat. With the Blademaster’s first strike damage on the stack or after it resolves but before normal combat damage is put on the stack, you can have it rip off its disguise and pop, out comes the ninja! Since the Ninja is only in flavor the same creature as the Blademaster, but not by the rules, it says “Hey, I’m a creature without double strike that didn’t deal damage in the first strike combat damage step” and pulls out its sword to poke the opponent again.
* Bonus: You can eat your cake, too! Since the Ninja is still an unblocked attacking creature, you can use another Ninja to return it to your hand after it has dealt its damage. The new Ninja won’t deal damage, but this can save your Higure, the Still Wind if you expect that having him in play during your opponent’s next turn would be hazardous for his health.
From Cranial Insertion: The Tale of the Lemur(e), May 1st 2005:
Q: So, how can I tell whether something is locked in when a spell or ability goes on the stack, or determined when the thing resolves?
A: Rule 409.1 describes everything that happens when a spell or ability is played. You can read everything in detail in the Comprehensive Rulebook. I'll just give a list of all the steps involved:
409.1a The spell or activated ability is announced and is put on top of the stack.
409.1b The mode is selected (for spells or abilities written "Choose one -"). If any choices have to be made regarding the cost to be paid, they are made now. (For example: the value of in the cost, or if any additional/alternative costs will be used.)
409.1c Targets are chosen.
409.1e If the spell or ability does different things to different targets, the player declares how each target will be affected. If something has to be divided or distributed (usually damage), the distribution is decided now.
409.1f The total cost (which may involve mana, but also any number of other things) is calculated and locked in. It still isn't paid yet.
409.1g The player can play mana abilities now if the cost includes mana.
409.1h The cost is paid.
409.1i The spell or ability is now officially "played".
Anything not listed here will happen as part of the spell or ability's resolution. Let's have a look at some examples:
- Kiku, Night's Flower's ability doesn't use any of these steps to determine the amount of damage, which is why the Lemure could be saved in that last question.
- Blaze deals X damage. The value of X also appears in the cost, so it has to be chosen as part of step 409.1b.
- Fireball deals X damage to some number of targets. X is chosen in step 409.1b, the targets in step 409.1c, and the amount of damage for each individual target in step 409.1e. You can't change the damage distribution if your opponent responds to your Fireball by Giant Growthing the creature you most wanted to get rid of.
- Auriok Bladewarden gets +X/+X depending on its power. Because the value of X is irrelevant to the cost of the ability, it isn't chosen in step 409.1b like with Blaze and Fireball. The Bladewarden's power is only checked when the ability resolves.
- Fire Covenant also uses the value X. It doesn't appear as in the mana cost, but paying X life is also part of the cost. Just like Fireball, the value of X will be decided when the spell is played.
- Parch is played to deal 2 damage to a nonblue creature. In response, the creature somehow turns blue. Parch will still deal only 2 damage, because that's the mode that was selected in step 409.1b when the spell was played.
From Cranial Insertion: Don't Eat the Cake, May 8th 2005:
Q: My opponent just cast Reweave on the Heart of Light that I put on his creature. I sacrificed it and then revealed cards from my library until I found a Genju of the Falls. The problem is that I don't control any Islands at the moment. We can't just leave it in the library because the card says you have to put it into play, but we can't just put it into play enchanting nothing… my head hurts.
A: Was that a question?
Q: Ok, ok… what happens to the Genju?
A: Ah, much better. Fortunately for you the nice people on the Wizards of the Coast Rules Team put a rule in the book which covers this situation quite nicely, so your head can stop hurting as soon as you stop banging it on the table.
The rule goes on to talk about moving enchantments from one permanent to another, but that's another discussion. Essentially what that big long rules-y thing says is that your Genju stays exactly where it always was: in your library. No funky stuff like coming into play, not enchanting anything, and then going to the graveyard.
212.4e. If a local enchantment is coming into play by any other means than being played, and the effect putting it into play doesn't specify what it will enchant, the player putting it into play chooses a permanent or player for it to enchant as it comes into play. In this case, the enchantment doesn't target the permanent, but the player who is putting it into play still must choose a permanent or player that the enchantment can enchant. If no legal permanent or player is available, the enchantment remains in the zone from which it attempted to move instead of coming into play.
Before anyone starts complaining about the Golden Rule (referring of course to rule 103.1, go look it up if you're not familiar), it doesn't apply in this situation. The Golden Rule is there strictly to make cards work like they say they do. Unless a card directly contradicts a rule, the Golden Rule just sits there and does nothing. An example of a card that makes the Golden Rule kick into effect is Platinum Angel. Platy directly contradicts all the rules that tell you how winning and losing work by simply turning them off. Reweave falls under this rule:
416.3. If an effect attempts to do something impossible, it does only as much as possible.
From Cranial Insertion: Casual Mayhem Week, May 15th 2005:
Question: If I have R&D’s Secret Lair out and I use a Fourth Edition Terror on my opponent’s creature, can I take it outside and bury it?
Eli: Coffee, meet monitor. Let’s see if the rules allow “bury” anymore.
Note that “bury” is not defined, even in the glossary, except to say “It used to do this.” So “bury” is no longer a defined game term. Your play group has three options here: 1) Terror does nothing. 2) Terror does what it’s supposed to – destroy the creature, no regeneration. 3) Actually go and bury the card. Bonus points if it’s an Earthshaker or a Zombie. If it’s a rare card, I suggest burying it in a plastic bag or another suitable coffin.
Originally Posted by ”CompRules”
Some older cards were printed with the term “bury,” which meant to put a permanent into its owner’s graveyard. In general, cards that were printed with the term “bury” now read, “Destroy [a permanent]. It can’t be regenerated.”
Since this is a casual game, your opponent may decide to not allow you to bury his precious, precious cards. If so, it falls under the “Don’t Be a Jerk” rule and the fact that legally, you can not make him bury his property. But your group really should decide in advance what to do about older cards that don’t work anymore if anyone has a Secret Lair in his/her deck.
From Cranial Insertion: All About Priority, May 22nd 2005:
Q: Is there any way I can use Lion's Eye Diamond to play a spell I'm holding in my hand?
A: If Lion's Eye Diamond had been a normal mana ability that could be played like any other mana ability, then you'd have been able to announce the spell in your hand, put it on the stack, then use LED to get the mana for the spell's cost. The rest of your hand would be discarded, but that one spell would be safe.
As it is, you can't accomplish that (without the help of other cards). LED can only be played when you have priority, not during the announcement of another spell. You can't play that other spell unless you get the mana first, but if you play LED's ability first, then the spell will no longer be in your hand.
From Cranial Insertion: Rock Your SoKs, May 29th 2005:
Q: Can I discard a card to power down my opponent’s Adamaro, First to Desire?
A: If you have a Wild Mongrel in play? Sure! If you have a Seismic Assault? Maybe. Just because you feel like it? No, you can not.
It’s not that the CompRules say “You may not discard because the emu in your head tells you to discard.” It’s that you can only perform game actions when the rules or a card allow you, and the emu in your head is sadly not a card. (Come on, MaRo, read this and get an idea.) Since the rules don’t allow you at any point to discard a card, pay life, or sacrifice a permanent because you suddenly realize that your plentitude is a bad thing, you’re stuck with more cards in your hand against Adamaro, with more life against Pulse of the Forge, and that pesky Blessing of Leeches that you got Mindslavered into playing.
Weight Watchers' new One with Nothing diet can do miracles with Adamaro, though. The Kami of the Posterior up there could take a lesson from his red friend.
From Cranial Insertion: Saviors: Stealing the Shape , Jun 5th 2005:
Shapeshifters mean guaranteed funQ: I have a question about the card Shape Stealer. Let's say I attack with it, and my opponent blocks with two creatures, a 1/4 and a 2/2. Can I choose how big by Shape Stealer becomes? If so, can I make it a 3/6? Or at least a 2/4?
A: You will have some say in the new P/T of your shapeshifter. However, you'll have to choose between 1/4 and 2/2, the sizes of the creatures that blocked it. Here's why: when Shape Stealer becomes blocked, its ability triggers for each creature that blocks it. When they resolve, one of them will try to turn your creature into a 1/4. The other will want to make it 2/2. Only one ability can resolve at a time, so the end result depends on which of these two abilities gets the last word. That one will overwrite the change made by the other trigger. Because you are the controller of both triggered abilities, you are allowed to pick the order in which they go on the stack. If you put the 1/4 ability on the stack first and the 2/2 on top of that, the 2/2 will resolve first, followed by the 1/4, so Shape Stealer will end up being 1/4. You can also do it the other way around to make your creature 2/2. All this happens before combat damage is assigned, so it will affect how much damage your shapeshifter can deal and receive.
From Cranial Insertion: Enchantments Don't Dance , Jun 12th 2005:
Q: If there’s an Opalescence in play, can I use Corpse Dance to pull a Worship out of my graveyard?
A: Enchantments don’t dance. They have two left feet. In fact, that's the title of this article for no apparent reason other than that the phrase strikes me as amusing. I don't need a good reason, though. I have a zombified chimp.
Opalescence only turns enchantments into creatures, though. Enchantments, by definition, only exist in play – everywhere else, they’re enchantment cards or spells. As of yet, no enchantment card is also a creature card, and Worship definitely isn’t. Even though it’d be a creature if it were in play, it’s still just a plain ol’ enchantment card in the graveyard, so the Corpse Tango Line will have to dig a little deeper to find a new member.
From Cranial Insertion: An Introduction to Magicese, Jun 19th 2005:
Q: My opponent plays an Arcane spell and Splices a bunch of other cards on it. If I Twincast his spell, do I get just the original Arcane spell?
A: You're in luck! You get all effects from the Spliced cards as well. It works this way because the CompRules' entry for splice says that the text from the Spliced card is copied to the original Arcane spell. Because the text was placed there by a copy effect, it isn't beneath Twincast's notice, and your Twincast copy will get all the spliced text, too.
From Cranial Insertion: We Have No Bananas, Jun 26th 2005:
Q: Playing a land doesn't cause you to pass priority, right? Then how come two legendary lands with the same name will go to the graveyard before I can use their abilities?
A: Even though you're not passing priority to your opponent, you still "lose" priority for a moment while you're playing the land: no player has priority while the land is being played. After the land is in play, you will receive priority again. This causes state-based effects to be checked. If they see two lands with the same name that are both legendary, both will be put in the graveyard before you actually receive priority and get to do anything with your newly played land.
From Cranial Insertion: How the US Southwest Was Won, Jul 3rd 2005:
Q: Are these sleeves legal?
A: Well that depends. The DCI has not banned any brand or type of sleeves. However, the head judge is free to declare that certain kinds of sleeves constitute as cheating, or will assign a Marked Cards – Minor/Major penalty should you fall victim to a random deck check. Avoid these three things:
1) Reflective sleeves. Hold your deck, and lift the top card slowly, moving it to the side as you lift. If you can see the card’s face’s reflection on the back of the card below it, it’s bad.
2) Picture backs. Sleeve manufacturers are not perfect. Most sleeves with pictures on the back will all be cut slightly different. It’s slight enough that you wouldn’t normally notice it, but a dedicated cheater can use the differences very efficiently.
3) Old sleeves. Are there scuffs on the backs of your sleeves? Do some bend at the corner, but not all? That counts as marked cards. If there’s no pattern, it’s minor. If there’s a lot of it, it’s major. If all of your Islands have the top left corner bent and all of your forests have a small scuff on the lower right, you’re going to be DQed for cheating. Make sure that your sleeves are as uniform as possible.
From Cranial Insertion: Aurafication, Jul 10th 2005:
Is it a Horror? Is it a Minion?Q: I've seen my opponent's hand with a Duress, and I know it contains a Dauthi Horror. Now I want to play Enigineered Plague, but I forgot what creature type Dauthi Horror is. Can I name "whatever creature type Dauthi Horror is" to keep him from playing it?
A: Yes. As long as you can describe the creature type of your choice in such a way that your opponent knows what you mean, it's allowed. Memorizing cards isn't what the game is supposed to be about. In a casual game, this shouldn't be any problem at all. In a tournament setting, your opponent might be reluctant to accept your description in some cases. For example, what's supposed to happen if Dauthi Horror actually has more than one creature type? Or if the Horror has since left your opponent's hand due to an effect you forgot about? Your opponent might end up revealing information that he wouldn't want to reveal this way. Remember that you can always call a judge for the Oracle and look up the information you need. This might be a wise thing to do in any case if creature types of old cards are involved. Dauthi Horror was printed as a Beast, and it happens to still be a Beast according to the Oracle, but many other older cards have had their creature types changed since.
From Cranial Insertion: Take Your Turn Jul 18th 2005:
Q: Can I respond to my opponent’s declaring blockers by Shocking one of the creatures he wants to block with?
A: Ah, an important point to bring up: declaring attackers and blockers does not use the stack. If you want to interfere with one or the other, you must do so in the preceding phase. Your opponent can’t rush past you and declare blockers without giving you a chance to nuke one of his creatures, but you can’t wait for him to choose blockers and then blow one up to let your guy though unblocked. Feel free to blast his blocker, but your attacker is still blocked.
From Cranial Insertion: A Legacy of Questions, Jul 24th 2005:
Q: What is the converted mana cost of the Soldier-generating part of Decree of Justice? Do the two 's count as whatever I paid for X, or does it work differently?
A: An object's mana cost equals whatever is printed in the top right corner, and the converted mana cost is a number equal to the amount of mana in that mana cost. However, the Soldier-creating part is not a spell, but just an ability. It has nothing in its top right corner (because it isn't even a card that has a top right corner ). When you cycle the Decree, it is discarded as part of cycling's activation cost. The "draw a card" part and the "make lots of Soldiers" part go on the stack (in that order), but they're just abilities sitting on the stack, while the card is in your graveyard. If something wants to know the converted mana cost of either ability, it would get the number 0.
I'd like to clear up another misunderstanding in your question while I have the chance . You don't decide on the value of X until the triggered ability resolves. The "you may pay " isn't a cost in the usual Magic sense of the word, but just part of the ability's effect when it resolves. Deciding the value of X, paying , and getting the tokens all happen during resolution, without any player receiving priority to respond to these parts separately in the meantime.
FromCranial Insertion: Rotten to the Core, Jul 31st 2005:
Q: My opponent sacrifices a Bloodfire Colossus and I use a Shining Shoal for 8 in response. How does the Shoal work here? Will it protect me, and then my creatures, or only one?
A: It’s all up to you. When a replacement effect can prevent more than one thing, the player who has the replacement shield or the controller of the objects with the replacement shield chooses how to use it. In this case, you and your creatures have a replacement shield for 8 damage, and you can split that up however you like: all 8 spread among your creatures to keep them alive, 6 to keep you alive and 2 for a creature, 3 for you and 5 for a creature, and so on. But you’ll have to have a creature to redirect 8 damage – if you’re alone, there will only be 6 damage to redirect.
From Cranial Insertion: Bon appétit[/i], Aug 7th 2005:
Q: While playing a subgame from Enter the Dungeon under the table, I play Shahrazad. I understand how nested subgames work in general, but what I want to know is this. Is the subgame from Shahrazad also played under the table?
A: The subgame is part of the game from which the subgame was created. (In this case, that means: the subgame from Shahrazad is part of the subgame from Enter the Dungeon, which in turn is part of the "root" game.) As such, the subgame follows the same rules as its associated main game. The subgame from Enter the Dungeon as well as any subgames created inside that subgame should all be played under the table.
(Note: This is an Un-ruling. If your opponent doesn't want to play under the table, you may need to fight over it.)
From Cranial Insertion: Welcome to the Fold, Aug 14th 2005:
Q: Can I use anything I want for a token?
A: Aaaalmost. You can use anything that does not otherwise disturb or confuse the game state. For example, you can not use cards for tokens if they’re sleeved and your deck is sleeved or if they are unsleeved and your deck is unsleeved. Them ain’t tokens – them face-down critters! This isn’t as important as it was during Onslaught block, but it’s still a bad thing.
Coins are very popular for tokens, but you must be able to clearly represent whether or not they’re tapped. If you can do this in a way that you, your opponent, and passing judges can easily understand, go for it. If not, stay away from coins, please.
Playing cards are good. I attack with my Jack of Spades.
Action figures are good. I block with Omnicron.
Coffee mugs are legal, but watch out for Shatter.
Pillows are a little too big. They disturb the game.
Playboy cutouts are bad. It’s mean to distract your opponent like that.
Playboy bunnies are bad. Why are you playing Magic if you have a Playboy bunny hanging around with you, anyway?
Real bunnies are bad. Tokens should not randomly walk away and munch on your sideboard.
Monkeys are very bad. Let’s not go there.
Bananas are good.
From Cranial Insertion: To Infinity and Back Again, Aug 21st 2005:
Q: I'm using this combo where I use Nomads en-Kor to target a Daru Spiritualist or another Cleric for free, so that it gets +0/+2 each time. After that, I sacrifice it to Starlit Sanctum's ability to gain a lot of life. Is there a limit to the amount of life I'm allowed to gain this way?
A: You're only limited by your ability to come up with large numbers. Like a googol. In this case, the loop consists of the optional action of activating the Nomads' ability, and the mandatory action of resolving the Spiritualist's trigger. (Of course, you can vary the order in which you do these things, but that won't make a difference to the outcome eventually, so the rules don't bother discussing these details.) You're completely free in your choice of a number to determine how often you go through the loop; just remember that "infinity" isn't a number.
Though there is no limit to your choice of a number, the act of choosing a number creates a limit to how often you'll go through the loop.
From Cranial Insertion: Recurring Nightmares, Aug 28th 2005:
Q: How can a Fog of Gnats carry and manipulate a Loxodon Warhammer? Furthermore, how does that enable them to also carry around an O-Naginata?
A: That’s not a rules question, but it’s funny. Magic is a flavorful game. And when things happen that run completely contradictory to flavor (such as playing Remove Soul on a Soulless One and Inspiriting a Wall of Stone) we snicker and move on.
No, we do not judge your plays on how much logical sense they make. Headless Horseman can carry the Helm of Kaldra in his lap.
From Cranial Insertion: Special Pre-Ravnica Edition, Sep 4th 2005:
Q: Instants and Sorceries go to the graveyard as part of their resolution, right? Does this mean that if I untap Kaho, Minamo Historian, I can play the instant I removed an additional time?
A: No, it doesn't work that way. The stack isn't just a neat way of expressing the Last In, First Out (LIFO) rule. When a spell is played, it is physically moved on the stack, and normally stays in that zone until it resolves. When you play the Instant card that you removed from the game for the first time, it will no longer be removed from the game, because it's sitting on the stack now. Even if you untap Kaho, you won't be able to play that same card again.
From Cranial Insertion: Test Your Metal, Sep 11th 2005:
Q: When Uktabi Orangutan comes into play, will it destroy my own Artifact if my opponent has none?
The answer is...
A: No, the comes-into-play ability is optional.
B: Yes, unless you put a towel under the monkeys.
C: Yes, the ability requires a target.
D: No, the ability’s intent is to destroy an opponent’s Artifact.
From Cranial Insertion: The Emperor's New Rules, Sep 18th 2005:
Q: What exactly happens when a player who played Bribery leaves a 4-player Chaos game? What happens to the tasty Sundering Titan he got? Where does it go - graveyard, shuffled into library, switched control to its owner, ...?
A: Bribery is one of the reasons for the existence of the last step that is performed when a player leaves the game: removing from the game anything still controlled by the missing player. Bribery gave the Titan to the player without using a continuous effect, but rather by just putting the creature into play under his control. The other steps can't find a place for the Titan to go, and it will be removed from the game.
This will trigger its leaves-play ability. However, the rules (rule number three of the ones above to be precise) will prevent the ability from actually going on the stack, so no more lands will be destroyed.
From Cranial Insertion: Rah! Rah! Ravnica!, Sep 25th 2005:
Q: With Master Warcraft, can I choose to have none of his creatures block mine, or can I only choose which creatures they block after he decides which will block?
Q: Yes, this spell is normally going to be "Creatures can't block this turn; I win." You choose all aspects of blocker assignment, including the choice to have all of them sit around picking their nose instead of actually doing anything useful like stopping your 13/13 with no evasion [what Eli means is that you should watch for this guy to tear up Extended soon. No, really... -Ed]
From Cranial Insertion: That One With All the Pictures, Oct 1st 2005:
Q: I control Doubling Season, and hit my opponent for 5 with Szadek, Lord of Secrets. Do I get double the counters and double the mill effect?
A: Both the "that many"s in Szadek's text refer to the amount of combat damage that would be dealt. The combat damage event will try to put five counters on Szadek and mill five cards from your opponent's library instead of dealing actual combat damage. Then Doubling Season comes with a second replacement effect and causes ten counters to be added instead, but the number of cards milled that turn isn't affected. With Szadek tripling in size each turn, can you really complain?
From Cranial Insertion: Matters of State, Oct 8th 2005:
Q: If my creature is enchanted with something like Cage of Hands or another card that does not allow it to block, can I sacrifice it?
A: Not so much. At least, not normally. You can only sacrifice a creature when a spell or ability instructs or allows you to, not just because the creature is no longer beneficial. If your opponent were to play a Cruel Edict, however, you can get that Caged man into the graveyard posthaste.
And is it just me, or is the idea of a magical cage made of disembodied hands pretty creepy?
From Cranial Insertion: Guess the Theme Week! by Woapalanne, Oct 16th 2005:
Q: Does Blazing Archon in 2HG stop anyone from attacking us?
A: It sure does. That’s mean.
But that does make up for the last 8 turns you’ve been slapped around by a Graceful Antelope.
Originally Posted by CompRules
606.7b. As the declare attackers step begins, the active team declares attackers. If a creature is unable to attack one of the defending players, that creature can’t attack the defending team. The active team has one combined attack, and that set of attacking creatures must be legal as a whole.
From Cranial Insertion: Bring Out Your Dead, Oct 22nd 2005:
Q: Tokens can't exist anywere but in play, right? So if someone shoots the Spirit token from a Transluminant with Trophy Hunter, will it get a counter?
A: Tokens can exist outside of play - as long as this state-based effect doesn't notice them there. Right after Trophy Hunter's ping ability resolves, SBE's find the Spirit token with more damage than it can handle and destroy it, which causes it to go to the graveyard (barring regeneration or indestructibility). On the second round, the token in the graveyard goes poof. But it did go to the graveyard before going poof, so the Hunter's second ability triggers and goes on the stack, and then you will be allowed to play stuff again.
From http://mtgsalvation.com/190-cranial-...g Humility</i>, Oct 30th 2005:
Q: I control a White Knight and a Crusade. My opponent used Mind Bend to make my Crusade affect black creatures instead of white ones. I changed my White Knight's color to black using Blind Seer. How big is my Knight?
A: Start with the Knight's printed value of 2/2. Now we need to figure out which layer each of the effects belongs to. Crusade wants to change power or toughness (both, in fact), so it has to wait until layer 6. Mind Bend changes text, so it goes in layer 3. The continuous effect created by Blind Seer's ability falls in the "miscellaneous" layer 5. Now we apply them one by one. Mind Bend goes first, so Crusade is changed to read "Black creatures get +1/+1." Next up is Blind Seer, which colors the Knight black. Finally, Crusade is applied: it looks for all black creatures and sees that the White Knight is one of those, so it gives it a +1/+1 bonus. End result: the Knight is 3/3.
As you can see, the layers cause things to work just the way you'd expect them to work. At least in this case...
(change) The power- or toughness-changing effects in layer six are further divided into the following sublayers:
Characteristic-setting abilities are defined in rule 405.2. A characteristic-setting ability is a static ability that assigns a value to one or more of the characteristics of the object the ability is on. Examples of cards with characteristic-setting abilities are Crimson Kobolds, Kodama of the Center Tree (both its abilities), and Mistform Ultimus. Note that an ability which determines the value of a characteristic for another object is not a characteristic-setting ability! (change) Also, abilities that aren't an intrinsic part of the object but were given to the object by some effect other than a copy effect aren't characteristic-setting abilities. Effects from characteristic abilities are themselves called characteristic-setting effects.
- effects from characteristic-setting abilities;
- all power- or toughness-changing effects that don't fall in 6a, 6c, 6d or 6e;
- effects from P/T-changing counters;
- effects that (i) are from static abilities, but (ii) don't set power or toughness to be equal to a given value;
- effects that switch a creature's power and toughness.
From Cranial Insertion: City of Angels, Nov 6th 2005:
Q: If I flashback a Firebolt, and my opponent responds by playing Remand, where does the Firebolt go?
A: It will be removed from the game. The Comprehensive Rules glossary definition for Flashback tells us this:
So we can see that the flashback spell will remove itself from the game instead of going anywhere else when it would leave the stack. Technically, the flashback and Remand are setting up competing replacement effects, but Flashback will always win out. If you apply Remand first, it can’t do anything to it, since it refers to a spell which would be going to the graveyard, and a flashed-back Firebolt is not bound for the grave. Ergo, Remand will fail to return it to your hand and it will be removed from the game. If you apply flashback first, it gets removed from the game, and Remand can’t find it there.
Flashback is a static ability of some instant and sorcery cards that functions while the card is in a player’s graveyard. “Flashback [cost]” means “You may play this card from your graveyard by paying [cost] rather than paying its mana cost. If you do, remove this card from the game instead of putting it anywhere else any time it would leave the stack.” Playing a spell using its flashback ability follows the rules for paying alternative costs in rules 409.1b and 409.1f–h. See rule 502.22, “Flashback.”
Note, however, that the spell is still countered and the player who played Remand still draws a card.
From Kinda Sorta Live From LA, 13 Nov 2005
Q: If Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker goes to copy a creature and I Terror the creature in response, is a token made?
A: No, not at all. Kiki-Jiki's ability targets, so there must be a legal target upon announcement and upon resolution. If the target dies, there is no legal target.
Oddly enough, this question comes up a lot from players who otherwise understand the "fizzle" rule – I blame Clone, who does not target, for the persistent confusion.
From Phasing and Flanking and Bands, Oh My!, 20 Nov 2005
Q: What exactly is a Homarid, anyway?
A: Damned if I know, but they're tasty.
From Attack of the Dopplegangers, 27 Nov 2005
Q: If I Clone a Golgari Grave-Troll, does it get a double dose of +1/+1 counters?
A: No, the counters that were on the original Troll aren't part of its characteristics, so they're not copied. Because the Clone will have the Troll's ability as it comes into play, it does get a new dose, based on the number of creature cards currently in your graveyard.
From I <3 Tournaments 5 Dec 2005
Q: Sometimes, I see players mana weave their decks while they’re shuffling. Is this legal?
A: To answer this, we’re going to need to define what “mana weaving” is.
Here’s how I’m going to define it: knowingly arranging the lands and spells in your deck into a pattern designed to encourage good mana draws. Usually, this is in the classic “spell-spell-land-spell-spell-land” arrangement.
Whether or not it’s illegal depends on what you do after you mana weave. If you give a few halfhearted shuffles, then you’ve stacked your deck, and that’s cheating. A mana woven deck like that will earn you an early exit from the event, and a probable suspension from the DCI. You are required to present a sufficiently randomized deck, and a mana woven deck is far from that. Remember that spell clumps and land clumps are normal in a random distribution.
If, after mana weaving, you did a bunch of riffle shuffles and sufficiently randomized your deck, then your mana weaving was completely pointless. If the point of mana weaving is to reduce the likelihood of getting spell or mana clumps, then sufficient shuffling completely undoes your weave.
Basically, it comes down to the shuffling. If it was sufficient to randomize the deck, then the mana weaving was pointless. If it wasn’t sufficient to randomize the deck, then the mana weave affects the shuffle and the draws. This is cheating if it’s done deliberately. If it was done without the intent to cheat, perhaps by a rather naïve player who thought it was legal, then it’s not cheating, but it’s still Very Bad. In this case, I would tell the player that what he is doing amounts to deck stacking and strongly discourage him from doing it again. The DCI’s [O]fficial position is that a randomized deck after a mana weave is not a penalty, but it’s certainly not behavior that I want to encourage.
If you suspect your opponent is mana weaving and not sufficiently randomizing his deck, call a judge. The judge will look at the deck and, if necessary, talk to the player about his shuffling techniques. What you should NOT do if you think your opponent mana weaves is take matters into your own hands. Some players will do a three-pile shuffle after their opponent mana weaves, the result of which will be a pile of all or mostly lands ending up somewhere in his deck. (Three-pile shuffling your opponent's deck is fine in and of itself, but not as some retributive measure for a suspected mana weave.) Call a judge if you suspect shenanigans, and leave the vigilante justice to Bruce Wayne.
In short: don’t mana weave. If the judge thinks you did it with the intent of fixing your draws, you’ll get DQ’ed and probably suspended. If the judge thinks you did it with no malice aforethought, you’re still going to get a penalty and a good talking-to. In addition, spiders will pee on your head while your sleep. See, it’s just bad times all around.
Bonus: Let’s say you mana weave, and after that, you shuffle well. Well enough to sufficiently randomize your deck. However, your random deck happens to fall close to the mana-woven pattern of spell-spell-land. This would not end well for you. Judges cannot discern between a randomly stacked deck and an intentionally stacked deck, and will presume the worst because you started out by mana weaving. That’s another strike against it, in my opinion as both a judge and a player.
From Fire Good!, 11 Dec 2005
Q: When an epic copy of Undying Flames goes on the stack, when do I choose the target? It's worded like I choose after revealing the card.
A: Despite the order of the words, you must choose the target as the copy goes on the stack (and as you play the spell for the first time). Sometimes word order gets a little weird to make way for normal English usage, so you need to read the card through entirely instead of just doing everything on it bit by bit.
From Mirage Gone Virtual, 18 Dec 2005
Q: If my opponent attacks me with Crash of Rhinos and I play Dazzling Beauty so that it becomes blocked, do I take trample damage?
A: A creature with trample gets to assign its combat damage to the defending player if all creatures blocking it have been assigned lethal damage. If there are no actual creatures blocking the trample, then automatically all zero of them have been assigned lethal damage, and your opponent assigns all damage from the attacker to you.
From Yule Be Smarter For Reading This, 25 Dec 2005
Bonus seasonal non-Magic question!
Q: I know this isn’t Magic-related, but maybe you might know. What the hell is “auld lang syne?”
A: It’s a song that is traditionally sung while ringing in the new year. Most people don’t really know the words, apart from the chorus, and I suspect that most of the people singing the song don’t really know what those words mean. This is probably because it was written in Lowland Scots.
“Auld Land Syne” was first put to paper by poet Robert Burns, based on older ballads. “Auld lang syne” translates literally into English as “old long since,” but it best translated more liberally as “times gone by.” The “syne” is pronounced like “sign,” not “zyne,” which is how many people sing it.
Some of this I already knew, but the rest I learned from Wikipedia. Here is a site which has the original lyrics, plus an English translation. Note that their translation of “auld lang syne” is rendered as “old friends and days.”
From Super Party Fun Pack, 1 Jan 2006
Q: Is Drift of Phantasms an activated ability?
A: Let's see, does it have a colon? Given that it's an undead spirit, without flesh, it most likely does NOT have a colon. So Drift of Phantasms is not an activated ability.
But its Transmute ability does have a colon, so it IS an activated ability.
Originally Posted by CompRules
502.48a Transmute is an activated ability that functions only while the card with transmute is in a player's hand. "Transmute [cost]" means "[Cost], Discard this card: Search your library for a card with the same converted mana cost as the discarded card, reveal that card, and put it into your hand. Then shuffle your library. Play this ability only any time you could play a sorcery."
From Reading the CompRules for Dummies, 8 Jan 2006
Q: When Nezumi Shortfang flips into Stabwhisker the Odious, is its converted mana cost 2 or 0?
From My Lips Are Sealed, 15 Jan 2006
Q: How can we run our own sanctioned events?
A: I’m glad this question was asked. Sanctioning events is an excellent thing to do for your playgroup. If you regularly have eight or more players getting together to draft, or at least eight getting together to play some Constructed, then you should look into sanctioning events.
First, you should go to the DCI sanctioning homepage. There, you can read up on the basics of sanctioning, as well as read about what you have to do to sanction your events. There are some documents there you should read, and they’ll require a PDF reader. Also, if you’re going to be the organizer, you have to be at least 18 years old.
Here are the first steps to getting your event sanctioned, taken from the DCI’s PDF called “Running DCI Events Is Easy.”
DCI Events—Step by Step, from Sanctioning to Reporting
1. Fill out a copy of the Tournament Sanctioning Application.
• Complete the DCI Sanctioning Application that applies to the appropriate game.
• Be sure to provide all the contact and event information you can, because your event will be listed in our website’s searchable upcoming events calendar. You may submit your sanctioning application to the DCI via fax at (425) 254-2987, or by mail at:
DCI Tournament Sanctioning
P.O. Box 1080
Renton, WA 98057
2. Shortly after sanctioning your event, you will receive:
• An Event Report Summary customized by DCI staff for the event you’re scheduling;
• A copy of the Tournament Organizer’s Handbook, which you should use as a reference for running DCIsanctioned
• A pad of DCI Membership Application Cards for players who are new to tournaments.
The Sanctioning Application is available online. Typical response time to faxed or mailed-in sanctioning applications is two weeks. Faxing is recommended.
Once you’ve run some events this way, you may want to start doing them regularly. Maybe your group wants to get together and draft every Wednesday. In that case, you should look into becoming an official Tournament Organizer. There’s a test you have to take, but once you pass it, you can sanction events online, thru the TO portion of the DCI homepage. It’s a simple process, and you’ll have your sanctioning information in a matter of hours.
Bonus: In Soviet Russia, event sanctions you!
From That Pacty Thing Between all Them There Guilds, 22 Jan 06
Q: How do the [card=Leyline of the Void]Leylines work?!
A: With a whole new set of rules! After all players are done deciding whether or not to mulligan, there is a time to do something where nothing could ever be done before. Each player, in turn order, decides if they're going to put anything into play, such as Leylines or the planned "Snap" card "Unluckyman's Paradise." [i][We now know this card as Gemstone Caverns. –Ed.] There is potential for other things to happen here with future cards, but as for now, only these 5 Leylines will do anything.
After everyone's decided what to drop into play, the Leylines actually do come into play. Presto chango, not a spell, can't be counter-o-ed! (Take that, Force of Will.)
From The Firemind Speaks! 29 Jan 2006
Q: With Djinn Illuminatus in play, I play Fiery Conclusion. I pay the spell's mana cost, plus two times extra for replicate ( total), and I sacrifice the Djinn for Fiery Conclusion's additional cost. Does that work?
Niv-Mizzet: You sacrificed the Djinn?! That's an interesting idea, I've never tried that out. *flies away*
Gandalf: And he's gone. I hope he comes back soon, but I'll tell you the answer according to the rules in the meanwhile. Replicate does two different things. First, it gives you the opportunity to pay the replicate cost in addition to the normal cost, as often as you want. Second, when the spell becomes played, it creates the copies you paid for and allows you to change their targets. This second part is a triggered ability, that triggers when you play the spell. To be precise, this trigger event happens after you're done with all the other parts you need to do to play a spell, like choosing targets and paying costs.
While you're choosing what costs to pay, the Djinn is still around and gives replicate to the spell you're playing, so you're allowed to pay for replicates. Right after, you have to actually pay those costs. The Djinn mysteriously vanished, and so does replicate. Finally, the spell becomes played, but with replicate no longer around, no trigger goes on the stack and you don't get any copies, even though you might have paid for them.
From Enchantments Can’t Scream, 5 Feb 2006
Q: Somehow, I manage to play Conjurer's Ban as an instant. If my opponent plays a spell, can I play the instant-ified Conjurer’s Ban in response and prevent him from playing the spell?
A: Well, he’s already played the spell, so you can’t prevent him from doing something after he’s already done it. Conjurer's Ban, much like Meddling Mage, is NOT a counterspell. If you manage to play it in response to a spell, then name that spell, the spell was still played, so Conjurer's Ban would be completely ineffective at trying to stop it.
From A Bloody Good Time, 12 Feb 2006
Q: Can I tap a Wild Cantor for Convoke and then sacrifice it for mana to pay for the card I'm Convoking?
A: No, you can not. This is a tricksy one – when you use convoke to hurry something out, it's not as simple as it seems from a player's point of view. What actually happens is that during the part of announcement where you do things like opt to use buyback and splice, you say "I'm going to tap X creatures to lower the cost."
Then you move on and eventually get to the part where you play mana abilities. You can sacrifice the Cantor here, but then you run into a problem. The next step is to actually pay the costs. Since part of the cost is to tap those creatures you selected to tap for convoke, you can't do it anymore as the Cantor is sorta dead. So you have to rewind and unplay the spell.
From Legally Blocked, 19 Feb 2006
Now it's time to start looking at effects that may interfere with the above rules. There are two classes of such effects: restrictions and requirements. We'll cover restrictions first.
A restriction is a continuous effect that disallows certain (combinations of) assignments. They can apply to attacking or blocking, but in both cases, the rules work the same. Because restrictions can take many forms and are easy enough to understand just by reading them, the technical definitions would only complicate matters so I'll skip them here. All you need to know, is that a set of assignments and a restriction are said to conflict if that set of assignments doesn't follow the restriction. Otherwise, the set of assignments obeys the restriction.
If any restrictions conflict with the set of assignments, then the set of assignments is illegal.
From When Tournaments Attack! 26 Feb 2006
Q: Will a modular counter fall off a Blinkmoth Nexus?
A: Depends on how hard you shake it.
A +1/+1 counter will happily sit on a non-creature permanent. I suppose it whistles to pass the time. Then, one glorious day, the permanent (Blinkmoth Nexus, in this case) comes to life again! And that counter resumes its duty of adding to the creature's power and toughness.
From All That Glitters, 5 March 2006
Q: I have Miren, The Moaning Well and Yosei, The Morning Star, with a +1/+1 counter on it and a +3/+3 from Giant Growth. Then Yosei takes 5 damage from something. If I want to sacrifice it with Miren, how much life will I gain?
A: You gain life equal to the last-known value of the creature’s toughness. In this case, Yosei’s toughness was 9, so you will gain 9 life. The amount of damage Yosei had taken does not matter, since damage does not reduce toughness.
Bonus: A resolved Last Gasp, or similar spell or ability, will reduce a creature’s toughness and cause you to gain less life from activating Miren.
From Nonnegative Thinking, 12 March 2006
Q: I have a Tallowisp in play and I play Carven Caryatid. Can I first draw the card from Carven Caryatid and then search for the enchant creature card? This is important in the case that I played a Congregation at Dawn before this action.
A: Tallowisp triggers when you play the spell, while the Caryatid doesn't trigger until it comes into play (which happens when a creature spell resolves). The Tallowisp trigger goes on the stack on top of the creature spell, so you'll end up getting the option to search before you draw a card, even if you'd rather draw a card first and then search.
From How to Play a Spell, 18 March 2006
Q: Don't you have to have mana in your pool before you announce a spell? That's how it works on MTGO.
A: It only works that way because you clicked the option that forces you to only play spells if you have enough mana already in your pool to play them. If you click the "Settings" helmet on the left and move to the "Game Play" tab, you can uncheck the option "You can only announce a spell or activated ability if you have the mana in your mana pool to pay for it."
Up until 6th Edition rules, that was also how it always worked. There was one infamous incident where a player was disqualified because he kept announcing spells before tapping lands for mana. . . .
From Paper Anniversary, 26 March 2006
Part 2: A Brief History of
A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Eli Shiffrin said, "Let there be bunnies!" And there were bunnies. And it was good.
Hmm. Not quite poetic enough. Let's try that again.
Once upon a March dreary, while I pondered bored and weary
Over many a quaint and curious thread of the Rulings For'm.
Oh screw that.
It was early March, 2005, and MTGS was just starting out its articles section. The mods, sitting around their dark and smoky room of evil like mods are wont to, came up with an evil, evil plan. "Let's put peanut butter on" – oh wait, wrong evil plan. "Let's make a regular column instead of just a slew of articles!" And the idea was praised by deep-frying underlings. Then someone suggested: "Let's get someone to write a rulings column!", and lo, did Craven set out to find a guru to write.
On 9 March, I signed on and began writing the very first CI article. Ten days later, Thijs joined the team, and Jeff Vondruska hopped on board 3 days later. (In September of 2005, the infamous Real Life stole Jeff from us, and we brainwashed Tom Fowler into joining our merry band.)
Our goal: To not just write a column answering rules questions, but to do so in a humorous and memorable way.
As part of the humor, I had randomly mentioned a chimpanzee who sorted my mail. But then something happened. The readers loved him! Moko's chest swelled with pride and silicone, then deflated a bit when I reminded him that he was definitely male, and then deflated even more when the air pressure in the stratosphere between Arizona and the Netherlands turned out to be lower than anticipated. But it's okay because Thijs reanimated him, so he could resume his mail-sorting duties. In November of 2005, Moko picked up his pen and ate it. Then he typed up his first Cranial Insertion article.
It's been a remarkably short and strange year. We've gone from a tiny article on a new site to one of the most recognized Magic articles online. Tom and I have both had readers recognize us as the writers at large events, and one day we're going to kidnap Thijs and drag him along with us to a Pro Tour or something. So thanks to all of you wonderful readers, double thanks to all of those readers who send in questions (and especially Josh Fleshman, who bombards us with good questions!). And thanks to the MTGSalvation mods and admins who got us this sweet gig. So raise your toast, here's to year two!
From Divide // Conquer, 1 April 2006
Q: What happens if I reveal Crime // Punishment with Dark Confidant?
A: Dark Confidant's effect wants to know the converted mana cost of the revealed card, which can't be expressed as yes/no. The mana cost is and , so the converted mana cost is 5 and 2 (X is 0 except on the stack). You'll lose "5 and 2" life, which is 7 life.
From Here Comes the Rain Again, 9 April 2006
Q: It seems that I could play a Copy Enchantment copying Dream Leash on an untapped, untargetable creature. If this is true, how exactly does that work?
A: It does work. Copy Enchantment comes into play as a non-Aura enchantment, so it doesn't target. As it comes into play, it becomes an Aura and slides on over onto a creature. Since Dream Leash only cares about the tappedness of a creature when it's announced, that won't matter at all here.
From At the Supermarket, 16 April 2006
I'm walking down the canned foods aisle, and there's a lady standing there. She turns to me with a puzzled look, wondering if she has to pick one of the various cans to serve with dinner.
A: If an effect lets you to search for a card (or some number of cards), without specifying any specific characteristic for the card, you have to find that many cards if possible. You cannot voluntarily fail a search for some number of cards.
From A Dissident is Here, 23 April 2006
Q: Is the number of cards in my hand continually checked for Hellbent?
A: It depends. For cards which have a static ability relating to Hellbent, those cards will check the number of cards in your hand continuously. If the Hellbent ability on a permanent is an activated ability, the number of cards in your hand will be checked only when you try to play the ability. If a permanent has a Hellbent triggered ability, then the number of cards in your hand is checked both when the ability would trigger and when it would resolve. If you have at least one card in your hand in the former case, the ability won’t trigger; if you have at least one card in your hand in the latter case, the ability simply won’t do anything.
From Yo, Ho, Ho, A Demon’s Life for Me, 30 April 2006
Q: Speaking of 2HG, have they figured out what Woebringer Demon does yet?
A: Yes, it doesn't get played. Woebringer Demons get no love.
If, on the off chance someone actually shows some tenderness for our poor ickle demonkins, the latest Oracle update did fix the recurring issue with Verdant Force, Woebringer Demon, Awakening, and their ilk. Some of these cards now trigger "at the beginning of each upkeep" instead of "at the beginning of each player's upkeep." (Woebringer Demon remains in the latter category.) If they trigger at the beginning of EACH upkeep, one trigger goes on the stack. If they trigger at the beginning of each PLAYER's upkeep, two triggers go on the stack: one for each player whose upkeep is beginning (or 3 triggers for three-headed giant, etc). So check out http://gatherer.wizards.com to see how all of these cards work in 2HG now!
Important note: Not all of the autocard formats have been updated with the Oracle changes. If in doubt, check the Gatherer at the above link.
From Cauldron Bubble, 7 May 2006
Q: What about Simic Guildmage? Can I use him to move counters and enchantments to my untargetable creature?
A: The Guildmage's counter-moving ability needs two creatures as its targets. It won't let you move +1/+1 counters onto or from the Simic Sky Swallower. However, the Aura-moving ability only targets the Aura to be moved, and not the concerned permanents or their controller. So you can use the Guildmage (or several other cards) to attach Auras to untargetable creatures.
From Bureaucracy is Best, 14 May 2006
Q: If I deal damage to my opponent with Isperia the Inscrutable, can I name “Ace of Spades” as the card?
A: Only if you bang your head and sing Motorhead in your best gravelly voice. “The only card I need is the ace of spades, the ace of spades!” If you can’t sing like Lemmy, though, you’re probably better off naming a real Magic card (which is what you have to do – sorry to all you aspiring rockers out there). If you don’t know the name of the card, you can uniquely describe it and get the name from a judge.
Bonus: “Uniquely describe” means exactly that – you have to describe the card in such a way that there can only be one card that fits your description. “The White and Green enchantment from Ravnica” could describe several things. “The White and Green enchantment from Ravnica that costs and lets you tap your creatures to tap other creatures and artifacts” can only be Glare of Subdual.
From Emptying the Mailbox, 21 May 2006
Q: What happens if I play Animate Dead and target Akroma, Angel of Wrath?
A: You get Akroma and Akroma laughs a lot. Animate Dead can indeed target her while she's six cards under since her protection abilities don't apply then, but when it turns into an Aura and tries to jump her, she screams like a little girl and her protection from black stops Animate Dead from attaching to her.
Since Animate Dead is now an Aura not attached to anything, it'll be put into the graveyard as a state-based effect. Its leave-play ability triggers, but since there is no "enchanted creature", the ability shrugs, does nothing, and goes off to have a drink.
From Of Abilities and Effects, 28 May 2006
Q: What kind of effect is generated by Rakdos Guildmage's activated ability?
A: Though it looks like it's creating a token that has a duration of "until end of turn", that's not exactly what's really going on. The first sentence causes a Goblin token to be created. This creation takes place instantaneously, and after that, the game only needs to keep track of the Goblin, not of the effect that created it. So this part is a one-shot effect. The second sentence sets up a delayed triggered ability that will shorten the lifespan of the unsuspecting Goblin. The game does need to remember about the existence of this delayed triggered ability, but the effect that created it can safely be forgotten about. So this activated ability causes two one-shot effects when it resolves. Or a two-shot effect, if you prefer.
From Who’s Afraid of Shining Shoal? 4 June 2006
Q: What is the difference between “at end of turn” and “until end of turn?”
A: One preposition.
Q: I meant rules-wise.
A: Oh, right. There’s quite a bit of difference, then. First, let’s take a look at the end phase, since that’s when both of these things happen.
312. End Phase
312.1. The end phase consists of two steps: end of turn and cleanup.
313. End of Turn Step
313.1. As the end of turn step begins, all abilities that trigger “at end of turn” go on the stack. (See rule 410, “Handling Triggered Abilities.”) Then the active player gets priority and players may play spells and abilities.
313.2. If “at end of turn”-triggered abilities are created or if cards with “at end of turn”-triggered abilities come into play after preexisting ones have already gone on the stack at the beginning of the end of turn step, those abilities won’t go on the stack until the next turn’s end phase. In other words, the step doesn’t “back up” so new “at end of turn”-triggered abilities can go on the stack. This only applies to triggered abilities that say “at end of turn.” It doesn’t apply to continuous effects whose durations say “until end of turn” or “this turn.” (See rule 314, “Cleanup Step.”)
314. Cleanup Step
314.1. If the active player’s hand contains more cards than his or her maximum hand size (normally seven), he or she discards enough cards to reduce the hand size to that number (this game action doesn’t use the stack).
314.2. After discarding, the following actions happen simultaneously: all damage is removed from permanents and all “until end of turn” and “this turn” effects end (this game action doesn’t use the stack).
314.3. If the conditions for any state-based effects exist or if any triggered abilities are waiting to be put onto the stack, the active player gets priority and players may play spells and abilities. Once the stack is empty and all players pass, another cleanup step begins. Otherwise, no player receives priority and the step ends.
“At end of turn” is a triggered ability (and we know this because triggered abilities begin with “at,” “when,” or “whenever”). It triggers at the beginning of the end of turn step. Any permanents with at-end-of-turn abilities will see those abilities trigger. Note that this happens only once: at the beginning of the end of turn step. What rule 313.2 means is that, if an at-end-of-turn ability tries to trigger after the time for this has passed, that ability will have to wait until the next turn’s end of turn step.
“Until end of turn” is a duration. It describes how long effects last. “Until end of turn” wears off during the cleanup step.
It’s possible to use the “at end of turn” window to your advantage. Let the end of turn step begin, and any triggers go onto the stack. Then, when that is over, play your spell or ability that has an “at end of turn” trigger. It won’t trigger until the next turn’s end of turn step. It is not possible, however, to do anything like this with “until end of turn” effects. They will always expire during the cleanup step.
From And Thou Shalt Come to Judge, 11 June 2006
Q: A player plays an entwined Solar Tide, and his opponent has only Disciple of the Vault and four Myr Enforcers in play. How much life will the player lose from Disciple triggers?
A: The answer is. . . .
A: None. The Disciple dies before the Enforcers.
B: Four. The Disciple and Enforcers die in the same event, so the game looks back in time for things that would trigger.
C: One. I regret that I have but one life to give against Raffinity.
D: The Solar Tide player chooses whether the Disciple dies before or after the Enforcers.
From All Questions Great and Small, 17 June 2006
Q: About Ebony Owl Netsuke, when is the condition of the trigger checked? Does it go on the stack and check when it resolves if the opponent has seven or more cards? Or does the player need to have seven cards for it to trigger in the first place?
A: The Netsuke has a triggered ability with an "intervening if-clause": it has the formatting "When/Whenever/At X, if Y, do Z." A condition Y that appears in this special format is checked both when the ability would trigger, and when it resolves. (A condition that doesn't appear as part of this special format is checked only once, when the ability resolves.) With the Netsuke, your opponent must have at least seven cards right when his upkeep starts in order for the ability to go on the stack, and he must also have at least seven cards when the ability resolves for the ability to do anything.
From Live (on Tape) From Charleston, 24 June 2006
Q: I have switched my Windreaver’s power and toughness. What happens if I later use his ability to increase his toughness?
A: The result is that you will end up increasing your Windreaver’s power. P/T-switching effects are always the last things you apply when you’re trying to determine a creature’s power and toughness. Here is the progression:
a. Characteristic-setting abilities.
b. Anything that doesn’t get applied in c, d, or e.
d. Effects from static abilities that modify P/T but don’t set it to specific values.
So, we start with Windreaver as a 1/3. If you switch the power and toughness, we skip down to e and make it a 3/1. Now you decide to give it +0/+1 four times. We now need to calculate Windreaver’s power and toughness again. From the base of 1/3, we add +0/+4 (step b) to get 1/7, then apply the switching in step e to get a 7/1.
Bonus: With all the grafters running about, let’s add some counters to the mix. Windreaver has 2 +1/+1 counters, meaning we start with 1/3 and then add the counters, making Windreaver a 3/5 normally. Then you use the +0/+1 ability four times, then switch the power and toughness. So, we have 1/3 (base) +0/+4 (b) (1/7 so far), +2/+2 from the counters (c), making 3/9, then the switch in step e to get a final value of 9/3. If that’s the intuitive answer, then the new layering rules are doing their job.
From Of Mice and Monkeys, Jul 1st 2006
Q: What happens if I get really, really mad and throw a chair at my opponent's head?
A: You know, a lot of non-card-specific rulings are a little subjective. This one is... not. Hello DQ paperwork and police involvement!
From From the Frozen Tundra, Jul 8th 2006
Q: So I got five of the same common out of my five Coldsnap boosters. Can I play all of them?
A: Yup. In Constructed, this would be problem, but in Limited, you’re not bound by the four-of restriction. With the exception of ante cards (and there is one in Ice Age, if you have an event that uses Ice Age product), you can play with whatever you have. If you get five of a card because the sealed pool is five boosters, fee free to play them all. If you drafted six copies of Zephyr Spirit in your RGD draft, and you really want to play them for some reason, go right ahead.
Bonus: The writers take no responsibility for the quality of your deck if you play six copies of Zephyr Spirit.
From Coldsnap in the Desert, Jul 15th 2006
Q: What happens to Sheltering Ancient if my opponent controls no creatures?
A: Your Ancient pines away and dies with nothing to shelter. You cannot pay the cumulative upkeep cost. (Why is he sheltering your opponent's guys, anyway? Shouldn't he be called "Traitorous Ancient"?)
From Paradoxes of Defense, Jul 22nd 2006
Q: I'm attacking with a creature that has double strike. Its first strike damage is enough to kill the blocking creature. Can I now assign the normal damage to my opponent?
A: Only if the double striker also has trample. Once a creature has been blocked, it's considered blocked for the duration of combat. Creatures without trample can't divide their damage between their blockers and the defending player. Your double striker will still take a mighty swing when normal damage comes around, but he'll only end up wounding the breeze.
From Questions of Climate Change, Jul 29th 2006
Q: If I have a creature with protection from white, say Stromgald Crusader for instance, and my opponent plays Wrath of God, will he die?
A: Your Stromgald Crusader will die to Wrath. Protection stops four things: damage, enchanting/equipping, blocking, and targeting. (The acronym DEBT may help you remember these things.) Wrath doesn't do any of these things, so it's unaffected by protection.
From I Fought the Law, Aug 5th 2006
Q: Why doesn't Wizards errata horsemanship into flying and lose that ability?
A: While functionally identical, horsemanship is not flying and flying is not horsemanship. Fliers can't block horses, and horses cannot block fliers. Moreover, there's no real reason to issue errata, especially with the new policy of only issuing errata to correct mistakes and not to change the card.
Besides, how else would we have Cowboy Sliver, which grants each Sliver horsemanship? Yee-haw!
From DQ or Not DQ?, Aug 12th 2006
Q: So if I'm not playing in an event, I can't be DQed, right?
A: Wrong. There are some things you won't be able to get DQed for (cheating, for instance), since you have to be playing to commit certain infractions. However, participation in the event is not a prerequisite for unsporting behavior. If you're not playing in an event, and a judge thinks you have done something disruptive enough to warrant Unsporting Conduct – Severe, the head judge will enroll you in the event and DQ you. Spectators are held to standards of civility, just like anyone else in the event. If they blatantly defy those standards, they merit the same infraction and penalty as someone in the event.
From Taxonomagic, Aug 19th 2006
Q: Can I make Saproling tokens with Volrath's Laboratory? What about Elf Cleric tokens, Locus tokens, or Child tokens?
A: There isn't any printed creature with the subtype Saproling, but there are lots of cards that produce token creatures with that subtype, so it is a legal choice.
Elf Cleric is not a subtype. It's two subtypes, and you were only allowed to choose one.
Locus is a subtype, but it's a land type and not a creature type. You can't make Locus creature tokens.
Child appears on some Unhinged cards. Though there are not legal for tournament play, they're in the Oracle, so you can choose subtypes that exist only in Un-sets.
From Thirty Common Mistakes, Aug 26th 2006
Things to Avoid #9: Insufficiently randomizing the deck. - Shuffle lots. It supposedly takes seven riffle shuffles to randomize a deck of 52 cards, eight for 60. Pile shuffling isn't really randomization, though it's a way to help break up card clumps that you may not be able to do with riffle shuffles. Mana-weaving isn't randomization at all. It's stacking your deck, and that makes judges sad.
From Law of the Land, Sep 3rd 2006
Besides the Comprehensive Rules, there are three other important documents that all players are required be familiar with. Not just "should", but "required". That's part of what you should know as a player. These documents are the Universal Tournament Rules (which cover all elements of DCI policy for sanctioned events), the Magic Floor Rules (which cover elements of DCI policy specific to Magic) and the Penalty Guidelines (which cover violations of rules or policy at all DCI sanctioned events). The full quartet of documents make up all the rules and regulations that players are expected to follow and judges are responsible for enforcing. So, if a judge ever tells you something about what you should be doing, expect to find it in one of these documents.
If you don't have a copy of these documents or have never seen any of these documents before, then the most recent versions are available from the Wizards of the Coast website in the Tournament section. You can download any of these documents by going to the following Web address:
From First Draft, Sep 9th 2006
Q: Starting a 2HG tournament, we're really hungry. Can my teammate build my deck while I get us food?
A: That is acceptable. Deck building is a shared duty, so one player can foist it upon the other.
From On to the Past, Sep 16th 2006
Q: On my turn, I play three small spells, then a Brain Freeze with 3 storm copies, then another Brain Freeze. Does that second Brain Freeze come with 4 or with 7 copies?
A: You'll get just 4 copies for that one (though your opponent may find that quite a lot already). The reason is that storm only counts cards that were played. Copies of spells that are put on the stack without being played (such as those created by the storm ability itself) don't count towards your storm count. Also, the storm ability doesn't trigger for spells snuck onto the stack, which should be considered a good thing: a single storm copy would set off a never-ending chain reaction.
From Time Spiraling out of Control, Sep 23rd 2006
A: Yes. Teferi restricts your opponent to playing spells only when they could play a sorcery. Since a player cannot (normally) play sorceries during his upkeep (nor during the resolution of an ability), your opponent will be unable to play the suspended spell when the last counter is removed from it. The spell will remain removed from the game with no time counters on it for the rest of the game.
Q: Does Teferi stop my opponent from being able to play a spell that has been suspended?
From Thyme Spiral, Sep 30th 2006
Q: How does Deep-Sea Kraken interact with creatures with suspend?
A: They start off through Craigslist, then progress to a dimly-lit room by candlelight.
And that pervy little joke is rather apropriate. When a player suspends a spell, that is not the same as playing a spell – it's just using a special action. The Kraken goes, "Oh boy, oh boy, I'm gonna lose a counter!" but it doesn't lose one yet. When the final time counter is removed and that suspended spell is played, then the Kraken loses a counter if he's still suspended.
From Unusual Suspects, Oct 7th 2006
Q: Aren't there plenty of other cards that can't be countered, like Urza's Rage and Last Word?
A: Those cards can't be countered by spells or abilities. Since rule 413.2a isn't a spell or ability, a targeted spell like Last Word can still be countered if its target is illegal.
From Get a Life!, Oct 14th 2006
Q: I'm at 1 and have Ali From Cairo in play. My opponent plays Earthquake for 1. Am I dead?
A: Nope. Ali's ability applies until it goes to the graveyard. When that happens, Earthquake has resolved, dealing 1 damage to all non-flying creatures and players. Ali, helpful fellow that he is, has already kept your life total at 1.
From We Are the Champions!, Oct 21st 2006
Q: If Vesuvan Shapeshifter copies an animated Sarpadian Empires, Vol. VII as it comes into play, and then copies an animated Paradise Plume later, and I've chosen "Blue Camarid" for the book, will I get Blue mana with the Plume?
A: Of all of the questions [in Cranial Insertion], this one that will likely never come up sparked the most debate, and the debate went all the way to the top of the rules food chain! And thus did the word come down from on high that yes, you will get blue mana.
With Sarpadian Empires, you’re making one choice which contains two choices in it - a chosen color and a chosen type.
From All About Triggered Abilities, Oct 29th 2006
Q: So what happens to that [Cloudchaser Eagle] triggered ability if it doesn't have a target?
A: What actually happens here is explained by Rule 410.4:
In other words, the triggered ability quietly sulks away into oblivion while the 2/2 flying bird hangs around to see the sights and maybe get involved in a light tussle.
From Standards and Practices, Nov 5th 2006
Q: What happens if the creature is destroyed before the [Pandemonium]trigger resolves?
A: In that case, Pandemonium would use last known information to determine how much damage is going to be dealt. The creature's power right before it left play will be used.
From A Fine Vintage, Nov 12th 2006
Q: If I Trickbind my Masticore's upkeep trigger, can I still play its regeneration ability?
A: Trickbind says that activated abilities can't be played "if a permanent's ability is countered this way" - that includes both triggered and activated. You've just countered the permanent's ability, so no, no activating its other abilities. Try regenerating it a few times in response to the upkeep trigger, since regeneration shields last until the end of turn.
From Five Wishes, Nov 18th 2006
Q: So how do I know when a card in the RFG zone should be face-up?
A: Whenever a card goes to the RFG zone, it's face up there unless the effect that put it there specifies that it's face down. The rule that explains this is 217.7b.
From 'Tis the Season, Nov 26th 2006
Q: I have a Clockwork Hydra which my opponent has enchanted with Temporal Isolation. I attack with it, removing the last counter. Since this puts both the Hydra and the Isolation into the graveyard, does the Hydra's triggered ability deal damage?
A: No, the damage will still be prevented. The counter is not removed until the triggered ability actually resolves. When it does, the Hydra becomes a 0/0, but during the resolution of the same ability, it tries to deal 1 damage. State-based effects haven't been checked yet, so the tiny Hydra has not yet bitten the dust and is still rather isolated.
From When Words Collide!, Dec 3rd 2006
Q: What are Swiss pairings?
A: When two people in Geneva love each other very, very much, they sit down to play a game of Magic. Now when you get eight or more people, you get a tournament (not an orgy). In single elimination, after you lose, you're gone. In double elimination, after you lose twice, you're gone. In Swiss pairings, you can play in each round, for as many rounds as there are. (You'll notice that I did not continue the analogy. I did that on purpose. The analogies would get scary.)
From Splitting Faces, Dec 10th 2006
Q: How do Split Second spells interact with Eye of the Storm?
A: Very carefully.
When a Split Second spell gets removed by Eye of the Storm, the order in which the spell copies are played becomes quite important. Once a copy of a Split Second spell is played, no other spells can be played until that copy resolves; since this can't happen during the resolution of Eye of the Storm's triggered ability, that means that putting a Split Second spell on the stack effectively ends the Eye's party and all those unplayed copies are arrested by the State(-based effects) Police for public intoxication and existing outside of the stack.
Usually this isn't much of a problem if only one Split Second spell has been removed; simply choose to play that copy last. However, once two Split Second spells get in on the eye, you have to make a choice, as at least one of those spell copies isn't going to get played.
From Deck the Halls with Rules Questions, Dec 17th 2006
Q: After the cut to Top 8 has been made, one of the final eight players gets disqualified. What happens?
A. Nothing. The player is DQed and the event continues with seven players in the Top 8.
B. The 9th-place player is moved into the Top 8, since you have to have eight players once you make the cut.
C. No player is added but, to be fair, the Top 8 is repaired randomly, with one of the players receiving the bye.
D. No player is added; new Top 8 pairings are made so that the 1st-place player gets the bye.
E. Six other players are DQed randomly until only one remains.
From Jingle Bells, Kormus Bells, Dec 24th 2006
Q: I was reading the rulings on Ertai's Meddling and saw this one:
"If Ertai's Meddling is used to copy a spell being played face down due to Morph ability, the spell will create a face up, 2/2, colorless, nameless creature with no text. This may be a little counter-intuitive, because you might expect the card to enter play face down like it would have when originally played, but Ertai's Meddling copies only the original spell and not the entire card the spell represented."
What the HECK?
A: Just like the ruling says, Meddling only copies the original spell - "2/2 creature with no other details." Rule 217.7b causes the card to be removed face up, and the face-down-ness of the original spell is not copied when Meddling has you play that spell.
So Meddling has you play the spell, and it's face up because nothing says otherwise. Now you have to slap on that 2/2 blank set of characteristics for the spell, and you end up with a very weird creature.
From We'll Take a Couple Questions Yet, Dec 31st 2006
Q: My opponent brought a Palinchron into play with Animate Dead and untapped seven lands. I tried to do that last year and was told I couldn't. What gives?
A: The Oracle card text of quite a few cards changed in mid-July of this year. In his "Latest Developments" column on wizards.com, Aaron Forsythe described a movement to remove "power-level errata" (that is, errata that changed a card away from its original function due to being more powerful than anticipated). Palinchron and friends (Cloud of Faeries, most notably) received errata shortly after becoming tournament-legal so that they'd only cause lands to untap if they were played from the hand, not snuck into play through some other means. The errata on those cards was rescinded during this update, so Palinchron now untaps seven lands regardless of how he comes into play.
At least, I think it's a he. Are YOU going to tell a 4/5 flyer that throws lands up into the air that he looks like a girl?
From Bloody Pens, Bloody Moons, Bloody Slivers, Jan 7th 2007
Q: I control a Shadowmage Infiltrator and my opponent controls a Triskelavus. I attack with the Infiltrator. My opponent says something like, "Well, I can't block him." Am I obligated to correct my opponent and point out that, because the Triskelavus is an artifact creature, it can legally block my creature?
A: The DCI Penalty Guidelines states a player can't intentionally misrepresent the game state or rules. For example, you can't tell your opponent that your Shadowmage Infiltrator has flying hoping that he won't block it.
However, there is no penalty mentioned if your opponent makes a disadvantageous choice based on his incomplete knowledge of a card. While your opponent is always welcome to call a judge for clarification on the text of a card, you are not obligated to clarify that text yourself.
From The Calm Before the Chaos, Jan 14th 2007
Q: Can I name Genesis with Pithing Needle?
Q: I mean, will that stop the ability?
A: No, it won't. Genesis has a triggered ability which triggers at the beginning of your upkeep. When that trigger resolves, you may pay to return a creature card to your hand. There's nothing in there for Pithing Needle to stop.
Q: So why did you tell me I could name it!?
A: Because you can. It's perfectly legal for you to name Genesis with Pithing Needle. Just because the Needle won't actually do anything doesn't matter: you're making a legal choice. If all you ask is, "Can I name <some card> with Pithing Needle?" a judge should only be telling you, "Yes." Anything more is giving you playing advice, and judges aren't allowed to do that. If what you really want to know is, "If I name <some card> with Pithing Needle, will that shut off the ability?" then that's what you should ask. There are a lot of very capable judges out there, but none of us are mind readers. Make sure you're asking the question to which you really want to know the answer. And judges, make sure you're answering the question that was asked, not the question you think the player meant to ask, nor the question you would know to ask.
From Until the End of the World, Jan 21st 2007
Q: If I Pongify Stuffy Doll, do I get a monkey and keep my doll?
A: Either your doll gets a little monkey or your monkey gets a little doll. Moko prefers to own the doll so he can poke it with pins. I think he taped Mark Gottlieb's name on it because he let Ovinize be printed.
The Doll is indestructible, so the entire "destroy" part will fail miserably. But Pongify will still do as much as it can, and drop a monkey into play.
From Planar Time Chaos of Elemental Temporal Spiral, Jan 28th 2007
Q: How does Silhana Ledgewalker work if it has Dust Corona on it?
A: The same as if Dust Corona were on a flying creature. There are two different blocking restrictions here: Silhana Ledgewalker restricts blocking creatures to those with flying (just as if the Ledgewalker had flying itself) and Dust Corona restricts blocking creatures to those without flying. For a creature to be legally declared as a blocker, it must meet all blocking restrictions. Since it is impossible for a creature to simultaneously have flying and not have flying, no creature can be legally declared as a blocker.
From Agents of KAOS, Feb 4th 2007
Q: How does Fortune Thief work in 2-Headed Giant?
A: Hey, that's not a Planar Chaos card! However, 2HG events are popular at Prereleases, and this question came up at ours [And ours. –ed]. Fortune Thief stops damage from taking your life total below 1, but the crux of the issue is this: does it protect your team, or just you?
And the answer is that while it only protects you, damage dealt to your teammate affects your life total, so it'll end up protecting you even though he took the damage. Each player is dealt damage individually, but the resulting life loss happens to the team's total, not to either one player.
From The Morph You Know, Feb 11th 2007
Q: Can I slip creatures with morph into play face down for free with Aluren?
A: Aluren is an alternate way of playing a spell, and so is morph. And rule 409.1b says that you can't use more than one alternative method of playing a spell. So sadly, you can't drop oodles of free morphs.
From 99 Questions of Rules on the Wall, Feb 18th 2007
Q: Did you really expect us to read all of these questions?
A: I hope so - we picked the funny ones, the commonly-asked ones, the useful ones, the obscure ones, and a couple contentious ones. If you just skipped to the end, go back to the top with a big cup of tea and read it all.
Do it, or I'll sic Moko on you!
No more questions of rules on the wall!
No more questions of rules!
Go to firstname.lastname@example.org and send some more!
99 questions of rules!
But maybe we should wait with that article for a year or two.
-Thijs van Ommen, The Netherlands
P.S. Thanks go to Eli, Tom, and Ted for getting CI all the way to 100, and for doing the actual work of selecting the uestions for this article!
By Thijs van Ommen on February 19th, 2007 · Filed in Cranial Insertion · Comments not available just now
About Thijs van Ommen
Even though I'm not a judge, my interest in the rules of the game is the main reason for me to play. You'll usually find me answering questions in the rulings forum. I'm mostly a casual player: the only tournaments I visit are prereleases.