Legends and Lorwyn
By Eli Shiffrin, Tom Fowler, and Ted Dickinson
Now that the Lorwyn Prerelease is in the record books, it’s time to start focusing on Magic’s latest expansion. Planeswalkers are playable for the first time, and we have the usual slate of new mechanics to cover, also. We’re going to be all Lorwyn, all the time here at CI, at least for this week and next, as we cover questions from Prerelease and mailbag alike. All of the questions in today’s column came from my local Prerelease (and thanks to my fellow judges for helping me compile them!)
If you didn’t get to a Prerelease, fear not, for there are still Release tournaments coming up in about two weeks. To see if there is a Release event in your area, click here. Whether or not you make it to a Release event, the CI mailbag is always open, and it’s always hungry for more questions. Send us questions about Lorwyn (or anything else from the Magical landscape) to firstname.lastname@example.org, and chances are good that you’ll see you question looking back at you from a future column.
Let’s get to the questions! (Note: Lorwyn card tags may or may not work, depending on your card tag preferences.)
A: He might play with them. His walking stick vaguely resembles a croquet mallet, and we all know from cookouts that old people love croquet.
Other than that, though, he doesn’t interact with Sphere of Resistance and similar cards very much. Sphere of Resistance makes you pay more to play the spell, but the spell’s converted mana cost isn’t changing. Thirst for Knowledge costs normally, or to play while the Sphere is out. Its CMC is still 3, though, no matter if there’s one Sphere of Resistance in play or four of them. The CMC is the mana cost of the spell expressed as a single numeral, and cost increasers don’t affect that.
A: Correct. The Grand Arbiter lets you play Fact or Fiction for the bargain price of 2U, but that doesn’t change its CMC, which is going to be 4 no matter how much or how little you pay to play the spell.
Q: Since Planeswalkers are permanents, can I use Clockspinning to add a counter to my Planeswalker? Would its abilities then trigger?
A: Clockspinning lets you choose the type of counter you’re going to be adding, and a Planeswalker is a permanent, so yes, you can use Clockspinning to add a loyalty counter to a Planeswalker.
However, the Planeswalker’s abilities (which are activated, not triggered) don’t just go on the stack because a counter was added. To put a Planeswalker’s ability onto the stack, you have to add a counter as the cost of playing the ability.
"Muahahaha, humans are so taken
by my vaguely Vedalken beard that they
shuffle their hands away!"
Q: I was searching my library with Merrow Harbinger, and after I’d found a Merfolk card and put it on top of my library, I realized I shuffled my hand back in! Now what?
A: Now you’re at a serious disadvantage in the game. You’ve shuffled your hand into your library illegally, and that infraction falls under Game Play Error—Game Rule Violation. (If your opponent didn’t point this out quickly, he would also be guilty of the Game Play Error—Failure to Maintain Game State infraction. However, your opponent’s first chance to notice what transpired is probably to say, “Hey, what happened to your hand?” so judges would consider that before assigning any penalties.)
The game continues with you receiving a warning (and your opponent, too, if the judge believes him to have committed the GPE—FtMGS infraction). Under the old Penalty Guidelines, this probably would have fallen under Procedural Error—Severe, but shuffling your hand into your library for no good reason is a pretty significant penalty until itself. So you get a warning and you can continue the game, though you’ve probably made it much harder for yourself to win that game.
Q: What if my opponent had Thoughtseized me the previous turn, and I ripped the Merrow Harbinger off the top? Could I get my hand back?
A: Then it would up to the judge whether or not you get your hand back. In this case, if the opponent had written down the contents of your hand, agreed that your Harbinger was played off a topdeck, and you agreed that his notes of your hand contents were accurate, the judge, at his discretion, could restore your hand.
Q: Can I respond to champion?
A: Yes. Champion is a triggered ability and can be responded to like any other.
The Lorwyn rules primer showed us what the Comp Rules entry for champion will be:
502.72a Champion represents two triggered abilities. "Champion an [object]" means "When this permanent comes into play, sacrifice it unless you remove another [object] you control from the game" and "When this permanent leaves play, return the removed card to play under its owner's control."
502.72b The two abilities represented by champion are linked abilities as defined by rule 217.7d.
502.72c A permanent is "championed" by another permanent if the latter removes the former from the game as a result of a champion ability.
* A creature's own champion ability won't allow you to remove that creature from the game.
* If a creature with champion leaves play before its comes-into-play ability resolves, its leaves-play ability will do nothing. Then its comes-into-play ability will resolve. Its controller may remove a permanent of the appropriate quality he or she controls from the game. If the player does, that card won't come back. If the player doesn't, nothing happens (because the creature with champion isn't around to be sacrificed.)
* If a creature with champion loses the champion ability (due to Humble, for example) and then leaves play, champion's leaves-play ability won't trigger. The removed card remains removed from the game.
* All _Lorwyn_ cards with both changeling and champion have "champion a creature." The ability allows you to remove any other creature you control from the game.
* All other _Lorwyn_ cards with champion have "champion a [creature type]." The ability doesn't limit you to creatures. For example, a card with "champion a Kithkin" allows you to remove a Kithkin enchantment from the game.
Q: If I play Lignify on a creature with champion and then kill it, does the champion ability trigger when it dies?
A: Nope. What champion ability? When the creature becomes enchanted by Lignify, it loses its abilities. When it dies, because leaves-play triggers need to “look back in time” to see what should trigger, there won’t be a champion ability. The creature will die to little fanfare.
410.10d Normally, objects that exist immediately after an event are checked to see if the event matched any trigger conditions. Continuous effects that exist at that time are used to determine what the trigger conditions are and what the objects involved in the event look like. However, some triggered abilities must be treated specially because the object with the ability may no longer be in play, may have moved to a hand or library, or may no longer be controlled by the appropriate player. The game has to “look back in time” to determine if these abilities trigger. Abilities that trigger specifically when an object leaves play, when an object is put into a hand or library, or when a player loses control of an object will trigger based on their existence, and the appearance of objects, prior to the event rather than afterward.
Rotating out of Standard just as
Planeswalkers are rotating in. Coincidence?
Q: If I play a Planeswalker while Doubling Season is in play, does it get twice the loyalty counters?
A: Double your pleasure, double your fun, double your loyalty counters. Yes, you’ll get twice the normal amount of loyalty counters this way. Doubling Season doubles the number of counters that get put on any permanent coming into play, and it doesn’t matter what those counters are.
Q: If I use a Planeswalker’s ability and add a loyalty counter while Doubling Season is in play, do I get to add two?
A: Nope, just one. “If an effect would place one or more counters on a permanent you control” doesn’t apply here because adding the counter is the cost of the ability, not part of the effect.
Q: I played Tarfire and targeted my opponent. Then I chose to have it deal damage to his Planeswalker instead. Could he play Dawnfluke at this point to prevent the damage before I can do that?
A: No, he couldn’t. When you deal damage to a player with a burn spell (or any source that deals noncombat damage), you can choose to redirect that damage to a Planeswalker the player controls. This happens on resolution of the spell or ability that’s dealing the damage, though. Any damage prevention effects need to be played before the burn spell’s controller decides to redirect the damage or not.
Q: I control a Planeswalker and an Island. My opponent attacks with Inkfathom Divers and chooses to attack my Planeswalker. Since he’s not attacking me, can I block?
A: Nope. You’re still the “defending player” in the combat scenario, and because you control an Island, Inkfathom Divers are unblockable. The fact that your opponent has decided to attack your Planeswalker instead of you doesn’t matter.
Q: If Glitterdust Nap is enchanting a creature, what happens if that creature becomes untapped?
A: Then Glitterdust Nap is enchanting an illegal permanent and will “fall off” as a state-based effect. The only type of permanent it can enchant is a tapped creature, so if that permanent untaps or stops being a creature, the Glitterdust Nap takes a dirt nap.
"I never noticed Nicole Richie's wings before."
Q: When does Captivating Glance trigger—at the end of the enchantment's owner's turn, or the end of the enchanted creature’s controller’s turn?
A: It triggers at the end of the enchantment's controller's turn. Nothing in the text of Captivating Glance indicates that the creature is getting the ability, so the ability is a property of the enchantment itself. Since it’s your enchantment, it will trigger at the end of each of your turns.
Q: I took one of my opponent’s creatures with Captivating Glance. It’s still under my control when he destroys the enchantment. He says he gets the creature back at this point. Does he?
A: Nope. Captivating Glance is different from Control Magic (or, more recently, Persuasion). In the case of Persuasion, the control effect is directly tied to the enchantment. “You control enchanted creature,” is what it says. When Persuasion leaves play, nothing is letting you control the creature anymore, so it goes back to its owner. With Captivating Glance you “gain control of enchanted creature” if you win the clash. Destroying the Glance doesn’t end the control effect.
Q: What happens if I Lignify a creature that has +1/+1 counters?
A: Then it’s a Treefolk with no abilities, and its power/toughness will be 0/4 + how ever many counters it had. Three +1/+1 counters would make it a 3/7. Lignify setting the P/T happens in layer 6b; the bonuses from the counters happen in layer 6c.
Bonus: Here’s the layer system, in all its glory!
418.5a The values of an object’s characteristics are determined by starting with the actual object, then applying continuous effects in a series of layers in the following order: (1) copy effects (see rule 503, “Copying Objects”); (2) control-changing effects; (3) text-changing effects; (4) type-, subtype-, and supertype-changing effects; (5) all other continuous effects, except those that change power and/or toughness; and (6) power- and/or toughness-changing effects.
Inside each layer from 1 through 5, apply effects from characteristic-defining abilities first, then all other effects in timestamp order. Inside layer 6, apply effects in a series of sublayers in the following order: (6a) effects from characteristic-defining abilities; (6b) all other effects not specifically applied in 6c, 6d, or 6e; (6c) changes from counters; (6d) effects from static abilities that modify power and/or toughness but don’t set power and/or toughness to a specific number or value; and (6e) effects that switch a creature’s power and toughness. Within each sublayer, apply effects in timestamp order. Note that dependency may alter the order in which effects are applied within a layer or sublayer. See also the rules for timestamp order and dependency (rules 418.5b–418.5g).
A: First, your opponent can choose new targets for your Footbottom Feast. If you have a lot of creatures in your graveyard, he’s probably going to give you the three worst, instead of the better ones you chose. Then he gets a copy of Footbottom Feast. The copy has the same targets as the original spell, but now your opponent can change them to creature cards in his own graveyard (since he controls the copy. “your” = his).
That’s all we have for this week. Come back next week, when we talk about Lorwyn some more.
Tom is a Level 2 judge who frequently works in the MD, DC, and PA areas. He is also an active player, and has written articles from both perspectives. Tom has judged numerous Pro Tours, but would like to make it there as a player at least once.