Cranial Insertion: I Fought the Law



Cranial Insertion
I Fought the Law
or, And the Law Went 2-1

By Eli Shiffrin, Thijs van Ommen, and Tom Fowler

Here's Eli, reporting from the currently flooded desert. Our Mountains now contain Islands, too, making this city very Izzet. Break out the Camels!

We're going to jump into some more random questions this week, including several non-card questions that have been bouncing around our inbox. Got questions about cards, tournaments, the meaning of life, or whether I'm up for a hot date? Send ‘em to [email][email protected][/email] for an answer!

Be careful asking for a date, though. Moko might take you out for dinner. He's hungry for brains.





Remove target player
from the tournament.
Q: What happens when a player is disqualified?

A: Firstly, that player is dropped from the tournament. Most disqualifications are without prize, so they don't get any goodies; if a player is DQed for repeated infractions, they can still receive prizes, though.

Then the fun starts. The player, judges, and spectators make statements that are sent to the DCI, and then there is an investigation. Depending on the outcome of the investigation, the offending player may receive as little as a stern warning, or as much as a long, long vacation from DCI events (including games other than Magic, not that anything else is sanctioned much these days).




Q: Can I run a sanctioned draft by using Magic Workstation to assign cards to packs and then repacking them? What about just with any random repacks?

A: That would be a negative on both. Limited formats must use sealed product, fresh unopened cardboard. Otherwise the addictive chemicals on the cards wouldn't be as fresh. Even with a true random booster draft assignment from a WotC-approved randomizer, you still need the packs to actually be sealed. It's a great idea for a non-sanctioned event to hold a cheap draft, though.

At some upper-level events, this rule may be broken. To prevent shenanigans, booster draft product for top-eight drafts may be opened, recorded, and stamped by tournament officials in advance. This isn't kosher for run-of-the-mill tournaments, just big events directly overseen by the DCI.




Q: Can I counter the delayed trigger ability of Goryo's Vengeance with Voidslime during my second main phase?

A: Nope. Delayed triggered abilities don't sit on the stack humming to themselves, they go off and do other things like their grocery shopping or renting videos until they're called into action. And as we all know, you can't counter something that's not on the stack. You could counter the trigger when it actually triggers, but not before then.




Q: What is this Dreamblade I keep hearing about? Is it a new Magic set?

A: No, it is an entirely different game produced by Wizards of the Coast. It's being very heavily promoted, especially to the Magic crowd for some odd reason, but it has nothing at all to do with Magic. It uses miniatures instead of cards and costs a whole lot more. Read about it here if you want.




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 can not 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!




Q: When exactly can I play mana abilities? I know there are some differences from normal abilities.

A: Like other abilities, you may play a mana ability at any time that you have priority. There are also two other times: during the playing of a spell; and at any time that you're asked to pay mana, such as during the resolution of Rune Snag or declaring attackers against a Ghostly Prison.





Now available, 32-inch LED TV sets.
Only at a Mishra's Workshop!
Q: Is LED's ability a mana ability?

A: It is. Just because you can't play the mana-emitting diode's ability during those two special other times I just mentioned doesn't change the fact that it's an activated ability that produces mana, so it's still an activated mana ability.




Q: What exactly is "Last Known Information"?

A: Any time that a resolving spell, activated ability, or triggered ability needs to know something about an object that's not there anymore, it'll resort to LKI. "An object" can be a permanent, a card somewhere else, or something on the stack. For example, Fling has to use the sacrificed creature's LKI to determine how much damage to do.




Q: Did they ever fix the comprehensive rules to deal with Flash Foliage tokens made before declaring blockers?

A: No, but they fixed Flash Foliage to work with the rules. The current Oracle text says that you can only play it after blockers have been declared.




Q: Can I play with my snow-covered lands and treat them as non-snow-covered now, before Coldsnap is legal, just because they're cool?

A: Oddly enough, exactly that infraction is listed in the penalty guidelines! It falls under "Procedural Error - Minor", and is rewarded with a caution and instructions to replace the lands.

Just a reminder, Coldsnap is not legal for constructed tournaments until 20 August.




Q: Can I play two Quickens and then play two Wildfires on my opponent's turn?

A: Not in that order, no. Each Quicken applies some WD-40 to the very next sorcery you play, so both will apply to your first Wildfire, leaving the second bereft in your hand. You would have to play one, play Wildfire, then play another Quicken then the second Wildfire.




Q: Can you fetch Fire // Ice with Supply // Demand?

A: Yes. Rule 505.3 specifically says that every split card is multicolored, so we don't even need to look at anything else. Sneaky sneaky.




Q: Can I Voidslime a state-based effect?

A: Well, no. For one, SBEs are not triggered, activated, or spells. They also don't use the stack, so you can't even respond to them in any way, much less counter them.




Q: Can I tap Adarkar Valkyrie on a Loxodon Hierarch then Sunscour so all of my guys live?

A: Only if you sacrifice the Hierarch to play its ability, too, but I suspect that's what you have in mind. Once the Valkyrie ties a little string to the elephant, sacrifice it. The "regenerate everyone" ability is on the stack, and the delayed trigger from the Valkyrie goes on top of that. The Loxodon comes back before his ability resolves, so he'll be regenerated as well.

Then Sunscour. It doesn't prevent regeneration, so your guys will all get tapped down and laugh at your opponent.




Q: If I play Sensei's Divining Top with Thrumming Stone in play, can I use the ability before the ripple trigger resolves to draw a card?

A: No. While the ripple trigger is on the stack, the Top hasn't resolved yet.




Q: Can Rune of Protection: Lands prevent mana burn?

A: Runes of protection only prevent damage, and mana burn is not damage - it's loss of life. But even if it were damage, the damage wouldn't coming from the land, so you'd still be out of luck. Isn't that rune fabulously useless?





It's never too late to win!
Q: When can I concede?

A: You may concede at any time in the game. You don't need priority to give up, and concession does not use the stack.

An interesting situation has been making rounds on judge discussion lately. Can a player concede in the middle of revealing a card for an effect like Zur's Weirding so that his opponent can't see that he has that card in his deck? As far as the game's concerned, there is no point in time that a revealed card is seen by you but not by your opponent. You can concede before you draw and reveal the card, or after everyone sees it, but not in between.




Q: When building a sealed deck, can I bring a list of tips so I don't have to memorize them all?

A: That would fall under Universal Tournament Rule number 28 - no outside notes. You're going to have to memorize those notes, since cheating makes everyone sad.




Q: Can I sing a Seething Song while searching my library if I decide to play Panglacial Wurm?

A: No, don't sing. Please. Please? For the love of monkeys, DON'T SING!

Seething Song isn't a mana ability - it's not even an ability - so you can't play it during the announcement of a spell.




Q: Will Aven Cloudchaser destroy Humility when it comes into play?

A: Sadly not. The triggered ability will not exist after it comes into play, so it can't trigger.




Q: What happens when an ability with an intervening if clause fails the if clause upon resolution? Is it countered?

A: If something like Oath of Druids with the ever-popular intervening if clause ("At/When/ever X, if Y, Z") no longer matches the "if" when it resolves, it just does nothing. It's not taken off the stack, and it's not countered.




Q: What do I do if I accidentally crease a card while shuffling?

A: Call a judge. This is one of the rare situations in which a proxy card may be issued - if a card is damaged during the course of the tournament. If you have another copy of the card in your possession but not in your deck/sideboard, you can also just switch the damaged card out for that one.




And now I'm signing off for the month. You'll have to rely on Tom and Thijs to entertain you for a few weeks, but I'll be back in the aftermath of Grand Prix Phoenix with an exciting article on that event and high-level events in general.

In the meantime, keep your questions rolling in!

- Eli Shiffrin
Tucson, AZ

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