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Judge Bill's Corner

Chanting Madness

Title: Chanting Madness
Questions: 11
Q: Iím not going to remember the names of these cards ... but ... here goes anyway, as I think youíll know easily. My daughter was playing in a tourney on Friday. There were no judges. She was playing R/G beats in extended, facing a control deck.
Opponent got out a lock combo with some scepter that copied any instant. He copied an instant that doesnít allow the opponent to play spells during the turn he taps the scepter. (I think thatís how it worked). Youíve probably seen this combo Iím assuming.
My daughter couldnít play anything on her turn, and was forced to discard once she held 8 cards.  She wants to play the Basking Rootwalla for its madness cost.
Can she do this with the lock combo in play?  If so, can it be counterspelled?
A: I believe her opponent had the following on Isochron Scepter:
Orimís Chant
Kicker W (You may pay an additional W as you play this spell.)
Target player canít play spells this turn.
If the kicker cost was paid, creatures canít attack this turn.
She wouldn't be able to play the Rootwalla, as you do play the card as part of the madness ability. She would be able to remove it from the game as the first part of madness, but she wouldn't be able to play it.
502.24a Madness is a keyword that represents two abilities. The first is a static ability that functions while the card with madness is in a playerís hand. The second is a triggered ability that functions when the first ability is applied. "Madness [cost]" means "If a player would discard this card, that player discards it, but may remove it from the game instead of putting it into his or her graveyard" and "When this card is removed from the game this way, until that player passes next, the player may play it any time he or she could play an instant as though it were in his or her hand by paying [cost] rather than paying its mana cost. When the player passes next, he or she puts this card into his or her graveyard."
Q: Is that madness thing supposed to make sense? Itís like a bunch of gibberish. 
ďMadness 0 (You may play this card for its madness cost at the time you discard it from your hand.)Ē
Where does ďremove it from the gameĒ come into play at all? Iím confused. Whatís being removed from the game?
A: The way they chose to make the mechanic work, it has to be that "lawyerly."
The removal from game is the first step in playing it via madness. Normally, when cards are discarded, they go to your graveyard (from your hand). If you choose to play a card with madness via madness when it is discarded from your hand, instead of moving it to your graveyard, you move it to your removed from game zone instead. Then you play it from there.
Picky judges and Magic Online are the only people that ever reference the removed from game zone in the process, though. Most people just show the card, put it on the table, and pay the madness cost.
Q: My opponent begins his turn by sacrificing Lifespark Spellbomb to turn one of his lands into a 3/3 creature (while still being a land).  He also has an Omega Myr already in play, two cards in his hand, and three untapped lands.
At this point, I play Recoil on the 3/3 Land intending to send it back to his hand and have him discard a card.
He then says he is tapping the 3/3 Land for one mana to play a spell (irrelevant 1/1 card, no effects), taps his other three mana to play an Urborg Drake (1BU, 2/3 flier) and then says the card he is discarding from the requirement of Recoil is the 3/3 Land that was returned to his hand.
He explained to me that if they went on the stack, the two creatures would come out due to tapping of the 4 lands, the Recoil would resolve, the 3/3 Land go back to his hand and be available for the discard requirement of the Recoil.
I'm having a hard time believing that the 3/3 Land can be the same card that is bounced, tapped to play a spell, AND be the card that is discarded while both the cards previously in his hand come into play.  Hopefully this isn't too muddied for you and you can help out.
A: While the method used to obtain the final position is illegal (you can't play a creature spell when something's on the stack), the end result is legally obtainable (assuming you Recoiled the land in one of his main phases). Here's how (Y= you, O=opponent):
Y: Recoil the 3/3 Land
O: Tap the 3/3 land for mana.
Y, O: Let the Recoil resolve.
O: Land returns to his hand. He then chooses to discard that land.
O: Use the mana floating to cast the 1/1.
Y, O: Let the 1/1 resolve.
O: Tap the other 3 mana to cast the Urborg Drake.
Y, O: Let it resolve.
Q: At last night's FNM we had a small problem with life totals.
Player one was playing a Ravager deck. He had an Atog in play and sacrificed all of his artifacts after it went through unblocked dealing 9 damage.
Player 2 shrugged and said ok I'm at 1. Player 1 looked at his score board (both players used written paper) and noticed that his paper said his opponent was at 9 while player 2 showed his paper and it said he was at ten.
Due to the tedious amounts of Ravager sacing and Disciple point swings, neither player could prove that they were right (or that the other player was wrong - whatever way you wish to look at it).
I don't know the official ruling here - which is what I want. I would assume at a higher level event the play would stand but the opponent would be at one with a warning to both.
What we did was just reset the current turn since both players could have been at fault. Since it was FNM we didn't give any warnings as we might have had to give them both one. But again we are not too sure on this.
A: I think I have to start inserting a disclaimer to these type questions. When I answer a question like this, it is what I would do at a tournament if I were the judge, if this is the exact information that is available. You may get a different ruling from a different judge. Having said that ...
I personally think the level of the tournament does not matter when deciding what to do here. Whether it is FNM or Worlds, I would apply the same ruling, and that is that the board position stays and the player is at one. Both players would also receive a warning (Procedural Error - Major) at all levels.
I am not too keen on "winding back" the game to the start of the current turn. This gives both players information that they might not otherwise have had (player 2 now knows that the attack can't be lethal, and player 1 knows that player 2 probably doesn't have anything to remove the Atog).
Since each player is responsible for his or her own life total, I would consider that player's paper keeping score of the game to be the "official" score, barring evidence to the contrary.
Q: One of my friends is running a U/W deck that relies a lot on enchantments and Story Circle to stay alive while my other friend bashes his goblin-lovin head against the wall (Worship + a pro red creature in play can do awful things to a red deck :) ). Anyways... the point is, the goblin-lover friend got a couple of ways to get some damage through before the other can get his Worship, so the U/W friend is running Story Circle.
Question 1: Does Hand to Hand (Tempest) stops the activation of the Story Circle?
A: During the combat phase, yes. However, if the controller of the Story Circle is smart, he'll just play the ability of the Story Circle in the main phase (before the goblin player attacks).
Question 2: Is Blinkmoth Nexus affected by summoning sickness?
A: All permanents have summoning sickness. Only creatures are affected by it.
So if it's not a creature, then no, it won't be affected by summoning sickness.
Also, if the Nexus has been out a turn, it no longer has summoning sickness. Therefore, if you turn it into a creature, it will be able to attack.
Question 3: If you donít have any cards in your hand, and you control a Masticore, you have to sacrifice it, right? since upkeep comes before drawing. Then can you regenerate it by paying (2)?
A: You have to sacrifice it, but regeneration won't help to keep it in play. Sacrifice is not the same thing as destroy. Regeneration only stops permanents from being destroyed. It will do nothing to permanents that are sacrificed.
Question 4: Can the cards discarded via Breakthrough (or similar spells)  be played for their madness cost?
A: Yes. They are being discarded from your hand.
Question 5: When a bunch of Goblins attack along with a Goblin Piledriver, will removing/killing/bouncing the goblins affect the power of the Piledriver? Is it possible to affect it in any time after attackers have been declared?
-Adrian L.
A: The power bonus for the Piledriver is locked in once its triggered ability resolves. A time line might help in answering your question here:
-"Bunch O' Goblins" attack, including the Piledriver.
-Piledriver's triggered ability goes on the stack.
-You now have a chance to kill goblins (or remove them from combat). Any goblins you kill (or remove from combat) right now won't give a bonus to the Piledriver.
-Once both players pass and the Piledriver's triggered ability is on top of the stack, he gets a power bonus equal to twice the number of other goblins attacking.
-If you kill goblins (or remove them from combat) now, the Piledriver's power won't change.
Q: What would happen if Disintegrate were played on an indestructible creature with enough mana spent on X to kill the creature if it weren't indestructible?
-Marty R.
A: The indestructible creature will giggle, and the game will move on (with the creature still in play). Indestructible creatures find it quite funny when they get a lot of damage pointed at them.
(Since it's not going to the graveyard, the replacement effect removing it from the game won't happen.)
Disintegrate deals X damage to target creature or player. That creature canít be regenerated this turn. If the creature would be put into a graveyard this turn, remove it from the game instead.
Q: If I target my opponent with Gaea's Blessing, and my opponent doesn't have any cards in his grave, does he shuffle his library?
-Kotaro K.
A: Yes.
See you Friday.
Bill Guerin
DCI Level 2 Judge

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