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Pojo's Magic The Gathering
Judge's Corner

100th Column

Wow. My 100th column. Hard to think that at the beginning of last year, I would have written that much (or at all) by now. I have many people to thank for this ...

First and foremost is each and every one of you, my readers. Without the questions being sent in, this column would be nothing. And without you reading the column, this column would also be nothing. Thanks to each and every one of you.

Also, I have to thank the 3 people responsible for editing this website. From the go ahead last year, and all throughout these 100 columns, they've given my column a home.

And a special thanks to the Pojosama himself. Without his website, I wouldn't have a place to answer your questions every column.

Here's to hoping these 100 columns are just a beginning of what is in store for the future...


This landmark column is also a good place to remind you of the mantras that have come up. The mantras cover rules that I have received multiple questions on, and so, I have written the rules in (what I hope is) slightly clearer English for each of you. So here they are ...

The mantras:

1. "I can't play any spells or abilities while something is resolving." (18 April 02)

2. "Increasing the power of creatures once their damage has been put on the stack won't make them do more damage." (13 May 02) (Footnote A)

3. "If the card doesn't say 'TARGET,' it doesn't target." (31 May 02) (Footnotes D and E)

4. "Protection is a DEBT we owe some of our permanents." (26 September 02) (Footnote B)

5. "When assigning trample, look only at the toughness of the blocking creatures. Assign damage so that they would have that much damage on them, and then you can assign the other damage to your opponent." (26 September 02) (Footnote C)

6. "Play (as in playing a spell) = Cast." (14 January 03)

Footnote A: A corollary to this mantra is, "Decreasing the power of creatures after damage is on the stack won't make them do less damage." (14 June 02)

Footnote B: DEBT is an acronym. It stands for Damage, Enchantments, Blocking, and Targeting, which are the 4 things you can't do to a creature with protection.

For an extended definition, protection is usually written on a card as "Protection from [quality]." (For example, "Protection from green.")

-Damage: All damage dealt to the permanent from a source with the stated quality is prevented.

-Enchantments: The permanent can't be enchanted by permanents with the stated quality.

-Blocking: The permanent can't be blocked by permanents with the stated quality.

-Targeting: The permanent can't be targeted by spells with the stated quality, or abilities from permanents with the stated quality. (Remember Mantra #3.)

Footnote C: You can assign the extra damage to the creatures if you want, or assign all the damage to one or more creatures (even though the damage being dealt is greater than the toughness of that creature) and none to the other creatures. But you have to assign damage as the mantra says before you can assign trample damage to your opponent.

Footnote D: Local Enchantment cards being played (cast) target the thing they're going to enchant. (27 January 03)

Footnote E: MAKE SURE to apply this mantra before you write into me with any more questions about it. (27 January 03)


And a few more things, since we have a new set, before we get to the questions:

The Legions FAQ is at http://oracle.wizards.com/scripts/wa.exe?A2=ind0301d&L=dcijudge-l&F=&S=&P=959. They haven't put it on the Judge's Prerelease FAQ page yet, so this is the best I can do.

With the release of new set, the cards have been included in the new Oracle. The Oracle is all of the card wordings, as if they were printed today. You can find the Oracle at http://www.wizards.com/dci/main.asp?x=Oracle.

Unfortunately, though, they haven't updated the Comprehensive rules with the new rules for Amplify and Double Strike. You'll just have to look in the FAQ for that.


And now, on to the questions for the column ...

Q: could you explain what each of these are and maybe an example of a permanent with that ability:

Static ability

Triggered ability.

State-triggered ability

A: Static ability: "A static ability does something all the time rather than being activated or triggered. The ability isn’t played—it just “is.”" (405.1) An example of this would be Glorious Anthem.

Triggered ability: "A triggered ability begins with the word “when,” “whenever,” or “at.” Whenever the trigger event occurs, the ability goes on top of the stack the next time a player would receive priority." (Definition, Triggered ability) An example of a triggered ability would be Standstill.

State-Triggered ability: "Some triggered abilities trigger on a game state, such as a player controlling no permanents of a particular type, rather than triggering when an event occurs. These abilities trigger as soon as the game state matches the condition (even if it’s not legal to play a spell or ability at that time). These are called state triggers." (410.11) An example of a state trigger would be Emperor Crocodile.


Q: Does Urza's Filter reduce the cost of playing a split card?

A: Urza's Filter



Multicolored spells cost up to {2} less to play.

A split card, while it is being cast, is just the one side of the card you are casting. Since no one side of a split card is multicolored, Urza's Filter doesn't help you cast any split card.


Q: I controls a Grizzly Bears and a Portcullis. My opponent plays Exhume. Both he and I have Barbary Apes in our graveyards. When the stack resolves, what creatures will be in play on each side?

-Shawn T.

A: Portcullis



Whenever a creature comes into play, if there are two or more other creatures in play, remove that creature from the game.

When Portcullis leaves play, return to play under their owners' control all creatures removed from the game with Portcullis.

Portcullis triggers for both creatures coming into play. It will remove the creature whose trigger resolves first, then the other creature won't be removed, since there are not two or more other creatures out. So stack the trigger from your Apes first, then your opponent's Apes if you want to keep your Apes.


Q: Is it possible to sacrifice Celestial Gatekeeper to the Dark Supplicant and get back the other two clerics?

-Virgil G.

A: Since all triggered abilities wait for the current spell or ability to fully resolve before going on the stack, yes, you can do this.


Q: Does Scalpelexis's ability includes lands as the named cards?

-Victor T.

A: Yes. If two cards' names match, no matter the card, you remove another 4 cards from the game.


Q: I have a quick question regarding the new Double Strike mechanic.

Let's say I have a 2/1 Double-Strike creature in play. I attack with it. He's blocked by three vanilla 1/1s. During the first strike damage step, I toast two of them. Now, during the regular combat damage step, does my creature deal combat damage again, or has he 'used up' his damage already and gets killed?


A: With Double Strike, the creature deals it damage during both the first strike and normal combat damage steps. So your 2/1 Double Striker would kill the other creature (then it will die from the damage that creature dealt).


Q: I have a question concerning Steely Resolve and Engineered Plague. I know your targeting mantras and the "can't vs. can" scenarios, but I'm a little confused when it comes to these two. Does the Steely Resolve negate the effects of the Engineered Plague if both are targeting the same creature types?


A: OK everyone, this is exactly what I mean when I say think about Mantra 3 in Footnote E. The result is easily derivable if you take just a second to think about it.

Nowhere on Engineered Plague do you see these 6 letters, in order: "TARGET." So Engineered Plague is unaffected by Steely Resolve, and the chosen creature type gets -1/-1.


Q: If I attack with Ghosthelm Courier, does his special ability take affect, or do I have to pay the mana cost?

A: The only way the ability will take effect is if you activate the ability. If you tap him in any other way, it won't work.


Q: When Broodhatch Nantuko (1/1) is dealt damage by let's say a 6/6 creature, do six 1/1 tokens go into play? My friend says no because it can only receive 1 damage so only one token comes in. Who's right?


A: The Broodhatch Nantuko takes 6 damage, so you make 6 tokens.


Q: If my friend attacks with a Taunting Elf, then pumps it up to a 10/11 all of my creatures have to block it. Then he thinks it deals 10 damage to all of my blocking creatures. I say that he has to distributes the combat damage between all of my blocking creatures. Who is right?

-Chris Grimes

A: You are.

See you Monday.

Bill Guerin


DCI Level 2 Judge




Copyright 2001 Pojo.com


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