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Pojo's Magic The Gathering
Judge's Corner
March 29, 2002

Q: I have often heard other players refer to "damage going on the stack". I don't understand exactly what this means. I've also read many articles that read, "wait until damage goes on the stack, then play..." How does one determine when damage goes on the stack?

-Jim V

A: "Damage on the Stack" is a situation unique to combat. Most other times, when someone does something that damages you, the damage resolves immediately (see: Shock, Lightning Bolt, Prodigal Sorcerer's ability, etc.).

However, in combat, you have to put the combat damage creatures will do (to players and other creatures) on the stack. This is to allow players to play prevention effects (to prevent damage to creatures and/or players). A side effect of this rule allows players to bounce the creatures after combat damage is put on the stack, saving the creature they bounced while still doing that creature's damage to the other creature.


Q: I play an Upheaval and my opponent "floats" some mana. Is the mana in his pool until the end of his turn or the end of this phase? In other words, could I declare my attack phase to force him to use the mana or take burn?


A: Mana stays in your mana pool until the end of a phase. Therefore, if you pass in the current phase, your opponent will have to play a spell or ability to use the mana or take mana burn.


Q: How does 'mana burn' work?

A: I'll let the comprehensive rulebook explain it here…

300.4. When a phase ends (but not a step), any unused mana left in a player's mana pool is lost. That player loses 1 life for each one mana lost this way. This is called mana burn. Note that mana burn is loss of life, not damage, so it can't be prevented or altered by effects that affect damage. (See rule 406.1, "Mana Abilities.")


Q: And also, when did you start reviewing the 'card of the day' cards?


A: Tuesday was my first card review.


Q: Can I tap an artifact to stop its ability? I.e. Tap Ensnaring Bridge using Icy Manipulator to allow my creatures to attack, …

A: No. Tapping an artifact doesn't stop the artifact's ability, except for cards that state "If ~(card name)~ is untapped." (or similar wording)…

Q: … or to tap Howling Mine during my opponents upkeep to prevent him/her from drawing an extra card.

A: … and Howling Mine is one of those cards. (The others, as far as I can tell, are Static Orb, Winter Orb, Storage Matrix, and certain abilities of Voodoo Doll and Watchdog. Check the Oracle if you want to know about another card.)


Q: If I have an Angelic Protector and a Reconnaissance in play and I also have Worthy Cause in my hand. Can I declare attackers with my Angelic Protector and then target Angelic Protector with Reconnaissance then before the ability is resolved target again and again? Therefore making its toughness infinite? And then sacrificing it to a Worthy Cause to gain infinite amount of life?


A: The thought of what you want to do is there, but substitute "arbitrarily large" for "infinite." You have to choose how many times to play Reconnaissance's ability, and Angelic Protector's ability will trigger for each time you play Reconnaissance's ability. When the triggers resolve, Angelic Chorus will get +0/+3 for each time you activate Reconnaissance's ability. Following that, when you play Worthy Cause, you will gain life equal to Angelic Protector's toughness when you sacrificed it.

So, for example, If you choose to play Reconnaissance's ability one million times, and you let the one million triggers resolve before you play Worthy Cause, sacrificing the Angelic Protector, you will gain 3,000,002 life from Worthy Cause. (Of course, this assumes Worthy Cause isn't countered.)


Q: If my opponent casts Traumatize, and it puts one (or more) Gaea's Blessing into my graveyard, what would happen?


A: The Gaea's Blessings would trigger, and the shuffle graveyard into library ability would go on the stack after the Traumatize has finished resolving. Once the trigger resolves, your graveyard would be shuffled into your library. End result: Empty graveyard with all the cards that were there back in your library.


Q: I was thinking of asking Ron Spencer to sign some of my cards like (Hammer of Bogardan, Rout, Terror, etc.) but then I wasn't sure if these cards would be tournament legal. So before I get my Hammer signed, I was wondering if you know if they would still be playable.


A: Absolutely.

From the Universal Tournament Rules:

28. Taking Notes

… The exception is that writing on the faces of cards (including sideboard cards) is permitted as long as it is not disruptive or inappropriate.


Q: Does Chainer's Edict affect Mystic Crusader?


A: No. Chainer's Edict affects a player, who chooses which creature to sacrifice. :)

Since Chainer's Edict does not target the creature to be sacrificed, and it does not do damage to it, Mystic Crusader can (and must, if it is the only creature) be sacrificed to Chainer's Edict.


Q: Since a multicolored card counts as each of its colors, can you use an Atogatog or your Cromat to achieve the victory condition provided by Coalition Victory? Assume that somehow you have a basic land of each type also.

-Joey Patchan

A: Yes. A multicolored card is each of the colors in its mana cost.


Q: If I have out 4 Lord of Atlantis do my merfolk get +4/+4 or just +1/+1?


A: Your merfolk get +4/+4.



First, more on Wall of Roots.

Q: When you use the Wall of Roots ability, doesn't that go onto the stack? If/when it does go on the stack, would the game checks for state-based effects?

A: No to the first question. Wall of Roots's ability is a mana ability. Mana abilities don't use the stack.

406.1e Mana abilities are played and resolved like other abilities, but they don't go on the stack, so they can't be countered or responded to. (See rule 408.2, "Actions That Don't Use the Stack.") Abilities (other than mana abilities) that trigger on playing mana abilities do go on the stack, however.

Therefore, the second question doesn't apply.


Q: Couldn't your opponent Bind the Roots' ability leaving you to have to find another way to pay?

A: No. Mana abilities can't be countered (see 406.1e above).


Q: What happens if you choose to pay for the sacrificing part first?

A: Then you will have to find another way to pay the 1 colorless mana.


The same writer goes on to ask about the Nature's revolt/Aether Flash situation. (also from my last column…)

Q: Does Nature's Revolt make all lands everywhere be creatures, or only creatures when they are in play?

A: It makes lands that are in play creatures. Lands that are not in play are land cards, not lands, so Nature's Revolt wouldn't affect them.


Q: If it only makes them creatures when in play, wouldn't they be lands when they come into play, and once in play they'd be creatures? That way seems like it would get around the Aether Flash since they were lands (not creatures), when they were coming into play.


A: The lands will come into play as creatures, not as lands that suddenly turn into creatures once they enter play. Therefore, Aether Flash will see a creature coming into play and trigger, eventually doing 2 damage to it.

418.2. Continuous effects that modify characteristics of permanents do so simultaneously with the permanent coming into play. They don't wait until the permanent is in play and then change it. Because such effects apply as the permanent comes into play, apply them before determining whether the permanent will cause an ability to trigger when it comes into play.

-Bill Guerin
DCI Level 2 Judge




Copyright 2001 Pojo.com


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