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Pojo's Magic The Gathering
Judge's Corner
April 4, 2002

Q: Let's say I have a Familiar Ground out, and a Stone-Tongue Basilisk. If I have threshold, do all my opponent's creatures still block the Basilisk, or does Familiar Ground just let the Snake be blocked by one creature? Or is it a matter of the stack? If the Snake came out first, the Ground's ability kicks in first, or does the Stack do anything in this scenario? 

-Jason Sipe 

A: It's not a matter of timestamp order here. You have one effect telling your opponent to do something (All creatures must block the Basilisk) and another effect telling your opponent he can't do something (Familiar Ground - "Each creature you control can't be blocked by more than one creature."). When you have can and can't battling, can't wins. Therefore, your opponent need only block the Basilisk with one creature.

103.2. When one effect says something can happen and another says it can't, the "can't" effect wins. For example, if one effect reads "You may play an additional land this turn" and another reads "You can't play land cards this turn," the effect that keeps you from playing lands wins out. Note that adding abilities to cards and removing abilities from cards don't fall under this rule. See rule 407, "Adding and Removing Abilities."


Q: If my Academy Rector goes to the graveyard, can I use it to search for Treachery and put it on Scragnoth (which has protection from blue)? I remember asking this question as part of an iMagic judge test a long time ago, and they said that I could, because it is not a blue spell targeting Scragnoth. (They also said that it would immediately fall off as a state-based effect.) However, I don't think they were right. 

From the rulebook:

"As part of playing a local-enchantment spell, the player announces the spell's target. The local enchantment comes into play attached to that target permanent. If a local enchantment is coming into play by any other means, the player putting it into play chooses a permanent for it to enchant as it comes into play. In this case, the enchantment doesn't target the permanent, but the player still must choose a permanent that the enchantment can enchant. If no legal permanent is available, the enchantment remains in the zone from which it attempted to move instead of coming into play…." (214.8d)

"Protection is a static ability. A permanent with protection from [quality] can't be targeted by [quality] spells, targeted by abilities from a [quality] source, or enchanted by [quality] enchantments…." (Glossary)

Bill Waite

A: You are correct. You will not be able to put the Treachery on the Scragnoth.

(By the way, were you my 7th round opponent at GP: Vegas? [You were playing Reanimator, and I was playing Sligh.] Just thought I recalled your name … :))


Q: The situation: My opponent plays a Big Nasty Spell and I play Harrow in response. It resolves and I put two Islands into play. Can I still use counterspell on the Big Nasty Spell? 

-Andy Winn

A: Yes. Here's how the stack would go:

-Opponent plays Big Nasty Spell (and passes).
-You play Harrow. Both players pass.
-Harrow resolves, and you go get 2 Islands.
-You get priority (either by it being your turn, or by your opponent passing), and you play counterspell on the Big Nasty Spell.
-Both players pass.
-Big Nasty Spell is countered.


Q: Can I bring in one Phyrexian Dreadnought, then sacrifice it to bring another one in permanently, in the following manner … Turn one, land. Turn two, land, then tap one land, bring in one Dreadnought, then tap the other land and sacrifice the Dreadnought that's in play in response to it dying, and bring in another one?


A: First, the current Oracle wording of Phyrexian Dreadnought:

Phyrexian Dreadnought
Artifact Creature
If Phyrexian Dreadnought would come into play, sacrifice any number of creatures with total power 12 or greater instead. If you do, put Phyrexian Dreadnought into play. If you don't, put it into its owner's graveyard.

So the first Dreadnought won't even come into play unless you sacrifice 12 power's worth of creatures first. Therefore, it won't be around to sacrifice to the other Dreadnought.


Q: My controls a Spirit of Resistance and a permanent of each color. Now I know my creatures can't damage him, but what about spells such as Soul Feast that say he loses life - or is that the same thing as doing damage? 

-Lord Death

A: No, losing life isn't the same thing as doing damage. You can Soul Feast him and take 4 life from him just fine.


Q: If Saprazzan Outrigger dies during combat, will it go back to the top of your deck?

Saprazzan Outrigger 
Whenever Saprazzan Outrigger attacks or blocks, put it on top of its owner's library at end of combat.

A: No. The end of combat step is right after the combat damage step, so the Saprazzan Outrigger won't be around to be put on top of its owner's library at and of combat, as it will already be in the graveyard.


Q: If you somehow make all the lands in play creatures, can you kill them with Wrath of God?


A: Sure. Wrath of God will destroy any permanent that is a creature, even those that may be another permanent type also (such as land in this example).


Q: If Nature's Revolt as well as Shifting Sky is in play causing "all nonland permanents" to become green, would all lands be considered 2/2 green creatures then? 

A: No. Even though the lands are creatures, they still would be lands, and therefore Shifting Sky would not affect them.


Q: If I play Ancient Kavu and Darkest Hour (All creatures are black), and subsequently activates Ancient Kavu's ability (2: Ancient Kavu becomes colorless until end of turn), what color would Ancient Kavu be, if it has a color? 

-Jesse Chen

A: Ancient Kavu would be colorless. The effects would be applied in timestamp order, so you would apply the Darkest Hour first, then the Ancient Kavu's ability.


Q: If my opponent attacks with his/her creatures, can I play Holy Day and take no damage?


A: Yes.


Q: My question today is regarding the Odyssey rare Tainted Pact. Current Oracle wording: 

Remove the top card of your library from the game. You may put that card into your hand unless it has the same name as another card removed this way. Repeat this process until you put a card into your hand or you remove two cards with the same name, whichever comes first. 

The first time you use the card the process is pretty clear. Now, if you cast a second Tainted Pact in the same game, does it remember what the prior Pact removed? 

A quick example: you cast a Pact and remove a Swamp from the game and then decide to take the next card that is removed. You cast another Pact later on and the first card removed is another Swamp; is this Pact stopped or do you get to continue removing cards? 

A: When Tainted Pact says "this way," it means through the effects of that Tainted Pact. So each Tainted Pact is separate, and in your example, you would be able to continue on.


Q: Also, are the cards being removed from game face up so your opponent can see them? 


A: Any time a card is removed from the game, unless the effect removing it says otherwise, the card is removed from the game face up, visible to both players. (217.7b)


Q: If I use a Grindstone on my opponent, and two land cards into the graveyard, do two more cards go into the graveyard? Because the two land cards share a color - colorless. 


A: Colorless is not a color. The only colors in Magic are red, blue, black, green, and white (Definition of "color"). Therefore, the Grindstone effect would stop.


Q: I heard that if you could remove a Diligent Farmhand in response to its own activation (via Repulse, Rushing River, etc.) it wouldn't go to the graveyard and you could still search for the land. 


A: You've heard incorrectly. Part of the cost of Diligent Farmhand's ability is to sacrifice Diligent Farmhand. Therefore, after you've activated his ability, he wouldn't be around to Repulse/Rushing River/etc. back to your hand, as he is already in your graveyard.



I wrote in my last column, regarding "Damage on the Stack,"

>>>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.<<<

and a reader writes in:

Q: Can you give an example of how the damage is handled and why it would bounce a creature back? I had this happen the other day and I don't get it.

-Scott A. Marcom

A: The damage itself won't bounce a creature back. However, if you have an effect that will bounce the creature back to your hand, you can save your creature while still killing you opponent's. Here's an example.

You have a Merfolk Looter in play, 2 Islands untapped, and Boomerang in hand.

Your opponent has a Llanowar Elf in play.

You attack your opponent with the Merfolk Looter. He blocks with the Llanowar Elf.

Now, you put (combat) damage on the stack: Merfolk Looter doing 1 damage to the Llanowar Elf, and the Llanowar Elf doing one damage to the Merfolk Looter.

After damage is on the stack, you both can play spells or abilities before it resolves. So you decide to cast Boomerang on your Merfolk Looter, to save it. Both players pass, and the Boomerang returns Merfolk Looter to your hand. Both players pass again, and combat damage is dealt … Llanowar Elf takes 1 damage, and since Merfolk Looter isn't around anymore, the damage that was assigned to it does nothing. Then the Llanowar Elf dies (as a state-based effect).

For reference, the following is the full section in the rulebook covering combat damage:


310. Combat Damage Step

310.1. First the active player announces how each attacking creature will assign its combat damage. Then the defending player announces how each blocking creature will assign its combat damage. (See also rule 502.2, "First Strike.") A player may divide a creature's combat damage as he or she chooses among the legal recipients. Dividing combat damage is subject to the following restrictions:

310.1a Each attacking creature and each blocking creature will assign combat damage equal to its power.

310.1b An unblocked creature will assign all its combat damage to the defending player.

310.1c A blocked creature will assign combat damage, divided as its controller chooses, to the creatures blocking it. If no creatures are currently blocking it (if, for example, they were destroyed or removed from combat), it will assign no combat damage.

310.1d A blocking creature will assign combat damage, divided as its controller chooses (no fractions), to the attacking creatures it's blocking. If it isn't currently blocking any creatures (if, for example, they were destroyed or removed from combat), it will assign no combat damage.

310.2. All assignments of combat damage go on the stack as though they were a single pseudospell. Then the active player receives priority to play spells and abilities.

310.3. Although combat-damage assignments go on the stack, they aren't spells or abilities, so they can't be countered.

310.4. Combat damage resolves as though it were a pseudospell. When it resolves, it's dealt as originally assigned. This happens even if the creature dealing damage is no longer in play, its power has changed, or the creature receiving damage has left combat. (Note that the source of the damage is the creature as it currently exists, or as it most recently existed if it is no longer in play.) If a creature that was supposed to receive damage is no longer in play or is no longer a creature, the damage assigned to it isn't dealt. After combat damage finishes resolving, the active player gets priority.


Many thanks to those of you who read this column. Thanks also to those of you who have sent in questions or messages of appreciation for my column. Keep those questions coming!!

-Bill Guerin
DCI Level 2 judge




Copyright 2001 Pojo.com


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