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Pojo's Magic The Gathering
Judge's Corner

It seems like it's time for another mantra … so here we go:

"If the card doesn't say 'TARGET,' it doesn't target."


Q: I have two situations concerning Wrath of God.

A: Wrath of God
Destroy all creatures. They can't be regenerated.

(Note that the word "target" appears nowhere on this card.)


Q: Green VS White. I had two Nimble Mongooses out. The opponent played a Wrath of God. Do the Nimble Mongoose die or stay? They have the ability of not being targeted by spells or abilities.

A: The Mongoose die.


Q: White VS Black. I had out a crypt angel. Wrath of God was played. Crypt Angel has PROTECTION FROM WHITE. Wrath of God is a white spell so does it affect Crypt Angel?

-Joe A.

A: The Angel dies.


And now on to responding to the "comes into play ability" of Nightmares, two readers write in:

Q: How does bouncing the "Nightmare" creatures in response to them going on the stack permanently remove permanents? I've read this in the "Waking Nightmares" (Preconstructed Deck, Torment.) deck guide using Malevolent Awakening. And more recently seen it on Worldgorger Dragon's "CotD" saying that if its being bounced in response to you playing it, all of your permanents will be removed permanently. Can you help me understand how this works?


Q: When a nightmare comes into play, it removes something from the game that comes back when it leaves play. A lot of people are talking about killing or bouncing nightmares as they come into play so that the card(s) are permanently removed. How does this work? wouldn't the cards come back when the nightmare leaves play, they wouldn't be removed before the nightmare is in play so it would have to leave play to get rid of it and bring the cards back into play wouldn't it? Also, wouldn't any spells played in response to the nightmare fizzle because they would resolve before the nightmare, as they are higher in the stack than it?

-Jon Stimson

A: Let's go through a sample stack. Justinosparce mentioned Worldgorger Dragon, so that's the card I'll use.

Worldgorger Dragon
Creature - Nightmare Dragon
Flying, Trample
When Worldgorger Dragon comes into play, remove all other permanents you control from the game.
When Worldgorger Dragon leaves play, return the removed cards to play under their owners' control.

- Your opponent casts Worldgorger Dragon.
- You both pass, so Worldgorger Dragon resolves and is put into play.
- Worldgorger Dragon is coming into play, so we put the first triggered ability on the stack ("remove all permanents your opponent controls from the game"), and then your opponent receives priority.
- Your opponent passes, having nothing else to do right now.
- In response to the Dragon's comes into play ability, you Repulse (or Aether Burst or other bounce spell) it.
- You both pass, and the Repulse resolves, bouncing the Dragon to your opponent's hand.
- This triggers the Dragon's leaves play ability, and that ability ("return the removed cards to play under their owners' control") is put on the stack (on top of the comes into play ability).
- You both pass.
- The top ability on the stack resolves (return the permanents to play). Since the permanents have not been removed from the game yet, there is nothing to return to play.
- You both pass again.
- The top ability on the stack resolves (remove all of opponent's permanents from the game). You opponent's permanents are removed from the game.

And since the leaves play ability has already resolved, the permanents won't be coming back this game (barring a Wish).

Finally, in response to your second question Jon, just because a spell or ability is higher on the stack than another doesn't mean it will be countered. The stack resolves, one spell or ability at a time, and then you can still respond to whatever's left on the stack. You would need a Counterspell (for spells) or Bind (for activated abilities) to remove something from the stack without it resolving.


And now some good plays along the same vein…

Q: I played Mesmeric Fiend. Then he cast Aether Burst on it. Does he still get to look at my hand and remove a card from it?

A: Yes. Note that that card will be permanently removed from the game (since the leaves play ability has already resolved).


Q: I played Faceless Butcher on his Mesmeric Fiend. So I get my card removed by it, right?

A: Correct. The Mesmeric Fiend has left play, so you get your card back.


Q: Then, he casts Fiery Temper on Faceless Butcher. The Mesmeric Fiend is back. So, do he still get to look at my hand and remove a card from it or what?


A: Yes. Since the Fiend is coming into play (again), he will get to look at your hand again and remove a card.


I've gotten quite a few questions on Madness lately, so let's review the rules on Madness:

502.24. Madness

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 player's hand. The second is a triggered ability that functions when the first ability is applied. The phrase "Madness [cost]" means "If a player would discard this card from his or her hand, 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 it into his or her graveyard."

502.24b Playing a spell using its madness ability follows the rules for paying alternative costs in rules 409.1b and 409.1f.

(Emphasis on "That player discards it" mine.)

Anyway, on to the questions…


Q: One of my very few friends (Alex) came across an odd situation...

Alex has, in his hand, a card with madness (let's just say Arrogant Wurm). In play, he controls a Confessor, a Wild Mongrel, and enough lands to play the Wurm for its madness cost. Alex uses the Mongrel's ability, discarding the Wurm, paying the madness cost, and putting the Wurm into play. Since the Wurm is put into the Removed From Game zone instead of into the graveyard, does the Confessor trigger?

--Paul Reisinger

A: First, let's look at the wording on Confessor…

Creature -- Cleric
Whenever a player discards a card from his or her hand, you may gain 1 life.

He is still discarding the card, even though he is playing it via madness, so the Confessor will trigger.


Q: The other day, I was playing a game against one of my friends. I had a Wild Mongrel in play, and three forests untapped. I discard an Arrogant Wurm and play it for its madness cost of 2G. My friend tried to counterspell the effect, but I argued that since Madness is a mechanic, it could not be countered since I am not hardcasting the Wurm. Was it possible for him to actually counter the Wurm, or would the counterspell just have no effect?

-Ori Zehavi

A: He can counter the Wurm. Madness just gives you the ability to play it for its madness cost instead. Since you are still playing it, it goes on the stack like any other spell, and can be countered.



>>>Q: In another game I had a megrim out and played mind burst, which cause him to discard. As he discarded he played his card for madness. Does he still have to take the 2 life away for the megrim being that he had to discard to play the madness?


A: Yes. Explained in a previous column.<<<

Q: Actually, I believe that madness is a replacement effect, so that the card is not actually discarded, but instead is put into a special zone until the next time you pass priority. Only if you pass priority (and don't play it) would it be "discarded."

-John Bubsy

A: Note my emphasis above. Even though you are using the madness ability to remove it from the game, you are still discarding it, so Megrim will trigger, as a card is being discarded. Madness doesn't change the fact you are discarding a card, it only changes the location of where the discarded card will go.


Now, getting a little hasty here,…

Q: I started during Invasion Block and don't really have any experience with "man-lands". I was wondering if you can attack with Nantuko Monastery if it isn't a creature at the beginning of your turn? Do you have to give it haste? Can it attack the turn it comes into play?


A: The Nantuko Monastery has been under your control since the beginning of your turn, so it will be able to attack. Only permanents that have not been under your control since the beginning of your turn have summoning sickness. So if you want to activate a Nantuko Monastery that you played this turn and attack with it, you will need to give it haste.


Q: On my Halam Djinn card, it says it has HASTE. What does haste do?

A: Haste allows a creature to ignore summoning sickness. That means a creature with haste can attack or use its abilities that have "tap" as part of the activation cost as soon as it comes into play.


Q: On the Halam Djinn card, it say "Halam Djinn gets -2/-2 as long as red is the most common color among all permanents or is tied for most common." Would it get the -2/-2 if I have more red or less red?

-Duo Maxwell

A: For this, you ask how many permanents are red. Then you do the same for white, green, blue, and black. If the number of permanents that are red is greater than or equal to the number of permanents that are white (or blue, or black, or green), then Halam Djinn gets -2/-2.


Simple questions, simple answers…

Q: Okay, I'm a newbie, so don't laugh too hard: What is mana burn? I think I have an idea what it is, but nobody has out and out explained it to me, so I'm still a little lost on the topic.


A: Mana burn occurs at the end of each phase.

When a phase ends, any unused mana remaining in a player's mana pool is lost. The player loses 1 life for each mana lost this way. This is called "mana burn." (Comprehensive Rulebook, "Mana Burn.")


Q: How do Abilities Work? Is there actually anyway to prevent someone playing the activated abilities on a creature? For example, someone has a Licid in play. Is there anyway to kill it before it turns itself into or back from an enchantment?

A: Let's take a sample licid here:

Calming Licid
Creature -- Licid
{W}, {T}: Calming Licid loses all abilities, becomes an enchant creature enchanting target creature, and gains "Enchanted creature can't attack" and "{W}: End the effect that created this ability."

Since both abilities (that create the licid-enchantment and turn the licid-enchantment back into a creature) are activated abilities, they can be responded to. So if the Licid is a creature turning into an enchantment, you can Terror it in response, and it will be killed. Also, if the licid is an enchantment, and its owner pays to make it a creature again, you can disenchant it to kill it. Note that if the licid is in enchantment form and you try to kill it, its owner can just pay the mana cost again (since it doesn't tap to come off) and it will come off before it is disenchanted.

On the larger question, no, you can't prevent anyone from playing an ability (unless an effect says they can't), but you can always respond to that ability.


Q: How do -1/-1 counters work, particularly in relation to the Shambling Swarm? Does its ability mean it can kill anything up to and including a 6/6? (By dealing it three damage then reducing its toughness to the point where three damage should kill it.)

A: You have the correct idea. When Shambling Swarm dies, it distributes 3 -1/-1 counters, however you choose. So you could do 3 damage to the 6/6, then put the 3 -1/-1 counters on it. Since the 6/6 is now a 3/3 with 3 damage, it dies.


Q: If you play a sorcery such as Gerrard's Verdict, can a player simply play the cards they have in their hand (if they're instants) to avoid having to discard them?

-David Rodoy

A: Yes.


Q: Can familiars (from Planeshift) affect flashback costs?


A: Familiars affect play costs, so yes, a familiar will reduce the cost of a spell played via flashback.


Q: My opponent attacks and deals 20 damage to me. I have a Delaying Shield out, so I put 20 counters on it instead. I then destroy Delaying Shield with Druid Lyrist after he has attacked and during his turn. Do I have to pay the mana for Delaying Shield if it is in the graveyard to remove the delay counters?


A: Nope. The counters are long gone, so you won't have to pay to avoid losing the life.


Q: If I attack with a 16/16 creature and my opponent blocks with a 10/10 creature and gets 6 tokens for the damage can he send the tokens to block even though damage has already occurred?


A: No. You can only declare blockers once per combat phase, at the beginning of the declare blockers step. Since you've already passes that point, he won't be able to block with the tokens.


Now entering errata land…

Q: The card Parallax Wave is one of my favourite white cards of all time and I love using it in every deck, and after seeing the combo with the Nightmare creatures it got me thinking. If I had a Parallax Wave in play and removed all 5 fade counters from it, could I disenchant it in response to the creatures being removed and keep them removed entirely like with Faceless Butcher? From what I gather, I remove one counter and in response remove another until there are none left, then in response to the last counter I disenchant the Wave. Would the creatures get removed and stay there or would they just immediately flicker back? Please help me with this, thanks.

-Kalmar Steve

A: It would work, except for the fact the Parallax Wave has errata to read as follows:

Parallax Wave
Fading 5 #(This enchantment comes into play with five fade counters on it. At the beginning of your upkeep, remove a fade counter from it. If you can't, sacrifice it.)#
Remove a fade counter from Parallax Wave: Remove target creature from the game if Parallax Wave is in play.
When Parallax Wave leaves play, each player returns to play all cards other than Parallax Wave he or she owns removed from the game with Parallax Wave.

So if Parallax Wave isn't in play when the "remove target creature" ability resolves, the creature won't be removed from the game.

(In fact, all of the Parallax cards from Nemesis have similar errata.)


Q: I think I know the answer to this, but I'd like to be sure. Is a Standstill sacrificed when a spell resolves or when it is simply played? For example: I have Standstill in play and my opponent plays a sorcery. Let's say I have a counter in hand and wish to counter his Sorcery. Does the Standstill trigger right away, before I respond to his spell, or does it wait for a spell to resolve? In this case, the only spell that would resolve would be my counter. So which happens

-Van Stone

A: Standstill triggers on a spell being played, and is put on the stack. Once the Standstill trigger resolves, if you sacrifice Standstill, the opponent of the person who played the spell that triggered Standstill will draw 3 cards.

Let's go through a sample stack here…

-Opponent plays the sorcery.
-Standstill triggers, and the trigger is put on the stack.

(Note you could play the counterspell here, but Standstill would trigger again, and your opponent would get the 3 cards. So you want to let the Standstill trigger resolve before you counter the spell.)

-You both pass.
-The Standstill trigger resolves, Standstill is sacrificed, and you draw 3 cards.
-Now, your opponent gets priority again. He wants his spell to resolve, so he passes.
-Now you play the counterspell, and counter the sorcery.


Q: My question today is about Black Market.

A: Black Market
Whenever a creature is put into a graveyard, put a charge counter on Black Market.
At the beginning of your precombat main phase, add {B} to your mana pool for each charge counter on Black Market.


Q: What is the pre-combat main phase?

I think it's between combat and blockers step, but I'm not sure, so I need your help on this one.


A: 305.1. There are two main phases in a turn. In each turn, the first main phase, known as the precombat main phase, and second main phase, known as the postcombat main phase, are separated by the combat phase (see rule 306, "Combat Phase"). The precombat and postcombat main phases are individually and collectively known as the "main phase."

So the Pre-combat main phase is after the Beginning Phase (where you untap, go through upkeep, and draw), but before the Combat phase.


Q: Can we sacrifice creatures we control whenever we want? If so, does that mean that if I play Temporary
Insanity on my turn, gain control of my opponent's creature, and attack with it, I could still sacrifice it at the end of my turn, when it's still under my control?

-Raymond Ma

A: No. You can only sacrifice something when a spell or ability tells you to.


Q: Let's say I have an Aquamoeba in play and also a Blessed Orator. The Aquamoeba is now a 1/4. I use its ability and make the Aquamoeba a 4/1. Knowing the Aquamoeba does not say whatever affects its toughness now affect its power and vise versa, if the Blessed Orator dies just after I made the Aquamoeba a 4/1, would the Aquamoeba lose the +0/+1 and also die?

Brad Samuels

A: If you don't discard a card to switch the power and toughness again before the Orator dies, then the Aquamoeba will be a very dead 4/0.


I have some questions which no one could answer definitely and confidently:

Q: Prohibit and Liquify.

A: Prohibit
Kicker {2} #(You may pay an additional #{2}# as you play this spell.)#
Counter target spell if its converted mana cost is 2 or less. If you paid the kicker cost, counter that spell if its converted mana cost is 4 or less instead.

Counter target spell with converted mana cost 3 or less. If it's countered this way, remove it from the game instead of putting it into its owner's graveyard.


Q: If it counters a spell with kicker or buyback or madness, which cost do I consider?

A: Regardless of how your opponent plays it,

203.3. The converted mana cost of a card is the total amount of mana in the mana cost, regardless of color (For example, a mana cost of 3UU translates to a converted mana cost of 5). The converted mana cost is a generic mana cost-it may be paid with any combination of colored and/or colorless mana, regardless of the colors in the spell's mana cost.

203.1. The mana cost of a card is indicated by mana symbols printed on its upper right corner. Tokens and lands have a mana cost of 0. Paying a card's mana cost requires matching the color of any colored mana symbols as well as paying the generic mana cost indicated.

Playing a spell with buyback or via flashback or madness does not change the spell's converted mana cost. It just adds a cost (in the case of buyback) or allows you to pay an alternative cost (with flashback or madness).


Q: For example, my opponent plays Fiery Temper via madness {R}. Can I Prohibit it without kicker?

A: No. The converted mana cost of Fiery Temper is still 3, regardless of how you play it. You'll need to pay the kicker to counter it.


Q: Next question … I cast Brass Man during my turn and proceed to cast Fire Whip on it.

A: Brass Man
Artifact Creature
Brass Man doesn't untap during your untap step.
{1}: Untap Brass Man. Play this ability only during your upkeep.

Fire Whip
Enchant Creature
Fire Whip can enchant only a creature you control.
Enchanted creature has "{T}: This creature deals 1 damage to target creature or player."
Sacrifice Fire Whip: Fire Whip deals 1 damage to target creature or player.


Q: Can I immediately use the Fire Whip's ability because it says to tap enchanted creature rather than enchanted creature gains "..."?

A: Ah yes, you must be looking at the old version, the way it was printed. Note the difference for the current rules. With the current wording, you can not tap Brass Man immediately, since he has summoning sickness.


Q: When is it legal to cast sorceries and play lands?

A: You can cast sorceries only during one of you main phases, when the stack is empty.

You can play a land, once per turn, during one of your main phases, when the stack is empty.


Q: In your last column, I was confused about the Fiery Temper being successfully cast because he played a Mountain while in the process of activating the madness ability.


A: That was a special case. Once the first trigger of madness resolved, and he could play the spell (until he passed), the stack was empty, and it was one of his main phases. So he could play a land. Playing a land doesn't use the stack, so he hasn't passed yet, and may still play the Fiery Temper.

214.9a A land card isn't a spell card, and at no time is it a spell. When a player plays a land card, it's simply put into play. The land card doesn't go on the stack, so players can't respond to it with instants or activated abilities.


Q: If I Show and Tell a Hypnox into play, would its comes into play ability trigger?


A: No, because you are not playing the Hypnox, but simply putting it into play.


Q: I have a Mirari in play and say my opponent played a (blue) Counterspell earlier in my turn. If I play Seedtime
and put a copy of that on the stack via Mirari, would I then take 2 turns?

A: Mirari
Legendary Artifact
Whenever you play an instant or sorcery spell, you may pay {3}. If you do, put a copy of that spell onto the stack. You may choose new targets for that copy.

Play Seedtime only on your turn.
If an opponent played a blue spell this turn, take an extra turn after this one.

So, yes. You play Seedtime, and Mirari triggers. When Mirari's trigger resolves, if you pay {3}, you get a copy of Seedtime on the stack. When the copy and original resolve, you'll have 2 turns coming.


Q: Say I have a Compost and a Blind Seer in play, if one of their creatures or lands die can I turn it black with the Seer and draw a card?


A: Blind Seer
Creature -- Legend
{1}{U}: Target spell or permanent becomes the color of your choice until end of turn.

Whenever a black card is put into an opponent's graveyard, you may draw a card.

Only if Blind Seer's ability resolves before the cards goes to the graveyard. If they find a way to get rid of the card as a cost, you won't be able to draw the card, since it will hit the graveyard before the Seer changes its color.


Again, I'm going to take this chance to plug a local tournament. Every Sunday afternoon (excluding holidays), Otherworld Comics in Placentia holds a Classic Restricted (Type 1.5) tournament. Registration at 1pm, starting at about 1:30. $5 entry fee, Packs to top 3 players, based on attendance. 3-4 rounds of Swiss, with a cut to top 4, rounds also dependant on attendance.

Otherworld Comics
1876 N. Placentia Ave.
Placentia, CA 92870-2303
(714) 985-0661

Use Mapquest for directions, or feel free to email myself, or the tournament coordinator (Ken Collier, from StarCity: kennethcollier@msn.com) for more info.

-Bill Guerin
DCI Level 2 Judge




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