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Pojo's Magic The Gathering
Judge's Corner

In addition to the usual questions and answers today, I've also decided to include a tournament report. Yes, judges do play Magic, even if we're not that good at it :). Let me know if you enjoy it and whether or not it would be something you would want to see again from me.


Q: I have in play a Beloved Chaplain and my opponent has a Laquatus's Champion. Throughout the game I have been blocking the champion with the Chaplain. I draw a Patriarch's Desire and place it on the Champion, only having 6 cards in my graveyard. The Champion is now an 8/1. He then tapped 3 of his swamps to put a shade's form on my chaplain. He then plays a Dark Banishing to kill the Chaplain and then says he gets it due to the Form's ability. I tell him his Champion is dead as well due to the Chaplain making it to the graveyard first, triggering the second +2/-2 effect of the desire. He says that it just came to his control, and to solve this problem he said that I don't have threshold any more. Is the Champion dead, or does it live?


A: Shade's Form
Enchant Creature
Enchanted creature has "{B}: This creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn."
When enchanted creature is put into a graveyard, return that creature to play under your control.

Note that the ability to return the creature to play (under his control) is a triggered ability, since it uses the word "When." This means that ability has to be put on the stack. Therefore, when the Chaplain is killed, it is in the graveyard until the triggered ability resolves, giving you threshold and killing the Champion. The sequence will go as follows:

-Dark Banishing resolves, killing the Chaplain.
-There is now a triggered ability (Shade's Form) and a state-based effect (Champion's toughness <1) waiting to resolve.
-The state-based effect resolves first (420.3), killing the Champion.
-The triggered ability of the Shade's Form is then placed on the stack.
-(I'm assuming it's his turn, so) Your opponent now receives priority to play something.
-When the triggered ability resolves, the Chaplain is put into play under your opponent's control.

420.3. Whenever a player would get priority to play a spell or ability (see rule 408, "Timing of Spells and Abilities"), the game checks for any of the listed conditions for state-based effects. All applicable effects resolve as a single event, then the check is repeated. Once no more state-based effects have been generated, triggered abilities go on the stack, then the appropriate player gets priority. This check is also made during the cleanup step (see rule 314); if any of the listed conditions apply, the active player receives priority.


Q: My friend and I have been scratching our heads over this rule for a while. In the 7th ed. rulebook it says:

"Mana Burn- When a phase ends, any unused mana remaining in a player's mana pool is lost. That player loses one life for each mana lost in this way."

In rules 300.2 - 301.1 it goes on to say that there are five phases in a turn, but only one untap step. If I play by the mana burn rule, I won't be able to play an instant to counter an opposing enchantment or spell. Will I? How does mana burn work?


A: Mana burn only occurs when you put too much mana in your mana pool … this can happen in one of two ways. First, you could have an enchantment like Mirari's Wake out, and only be able to use one of the two mana it produces before the phase ends. Secondly, you could tap mana into your pool and forget to use it. Mana burn doesn't happen nearly as often as you're thinking, as you don't draw mana from lands until you tap then for mana. Mana isn't automatically put into your pool (like Force is in the new Star Wars CCG, if I remember correctly).

Let me know if this answers your question, or if not, give me a more clear explanation of what you're asking.


Q: I'm using Oath of Druids and the creature I get to first is Ancestor's Chosen. Does he come into play first before the other cards go in to the graveyard or is it the other way around? Just wondering if I get the life off those cards or not.


A: Oath of Druids
At the beginning of each player's upkeep, if that player controls fewer creatures than any of his or her opponents, the player may reveal cards from the top of his or her library until he or she reveals a creature card. The player puts that card into play and all other cards revealed this way into his or her graveyard.

Ancestor's Chosen
Creature -- Cleric
First strike
When Ancestor's Chosen comes into play, you gain 1 life for each card in your graveyard.

You will indeed get the life. The trigger for Ancestor's Chosen coming into play will wait for the Oath of Druids effect to resolve before being put on the stack. So by the time the Chosen's trigger is put on the stack, all of the other cards from the Oath are already in the graveyard.


Q: My friend and I were playing Magic, and my friend played some creature. It's ability is that if you tap the creature, it deals 4 damage to target creature.

A: The closest match I could find was Femeref Archers.

Femeref Archers
Creature -- Soldier
{T}: Femeref Archers deals 4 damage to target attacking creature with flying.

I'll assume that you're attacking with a flying creature, as it is that that is probably happening in the question to follow.


Q: I used my Nomad Decoy to tap it so my opponent couldn't use its ability. However, my friend said that I tapped it, thus, activating the creature's ability and causing four damage to one of my creatures. But I argued that HE had to tap it to play its ability, not me. So, what's the verdict?

-Charles Lee

A: You are correct. He actually has to announce the ability for it to be played. However, in response to you using the tap ability, he could announce the Archer's ability, causing them to do 4 to a flying creature. But it won't be automatic.


Q: If I have an Armadillo Cloak attached to my Phantom Nomad (without any counters on it) and my opponent uses Fiery Temper to do 3 damage to it, does my Phantom Nomad still prevent the damage even though there are no counters on it?


A: Yes. From the Judgment FAQ:

* A Phantom's ability prevents damage even if there are no more +1/+1 counters on it. So if a Phantom's toughness is raised by some other effect, it becomes impossible to destroy with damage unless an effect like Flaring Pain states that damage can't be prevented.


Q: If I cast Befoul targeting my opponent's Nantuko Monastery and he responds by activating its ability and turning it into a creature, does the Befoul still destroy it?

-J Chen

A: Nantuko Monastery
{T}: Add one colorless mana to your mana pool.
Threshold -- {G}{W}: Nantuko Monastery becomes a 4/4 green and white creature with first strike until end of turn. It's still a land. (Play this ability only if seven or more cards are in your graveyard.)

Yes on two counts. First, Nantuko Monastery's ability to turn into a creature states that the Monastery is still a land. Second, Befoul isn't modal. As long as the target is either a land or a nonblack creature, Befoul will still destroy it. (And the "or" isn't exclusive - if the target is a land and a nonblack creature, as it will be in this case, Befoul will destroy it.)


Q: If I used Shelter to give protection from blue to my opponent's creature that's enchanted by a blue enchant creature, then does the Shelter remove the enchant creature?

-Charles Lee

A: No. Shelter can only target creatures you control.


Q: I play Whip Silk, targeting one of my creatures, and my opponent casts Meddle, making Whip Silk target one of his creatures. I then tap a forest and return it to my hand, but he says he now control's the enchantment so I can't play the ability. Who is right?

A: You are. Meddle does not change who controls the enchantment, only what the enchantment targets. So you still control Whip Silk, and thus, the ability to return it to your hand.


Q: I have a creature with several enchantments, one being Armadillo Cloak. My friend uses Rubinia Soulsinger's ability to take control of it. I say I still gain life for damage dealt by creature, but my friend says he takes control of all enchantments as well. Who is right?

-Jimmy Weber

A: Again, you are. Rubinia only changes who controls the creature, not the controller of any enchantments on the creature. So since you still control the Armadillo Cloak, you gain the life.


Q: More of a judging question that a rules one:

I am practicing for the exam to become a level 1 judge; do you have any tips for taking the test?


A: Study the Comprehensive Rulebook and the Floor Rules. Anything you need to know can be figured out from one of those two sources. I've heard they're trending toward more Floor Rules questions than on previous tests, which would make the two types of questions almost even, so you need to know both to have a chance of getting a passing score.

Don't worry about knowing card text … any cards they want you to give an answer about will have what the cards do printed on the test.

Good luck!!


Q: I was playing in a tournament and this happened:

I had a Wild Mongrel, two 2/2 Bear tokens, a Fledgling Dragon, 6 cards in my graveyard and my opponent had two Kavu Chameleon and a Nantuko Monastery converted into creature. He attacked; I blocked the Nantuko Monastery with my Wild Mongrel (killing the mongrel), one of the Kavu with both of my Bears and the other Kavu with my Fledgling Dragon. I say that the Dragon was a 5/5, but the guy I was playing with said that threshold resolved after the combat. Who was right?

-maximiliano prieto

A: You were, but only because the Monastery has first strike. First strike damage resolves, killing your Mongrel and giving you threshold, making the Dragon a 5/5. Then normal damage resolves, and your now 5/5 Dragon kills his 4/4 Kavu and survives. Threshold happens whenever the appropriate player has 7 or more cards in his or her graveyard - not a moment sooner or later.



Q: I need a little clarity on a couple of questions you answered recently.

Forcemage Advocate says '{tap}: Return target card in an opponent's graveyard to his or her hand. Put a +1/+1 counter on target creature.'

You recently answered that should this activity be activated, and the opponent's graveyard is emptied before it resolves, then the first half of Advocate's ability doesn't happen, but the second half does.

A: Correct. This is because all of the targets aren't illegal … there is still one legal target, the creature you're putting the +1/+1 counter on.


Q: Prophetic Bolt says 'Prophetic Bolt deals 4 damage to target creature or player. Look at the top four cards of your library. Put one of those cards into your hand and the rest on the bottom of your library.' But if the Bolt's target is removed from play before the Bolt resolves, the Bolt is countered and neither of its effects happen.

A: Again, correct. This is because all of the targets are illegal. When all of the targets are illegal, none of the untargeted effects happen.


Q: Does this mean that the Advocate's ability is actually two abilities that go on the stack separately? Or does it mean that the Advocate's ability's target is only announced at resolution? Or what *does* it mean?

-Bernard Ng

A: As I explained above, it's because the Advocate's ability still has one target it can affect, so it will. All of the Bolt's targets are gone, so it's countered. Only when _all_ of a spell/ability's targets are gone is that spell or ability countered.

413.2a If the spell or ability specifies targets, it checks whether the targets are still legal. A target that's removed from play, or from the zone designated by the spell or ability, is illegal. A target may also become illegal if its characteristics changed since the spell or ability was played or if an effect changed the wording of the spell or ability. If all targets are now illegal, the spell or ability is countered. If the spell or ability is not countered it will resolve normally, affecting only the targets that are still legal. If the spell or ability needs to know information about one or more targets that are now illegal, it will use the illegal targets' current or last known information.


Q: In your most recent article this Q&A came up:

>>>Q: I was playing at a local gaming store with a Chamber of Manipulation Deck. I had no creatures on the table.

My opponent attacked me with 2, 3/3 Elephant tokens. I declared that as an instant effect before his creature attack that I would gain control of it using a Chamber of Manipulation and discard a card. I then declared a block.

But my opponent stated that he would be allowed to take back his other declared attacker, or my newly acquired creature would be tapped. I was just wondering what was correct.


A: Your opponent is. By backing him up to before the attack, you cancelled anything that had happened up to that point. So both creatures are untapped and no one is attacking.<<<

OK that makes sense, but doesn't there exist a step (the pre-combat step maybe?) where the attacker has declared an attack and which creatures are attacking have been declared but they haven't been tapped yet as a result of this.

A: No. The beginning of combat step is the last time you can tap the creatures and not have them attack. There is no time where a creature is attacking and not tapped (unless something like Serra Angel lets it attack without tapping, but even if you tap the Serra after she attacks, she will still be attacking).


Q: I remember playing in a tournament with Icy Manipulator where I would wait till my opponent declared attackers, I would tap the one I didn't like, disallowing it from continuing the attack, and the rest still had to attack me. It was deemed a legal move back then. Let me know if this is still right. (It was before sixth edition rules switch)


A: That was an illegal move, even under rules previous to Sixth Edition. The only difference in the answer was that in Fifth Edition and previous, you would have to tap the creature you didn't want to attack in the main phase, prior to going into combat. Even under old rulesets, there was not time where a creature was attacking but not tapped (again, barring things like Serra Angel).


Bonus - Tournament Report - FNM - June 21, 2002 - Brea, CA - 1st place

I'm deciding which deck to play, when I read an article Thursday night that lists the following deck:

Martha Stewart Living
By: Ted Knutson

4 Ravenous Rats
4 Nantuko Shade
4 Phyrexian Rager
4 Braids
3 Call of the Herd
3 Spiritmonger
2 Ichorid
4 Duress
4 Chainer's Edict
4 Pernicious Deed
2 Forest
4 Tainted Wood
4 Llanowar Wastes
14 Swamp

3 Addle
3 Phyrexian Arena
2 Innocent Blood
3 Spellbane Centaur
2 Compost
2 Mutilate

So I figure out what I need to build the deck, and come up needing the 3 Spiritmongers, 4 Deeds, 4 Llanowar Wastes, and 1 Ichorid. So I make a note of that for when I'm putting the deck together the next day, and check to make sure they're at the house. (I'm living with the owners of right now.)

So Friday afternoon, I head downstairs to try to find the cards. I come up one Monger short, and ask Scott if he got an order for 4 Mongers. He confirms that he did, and asks if I need it for that night. I say I do, and after I promise to be careful with it, he allows me to borrow the foil Monger from his foil Apocalypse set.

So I put the deck together, and head down to the tournament.

Pre-tournament, I'm asked by 2 people to borrow decks. Jim decides to borrow my deck, and Ramsey scrapes together the cards to play a different deck, so he doesn't borrow one from me.

And then the first round pairings are called out …

Round 1 - Damian - Red jank

Game 1- I roll 14, he rolls 18. He lets me go first. OK then … Swamp, Duress reveals that he's playing the same deck as last week, and I pull the Scorching Missile out of his hand. I drop a couple of Ragers, he drops a Halberdier. He Reckless Charges the Halberdier, I chump with a Ravenous Rat. Next turn, he flashes the Charge back, and I just take the 6. I cast Call of the Herd, and bring out my cell phone to play the part of the elephant. I also flash back the Call, and I end up swarming him with a Shade and the 2 elephants to end the game.

Sideboard: Nothing.

Game 2 - Another quick game. I drop an early Rager, and then follow it up with a Shade, and drop a Braids just before I kill him. I end up at 15, 1 from the Rager and 4 from a Scorching Missile.

Games: 2-0
Matches: 1-0

I go and get a quick burger from the food court, and then smash some other peoples' decks while we're waiting for the next round.

Round 2 - John Holcomb - ProbeTog

John is a younger kid, about 13 if I recall correctly. He's one of the cooler players to play against, and definitely one of the friendliest. He beat me last week, and this week he's playing Tog.

Game 1 - He rolls 17. I roll 11, and he properly chooses to play. I drop a quick Ravenous Rat this game, and the Rat heads to town for a few turns. I seem to remember dropping a Shade a couple of times in this match, but it must have kept getting Repulsed and then finally countered, as it did no damage. I squeak a Deed through, and then Deed for 3 to get rid of a Familiar and Tog (he was tapped out, so he couldn't regenerate the Familiar). I end up beating him with a Spiritmonger.

Sideboard - In: 3 Addle, 2 Innocent Blood, 2 Spellbane Centaur. Out - 4 Braids, 3 Pernicious Deed.

Game 2 - I get a lot of hand disruption to start this match, and another quick Shade, but John has a Familiar that he blocks and regenerates with. He ends up taking a burn from paying too much for a Tog when he has a Familiar out, and then he finally Upheavals with 3 in his pool, drops a Tog, and forgets to drop a land (to feign a Logic, and to have to discard one less card). I don't draw the Blood though, and it's on to game 3.

Game 3 - Another hand with a lot of disruption and a couple of Edicts to back it up. I end up beating with a Rat for the first few turns, though, as I couldn't draw much else. He takes a lot of pain from a Cephalid Coliseum, as we again get into the Familiar/Shade combat game. I Call, and out comes my cell phone again, playing the part of the elephant. I also flash back the Call, and with those and an Ichorid with enough food in the graveyard, I finish the game.

Game: 2-1, 4-1
Match: 2-0

A lot less time here in between matches, and I just wander around for a bit until the next round. The 4 undefeateds (Me, Ramsey, Matthew, and Steven) discuss ID possibilities, but we end up playing round 3.

Round 3 - Matthew - Tog (no Probes, at least that I saw … seemed like an early version)

I groan as I have to sit down and play Matthew, and know that I won't be getting much time in between rounds, as he plays quite slowly.

Game 1 - I again get beat on the roll, 15-13. I also take the first mulligan in any of my matches, as I draw no land in my first 7. I end up with a really slow start, and he sends a Familiar to town for a few turns. He Upheavals floating 1 mana, and I am relieved that it's only a Familiar coming down, and not a Tog. It beats my head for a couple more turns, and then we get into the Shade/Familiar staredown. I somehow manage to clear his board and win with double Monger, but I still can't figure out how I actually pulled this game out.

Sideboard - In: 2 Innocent Blood, 3 Addle. Out: 4 Braids, 1 Deed.

Game 2 - He ends up mulliganing down to 6 here, while I keep my 7. I don't see a swamp for the first 6 or 7 turns, so I take a lot of early pain from my Llanowar Wastes down to 10. He doesn't help matters any, as he Memory Lapses a couple of my spells. I end up stripping most of his hand and having a Rat go to town for 7 turns. I then drop a Monger. He takes it next turn, and then bounces it at end of turn. I then get an Ichorid, and with the creatures in the grave, it ends the match.

Sometime during this game, Matthew plays an Engineered Plague, points at my Asian Nantuko Shade, and asks, "What's his creature type?" I reply, "Shade," and he sets the Plague to that. After the match, I remember that the Shade has two creature types, and I worry that the second type was Horror, as that would have been a much better choice, to also shut my Ichorids down. However, the head judge looks it up for me, and the Shade is a Creature - Insect Shade, so it didn't make a difference.

Games: 2-0, 6-1
Match: 3-0

Then, of course, the natural happened…

Round 4 - Ramsey - RUG madness

Intentional draw.

Game: 0-0-3, 6-1-3
Match: 3-0-1

We preferred to draw, as the difference between first and second is only 1 pack, and if we play, there's a slight chance that the loser might not get 2nd.

I play a couple more fun games, and do a trade with John. I then am informed that I took first on tiebreaks, and we find out that the store doesn't have Judgment packs to give out, so we get Torment. Sucky.

<editor's note:  Speaking of the "good" folks at Shuffle & Cut Games, we switched out Bill's Torment packs for Judgment ones, and he pulled a foil Seedtime from the first pack.  Not bad, huh? -Scott>

Notes on the deck:

First of all, Ted claims that this deck is all that and a bag of chips against Tog. I beg to differ, as all of my games against Tog were very tight. However, it was great fun to play.

Secondly, I would take out the 2 Compost out of the board and put in 2 more Bloods. I would much rather have the greater chance of protection after the Upheaval than the minimal card drawing the Compost provides. Maybe another Addle too, but I can't figure out what else is wrong, so I'd just leave it be.

Again, let me know if the tournament report thing is something you would like to see again or not. Until next time,

-Bill Guerin
DCI Level 2 Judge




Copyright 2001 Pojo.com


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