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Pojo's Magic The Gathering
Judge's Corner

Triggered Abilities

What exactly is a triggered ability and how do they work?…

Q: I have been discussing this problem about my favorite card for about a month now: the counter system on Spiritmonger.

A: Spiritmonger
Creature -- Beast
Whenever Spiritmonger deals damage to a creature, put a +1/+1 counter on Spiritmonger.
{B}: Regenerate Spiritmonger.
{G}: Spiritmonger becomes the color of your choice until end of turn.


Q: Here is the situation that this problem came up on. My Spiritmonger attacks, my friend blocks with his 6/6 creature, they both deal damage. Where good up to now: I say that the Spiritmonger gets the counter during the deal damage phase, he deals his 6 damage to the blocking creature and takes his 6 damage, BUT he gets his +1/+1 counter making him a 7/7 with only 6 damage on him so he lives (unless my opponent does something else.) but my friend says he takes 6 and dies before he gets the counter. But since it says WHENEVER I assume it means the exact time he deals not after the phase. Please clear this up for us it would be much appreciated. Thank you.


A: 404. Triggered Abilities

404.1. A triggered ability begins with the word "when," "whenever," or "at." The phrase containing one of these words is the trigger condition, which defines the trigger event. A delayed triggered ability will also contain one of these three words, although that word won't usually begin the ability.

404.2. Triggered abilities aren't played. Instead, a triggered ability automatically "triggers" each time its trigger event occurs. Once an ability has triggered, it goes on the stack the next time a player would receive priority.

So Spiritmonger's ability to gain a counter uses the stack. This means he will deal the damage, then the "Put a +1/+1 counter on Spiritmonger" will go on the stack and resolve like any other spell or ability. So if a 6/6 Spiritmonger is dealt 6 damage at the same time it deals damage, it will die unless you have a regeneration shield on it.


Q: If my opponent controls a Hidden Spider (still in its enchantment form) and I cast a Cloudchaser Eagle, can I use the Eagle's ability to target and destroy the Spider, or will it already have turned into a creature?


A: Hidden Spider
When a creature with flying comes into play under an opponent's control, if Hidden Spider is an enchantment, Hidden Spider becomes a 3/5 Spider creature that may block as though it had flying.

The only one of these that triggers on the permanent coming into play, so let's see… Each player has a trigger, so you put the active player's on the stack first (The Eagle's), then the non-active player's (the Spider's form-change). So the form change will resolve first, making it a creature, then the Eagle's ability will resolve and be countered due to lack of a legal target (the Spider isn't an enchantment any more).

However, if you managed to get the Eagle into play on your opponent's turn (via Winding Canyons or a similar effect), then you could destroy the Spider before it turned into a creature.


What about triggers inside a mana ability?

Q: If I am down to 1 life and I tap a City of Brass or any painland for mana, do immediately lose the game for taking 1 damage even before I cast anything or do I have time to respond to cast a spell, let's say Healing Salve.

A: The answer is very different depending on whether the land is a City of Brass or one of the 10 painlands (from 7th and Apocalypse).

Adarkar Wastes
{T}: Add one colorless mana to your mana pool.
{T}: Add {W} or {U} to your mana pool. Adarkar Wastes deals 1 damage to you.

Note that taking the damage is part of the mana ability of the painland. Triggers that happen as part of a mana ability resolve right away, at the same time you get the mana. Therefore, if you're at 1, there is no way to tap a painland for colored mana and survive.

408.2e Mana abilities resolve immediately. If a mana ability produces both mana and another effect, both the mana and the other effect resolve immediately. (See rule 406.1, "Mana Abilities.")

City of Brass
Whenever City of Brass becomes tapped, it deals 1 damage to you.
{T}: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool.

In the case of City of Brass, however, the damage isn't part of the mana ability. So the damage for City of Brass is put on the stack and can be responded to.

So you can tap a City for white mana to play a Healing Salve at 1 life and live, but not an Adarkar Wastes.


Q: If Storm Cauldron and Fastbond are in play, if I play a second land during a turn would I take damage from Fastbond even though Storm Cauldron says I may play an additional land?

A: Fastbond
You may play as many lands as you choose on your turn.
Whenever you put a land into play other than the first land of the turn, Fastbond deals 1 damage to you.

Storm Cauldron
Each player may play an additional land during each of his or her turns.
Whenever a land is tapped for mana, return it to its owner's hand.

On Fastbond, note that the damage portion of putting an additional land into play is completely separate from the ability to put any amount of lands into play that you like. Therefore, no matter how you put the second land into play, Fastbond will deal 1 damage to you.


Q: I have a Zombie Infestation in play and my opponent attacks with his creature, when is the latest possible time for me to create a token and block his creature. Can I create a token before declaring blockers or do I need to have a creature before the attack phase.

A: The latest possible time you can make a token to block with is during the declare attackers step. Note that this is after your opponent has declared attackers, so you see what's coming before you make a token and block.


Q: I know that only a few artifacts lose their ability if tapped. Howling Mine is one. What are the other
artifacts that are "off" when tapped?

A: I ran a search for "is untapped" in the Oracle, and taking only artifacts, we have Static Orb, Storage Matrix, Voodoo Doll, and Winter Orb.


Q: What is the color of the source of damage from permanents that have enchantments that "cling" to them? Ex. Fire Whip on a Brass Man?

A: Depends on if you are using an ability of the enchantment or the creature. Fire Whip is a good example to look at to see both scenarios:

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.

So if you have Fire Whip on a Brass Man, and you tap to deal one damage to something, the damage will be colorless, since you are using an ability of the Brass Man. If you sacrifice the Fire Whip to do 1 to something, the damage will be red, since Fire Whip is doing the damage.


How exactly do I know if a creature can attack? (Even if I just turned it into a creature…

Q: I am at threshold and I play a Nantuko Monastery. Can I pay GW and attack immediately?

-Allan Esguerra

A: No. The Monastery hasn't been under your control since the start of your turn, so you would need to give it haste to be able to attack.


Q: I played Arrogant Wurm for its madness cost during my opponent's end of turn. After my upkeep phase, I declare attacker, I use the same creature to attack. Now, my opponent claim that my creature still have summoning sickness.
Here, I need clarification, does a creature need a whole turn to recover from summoning sickness or it
can already attack after my upkeep phase.

-David Chong

A: I'll give you a very easy way to determine if something can attack or not. Everyone, listen up.

-Your opponent says go.
-You start your untap step.
-Now, take a snapshot of your side of the board (yes, before you untap. If you don't have an untap step [due to the effect of some card], do this before you head to upkeep). Anything that is on your side of the board right now, whether it is a creature or not, if it is a creature when you declare an attack, it can attack. If it is not on the board right now, it can't attack. It doesn't have to be a creature right now. It just has to be on your side of the board right now.

A couple of notes here:
-First, if that card is bounced and replayed, it is a different card than the one before, so it won't be able to attack.

217.1c A card that moves from one zone to another is treated as a new card….

-Second, creatures that phase in can attack the turn they phase in. I left that out of the above as it might have been a bit confusing.


Fun with Phantoms and unpreventable damage…

Q: I was wondering if you have threshold and hit a phantom creature with 6 or less counters with a Lightning Surge, would it die or would the damage be prevented and remove a counter?


A: From the Judgment FAQ:

* "Damage can't be prevented" means that damage prevention shields and effects are useless. Circle of Protection: Red won't prevent the damage. If a Phantom is targeted by Lightning Surge, it will take 6 damage and then lose a +1/+1 counter.

So the phantom, unless it had a toughness of 8 or greater, would die.


Q: My opponent has a Phantom Tiger in play. I play a Flaring Pain and then a Shock targeting the Tiger? Does he die?


A: Again, from the FAQ:

* If a Phantom is dealt damage, the damage won't be prevented and a +1/+1 counter must still be removed.

So the Tiger will take 2 damage and die.


Read the friggin cards, people …

Q: Are the dreams extra cost (discard) done on resolution or when it's being cast?

-John C.

A: Let's take a sample dreams card and just read it, shall we?

Vengeful Dreams
_As an additional cost to play Vengeful Dreams, discard X cards from your hand._
Remove X target attacking creatures from the game.

All of the dreams are worded similarly, the only difference being Devastating Dreams (red's dream) is a random discard.


Q: I have a Flametongue Kavu in my graveyard, I have in play a Recurring Nightmare and a Putrid Imp.

My opponent has a Phyrexian Scuta and casts an Ironshell Beetle and targets the Scuta for the +1/+1.

In response to the Ironshell, if I sac the Imp and return the Recurring Nightmare… (rest of question snipped).

-Larry Park

A: Recurring Nightmare
Sacrifice a creature, Return Recurring Nightmare to its owner's hand: Return target creature card from your graveyard to play. Play this ability only any time you could play a sorcery.

You can't play a sorcery during your opponent's turn. So you can't play the ability of Recurring Nightmare then either.


Now searching the library for lands…

Q: On the card Nature's Lore it tells you to search your deck for a forest card. What does it mean a land or a non-land card?

A: Nature's Lore
Search your library for a forest card and put that card into play. Then shuffle your library.

When it says "search … for a forest card," it means any card that is a forest. That would mean a land.


Q: Can I use Skyshroud Claim to grab dual lands that are forests (Taiga, Tropical Island), even though it says "forest cards"?

-Jason Schickler

A: Skyshroud Claim
Search your library for up to two forest cards and put them into play. Then shuffle your library.

Taiga is a mountain and a forest in addition to its land type.

So yes. Taiga is a forest card, since its ability gives it that power.


Q: Some friends and I have been in an argument about Diligent Farmhand. I have a 1/1 Goblin token in play and my opponent has Diligent Farmhand out. I attack with my goblin and he uses the Farmhand to block but then he pays for the Farmhand's ability and sacrifices him for a land and says that he takes no damage and I say he can't do that. Who's right?

-Lord Death

A: First, we have to determine if a creature is a blocked creature or an unblocked creature.

309.4. A creature becomes a blocking creature when it has been declared as part of a legal block and all block costs have been paid, but only if it's controlled by the defending player. An attacking creature with one or more creatures declared as blockers for it becomes a blocked creature; one with no blockers becomes an unblocked creature. The creature's status remains unchanged until the creature is removed from combat or the combat phase ends, whichever comes first.

So since the Farmhand blocked the Goblin, the Goblin is a "blocked creature."

Now, when you assign combat damage, it tells you what happens with blocked creatures…

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.

So the Goblin ends up assigning no damage.


Other, unrelated questions …

Q: My friend has Divine Sacrament out and he has threshold, and I have Aether Flash out. He plays Beloved Chaplain. Does the Chaplain live because of Divine Sacrament or does Aether Flash kill it?


A: The Beloved Chaplain will live, for two reasons. First, the Chaplain comes into play with the Sacrament's bonus, making him a 3/3 when he comes into play. Second, Aether Flash's ability is a triggered ability, meaning it gets put on the stack and can be responded to.

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.


Q: If I play a Wild Mongrel against a white decks w/ all the Circles of Protection, can I discard a card to change the color of Wild Mongrel to a different color that isn't a mana color such as say yellow or gray to still deal damage? Can I change it to colorless like an artifact?


A: Color (definition from the rulebook):
The only colors in Magic are white, blue, black, red, and green. A permanent can be one or more of those colors or it can be colorless. "Colorless" isn't a color; neither are "artifact," "land," "brown," etc.

So no.


Q: I have a question about tokens. When a token's toughness becomes zero, does it count as a creature in the graveyard? For example, if my Squirrel is blocked by an Arrogant Wurm, and I have a Soul Net out, can I tap one mana and gain 1 life?

A: Creatures do go to the graveyard before they are removed from the game. So the Squirrel token will trigger the Soul Net, allowing you to pay 1 mana to gain 1 life.


Q: Also, my opponent has a Bird token out and I cast a Lava Dart on it. My opponent also has Soulcatchers Aerie out. Would he put a feather counter on the Soulcatchers Aerie if his Bird token is

-Josh Plat

A: Yes.


Q: Thank you again for answering my question on mana burn. It has become a lot clearer to me. But there is still one thing I need cleared up. If I use my Llanowar Elves to produce a green mana, but don't use it for anything, what will happen to my Elves? Will they be affected by mana burn?

A: No. Only the player is affected by mana burn. The permanents that produced the mana only know they produced mana - they don't know what happened to it.


Q: Another question, does the green mana produced my Elves become a land that can be tapped into again, or does it disappear after I use it to summon a creature or spell?


A: The Elves' ability will give you {G} to use in the current phase. Once it is used or you burn from it, nothing else happens.


Q: Can a Licid enchant a Beloved Chaplin or a Commander Eesha?

A: Not directly, because when you're playing the Licids' ability, they are still creatures. However, you can move the licid-ment from another creature to the Chaplain or Eesha via an effect such as Crown of the Ages, since while the licid is an enchantment, it's not a creature.


Q: I have Grizzly Fate in my graveyard along with exactly 6 other cards. If I flashback Grizzly Fate, Do I get 4 or 2 tokens?


A: 2. From the FAQ:

* If Grizzly Fate is played from the graveyard, the Grizzly Fate card doesn't count toward threshold. Threshold is checked when the spell resolves, so Grizzly Fate will be on the stack, not in the graveyard.


Q: I have a Phantom Nomad (0/0) with say 4 +1/+1 counters on it. My opponent taps her Sorceress Queen to make the creature 0/2.

Is my phantom creature effectively 0/2 or 4/6 after that ability?

-Tatu Suopajärvi

A: 0/2. To determine the power and toughness of a creature, first, take the initial value (typically what's printed on the lower right hand corner of the card, in the phantoms' case, 0/0), then apply any counters on the creature (in this case, 4 +1/+1 counters, making the Phantom Nomad a 4/4), then any continuous effects (the Sorceress Queen, which sets the P/T to 0/2).


Q: I am working on a Reanimator variant for the new extended. After I Entomb and Reanimate a Flowstone Hellion, can I attack, use the ability 3 times in response to damage going on the stack, and then in response to it dying, use its ability 17 more times (to deal 20 damage to my opponent)?


A: No, for two reasons. First, once damage is on the stack, changing the creature's power doesn't make it deal more damage (Mantra #2). Second, If you were to pump it up before damage is on the stack, it would die due to 0 toughness before you did the damage.


Q: I was playing a friend in Magic. He had a Phantom Tiger in play with only 1 +1/+1 counter on it left. I attacked him with my Flametongue Kavu, he blocks with the Phantom Tiger, then removes the +1/+1 counter, he says it lives because he has Mirari's Wake in play, which gives it +1/+1.
I say it dies. Who is right?

-Mike M

A: Your friend is. The Mirari's Wake is increasing the toughness (and power) by 1. Therefore, if you don't have a non-damage way to kill the Tiger, it'll live forever.


Q: How does Sneak Attack work since the Judgment FAQ ruling about Anurid Brushhopper - can my creatures stay until the next end of turn??? The FAQ says that if Brushhopper's ability is played during the end of turn step, it remains out of the game until the next end of turn... Does Sneak Attack work the same way?

-Robert Hilliard

A: Yes, and so do any cards that say "At end of turn…." This trick was used in the US Nationals a couple of years back with Waylay - you would cast Waylay in your opponent's end step, then untap and attack with the 3 2/2's. Waylay has since been errataed to allow you to only play it during combat, but the trick still lives on in many other cards.


Q: I'm playing Squirrel Opposition without my deck. I've got a Patrol Hound and a Tireless Tribe in play with 6 land. I've got a Glory in the graveyard. My opponent tries to tap my creatures when I enter my attack phase but before I declare my attackers using his 2 Squirrels and Opposition. In response, I use Glory to give my creatures protection from blue. Does this prevent my creatures from being tapped?

-Andy Liu

A: Yes.


Now, news on the tournament I was setting up. There will be a tournament July 14, 2002, in Garden Grove, at Mile High Comics. The information:

Date: July 14,2002 (Sunday)
Time: starts at 12 noon
Address: 12591 Harbor Blvd.
Garden Grove, CA 92840
Phone Number: (714) 741-2096
K-Value: 16
REL: 2
Head Judge: Me
Format: Standard (Type 2) - Judgment will be legal for this tournament.
Modified Swiss format, rounds dependant on attendance, with a cut to the top 8. (Top 4 if less than 16 people).
Other notes: The Ultra Pro Gold and Silver Metallicized sleeves are banned from this tournament, due to their reflective properties leading to a greater probability of cheating with those sleeves.

Hope to see you there!!

-Bill Guerin
DCI Level 2 Judge




Copyright 2001 Pojo.com


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