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Pojo's Magic The Gathering
Judge's Corner

"At" vs "Until"

Ah, problems galore to solve in this column.

First off, I need to talk about the Waylay trick I've described in previous columns. The first two emailers are taking it to the next logical step and trying to pull off some really cool things. Unfortunately, the difference of one word spoils it, and it's my fault for not explaining it clearer.

The different word is "At" versus "Until." Let me pull up a current type 2 card that you _can_ pull this trick off with first…

False Memories
Put the top seven cards of your library into your graveyard. At end of turn, remove seven cards in your graveyard from the game.

You can cast False Memories during your opponent's end of turn step, and have the cards stick around for your turn. This is because False Memories says "_At_ end of turn …"


313. End of Turn Step

313.1. The end of turn step begins with the active player having priority. All "at end of turn"-triggered abilities trigger and go on the stack. Then players may play spells and abilities.

313.2. If "at end of turn"-triggered abilities are created or if cards with "at end of turn"-triggered abilities come into play after preexisting ones have already gone on the stack at the beginning of the end of turn step, those abilities won't go on the stack until the next turn's end phase. In other words, the step doesn't "back up" so new "at end of turn"-triggered abilities can go on the stack.


However, the following writers are trying to use it with cards that say "_Until_ end of turn…" This will not work because those effects end in the Cleanup step, and you normally can't play a spell during that time. (And on those times you can, another cleanup step happens after the current one, so the effect will end then.)


314. Cleanup Step

314.1. The cleanup step proceeds in the following order.

314.1a First, if the active player's hand contains more cards than his or her maximum hand size (normally seven), he or she discards enough cards to reduce the hand size to that number. This action doesn't go on the stack.

314.1b Then, simultaneously, all damage is removed from permanents and all "until end of turn" and "this turn" effects end. This action doesn't go on the stack.

314.1c Then, only if the conditions for any state-based effects exist or if any abilities have triggered, the active player receives priority to play spells and abilities. Once the stack is empty and both players pass, another cleanup step begins. Otherwise, no player receives priority and the step ends.


So with that in mind, let's start with the questions…

Q: I've seen many decks recently using a Wild Mongrel and discarding 4 Basking Rootwallas at the end of the opponents turn giving the Mongrel +4/+4. I was wondering if this is legal. Doesn't the Mongrel's effect end at the end of turn? How can it keep the extra 4/4 until your next attack phase?


A: Wild Mongrel
Creature -- Hound
Discard a card from your hand: Wild Mongrel gets +1/+1 and becomes the color of your choice until end of turn.

As you can see, the Mongrel's effect is an "until end of turn …" effect, so there's no way to carry the bonus over into the next turn.

Most of the time, the player discards the Rootwallas so he can play it for its madness cost instead, and have them around to be able to attack the next turn.


Q: Is there any chance to make the Basking Rootwalla a 5/5 only using its built in ability?

For instance, if I play the Rootwalla and activate the ability on end of turn - Step, after the end of turn ability triggers. Then on the next turn (before then end of turn step) I activate the ability again. Will the Rootwalla be a 5/5 or 3/3?


A: Basking Rootwalla
Creature -- Lizard
{1}{G}: Basking Rootwalla gets +2/+2 until end of turn. Play this ability only once each turn.
Madness {0} #(You may play this card for its madness cost at the time you discard it from your hand.)#

Again, it's an "Until end of turn …" problem. So there's no way to make him a 5/5 using only his built in ability.


Now we head into correction land, where readers point out how boneheaded I am at times.

Comment: I think you were mistaken in your court saying that any Magic card with a normal back and a black or white border is tournament legal. Portal cards fall into your description but aren't tournament legal (or at least I don't think they are).

-Jeff H.

A: D'oh! I tried to think of stuff like that when I wrote my last column, as I wanted to keep it as simple as possible for most of you. You also forgot Starter, but that's neither here nor there. I'll have to answer the question again here, and put in one sentence. The question was on how you could tell if a card was legal to play in a tournament. I should have added (c), as I do below…

The easiest way you can tell if a card is legal is if it (a) has the normal _(unmodified)_ Magic back on it, and (b) has either a white or black border (without any alterations), _and (c) if a card of the same name is printed in a set that is legal for the appropriate type_. If you can answer yes to _all three_ of those questions, and it is a genuine Magic card, then it is legal to use in a tournament.

Hopefully, that will fix it. Let me know if you think of something else that won't fit the new description.

(And yes, you can use a Portal printing of a card that is in a set legal in the appropriate type. If there is a wording difference, check the Oracle for the tournament wording.)


C: Comment about a slight error in your 7/14 report:

RE: Chainer, Dementia Master:

The 2nd Chainer called up from the graveyard would change due to the first Chainer's ability:
"That creature is black and is a Nightmare [in addition] to its creature types" so would be of type: Nightmare [Minion] Legend, not just Nightmare Legend (emphases mine).

A: Correct.


C: ...and as an aside, when the 2nd Chainer went to the graveyard as the second
legend of that name in play, it would be leaving play, so all other Nightmares would be removed from the game. A nice thing you could do in a mirror match. This might be worth mentioning to clarify that the 2nd Chainer [would] come into play, not just go to the graveyard.


A: Again, correct. Sorry about the ambiguity there.


Now that we have that out of the way, I can get to today's questions…

Q: I have a question about what you said concerning Diverting a Duress. Why won't it work?

A: You can cast Divert on a Duress. Duress is a spell with a single target. However, assuming you are in a one-on-one match, there is no other opponent of your opponent. Therefore, when Divert tries to change the target of the Duress, it can't, since there are no other "target opponents" for Divert to change the target to.


Q: Also, a question about Gorgons.

If I use Unnatural Selection to change a creature to type Gorgon, and there is NO Masked Gorgon in play, do my green and white creatures still get protection from Gorgons? Basically what I'm asking is whether the Gorgon rule is written into the rulebook, or if it is just an ability of Masked Gorgon.

-Kenny D.

A: The white and green creatures would not have protection from Gorgons. It's just an ability of Masked Gorgon, and, since Masked Gorgon is not there, it won't apply.


Q: I had a Standstill out and my opponent plays a spell and I counter it - do I get the 3 cards or does he?


A: Depends on when you play the counter. If you play the counter without waiting for the Standstill ability to resolve, your opponent will draw the three cards. However, if you wait for the Standstill ability to resolve, you can draw the three cards, and the counter the spell as normal.


Q: If I counter a Roar of the Wurm being cast from the graveyard is it still removed from the game?


A: Yes. Flashback replaces moving the card to anywhere when it resolves or is countered with removing it from the game instead.


Q: If someone casts an Armageddon, can I tap a Fellwar Stone for colorless, since it doesn't say that it must be a color of a land that my opponent controls?


A: Fellwar Stone
{T}: Add to your mana pool one mana of any color and type that a land an opponent controls could produce.

No. Since your opponent's lands can't produce any mana, Fellwar Stone won't be able to produce any mana either.


Q: My opponent plays the Ice half of Fire/Ice to tap my Island. I respond by tapping it for mana. Is his Ice still targeting my Island legally?

A: Yes, and when Ice resolves, it will tap the Island. Of course, unless the Island becomes untapped between you tapping it for mana and Ice resolving, you won't see anything happen to the Island (because Ice is tapping something that is already tapped). Your opponent will get to draw the card.


Q: I have two Hidden Gibbons in play which have been there for several turns. I also have a Yavimaya Enchantress. Mirri's Guile is in play too. My opponent is at 7. I cast Rancor, tapping out. He taps an island, begins to play Force Spike, but realizes he is dead if my Enchantments become creatures. He takes the 1 burn. Then after I announce my Yavimaya Enchantress as my only attacker, He declares no blockers then taps an Island and casts Force Spike targeting nothing, claiming it fizzles and my Hidden Gibbons are no longer enchantments, shrinking my Enchantress's power to 5 letting him live an additional turn. I believe Force Spike requires a target. Am I right?

-Steven P.

A: You are correct. Your opponent can't play Force Spike without a spell for Force Spike to target.


Q: I recently had an argument with a friend involving Rancor. He was not paying attention and played two Rancors on his Blastoderm. As that cannot be the target of spells or effects the Rancors went to the graveyard. The dispute is whether they were ever in play and if so they would return to his hand (I believed they wouldn't as there was no legal target and they never reached play).

-Caleb S.

A: I'm going to tell you how this would typically be ruled at a tournament. In a friendly game, you can handle it however the players choose.

In a tournament, if any significant actions had taken place since the Rancor was placed on the Blastoderm (usually a change of turns, but if life totals have been adjusted, that would call this into play too), the Rancor would stay on the Blastoderm. This is because decisions have been made about the game based on what has happened afterward, so we can't back it up to the point where the Rancor illegally targeted the Blastoderm any more.

A penalty would be assessed, however, for the illegal play. You (as the opponent) would receive a caution or a warning (basically for not paying attention) (caution at REL 1/2, warning at REL 3+). Your opponent would receive at minimum a warning for misrepresenting Blastoderm. If having the Rancor on the Blastoderm changed the game in a large way (like, taking the trample damage made you lose 15 or so life that you would not have lost had the Blastoderm not had trample), the judge might upgrade your opponent's penalty to a game loss. This is up to the discretion of the judge.

If significant actions had not taken place since the Rancor was put on the Blastoderm, however, you would back the game up to when the Rancor was put on the Blastoderm, and put Rancor back in the your opponent's hand. If your opponent had tapped his mana before he played the Rancor, he would have G floating in his mana pool also.

-Bill Guerin
DCI Level 2 Judge




Copyright 2001 Pojo.com


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