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Pojo's Magic The Gathering
Judge's Corner

Illogical Play

First off, I would like to thank the denizens of #mtgjudge on EFNet (specifically Akki and Dracon|s) for their help in this week's column, as I had a couple of very hard questions this time. Let's get to the action:


Q: My friend tries to play a Circular Logic with one white and one green mana. I inform him that the spell costs one blue and 2 colorless. He immediately untaps his land and returns the card to his hand, declaring that he doesn't mana-burn because it was an accident. What should happen?


A: The Circular Logic card goes back to his hand, and his lands untap.

(An aside here ... I'm sure at least one of you wants to ask, "What if he tapped his lands before he played the Circular Logic? Shouldn't the lands stay tapped, and the mana stay in his pool?"

There has been a reversal of this thought line since Magic Online came out. Before, the answer would have been yes, with no ifs, ands or buts. Now, with the usage of Magic Online on the rise (current bugs notwithstanding), the current rule is that he untaps the lands no matter when he tapped them, for 2 reasons:

1) You really can't tell when the lands were tapped if you are a judge coming to the table. It could have been before or after he announced the spell, and it frequently would come down to putting the two players' words against each other.

2) Magic Online allows you to untap lands as long as you haven't played a spell or ability or passed priority. (You can do this by using the command Alt-U for each land you tapped.))


Q: I have a Soul Collector and my opponent has a 4/3 flying creature. Would I be able to get that creature if I attack and he blocks? How about if he attacks and I block?

A: Yes in both instances. Soul Collector's ability sees the flier going to the graveyard, and triggers. (410.10c)


Q: My friend says that Krosan Restorer only has the ability when I cast it, so if I have say 6 cards in my graveyard when I cast the Restorer and later get another card in my graveyard, does it have the second ability?


A: Yes. Even though you do not have 7 cards in your graveyard, the text is still there, waiting for you to get to 7 cards before "it becomes active."

502.23b Spells and permanents with threshold have the threshold text only if their controller has seven or more cards in his or her graveyard. Otherwise, the text after “Threshold —” is treated as though it did not appear on the spell or permanent.


Q: My friend uses Chamber of Manipulation to take control of my Wellwisher for a turn. But, before the effect resolves, I tap it and gain the life, and then it goes to him tapped. Am I allowed to do that?

A: Yes.


Q: If I tap Wellwisher for life, and then he tries gaining control of it the same way, it goes to him tapped and no one gains the life, correct?


A: Incorrect. You will still gain the life. Once an ability is played, it exists independently of the permanent that created it.


Q: If I have Nefarious Lich and Oath of Lim-Dul in play, when I take damage, what happens? Does the Oath trigger and I have to sacrifice permanents/cards in hand, or does the Nefarious Lich stop the damage before the Oath can trigger?

A: Oath of Lim-Dul



Whenever you lose life, sacrifice a permanent other than Oath of Lim-Dul or discard a card from your hand for each 1 life you lost. (Damage dealt to you causes you to lose life.)

{B}{B}: Draw a card.

Nefarious Lich



If you would be dealt damage, remove that many cards in your graveyard from the game instead. If you can't, you lose the game.

If you would gain life, draw that many cards instead.

When Nefarious Lich leaves play, you lose the game.

Oath of Lim-Dul has a triggered ability, while Nefarious Lich is a replacement effect. So the Lich will replace the damage with removing cards in the graveyard from the game, and thus, the Oath will have nothing to trigger off of, since there was no damage actually dealt, and thus, no life loss.


Q: If I have a Sulfuric Vortex in play and Form of the Dragon, does my life total reset to 5 at the end of each turn?

A: Not if you are below 5 life, as this is life gain, which is prevented by Sulfuric Vortex.


Q: If my opponent has Living Lands in play, can I name creature type Forest for my Extinction and destroy all Forests?


A: No. Forest is not a creature type. You must name a creature type with Extinction.


Q: I'm playing a zombie reanimator deck. I cast 2 Buried Alives on turn 3 and 4. Fifth turn, I use Cabal Coffers and Dark Rituals to play a Noxious Ghoul, then I play Patriarch's Bidding. I put 3 Gempalm Polluters, 2 Soulless Ones, and a Shepherd of Rot into play. Do the creatures coming into play from the graveyard trigger the Ghoul?

A: Yes. The creatures are coming into play, it doesn't matter where they come into play from.


Q: If so, does the ability trigger if the Ghoul is coming put into play from the grave with Bidding?

-Dennis D.

A: Yes. The Ghoul triggers once for each zombie coming into play, and it is in play long enough to see the others coming into play too.


Q: If I use Hymn to Tourach on my opponent and then he uses Gilded Light, would I get targeted because I am the only target left?

-Edward P.

A: No. The Hymn to Tourach would be countered, since all of its targets are illegal.



From my 5 June column:

>>>Q: Regarding Vesuvan Doppelganger:

First, if you want it to copy Phage the Untouchable, would it kill you do to the "come into play from anywhere but your hand" ability?

Vesuvan Doppelganger


Creature -- Doppelganger


As Vesuvan Doppelganger comes into play, you may choose a creature in play. If you do, Vesuvan Doppelganger comes into play as a copy of that creature except for its color and gains "At the beginning of your upkeep, you may have this creature become a copy of target creature except for its color. If you do, this creature gains this ability."

Phage the Untouchable


Creature -- Minion Legend


When Phage the Untouchable comes into play, if you didn't play it from your hand, you lose the game.

Whenever Phage deals combat damage to a creature, destroy that creature. It can't be regenerated.

Whenever Phage deals combat damage to a player, that player loses the game.

When Phage says "it," it means the card that the ability is printed on. Since Vesuvan copies that, it will also have that ability. But (assuming you played Vesuvan), you did play the Vesuvan Phage from your hand. So the "lose the game" ability won't trigger.<<<

Q: For that trick to work, though, don't you have to somehow change Phage's creature type from Legend first? Otherwise won't your Doppelganger die because it's a Legend with the same name and it's been in play shorter than the original?

A: Yes, but the writer didn't ask that. All he asked about was the lose the game trigger. :)


Q: Could you use Imagecrafter's ability or Artificial Evolution Phage first to make her, say, an Angel or Minion rather than a Legend?

A: Yes, but the Doppelganger will come in as a Minion Legend, as it copies the printed characteristics. So Artificial Evolution will allow them both to stay around (since the change is permanent on the original Phage), but with Imagecrafter, the original Phage will die at the cleanup step, since it turns back into a legend, and is the legend with the same name who has been out the shortest time.


He also asks about the very next questions in the same column ...

>>>Q: Next, if I play a Fatal Mutation on a Chromeshell Crab and my opponent flips the Chromeshell Crab face up, first, does its ability go on the stack?

A: Yes. Fatal Mutation doesn't prevent morph triggers from happening.


Q: Can he trade the Chromeshell Crab for one of my creatures?

-Lloyd M.

A: Depends on who's turn it is. If he flips it face up during his turn, the Crab's trade ability will go on the stack first, then the Mutation. The Mutation will destroy the Crab first, and when it comes time to trade the Crab for a creature, the Crab is no longer there, so the exchange effect fails. (Definition, Exchange)

However, if he flips it during your turn, the Mutation's ability will go on the stack first, then the Crab. The Crab's exchange ability will resolve first, exchanging the creatures. Then the Mutation's destroy effect will resolve, destroying the Crab. End effect, he gets one of your creatures.<<<

Q: Assuming I morph the Fatally Mutated Crab on my opponent's turn, I can exchange the Crab with one of his creatures (my effect goes on the stack last because he is active player). Next, the Mutation effect (on the stack first) resolves. The Crab (now under his control) will die still, correct?


A: Correct.

See you Monday.

Bill Guerin

DCI Level 2 Judge

Ask Judge Bill A Question



Copyright 2001 Pojo.com


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