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Pojo's Magic The Gathering
Judge's Corner

Complicated Blocking

Q: I have a Longbow Archer with a Serra's Embrace and Confiscate on it (took from opponent). My friend attacked with a 5/5 Razorfoot Griffin (Glorious Anthem and Serra's Embrace). So thinking I could kill off both creatures by blocking with the Archer and returning the Confiscate in response to combat damage with a Boomerang which returned the Archer to his side so it got the +1/+1 bonus from Anthem making it so when combat damage was dealt the Archer would be a 5/5 also and they would kill each other. Well after much arguing we reproduced the scenario on Magic Online, and it said that the Archer took no damage, and the Griffin took only 4 damage.

Why did this not work out the way I had thought it would turn out? Any help would be greatly appreciated.


A: First the easy part - why the Griffin only took 4 damage. When combat damage was assigned, the Longbow Archer you controlled was only a 4/4. Therefore, it could only assign 4 damage, and therefore, the Griffin will only take 4.

Now, for the other part of the equation. You apparently have found a bug on Magic Online. I asked in #mtgjudge on EFNet to make sure, and the Archer should have taken 5 damage and died. You'll need to report that using whatever the bug reporting system on there is (I haven't been on since very early in beta testing, so I wouldn't know how).

The game apparently thought that since the creature was removed from combat, it wouldn't take the damage. But since damage had already been put on the stack, removing the creatures from combat won't erase the damage assigned to them. So the Archer should have taken 5 damage and died.


Q: I really want to make a combo deck, but I don't want if it resolves as I want it to. So, here's the combo: With Buried Alive I put in my graveyard Jeska, Warrior Adept (or Kamahl), Worldgorger Dragon and Faceless Butcher. I then return them to play using Balthor, the Defiled. Do Butcher and Dragon remove each other to infinity? I thought a lot and stacked it several times, but each time on the table remained a) Dragon alone, or b) Dragon and Jeska. I hope this combo works - can you tell me if it does?


A: Let's see two triggers waiting to be placed on the stack at the same time, so we have 2 scenarios:

Scenario A: Dragon's trigger on stack first, then Butcher targeting Dragon. The Butcher's trigger will resolve first, removing Worldgorger Dragon from play. This triggers the leaves play ability of the Dragon, which resolves next. Then the comes into play ability of the Dragon resolves, removing Butcher and everything else on the table from the game. This triggers the Butcher's leaves play ability, which then returns the Dragon to play. This triggers another comes into play ability of the Dragon, removing everything from the game (but there's nothing on the board to remove). End result: Dragon in play, all other permanents removed from game with no way to return.

Scenario B: Butcher on stack first (targeting Dragon), then Dragon. The Worldgorger Dragon's trigger resolves first, removing Butcher and everything else from the game. That triggers the Butcher's leaves play ability. This resolves next, but nothing happens, since the Butcher hasn't removed anything from the game yet. Then the Butcher's comes into play ability resolves, removing the Dragon. This triggers the leaves play ability of the Dragon, returning the Butcher and all of your other permanents to play. The Butcher must pick a new thing to remove at this point. End result: Dragon removed from game permanently, and one other creature removed by the Butcher.

So there's no way to make an unbounded loop using one Dragon and one Butcher.


Q: If my opponent has two Land Tax in play, and he has less land then I do, does he search for 6 lands or 3 lands only?

A: You opponent can search for 3 lands twice, for a total of up to 6 lands. Each Land Tax triggers separately.


Q: My opponent has a Pestilence in play. He taps 2 black mana and activates the Pestilence for 2. Does the damage come in one 2 point packet or 2 one point packets?

A: It comes in two one point packets. Each activation of Pestilence resolves separately, so all creatures and players will take one damage twice.


Q: I play Recurring Nightmare, and my opponent Disenchants it. Can I, in response to that, sac a creature to return it to my hand?

A: No. You can't play a sorcery at that time, so you can't play the Recurring Nightmare's ability.


Q: My friend Spelljacks my Call of the Herd. Can he use it right the way when it's still during my turn?

A: No. He can only play the spell he Spelljacked when it is legal for him to play that spell. In this case, he can only play it during one of his main phases, when the stack is empty.


Q: Can I counter it (The Spelljacked Call of the Herd)?

A: Yes.


Q: If a player has threshold, does that mean he can't use the original ability of the card? For example, I have threshold and I play Kamahl's Sledge, so I can't just burn the creature for 4 damage?

A: No. If you have threshold, you must do 4 damage to both the creature and the creature's controller.


Q: How about creature abilities (at Threshold)?


A: It depends. Most of the time, the original ability will still be on the creature. However, if the card uses the word "instead," then the original ability is replaced by the threshold ability.


Q: If a card tells you to do something, but you can't, what happens? Do you just ignore it, or you can't play it? (Such as Fleetfoot Panther, Innocent Blood, and Chainer's Edict.)

-Aaron W.

A: You ignore the effect.

(Careful though - with Fleetfoot Panther's ability, there will typically be a white or green creature when you have to return a white or green creature to your hand - the Fleetfoot Panther itself.)


Q: I'm confused as to the interaction between the two cards Alter Reality and Ana Sanctuary.

A: Alter Reality
Change the text of target permanent or spell by replacing all instances of one color word with another. #(This effect doesn't end at end of turn.)#
Flashback {1}{U} #(You may play this card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then remove it from the game.)#

Ana Sanctuary
At the beginning of your upkeep, if you control a blue or black permanent, target creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn. If you control a blue permanent and a black permanent, that creature gets +5/+5 until end of turn instead.


Q: So if I Alter Reality Ana Sanctuary, turning "black" into "blue", I get the card text of:

At the beginning of your upkeep, if you control a blue or blue permanent, target creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn. If you control a blue permanent and a blue permanent, that creature gets +5/+5 until end of turn instead.

To get the second effect, would I need one or two blue permanents?


A: Only one.


Unfortunately, I wasn't able to play Friday Night Magic this week, so I'll have no tournament reports this week. Sorry.

See you Thursday.

-Bill Guerin
DCI Level 2 judge




Copyright 2001 Pojo.com


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