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Judge's Corner

Q: Diligent Farmhand blocks a Giant Warthog - prior to the damage being assigned Diligent Farmhand is sacrificed too tutor for a basic land. How much damage, if any do I take from the trampling Warthog?

-broken penguin

A: 5.

502.9c If all the creatures blocking an attacking creature with trample are removed from combat before the combat damage step, all its damage is assigned to the defending player.


Q: My friend has a Rabid Elephant enchanted by Seton's Desire (he has threshold) in play. He casts Overrun, and then attacks me with it. I have 5 creatures, making the Elephant an 18/19. He says that he only needs to assign damage to one of my creatures (with a toughness of 1) and then hit me for 17. I say that he has to assign damage to all of my creatures before hitting me with trample damage. Am I right, or is he?


A: You are.

502.9b The controller of an attacking creature with trample first assigns damage to the creature(s) blocking it. If all those blocking creatures are assigned lethal damage, any remaining damage is assigned as its controller chooses among the blocking creatures and the defending player. When checking for assigned lethal damage, take into account damage already on the creature and damage from other creatures that is to be assigned at the same time (see rule 502.9f). The controller need not assign lethal damage to all blocking creatures but in that case can't assign any damage to the defending player.


Q: What happens if a Phantom blocks a creature with trample? (for example, Phantom Nomad blocks Force of Nature.) Does any damage trample through to the player?


A: It can, yes, depending on how the damage is assigned.

502.9e Assigning damage from a creature with trample considers only the actual toughness of a blocking creature, not any abilities or effects that might change the final amount of damage dealt.


Q: When a card (Fleetfoot Panther, Mystic Snake) says something like, "you may play this card any time you can play an instant" does that mean...
1. You can play it as an instant, or
2. You play an instant, and then you can play the card.

-Aaron W.

A: It means exactly what it says. If you can play an instant, then you can play that creature. It is still a spell of type creature, and you don't need to play anything else before you play it.


Q: Last time I saw a card named "Bind" and was wondering: what exactly can you counter with it?


A: Bind
Counter target activated ability. #(Mana abilities can't be countered.)#
Draw a card.

So I guess the real question here is, what is an activated ability?

Activated Ability
An activated ability is written as "activation cost: effect." By paying the activation cost, a player may play such an ability whenever he or she has priority. See rule 403, "Activated Abilities."

(403 basically says the same thing.)

An example of an activated ability would be the ability on Pernicious Deed.

Pernicious Deed
{X}, Sacrifice Pernicious Deed: Destroy each artifact, creature, and enchantment with converted mana cost X or less.

So if your opponent played the ability of his Pernicious Deed, you could play Bind to counter that ability. (He would not get the Deed back, as the sacrifice of the Deed is part of the cost to play the ability (414.2).)


Q: At Friday Night Magic last night, an argument came up when someone mentioned that having three Faceless Butchers in play and no other creatures creates an infinite loop. The majority of the people there claimed that this was impossible, as Faceless Butcher cannot target itself using its ability. However, both the person that suggested this theory and I pointed out that when a card's text refers to itself, it only refers to that copy of the card, and not any others that might be in play. Someone else claimed that at the
PTQ (I think that was it, it may have been a different event), a level three judge informed them that Faceless Butcher couldn't remove any Faceless Butcher from play, and that it didn't just refer to itself. Who is right, and could you please provide a quote from whatever rule clarifies this, so that we can end the debate?

A: 202.2. Card text that refers to the card it's on by name means just that particular card and not any other duplicates of it, regardless of any name changes caused by game effects. Also, if a card has an effect on or grants an ability that includes that card's name to another card, the name refers only to the card generating the effect or granting the ability, not to duplicates of cards with the same name.


Q: Also, if I were to steal a creature from my opponents graveyard using Chainer's ability, and the creature was then destroyed, would it go to my graveyard, or back into my opponents?


A: Your opponent's.

217.1a If a card would go to any library, graveyard, or hand other than its owner's, it goes to the corresponding zone of its owner's instead. If an instant or sorcery card would come into play, it's removed from the game instead.


Q: If I cast Ice and Ice a land, and the controller of the land tapped for mana in response, would this fizzle Ice?

A: No. Ice would still resolve as normally, and tap the tapped land. Ice doesn't say "Tap target untapped permanent," it says "Tap target permanent." Thus, Ice does not care whether the permanent is tapped or untapped.


Q: Would the situation be the same if the land were a City of Brass?

A: Yes.


Q: And if I cast Ice targeting a creature with "attacking does not cause ~this~ to tap" before combat, would the creature still be able to "attack" without tapping even though it tapped as a result of Ice or say, for example, Opposition?

A: The creature would not be able to attack. One requirement for a creature to be able to be declared an attacker is that it must be untapped.

308. Declare Attackers Step

308.1. The active player declares which, if any, creatures he or she controls will attack. Only creatures can attack, and the following creatures can't attack: tapped creatures (even those that can attack without tapping), Walls, and creatures the active player didn't control continuously since the beginning of the turn. This declaration is simultaneous, not sequential, and doesn't go on the stack. Any triggered ability generated during this action waits until a player would receive priority.


Q: And would playing Ice on a tapped permanent or on a permanent that has no tap ability work; resolving and allowing you to draw a card?

A: Yes.


Q: If I were to play Kirtar's Wrath or Upheaval with an Anurid Brushhopper or something like it in play, could I save it by discarding 2 cards from my hand "in response" to my own spell?

A: Yes. In fact if you want it to be removed from game until end of turn, you must do this before your opponent gets a chance to counter the Wrath or Upheaval. If you pass priority and he passes without doing anything, it is then too late to remove it from the game until end of turn.


Q: Would this be any different if the initial spell were an instant or non-sorcery spell?

A: No.


Q: At the end of an opponent's turn, if I played Fact or Fiction and it resolved, landing me another couple of instants, could I also play those instants on the same end of turn step?

A: Yes. The only time a phase or step ends is if both players pass on an empty stack. Since the Fact or Fiction just resolved, this has not happened yet.


Q: If I played an initial spell and it hasn't resolved yet but my opponent chooses to pass not doing anything in response, could I then put the initial spell on the stack and add to the stack before the first spell I played in response to my own spell?

A: No. If you passed priority to your opponent and he passes, it is too late to respond to the spell.


Q: Lets say player A has a Benevolent Bodyguard and an Elephant Guided Arrogant Wurm in play. Player B plays a Faceless Butcher. Player A wants to save his Arrogant Wurm, so would it be better to sac the Bodyguard in response to player B playing the Butcher or would it be better to allow the Butcher to resolve, resulting in player B targeting the Wurm, then sacing in response to its come-into-play ability?

A: If the Bodyguard and Wurm are the only creatures on the board when the Butcher is cast, it really doesn't matter, as the Butcher can't target itself. If there are other creatures on the board, however, it may make a difference. If you sacrifice the Bodyguard to give the Wurm protection before the Butcher comes into play, your opponent will be forced to Butcher a different creature.


Q: Would sacrificing after the Butcher comes into play in response to its ability cause it to fizzle or target something else (if there was another target)?

A: It would cause the Butcher's ability to be countered on resolution (fizzle). You would not pick a new target (413.2a).


Q: Would the same go for sacing a land to Safekeeper in response to its come-into-play ability already on the stack?

-Alex W.

A: Yes.


Q: I cast a Llawan. My opponent responds to it with Alter Reality, and says black. Are all black creatures now bounced?

-Tune C.

A: Yes.


Q: My friend plays Upheaval. I have an Elephant Guide on my creature. He says that the Elephant Guide falls off and I say that the Elephant Guide (being cast and on the table) is a "permanent" and means the Upheaval makes me pick it up.

A: It's a permanent. Return it to your hand.


Q: If I play Ertai's Meddling on a creature or a sorcery and it has one counter on the spell, during his next upkeep do those spells resolve even though those types of spells are only to be played during your main phase?

-Matthew W.

A: Ertai's Meddling
X can't be 0.
The next time target spell would resolve, instead its controller removes it from the game, then puts X delay counters on it.
As long as that card is removed from the game, remove a delay counter from it at the beginning of that player's upkeep. If the card has no delay counters on it, he or she puts it onto the stack as a copy of the original spell.

Yes. Sorceries and creatures only have a limitation on when you can announce them. Another effect can cause a sorcery or creature to be put on the stack just fine.


Q: My friend and I have been arguing about Sterling Grove. He said when he sacrifices the card, he can search for any kind of enchantment like enchant creature, enchantment, etc. I say that you could only look for an enchantment card because Sterling Grove's ability is " Search your library for an enchantment card and reveal that card. Shuffle your library, then put the card on top of it", not enchant creature or any other thing. Who's right?


A: He is.

214.8. Enchantments

214.8a A global enchantment simply has "enchantment" as its type. Local enchantments comprise various subtypes: enchant artifact, enchant creature, enchant enchantment, enchant land, and enchant permanent.


Tournament Report - FNM - Orange, CA - 2nd place

Same Tog deck as 2 weeks ago

4 Chainer's Edict
3 Circular Logic
4 Counterspell
3 Cunning Wish
2 Deep Analysis
3 Fact or Fiction
4 Force Spike
4 Nightscape Familiar
4 Psychatog
3 Repulse
2 Upheaval

2 Darkwater Catacombs
1 Cephalid Coliseum
10 Island
4 Salt Marsh
3 Swamp
4 Underground River

1 Coffin Purge
1 Divert
1 Fact or Fiction
3 Gainsay
4 Ghastly Demise
2 Hibernation
1 Mana Short
1 Opportunity
1 Recoil

Round 1 - Robert Miller (Cold_Drink on IRC) - U/G

He comes up to the table and says, "Hey trout." I ask him who he is, since he obviously knows me from IRC, and he replies, "Drink." This is our first match against each other, however, as we are both firewalled and unable to play on Apprentice.

Game 1 - He wins the roll, 18-5, and chooses to play. He takes a lot of pain from his lands. I take a little early beats, I believe from a Nimble Mongoose, but eventually get board position. I then draw a Cunning Wish, and just decide to go get a Hibernation to bounce all his creatures and send the Tog in.

Sideboard: In - 3 Gainsay. Out - 1 each of Fact or Fiction, Nightscape Familiar, and Psychatog.

Also, somewhere in this match, another IRC'er (DreamMage - Shawn Newman) and our newest Pojo columnist, Michael Garten are playing on the table right next door, and at a particularly stupid moment, I make a joke about how I really shouldn't be #1 on the ladder. Anyway, on to game 2.

Game 2 - I mulligan 5 land hand into a 2 land hand. He again gets the early Mongoose, but I quickly stabilize with a Familiar and a Tog, and just wait for the Big Ups, which ends the match.

Games: 2-0, Matches: 1-0

Round 2 - Alex Diaz - Token.dec

Game 1 - I win the roll 15-5, and choose to play. I draw 5 lands, Circular Logic, and a Force Spike. I throw that back and get a hand with Darkwater Catacombs as my only land. I throw that back for a one land hand with 2 Familiars. He mulligans once.

I don't draw land number 2 until turn 5, at about which time he's already killed me.

Sideboard: In: 4 Ghastly Demise. Out: 1 each of Deep Analysis, Fact or Fiction, Psychatog, and Force Spike.

Game 2 - No mulligans here. He drops a bunch of early tokens, but I am able to handle the Squirrel Mob this time, first by bouncing it, then countering it. I go down to 7 before the Big Ups ends this one.

Sideboard: No changes.

Game 3 - I am again mana light at the start of the game, and a quick Overrun gets me to 12. I stabilize by getting both Hibernations from my board, and again, the heave-ho gets me the match.

Games: 4-1, Matches: 2-0

Round 3 - Henry Nguyen - Balancing Tings

Game 1 - I win the roll 3-2, and choose to play. I mulligan a 5 land hand, and then keep a hand with 1 land and a Familiar and a Tog. I have slight mana problems, and he sees this and tries to go for the throat by saccing his 2 lands and trying to get off an early Balancing Act. It is the right play, but I have the Force Spike. He only draws 2 more land, and on the winning turn I Opportunity myself, and then untap and flash back 2 Analyses to provide me with the cards for the kill.

Sideboard: In: 4 Ghastly Demise, 3 Gainsay, 1 Divert. Out - 3 Repulse, 4 Chainer's Edict, 1 Psychatog. I also forget to put a Fact or Fiction back in the board and take the Wish out.

Game 2 - He mulligans once. We each drop a few lands, and since I am mana short again, he tries another Act with Gainsay backup, but I have both a Counterspell and a Spike. He then drops a Mongoose, and is at threshold, and so I take 12 from the goose before I can stabilize and get the Hibernation from the board for the kill.

Games: 6-1, Matches: 3-0

Round 4 - Brad - R/G

Game 1 - I win the roll, 20-16, and choose to play. I throw back a hand with 6 lands and a Familiar, as I know he is playing R/G and I can't afford to draw even one more land, which is likely. I keep my second hand. I counter his first few threats, but he gets a Mongrel down and starts going to town. I barely have time to get to 8 land and execute the heave to drop a Tog, but since I am at 2, I finally get the Temper madnessed at me, and there is no gift game coming.

Sideboard: In: 4 Ghastly Demise. Out: 1 Psychatog, 1 Nightscape Familiar, 2 Deep Analysis.

Game 2 - He separates his mana and his spells, and only gives it 2 shuffles. I call over the judge, but all the judge does is shuffle it, and give him a caution.

He again gets down an early Mongrel, but I am very quickly able to get creature parity. The only other damage I take is a Browbeat, and we heave-ho into game 3.

Sideboard: No changes.

Game 3 - I take no creature damage in this match, as I draw enough creatures and counter magic to achieve parity from the start. I can't remember if I heaved or not, but I probably did, as I did 17 to kill him.

Games: 8-2, Matches: 4-0

I talk with the only other undefeated guy and ask about a split, but Brad, who is his friend, chimes in, and he decides to play.

Round 5 - Ian Smith - R/B

Game 1 - He wins the roll, 10-9, and decides to play. He doesn't have but a Pyre Zombie early, and he asks for a judge to see if I have to put 2 shields up if he sacs the Zombie to do damage to the Familiar that's blocking it. The answer is yes, and he sacs the Zombie after damage is on the stack. I then Repulse it, since I only have 2 mana and fear another burn spell to take it out. I get another Familiar out, and once I have 10 mana on the board, I announce an Upheaval with 3 blue and 3 black floating. He asks me to show the Tog for the scoop, and I do.

Sideboard: Nothing.

Game 2 - I keep a hand with 5 land, a Counterspell, and Circular Logic. He drops a Nantuko Shade turn 2, and since I don't have the Force Spike yet, I lose. My draws were 3 counterspells and a Deep Analysis.

Sideboard: Still nothing.

Game 3 - I again offer the split, and he declines. I take a mulligan. He gets a quick kicked Skizzik, and when I tap out to Wish for a Ghastly Demise, he Sudden Impacts me. I am at 8 with 4 cards in hand.

Games: 9-4, Matches: 4-1

I end up taking second by a good margin (about 6% on the first tiebreaks), and get my 11 packs and the foil. I then head home.

See you Thursday.

-Bill Guerin
DCI Level 2 Judge




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