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Pojo's Magic The Gathering
Judge's Corner

Mantra Review

Time to review the Mantras again, since I'm getting a lot of questions like them

1. "I can't play any spells or abilities while something is resolving." (18 April)
2. "Increasing the power of creatures once their damage has been put on the stack won't make them do more damage." (13 May)
3. "If the card doesn't say 'TARGET,' it doesn't target." (31 May)


Q: I play a sorcery. My opponent responds with Molten Influence. I elect to take the 4 damage. At this point he tries to use Mirari to place a copy of Molten Influence on the stack, targeting my sorcery. Can he do this? I have already chosen to take the 4 damage, or would he have had to place the copy on the stack before I choose whether or not to take the 4?

A: He would have to put the copy on the stack before you decide whether or not to take 4, as that decision is make when Molten Influence resolves. However, if you didn't give him a chance to respond to his own spell, you would back up to when Molten Influence is cast, and the Mirari trigger resolves, and he can then decide whether or not to copy the Molten Influence.


Q: I have 4 creatures in play. My opponent has 4 tapped creatures in play. I attack with all four creatures. During my second main phase I play Seize the Day, and then Radiate it. The question is whether or not each of my creatures will get a separate additional attack phase, or will I get just one additional attack phase followed by an additional main phase. If the first scenario occurs, do I, as the active player, get to choose the order in which each copy goes onto the stack?


A: You end up getting 4 additional attack phases, each followed by an additional main phase. However, your creatures only untap once, before you get your first extra combat phase. So unless you have another way to untap your creatures, they will only be able to attack once.

Also, you do not have to have each creature attack in its own attack phase. They can attack in any of the attack phases they want (or even more than one, if they are eligible to be declared as an attacker in more than one attack phase).


Q: I have a question, if my opponent plays a Flametongue Kavu and I only have one creature in play, can I in response to his creature spell Repulse my creature to my hand, and since there are no there other creatures in play, the Flametongue Kavu would target itself and basically kill itself.


A: That is correct.


Q: I have Patron wizard and Prodigal Sorcerer in play, and my opponent attempts to play something I don't want him to. I use Patron Wizard's text to tap Prodigal sorcerer to counter it. By tapping Prodigal Sorcerer, can I also cause my opponent 1 point of damage, or does it just counter the spell?

-Team Delta

A: You can only choose to do one or the other, since they are two separate abilities. If you tap to counter a spell, then you can't activate the one damage ability that Prodigal Sorcerer has.


Q: I have a few questions about game procedure rather than game mechanics. The answers to these questions may require the use of discretion on the part of the judge, so just let me know what you would do.

To what extent is a player allowed to "take back" an illegal play at a REL 1 event? What about REL 2? REL 3+?

A: If you have made an illegal play, you are required to back up to the point at which the illegal play was made. However, if a significant game action has taken place, then you wouldn't back up, since decisions have been made regarding the game state since the illegal play.

I would also issue penalties as follows:
If caught before you went on: Caution at all levels, and a lecture.
If something has taken place and you can't back up: Caution at REL 1-2, Warning at REL 3+. This may be upgraded, depending on how big a difference the error made in the match.


Q: For example: My opponent controls a Llanowar Knight and it is the only creature in play. I fail to notice that the Knight has protection from Black, tap 3 Swamps, and attempt to cast Crippling Fatigue on the Knight. Since I can't legally do this, do I put Crippling Fatigue back in my hand and take 3 damage from Mana Burn? Or would you allow me to untap my lands?

A: Crippling Fatigue is back in your hand, and you have 3 mana in your pool. At REL 1-2, if your opponent lets you untap the lands too, that's fine. Otherwise, you have 3 mana in your pool.


Q: What if I attempt to play the spell first, intending to tap my Swamps when the game asks for payment? If I don't take mana burn this way, would this be an argument to always play a spell before paying for it?

A: You can do that just fine. And yes, that would be a smart way to play. If I could only train myself to do that, though :). (A few years back, you had to tap the mana before you cast the spell. Someone was even disqualified in the top 8 of a Pro Tour for not doing so. But since the 6th Edition rules change, you can do it either way.)


Q: What if there was an alternate legal target, such as one of my own creatures in play? Would you have me cast the Crippling Fatigue, targeting my own creature?

A: No. The Fatigue would be back in your hand, with 3 mana in your pool.


Q: What penalties would be assessed if I were to make a stupid mistake like this at each of the REL levels?


A: If a judge isn't called over, but you catch it yourself? Nothing. If I have to come over to the table? See above.


Q: Does the Incarnations count as a card with flashback since it has that tombstone thingy on the top left corner?


A: No. Only cards that have the ability "Flashback" written on the card have flashback.


Q: Trap Runner has an ability that has caused a disagreement with my friends. It's ability is "T: Target attacking unblocked creature becomes blocked."

Does that mean that no damage is dealt if Trap Runner blocks a creature, or rather that Trap Runner blocks any creature despite it being unblockable or flying and damage is dealt normally. I believe the latter, but my friend insists on getting a ruling.


A: Trap Runner doesn't actually block a creature when he uses his ability. Rather, he changes one creature's status from unblocked to blocked. This means, unless the attacking creature has trample or can assign damage directly to a player, it will be doing no damage to the player it attacks.

310.1b An unblocked creature will assign all its combat damage to the defending player.

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.


Q: I have a Mystic Enforcer out and I attack with it. My opponent has a No Mercy. Will my Mystic Enforcer get destroyed? Why? Or does it get protected?

A: No Mercy
Whenever a creature deals damage to you, destroy it.

Since No Mercy doesn't deal damage, the Enforcer dies. Mantra #3.


Q: My opponent has played the Dega Sanctuary and has nothing on their side of the table except the Sanctuary and their land cards (one of which is a mountain). Would the mountain be considered the red permanent they need to get 2 life at the beginning of their upkeep?


A: Land cards are colorless. So he would not gain any life.

A card with no color is colorless. Lands are colorless because they have no mana cost.



Q: Could you please clarify your answer on the following question?

>>>Q: Phasing does not trigger comes into play abilities, correct? So, assuming I have a Vodalian Illusionist and a Wormfang Manta in play, couldn't I get infinite turns by phasing the Manta out at the end of all my turns?

A: Yes.<<<

The way I read this, he first asks if phasing does NOT trigger comes into play abilities. Then he asks if phasing combined with a comes into play ability DOES trigger... so your yes answer could be interpreted as "Yes, phasing does not trigger comes into play abilities" or "Yes, your example works, phasing does trigger comes into play abilities".

-Dave Hewitt

A: Phasing does not trigger comes into play abilities. However, it does trigger leaves play abilities. Therefore, each time the Manta phases out, he gains another turn after this one. Then, the Manta comes back in at the start of his extra turn. Since phasing does not trigger comes into play abilities, he won't skip his next turn. Then, phase out the Manta again with the Illusionist, rinse and repeat ad nauseum. Unbounded turns.

502.15d Permanents phasing in don't trigger any comes-into-play abilities, and effects that modify how a permanent comes into play are ignored. Abilities and effects that specifically mention phasing can modify or trigger on this event, however. Permanents phasing out trigger leaves-play abilities as usual. (Because no player receives priority during the untap step, any abilities triggering off of the phasing event won't go onto the stack until the upkeep step begins.)


Q: In a question on 8/22:

>>> Q: During a match with one of my friends, he played a card (I can't remember what it was called) that said something like "remove target player's graveyard from the game, does one damage for each card removed this way." I tried to counter it with a Counterspell. Now it starts to get confusing. He Counterspelled targeting my Counterspell. I Grip of Amnesia'd my own Counterspell, removing my graveyard from the game. Then, when everything else resolved, he removed my empty graveyard and I lost no life, right?


A: Correct.<<<

After everything else resolves, he should have two cards in his graveyard...Counterspell and Grip of Amnesia.

-Keith Bogart

A: Correct. Thanks for correcting me.


>>>Q: A while back I was playing my friend. He casts a Treacherous Vampire and when he attacked, he only had 1 card in his graveyard. I get him to declare attackers, and then I cast a Funeral Pyre to remove his only card in the graveyard. I say he must sacrifice it because he already declared it to attack and he has no card to remove, but he argues that when he declared it to attack, it is immediately removed and there is nothing to target...Who's right?

A: Treacherous Vampire
Creature -- Vampire
Whenever Treacherous Vampire attacks or blocks, sacrifice it unless you remove a card in your graveyard from the game.
Threshold -- Treacherous Vampire gets +2/+2 and has "When Treacherous Vampire is put into a graveyard from play, you lose 6 life."

Since the Vampire uses the word "whenever," the ability uses the stack. Therefore, you don't remove a card until the ability resolves. Thus, you have a chance to remove the card with Funeral Pyre before he can remove it to the Vampire's ability. So you are right.<<<

Q: I did not think you could play fast effects during a players "declare Attackers" phase. Thus if the none attacking player didn't take the card out of his graveyard before he declared attackers, he wouldn't have the opportunity, since the card would be removed as part of the cost required to declare the vampire as an attacker?


A: 308. Declare Attackers Step

308.6. After a legal attack has been declared and all required costs have been paid, the active player receives priority to play spells and abilities.

Since the Vampire uses the word "whenever," that creates a triggered ability that uses the stack. So after the Vampire is declared as an attacker, an ability goes on the stack that reads, roughly, "Remove a card in your graveyard from the game or sacrifice Treacherous Vampire." This ability can be responded to, which the questioner did. Only on resolution of this ability do you choose to remove a card or sacrifice the Vampire.

It is not a cost, since it is not in the form "cost : effect."


Tournament report - FNM - Orange, CA

Tog, Tog, and more Tog:

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 - Daniel Jacoby - RUB Tog

Game 1 - I roll 14, he rolls 7. I play. He drops a quick Familiar, and counters all of my card drawing spells. He also eventually gets a Tog down, and beats me without needing to Upheaval.

Sideboard: In: 3 Gainsay, 1 Fact or Fiction, 1 Mana Short. Out: 3 Cunning Wish, 2 Repulse.

Game 2 - I get an early Psychatog down, and hit him with it once. At the crucial point in the game though, I have only Nightscape Familiar in hand. He Burning Wishes for Chainer's Edict, and Edicts me, and I frown. I then draw, in succession, Island, Island, Swamp, Nightscape Familiar, Island, Island. Oh well.

Games: 0-2, Matches: 0-1

Round 2 - Robert M. - Burning Bridges with Seismic Assault/Storm Cauldron

Game 1 - I roll 10, he rolls 5, and I play. He takes a mulligan. I attack him a couple of times, and counter his stuff. He complains that everything he has played tonight has been countered. Oh well. I allow Storm Cauldron on the table, and then make a slight misplay. First, I fail to drop a land before the Upheaval, and declare that it is my extra land due to Storm Cauldron. (214.9b allows me to do this.) Then, I float 2 to many blue, and end up burning for 2. It really didn't matter though, as I had a Force Spike and killed him the next turn.

Sideboard: Nothing.

Game 2 - He plays. I take 5 from a Browbeat, pain from Underground River twice, and 3 from an Analysis. Then, since he has Ensnaring Bridge down, I Deep Analysis him, and attack for lethal damage.

Games: 2-2, Matches: 1-1

Round 3 - Jay Ott - Mirror

Game 1 - He rolls 4, I roll 2, he plays. He doesn't get a creature on the board, and I slowly whittle away his life total until I can do 9 to kill him.

Sideboard: In: 3 Gainsay. Out: 1 Psychatog, 1 Chainer's Edict, 1 Nightscape Familiar.

Game 2 - He plays a turn 2 Standstill. Since it is the only non-land permanent on the board, I plan to take the game down to decking, and Analysis him (via Flashback) with 5 cards left in his library and 8 counterspells in hand (4 Counterspell, 3 Gainsay, and 1 Logic). So I discard both my Upheavals during the early game. He senses the decking plan, however, and finally breaks Standstill by trying to drop 2 Nightscape Familiars at the same time. I back him up to the first one, draw my cards off the Standstill, and then the counter war begins. I Counterspell, he Counterspells, I Gainsay, he Logics, I Gainsay, he Logics, I Gainsay, he Logics and mistaps (leaving only a Darkwater Catacombs up). I make sure that's the only thing untapped, and I Force Spike. He tries to tap the Catacombs for colorless. =\. Familiar is countered, and I drop my own Familiar the next turn and counter his other Familiar. He tries an Upheaval, but I counter it. He then scoops.

Games: 4-2, Matches: 2-1

There were a lot of Tog decks that night. Running into 2 in 4 rounds is about average for the number of tog decks here.

Round 4 - Pep - Token.dec

Game 1 - I win the roll, 10-3, and I play. He gets some early tokens down, and one turn before I can Wish for a Hibernation to stabilize, he Sylvan Mights for the win.

Sideboard: In: 4 Ghastly Demise, 2 Hibernation. Out: 3 Cunning Wish, 1 Deep Analysis, 1 Psychatog, 1 Nightscape Familiar.

Game 2 - I play first. I have a hand with 2 lands, and keep it. I don't draw another for like 5 turns. By this time, he's got a Squirrel Nest on one of his land, and a Call token out. I scoop, as I don't want to play any more, and drop from the tournament.

Games: 4-4, Matches: 2-2.

Oh well. A setback to my ratings goal of 1745 by the end of next month. Time to build a different deck, too.

See you Thursday.

-Bill Guerin
DCI Level 2 Judge



Copyright 2001 Pojo.com


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