Bill Guerin
Level II Judge


Card Price Guide

MTG Fan Articles
Single Card Strategy 
Deck Tips & Strategies 
Tourney Reports 
Peasant Magic 
Featured Articles

Featured Writers
The Dragon's Den
Rumblings From The Ass
The Heretic's Sermon
Through The Portal

Deck Garage
Aaron's School

Message Board 
Magic League

Contact Us

Pojo's Book Reviews



Pojo's Magic The Gathering
Judge's Corner

Well, I must apologize to all of you wanting to look through my old articles (in the past 2 months). It seems that the editor that was putting up my articles wasn't putting them on the back page too, and when Bill redesigned the site, he didn't think to check that they were back there. I hope to have that fixed shortly.  (Pojo Note:  Actually ... I fixed this earlier today.  It was in my Master Plan, but Judge Bill didn't know when he wrote his article today).

This means that for this column, I have temporarily suspended my rule against answering repeat questions, since you probably couldn't find the answers you needed anyway. If the back page hasn't been updated by the weekend, I'll suspend it for Monday's column too. Otherwise, I will start deleting repeat questions again.

Now that I've said that, lets get to the questions…


Q: Okay I flashed back my Battle Screech, and my opponent used Memory Lapse on it. Does it go to my library or does it get removed from the game?

-Gerald N.

A: It is removed from the game. Flashback replaces "go anywhere from the stack" with "remove this card from the game instead," so no matter which replacement effect you apply first, the flashback card ends up removed from the game.


Q: Can I kill myself by mana burn? Someone said that you can only mana burn yourself to 1, But I haven't heard anything about that ever. 


A: Any unspent mana in your mana pool at the end of a phase will cause you to lose 1 life for each mana in your mana pool. There is no limitation on how much life you can lose this way.


Q: Let's say I have an Argothian Swine (3/3 trample) in play and my opponent has Fog Bank (0/2 Fog Bank does not receive or deal combat damage) in play. If I attack with my Argothian Swine and he blocks with Fog Bank, does he take 3 damage because of trample?


A: The latest Oracle wording for Fog Bank should solve your dilemma …

Fog Bank
Creature -- Wall
#(Walls can't attack.)#
Prevent all combat damage that would be dealt to and dealt by Fog Bank.

So the Swine would have to assign 2 damage to the Fog Bank, and then you are free to assign the other 1 damage to the Fog Bank or to your opponent. So he will take a maximum of 1 trample damage.


Q: There was a conflict that came during one of my games involving Wild Mongrel and the attack phase. My opponent was playing the Wild Mongrel and declared the Mongrel an attacker. I declared no blockers, and he proceeded to discard a Basking Rootwalla to pump the Mongrel to a 3/3, and told me that I would take 3 damage instead of 2. I told him that because he had already passed priority to me for the declare blockers step that I would only take 2 damage, not 3 because priority was passed back to him after the damage had been dealt. I understand the concept of abilities working like instants, but who is right?


A: He is. He passed priority only to the point of you being able to declare blockers. There is still a space in between declaring blockers (or the lack thereof) and assigning combat damage.


Q: Do you lose from draw out that cause by a spell or effect? Or the draw out just means whenever you have no cards to draw you automatically lose the game?

A: You lose the game when you are forced to draw a number of cards greater than the number of cards in your library. If you have 0 cards left in your library, but are not yet required to draw a card, you do not lose the game. Only when you are required to draw a number of cards greater than the number of cards in your library do you lose the game.


Q: And my friend says there is no 2nd main phase in Magic, it only work for Yu-gi-oh!
Then I tell him that, yes Magic does have 2nd main phase, the 2nd main phase happens after the combat phase is done, so you will still get the mana burn due to the floating mana from the first main phase, who's right?

A: You are.

300.1. A turn consists of five phases, in this order: beginning, first main, combat, second main, and end. Each of these phases takes place every turn, even if nothing happens during the phase. The beginning, combat, and end phases are further broken down into steps, which proceed in order.


Q: If my opponent casts a spell and I have a Hunting Grounds (and I am at threshold), can I cast a Mystic Snake to counter that spell?

A: Not exactly. You don't cast the Mystic Snake through Hunting Grounds. Hunting Grounds simply allows you to put a creature into play. Comes into play triggers will still happen normally, so yes, you can put a Mystic Snake into play through Hunting Grounds to counter the spell that triggered Hunting Grounds.


Q: If there is a spell that targets target creature and targets the creature's controller; if he loses the creature as a target does the effect still goes to the player?

A: I can thing of no card that targets a creature and that creature's controller specifically. (I'm not thinking of a spell that simply has more than one target and happens to target a creature and that creature's controller. I'm talking about a template like, "Random Spell deals 2 damage to target creature and 2 damage to target player that controls that creature.") Remember, if the card doesn't say is "TARGETs" something specifically, it doesn't target that something (Mantra 3).

However, here is the rule you are looking for:

413.2a If the spell or ability specifies targets, it checks whether the targets are still legal. A target that's removed from play, or from the zone designated by the spell or ability, is illegal. A target may also become illegal if its characteristics changed since the spell or ability was played or if an effect changed the wording of the spell or ability. If all targets are now illegal, the spell or ability is countered. If the spell or ability is not countered it will resolve normally, affecting only the targets that are still legal. If the spell or ability needs to know information about one or more targets that are now illegal, it will use the illegal targets' current or last known information.


Q: Then there is a problem that happened between me and my friend. Last time he cast a Lightning Bolt by using a wrong mana so I say the spell will go to discard zone and won't work.

-bahamut o.

A: This is incorrect. The spell card is returned to his hand, and if he tapped the mana before he announced the spell, he has mana floating in his pool. In a tournament, he may receive a caution for this. 


Q: When I attack with a creature that has protection from creatures can the opponent block it with his creature?

A: No.

502.7b A permanent with protection can't be targeted by spells with the stated quality, can't be targeted by abilities from a source with the stated quality, and can't be enchanted by enchantments that have the stated quality. Such enchantments enchanting the permanent with protection will be put into their owners' graveyards as a state-based effect. In addition, any damage that would be dealt to it from sources having that quality is prevented. If it attacks, it can't be blocked by creatures having that quality.


Q: Is land a permanent?

A: Yes.

214.1. A permanent is a card or token in play. Permanents stay in play unless moved to another zone by an effect or rule. There are four types of permanents: artifacts, creatures, enchantments, and lands. Instant and sorcery cards can't come into play.


Q: Can a creatures block other creatures when you just played it? 

-Claudio M.

A: Yes. The only things that a creature that hasn't been in play since the start of your turn can't do are: (a) use an ability it has with "Tap" in its activation cost, and (b) attack.

214.7c A creature's activated ability with the tap symbol in its activation cost can't be played unless the creature has been under its controller's control since the start of his or her most recent turn. A creature can't attack unless it has been under its controller's control since the start of his or her most recent turn. Ignore this rule for creatures with haste (see rule 502.5).

See you Monday.

-Bill Guerin
DCI Level 2 Judge

Copyright 2001


Magic the Gathering is a Registered Trademark of Wizards of the Coast.
This site is not affiliated with Wizards of the Coast and is not an Official Site.