Bill Guerin
Level II Judge


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Judge's Corner

Q: Do beginning of upkeep effects stack? For example, I have Ichorid, Rotting Giant, and Nether Spirit in my graveyard...can I put the Spirit and Ichorid into play?


A: 303.1. As the upkeep step begins, any abilities that trigger at the beginning of that upkeep step or that turn's untap step go on the stack. (Upkeep-triggered abilities use the phrase "At the beginning of your upkeep" or a similar wording; see rule 404, "Triggered Abilities.") Once all such abilities have gone onto the stack, the active player gets priority. Then players may play spells and abilities.

So you place all upkeep abilities on the stack at the same time. However, since your graveyard needs to be clear for the Nether Spirit's upkeep ability to trigger, it won't even trigger. So you can bring the Ichorid back, but not the Nether Spirit.

404.3. A triggered ability may read "When/Whenever/At . . . , if [condition], [effect]." The ability checks for the stated condition to be true when the trigger event occurs. If it is, the ability triggers and goes on the stack. On resolution, the ability rechecks the condition. If the condition isn't true at either of those times, the ability does nothing. This rule is referred to as the "intervening 'if' clause" rule. Note that the word "if" has only its normal English meaning anywhere else in the text of a card; this rule only applies to an "if" that immediately follows a trigger condition.

Nether Spirit
Creature -- Spirit
At the beginning of your upkeep, if Nether Spirit is the only creature card in your graveyard, you may return Nether Spirit to play.


Q: I have a question concerning a multiplayer game I played with a few of my friends a while ago. It was a three player game, and after the third player lost, he began to pick up his deck. I started to hand him the Pacifism that he had put on one of my creatures, but then realized that this could affect the course of the game, giving me a possibly unfair advantage over my remaining opponent. We discussed the dilemma, and eventually decided since we didn't know the official ruling, we would remove all permanents owned by a player from the game when they lost whenever we played. However, we'd like to know the official ruling for when we play in the future, so I decided to send in the question. When a player leaves a game, what happens to the permanents they controlled? Are they removed from the game, or do they stay?


A: There's one problem … there are no official multiplayer rules. So you need to decide amongst yourself what happens.

My suggestion would be that when a player dies, all cards owned by that player are removed from the game and returned to that player. That makes it far easier, so you (a) don't have to remember, and (b) in case the person has to leave before the game finishes. But again, do whatever you guys decide on.


Q: I was playing with 3 other guys at lunchtime and I played a Grim Lavamancer. In my next opponent's turn, he tapped his Thornwind Faeries to kill it. In response I say I'm going to kill it with the Lavamancer's ability. They say I can't do that, because I can't play his ability until my next turn.

A: They are right.

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).


Q: I had several green enchantments on one of my creatures. My opponent tapped his Mother of Runes to give my creature protection from green. He thinks all the enchantments would slide of, but I say they don't because enchantments only target the creature when they come into play.

-Jacob T.

A: There's one problem with that … Mother of Runes can only target its controller's creatures.

Mother of Runes
Creature -- Cleric
{T}: Target creature you control gains protection from the color of your choice until end of turn.

Getting to the larger question, say he casts Green Ward on your creature, giving that creature protection from green. The enchantments will then fall off, as one of the qualities of protection is that the permanent with protection from green can't be enchanted by green enchantments.


Q: A friend of mine plays Mind Bend VERY often. What happens is that he changes the text of a card from forestwalk to whatever land I have in play. The problem is that he believes the Mind Bend will last forever even though the card Mind Bend is an instant.


A: And he would be right. Anytime an effect happens, its effect is permanent unless it says otherwise.

418.3a A continuous effect generated by the resolution of a spell or ability lasts as long as stated by the spell or ability creating it (such as "until end of turn"). If no duration is stated, it lasts until the end of the game.


Q: Recently my friend attacked with a standard 3/3 creature to which I assigned a green 3/3 creature to block it also. He then cast Shelter, protection from green of course, and stated that my creature would receive his creature's damage before his did, i.e. Shelter worked in between the two states, so his would die and mine would not. I reasoned differently, either - (a) damage occurs simultaneously and they both die before Shelter is applied, or, (b) Shelter causes his creature to not be able to be blocked by green in the first place.

-Chris W.

A: The answer is, of course, (c) none of the above. Both creatures assign damage to each other and the damage is dealt at the same time, but your green creature's damage is prevented, due to his creature having protection from green. So your creature dies and his lives. 

Since you blocked before he cast Shelter, your creature still blocks his opponent.


Q: If a Morphling has Spirit Link enchanting it and the controller of the Morphling makes it untargetable, does the Spirit Link stay?

A: Yes.


Q: Is the Spirit Link counted as targeting a creature ?


A: The only time enchantments target the creature is when they are being cast.

214.8h A local enchantment's abilities don't target the permanent it enchants unless they state they can target it. Only the enchantment spell targets the permanent it will enchant; the resulting enchantment permanent doesn't continue to target the enchanted permanent after the enchantment spell resolves. If a permanent "can't be enchanted" in general or by enchantments with specified characteristics, it also can't be the target of a spell that would enchant it with such an enchantment.


Q: If I have in my graveyard a Nekrataal and a Crater Hellion, and my opponent has a White Knight in their graveyard, how do 'comes into play' abilities trigger if I cast Living Death?

A: You have 2 triggers to deal with - the Crater Hellion dealing 4 to everything and the Nekrataal ability. Since you can't target the White Knight with Nekrataal, you have to target the Hellion. So, eventually, …


Q: Would everything take 4 damage from the Crater Hellion and then I bury my Crater Hellion to my Nekrataal?

A: Or the Nekrataal kills the Hellion and then everything takes 4 from the Hellion. Same result either way.


Q: What if I only had an Onulet and my opponent had an Uktabi Orangutan?

A: The Orangutan would destroy the Onulet.


Q: If I block a Phantom Nomad with Pikemen (1/1 first strike) and an Eager Cadet (1/1), would the first strike ability remove one counter, and the Eager Cadet's damage remove another counter? If so, will the Nomad only be able to dish out 1 damage?

A: Yes to both questions. The Phantom will die after that, since its other counter is removed.


Q: If I have Solitary Confinement in play and Squee in hand, at the beginning of my upkeep, can I pitch Squee to the Confinement and then pick him back up?

A: No. All cards that trigger during the upkeep have either been errataed to say "At the beginning of your upkeep," or, for the stuff that used to trigger at the end of upkeep, to "At the beginning of your draw step." Squee says the former, and since he won't be in your graveyard at the beginning of your upkeep, he won't trigger the turn you discard him.


Q: What if Squee is in the graveyard - could I pick him up and pitch him? Both happen at the beginning of the upkeep, so I don't know if these abilities can both trigger, one after another.


A: That works just fine. You can order your upkeep triggered abilities any way you like, so put Solitary Confinement's trigger on the stack first, then Squee's trigger. Squee's trigger will resolve first, returning him to your hand, and then the confinement trigger will resolve, and you can pitch Squee.


Q: Recently at a tournament, an opponent Mana Drained a spell during the attack phase and then tried to use the mana during his 2nd main phase. I've used the card for a long time and I remember the rule as being that you get the drained mana during the 1st main phase of your next turn. What is the exact wording?

A: Mana Drain
Counter target spell. At the beginning of your next main phase, add X colorless mana to your mana pool, where X is that spell's converted mana cost.

This card's functionality changed when Sixth Edition rules came into effect. Before Sixth Edition, you only had one main phase, and you could go into the combat phase, after which you would return to your main phase. Since it wasn't the beginning of your main phase, you wouldn't get the mana that turn.

In Sixth Edition rules, however, you have two main phases, separated by your combat phase. So your next main phase after the attack phase is during that same turn, and you receive the mana then.


Q: If my opponent chooses not to draw when an Island Sanctuary is in play, and at the end of his turn I Disenchant it, may I attack him on my turn?

A: No. The Sanctuary's effect exists independently of the Sanctuary itself. Therefore, if the Sanctuary leaves play, he is protected until his next turn.


Q: If you Treachery a creature with echo, do you have to pay the echo? If so, why?

A: Yes. Since it is the first upkeep since the creature has been under your control, you have to pay the echo cost or sacrifice the creature.

502.19a Echo is an upkeep-triggered ability. "Echo" in a permanent's rules text means "At the beginning of your upkeep, if this permanent came under your control since the beginning of your last upkeep, sacrifice it unless you pay its mana cost."


Q: If 2 Tangle Wires are in play when I untap, one with 3 counters on and one with 0 counters on, may I stack the ability of the one with 0 counters on so that I can remove a counter from the one with 3 counters on and tap the one with 0 counters before it is destroyed?

-Ryan H.

A: Yes, you can do that.


Q: My friend was trying to Mirror Universe me by mana burning himself on purpose during the end of my turn, and I told him there is a rule states that you can get mana burn for floating mana, but you can't mana burn yourself on purpose, am I right?

A: There is no such rule (saying you can't mana burn yourself on purpose). Any time a player has mana in his pool at the end of a phase, he loses 1 life for each unspent mana.


Q: I cast a Wormfang Drake, and remove my Gravedigger. If my opponent kills my Wormfang Drake later in the game and the Gravedigger comes back into play, do I get to get another creature from the grave? Since the Wormfang Drake leaves play and is in the graveyard when the Gravedigger comes back into play, can I return the Drake?

A: Yes to both questions.


Q: If a creature require comes into play ability, such as destroy target enchantment or return target enchantment from your graveyard to your hand, can you still cast it even thought there is no legal target in play or graveyard?

A: Yes. If there is no legal target for a comes into play ability, it is simply not put on the stack.


Q: My friend plays a promo Japanese Shivan Dragon in type II on the table next to me, and his opponent notices that the card wasn't the real 7th edition Shivan Dragon, he said it was give out from the magazine from Japan, so he ask me does the player get a penalty for that? I told him that I need to see the card, and the card has exactly the same back, casting cost, artist, and so it was published by Wizards, so I say yes he may play the card since the card was fit to the rule, am I right?

-bahamut o.

A: First of all, I am assuming you are talking about the card that was included in Coro Coro #281. (For reference, I found this information at the Magic Rarities page, and the specific link is I have not seen the card, but if it is that card, then I believe it would be legal for play in any format that Shivan Dragon is legal for play.


Tournament Report - FNM - Orange, CA - Co-Winner

Other than the change I said I would make, it's time for more of the same deck…

U/G Madness
Hybrid of Worlds 2002 decks: Cole Swannack, Alex Shvartsman, and Edward Ross

2 Aquamoeba
4 Arrogant Wurm
4 Basking Rootwalla
4 Merfolk Looter
4 Wild Mongrel
3 Wonder
4 Careful Study
4 Circular Logic
2 Deep Analysis
3 Roar of the Wurm
4 Counterspell
7 Forest
10 Island
4 Yavimaya Coast
2 Centaur Garden

3 Ray of Revelation
3 Krosan Reclamation
4 Sylvan Safekeeper
2 Unnatural Selection
3 Rushing River

Round 1 - Tom Tran - R/G Mad Roar

Game 1 - I win the roll, 8-5, and choose to play. He takes a mulligan before we get started. I cast Walla, follow it up with a Dog, and quickly go to town. I take 5 from a Browbeat and 1 from a pain land, but that was all.

Sideboard: Nothing. I should have sideboarded in the Reclamations, since I saw a Roar pop into his graveyard at some point during the first game.

Game 2 - He chooses to play, but we both take a mulligan before we get started. I had a no land hand, so it was a no-brainer. I pop out a Walla early, and we match Dogs. He pitches a couple of Roars to his Dog, but never gets to 4 mana until late in the game. Meanwhile, I've pitched Wonder to my Dog and am racing him in the air. He gets to 4 mana late in the game, but I have a couple of counters at that point, so no Wurms come out to play.

Games: 2-0, Matches: 1-0

I was going to get a Jamba Juice, but I was surprisingly awake, and so I just went out and walked around for a while, and then come back for the next round.

Round 2 - Scott Gossett - Go-Mar (Table 1)

We played three weeks ago, and he beat me then. I hope to avenge that loss tonight.

Game 1 - He wins the second roll, 18-3, after we tie at 4. He plays. I get a few early beats in, and he is able to keep me under control with a couple of Undermines. He Fact or Fictions, and I give him a "Fact or Fiction or no" split, and he takes the 4, as he has another Fact or Fiction in hand which he casts the next turn. He takes Wrath and Edict over 3 other cards. He clears me out, and after I counter an attempted Desolation Angel (kicked), I cast the Roar in my grave along with a Walla to protect it. He Edicts, and flashes it back, and I counter one of them and sac the Walla for the other. The Wurm goes all the way.

Sideboard: Nothing. On my score sheet, I write, "Damn it, where's my Seedtimes?"

Game 2 - I mulligan a hand of 5 land, Arrogant Wurm, and Wonder into a hand of Careful Study, 2 Counterspell, Circular Logic, and 2 land. My plan to dig with the Study is thwarted, however, when he Duresses me first turn and takes it. He drops a second turn Standstill at parity, and I go into the extreme long game plan. I discard a Roar, Deep Analysis, and Wonder along the way, before he finally breaks Standstill with Duress. He takes a Circular Logic, and I invoke madness to make him pass. He just says go, and I start dropping creatures. It looks like a Dog and Walla at first, followed quickly by the Wurm from Roar. He tries a desperation Desolation Angel, and I counter it and go over for the win.

Games: 4-0, Matches: 2-0

We talk about the Standstill situation, and he didn't expect me to just sit back and wait. I tell him that I've done it before, and the Deep Analysis situation in the extreme late game. 

Tom won, so he's 1-1.

Game 3 - Sean Cashman - U/W weenie-Opposition (Table 1 again)

Game 1 - He wins the roll, 18-6, and says I can go first. OK then … I study into a Rootwalla, cast the Dog next turn, pitch Wonder, and go to town. He attempts to cast Opposition late, and I counter it.

Sideboard: In: 3 Ray of Revelation. Out: 2 Deep Analysis, 1 Roar of the Wurm. This is only because I saw Opposition. I should have put something else in too, which may become obvious later (I'll tell you what it is in case it isn't obvious).

Game 2 - I get down an early Dog and he gets down and early CoP: Green. He also gets a Shieldmage Advocate, so I have to be careful with my graveyard. I luckily draw 3 Arrogant Wurms and 1 Walla, so I can pitch and change color without getting cards in my grave. He is stuck on 3 mana though, and so I can keep chipping away with the Mongrel. I make a major mistake, pitching a Roar to get in one more damage with the Dog, but luckily he doesn't take the time to notice that I have 2 cards in my grave now. I make the Wurm, and he draws once more before I alpha strike for the win. He gets mad that he was stuck on 3 lands, and says that is the equivalent of drawing a Royal Flush. I ask him lands and cards in deck, and he tells me 23 land in a 60 card deck. I tell him I would do some statistical analysis, so here we go.

There are two possible scenarios that he would likely keep: a 2 land hand and a 3 land hand. I don't think he would keep a 1 land hand, so I won't perform the calculation here for that. He drew a total of 3 land and 15 nonland cards during the entire game. 

For the probability calculation, I have used the Binomial Distribution formula, found in my old statistics book:


Where X=number of successes in n trials
n= number of trials
p= probability of success in any one trial (in this case, drawing a land)
q= probability of failure in any one trial (in this case, not drawing a land)

First Scenario: He had 2 land in his opening hand.


since there are 21 land left in the deck.

p^x=((21/53)^1)= 0.3962264
q^[n-x]=((32/53)^10)= 0.00643785

11*0.3962264*0.00643785 = 0.028059 = Roughly 2.8% of the time, or once in 35.6 games.

Other scenario: 3 land in opening hand.


since 20 land remain in his deck.


so all that matters here is q^[n-x].

q^[n-x]=((33/53)^11) = 0.00545279 = 0.545% = Roughly once in 183.4 games.

Of course, these calculations also assume his deck was perfectly randomized.

And the probability of being dealt a Royal Flush? One in every C(52,5)=(52*51*50*49*48)/(5*4*3*2*1) = 2598960/4 (one in each suit) = 649740 hands.

Games: 6-0, Matches: 3-0

My sideboarding error? Not bringing in Sylvan Safekeeper. If I need to get one more hit in, I can sac a bunch of land to make a creature untargetable, so it won't be tapped. It would have also been good against the Advocate.

Moving on, Cody (from last week - the mirror match) has also won, and the other 2-0 game is still going on. Cody and I talk briefly, and agree to ID if and when we are paired, since we think we can beat anyone else with one loss or less.

Well, the other 2-0 table goes to time, and ends up a draw match, 1-1. So that means that Cody and I are the only 3-0s left, and so…

Round 4 - Cody - U/G mirror (Table 1, of course)

Intentional Draw.

Games: 6-0-3, Matches: 2-0-1

Cody and I both leave the store at the same time, and he remarks, "See you in an hour." I go to get a couple of pretzels to munch on, since I have a coupon for Auntie Anne's. The pretzels sucked though.

I come back to find that both 2-0-1s had lost their matches. That leaves 5 people at 3-1, in addition to myself and Cody at 3-0-1.

Josue (R/U Wizards)
Sugrim (his usual R/B land destuction/Magnivore deck)
Sean (he played down and won in round 4)
And 2 others. One of the others was playing Tog, I don't know what the other person was playing.

And time for round 5 eventually comes …

Round 5 - Josue (and Table 1 one more time)

I think this is the best match for me. Cody has Sean on table 2. The 2 people whose names I didn't write down (sorry guys) are on table 3, and Sugrim is playing down on table 4.

Game 1 - I win the roll, 11-5, and play first. The scorepad has him going 19-16-9-scoop, so I'm assuming I went Walla-Mongrel-Madness a Wurm-madness a second Wurm. It only took about 3 minutes. He tried to play Patron Wizard late, but I countered it.

Sideboard: Nothing. Safekeepers might have been good, but I don't think it matters at this point.

As I finish the first game, I look over, and see Cody finishing Sean in their first game.

Game 2 - He chooses to play, but takes a mulligan before he starts. He drops Ceta Disciple, I drop a Walla. He drops a land and says go, I attack with the Walla, pump my Walla when he blocks, and he pumps his Disciple. Oops. If I remember correctly, I then went Dog, Arrogant Wurm, and started swinging in the air. He Flaming Gambits me twice for 3, and I take it both times. I flashback a Deep Analysis. He drops Patron Wizard and Reckless Charges it. I attack back and drop Merfolk Looter as a blocker, with Counterspell backup. He draws another Reckless Charge, and it is over.

Games: 8-0-3, Matches: 4-0-1.

Total Round 5 playing time: about 10 minutes.

As I finish Josue off, Cody finishes Sean off, and Jon gets to work on getting our prizes. Cody has the honor of filling out the paperwork, because his breakers are better than mine. We split the packs and money, get our foils, and I head for home.

You'd think I would have my ratings goal at this point, right? I am at 1729 (even with the missed drop), then I go 4-0-1, 3-2, and 4-0-1. The 2 losses are to evenly ranked or higher ranked opponents, so week 2 should balance out.

But no. Seems there was a theft problem with one of the employees and Jedi Knight tournaments, and so the tournament on the 7th ended up not being sanctioned. So I am about 3-7 points short. I figure if I get it next week, great; otherwise, I won't worry about it.

See you Thursday.

-Bill Guerin
DCI Level 2 Judge

Copyright 2001


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