Bill Guerin
Level II Judge


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Judge's Corner

Q: I have an Aether Charge in play, and I play a Goretusk Firebeast. Do I deal 8 damage or just 4 damage to target opponent, since the new FAQ specified that damage is dealt by the Beast, not Aether Charge itself?

A: You’ll do 4 damage twice, for a total of 8 damage. Each ability will trigger separately and go on the stack.


Q: My opponent controls an untapped creature. I play a Temporary Insanity to grab his creature and swing it. But my opponent says that the creature has to be tapped since Temporary Insanity states "Untap target creature..." So, can I do this?

-David Chong

A: You can take control of it just fine. If it said “Untap target tapped creature,” it would have to be tapped. But you can untap an untapped creature just fine.


Q: I have a 3 zombie tokens in play, and my opponent uses Parallax Wave to remove them from the game. When Parallax Wave loses all its counters and leaves play, will the tokens come back into play, or will they be removed from the game just like bouncing a token back to its owner's hand?

A: They will have been removed from play when they were removed from the game with Parallax Wave.

420.5f A token in a zone other than the in-play zone ceases to exist.


Q: If I have a Zombie Infestation out, and after I discard 2 cards to make a token, my opponent uses Disenchant, can I, in response, discard some cards and make more tokens before it goes to the graveyard?


A: Yes.


Q: If I have Lashknife Barrier in play, does it reduce the redirected damage from any of the en-Kor creatures?

A: Lashknife Barrier will reduce the total damage done from one source to another by one. I will give a couple of examples after your next question.


Q: Can I continually redirect damage until the damage equals zero?

A: Well, if you have X creatures out, where X is equal to the amount of damage the en-Kor creature is taking, yes.

Example 1: You have a Nomads en-Kor out, along with 4 other creatures (for this example, call them creatures A, B, C, and D.)

The Nomads en-Kor blocks a Blastoderm. Your opponent assigns the 5 damage to the Nomads en-Kor. You redirect 1 damage to each of creatures A, B, C, and D, leaving 1 damage on the Nomads en-Kor. The Lashknife barrier will then reduce the damage by one to each of the creatures.

Example 2: Your opponent kills all but creature A and the Nomads en-Kor. He then attacks with Blastoderm again. You block with the Nomads en-Kor, and redirect 4 of the damage to creature A. When the damage resolves, creature A will take 3 damage. (4 damage reduced by 1).


Q: If I do, does it give a Spiritmonger a counter for every time I redirect damage?

A: If you redirect damage from a Spiritmonger, Spiritmonger will receive X counters, where X is the number of creatures receiving damage from Spiritmonger.


Q: Does my opponent gain life for the damage if the creature is enchanted with Armadillo Cloak or Spirit Link?


A: The opponent will receive life for the amount of damage that is actually dealt by the creature. It does not matter where the damage is assigned.


Q: I have a Psychatog in play and I want to use the madness cost for Fiery Temper to do 3 damage to target creature. Can my opponent Unsummon my Psychatog in order to prevent my use of Fiery Temper?

A: This, unfortunately, may turn into Mantra 6. It’s on my Mantra Watch List. =\.

402.6. Once activated or triggered, an ability exists independently of its source (the card on which it's printed) as a pseudospell on the stack

So if you play Fiery Temper, it is played, and nothing short of countering Fiery Temper will remove it from the stack before resolution.


Q: I put a Clone into play and copy a Silver Seraph. I know the Clone will be white. Is it blue as well?

A: No. It takes on all the characteristics of the Seraph, including color.

(Also, the Clone’s ability doesn’t target. Remember Mantra #3.)


Q: The Clone was an uncommon and now it will be released in Onslaught as a rare. Will I be able to use the older version for type II decks?

A: Yes. You can use any copy of a card that is legal in the current environment.


Q: I want to get to threshold. Can I use a Disenchant on nothing? Or an Aura Blast on nothing and still draw a card?

A: No. You have to have a target to play the Disenchant or AURA Blast.


Q: If I have tapped Treetop Village for green mana, can I still turn it into a creature for blocking or attacking purposes?

A: Well, you can turn it into a creature, but unless you can find a way to untap it, it won’t be able to attack or block.


Q: I have a Crypt Rat with a Spirit Link. I want to save one of my creatures with Liberate. Can I have my Crypt Rats deal damage to the creature and still Liberate it? Will I gain life from the damage and still save my creature?

-Ben W.

A: No to both questions. If the creature isn’t in play when the Rats’ ability resolves, it won’t take damage. If it takes damage, you won’t be able to Liberate it to save it.



Q: I was going to ask you about the Flashback/Memory Lapse issue that you already answered, so now I don't have a question. I do, however, want to point out that you mentioned creating "infinite" squirrels in your card of the day commentary recently. A week or so ago you railed someone for saying he created infinite tokens. There is no such thing as infinity in Magic, you said. What gives?


A: D’oh. I wasn’t thinking. Bad habits are hard to break, and I need to work on it too. Thanks for keeping me on my toes.


Q: Oh no. You just made a mantra about trample, but I thought I received conflicting information somewhere else at one point. Perhaps a clarification is in order? Maybe? Please?

A: Your question brings up a valid clarification. I say I won’t answer any more questions so when I receive a question like, “What is Protection from Creatures?” (which is an actual question I received since my last column), I can ignore it. Apply the mantra, people.


Q: Here's the situation:

My Sligh opponent has a Ball Lightning coming at me and I block with a 1/1 and a 5/5. Clearly the Ball Lightning will die (um, yeah...) but can the Ball Lightning do damage to me? I'm assuming that it could do either 0 or 5 (or 1) depending upon whether or not it is allowed to "run all the damage through a single creature" or not.

I don't remember who I asked regarding this issue, but he seemed to indicate that I take 0, and my creatures die.

-Matthew W.

A: Let me provide analysis of my mantra, which should answer your question.

“Mantra #5: When assigning trample, look only at the toughness of the blocking creatures…”

Note that creatures is plural. This means all the creatures that are blocking the creature with trample.

“Assign damage so that they would have that much damage on them,…”

Which means they would normally be killed (unless they have protection or another property that will prevent the damage that is assigned to them)

“…and then you can assign the other damage to your opponent.”

So once you have assigned lethal damage to all blocking creatures, you can assign the rest to the opponent.

So a Ball Lightning blocked by a 1/1 and a 5/5 will deal no damage to the defending player.

“Note: You can assign the extra damage to the creatures if you want, or assign all the damage to one or more creatures (even though the damage being dealt is greater than the toughness of that creature) and none to the other creatures….”

This is put here in case there is something that may not kill all creatures blocking the creature with trample.

Taking our example further, say you have 2 Squee’s Toys out.

Squee's Toy
{T}: Prevent the next 1 damage that would be dealt to target creature this turn.

Your opponent notes that if you use them on your two creatures, only his Ball Lightning will die. So he can assign 6 damage to the 1/1 to make sure it dies. That’s all the note means.

“But you have to assign damage as the mantra says before you can assign trample damage to your opponent.”

One further example. You now control a 1/1 and a 4/4, and have the 2 Squee’s Toys out. Your opponent attacks with a Ball Lightning, and you block with those 2 creatures. He has 2 real choices:

a) If he wants to do 1 damage to you, he assigns 1 to the 1/1, 4 to the 4/4, and 1 to you. You use the Squee’s Toys, and your creatures live.

b) He wants to kill the 1/1. So he assigns 3 damage to the 1/1, and 3 damage to the 4/4. (Why not all 6 to the 1/1? Maybe he has a Bolt in hand to kill the 4/4 too :).)


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

More of the same …

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

I note that there are quite a few U/G decks today. I panic, and go up to my friend Alex Lee, and ask if he has some Moment’s Peaces. He doesn’t, and then I hear…

Round 1 – Alex Lee – R/U Madness


Game 1 – I win the roll, 19-9, and choose to play. I drop an early Aquamoeba, followed by 2 madnessed Arrogant Wurms. He fails to draw a red mana until his last turn, and I counter his Flametongue Kavu.

Sideboard: In: 4 Sylvan Safekeeper. Out: 2 Deep Analysis, 1 Roar of the Wurm, 1 Merfolk Looter.

Game 2: I keep a hand of 2 Island, 2 Walla, Looter, Counterspell, and something else (not a land though). I draw a Yavimaya Coast, and start casting. He takes control of the board. However, I hard cast an Arrogant Wurm, which he bounces. I then cast Aquamoeba, madness the Wurm, pitch Wonder, pitch Roar, flash Roar back, and madness an Arrogant Wurm. Finally, I drop a Sylvan Safekeeper. He fails to Compulsion to try to draw a Logic (which was the next card), and loses the next turn.

Games: 2-0, Matches: 1-0.

Between rounds, I talk with James, about why this deck is so successful. He comments on how Tog seems to work, also, but I comment I’ve found Tog is this deck’s best matchup. He seems skeptical, especially against the version with red.

Round 2 – Joshua Durick – U/B Tog

Game 1 – He rolls a 16, but I roll 20 and choose to play. We each mulligan, and he draws 7. So he gets to mulligan again, but so do I. My first land only had 1 Forest, and the second hand had 4 with an Arrogant Wurm and Wonder. That typically isn’t aggressive enough, so I threw it back. He asks why we didn’t just take 7, and I comment that it’s the rules, and when he pushes further, I comment that the fewer cards we start off with, the better it is for me.

We each keep our hand of 5, and after he fails to draw any land but 1 Darkwater Catacombs in his opening hand, and 2 Cephalid Coliseums on turns 3 and 6, I quickly run him over.

Sideboard: In: 4 Sylvan Safekeeper. Out: 2 Deep Analysis, 1 Roar of the Wurm, 1 Aquamoeba.

Game 2 – We have a typical opening. He drops Island, I try to Careful Study, which is Force Spiked. He holds up for a few turns to solidify board position, and eventually drops Nightscape Familiar, then Psychatog. I make an error at this point, and allow the Tog to hit play before I try to madness out an Arrogant Wurm through a Merfolk Looter. He Logics it. I eventually am able to get down a couple of attackers, and crawl over for the win.

Games: 4-0, Matches: 2-0

Round 3 – Josh Emery – Hunting Grounds

Game 1 – He wins the roll, 9-3, and chooses to play. I only have Yavimaya Coasts for my green mana for most of this game, and as a result, take a lot of damage. I start to peck away for a bit, and then he Wraths. I drop another creature, and he Wraths again. He then Fact or Fictions, and I split 2 Hunting Grounds vs. Memory Lapse, Absorb, and land. He takes the counters. I eventually get a couple of Wonders, and hard cast them. I get a creature down (a Walla, I think), and he gets Genesis and Mystic Snake into his graveyard. We play around with Walla being blocked by Mystic Snake for a few turns, and then he just returns and casts Genesis. I then get a Wonder. He Lapses the Wonder for a couple of turns, and then I drop 2 in one turn, and 1 hits the board, the other being Lapsed. The Wonders do him in, aided by a Centaur Garden.

Somewhere in this game, I have the worst Careful Study ever. I need land, and so I Study, holding Arrogant Wurm and Circular Logic. I get land and another Arrogant Wurm. Since I only have 1 land up, I can’t play Wurm tricks, so I just let the Logic and a Wurm go to the grave.

Sideboard: In: 3 Ray of Revelation, 3 Krosan Reclamation, 3 Rushing River. Out: 4 Merfolk Looter, 3 Roar of the Wurm, 2 Deep Analysis.

I bring in the Rushing Rivers and Rays of Revelation for 2 cards: the Hunting Grounds and CoP: Green, which I saw him play in another match. The Reclamations are for the Genesis.

Game 2 – I keep a hand with Aquamoeba, Counterspell, 2 Circular Logic, 2 land, and something else I don’t remember. I just have to worry about getting the Aquamoeba down, and I’m gold. He helps by tapping out to play Compulsion on turn 2. I play the Aquamoeba, he bounces it, and I play it again. I eventually have another creature join the Aquamoeba (I think it was an Arrogant Wurm), and draw another Circular Logic along the way. He attempts to Wrath. I pitch an Arrogant Wurm, letting it go to the grave to give me 3 cards in the graveyard, and then Logic the Wrath (he only has 2 land up). He tries a counter, and I Logic again. He comments on how strong it is that I have 2 Logics. I untap and take him to 4. He untaps and tries to Wrath again, and I just show him the third Logic. That takes the game and match.

Games: 6-0, Matches: 3-0.

Josh then comments how he’s going to lose like 6-7 points from this, and that he lost 2 points to me when we drew about a month or so ago.

Round 4: James Fowler – U/B Tog

Well, we get to put my statement to him earlier to the test. I am playing down, since there are only 3 undefeated.

Game 1 – He wins the roll, 12-10, and plays. I get the normal Spiked Study bit, and then drop a Dog, pitch Wonder, drop another Dog, and just start serving. He can’t keep up. I have to drop a bunch of chump blockers eventually, as he has Familiar and Tog out, but I don’t chump before I need to, and I win the race in the air.

Sideboard: In: 4 Sylvan Safekeeper. Out: 2 Deep Analysis, 1 Roar of the Wurm, 1 Aquamoeba.

In between games, Cody, who was sitting at table 1 playing a U/G mirror match, points something out. On the top 4 tables there are 4 U/G (Mirror match table 1, 1 each on tables 2 and 3), with all 3 undefeateds running U/G. Then there are 3 Tog decks (1 each on tables 2, 3, and 4), so 7 of the top 8 people are playing one of two decks. =\.

Game 2. He chooses to play. I have to take 2 mulligans before we start though … another 1 land – too many land sequence. He drops an early Familiar, I drop Dog, and something else. Late in the game, I have him at 5 with a Merfolk Looter out. He says he’s at 3. We split the difference, then I am able to drop a Centaur Garden I was holding, and attack for 4.

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

Cody ends up losing on table 1, so I work out the split with his opponent,

Round 5 – Paul Cheon – Mirror Match

Intentional Draw.

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

We each get our 10 packs, split the money, and get our foils. While we are waiting for Jon to get them for us, he questions what the draw will do to his rating. Since he is a relatively new player, he has a rating of approximately 1625. I explain win expectancy, and show how I will probably lose one point for drawing with him. We then go through K-Values, and after that discussion is done, we sit down and play a game. It was very symmetrical, with neither of us drawing Wonder, and since he went first, he won. Jon then comes out with the paperwork for me to fill out. I fill it out, and get my prizes and head home.

Well, it seems I’ve overcome all adversity to get my ratings goal anyway. I should be between 1746-1750 when this hits the system, which will make my goal.

I’ve got nothing more, so until Thursday…

-Bill Guerin
DCI Level 2 Judge

Copyright 2001


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