Pojo's Magic The Gathering
Judge Bill's Corner
Q: How many cards do you need in a deck to play in a
What cards are legal and which ones aren't? I have some
cards but I do not know if they are legal or not?
I keep hearing people talking about they play Type 1 and
Type 2 decks, what does that mean?
A: I was just going to point you to a couple of columns
written while this column was in its infancy (on 29
January and 13 March 2002), but as I read through the
answers, a lot of the information is outdated. So here
is the same information, reprinted with the corrections
to bring the formats up to date ...
There are two major styles of tournament Magic:
Constructed (which includes "Vintage Constructed,"
defined below) and Limited. All of the formats you may
hear about are subsets of these two. For constructed
tournaments, you bring your own premade deck and play
with it, and in Limited, you play with a small set of
cards given to you at the tournament.
For Constructed tournaments, new sets become legal on
the 20th of the month on which they are released.
Mirrodin was released October 3, so it was legal for
play in Constructed formats October 20.
New card sets are allowed in Limited play as soon as
theyíre released, including before their public releases
in the case of Prerelease tournaments.
Here is how all of the formats you may be familiar with
fit into the two styles:
Constructed (each Constructed format has a list of cards
that are banned (you can't play with any of those cards)
or restricted (you are limited to one of each of these
cards in your deck)):
1. Standard/Type 2 - This format consists of the last
two blocks and the last base set printed. Right now,
Type 2 consists of 8th Edition, Onslaught, Legions,
Scourge, and Mirrodin. Sets leave the Type 2 environment
when the next block becomes legal. So when Mirrodin
became legal on October 20, Odyssey, Torment, and
Judgement were no longer legal for play in Type 2.
When Darksteel becomes legal on February 20, 2004, and
when Fifth Dawn becomes legal on June 20, 2004, nothing
will leave. Only when a new block comes in (a block
starts with a set that is larger than the others.
Mirrodin has 306 cards, Darksteel and Fifth Dawn will
have 165) do sets leave.
When Earth (the codename for the first set of the next
block) becomes legal on October 20, 2004, Onslaught,
Legions, and Scourge will no longer be legal in type 2.
2. Block Constructed - This format consists of one block
... for example, Onslaught Block consists of Onslaught,
Legions, and Scourge; Mirrodin Block consists of
Mirrodin, (and when they become legal) Darksteel, and
3. Extended - Currently, Extended consists of all
expansions from Tempest forward and all basic sets from
6th Edition forward. Every 3 years, the oldest 3 blocks
and the oldest base set rotate out when a new block
rotates in. The next time this is scheduled to happen is
October 20, 2005.
4. Type 1 and Type 1.5 (also known as "Vintage
Constructed") - Type 1 and Type 1.5 consist of any Magic
card that has been released to the general public. Any
card restricted in Type 1 is banned in Type 1.5. This
format has a rating separate from the rating of the
other Constructed formats.
One other special note for Constructed: You can play
with a card that was printed in a set that is not one of
the legal sets, if the card with the same name was
printed in a set that is legal for play. For example,
you could play an Unlimited Terror in Type 2, since
Terror was printed in Mirrodin. You can play an
Alliances Diminishing Returns in Extended, since
Diminishing Returns was printed in 6th Edition.
1. Sealed Deck - this is the format that is used at the
prereleases. You receive one starter and a certain
number of boosters, and build a deck out of this.
2. Booster Draft - in this format, you sit in a circle
with (six or) seven other people. Each of you receives a
certain number of boosters (usually three). You open
your booster, pick a card out of that booster, and then
pass that booster to your left. Then you take the
booster from the person to your left and take a card out
of that booster and so on. Once you finish the first
booster, you open the second and pass it to the right
instead of the left, and repeat the process. You
alternate going left one booster and right the next
until all boosters have been drafted. You then build
your deck with the cards you have drafted.
3. Rochester Draft - in this format, you get in the same
circle with five (in team Rochester) to seven other
people, with a certain number of boosters (again,
usually three). This time, the person in position 1
opens the booster and spreads it out on the table. The
group looks at the booster for a preset amount of time
(usually 20-30 seconds). Then the person in position 1
takes a card, followed by the person to his left, until
everyone has drafted a card. Then the person who took
the last card takes another, and it goes back down the
line toward position 1 until all of the cards are gone.
If there are cards left over after the player in
position 1 picks twice, you go back in the original
direction (with the player in position 1 picking twice,
like the player in the last position) until all cards
are drafted. Then the person in position 2 (the person
to the left of position 1) opens the booster, and you
repeat the process until you get to the person in
position 8. Then, you go the opposite direction in both
opening and picking, similar to booster draft.
There are two other differences of note: First, in
Constructed, you have a minimum deck size of 60, whereas
in Limited, your minimum deck size is 40.
Second, you have a difference in how you "sideboard."
Sideboarding is where you switch cards in your main deck
with cards in your sideboard after the first game of the
match, to make your deck stronger against your
opponent's specific deck.
For sideboarding in Constructed, you may have a
sideboard of 0 or 15 cards. Any sideboarding you do must
be one for one, that is, for each card you put in, you
have to take one out.
For sideboarding in Limited, any cards that you do not
play in your main deck are your sideboard. You do not
have to sideboard an equal number of cards in and out
... the only requirement is that you have 40 cards in
your deck when you start the next game.
Q: Player A activates Shepherd of Rot with 3 Zombies in
play. Player B then activates Mind over Matter to tap
the Shepherd of Rot in response. Player B argues that
since the Shepherd of Rot is now tapped, the ability
can't be played, and thus, the players won't lose any
Player A disagrees, saying the activation of the
Shepherd of Rot is on the stack at the time Player B
wished to tap the Shepherd. Meaning life loss would be
given to all players.
Your Mantra #8 clearly states: Removing the source of an
ability does not stop that ability from happening.
But it does state the word 'remove', which is probably
were the error is. But even if that is not the case,
wouldn't that mean, that in order for Player A to make
all players lose 3 life, he would never activate it, in
fear that Player B would activate Mind over Matter.
Which the game would come down to literally mind
Who is right?
A: Player A is right. I will make it clearer as a
corollary to Mantra 8, and have my normal editor change
it when she comes back in town (she is out of town this
Footnote E to Mantra 8: A corollary to this Mantra is,
"Tapping or untapping a creature whose activated ability
(that includes tapping the creature) is on the stack
will not remove that ability from the stack."
Since the activation of Shepherd of Rot is already on
the stack, tapping the Shepherd won't remove the ability
from the stack. So both players will still lose 3 life.
Q: With Nefashu, can I choose one creature to get -5/-5
or do I have to choose 5 different creatures and give
them -1/-1 each?
A: The maximum you can give a creature with Nefashu's
ability is -1/-1. When a spell or ability calls for
multiple targets, the same target can't be chosen more
than once (409.1c).
Q: I have a Carrion Feeder, Mindslicer and Megrim in
play. My opponent has a lot of elves, Greater Good and
Concordant Crossroads in play. He decides to pump one of
his elves to 11/11 and sacs it to Greater Good, so he
draws 11. Can I sac Mindslicer to Carrion Feeder to make
him and I discard our hands after he draws the 11 cards,
therefore causing 22 damage to him?
A: Well, your opponent gets priority ro play spells
before you can sacrifice the Mindslicer after he has
drawn, so he can play one land (if he hasn't already),
and one sorcery, creature, or artifact and as many
instants as he can before you are able to sacrifice the
Mindslicer, and as many instants as he can after the
Mindslicer is sacrificed but before its triggered
ability resolves. Once Mindslicer's triggered ability
resolves, though, your opponent will discard his hand
and take 2 damage for every card he discarded.
Q: In response to an opponent morphing a Frontline
Strategist after blockers are declared in the attack
phase, can I use Imagecrafter's ability to turn my
creature into a soldier to make the damage go through?
Q: I have constructed my anti-damage white deck, and I
heard you talking about Eye for an Eye. My combo using
Eye for an Eye is, wait for a big hit, let it through,
use Eye for an Eye, then Reverse Damage it, is this
A: No. Reverse Damage had its wording changed when 6th
Edition came out. It now can't retroactively undo
The next time a source of your choice would deal damage
to you this turn, prevent that damage. You gain life
equal to the damage prevented this way.
Q: I also have an elf deck, in which I use Wirewood
Channelers, and use their ability of producing any one
color of mana, I attach a Pemmin's Aura onto it, hence
if I control two or more elves I have infinite mana,
Q: If I have a Platinum Angel in play, then have a
Leonin Abunas in play with Lightning Greaves attached to
the Leonin, is that technically impossible to beat me
unless my opponent has some way that forces me to block
or attack with my creatures?
A: No. Anything that will get rid of the Platinum Angel
without targeting it (for example, Shatterstorm,
Pulverize, Wrath of God, Barter in Blood if those are
your only 2 creatures) will get rid of the Angel just
Q: On Krosan Cloudscraper, it says pay GG during your
upkeep or sac it. Does this apply before it is morphed?
A: No. When it is face down, it doesn't have that
Q: Also, by pay does it mean sac, or just tap?
A: Sacrifice MEANS sacrifice. If it is face up, and you
do not pay GG during your upkeep, then you will have to
Q: Do cards such as Flashfires, Acid Rain, and others
that deal with basic lands work with snow-covered
A: Yes. The Oracle text for Snow-Covered Forest reads as
Basic Land -- Forest
"Basic" is the land supertype, "Land" is the card type,
"Forest" is the land subtype, and "Snow-covered" is an
All Snow-Covered lands have similar wording.
Cards such as Flashfires and Acid Rain only look for the
appropriate land subtype. So since Snow-Covered Plains
has the land subtype Plains, Flashfires will destroy it.
Q: I cast Chain of Plasma. If my opponent discards to
copy it, can I discard Guerrilla Tactics to do 7 back to
A: Yes. The copy your opponent made is "a spell ... an
opponent controls," and it is causing you to discard
Guerrilla Tactics, the discard ability of Guerrilla
Tactics will trigger.
Q: If a Soulless One is equipped with Vorrac Battlehorns,
and is then equipped with Lightning Greaves, would the
other equipment fall off since Lightning Greaves states
that the creature can not be the target of spells or
A: No. Equipment, like enchantments, only target when
the equip ability is paid. Once the equipment is on the
creature, it no longer targets.
Q: If I play Void, and name zero, would that also
destroy artifact lands as well?
A: Yes. Artifact lands have a converted mana cost of 0,
and they are artifacts, so all artifact lands in play
will be destroyed. However, if your opponent has any
artifact lands in hand, he will not discard them. Since
the artifact lands are lands, it would not fit the
description of "nonland cards."
Q: If a White Knight blocks a Scion of Darkness, does
damage still go through?
A: If you assign the extra damage to the player, yes.
See Mantra 5.
Q: I have a Phantom Tiger out, with 0 +1/+1 counters,
but it has Setonís Desire on it, so itís a 3/2 creature.
(I do not have threshold.) I use it to block an
opponentís 2/2 creature. Iím about to put my Phantom
Tiger in my graveyard when another friend of mine, a
longtime player of magic, tells me itís still alive.
I argue that removing a +1/+1 is a requirement to use
that activated ability, so I have to put it in the
graveyard, since I can't remove a counter. He argues
that the two effects are caused by taking damage, and
not caused by each other. After being dealt damage, is
my Tiger able to negate the damage when he has no +1/+1
A: The Tiger is still alive. From the Judgment FAQ:
A Phantom's ability prevents damage even if there are no
more +1/+1 counters on it. So if a Phantom's toughness
is raised by some other effect, it becomes impossible to
destroy with damage unless an effect like Flaring Pain
states that damage can't be prevented.
Q: My Creature is enchanted with Flickering Ward
(protecting from green). I use its ability to put
Flickering Ward back into my hand, and then I play a
green enchantment. After that resolves, I put Flickering
Ward back on my creature with protection from green. Is
the green enchantment destroyed, or does it stay because
it resolved before the creature gained protection?
A: The enchantment is destroyed. See Mantra 4. (it
doesn't target the creature, but it is an enchantment.)
Q: If I cast Crush of Wurms using Dream Halls and a
Birds of Paradise, can I discard another green card to
flashback the Crush?
A: No. Flashback replaces the normal process of playing
a spell from your hand by paying its mana cost with
paying the flashback cost and playing it from your
graveyard. You can only replace paying the mana cost one
way, so since flashback has already replaced paying the
mana cost, you can not replace that by pitching a green
See you either Thursday or Friday.
DCI Level 2 Judge