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Judge's Corner

A New Mantra 10

First, a correction from the last column:

C: On the question about the Hollow Specter with the Sword of Light and Shadow and the Master Decoy, the Master Decoy could never target the Hollow Specter to begin with - the Sword gives the Hollow Specter pro white/black.


A: It's little details like this I always miss. Thanks for correcting me. Let's just say for our example it was a Sword of Fire and Ice instead, OK? ;)

(Thanks also to Keith B. for catching this error. In response to your subject line, I tend to think that that is the truth the more errors I make. I just need to be more careful.)


Now, on to the title problem:

Q: After my opponent attacks with his/her creatures, can I play an instant (Raise the Alarm) or instant speed ability (cycling Decree of Justice) and use the soldier tokens as blockers?


A: The following Mantra obsoletes Mantra 10, as it is more comprehensive. Mantra 10 is hereby deleted, and the following put into its place:


Mantra 10: The Combat Phase.

Once both players pass priority (whenever I say "both players pass priority" from here on out for this mantra, I mean they pass in succession) with an empty stack in the first main phase, you enter the Combat Phase. The Combat Phase is broken down into the following steps:


A) Beginning of Combat Step: At the beginning of this step, all "beginning of combat" triggered abilities trigger and go on the stack. Then, both players may play instants (instants include instant speed abilities). Once both players pass priority on an empty stack, go to the next step.

This is the best time to use an Icy Manipulator or Master Decoy to tap a creature so they can't attack.

RULES WARNING: Make sure where you are playing an ability before attackers are declared. When a person says they "Announce an attack," this means they intend to pass twice to get to the Declare Attackers step. If you want to "respond" with something, tell them EXACTLY when you are responding - either in the first main phase, or in the Beginning of Attack step.

(99% of the time, you want to do it in the Beginning of Attack step. But BE CLEAR about it.)


B) Declare Attackers Step: The player whose turn it is declares their attackers. This action does not use the stack, and cannot be responded to.

Once a legal set of attackers has been declared, both players may play instants. Once both players pass priority with an empty stack, go on to the next step.


1) Tapping or untapping a creature after it is declared as an attacker does not remove it from combat.

2) This is the best time to play an ability like cycling Decree of Justice or casting Raise the Alarm to create surprise blockers.

3) Once a creature is an attacker, it is considered an attacking creature until the combat phase ends or it is removed from combat, whichever comes first.

4) If no attackers are declared, the game skips immediately to the End Of Combat Step (step E).


C) Declare Blockers Step: At the beginning of this step, the player who is being attacked declares their blockers. This action does not use the stack, and cannot be responded to.

Once a legal set of blockers has been declared, both players may play instants. Once both players pass priority with an empty stack, go on to the next step.


1) Once a creature has blocked an attacking creature, removing the blocking creature from play or tapping the blocking creature won't let the attacker through. The attacker is still considered blocked.

2) This is the best time to play stuff like Giant Growth or Predator's Strike to deal more damage.


D) Combat Damage Step: When this step begins, all creatures assign damage. Creatures that are blocked or blocking assign damage to each other (their controllers assign the damage), and creatures that weren't blocked assign damage to the defending player. Trample or Banding may change how or who assigns damage. This assigning of damage is placed on the stack as a single object, but it can't be countered.

(See Mantra 5 for notes on assigning trample damage.)

Both players then may play instants (like Pearl Shard's ability). Once damage is the only thing on the stack and both players pass priority, damage is dealt as it was originally assigned. Once both players pass priority on an empty stack, go to the next step.


1) If any creatures have first strike or double strike when damage would be assigned, only those creatures assign (and deal) damage. A second Combat Damage Step is then created (right after the first one, and just like the first one) to let all creature that didn't assign damage in the first Combat Damage Step and all creatures with double strike assign and deal damage.

2) If all creatures blocking or being blocked by a creature aren't in play when damage would be assigned, then the creature that has no creatures blocking or being blocked by it doesn't assign damage. (Exception: Attacking creatures with trample assign and deal all damage to the defending player in this instance.)

3) If a creature leaves play after damage is assigned but before it is dealt, it deals damage how it was assigned. Any assignments of damage to that creature aren't dealt.


E) End of Combat Step: At the beginning of this step, all "end of combat" triggered abilities trigger and go on the stack. Then, both players may play instants (instants include instant speed abilities). Once both players pass priority on an empty stack, go to the second main phase.


Q: If a Blinkmoth Nexus has been in play since the start of my turn, and I make it a creature, can it attack, or does it have summoning sickness?

A: It will be able to attack. Summoning sickness refers to the actual permanent - it does not refer to the permanent changing forms.

If a permanent has been under your control since the start of your turn, and it becomes a creature, it may attack.


Q: My friend said that if you played the Nexus's ability at the end of turn it will stay creature because the start of the end already happened (relying on the word "until"). Can he do this?

A: No. "Until" end of turn effects wear off in the cleanup step. Normally, no players can play abilities then. If you are able to, another cleanup step will occur, and it will change back anyway.

"At end of turn" = End of turn step.

"Until end of turn" = Cleanup step.


Q: After that he said that he will play Blinkmoth's ability "between the turns." Does such a thing exist?

-Benny T.

A: No. There is no "Between turns" step or phase. The step immediately following one player's cleanup step is the next player's untap step.



(1) Put out the Cold Storage.

(2) Steal an opponent's creature until end of turn.

(3) Instead of returning it to the owner I remove it from the game (before the end of the turn) and remove it with Cold Storage.

(4) Later sacrifice Cold Storage.

Under who's control does the creature come into play?


A: I think Cold Storage's Oracle wording will explain it well enough:

Cold Storage



{3}: Remove target creature you control from the game.

Sacrifice Cold Storage: Put into play under their owners' control all cards removed from the game with Cold Storage.

(Owner = the person who started with the card in his or her deck)


Q: Would multiple Furnace of Rath x2,x3,x4 the damage or x2,x4,x8?


A: Doubling a Doubled amount will result in 4 times the amount of damage being dealt. Thus, multiple Furnaces multiply the damage by 2, 4, 8, etc.


Q: If I play a Mindslaver, then declare I want to use its ability immediately after it resolves, is there any space for my opponent to play Disenchant on it in between?

A: No. The Mindslaver is not in play at any time your opponent has priority, therefore, he can't target it with Disenchant.


Q: If I wait a turn and then declare it, can my opponent Disenchant it in response?

A: If you have sacrificed it, your opponent can no longer target it, as it is not in play. However, any time he has priority, he may play Disenchant, targeting it. (You can use the ability before Disenchant resolves if you can fully pay the cost [4 mana, tapping it, and sacrificing it], so as long as you have 4 mana and Mindslaver is untapped, you can gain control of an opponent's next turn.)


Q: I attacked with Krosan Warchief and Anurid Barkripper. My opponent blocked my Barkripper with his Soul Collector. I tried to play the ability of Krosan Warchief on the Anurid Barkripper, but he said I couldn't because it was tapped. I argued that because it didn't have a tap symbol in the cost, I could play it. He was adamant that the opposite was true. Who is correct?

-Aston R.

A: Ask yourself, can I fully pay the cost of playing the ability?

(What is the cost of playing Krosan Warchief's ability? 1G.)

If you can fully pay the costs of an ability, you can play that ability.

(So as long as you have the mana, you can play the ability. The state of the Warchief does not matter, since the cost does not include tapping the Warchief.)


Tournament Report - FNM - Diamond Bar, CA

Well, I decide to run with a deck list I saw on the internet, with the sideboard tweaked to my liking:

4 Eternal Dragon

2 Solemn Simulacrum

4 Akroma's Vengeance

4 Decree of Justice

3 Mindslaver

4 Oblivion Stone

3 Pulse of the Fields

4 Renewed Faith

2 Wing Shards

4 Wrath of God

10 Plains

4 Secluded Steppe

4 Urza's Mine

4 Urza's Power Plant

4 Urza's Tower


2 Darksteel Colossus

4 Holy Day

4 Circle of Protection: Red

3 Sacred Ground

2 Ivory Mask

Round 1 - Phillip S. - Mono-Red

Game 1 - He wins the roll. I don't get to Wrath mana.

Sideboard - In: 4 CoP: Red, 3 Sacred Ground. Out: 2 Solemn Simulacrum, 2 Wing Shards, 2 Akroma's Vengeance, 1 Oblivion Stone.

Game 2 - I have turn 2 CoP. He drops turn 3 Sulfuric Vortex (??). I just prevent the damage and let the Vortex kill him.

Sideboard: In: 2 Ivory Mask. Out: 1 Sacred Ground, 1 Mindslaver.

Game 3 - I keep my life up early, but he drops double Vortex, and I die to it.

Games: 1-2, Matches: 0-1

Round 2 - Terrance A. - Tooth and Nail

Game 1 - He quickly gets to Tooth mana, and pulls out an Akroma and a Colossus. I die quickly.

Sideboard: In: 4 Holy Day, 2 Darksteel Colossus. Out: 4 Wrath of God, 1 Oblivion Stone, 1 Eternal Dragon.

Game 2 - I mulligan a no land hand and keep the 6. He mulligans twice.

He quickly gets double Ravenous Baloth, and a bit later a Darksteel Colossus. I cycle a couple of Decrees to make chump blockers for the Baloths, and play Pulse games to keep me alive. On my last possible turn, I chump a Baloth, have the creatures do damage, and then in the end of combat step, play Pulse twice, and then cast Wing Shards, which takes out his team.

I then draw into the Urzatron, drop my Colossus, and go to town.

Game 3 - I catch the Urzatron early, and after I get rid of a couple of Baloths, I cycle a Decree for 13 and go to town.

Games: 3-3, Matches: 1-1

Round 3 - Jose G. - Slide


Game 1 - He gets the quick Lightning Rift, and then another. I draw a Vengeance, and then he draws a third Rift. I die quickly.

Sideboard - In: 4 CoP: Red, 2 Sacred Ground, 2 Ivory Mask. Out: 4 Wrath of God, 2 Solemn Simulacrum, 2 Wing Shards.

Game 2 - This game goes on FOREVER. He hits with his Angel, but then I Pulse, so our life totals keep going up, eventually to 40. I have an Ivory Mask out, so his Rifts are nullified. Eventually, he keeps asking how much time is left, and it's right on the edge of him being able to play a bit slowly and win 1-0. I ask him not to slow roll me, and he obliges. He decks out on turn 5 of the extra turns.

Games: 4-4, Matches: 1-1-1

Round 4 - Tim C. - Slide

*Cursing profusely*

Game 1 - I go first. He gets Rift, but I have Pulse. We start cycling Dragons, and I eventually draw a Slaver and go into the "Slaver slow roll" (delay taking his turn until he starts his turn, so I can untap, and have maximal mana for a cycled Decree. This also prevents my tokens getting taken out by a Starstorm).

Sideboard: In: 3 CoP: Red, 2 Sacred Ground, 2 Ivory Mask, 2 Holy Day. Out: 4 Wrath of God, 2 Wing Shards, 2 Solemn Simulacrum, 1 Pulse of the Fields.

Game 2 - He gets the early Rift, and I don't have a CoP or Mask. After I Vengeance, he starts Dragoning me out, and also cycles a Decree. I run out of options, and lose.

Sideboard: In: 2 Wrath of God. Out: 1 Sacred Ground, 1 Mindslaver.

Game 3 - I take full control, and start attacking with 3 soldier tokens. I have a Mask and a Sacred Ground out. He then hard casts Decree of Annihilation. I float 15 mana and show him the Decree of Justice. He scoops.

Games: 6-5, Matches: 2-1-1

Wait for it...

Read the game 3 finish again...

Now read Decree of Annihilation ...

Decree of Annihilation



Remove all artifacts, creatures, lands, graveyards, and hands from the game.

Cycling {5}{R}{R}

When you cycle Decree of Annihilation, destroy all lands.

Yep, we both missed it until after we report the match. I wouldn't have had the Decree in my hand to cycle, since our hands are also removed from the game.

Always read your cards and know them.

Round 5 - Don B. - Ravager Affinity

Game 1 - I catch turn 4 Urzatron, while he has a Ravager and 2 Disciples out. He attacks with the Ravager and 2 Disciples, and I cycle a Decree for 5. I put lethal blockers in front of his creatures, and he sacs the Welding Jar to save his Ravager.

This is fortunate, as I have the Vengeance and second white mana to wreck his board.

He scoops.

Sideboard - In: 4 Holy Day, 2 Ivory Mask. Out; 2 Solemn Simulacrum, 1 Mindslaver, 1 Eternal Dragon, 1 Decree of Justice, 1 Pulse of the Fields.

Game 2 - He gets in a bunch of early attacks before I can Oblivion Stone. He draws Shrapnel blast to finish me though.

Sideboard: In: 1 Pulse of the Fields. Out: 1 Mindslaver.

Game 3 - I stem his early tide, and have a Pulse. I use the Pulse for the final time when he plays Sulfuric Vortex (!). I draw and drop Slaver, and try to go into the Slaver slow roll. Unfortunately, he plays a Ravager in his last turn, and that, combined with his Disciple, Shrapnel Blast, and Vortex, is enough to kill me.

Games: 7-7, Matches: 2-2-1

See you Friday.

Bill Guerin

DCI Level 2 Judge


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