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Pojo's Magic The Gathering
Judge's Corner

8.20.04  Title: Kingly Jewelry
Questions: 22

Q: (Regarding my Lion's Eye Diamond question from Tuesday ... a reminder of the wording of Lion's Eye Diamond for those who didn't pay attention then:

Lion's Eye Diamond
Sacrifice Lion's Eye Diamond, Discard your hand: Add three mana of any one color to your mana pool. Play this ability only any time you could play an instant.)

It seems that, with the errataed wording, I cannot announce the Charbelcher, have it on the stack and then pay the cost to activate the Diamond to pay for the Charbelcher.

A: Correct, since you can't play instants while you are announcing the Charbelcher.


Q: I have a deeper question, though, that has become a little confusing. When does mana ABSOLUTELY have to be in your pool to play a spell-before or after announcing the spell?

-Traci H.

A: There is a step during the announcing of a spell that lets you play mana abilities (it is right before you pay for the spell). So you can actually play a normal mana ability during the time you announce a spell. (The errata on the Diamond prevents the Diamond from being used this way).

You have to have the mana when you get to the step during the time you announce the spell when you actually have to pay for the spell. A VERY ROUGH outline of the announcing of a spell (taken from 409.1 of the Comprehensive Rulebook, note that all steps my not apply for a given spell) is:

1. Say that you're going to play the spell.
2. Determine which mode(s) of the spell you will be using (Modal spells are denoted by "Choose One - ..." or "[A Player] Chooses One - ...." Entwine allows you to select both modes for an additional cost).
3. Determine the value of X.
4. Choose targets and how those targets will be affected by the spell.
5. Determine the cost of the spell (cost printed on the card, minus any cost reducers [like the Planeshift Familiars], plus any additional [like Entwine, Kicker, or an effect like Sphere of Resistance] or alternate [like Flashback or Force of Will] costs [and then applying Trinisphere if necessary]). The cost is "locked in" and can't be changed after this.
6. Play mana abilities.
7. Pay for the spell.


Q: Does Culling Scales have to hit itself if all the permanents are higher casting cost than it?


A: Yes.


Q: Say I have 1 Myr Servitor, 1 Arcbound Ravager and 1 Disciple of the Vault in play. At the beginning of my upkeep, can I have the Servitor's ability of having all Servitors return to play if 1 is in play go on the stack? Then while still the beginning of my upkeep, sacrifice it to the Ravager, giving it 1 +1/+1 counter, and having my opponent lose one life from the Disciple?


A: First of all, Myr Servitor's ability returning all Myr Servitors to play isn't based on having A Myr Servitor in play, it is based on having THAT SPECIFIC Myr Servitor in play (the one the triggered ability came from).

(And having it leave play and return to play before the trigger resolves won't work. Even though it is the same card, it is a new permanent, and not the one that triggered the ability. So the Servitors won't return).

You can do this with multiples if you make sure one is still in play (and has not left play and returned) when its ability has resolved.


Q: I have a Silklash Spider in play and my opponent has two Thieving Magpies. If I activate the Spider's ability to destroy the Magpies and my opponent uses Echoing Truth on the Spider, does it still deal damage?

-Joseph Q.

A: Yes. See Mantra 8.


Q: I have a deck using Nefarious Lich and Avarice Totem, and my friend is trying to tell me that when you use Avarice Totem you are exchanging control of the Totem with one of the other players target cards. I am telling him that I am exchanging the totem AND one of MY cards (Nefarious Lich) so that I can bounce it from play making him lose the game. Can you please give me the official ruling on this card?

-Scott M.

A: It takes two exchanges to make this work (and your opponent not having 5 mana to "interrupt" the process in the middle. Mark Gottlieb did a very good job explaining exactly what to do in last Thursday's column ... I'll cut and paste the procedure, with my comments in [brackets].

"You also need 10 mana to make the trade (that's what the Invasion sac lands are for—once you start going down this path, you better be committed to it), and you need your opponent to have less than five mana available. Activate the Totem targeting your Lich while holding the CTRL key [Holding the CTRL key on Magic Online lets you keep priority to play another spell or ability ... normally, once you play a spell or ability on Magic Online, the program thinks you're done and automatically passes priority to your opponent. Also, there is no targeting restriction that says you have to target a permanent you don't control with the Totem.]. Then, while that's on the stack, respond to it by activating the Totem targeting one of your opponent's permanents. The Totem will swap itself for that thing, then it will swap itself for your Lich [since the Lich and Totem are now controlled by different players]. (You have to be sure your opponent can't activate the Totem himself in the brief window he has it or the Lich swap will never happen. [If the Lich and Totem are controlled by the same person when the Totem's ability resolves, you can't "exchange control," since the same player already controls both permanents.]) Then bounce that Lich."


Q: If a 5/5 creature attacks and a 7/7 creature blocks, what happens to the 7/7 creature - does he lose some of his defense or what?

A: His toughness does not change - he is simply a 7/7 with 5 damage on him. The game keeps track of how much damage a creature has. So if you do 2 more damage to the 7/7 after combat in the current turn, it will be destroyed. If you don't do any more damage to it this turn, the game "erases" all damage during the cleanup step of the current turn.


Q: And how does regeneration fall into this category?

-Jake A.

A: Regeneration replaces a destruction effect (which includes damage) with "remove all damage, tap this creature, and (if it's in combat) remove it from combat."

So if you managed to do 2 more damage to the 7/7, but your opponent used a regeneration effect, you would have to do 7 more damage to kill the 7/7, since all damage was erased.


Q: I'm using flashback on a Cabal Therapy on my opponent and he plays Stifle to counter it.

-Jake R.

A: He can't do this. Flashback is a static ability, not a triggered or activated ability.


Q: I play Terror on my opponent's creature, then my opponent plays Condescend on the Terror. If I respond by playing another Terror on the creature, does my opponent scry 2?


A: Yes. The second Terror kills the creature, and then Condescend counters the first Terror and lets your opponent Scry.

The other Terror doesn't see that it's countered until it goes to resolve, so since it is still on the stack, it is still a legal target for Condescend.


Q: What does trample mean?

-Jacob V.

A: Trample is explained in section 502.9 of the Comprehensive Rules. It is also the subject of Mantra 5, which debuted in my 26 September 2002 column. That column gives a few good examples.


Q: what is the converted mana cost of Chalice of the Void when it is in play?

A: No matter how many counters it has on it, the converted mana cost of Chalice of the Void when it is in play is 0, since X anywhere but the stack is treated as 0 (definition, X).


Q: How do I properly explain to players that you can use a Nomad or Shaman en-Kor's redirect damage ability at anytime even when damage is not present?

A: Looks like your players have some left over rules in their head from Fifth Edition rules (or some other ruleset previous to Sixth Edition).


In rulesets previous to Sixth Edition, when damage was dealt, you had a window where you could prevent or redirect damage before creatures were affected by the damage. So, when these cards were printed, you would wait until the damage was actually dealt, and then play the ability redirecting the damage.


Today, we don't have the opportunity to play any spells or abilities while damage is being done. So, we have to set up the "shield" beforehand. Since we have to set up the shield beforehand, and the game doesn't "know" that a spell or ability is going to deal damage until it is actually dealt, you have to be able to use these abilities at any time.

Hopefully, by seeing what's changed, and knowing how your players think better than I do, you can put it in a way they can understand.

(A lot of things changed when we went to Sixth Edition Rules. A player coming back seeing the new rules for the first time may be overwhelmed by all the changes - I know I was the first few games I played under Sixth Edition rules. Some concrete examples, like with cards like Healing Salve or Redeem (printed with the new wording, so use a 7th or 8th Edition card) may help them see the light. Also changes in how regeneration is played might help.

I see I'm starting to ramble here, so I'll move on. Let me know if you need more help, and I'll try to answer the best I can privately.)


Q: How does Eon Hub affect cumulative upkeep? For example, Eon Hub is in play and I cast Illusions of Grandeur. During my next upkeep, I don't pay the cost because the upkeep step has been skipped. During my opponent's turn he casts Shatter on my Eon Hub and destroys it. What happens during my upkeep - do I pay 2 or 4?

-Allan E.

A: You will pay 2. Since the first upkeep was skipped, the whole process of cumulative upkeep (including putting an age counter on the permanent) was skipped. The current upkeep, you put an age counter on it, then take the number of age counters (1) and multiply it by the cumulative upkeep cost (2) to determine how much to pay.


Q: If I put Scythe of the Wretched on a Bloodfire Kavu and sacrifice it to do 2 damage to each creature thereby killing more then one of my opponents creatures, do I choose which one gets equipped when they return to play under my control or is it defined somehow by graveyard order?

A: Neither - you won't get any creatures, since the Scythe isn't on the Kavu when it deals damage. When you play the Kavu's ability, it goes on the stack, and the Scythe "detaches" from the Kavu. When the damage is dealt, the Scythe isn't equipped on the Kavu.


Q: If I sacrifice my Ghitu Fire-Eater equipped with Scythe of the Wretched to deal 4 damage to a creature, does it return to play under my control or was the Scythe not equipped to the Fire-Eater when the ability resolved?


A: The latter.


Q: Do any of the cards have a certain speed? For example, is an instant faster than a sorcery?

A: Cards and abilities do not have "speeds." They just have restrictions on when they can be played. Once they are on the stack, all spells and abilities will resolve in reverse (last in, first out) order.


Q: I was at 2 and it was my turn. My opponent Shocked me then I played Tendrils of Agony.

A: You can't even play the Tendrils until the Shock resolves, and you will be dead by that point. Sorceries can only be played during your turn, when the stack is empty.

If the cards were played in reverse order (you play Tendrils and then your opponent responds with Shock), the Shock will resolve first, killing you, since it was played later than the Tendrils.

(Predicting the other question by your next question: If you have Vedalken Orrery out, and play the Tendrils in response to the Shock, the Tendrils [and its storm copy] will resolve first, putting you to 6, and then the Shock will take you to 4.)


Q: I have Vedalken Orrery in play. My opponent plays Duress and in response I play a Duress. Who discards what?

-Omar S.

A: Each of you will end up looking at each other's hand and discarding a (nonland, noncreature) card. Your Duress will resolve first (since it was played last), so you will look and choose first, then your opponent will look and choose.


Q: If you are drafting Fallen Empires how many packs does each person need?

A: There is no specification for exactly how many packs you must use in the Floor Rules. At a bare minimum, you would need 3, but this would entail the players playing all (or nearly all) of the cards they drafted, since they would only have 24 cards from the boosters to make a deck. I would recommend you use 5 boosters, which would give players enough of a pool to choose from (40 cards, compared to the modern 45 from 3 15 card packs). 6 boosters would not be a bad choice either, but you have to take into consideration the cost of the product - would players want to pay for the 6th booster?


Q: How many uncommons are in each pack?

A: This is a tricky question to answer. According to the Wizards checklist for the set, there were 66 cards printed on an uncommon sheet. Some cards were printed on an uncommon sheet multiple times, so some uncommons were more uncommon than other uncommons. (for example, there were 3 Soul Exchange printed for every 2 Dwarven Ruins printed for every 1 Thrull Champion printed. We say Soul Exchange is a "U3," Dwarven Ruins is a "U2," and Thrull Champion is a "U1").

Some people consider U1's to be a "rare". There are 36 U1's, 5 U2's, and 25 U3's.

Packs contained 2 cards taken from an uncommon sheet (could be U1, U2, or U3 in any combination) and 6 cards taken from a common sheet.


Q: My Goblin Warchief attacks and is team blocked by my brother's Myr Retriever and Arcbound Worker (both 1/1's) with no artifacts in the graveyard. Does the Worker return to his hand?


A: He can return it, yes. By the time the ability triggers, the Worker is in the graveyard, and is a legal target.

See you Tuesday.

Bill Guerin
DCI Level 2 Judge

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