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Judge's Corner

Title: Preventing Blocking
Questions: 12
Q: My opponent has an abundance of mana and declares 8.5 tails as an attacker and then gives me priority to declare my blockers. Can he/she turn my creatures white and then give his/her creatures pro. white in response to me declaring them as blockers at this stage and therefore it will be illegal for them to block, or are my creatures still blocking and all damage they would deal is prevented.
-Robert H.
A: The latter answer is correct. Once a creature is declared as a blocker, making the block illegal won't cause the block to become "undone." (306.2a) (You point out correctly, however, that the protection will prevent the damage the blocking creatures will deal.)
Q: First, I don't understand what "the stack" is. Everything I read just refers to it like I should already know. Is it any stack of cards?
A: The stack is a place where all spells and abilities go when they're played before they resolve. Spells and abilities resolve last in, first out.
(On Magic Online, the area on the lower left hand corner of a duel window is where the game represents the stack.)
Q: In Online Play I encountered this problem with Seasoned Marshall.  While attacking, it said place it's ability on the stack, and I just put it on the guy I wanted it to affect.  This worked, but I still have no formal explanation of what the stack is.
A: The game is just asking you there which creature do you want the Seasoned Marshall's ability to affect. You told it, and then it put the ability on the stack so your opponent could respond before it resolved.
Q: Second, Are activated abilities only pay abilities?
A: Activated abilities are abilities on cards that have the form "[Cost]: [Effect]."
Generally, if you don't see a colon in the ability, it isn't an activated ability.
Q: Such that, if I put Arrest on an enemy creature will it stop only abilities that have tap, pay mana, or both? Or will it also stop stated abilities, like on Leonin Abunas.
A: It will stop any ability that has a colon in it. That means it won't stop Leonin Abunas's ability from working, as it doesn't have a colon.
Q: Third, Can blocking creatures use their abilities to help themselves block?  An example would be Angelic Page.  If it blocks a 1/1, am I able to declare it a blocker, then tap to make itself 2/2, then deal/receive damage and survive?
-Paul Z.
A: Yes, that works fine. Blocking doesn't cause creatures to tap.
(Also, if a creature has vigilance, you can use its ability when it attacks, too. For example, put Dragon Scales on that Angelic Page, and attack. You can then use the Page's ability on itself to make it a 3/4 [and have it do 3 damage].)
Q: With Grip of Amnesia, if the target of the spell has no cards in his graveyard can he remove nothing to negate the spell or will he have his spell countered since he is unable to meet the cards condition?
-William M.
A: The player who controls the spell Grip of Amnesia targets still has a graveyard. Therefore, he or she can remove all (zero) cards in that graveyard to stop Grip of Amnesia from countering that spell.
Q: With Doubling Cube: to double the amount of mana "in your pool" you have to pay 3 to do it.  My question is "Is the mana you paid to use the ability to double mana in your pool also doubled."
A: No. I'll go through your example to show how this works.
Q: (example) (6W) before tapping 3 mana. Then tap 3 mana and you have (3W) left so will it only double the (3W) into (6W)?
Or, does the 3 mana you tapped get included in the doubling, meaning (6W), then tap (3W), and get (12W) but (3W) is tapped so only (9W) is available.
-Tim H.
A: Neither is exactly correct, although the first is very close.
6W-3=3W. Then double that to give you 6WW. (The white mana is also doubled.)
Another example might help.
You tap 6 Islands and 4 Plains to put UUUUUUWWWW into your pool. What you choose to use for the Doubling Cube will determine what color of mana you have left to work with:
Used for Cube:         Left after Cube:            Doubled to give you:
UUU                        UUUWWWW              UUUUUUWWWWWWWW
UUW                       UUUUWWW               UUUUUUUUWWWWWW
UWW                      UUUUUWW                UUUUUUUUUUWWWW
WWW                     UUUUUUW                 UUUUUUUUUUUUWW
So you get 14 mana any way you pay for it, but the way you pay for it determines what colors you get back.
Q: If you have a card that asks you pay half of your life, and you are at 1 life, what happens? Are you at half life?
A: Unless you are playing with Unhinged cards, no. The card that asks you to pay half your life will tell you what to do with the fractional life.
(For example, Infernal Contract reads, "You lose half your life, rounded up." So you would round up the to 1, and lose 1 life for Infernal Contract, putting you to 0 [and probably killing you].)
Q: I have a Phantom Nishoba and my friend took control of it. He has a creature with Extra Arms and he attacked with the Phantom Nishoba and did 2 damage to it with Extra Arms. Does the Extra Arms damage remove 1 counter from it before it attacks or after?
-Viabhav S.
A: The Extra Arms damage will resolve before combat damage is assigned. So if Phantom Nishoba had 5 counters on it when it attacked, it will lose a counter to 4 counters, and deal only 4 damage in combat.
Q: I have a Fireshrieker on Raven Guild Master and it hits the opponent, does it mill 20 cards?
-Curtis C.
A: Yes. (Well, technically 10 cards twice, but that will usually make no difference in the end result.)
See you Friday.
Bill Guerin
DCI Level 2 Judge

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