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Bill Guerin
Level II Judge


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Judge Bill's Magic The Gathering Rulings

Title: Playing Dead Creatures
Questions: 10
I'm going to start my column by first reminding people to use the search box on my column page. It's a lot handier than having to wait for a response by me.
Second, a couple of pairs of questions, answered together:
Q: If someone has March of the Machines in play, can I use any artifact land in my hand and use the mana when it comes into play before it dies?
-Omar S.
A: No. It will come into play as a 0/0 creature, and will immediately die before you can tap it for mana.
Q: Night of Souls' Betrayal means that a creature of (printed) toughness of 1 will die as a state based effect when it comes into play. However in the case of Eternal Witness will the player be able to get a card back as it did (briefly) enter play, or does the ability only go on the stack when a player has priority which is after the State base effect has killed the Witness?
A: Witness comes into play. We have a state based effect, and a triggered ability to deal with. The game tells us to deal with state based effects first, so we put the Witness into the graveyard. Then we put the Witness's triggered ability on the stack. Then we give the active player priority.
A little bit later, the Witness's ability resolves, and you return the chosen card.
(Since State Based Effects take effect before we put triggers on the stack, this means you could actually return that same Eternal Witness to your hand with its own triggered ability.)
Q: I have a creature with double strike and it is a 2/2. I attack with it and my opponent does not block it or prevent damage. Does it deal 4 damage to the player?
-Roger M.
A: Yes. Double Strikers deal damage in both the first strike and regular combat damage steps. So the creature would deal 2 damage twice, for a total of 4 damage.
Q: If a Rockshard Elemental (4/3 Double Strike) attacks and is blocked by a 4/3 first striker, what exactly would happen?
A: In the first strike damage step, each creature would deal 4 damage to the other, and both would die.
Q: Last FNM I participated in, I was facing my B/G control deck against a U/G control player. While I had Horobi in play, he threw down Kira, Great-Glass Spinner. In response to this, I chuckled to myself, and cast an Echoing Decay at it, saying that Kira would be instantly destroyed due to Horobi's ability.
He attested that Kira's counter ability prevented Horobi's ability from actually killing it.
As we were running out of time in the round, and the judge was busy with another pair of players, we opted to simply go with Kira dying, as the point would be moot. (Either she counters Echoing Decay, in which case, she still became a target and Horobi kills her, or vice versa).
However, I'd like some clarity on the situation, in case it should ever arise again, and I'm using something that won't directly kill Kira (or the other Glass cards), without Horobi's ability. (The legendary Champions lands, for example.)
Reading Horobi's and Kira's abilities, they both sound to me as if they're static abilities that don't go on the stack. If this is the case, I assume that I was originally correct - the targeting of Kira instantly destroys her, as she must become a target for the spell to be countered.
Can you shed a little light on this situation?
-Sean M.
A: You're almost right - both creatures abilities are triggered abilities, though (see the use of the word "Whenever" on both cards). Horobi's ability only cares that a spell or ability is played and targets - it doesn't actually care that the spell or ability actually resolves. (And the spell or ability will never resolve, as it will be countered by a lack of legal targets. This is because Horobi's triggered ability will go on the stack on top of the original spell, and will resolve before the original spell.)
Let's go through 2 examples, to make it clearer.
1) The example in question: attempting to Echoing Decay Kira.
a) You play Echoing Decay, targeting Kira.
This results in 2 trigger's - Horobi's "destroy that creature" trigger, and Kira's "counter that spell" ability. Since your opponent is the active player,
b) We put Kira's ability on the stack first,
c) then Horobi's ability.
Assuming nothing else is played, we resolve the stack in reverse order:
c) Horobi destroys Kira.
b) Then Kira counters the Echoing Decay.
(If it was your turn, you can just reverse b and c above, but you will get the same result - a countered Echoing Decay, and a dead Kira.)
2) Example 2, where I slip you a Shizo, Death’s Storehouse.
a) You play Shizo, Death’s Storehouse's ability, targeting Kira.
b) We put Kira's ability on the stack first (to counter that ability),
c) then Horobi's ability (destroying Kira).
Assuming nothing else is played, we resolve the stack in reverse order:
c) Horobi destroys Kira.
b) Then Kira counters the ability of the land.
(Again, if it was your turn, you reverse b and c, but still have a dead Kira and a countered ability.)
Q: Angelic Page, Copper Myr and other cards have an ability that makes them tap. My question is: can I attack and trigger this abilities at the same time or should I choose to use one or the other (attack or use the ability)?
A: Attacking requires the creature to be untapped. See Mantra 1 as to playing abilities while declaring attackers. (Declaring Attackers isn't strictly an ability per se, but it still follows the rules of Mantra 1.)
As a part of declaring attackers, you tap the attacking creatures.
Q: When a land says: "it comes into play tapped", do I lose 1 life point in my next upkeep, or it just means I can't use it this turn to produce mana?
-Fabiano S.
A: Mana burn only occurs when you actively play the ability generating mana. So since you didn't play the ability, you won't get mana, and thus won't suffer mana burn.
Q: On the new banned and restricted list it does not mention that Skullclamp is banned, is it still banned though?
A: The banned and restricted list announcements are always a list of changes. Since you saw nothing regarding Skullclamp (save for Singleton online), there was no change as to Skullclamp's status.
Therefore, Skullclamp is still banned in Standard, Extended, and Mirrodin Block Constructed tournaments (both paper and online), as well as Prismatic, Tribal, and now Singleton online.
Q: To preface this question, I am playing with a reanimator deck.  I put a Plated Slagwurm into my graveyard and I wish to bring it into play with either Reanimate, Exhume, or Animate Dead.  My question is, because Plated Slagwurm has the wording "can't be the target of spells or abilities," can any of those three cards successfully bring him back into play and keep him there?  I'm not sure if the Slagwurm can be targeted while it's in the graveyard, or whether it's ability only kicks in when it resolves.  Thank you for your time.
-Adam S.
A: Generally, abilities function only while the permanent with the ability is in play. (402.8. That section lists the exceptions, but this situation does not fit any of those exceptions.)
So you can target the Slagwurm in your graveyard.
Q: Can you counter a card that is indestructible like Darksteel Colossus?
A: Yes. Countering a card does not destroy it. (You can tell if something would destroy a card if is uses the word "destroy" (or it gives the card lethal damage, in the card of a creature).)
See you next time.
Bill Guerin
DCI Level 2 Judge

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