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Bill Guerin
Level II Judge


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Judge Bill's Magic The Gathering Rulings

Title: Negative Half
Questions: 12

Q: I have out a Troll Ascetic, Blessing of the Leeches enchanting it, and a Lich's Tomb. I am at -6 life (Due to Lich's Tomb's effect). If my opponent plays Heartless Hidetsugu and taps it for its effect, what does my new life total become? Do I go to -12 or -3, since mathematically, half of -6 is -3?




A: No. Your life will still be -6.


104.2. If a creature’s power or toughness, a mana cost, a player’s life total, or an amount of damage would be less than 0, it’s treated as 0 for all purposes except changing that total.




Q: What does Kentaro, the Smiling Cat's ability do?


A: Kentaro, the Smiling Cat
Legendary Creature — Human Samurai  
Bushido 1 (When this blocks or becomes blocked, it gets +1/+1 until end of turn.)
You may pay X rather than pay the mana cost for Samurai spells you play, where X is that spell’s converted mana cost.


Let me give an example here. Say you have Kentaro out, and you want to play Samurai of the Pale Curtain, which has a mana cost of WW. Instead of paying WW for Samurai of the Pale Curtain, you can pay 2 colorless mana.




Q: A general Shoal question.  Shoals basically say that: You may remove a card with converted mana cost X in your hand from the game rather than pay Shining Shoal’s mana cost.


Does this ignore the 2 (insert colored mana here) used to pay the Shoal cost?


-Johnny B.


A: Yes. When a card allows you to do something instead of paying the mana cost, it is instead of the ENTIRE mana cost.




Q: If I play Biorhythm, and my opponent has no creatures in play at the time, does he automatically die?


A: Yes, his life total would become 0, and he would die.


Q: There are some cards that say, "Attack each turn if able". If it's not tapped, can I attack in my opponent's turn?  If so, when can I do that? When I have priority?
A: When are you normally able to attack? That's when you must attack with those cards if you can.


(The answer to that question is, during your turn, when the game comes to the declare attackers step of the combat phase.)




Q: Can the card Holy Day prevent damage from spells?


A: Is damage from a spell combat damage?


Combat Damage
Combat damage is dealt during the combat damage step of the combat phase by attacking creatures and blocking creatures. It doesn’t include damage dealt by spells and abilities during the combat phase. See rule 310, “Combat Damage Step.”


Q: The cost to play the card "Decree of Justice" is X X 2 W W. I didn't get the double X? What does that mean? I've seen cards with one X only, but not with two!
-Fabiano S.


A: Checking the titles of the columns could be helpful on this one. ;)




Q: If I have 11 Goblins and a Sharpshooter, my opponent attacks with a Darksteel Colossus, can I block with the 11, then tap the sharpshooter, and cause there are going 11 goblins going to grave, can I "shoot" 1 damage per each


-Juan H.


Q: I have 5 swamps and a 1/1 creature on the field with Midnight Covenant.  Midnight Covenant tells me that I can tap a black manna and that 1/1 creature gets +1/+1.  Does that mean +1/+1 for every black manna that I tap?  So now instead of having a 1/1 creature I would have a 6/6 creature.  Is that how it works?  Or does it mean that I can tap only one swamp, and add +1/+1 only once?




A: Mantra 11 is your friend here.




Q: If a creature has protection from creatures does it have protection from artifact creatures?




A: Artifact creatures are creatures, so yes.




Q: I have a Parallax Wave or Tide in play with 2 open blue mana. If I remove all the counters on the Parallax, and when that is on the stack, Boomerang Parallax Wave/Tide back to my hand, do the creatures/land still get removed from the game without returning?


-Pierce E.


A: Those cards (along with Parallax Nexus) got immediate errata before the prerelease to cover this exact situation. Parallax Wave reads:


Parallax Wave
Fading 5 (This enchantment comes into play with five fade counters on it. At the beginning of your upkeep, remove a fade counter from it. If you can’t, sacrifice it.)
Remove a fade counter from Parallax Wave: Remove target creature from the game if Parallax Wave is in play.
When Parallax Wave leaves play, each player returns to play all cards other than Parallax Wave he or she owns removed from the game with Parallax Wave. 


So if Parallax Wave isn't in play when its ability resolves, the creature won't be removed.


(Parallax Tide and Nexus have similar wording that produces a similar result.


Again, checking Gatherer for the current text of a card is useful before you send in a questions too.)




Q: I have a Rite of Passage in play and I attack with an un-flipped Bushi Tenderfoot. If my opponent blocks with a 1/1, will Bushi die or will he get the +1/+1 counter from the Rite in time to survive and then flip?


A: He will die. Rite of Passage is a triggered ability, which uses the stack. The counter won't get on in time.




Q: I have an active Initiate of Blood in play and I block a 1/2 creature. Can the initiate respond to combat damage being dealt by activating his ability and therefore deal 1 extra damage before the creature dies and flip?


-Robert H.


A: No. By the time you get priority to play the Initiate's ability, the creature that it blocked is already in the graveyard due to lethal damage being dealt.


(And you can't play it while damage is on the stack, since the creature hasn't been dealt damage yet, and thus, is not a legal target for the Initiate's ability. So in this situation, there is no way to make the Initiate flip.)


See you next time.


Bill Guerin
DCI Level 2 Judge

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