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Bill Guerin
Level II Judge


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Judge Bill's Magic The Gathering Rulings

Title: Rant Mode ON!
Questions: 31
My apologies for the long delay on this column.
First, an error to correct. I failed to properly apply 418.5a in the following question, and our friend Chris Richter writes in to correct me:
In your most recent column dated 3/21/05 you wrote:
> Q: My opponent has a 2/2 creature enchanted with Empyrial Armor and he
> has 2 cards in his hand. I play Blood Lust on that creature, dropping
> it's defense down to 1, and then attempt to kill it by putting a -1/-1
> counter (from my Serrated Arrow) on it. Does it die?
> -Ling T.
> A: Yes, it dies. Empyrial Armor's bonus is calculated once, and
> effects that change the statistics do not make the Armor recheck.
This situation is complex for two reasons; 1) you have three different effects that change the power and toughness of a creature in play, and one of these effect is due to a counter.  And 2) it involves Blood Lust.
The first issue is that when calculating the power and toughness of a creature you apply the effects from counters first and then apply other continuous effects.  This means that you apply the -1/-1 from the Serrated Arrows counter first, before you apply the effects from the Empyrial Armor and Blood Lust.  This, in and or itself, is not a problem.
The second issue is that while the effect from Blood Lust is continually recalculated whenever it is applied.  The entire effect is that the targeted creature et +4/-4, and that it's toughness is not lowered below zero.  This means that because the effect from Blood Lust is applied last, this effect can not lower the toughness of this creature to anything below zero.
So basically you start with a 2/2 creature, subtract -1/-1 due to the Serrated Arrow counter to make it a 1/1, apply the effect from the Empyrial Armor and make it a 3/3.  Then finally when you apply Blood Lust it will become a 7/1, as the effect from Blood Lust can not lower the toughness of this creature to less than one.
However keep in mind that you can cause this creature to go to the graveyard if you use a non-counter way to lower it's toughness to zero.   Then this last effect will be applied after the Blood Lust.
Moving on ...
Q: I just wanted to know how many Book Burnings are you allowed to have in you deck?
A: To get the answer out of the way, Book Burning is not restricted in any format, so you can play 4 in your deck.
(Calms himself down, remembering this is a family site ...)
I don't have an issue with the writer here. Who I do have an issue with in this question are the people he plays, namely the anal retentive people that play in the casual room in Magic Online. The majority of the people that inhabit the casual room on Magic Online think that they are God. They think that you will be able to tell what they want you to play, without giving any indication what they want you to not play.
Then, when you play a card that THEY consider unacceptable, they act like YOU'RE the one who has done something wrong.
They, friends, are full of it.
I don't mind if the idiots that play in that room don't want to play against a card or class of cards. That's not my gripe.
What my gripe is, is that they expect you to know what cards they don't want you to play against without telling you. This is why they are a bunch of morons, who need to learn courtesy for other people.
Yes, they can enjoy their time on the game. But they need to pull their heads out of their rears and realize there is someone else on the other side of the screen.
If you don't want to play against a card or a class of cards, then TELL US before we join your game. I'd be perfectly happy if you advertised "Extended, no counters or Land Destruction" or "Standard, no Eager Cadets." Fine. Play against someone who wants to play by your rules. If my deck plays by your rules, I might even sit down and play you.
But to expect us to know what and how you want to play in your games without telling us is the sign of a self centered, immature brat.
And yes, you can still be a brat if you're 30+. Just ask Phil Hellmuth.
(Tries to calm himself back down to continue with the column...)
Q: On Detonate, does artifact mean an artifact creature?
-Scott M.
A: Artifact means a card with they type artifact. Since artifact creatures have both type artifact and type creature, you can use Detonate to destroy them. The artifact doesn't have to be a creature to be able to be destroyed by Detonate.
Q: I recently bought a Champions of Kamigawa, Spirit Bane deck. I rushed to open it. As I looked through it I stumbled upon a blank card. What is the deal with that?
A: The preconstructed decks are made on printing sheets. The size of the sheet necessitates printing a blank card in some of the spaces. Most of the time, it is just thrown away at the factory. Sometimes, though, it makes its way to you.
Q: Also can I make the blank card into a custom one?
A: No. Your best bet is to just sell it off on ebay.
Q: Do creatures tap when they block?
-Jo Mon
A: No.
Q: Do Revised edition Mons's Goblin Raiders count as a goblin? Someone argued it is "summon goblins" and not "summon goblin" so it doesn't count as a goblin.
A: Yes, it is a goblin. Making a creature type plural does not make it a different creature type. So "goblin" and "goblins" are the same creature type.
Q: Would zombie master count as a zombie although it says summon lord? It has zombie in it's name! Couldn't it be a zombie?
A: Sorry, Zombie Lord is a Lord, and not a Zombie. It would be a zombie if it had the creature type zombie, but it doesn't.
Q: If I use Confiscate on a creature that has a sacrifice ability, can that player use sacrifice as part of stack and make me waste my enchant or is the creature mine as soon as I cast?
-Mark F.
A: Yes, he can respond and make you waste your enchantment. You can always respond to an enchantment spell.
Q: With Words of War in play if I return Attunement and pay 3 mana for the Words of War's ability, do I still have to discard the four or does this no longer apply since I replaced the first part of the spell?
A: You only replaced the card draw - you did not replace the entire spell. So you will still have to discard 4 cards (or your whole hand, if it is less than 4 cards.)
(Attunement is in your hand when you have to discard.)
Q: If Pristine Angel is tapped and you enchant it while it is tapped does the enchantment stay on it once it becomes untapped?
A: No. Protection makes it fall off.
Q: I have Lethal Vapors and a Carrion Feeder in play. If I cast a creature spell, can I sacrifice it to my Carrion Feeder before Lethal Vapors resolves?
A: Yes. Lethal Vapors's triggered ability uses the stack, and can be responded to in this way before it resolves.
Q: If you have banding and have assigned two banded creatures to attack another player, can the other player use a destruction spell to choose one of the creatures in the band and destroy it on its own?
A: Yes. Only damage is shared in a band.
Q: Also, does this mean the damage from the destroyed creature in the band is not dealt to the other player?
-Jennifer S.
A: Correct.
Q: My opponent played a Taunting Elf and a creature enchanted with Lure.  What would happen if both creatures attacked at the same time?  Would they both cancel blocking attempts because of illegal blocking and break the game or would nothing happen?
-Josh F.
A: For each creature that he had available to block, he could choose which creature that creature blocks.
Q: My friend attacked me with Grotesque Hybrid. She discarded to make it protection from white and green.  I use Opal-Eye, Konda's Yojimbo ability to redirect the damage to itself. My question is does my Opal-Eye die because of Grotesque ability even through the damage is redirect from me?
A: Yes. It is still damage from the Hybrid, and will kill the Opal-Eye (if you don't prevent the damage using her other ability).
Q: Can I enchant a wall with flying?
A: Yes.
Q: Can I use Phantom Wings to enchant Steel Wall?
-Jason R.
A: Yes.
Q: If I have an Endless Whispers out during a multiplayer game, I also have a Phage the Untouchable out.  I sacrifice Phage and, at the end of the turn, it goes into play under target opponent's control, he/she didn't play it from their hand so they lose the game, but in a multiplayer game what happens, does Phage go to my graveyard after someone loses, in which I choose another player to lose, or does the person that lost get to choose?
-Justin St.John
A: This is a question about a multiplayer game, so there is no official answer to this.
My answer: When the other player leaves the game, Phage is placed into the graveyard, and triggers. However, the triggered ability has no controller (since the person who controlled Phage left the game). So the triggered ability is unable to be played, and is simply removed from the game rather than going on the stack.
End result: Phage stays in your graveyard.
Once again, this is a multiplayer question, so you are free to make your own ruling with your playgroup. That's just how I would handle it.
Q: I make a token. What if you want to tap the creature for just its tap right then? I know it has summoning sickness for attacking but can I play Kyren Negotiations' effect ?
A: Sure. The ability isn't on the creature, so you can tap it just fine to pay the cost of another card.
Q: If my opponent removes my Viashino Sandstalker from the game until end of turn with Otherworldly Journey, what happens when he comes back into play, does he come back into my hand or is it too late for his trigger to resolve and he stays in play with a +1/+1 counter until the end of my next turn.  I am leaning towards the latter but I'm not sure.
-Robert H.
A: You are correct - it stays in play until the next end step (in the next turn).
Q: I have a Genju of the Fens and I was wondering - does the ability count only once or can I tap as many black mana as I wish to get it more power.
-Clinton A.
A: See Mantra 11, last sentence.
Q: I read the official card ruling on Riptide Mangler, but was still unclear on whether my question was answered so I figured I'd bother you so that you could explain it to me like I was four years old.  Maybe that way I would understand.  If I had a Riptide Mangler in play (0/3), and use its ability to take on the power of a creature with a power of 3, it becomes a 3/2.  So far, so good.  If I play Serra's Embrace on it (+2/+2 etc.), it is now a 5/4 flier.  I'm still following.  My question is: Can I now use its ability again, targeting itself to make its base power 5?  If so, wouldn't the Serra's Embrace then make it a 7/4? And couldn’t I keep doing that to pump it up as long as I had mana to do it?
A: No. It would still be a 5/4 - The Power change is applied after the Embrace, so it keeps its current power,
Q: If I have an Fallen Angel in play and dozens of Zuberas as well, can I sacrifice all of them at one time to let each zubera trigger effects for like, 10 zuberas gone into graveyard (if I sacrifice 10), or I must play an ability 1 at 1 time so each the 1st zubera I sacrifice will only trigger for 1, while the 2nd will trigger for 2, and the third will trigger for 3?
-Lim W.
A: You can do it either way you choose.
(Technically, in the first case, you are sacrificing them one at a time, in response to each other. However, the ability doesn't ask how many zuberas went to the graveyard until the ability resolves, which would get a count of "lots.")
Q: I have a couple Neurok Transmuters and Myr Landshapers in play along with an Energy Flux. I Q: would like to turn my opponents stuff into artifacts before the Energy Flux resolves. Is this possible?
A: No. By the time you can play the ability, the beginning of upkeep has passed, and since the cards are not an artifact, it won't have the "pay 2 or sacrifice" on them.
Q: My opponent has a 1/1 creature in play. I play a Lose Hope to give the creature -1/-1. My opponent plays a Giant Growth in response. Does the creature live at the end of turn?
A: Yes. All effects wear off at the same time, so he'll live.
Q: If he plays Giant Growth first and then I play Lose Hope, does the order of the spell resolution make a difference at the end of turn? 
-Rusty K.
A: If you play Lose Hope in response, why are you asking about end of turn. He dies right then, and the Giant Growth is countered.
Q: I have an Unstable Shapeshifter in play, my opponent casts Darigaaz the igniter. Who dies? Does anything?
A: Both of them do. In the copy process, Unstable Shapeshifter gets Darigaaz's name, and kills them both.
Q: Similarly, can I change my Vesuvan Doppleganger to Darigaaz, and in doing, do I kill the original?
A: Yes.
Q: The other day we were playing and Storm Cauldron and Price of Glory were onto the table at the same time. Some one tapped on someone else's turn. What should happen? Should the land go back to the hand, or should it be destroyed?
-Ryan L.
A: In a two player game, the Price of Glory will go on the stack first, then the Storm Cauldron. So the land will return to its owner's hand, since the Storm Cauldron ability resolves first.
In a multiplayer game (remembering there are no official rules, and this is just how I would rule), we'd place the abilities on the stack in clockwise turn order, starting with the active player. So whoever would take his turn next has his effect lose.
Example: Player A is the active player, with players B, C, D, and E around the table in that turn order.
a) If Player B had the Price of Glory and Player D had the Storm Cauldron, the land would return to its owner's hand, since Storm Cauldron's ability goes on the stack last, and thus, resolves first.
b) If Player C had the Storm Cauldron and Player D had the Price of Glory, the land would be destroyed, since Price of Glory's ability goes on the stack last, and thus, resolves first.
Q: Question on Equip abilities. If the card does not state 'Equip only as a sorcery', does that mean it can be played at instant speed?
A: No. Equip, by its definition, can only be played as a sorcery. So even if it doesn't say it on the card, you can only play the ability during one of your main phases.
See you next time.
Bill Guerin
DCI Level 2 Judge

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