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Bill Guerin
Level II Judge


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Judge Bill's Magic The Gathering Judge's Corner\

How to Submit Your Questions to Judge Bill

Judge Bill is here to answer your Magic: The Gathering rules questions. But first, if you want to be sure he will answer them, look at the following basic Mantras to see if they answer your question:

The 13 Mantras (aka The Dirty Baker's Dozen)

1. I can't play any spells or abilities while something is resolving or while another spell or ability is being played. (18 April 02, modified 11 May 04)

2. Increasing the power of creatures once their damage has been put on the stack won't make them do more damage.(13 May 02) (Footnote A)

3. If the card doesn't say 'TARGET,' it doesn't target.(31 May 02) (Footnote D)

4. Protection is a DEBT we owe some of our permanents. (26 September 02) (Footnote B)

5. When assigning trample, look only at the toughness of the blocking creatures. Assign damage so that they would have that much damage on them, and then you can assign the other damage to your opponent. (26 September 02) (Footnote C)

6. Play (as in playing a spell) = Cast. (14 January 03)

7. You can't do something just because you want to. A spell or ability (or the cost of playing a spell or ability) must tell you to do it before you can do it. (2 March 03)

8. Once a spell or ability is played, removing the source of the ability or something used to pay the costs of that spell or ability does not stop that spell or ability from happening. (2 March 03, modified 4 February 05)

9. If you have multiples of a card in play, you deal with each card individually. (3 September 03)

10. The Combat Phase has been moved to the bottom of the page for easier readability of the other Mantras. Please click on the link to read it.

11. To play an ability, you must be able to fully pay the costs. You can't play the ability if you can't pay the costs. You may play the ability as many times as you can pay the costs. (11 May 04)

12. Mana in your mana pool has nothing to do with lands. Most lands produce mana, but mana does not produce lands. (24 September 04)

13. All permanents have summoning sickness. Only creatures are affected by it. So, if a permanent has been out since the start of your turn, and you make it into a creature, it is able to attack. (4 February 05)

Footnote A: A corollary to this mantra is, "Decreasing the power of creatures after damage is on the stack won't make them do less damage." (14 June 02)

Footnote B: DEBT is an acronym. It stands for Damage, Enchantments/Equipment, Blocking, and Targeting, which are the 5 things a creature with protection is protected from.

For an extended definition, protection is usually written on a card as "Protection from [quality]." (For example, "Protection from green.")

-Damage: All damage dealt to the permanent from a source with the stated quality is prevented.

-Enchantments: The permanent can't be enchanted by permanents with the stated quality.

-Equipment: The permanent can't be equipped by Equipment with the stated quality. Such an Equipment stops equipping that permanent, but remains in play.

-Blocking: The permanent can't be blocked by permanents with the stated quality.

-Targeting: The permanent can't be targeted by spells with the stated quality, or abilities from permanents with the stated quality. (Remember Mantra #3.)

Footnote C: You can assign the extra damage to the creatures if you want, or assign all the damage to one or more creatures (even though the damage being dealt is greater than the toughness of that creature) and none to the other creatures. But you have to assign damage as the mantra says before you can assign trample damage to your opponent.

Footnote D: Local Enchantment cards being played (cast) target the thing they're going to enchant. (27 January 03)

10. The Combat Phase. (20 April 04)

Once both players pass priority (whenever I say "both players pass priority" from here on out for this mantra, I mean they pass in succession) with an empty stack in the first main phase, you enter the Combat Phase. The Combat Phase is broken down into the following steps:

Click here to return to the other Mantras.

Again, apply the Mantras before you write in to me with a question about them. If it looks like you wrote in without applying them, my "Delete" key will thank you for the workout.

If you feel the above have not addressed your questions, feel free to submit them to Judge Bill at:


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