You can’t see face-down creature spells with Lens of Clarity.

Lens of Clarity is some interesting tech with an ability we have seen previously in Magic. It provides you with some information about your opponent’s face-down creatures and your next draw, but what does this mean?

Unfortunately for you control players, it does not allow you to see any face-down spells; only creatures that are already on the battlefield. Meaning, if you’re countering a morph spell, you’ll have to do so blindly. Lens of Clarity does not prevent your opponent from looking at their own face-down creatures or prevent you from looking at your own face-down creatures. Once resolved on the battlefield, its ability does not use the stack so you can look at face down creatures and the top card of your library any time you could look at your hand (which is always without warning or using the stack). As a courtesy you want to inform your opponent before you reach over and flip your opponents card. Hopefully you have gained some clarity today! See you next time!

Today’s Rules Tip written by Daniel Clarke

Posted in Casting / playing a spell or ability, Characteristics, Static Abilities | Tagged | Comments Off

Ivorytusk Fortress vs. Icy Blast, Crippling Chill, et. al.

Blue control spells always have a way of impeding an opponent’s progress. Most recently, a few more weapons were added to its arsenal, including Icy Blast and Crippling Chill. Not being able to untap during your turn puts a damper on your day – so what can we do about it?

Behold, Ivorytusk Fortress. True, your creatures will not untap during your next untap step should they be ferociously blasted but that doesn’t stop them from untapping during your opponent’s untap step. In many ways having them untap during your opponent’s turn is a handy trick. You will have fresh blockers that can activate abilities before or after blockers are declared. That’s some pretty decent intimidation. Granted, the creatures must have at least one +1/+1 counter on them in order to untap.

If you happen to be the player wielding the blue spells and your opponent has a board containing Ivorytusk and counter-laden creatures, your best bet is to cast your Chill or Blast after your untap step if possible. This will keep those pesky creatures down and out for as long as possible. Hope you enjoyed today’s rules tip! See you tomorrow!

Today’s Rules Tip written by Daniel Clarke

Posted in Static Abilities, Turn Structure | Tagged , , | Comments Off

Howl of the Horde’s Raid ability

Red finally gets the chance to copy its future instant or sorcery spells twice with one card (for less than the cost of flashing back Increasing Vengeance)! But how does Raid actually work on Howl of the Horde when it is cast during your first main phase? Do you get to copy your next instant or sorcery once if that instant or sorcery is cast before attackers are declared or twice if cast after? That would be something to howl for, however that is not the case.

The Raid ability of a spell checks to see if its condition is true when the spell (in this case Howl of The Horde) resolves, not when its delayed trigger is triggered. That condition of course is if you attacked this turn. Remembering this should make it pretty easy: Casting Howl of the Horde during your pre-combat main phase provides one copy of your next instant or sorcery being placed on the stack. Casting it during your post-combat main phase, after you have attacked, will result in two copies of your next instant or sorcery being placed on the stack. Easy as that! If you’re feeling explosive, why not cast it post-attack and then cast another Howl of the Horde for a total of six delayed triggers? (The first Howl creates two copies of the second Howl, which means a total of 3 Howls, each of which creates two more copies of the next spell cast). Cast a final Lightning Strike after that and you might as well win outright- That’s 21 damage (6 copies plus the original Strike)! Just remember to cast your next instant or sorcery in the same turn you cast Howl of the Horde, or you lose the delayed trigger(s) forever.

Today’s Rules Tip written by Daniel Clarke

Posted in Resolving spells and abilities, Triggered Abilities | Tagged | Comments Off

Don’t forget to reveal your Morphs as a game ends!

All this morphing, and so much to learn! Morph will undoubtedly be the most difficult ability for players to grasp since its last appearance years ago. There are many tidbits of fun that involve how to copy morph creatures, managing counters on creatures being morphed, or how turning morph creatures face up actually works. These will all come with time and experience, but there is one thing you must remember when playing with morph cards: ALWAYS REVEAL THEM whenever they change zones and at the end of every game where they are still face down as the game ends. This means if the face down card is countered, destroyed, shuffled away, returned to your hand, put on top of or back in your library from the battlefield, exiled, or the game ends, the card must be revealed to prove that the card was in fact a card with the morph ability. Not doing so in competitive or higher play will result in a Game Loss (for the current game). As you can tell, this matter is taken seriously since the incentive to cheat seems high. However, the rules are in place to ensure the advantage you appear to obtain from cheating with a non-morph card is definitely not worth the risk.

Should your opponent or a judge discover that you have a face down card that does not have morph (and not involving Illusionary Mask or Ixidron), and it’s determined that you did so intentionally to gain advantage, it is considered Cheating and will result in your Disqualification from any tournament it happens in. Odds are they will find out, given that every morphed card has to be revealed at some point.

A DQ for cheating can lead to suspension, preventing you from playing in future events for months, and even getting a Game Loss for not revealing can obviously put a dent in your record for the day. As an opponent, it is important for you to keep the other player honest in this regard. A friendly “so what was it?” will serve your need to verify. So remember – Don’t attempt to play cards face down without morph and ALWAYS REVEAL your morph cards at the end of each game before you clean up to keep your record strong!

And remember, even at FNM (or any other Regular REL event) you must reveal morphs the same way. While forgetting to reveal them as a game ends may not lead to an immediate Game Loss, intentionally casting non-morph cards as face-down creatures will still lead you down the path to Disqualification.

Today’s Tournament Tip written by Daniel Clarke

Posted in Tournament Rules, Zones | Tagged | Comments Off

Deflecting Palm and lethal damage from combat

Deflecting Palm-Nothing in Standard ends hopes of a swift win quite as well: One minute your opponent thinks they have the win on the board, the next they’re trying to figure out if they lose or draw. Thanks to this Rules Tips Blog, you will soon know which it is. Let’s dive in palm-first.

You are at 8 life and your opponent is at 4 life. She controls two Alpine Bears and a Soul of Shandalar. During her declare attackers step, she declares all three as attackers. You have no blockers, but during declare blockers step you cast your Deflecting Palm choosing one of the Bears as the source of damage. What happens? (choose one)

  • You lose from being below 0 when state-based actions are checked after combat damage.
  • You win as Deflecting Palm’s ability hits the stack and resolves before combat damage goes through leaving your opponent at 0 life.
  • Since all damage is dealt simultaneously within its combat damage step, you take 6 in the first combat damage step (leaving you at 2 life); then in the second combat damage step, you take 4 (the other 4 being prevented) and she takes 4 as a result of Deflecting Palm’s damage dealing effect, so the game is a draw when state-based actions are checked and see both players at 0 or less life.

If you chose the last option, you would be correct. Here is why: Damage prevention is a kind of replacement effect. When damage prevention occurs, it happens at the same time damage would be dealt. As a result, Deflecting Palm’s damage dealing effect happens at the same time (well, technically immediately after the prevention, but still before state-based actions are checked). This means you are both at 0 or less life when state-based actions are checked, so you both lose simultaneously; resulting in a draw. If we rewind to just before Deflecting Palm is cast, we find that this is not a game-play situation with a single outcome. Should you have chosen to Palm the Soul, the damage dealing effect would have occurred during the first combat damage step along with the damage prevention, and you would be the winner of the game upon state-based actions being checked BEFORE the Bears’ damage is dealt in the second combat damage step. What a trick! Talk about palm to the face for the win.

Today’s Rules Tip written by Daniel Clarke

Posted in Combat Phase, Prevention and Replacement Effects | Tagged | Comments Off

Meandering Turtle and Act of Treason

You have cast that Act of Treason and you have taken your opponent’s Meandering Towershell. You attack with it, triggering the second ability, and the turtle is exiled… Now what?

Who gets control of the turtle when it comes back into play?

Well lets start by looking to the wording of the Meandering Towershell’s second ability:

Whenever Meandering Towershell attacks, exile it. Return it to the battlefield under your control tapped and attacking at the beginning of the declare attackers step on your next turn.

The key words in this ability are “your control”. This means that when the turtle returns to the battlefield on your next turn, it is under your control, not theirs, because you controlled the trigger.

What does this mean about the turtle on future turns? Does it ever return to them?

Well as the turtle is effectively a new card when it returns to the battlefield, it is yours as long as it remains of the battlefield or is put into exile with its second ability and then returned.

This makes a very sad opponent and a very happy you!

Today’s Rules Tip written by Angela Schabauer

Posted in Control / Controller, Triggered Abilities | Tagged , | Comments Off

Force Away on your only 4+ power creature – No looting for you.

Casting Force Away on your own creatures can have its advantages, however what happens if you cast it targeting your only 4+ power creature? Do you still get to loot?

Random Trivia: The term “loot” means to draw then discard, and originates from the card Merfolk Looter.

The short answer here is that you do not get to complete the ferocious ability that allows you to loot if you use Force Away targeting your only greater that has 4+ power.

Now for a bit more explanation as to why this happens this way. The ferocious ability only happens if certain conditions are met. This means if you don’t have a 4+ power creature at that time, this ability will not occur.

Now let’s look at how spells resolve.
When a spell resolves, it tries to complete all parts that it can in the order that it is written. Now lets look at the text for Force Away:

Return target creature to its owner’s hand.
Ferocious — If you control a creature with power 4 or greater, you may draw a card. If you do, discard a card.

So first, Force Away will return the targeted creature to its owner’s hand. Then it will check to see if the conditions are met for the ferocious ability. If you returned the only 4+ power creature you control, then the conditions are not met. Since you don’t control a 4+ power creature the spell is looking for, the conditions aren’t met, which means no looting for you.

Today’s Rules Tip written by Angela Schabauer

Posted in Resolving spells and abilities | Tagged | Comments Off

Anafenza and tokens (they aren’t “cards”).

Let’s talk about Anafenza, the Foremost‘s second ability. “If a creature card would be put into an opponent’s graveyard from anywhere, exile it instead.” That means Anafenza doesn’t exile all creatures, only those that are creature cards. This leaves creature tokens saying, “What about us?”

Well what about them? A creature token is not actually considered a card, even if it is represented by a card with a Magic back, or came from a Magic booster. The creature tokens will still go to the graveyard like normal before ceasing to exist. This will still cause triggered abilities that require the death of a creature to trigger, which won’t trigger for any creature cards that get exiled as part of Anafenza’s ability.

Today’s Rules Tip written by Angela Schabauer

Posted in Characteristics, Prevention and Replacement Effects | Tagged | Comments Off

You’re only allowed to have one DCI number.

Did you know that having multiple DCI numbers is against the rules? Or that every time a DCI number has to be looked up that it can slow the start of the tournament by up to 5 minutes, especially if there are multiple DCI numbers associated to the name?

There are several reasons that, over the years, you may have collected multiple DCI numbers. This might have happened if you forgot you had signed up for one once and later signed up again, or if you registered for a tournament and the staff could not locate your number and you were issued a new one.

Don’t worry. The process to combine your numbers is pretty simple. Once you know you have multiple DCI numbers, even if you don’t actually know what all the numbers are, you can fill out a simple form (found here).

The whole process should take no more than 6 weeks once the form is submitted, and you can continue playing with your preferred DCI number during that time!

HINT: Now that you have your multiple DCI numbers sorted out, or you just want a handy way for always having your DCI number close at hand, here is a little tip:

All modern DCI numbers will be 10 digits long. This means that it is the same length as a US or Canadian phone number. Just enter a new contact in your phone named “DCI” and enter your DCI number as the phone number! Now you will have your DCI number for your tournaments conveniently in your phone!

There is one other thing to note about multiple DCI numbers that I hope none of you will ever have to consider, but this is still very important. If you ever become suspended from playing in sanctioned Magic tournaments, NEVER create a new DCI number so you can play. This will only result in you having a very serious talk with your friends in black, and some very serious consequences.

Today’s Tournament Tip written by Angela Schabauer

Posted in Tournament Rules | Comments Off

Ashcloud Phoenix won’t come back if it’s face-down when it dies.

Ashcloud Phoenix seems like a really tough card to deal with. You kill it, and it comes back as a morph, only to be turned face up and deal more damage to you. But what if it dies while it’s still face-down? Is it really just impossible to kill?

Well, good news for players who have to face the firebird! It can only trigger to return to the battlefield if it’s face-up before it dies. You might wonder why it doesn’t trigger after it hits the graveyard, since it’s face up when you put it in the graveyard… Well, that’s a quirk about “leaves-the-battlefield” triggers. Rather than checking the game state right after an event, abilities that trigger from something dying or otherwise leaving the battlefield have to look back in time to just before the event to see what abilities existed and should have triggered from that event. Since a face-down Phoenix has no name and no abilities, when it dies, the Phoenix’s ability doesn’t trigger because the creature didn’t have that ability before it died. It just stays in the graveyard like any normal creature.

Today’s Rules Tip written by Josh Stansfield

Posted in Triggered Abilities | Tagged | Comments Off