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

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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

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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

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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

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Prerelease Primer Week – The Ferocious Temur

Last and certainly not least of the five clans, we have the Temur Frontier. They live in the coldest parts of Tarkir, and revere the savagery of the dragons. Their symbol is a set of dragon’s claws, and their mechanic certainly feels savage! Ferocious is another ability word, like Raid from earlier this week. It has no rules meaning itself, and if you took “Ferocious” off of all their cards, those cards would still work. The ability word is just there to group thematically similar abilities together for easy searching and remembering! Ferocious is similar to the Naya’s gimmick from Shards of Alara; your spells, abilities, and creatures get better if you control a creature with power 4 or greater. Most of the Ferocious cards are spells that normally do something, but then get better if you have a big guy. For example, Icy Blast normally taps down some creatures, but with Ferocious online, it keeps them from untapping next turn. Feed the Clan gains you 5 life, but if you have a 4 power or bigger creature, you gain 10. There’ll be two basic kinds of boosts with Ferocious: some of the cards will say “Instead”, and some won’t. If it says “Instead”, you get the ‘instead’ effect, NOT the original- with Feed the Clan, for example, you’ll gain 10 INSTEAD of 5, not in addition to. The ones that don’t say “instead” give you both effects, though- with Icy Blast, you tap the creatures AND they don’t untap. Ferocious is only checked once- as the spell (with two exceptions, which I’ll cover in a moment) tries to resolve. If you cast Icy Blast, and they respond by blowing up your only 4/4, you’ll just get to tap their creatures. Conversely, if you manage to get a 4 power creature between casting Icy Blast and resolving it, you’ll still get the lockdown-tap; it doesn’t matter that you didn’t have a Ferocious creature as the spell was cast, only that you do as it resolves.

So, those two exceptions I was talking about? The first is Heir of the Wilds, which has a Ferocious trigger on attacking. That trigger has what we call an “intervening ‘if’ clause”, which only triggered abilities can have. You can tell these because they’re worded “Whenever THING, if CONDITION, EFFECT”, and that’s how our Heir is worded! The thing about these clauses you need to know is that they’re checked TWICE: once as the trigger ‘would’ trigger, and again as it would resolve. If the condition is false at either of those times, no trigger. So, if you control two Heirs of the Wild and nothing else, you can’t declare attacks with them then toss a Giant Growth onto one of them and have them both trigger, because at the time you attacked, you did NOT control a creature with power 4 or greater. You’d have to pump them before you attack for the triggers to happen. And, as normal with the rest of the Ferocious stuff, if you don’t have a big enough creature as it resolves, you don’t get the effect. No +1/+1 for you!

The other exception is an aura called Dragon Grip, because the Ferocious ability that it has changes when you can cast it. When Ferocious is online, you can cast Dragon Grip as though it had flash! So, where the other Ferocious spells get an extra effect on RESOLUTION, this guy gets a bonus on CASTING, and that’s the only time it matters. If you cast it at the end of your opponent’s turn, and in response they blow up your big guy that’s enabling Ferocious, your spell still resolves. The ‘as though it had flash’ only matters as you cast it, and you’ve already cast it, so turning Ferocious off doesn’t do your opponent any good here!

That’s all 6 of the mechanics for this set, boys and girls. Have a safe, happy, and fun prerelease weekend, send your questions that may come up to us here at the Rules Blog via this handy little form, and tune in next week as we start answering some more specific and complex questions about the new cards!

Today’s Rules Tip written by Trevor Nunez

Posted in Abilities, Casting / playing a spell or ability, Effects, Prevention and Replacement Effects, Resolving spells and abilities, Static Abilities, Triggered Abilities | Tagged , , | Comments Off

Prerelease Primer Week – Delve with the Sultai

The Sultai brood are an opulent and decadent clan of necromancers, naga, and naga necromancers. They revere the ruthlessness of the long-gone dragons, and their symbol is a single dragon’s fang. Even their dead fuel their war machine, thanks to their returning Delve mechanic, first pre-printed in Future Sight. Delve works an awful lot like Convoke: where Convoke allows your living minions to help power your big spells, Delve has your DEAD power them. When you’re casting a Delve spell, you can exile cards from your graveyard to pay for the colorless mana requirements. So, for example, you want to cast Dead Drop which costs 9B. That’s an awful high cost- but you can pay as little as a single black mana for it. As you’re paying the costs, you can choose to exile up to 9 cards from your graveyard to pay for that colorless component. You could also do fewer than that, if you didn’t have as many, or didn’t WANT to use up certain cards- you pick and choose which cards to exile, and how many you want to exile. Maybe you’ve got a few big scary creatures you want to reanimate, but a lot of chaff you don’t need? You can keep the good cards, and get rid of the chaff! You can also not Delve at all, if you happen to be flush with mana. However, you can’t “over-delve”- with Dead Drop, for example, the maximum number of cards you could exile with Delve is 9. You can’t pitch 10 or 15 cards to the Delve just to get them out of your graveyard, because once you’ve done 9, you’ve run out of costs that Delve can cover. Delve is also part of casting the spell. Your opponent won’t be able to respond to it! They can’t wait to see what you plan on exiling and then try to interrupt you, they’ve got to wait until your spell has been fully cast. Finally, Delve works in any zone. If you can cast a creature card from your library (thanks to Garruk’s Horde, perhaps), or even from another wacky zone, you can Delve from there.

Today’s Rules Tip written by Trevor Nunez

Posted in Abilities, Casting / playing a spell or ability, Costs, Resolving spells and abilities, Static Abilities | Tagged | Comments Off

Prerelease Primer Week – The Jeksai’s Prowess

The Jeskai are comprised largely of monks, martial artists, and mystics. They revere the cunning of the long-dead Dragons of Tarkir, and their symbol is a dragon’s eye. As one might expect of skilled martial artists, the Jeskai can do much more damage than it seems they could. Prowess is a triggered ability that triggers every time you cast a noncreature spell. The trigger gives your Prowess creature +1/+1 for the turn. It triggers once per spell, but one spell can trigger multiple creatures- if you have four creatures with Prowess, a single instant will trigger all four of them, boosting them each by +1/+1. The trigger also doesn’t care if the spell that triggered it becomes countered, since Prowess will always have to resolve before the spell that triggered it can even begin! Finally, “noncreature spell” means just that- NOT a creature. If you cast an Artifact Creature spell, it’s not noncreature just because it’s an artifact spell. So, it won’t trigger prowess. Neither will most of the Enchantment Creatures from Theros block, but we’ll go into more depth about that AFTER the prerelease! For now, this should be plenty to get you through your prerelease weekend.

Check back in tomorrow when we cover the remaining two clans and their mechanics- the Sultai and their Delve mechanic, and the Temur’s Ferocity!

Today’s Rules Tip written by Trevor Nunez

Posted in Abilities, Casting / playing a spell or ability, Triggered Abilities | Comments Off