Courser of Kruphix and Dig Through Time

Welcome back to the penultimate day of Courser Week! Today we’ll look at how Courser functions with an increasingly popular blue card from Khans of Tarkir: Dig Through Time. Dig Through Time has you look at the top 7 cards of your library, ship any 2 you want to your hand, and then the rest go to the bottom of your library in whatever order you so choose. This is very similar to the Scry example from yesterday- while you’re looking at the top 7 cards, they’re still in THAT order as far as the game cares. You’ll make your choice, put 2 cards into your hand (and the rest on the bottom), and then reveal the new top card. Your opponent won’t know if you drew your old “top card”, or shipped it to the bottom, unless you decide to tell them! It’ll work this way any time you’re “looking” at the top however many cards- their order doesn’t change, and your opponent only knows what the top card was before you started looking, and immediately after you fully finish.

Come back tomorrow for our final entry this week!

Today’s Rules Tip written by Trevor Nunez

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

Courser of Kruphix and Scrying

Welcome back! For those of you just tuning in, we’re covering lots of things to do with Courser of Kruphix this week! The Theros block gave us back an old Mirrodin mechanic in Scry. It also gave us Courser- so it’s not uncommon to be Scrying while there’s a Courser on board. SO when that happens, what do you do? It’s actually really simple. You’re looking at the top N cards (top 1, top 2, top whatever), but even as you move them around and make your decision, the game sees them as not having changed. Sure, they’re moving PHYSICALLY in your hands as you choose, but the game doesn’t know that, or care! The “top card” doesn’t change until you’re done Scrying. Once you have fully completed the scry and finalized the position of all the cards, that’s when you reveal the new top card. So, say you Scry and you see a Forest, an Island, and a Polukranos, World Eater. You decide you’re fine on blue, but Polly and the Forest seem great! So, you ship the Island to the bottom, and put Polukranos on top with the Forest below it. Your opponent has no way of knowing where the Forest went- maybe you shipped it to the bottom, maybe it’s underneath Polukranos. But they won’t know, because the top card doesn’t change DURING the Scry- it only changes at the moment that the Scry finishes!

Tomorrow we’ll cover something a little similar- see you then!

Today’s Rules Tip written by Trevor Nunez

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Tournament Tuesday: Common Courser of Kruphix Mistakes

Welcome back to our crash course(r) on Courser of Kruphix! Since today is Tuesday, we’ll be covering some IPG and MTR things about Courser of Kruphix, rather than just your normal Comprehensive Rules stuff. Mainly, we’ll be talking about the more common mistakes people make with Courser, and what the rules say has to happen when those mistakes are made.

First, we’ll talk about forgetting to reveal your new card. Most commonly this happens after a shuffle effect, where you get your deck back from your opponent and just forget to flip the new top card over. If it’s caught within a few moments, or within that turn, there’s no real problem. However, let’s say you crack a fetch at the end of your opponent’s turn, and forget to reveal before your turn. What we’ll do there is reveal the new top card, and issue you a Warning, for Game Play Error- Game Rule Violation. Your opponent will also receive a warning for Failure to Maintain Gamestate, since they didn’t notice the problem either! It gets a little hinky if you draw before you reveal, there’s no way for us to ‘fix’ that. It’s not as big a deal as it is with Morph or the like, since you’re not revealing the cards to make sure something is done legally, so it’s still just a Warning. A word of advice, though- those warnings pile up! After two Game Play Error infractions (except Failure to Maintain- that should never, ever be upgraded) during an event, they’ll stop being Warnings and start being Game Losses. So play carefully!

The other common error with Courser is the opposite- revealing a card when you don’t need to! The most common way you’ll see this happening is that Courser will end up leaving the battlefield, whether it’s destroyed or exiled or just bounced back to the hand, and the Courser’s controller will forget to turn their library’s top card face down. Again, we can give a little leeway if you notice it later in that same turn and no new information has been gained, but if you reveal a NEW top card, we’ve got to penalize that. The infraction is also a Game Play Error, but this specific one is called Looking at Extra Cards. Like a GRV, we give a Warning to the player who goofed, and give Failure to Maintain to the opponent. UNLIKE GRV, we have a ‘fix’ for this- we shuffle the deck! More specifically, we shuffle the random portion. If any cards have their positions known (for example, because of a previous Scry), we set those cards aside first so they can be placed in their ‘proper’ position once the rest of the deck is randomized. Then we randomize the part that ought to be random, put the ‘known’ cards back, and remind the players to be more careful!

Courser is a great card, but know how to use it or you might end up costing yourself some games. Knowledge is Power!

Today’s Rules Tip written by Trevor Nunez

Posted in Abilities, Static Abilities, Tournament Rules | Tagged | Comments Off

Courser of Kruphix and Fetchlands

All this week, we’ll be covering one specific card: Courser of Kruphix. It’s a commonly played card, and the semi-unique ability it has leads to lots of interesting rules interactions and questions. Every day this week, we’ll cover a different one! Today we’re covering how it works with fetchlands such as Windswept Heath, but this also applies to searching your library in general (for example, with a Demonic Tutor). When searching a library, players frequently change the order of cards- they may put potential choices face-down on the table, they may thumb potential choices to the forefront of the stack they’re holding. They may even move entire chunks of the deck around to try and find what they’re looking for. Throughout all of this, the game considers the deck to be in the same state it was when you STARTED the search. What that means is that whatever the top card was when you cracked your Fetch, that’s the top card during the entire resolution of the ability. Once you get to the instruction of “Shuffle your library”, that’s the moment when you get a new top card. You’ll flip the “old” top card back face-down (very important!), shuffle, and present to your opponent. After he/she shuffles, you’ll reveal the NEW top card of your library, put your Courser’s lifegain trigger onto the stack, and play on.

Today’s Rules Tip written by Trevor Nunez

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Dragon Throne of Tarkir vs. Blinding Spray

Welcome back, and we’re going to dive right in with a discussion about everyone’s favorite throne (no, not that sword-covered one from that tv show), Dragon Throne of Tarkir.

Let’s say I have face down creature equipped with the Dragon Throne (I’ve always enjoyed the idea of a mystery man on the Throne), and I choose to activate the ability granted by the Throne, so I can attack with my army of morphs and overrun you. But you have better ideas. With that ability on the stack, you cast Blinding Spray on that morph, making it a -2/2. So what happens when that activated ability resolves?

Those of you who played with Wild Beastmaster probably already know the answer to this question. The ability checks the equipped creature’s power when the ability resolves. When the ability resolves, it sees the creature’s power is -2. Most of the time, the game can’t use a negative number, but in cases where we’re trying to modify a creature’s power and/or toughness, it can use a negative number. So instead of your other creatures getting +2/+2 (which is what you planned when you activated the ability), the ability will instead give your other creatures -2/-2, and wiping my board of face down creatures.

That leaves a face down creature alone on the Throne, without his face down army. I’m sure if it had a face, you would see how sad he is after accidentally killing his army.

Today’s Rules Tip written by Nate Long

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Suspension Field vs. Morphs – They return face up.

Welcome back to another week here at the Rules Tips Blog. Let’s look at today’s question: morphs and Suspension Field.

Let’s say I have a face down Thousand Winds and a Secret Plans on the battlefield, making my face down creature a 2/3. My opponent, knowing the mystery and danger of a face down creature, casts a Suspension Field and exiles my face down morph. My opponent breaths a sigh of relief, knowing that the threat has been dealt with. But little does he know, I hold an Erase! On my turn, I Erase his Field and… then what happens?

When a face down creature leaves the battlefield, we reveal the card so everyone knows what it is. So when it’s exiled, it’s face up and everyone knows that it’s a Thousand Winds. And when the Field leaves the battlefield, we return that creature card to the battlefield. But it’s already been turned face up, and nothing is telling us to turn it back face down (and since we’re putting it on the battlefield without casting it, we can’t return it face down). So Thousand Winds will return to the battlefield face up, and now your opponent gets to deal with your early 5/6 flyer.

One final note for today: the Wind’s triggered ability that triggers when it’s turned face up will not trigger in this case. It has to be on the battlefield when it’s turned face up in order for its ability to trigger. When it’s in exile, it’s being revealed as it leaves the battlefield. It’s not on the battlefield at that point, so the Wind’s ability will not trigger.

Today’s Rules Tip written by Nathan Long

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Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker’s +1 vs. Hero’s Downfall

Who knew that when Wizards of the Coast released an alternate-art version of Form of the Dragon in FTV: Dragons, they were foreshadowing one of Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker’s abilities: TURNING INTO A DRAGON!! And not just any dragon, but a hasty, indestructible one at that! While this new Sarkhan is certainly fearsome, he’s not invincible.

One of the ways you can deal with Tarkir’s own poster boy is a popular card from the previous block: Hero’s Downfall. There’s some nuance to timing this, though. First of all, realize that no matter whether Sarkhan is a not-a-Dragon planeswalker, or a DRAGON!! not-a-planeswalker, he’s still a legal target for Hero’s Downfall because at all times he’s either a planeswalker or a creature. The important part involves the abilities that come alongside his dragonic transformation: if you let the ability resolve, Sarkhan will be indestructible, which means “destroy” effects like Hero’s Downfall can’t touch him. Don’t think you can use a burn spell to reduce his loyalty to 0, either — since DRAGON!! Sarkhan is no longer a planeswalker for the turn, damage-dealing effects won’t reduce his loyalty.

However, if you try either of these methods in response to the +1 ability (after the counter is added, before it resolves), Sarkhan in his still-vulnerable planeswalker form will be swiftly sent to the grave. The ability will still resolve, but with no living Sarkhan to DRAGON!!ify, it will simply fail to do anything.

Today’s Rules Tip written by Jen Wong

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

Rattleclaw Mystic and casting spells (it’s not a mana ability)

Many sets have some kind of cheap mana-producing creature, and Khans of Tarkir is no exception. Meet Rattleclaw Mystic, a creature that has not one, but two abilities that produce mana! Today, we’ll be discussing specifically whether they are mana abilities — abilities that can be used in the middle of casting a spell and which don’t use the stack.

Let’s look at the Mystic’s first ability. It’s an activated ability, which means that in order to be a mana ability, it has to potentially add mana to a player’s mana pool when it resolves, not have a target, and not be a loyalty ability. This one passes the test with flying colors.

What about the Mystic’s last ability? The rules for triggered mana abilities are a little different. They need to not have a target (check), add mana to a player’s mana pool when they resolve (double check), and trigger as a result of activating a mana ability (…nope). This means that the ability will go on the stack, and you’ll have to wait for your opponent to pass priority before it can resolve and put mana into your mana pool. You also can’t unmorph and trigger it in the middle of casting a spell, since you wouldn’t have priority at that time, and turning a creature face-up requires priority even though it doesn’t use the stack.

Today’s Rules Tip written by Jen Wong

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If Narset dies during combat, you can still cast the exiled cards this turn.

Narset, Enlightened Master, the khan of the Jeskai, offers a very powerful ability to make up for her lackluster stats and high mana cost. Whenever she attacks, she grants you a temporary burst of omniscience, letting you cast potentially four spells for free! The best part about it is, once the spells are released into the void, it doesn’t matter what happens to Narset afterward. If she becomes a creature that’s no longer attacking, or even if she dies, you still get the benefit of the ability for the rest of the turn. It also doesn’t matter whether she dies before or after that triggered ability resolves — once it’s put onto the stack, it becomes independent of its source, which means that the only way your opponent can stop it is by countering the ability itself (or, perhaps, countering all your free spells one by one).

Today’s Rules Tip written by Jen Wong

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

JAR Update: The importance of being respectful to others.

For most players, the JAR — or Judging at Regular document — isn’t something that you’re going to need to read in order to participate in a tournament. However, if you’re involved in running events for your local store, you’d like to become a judge someday, or you just like to know as much about the tournament policies as possible — read on!

The most recent update spells out, in more clear terms, what player behavior is to be expected at Regular REL events like Prereleases and FNM. Specifically, players should refrain from behavior that might make the environment feel unwelcoming, upsetting others, or making them uncomfortable. It’s worth noting that what constitutes “appropriate” behavior can vary based on the environment; although Magic is advertised as a game for ages 13 and older, there are plenty of venues that cater to small children at which certain behaviors won’t be as acceptable as in an all-adults setting. Remember also that the standard is not whether anyone is in fact upset or offended, but rather whether the behavior tends to contribute to an unwelcoming environment.

If a judge does take you aside and tell you that you’re demonstrating unwanted behavior, resist the urge to get defensive. Remember, judges are not out to “get you”, and we don’t enjoy giving out penalties; however, we don’t enjoy being in an environment with disrespectful behavior either. Ideally, the judge will identify the specific behavior, explain why it’s a problem, and politely request that you make a good faith effort to stop. If you don’t understand something, don’t be afraid to ask questions about why what you did was inappropriate, or how you can modify your behavior to comply with DCI standards. It’s better to ask and understand, than to just carry on because you didn’t like the judge’s explanation, since this could result in upgrading to a game loss.

Finally, although the JAR is a kinder, gentler, penalty document, the same prohibitions against harassing or threatening others still apply. In these situations, the judge and store owner are empowered to remove you from the event, no questions asked.

Today’s Tournament Tip written by Jen Wong

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