IRL Rulings 02

IRL Rulings is a feature focused on sharing interesting rulings that happened in real life. Unlike many of the articles here, IRL Rulings can come from any part of rules or policy, without being bound to a specific category. They can be easy, hard, straightforward, complicated, or anywhere in between – making these great practice for a real tournament.

Q: Amy activates the first ability of Oracle’s Vault and exiles a land. Can she play it? What about if it was the second ability?

A: Both abilities of Oracle’s Vault use the term “play.” This term is explicitly defined in the CR: “To play a card means to play that card as a land or to cast that card as a spell, whichever is appropriate.” So you can play a land with Oracle’s Vault no matter which ability you used.

Note: In contrast, the term “cast” refers only to the process of casting spells. So you can’t play a land with, for example, Yahenni’s Expertise because that card uses the term “cast.”

Note: In order to play a land this way, it must be legal for you to play a land normally. That is, it needs to be your turn, and you need to have a land play available.

Q: Wow, this Devoted Druid + Vizier of Remedies combo is pretty good! How come people weren’t playing this deck before using Melira, Sylvok Outcast instead of Vizier?

A: Because it doesn’t work. Vizier of Remedies + Devoted Druid works because when you pay the cost of “put a -1/-1 counter on Devoted Druid,” Vizier of Remedies’ replacement effect changes this to “put zero -1/-1 counters on Devoted Druid.” Even though the thing that happened when the cost was paid was modified to something else, the game still considers this cost as having been paid, and so the ability goes on the stack and will resolve. In contrast, Melira says “Creatures you control can’t have -1/-1 counters put on them.” This makes it illegal to pay the cost of “put a -1/-1 counter on Devoted Druid,” which prevents you from activating the ability at all.

Q: Amy is at 9 life and attacks with Death’s Shadow and Tarmogoyf. Nicole casts Blessed Alliance, escalating once, to have Amy gain 4 life and sacrifice an attacking creature. Can she sacrifice Death’s Shadow?

A: Yes. The instructions of Blessed Alliance are performed in order, so Amy first gains 4 life bringing her life total to 13. Then, Amy sacrifices an attacking creature. Although Death’s Shadow is a 0/0 at this time, it’s still on the battlefield and still attacking because state-based actions, which will put Death’s Shadow in Amy’s graveyard, are not checked in the middle of the resolution of spells. Rather, state-based actions will not be performed, and Death’s Shadow will not be put into Amy’s graveyard, until after Blessed Alliance finishes resolving. Until this point, it’s still a perfectly legal attacking creature for Amy to sacrifice.

Q: Amy plays Supernatural Stamina targeting her Containment Priest. Containment Priest then trades in combat. What happens?

A: Containment Priest has a replacement effect that modifies how permanents enter the battlefield. To determine if it applies to this event, we need CR 614.12. The relevant passage is “Some replacement effects modify how a permanent enters the battlefield. Such effects may come from the permanent itself if they affect only that permanent (as opposed to a general subset of permanents that includes it).” Because Containment Priest’s replacement effect affects all permanents, not just itself, this passage implies that Containment Priest’s effect does not apply to this event. Accordingly, Containment Priest enters the battlefield as normal.

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