Rivals of Ixalan New Set Digest

New cards

Q: Amy controls Elenda, the Dusk Rose with a +1/+1 counter on it. Amy casts Soulstinger and puts the -1/-1 counters on Elenda. How many tokens does she get?

A: None. Elendra’s ability creates tokens based on Elendra’s power at the time it died. When that happened, Elendra was a 1/1 with a +1/+1 counter and 2 -1/-1 counters on it, making it a 0/0. Accordingly, no tokens are created.

Note: After Soulstinger’s ability resolves, there are two applicable state-based actions. One puts Elendra into the graveyard because it has 0 toughness [CR 704.5f]. The other wants to remove a +1/+1 counter and a -1/-1 counter from it [CR 704.5q]. Both of these are processed simultaneously as a single event [CR 704.3]. Although it doesn’t make a difference here because it’s the same either way, Elendra’s power is evaluated based on the board state before any of the state-based actions were performed [CR 704.7].

Q: How does Blood Sun work with…

A: Here’s how it works in a nutshell.

  • “Enters the battlefield” replacement effects are lost and do not function [CR 614.12]. Examples: Meandering River enters the battlefield untapped; Vesuva doesn’t enter the battlefield as a copy of anything, and exists as a land with no abilities; you can’t choose a creature type for Unclaimed Territory
  • “Enters the battlefield” triggered abilities are lost and do not function. Examples: Radiant Fountain won’t give you 2 life; Crumbling Vestige won’t give you a mana (This is not a mana ability because it triggers from entering the battlefield, not from a mana ability [CR 605.1a]).Riders on how you can spend the mana or extra effects of it still function if they are part of a mana ability. Example: Boseiju, Who Shelters All still makes spells uncounterable (Cavern of Souls will too, if it has a creature type chosen for it); Temple of the False god still can only be activated if you have 5 lands; Mishra’s Workshop mana is still only good for artifact spells
  • Non-mana abilities are lost, even ones that are related to getting you mana. Examples: fetchlands can’t be activated; you can’t put counters on Calciform Pools (but you can take them off to add mana). For more help identifying mana abilities, check out the specific article.

Specific examples:

  • Hallowed Fountain always enters the battlefield untapped. You don’t even have a choice to pay 2 life.
  • Azorius Chancery enters untapped, and you don’t have to bounce a land. It still taps for UW. Lotus Vale also gets pretty good.
  • Gemstone Mine does not get mining counters when it enters the battlefield, but it stays on the battlefield, because sacrificing it for having no mining counters happens as its mana ability resolves. If you activate that ability using the last mining counter after Blood Sun is on the battlefield, you still have to sacrifice Gemstone Mine.
  • Dark Depths enters with no ice counters on it, but you don’t get a 20/20 yet because that ability is lost also. If Blood Sun leaves the battlefield, the “sacrifice Dark Depths” ability will trigger at that time.
  • You won’t get to pick a creature type when Cavern of Souls enters the battlefield. In this case, its second mana ability will add mana, but you won’t be able to spend it on anything. On the other hand, if you play Cavern of Souls before Blood Sun, Cavern of Souls will function normally even after Blood Sun is on the battlefield.

For more information, check out the Single Card Spotlight that Rules Day Tuesday did on Blood Sun here.

Q: Amy activates Golden Guardian‘s ability targeting a second Golden Guardian. She holds priority and responds by activating the second Golden Guardian’s ability targeting the first one. What happens?

A: The second Golden Guardian’s ability resolves first, and both guardians fight. The second Golden Guardian is returned to the battlefield transformed by its ability, but the first one’s ability has not resolved yet, so there’s nothing to bring it back. When the first Golden Guardian’s ability tries to resolve, all its targets will have become illegal, so that ability will be countered.

Q: Can I tap Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca (and two other Merfolk) the turn I play it to draw a card?

A: Yes. Because Kumena’s abilities do not use the tap symbol, there is no requirement that the Merfolk you’re tapping start the turn under your control [CR 107.5].

Q: Amy’s Dead Man’s Chest is attached to Nicole’s Bastion Enforcer. Nicole also controls Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite. Amy casts a Threaten targeting Bastion Enforcer. What happens?

A: After Threaten resolves, there are two state-based actions to perform. Bastion Enforcer is put into Nicole’s graveyard because it has 0 toughness, and Dead Man’s Chest is put into Amy’s graveyard because it is no longer attached to a creature her opponent controls [CR 704.5f, 704.5m]. After this, the game checks to see if any triggered abilities have triggered and need to go on the stack [CR 704.3]. Although Dead Man’s Chest is no longer on the battlefield, its triggered ability is a “leaves-the-battlefield” ability, which means the game “looks back in time” at the board state immediately before Bastion Enforcer left the battlefield to determine whether it should trigger [CR 603.6c, 603.10a]. At that time, Bastion Enforcer was a 1/0, so the game uses 1 for its power when the Dead Man’s Chest ability resolves, and Amy exiles 1 card from the top of Nicole’s library.

Q: Amy’s Cherished Hatchling dies. Later that turn, Amy’s Gishath, Sun’s Avatar deals combat damage to Nicole. Will Dinosaurs that enter the battlefield as a result of Gishath’s ability be able to fight creatures when they enter the battlefield?

A: No. Cherished Hatchling’s ability applies only to Dinosaurs that are cast as spells. Gishath’s ability puts Dinosaurs directly onto the battlefield. Because these creatures are not cast, they do not get the benefit from Cherished Hatchling.

Q: How does Cherished Hatchling‘s ability actually give the dino-fight ability to dinosaur spells you cast? The Dinosaur would need to have that ability on the battlefield in order to fight something, but since it gets that ability on the stack, shouldn’t it be a different object on the battlefield with no relationship to its previous self?

A: Unsurprisingly, Cherished Hatchling’s ability really does work as intended, but the details are about as pretty as one of those dinosaur fights. It’s true that once the Dinosaur spell resolves, it enters the battlefield and becomes a new object with no recollection of its former self. However, there are exceptions to this rule, and one of them is that “Effects from spells, activated abilities, and triggered abilities that change the characteristics of a permanent spell on the stack continue to apply to the permanent that spell becomes” [CR 400.7a]. An object’s characteristics include its abilities, so the Dinosaur permanent that spell becomes will still have the fight ability [CR 109.3].

Note: This somewhat inelegant solution is necessary for the fight ability to function. No wording that gives that ability to the Dinosaur after it enters the battlefield would suffice because triggered abilities need to exist when their trigger event occurs to trigger [CR 603.2].

Q: Amy attacks with Cherished Hatchling and it dies in combat. During her second main phase, she casts an Ancient Brontodon, fights something with it, then Clones the brontodon. Does she get to fight something with her Clone? Does she get to fight two somethings?

A: No. Immediately after Amy casts Clone, the game will check to see if any triggered abilities need to trigger [CR 601.2i]. Because Clone is not yet a Dinosaur at this point, the ability that would give it the fight ability does not trigger. As Clone is resolving, Amy chooses to have it enter the battlefield as a copy of Ancient Brontodon. Although the brontodon on the battlefield will have that ability, the Clone will not acquire it because abilities are not part of the copiable values of a permanent. Rather, the rules text that generates the abilities is [CR 706.2]. Continuous effects, such as the ability-granting one that gives the fight ability to the original brontodon, are not copied.

Note: Suppose Amy controlled a Muraganda Petroglyphs. It would grant the buff to Clone because Clone’s copy ability overwrote Clone’s rules text, which means Clone now has no abilities. In contrast, because Cherished Hatchling’s ability does not specify a duration for how long the fight ability stays, the ability remains indefinitely, and Ancient Brontodon still has it [CR 611.2a]. Therefore, somewhat amusingly, the normally-vanilla brontodon will not get the buff, but Clone, which has an ability printed on it, will.

Q: Nicole casts Hornswoggle targeting Amy’s Carnage Tyrant. Does Nicole make a Treasure token?

A: Yes, she will. Even though Carnage Tyrant can’t be countered, that doesn’t make it an illegal target for a counterspell – it just means the “counter target spell” part won’t do anything [CR 609.3, 101.3]. The rest of the spell will happily resolve, and Nicole will still create her Treasure token.

Q: Amy attacks with two Merfolk tokens and a Seafloor Oracle. Nicole doesn’t block anything. How many cards does Amy draw?

A: Amy will draw three cards. Seafloor Oracle just cares about “a” Merfolk dealing combat damage to a player, and so will trigger for each occurence of that event [CR 603.2c]. Also, the Oracle doesn’t specify “nontoken” Merfolk, so the Merfolk tokens count, since both their name and type are “Merfolk” [CR 110.5c].

Q: Amy controls Form of the Dinosaur and Nicole controls Blightsteel Colossus, her only creature. Obviously, Amy isn’t keen on Blightsteel Colossus dealing 11 damage to her. Can she skip that trigger?

A: No. Form of the Dinosaur doesn’t indicate that its trigger is optional using language like “up to one” or “may.” Accordingly, if there’s a legal target, Amy will have to fight it.

Note: Infect applies to all damage Blightsteel Colossus deals, not just combat damage [CR 119.3b]. This means that Amy will get 11 poison counters when Form of the Dinosaur’s triggered ability resolves and lose immediately afterwards.

Q: Amy controls Soul-Scar Mage and Form of the Dinosaur. She deals 15 damage to her opponent’s Grizzly Bears. How much damage does Amy take?

A: None. Because Form of the Dinosaur’s ability uses the word “deals” twice in two separate clauses, its resolution involves two separate damage-dealing instances [CR 608.2e]. Form of the Dinosaur’s 15 damage to Grizzly Bears will result in 15 -1/-1 counters being placed on it, so when Grizzly Bears’ turn to deal damage comes around, it won’t deal any to Amy.

Note: Negative-power creatures don’t deal negative damage and cause life gain instead. The game just uses zero for the amount of damage to deal [CR 107.1b].

Note: Because no damage is being dealt to Amy, the game does not consider this as damage being dealt to her [CR 614.7a]. For instance, if Amy controlled a Flameblade Angel, it wouldn’t trigger.

Q: Amy controls Everlasting Torment and is at 10 life when she plays Form of the Dinosaur. What happens?

A: Abilities that set a life total function by having the player gain that much life, which Everlasting Torment disallows [CR 118.5]. Amy stays at 10.

Note: Other effects that look for life gain will interact with gaining life this way too. For example, if Amy has Boon Reflection instead of Everlasting Torment,  she would go to 20 rather than 15.

Q: At the beginning of her turn, Amy controls two Elemental token created by Rekindling Phoenix and has only one Rekindling Phoenix in her graveyard. What happens during her upkeep?

A: Both abilities go on the stack during Amy’s upkeep. Whichever token’s ability resolves first will be sacrificed and Rekindling Phoenix will return to the battlefield. The other token will not be sacrificed because the target for its ability will no longer be in the zone it was when it was targeted [CR 608.2b]. Because all targets of that ability are illegal, the ability will be countered, and none of its effects will happen.

Q: At the beginning of her turn, Amy controls an Elemental token created by Rekindling Phoenix and two Rekindling Phoenix in her graveyard. Can she return either Phoenix to play?

A: Yes. Both of those cards are named “Rekindling Phoenix,” and both of them are in Amy’s graveyard, so either one is a valid target for the Elemental token’s ability. There is no requirement that the Phoenix getting returned be the same one that originally made the Elemental token.

Note: Because the Elemental token’s ability targets the Phoenix, Nicole can exile the one that’s targeted and Amy can’t bring the other one back that turn. The Elemental ability will be countered because its target is illegal in that case, and Amy won’t have to sacrifice it [CR 608.2b].

Q: During her turn, Amy attacks with her Trapjaw Tyrant. Nicole has five Grizzly Bears in play and chooses to block with 2. How many creatures can Amy exile with Trapjaw Tyrant?

A: One. If multiple sources deal damage to a creature with an enrage ability at the same time, such as because multiple creatures blocked that creature, the enrage ability triggers only once [CR 510.2].

Q: During her turn, Amy attacks with her Trapjaw Tyrant. Nicole has five Grizzly Bears in play and chooses to block with 3. How many creatures can Amy exile with Trapjaw Tyrant?

A: None. If Trapjaw Tyrant leaves the battlefield before its triggered ability resolve, such as because it was dealt lethal damage, the target creature won’t be exiled [CR 611.2b]. Amy will choose a target, but nothing will happen to it once the ability resolves.

Q: Amy controls Forerunner of the Empire. She then casts Polyraptor. How many, at most, Polyraptor can she end up with?

A: Eight. Forerunner of the Empire will trigger for each token copy of Polyraptor entering play. When the original Polyraptor enters the battlefield, Forerunner of the Empire will trigger, dealing one damage to Polyraptor and creating a copy of it, which triggers Forerunner of the Empire again. This time it will deal damage to two copies of Polyraptor, creating two more. Once the first enrage ability resolves and creates a token, Amy can choose to not deal damage with Forerunner of the Empire’s ability, instead waiting until the second token is created. When it is, Forerunner of the Empire will deal damage to four Polyraptors, creating four more tokens. It will also have dealt itself three damage, and will be put into the graveyard due to state-based actions before they are created [CR 119.6].

Q: Amy attacks with Warkite Marauder and targets Nicole’s Orazca Raptor, which has a +1/+1 counter on it, with the Marauder’s ability. What are the power and toughness of Orazca Raptor after this ability resolves?

A: Orazca Raptor is a 1/2 creature. Warkite Marauder’s ability changes the base power and toughness, which applies in layer 7b, while the counter on Orazca Raptor (which is still there) applies in layer 7d. Because these effects apply in different layers, the timestamp of Warkite Marauder’s ability does not matter [CR 613.3].

Q: Amy Controls 4 Grizzly Bears. She taps two Forests and two Swamps and announces “I cast Ghalta, Primal Hunger for 4!”. Nicole stops her and says “Wait. In response, I cast Moment of Craving on one of your bears. Pay 6”. Is she correct?

A:No. As part of the process of casting Ghalta, the game determines the cost to cast it. Nicole does not have priority to cast spells between the time when Amy announces Ghalta and when the game determines its cost [CR 116.1, 116.3]. Once the cost is determined, it is locked in, and cannot change even if something happens in the game that would make it cost more [CR 601.2f].

Q: Amy attacks with a Swab Goblin. During the declare blockers step, she casts Buccaneer’s Bravado on it, choosing the second mode. In response, Nicole casts Turn to Frog on Swab Goblin. How much damage does Nicole take?

A: One. Turn to Frog does not use the phrase “in addition to its other types” when changing the affected creature’s type to Frog, so all that creature’s previous types are overwritten [CR 205.1a]. Accordingly, Swab Goblin is no longer a legal target for the second mode of Buccaneer’s Bravado [CR 608.2b]. Because all targets of that ability are illegal, the spell will be countered, and none of its effects will happen.

Note: If Buccaneer’s Bravado was worded like Elder Cathar or Holy Justiciar, the lesser ability would still apply, but being a modal spell makes this not the case. On the other hand, Buccaneer’s Bravado is better against Misdirection effects because the opponent would need to change the target to another Pirate if the second mode is chosen.

Q: During a PPTQ, Amy casts Mastermind’s Acquisition, choosing the second mode, and pulls out her binder to look for a card. Nicole calls a judge, claiming that Amy is not allowed to do so. Is she correct?

A: Nicole is correct. In a casual game, a card you choose from outside the game comes from your personal collection. In a tournament event, a card you choose from outside the game must come from your sideboard [MTR 3.15].

Note: In a sealed event, any card in your card pool that is not in your deck is considered in your sideboard [CR 100.4b].

Note: You may look at your sideboard at any time, even if there isn’t an effect telling you that you can [MTR 3.15].

Q: Amy controls a Voracious Vampire. She casts a second one, and targets her original Voracious Vampire with the triggered ability. She then attacks Nicole with her Voracious Vampire. How many creatures must Nicole assign to block Voracious Vampire?

A: Two. A creature with menace can’t be blocked except by two or more creatures [CR 702.110b]. Multiple instances of menace on the same creature are redundant [CR 702.110c].

Q: Amy exiles a 3/3 Dinosaur token with Bishop of Binding. How much will the bishop pump for when it attacks?

A: After being exiled, the token ceases to exist [CR 704.5d]. When the game checks to see what the exiled card’s power is as the bishop’s ability resolves, it will see there is no creature card there, and give +0/+0 [CR 107.2].

Note: Because the abilities on Bishop of Binding are linked, the reference to the exiled creature’s power refers only to the creature exiled with it, not to anything else [CR 607.2a]. Therefore, last known information is not used, and null values from the nonexistent creature are used instead, which the game converts to zeroes. This is the same thing that will happen if the creature isn’t there for any other reason when that ability resolves, such as if it gets processed, or simply if Bishop of Binding leaves the battlefield, causing the exiled card to return.

Q: Amy exiles a token with Profane Procession. Does that count towards the three creatures?

A: No. Profane Procession transforms if there are “three or more cards” exiled with it. Tokens aren’t cards, so they do not count towards this total at all [CR 108.2b].

Q: Amy controls a Profane Procession that has two creatures exiled with it. She activates its ability, then copies that ability with Rings of Brighthearth, choosing to exile Nicole’s Grizzly Bears with the original ability and Balduvian Bears with the copy. What happens?

A: The copy resolves first, which causes Balduvian Bears to be exiled and Profane Procession to be transformed. Then, the original ability resolves, exiling Grizzly Bears. The instruction to transform Tomb of the Dusk Rose is not performed because that permanent has already transformed since the ability that wants to transform it was put onto the stack [CR 701.26f]. Both abilities are still linked to the “return to the battlefield” ability of Tomb of the Dusk Rose even though one was copied [CR 607.3] and both are part of an ability that is printed on the face of Tomb of the Dusk Rose that isn’t face up right now [CR 607.1b]. Accordingly, there will be four creatures exiled with Tomb of the Dusk Rose, and Amy can return any of them to the battlefield.

Note: The instruction to “transform Profane Procession” in the second ability to resolve is still possible to perform, even though that permanent is now named “Tomb of the Dusk Rose” [CR 711.12]. Without the rule cited above, that’s what would happen.

Note: The answer is exactly the same if Amy had activated Profane Procession’s ability, held priority, and activated it again.

Q: Amy exiles a face down creature of Nicole’s with Profane Procession. Can she look at it? If it’s a manifested Forest, can she put it into play with Tomb of the Dusk Rose?

A: Because Profane Procession doesn’t say otherwise, the game defaults to exiling the face down creature face up [CR 406.3]. Amy cannot put it into play once she transforms Profane Procession because Tomb of the Dusk Rose’s ability can only put creature cards onto the battlefield. On the other hand, even if the face down card was a noncreature card, it still counts towards the 3 cards it takes to transform Profane Procession.

Q: Amy exiles a Hanweir, the Writhing Township with Profane Procession. How does that work?

A: Both cards representing Hanweir, the Writhing Township are considered part of the same permanent, so they are both exiled [CR 712.4]. Both cards are considered to have been “exiled with Profane Procession,” so they both count towards the total of three or more cards that it takes to transform it [CR 712.4c]. After being exiled, the game can see only the characteristics of the front faces of the meld cards, Hanweir Garrison and Hanweir Battlements [CR 712.3a]. Tomb of the Dusk Rose‘s ability only can target creature cards, so Hanweir Garrison can be returned, but Hanweir Battlements cannot.

New Mechanics

Q: Amy controls 9 lands and a Treasure token. She taps two lands and sacrifices the Treasure to cast Vona’s Hunger. Nicole controls 3 Grizzly Bears. How many must she sacrifice?

A: One. If you cast a spell with ascend, you don’t get the city’s blessing until it resolves. As Amy only has 9 permanents when Vona’s Hunger resolves, she will not receive the city’s blessing.

Note: Because city’s blessing is given as a spell with ascend resolves, either player may respond to such a spell by trying to influence how many permanents its controller will have when that happens.

Q: Amy controls 8 lands and a Tendershoot Dryad, and Nicole controls Night of Soul’s Betrayal. Amy passes the turn to Nicole, and during her upkeep, Tendershoot Dryad triggers and creates a 1/1 green Saproling token. What happens to the token?

A: Amy gets to keep her token. Immediately after the token enters the battlefield, Amy gets the city’s blessing [CR 702.130b, 611.3b]. This happens before state-based actions are performed [CR 405.6b, 405.6f, 116.5]. As the city’s blessing grants the token +2+2, the Saproling is now big enough to survive Night of Soul’s Betrayal.

Q: Amy controls 6 lands, a Tendershoot Dryad, a Mentor of the Meek, and a Garruk’s Packleader. At the beginning of her upkeep, what happens?

A: After Amy gets the token, she controls 10 permanents, so Tendershoot Dryad will give her the city’s blessing. This doesn’t use the stack, it just happens [CR 702.130b]. After a player gets the city’s blessing, continuous effects are reapplied before the game does its check to see if the game state or any preceding events have matched any trigger conditions [CR 702.130d]. Accordingly, the game will see a 3/3, not a 1/1 entering the battlefield, so only Garruk’s Packleader will trigger.

Note: Getting the city’s blessing is not a discrete event. If it were, there would be a check for triggered abilities that should trigger both before and after it happened. Rather, there’s no time when a player has 10 permanents, but doesn’t yet have the city’s blessing. This means that triggered abilities are checked after, but not before the player gets it. Because continuous effects apply concurrent with a creature entering the battlefield, there isn’t a time before they start applying to a permanent [CR 611.3c]. This situation is exactly the same as, for instance, playing a Dryad Arbor as your sixth land while you control Sylvan Advocate. That also triggers Garruk’s Packleader, but not Mentor of the Meek.

New policy

Q: Amy presents her deck to Nicole after mulliganing her opening hand and shuffling. After Nicole cuts it, Amy absentmindedly cuts her deck again. What is the appropriate infraction, penalty, and fix?

A: What Amy did was against the rules because nothing in the game or tournament allowed her to manipulate the order of her library. Under the old IPG, this mistake could have been considered a Mulligan Procedure Error because it happened during the mulliganing process. The New IPG clarifies that only errors in the Mulligan Procedure count for this infraction.

Q: Amy plays a Megrim. Nicole says, “resolves,” then calls a judge because she realized that she has 8 cards in hand and should have discarded when she passed turn. What do you do?

A: Forgetting to discard due to hand size is a Game Rule Violation. First, we consider if a simple backup might be appropriate. In this case, that solution is more disruptive than just having her discard now, so we should favor the partial fix. Megrim was not on the battlefield when Nicole should have discarded, so thanks to a recent IPG update, it does not trigger, even though it is on the battlefield at the time the partial fix is applied.

Q: Amy draws her first card in game 2 of her match and immediately calls for a judge. She explains that the card she drew is a Lightning Bolt from Nicole’s deck which Amy had exiled in the previous game with Kitesail Freebooter and accidentally shuffled into her own library. A card count reveals Nicole’s library originally had 60 cards, but her sideboard only has 14. At the beginning of the game, Nicole mulliganed to 6 and scried her top card the card to the bottom. What do you do?

A: Both players have committed Deck Problems here, Amy for having a deck with an extra card in it, and Nicole for having one too few. The fix has changed slightly since the last version of the IPG. Before, the Lightning Bolt would have been shuffled into Nicole’s deck. Now, it’s shuffled into the random portion, and the card Nicole scried to the bottom stays where it is, which makes a lot more sense. Both players get a Warning for this error.

Q: After you give this ruling to the players, Nicole laughs and tells Amy not to worry because she got a Warning for the exact same thing last round, “stealing” her opponent’s Thoughtseize with a Spell Queller. What do you do?

A: Earlier versions of the IPG indicated that in cases of a player’s card being discovered in the opponent’s library, the judge should “issue Warnings to both players.” The current IPG fixes this language to clarify that each player receives the appropriate “penalty.” In this case, because this is the second instance of Nicole committing a Deck Problem infraction, the appropriate penalty for her is upgraded to a Game Loss, so that is the penalty she will get.

Note: Significant diplomacy will be required in this situation to deliver the Game Loss to Nicole without upsetting her. To avoid awkward conversations like this, best practices dictate that when giving a ruling, you should ask the players if they have gotten any Warnings earlier in the event before saying what penalties will be assessed.

Note: Unlike Gameplay Errors, Tournament Errors are upgraded on the second and subsequent occurrance. The fact that Nicole’s earlier Deck Problem was for doing something different is immaterial. Upgrades look only at the number of infractions in a category, not their causes or type.

Q: While walking the floor at a PPTQ, you notice that a player is using a d20 to keep track of her life total. What do you do?

A: Life totals are a “tracked total,” which means that it has a special requirement in the MTR necessitating higher standards in accuracy. Players are not allowed to use any method that can easily be accidentally changed, such as a die, to represent a tracked total at Competitive or Professional REL. This doesn’t fit into any of the infraction categories in the IPG, though, so there’s no penalty for it. A simple explanation for why we don’t like to see that should be sufficient.

Note: The number of energy and poison counters a player has are now also considered tracked totals, which means, among other things, that players cannot use a die to keep track of it and must verbally announce their new total anytime it changes. Experience counters are not considered a tracked total, so dice are perfectly acceptable for that.

Note: Good customer service dictates that judges offer solutions to players, not problems. If you are going to talk to someone about this, be ready to offer them a pen and paper to use instead.

Q: My opponent asked if I have the city’s blessing. Do I have to tell them?

A: Yes. MTR 4.1 indicates that “The state…of any object or player” is free information. Having the city’s blessing is a state, so you have to answer that question truthfully.

Q: Amy plays a Thought Scour but taps a Swamp instead of an Island to pay for it. After putting the two cards from her library into her graveyard, but before she draws the card for it, Amy notices and calls a judge. What do you do?

A: In casting Thought Scour for the wrong mana, Amy has committed a Game Rule Violation. The fix involves backing up to the point of the error. This would be accomplished by putting the two cards back on top of Amy’s library, untapping her Swamp, and returning Thought Scour to Amy’s hand. Until this update, the backup process had no provision to account for the information Amy gained from this error. Now, the new IPG specifies that backups of actions that caused a player to learn the identity of cards at a specific location in the library are reversed by shuffling those cards into the random portion of the library rather than just putting them back. This means that Amy shuffles the two cards into her library rather than putting them back on top.

Q: Amy controls a Cavern of Souls, for which the named type is Bear. She taps it and a Forest to cast a Grizzly Bears. Nicole plays a Counterspell on Grizzly Bears. Amy says her spell is not countered because she used mana from Cavern of Souls to cast it. Nicole argues that Amy didn’t say which of Cavern of Souls’ abilities she was activating, so she assumed it was the colorless one. How do you rule?

A: By convention, we assume that Amy made the sensible play and used the “uncounterable” ability to generate mana if that is possible (i.e., if the mana from Cavern of Souls was spent on a creature spell of the appropriate type and the cost for that spell could have been paid without needing the cavern to have tapped for colorless). If Amy for some reason wanted to make the Grizzly Bears counterable, this is legal, but she would need to specifically say she was tapping Cavern of Souls for colorless mana.

Note: Absolutely nothing has changed about this ruling recently, but it was featured in Toby Elliot’s policy update post. He noted that there was no support for this ruling among the official policy documents, so a judge would need to either hear about it from word of mouth or from a years-old article where the ruling was first promulgated. I included this question here to boost that signal.

Note: As noted before, attempting to counter a spell that can’t be countered isn’t illegal to do, just impossible. Nicole’s play is therefore legal. No game rules were broken, and no violation of the communication policy occurred, so at competitive REL, Nicole can’t take the play back.

New Rules

Q: Judge! If I control Over My Dead Bodies and Graveyard Busybody, and I attack with a Knight of the Widget in my opponent’s graveyard, can my opponent block with that creature too?

A: As much as I’d love to give you a definitive answer to that question, I can’t. Silver bordered cards are great fun, but breaking so many game mechanics puts them in a lawless Wild West outside the comforting structure of the CR. Judges can give some guidance based on existing rulings, but silver bordered cards are not formally supported [CR 100.7].

Q: How does Crashing Tide‘s flash granting ability work? Wouldn’t it have to already exist on the stack in order for that ability to give it flash? How could that happen if it didn’t have flash already?

A: The first step to casting a spell is to move it onto the stack [CR 601.2a]. But you can’t even begin to cast a spell unless a rule or effect says you can cast it [CR 601.3]. The game can’t “know” that Crashing Tide will have flash as long as it’s in a player’s hand, so we have a bit of a conundrum that was only solved with this most recent rules update. If a spell would have flash only if certain conditions are met, its controller may begin to cast that spell if those conditions are met [CR 601.3c].

Note: Similar exemptions are available for spells which will have flash only if an Breaking Wave or alternative cost is paid, and for spells which may have flash depending on choices made during the process of casting them (say, a bestow creature while Rootwater Shaman is in play) [CR 601.3a, 601.3b].

Q: Amy exiles Consulate Dreadnought with Bishop of Binding. When she attacks with Bishop of Binding, how much will the pump be for?

A: In the past, it was unclear whether Vehicles’ power and toughness existed outside the battlefield, and there was really no reason to care. The rules were amended to say that noncreature cards with a power and toughness printed on them have that power and toughness even off the battlefield [CR 208.3]. Bishop of Binding’s ability will give +7/+7.

Note: The original printing of some old cards like Jade Statue had power and toughness printed on them, but the current Oracle text of these cards does not. If Jade Statue is exiled with Bishop of Binding, the bishop’s attack trigger will give +0/+0.

That’s all for Rivals of Ixalan! A special thanks this time to Uri Hershkovitz and Andrew Villarrubia, without whose help, this article would not have been possible.

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