Whenever a new set comes out, there’s always rules, policy, and lots of other changes to go with it. If trying to keep up with everything is giving you a headache, you’re in the right spot. This article has everything you’ll need all in one place.
Q: Are Sagas legendary?
A: No. Whether a permanent is legendary or not depends not on whether it clearly depicts a unique storyline event, but only on what it says on the card’s type line (and what any relevant effects might have put there). Accordingly, Sagas aren’t legendary by themselves. They aren’t subject to the legend rule, and they aren’t affected by anything that looks for legendary permanents.
Note: The specific calling out of Sagas as historic can lend some credence to this view if you need to explain it to someone. If Sagas were legendary, there would be no reason for them to be appear separately in the historic reminder text.
Q: Amy controls a Cabal Evangel and an Aggravated Assault. She then casts The Flame of Keld. Before combat, she activates Aggravated Assault. Will The Flame of Keld receive an additional lore counter during the additional main phase?
A: No. Only the first main phase of the turn is a precombat main phase. All other main phases are postcombat main phases. This includes the second main phase of a turn in which the combat phase has been skipped. It is also true of a turn in which an effect has caused an additional combat phase and an additional main phase to be created [CR 505.1a].
Q: Amy forgets to put a lore counter on Saga on her turn. The players don’t notice until Nicole’s turn. What is the appropriate course of action?
A: Putting a lore counter on a Saga is a turn-based action, not a triggered ability. Accordingly, forgetting to put a counter on is handled as a GRV rather than a Missed Trigger. There is no partial fix applicable here, so your only option is to back up or leave the game state as-is.
Note: Saga’s being a turn-based action rather than a trigger have a few other important consequences. For one, you can’t just let your opponent miss them. Triggered abilities are the exception rather than the rule her. Because they aren’t triggers, you have to call attention to it if you see someone forget to add a counter. Investigate carefully, because to count as Cheating, a player must know it is against the rules to not call attention to a mistake. It’s very plausible that a player assumed these work like triggered abilities and that it’s legal to let the opponent miss them. Another interesting consequence is…
Q: Amy plays The Eldest Reborn while she controls Doubling Season. On her next turn, after she starts her main phase, how many counters will be on The Eldest Reborn, and which of its abilities will have triggered?
A: As The Eldest Reborn enters the battlefield, it gets a lore counter [CR 714.3a]. This templating signifies that this is a replacement effect, which means Doubling Season can interact with it [CR 614.1c, 614.16]. The CR text for Sagas give them the ability “When one or more lore counters are put onto this Saga, if the number of lore counters on it was less than N and became at least N, [effect].” This makes it clear that both the I and II abilities trigger here. The weird part is that the turn-based action of putting a counter on them is not an “effect,” so Doubling Season can’t double it [CR 609.1]. The third ability triggers and resolves as normal.
A: Triumph of Gerrard will be animated by Opalescence, and lose all its abilities because of Humility. That’s a problem, because Sagas whose number of lore counters equals or exceeds their final chapter number get sacrificed [CR 714.4]. And the final chapter number is the highest among chapter abilities it has; if a Saga has none, its final chapter number is 0 [CR 714.2d]. So Triumph of Gerard is sacrificed.
Q: Does Bloodbriar trigger when I sacrifice a Saga?
A: Yes! This is an honest to goodness sacrifice. Unlike similar sba’s like the legend rule that look like a sacrifice, and are colloquially referred to as such, but do not count from a CR standpoint, this one actually refers to the word “sacrifice” in its CR definition. So you do get a trigger.
Q: Amy controls Teferi, Temporal Archmage. She casts Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, which resolves. As it comes into play her opponent, Nancy, declares that she must now sacrifice one of her Planeswalkers, as they are both Legendary Planeswalkers – Teferi. Is she correct?
A: Nancy is incorrect. As of the new legendary rules change, a player may have any number of Planeswalkers with the same subtype as long as the do not share a name. Normal legendary rules apply for Planeswalkers as well: If a player controls two or more legendary permanents with the same name, that player chooses one of them, and the rest are put into their owners’ graveyards. This is called the “legend rule.” [CR 704.5j]. Previously, planeswalkers were subject to a “planeswalker uniqueness rule” that stopped a player from controlling two planeswalkers of the same planeswalker type. This rule has been removed and planeswalker cards printed before this change have received errata in the Oracle card reference to have the legendary supertype. Like other legendary permanents, they are subject to the “legend rule” [CR 306.4].
A: Amy can continue to cast Jaya’s Immolating Inferno and resolve it normally. You can’t cast a legendary sorcery unless you control a legendary creature or a legendary planeswalker. Once you begin to cast a legendary sorcery, losing control of your legendary creatures and planeswalkers won’t affect that spell.
Card Specific Questions
A: The answer is yes, but astute readers will have noticed that something doesn’t seem quite right about that. After all, usually when an effect sets an object’s type, all previous types are overwritten [CR 205.1a]. This is why, for example, Sylvan Awakening includes the text “they’re still lands.” Such text is required to allow the affected permanents to retain their normal card types and subtypes. For some reason, effects that say something is an “artifact creature” are treated specially, and are implicitly considered to contain a clause that allows the affected objects to retain their past types and subtypes [CR 205.1b]. Thus, Darksteel Citadel will be an Artifact Creature Land.
Note: Lands affected by Sylvan Awakening or The Antiquities War keep all their abilities. Effects that set a land’s subtype to a basic land type are the ones that, for some other inscrutable reason, cause the affected lands to lose all their abilities. As in the preceding example, effects that use “in addition to its other types” or similar allow the land to keep its existing subtypes and also its existing abilities.
Q: Amy controls Sleek Schooner, a Cabal Evangel with Captain’s Hook equipped to it and The Antiquities War with two lore counters on it. At the beginning of her next Precombat Main Phase, the III ability on The Antiquities War triggers. What happens to Amy’s artifacts?
A: Both Sleek Schooner and Captain’s Hook become 5/5 artifact creatures until end of turn. Additionally, Captain’s Hook becomes unattached from Cabal Evangel, which will be destroyed due to Captain’s Hook. An Equipment that becomes an artifact creature becomes unattached if it’s attached to a creature. Its equip ability can be activated, but it won’t become attached to the target creature [CR 301.5c, 701.3b, 701.3d, 704.5p]. If a Vehicle becomes a creature, it immediately has its printed power and toughness. Other effects, including the effect that makes it a creature, may modify these values or set them to different values [CR 301.7b]. If Sleek Schooner were to be crewed after the III effect of The Antiquities War, it would return to its base values of 4/3, as both power/toughness setting effects are applied in the same layer in timestamp order [CR 613.3, 613.6].
Q: Amy controls Cabal Evangel enchanted with On Serra’s Wings, as well as Blackblade Reforged. She activates the first equip ability on Blackblade Reforged, targeting her Cabal Evangel. In response, Nicole casts Naturalize on Amy’s On Serra’s Wings. What happens? What happens if she casts Naturalize on Amy’s On Serra’s Wings after the equip ability resolves?
A: If Nicole casts Naturalize in response to the equip ability, it will not resolve, as Cabal Evangel will no longer be a legal target (as it will not be legendary). “Equip [quality] creature” is a variant of the equip keyword. “Equip [quality] creature [cost]” means “[Cost]: Attach this Equipment to target [quality] creature you control. Activate this ability only any time you could cast a sorcery.” Since all the targets are illegal, the ability is removed from the stack. If Nicole casts Naturalize after the equip ability resolves, the equipment will stay attached to Cabal Evangel. Whether the target creature is legendary is checked only as Blackblade Reforged’s first equip ability is activated and as that ability resolves. If the creature somehow becomes nonlegendary later (such as in this case), Blackblade Reforged remains attached to it.
Q: Amy controls two Cabal Evangel, one of which is enchanted with On Serra’s Wings. What happens if she enchants the second Cabal Evangel with another On Serra’s Wings? What happens if the first Cabal Evangel is also enchanted with Curator’s Ward?
A: Amy will have to bin one of her Cabal Evangels (and one of her On Serra’s Wings) . If you control two On Serra’s Wings attached to two creatures you control with the same name, the “legend rule” applies to the enchanted creatures and to On Serra’s Wings at once. You can choose to keep the On Serra’s Wings that enchants the creature you wish to keep[CR 704.5j]. Please note that If you control two permanents with the same name but only one is legendary, the “legend rule” doesn’t apply, So Amy can have one legendary, flying, vigilant, life-linking Cabal Evangel, and one regular 2/2 one. Only once the second Evangel becomes legendary does the legend rule come into effect.
If one of the Cabal Evangels is also enchanted with Curator’s Ward, and Amy chooses to lose it due to the legend rule, she will draw two cards. This is because leaves-the-battlefield are a unique type of zone-changing triggers that look back in time to the immediate previous board state to determine whether an ability should trigger. In this case, when Cabal Evangel was moved to the graveyard from play, it was a historic permanent legendary). Thus, Curator’s Ward will indeed trigger and Amy will draw two cards. [CR 603.6c, 603.10a]
Q: Amy is at 20 life and controls Evra, Halcyon Witness. She activates its ability, and Nicole responds by casting Befuddle. At what life total will Amy be after the ability resolves? What happens if Nicole responds with a kicked Vicious Offering instead?
A: Amy will be at 0 life, and lose the game as a state-based action. Evra, Halcyon Witness’s power is 0 when the ability resolves, and Amy will end up at 0 life with a 20/4 creature, which doesn’t really help her. If Vicious Offering was used instead, Amy will end up with her original life total of 20. Though the last known information for Evra, Halcyon Witness’s power is (-1), When a spell or ability resolves that exchanges objects or information, if the entire exchange can’t be completed, no part of the exchange occurs. So nothing happens to Amy’s life total. [CR 107.1b, 701.9a, 701.9g]
A: No. Although Twincast allows Nicole to choose new targets for Fight with Fire, other choices that are copied, like the division of damage, stay the same.
Note: Copying a spell copies any choices made as part of casting the spell, including the choice to kick it, so the copy indeed does 10 damage rather than the base 5. This rule is also the reason why almost all effects that copy spells allow choosing a new target, because otherwise the copy’s target would be the same as the original’s. Another consequence of this rule is that the damage division is likewise copied, so if Amy had dealt 1 damage to one target, 2 to a second, 3 to a third, and 4 to a fourth, Nicole’s copy would also have four targets, dealing those amounts of damage to each one.
Q: How does Firesong and Sunspeaker work with…
- Lightning Helix? A: Lightning Helix is a red instant, so it has lifelink. Accordingly, the damage it deals causes you to gain 3 life. You also gain 3 life in a separate step of the spell resolving as part of the normal effect of that card. You therefore gain 3 life twice, which, because Lightning Helix is a white instant, causes F&S’s triggered ability to trigger twice. This, for a total of 9 points of damage and 6 points of healing!
- A Renewed Faith that’s cycled? A: F&S’s ability triggers only when a white instant or sorcery spell causes you to gain life. A spell refers specifically to a card on the stack [CR 111.1]. Therefore, this does not cause the ability to trigger.
- My opponent’s Fiery Justice? A: Fiery Justice is indeed a white instant, and its effect is making you gain life, so your F&S does trigger from this.
- Note: Firesong and Sunspeaker refers to white instant or sorceries in general, not white instants or sorceries you control. This is why an opponent’s Fiery Justice will trigger it as well.
- Either player’s Temporary Truce (no one chose to draw cards)? A: As before, which player controls the white instant or sorcery does not matter. F&S only triggers when something causes you to gain life, though, so you don’t get an additional trigger from an opponent gaining life. You also get only a single trigger for yourself gaining, since “for each” effects have you gain the life all at once, rather than as discrete events (cf. CR [CR 603.2c, 118.9]).
- Me casting Pressure Point and activating Words of Worship in response? A: Part of the effect of Pressure Point has you draw a card, which Words of Worship replaces with you gaining life. So a white instant caused you to gain life, meaning you get a trigger. Note that F&S only cares about the instant or sorcery being white, not the replacement effect. Words of Worship could have been any color and the answer would be the same.
- Repentance targeting my own creature that has lifelink? A: The effect of Repentance caused that creature to deal damage. And the damage caused you to gain life. Therefore, Repentance caused you to gain life. So F&S triggers.
In summary, any time the cost or effect of a white instant or sorcery spell causes you to gain life, F&S will trigger. It will even trigger if a replacement effect modifies the cost or effect of such a spell and the modified cost or effect causes you to gain life. It works on the opponent’s spells too (as long as you’re the one gaining the life).
Q: Amy wants to sacrifice her Goblin to play Goblin Barrage and deal 4 damage to Nicole, but Nicole has no creatures. Can she?
A: At first blush, the answer appears to be no, because you can’t cast a spell if you can’t choose a legal target for all the targets it has [CR 601.2c, 601.2e]. But there’s a trick! Targets are chosen before costs are paid, and Goblin Barrage doesn’t specify that it has to target an opponent’s creature [CR 601.2b, 601.2f, 601.2h]. So Amy can target the Goblin she’s going to sacrifice and cast it just fine. Additionally, when a spell resolves, it only fizzles if all the targets are illegal; if even one is still legal, it will do as much as it can [CR 608.2b]. So Amy can deal 4 damage to Nicole with Goblin Barrage in this manner!
A: A spell is not considered “cast” until after all its costs have been paid [CR 601.2h, 601.2i]. In the case of a kicked spell, this includes the costs paid to kick it. Accordingly, Hallar will not be on the battlefield at the time Primal Growth becomes cast, so its ability will not trigger.
Q: Amy plays a kicked spell, and Nicole kills Amy’s Hallar, the Firefletcher in response to its trigger. What happens?
A: Hallar’s ability has no targets, so it will resolve doing as much as is possible [CR 608.2b]. Putting a counter on Hallar is not possible, so that part gets skipped, but it is still possible for Hallar to deal damage to Nicole, even though it isn’t on the battlefield anymore [CR 608.2g,112.7a]. The game uses last known information to determine the number of +1/+1 counters on Hallar in this case.
Note: Because the last known information is used, the +1/+1 counter that Hallar would have gotten is not included in the total.
Note: Hallar’s last known information is also used to determine any characteristics about Hallar that pertain to the source of the damage or other effects [CR 112.7a]. For example, if Hallar was enchanted by Lifelink the last time it was on the battlefield, the damage it deals as a result of this trigger also causes Amy to gain that much life. If Darkest Hour is in play when this happens, a Circle of Protection: Black can prevent this damage, but a Circle of Protection: Red or Green can’t.
A: The instructions on Haphazard Bombardment don’t have you choose a permanent at random, then destroy the chosen permanent. Rather, they have you destroy a permanent at random. This distinction is important here because it’s not possible to destroy an indestructible permanent. This means that it’s not possible to randomly pick Darksteel Citadel while resolving Haphazard Bombardment’s destroy ability. Thus, one Grizzly Bears will be destroyed each turn, even the third turn, when the last surviving Grizzly Bears will be “randomly” selected.
Note: The enters the battlefield ability specifies that the permanents can’t be enchantments and that they can’t be permanents you control, but it doesn’t put any other restrictions on what can be chosen. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with electing to put an aim counter on an indestructible permanent. Because that ability doesn’t target, you can also pick a creature with hexproof such as Slippery Bogle
A: No. Choosing a permanent and destroying it both happen during the resolution of Haphazard Bombardment’s ability. Thus, no player has priority to activate abilities between these actions happening [CR 608.2f, 116.1b, 116.1d, 116.3]. Island has a mana ability, which means that it can be activated without having priority in certain circumstances [CR 116.1d]. There is a list of such exceptions in the CR, which roughly boils down to “times when something in the game is asking for a mana payment” [CR 116.1d]. Nothing of the sort is going on here, so Island is destroyed and Nicole Doesn’t even get a chance to say goodbye.
Note: As noted in the previous question, choosing what gets destroyed isn’t a discrete action from actually destroying it, at least as far as the game rules are concerned. This lends extra credence to the notion that nothing can happen between the two.
Note: Of course, Nicole can still respond to Haphazard Bombardment’s destroy trigger by tapping Island for mana, but at this point, she won’t yet know whether it’s going to be destroyed or not.
A: Vulshok Battlemaster’s ability triggers and Helm of the Host is attached to it. Then the triggered ability from Helm of the Host resolves. What creature is getting copied is checked on resolution, so the token created will be a Vulshok Battlemaster [CR 114.9, 608.2g]. Because Amy still controls the trigger on the stack, she will be the one to create that token. When that happens, the token’s enters the battlefield ability will trigger, and Helm of the Host (and any other equipment) will be attached to it.
Note: Helm of the Host triggers only on its controller’s combat. If Vulshok Battlemaster were cast normally, the helm would not trigger until the combat phase on its controller’s turn.
A: After the first token enters the battlefield, there will be two permanents named Brothers Yamazaki on the battlefield, and the legend rule won’t apply to them, just like their ability says. After the second token is created, there will be three creatures named Brothers Yamazaki on the battlefield, so the legend rule will apply to them as normal. Only the original brother is legendary, though, and the state based action associated with the legend rule looks for “two or more legendary permanents with the same name” [CR 704.5j]. None of the brothers have to go to the graveyard, therefore.
Note: If Amy plays a second Brothers Yamazaki card, there will be two legendary permanents with the same name under Amy’s control and she will have to put one of them into the graveyard. One of the physical Brothers Yamazaki will have to go because the token ones aren’t legendary.
A: Which creature is getting copied is not determined until the trigger resolves [CR 608.2g]. Because there is no equipped creature at that time, no token is created.
Note: Suppose Nicole had used Eaten by Spiders instead. Because Helm of the Host is no longer in play when its ability resolves, the game checks the last known information from when it was on the battlefield to determine the characteristics of the token [CR 608.2g, 112.7a]. Because Eaten by Spiders uses a single clause in its instructions, Wind Drake and Helm of the Host are destroyed at the same time. Therefore, as it last existed on the battlefield, the equipped creature was Wind Drake. The game again uses last known information to determine Wind Drake’s characteristics, so the token is created as normal.
Note: Suppose Nicole had used Blastfire Bolt instead. Blastfire Bolt’s resolution has the damage dealing happen first, then it destroys equipment in a separate sentence, which means it happens afterward, not simultaneously [CR 608.2e]. The creature is not destroyed until state-based actions are checked, though, which happens after Blastfire Bolt finishes resolving, and therefore, after Helm of the Host leaves the battlefield [CR 116.2d, 116.3b, 116.5, 704.3, 704.5g]. So just like the last note, the last time Helm of the Host was on the battlefield, it was equipped to a creature, so Amy gets the token as normal again.
Note: Suppose Nicole had used a kicked Rushing River to return both Wind Drake and Helm of the Host to Amy’s hand. In this case either outcome is possible. Rushing River has two discrete sentences, so the permanents are returned in two separate events [CR 608.2e]. If Helm of the Host was chosen as the first target, and thus is returned first, it will have been equipped to Wind Drake as it last existed on the battlefield. On the other hand, if Helm of the Host is returned as the second target, it will not have been equipped to a creature the last time it was on the battlefield, since the Wind Drake was returned first. This means that no token will be created, just like in the original situation with Lightning Bolt.
A: No. The templating “That token gains haste” indicates that the token gets haste through the action of a continuous effect after it’s created, rather than this being a modification to the copying process. Since continuous effects acting on the original object aren’t copied, Shapesharer does not have haste [CR 706.2].
Advanced Note: Unstable Shapeshifter has a similar effect, but note how “and gains this ability” is part of the same clause as the thing that makes it a copy (in other words, there is a separate verb, but not a separate subject in Unstable Shapeshifter’s ability). This minor semantic difference changes the answer to this question, since the lack of a discrete clause means this takes place as part of the same action as the copying [CR 608.2e]. Gaining the ability is thus considered a modification to the copying process rather than a separate continuous effect that applies after the copying takes place 706.9a. Because copy effects (and any modifications those might include) acting on an object are part of that object’s copyable information, a permanent that’s a copy of Unstable Shapeshifter would have its “becomes a copy and gains this ability” ability [CR 706.3, 706.9a].
A: Yes, this works. In the process of casting a spell, Amy declares her intention to pay alternate costs such as the one Jodah allows her to pay [CR 112.6c, 117.9, 117.9a, 601.2b]. After that, when she is actually paying those costs, Vizier of the Menagerie lets her spend mana as though it were any type to pay the cost of a creature spell. Vizier doesn’t say it only applies to the legit mana cost, so there’s no problem with doing this.
Note: Jodah covers the “mana cost,” but it doesn’t contribute towards any additional costs such as kicker that the spell might have. Those costs still have to be paid as normal.
A: Yes. An effect that makes a permanent lose hexproof will cause it to lose all “hexproof from [quality]” abilities too [CR 702.11e].
A: While Nicole controls Lich’s Mastery she can’t lose the game, but her opponents can still win the game if an effect says so. Thus, even as a Lich, Nicole can’t stop the rising of the second sun and the arrival of our god-Pharoah.
A: Both of Kwende and Knighthood have abilities that apply in layer 6. Because applying Knighthood’s ability before applying Kwende’s changes the number of objects that Kwende’s ability applies to, Kwende depends on Knighthood and is applied last [CR 613.7]. Grizzly Bears has double strike.
A: Having lost its abilities, Terravore now has no way to determine the *’s in its p/t box, so the game uses 0’s instead [CR 208.2a]. Because it’s a 0/0, it’s put into it’s owner’s graveyard the next time state-based actions are performed.
Note: Tarmogoyf works exactly the same way, but note that Tarmogoyf’s toughness is *+1. The game still uses 0’s for the undeterminable *’s, but because the one for toughness is used in a calculation, the game finishes that calculation with the 0 in place of the *.Tarmogoyf’s toughness becomes 1, not 0.
Q: How does Naban, Dean of Iteration work with:
- …Diviner’s Wand? A: Naban’s ability doesn’t say it only works for Wizard creatures. If Diviner’s Wand entering the battlefield causes, say, a Salivating Gremlins to trigger, that ability triggers an additional time.
- …Tocatli Honor Guard? A: Tocatli Honor Guard’s ability prevents most (not all; see previous question) triggered abilities that Naban would care about from triggering at all. Naban’s ability only kicks in when a triggered ability actually triggers. Since THG prevents that, you don’t get an additional trigger.
- …Arcane Adaptation naming Wizard? A: Because Arcane Adaptation makes all your creatures Wizards, any triggered ability of a permanent you control that triggers when any creature of yours enters the battlefield will trigger an additional time.
- …linked abilities? A: The second triggering of the Elite Arcanist’s ability will result in a second instant being exiled. If the second of a pair of linked abilities later performs any actions on “the exiled card,” it performs those actions on all exiled cards [CR 607.3]. So you get a copy of each one.
A: No. Oath of Teferi says you can activate “twice.” It doesn’t say you can activate an additional time. As such, they do not stack, and you’re capped at 2 no matter how many oaths you have.
Q: Amy activates the +1 ability of Teferi, Hero of Dominaria. At the beginning of her end step, she controls no untapped lands. What happens?
A: When the delayed trigger resolves, Amy is instructed to untap two lands. Because that ability does not indicate this instruction is optional (with templating such as up to or may), Amy must untap two lands if possible. Only tapped permanents can be untapped, so “untapping” lands of hers that are already untapped is not a legal way to fulfill this instruction [CR 701.20b]. If all Amy’s lands are untapped, and her opponent has some tapped lands, Amy must untap those.
Note: This is the reason why Twiddle and similar effects are worded “you may tap or untap”. Otherwise, if you played Twiddle targeting a land, your opponent could tap that land for mana in response and you would be forced to untap it.
Note: If only one land on the battlefield is tapped, the ability does as much as possible and untaps it. This is for exactly the same reason that a player with one card in hand who is instructed to “discard two cards” has to discard.
Note: In practice, this is pretty unlikely to come up. The lands to be untapped are not targeted, so they are chosen on resolution. This means Amy can put the ability on the stack, respond to it by tapping two lands for mana, then untap those two.
A: No. Because the card is drawn in the process of casting a spell, it’s drawn face down. Amy cannot look at it until she finishes casting the spell.
Q: Can Iplay Settle the Score if I control no planeswalkers?
A: Yes. Because Settle the Score doesn’t target your planeswalker, that isn’t part of the requirements to cast it. When Settle the Score resolves, it will do as much as it can. The other effects aren’t predicated upon putting loyalty counters on a planeswalker, so even if you can’t do that part, the rest will happen just fine.
Note: The choice of which planeswalker to put counters on is made on resolution. If you have more than one, and the one you would have buffed gets destroyed in response to Settle the Score, you can put the counters elsewhere.
A: Amy’s land will not untap. The lands affected by Sylvan Awakening stop being creatures as your next untap step begins, before you untap your permanents. If this causes any state-based actions to become applicable, or if any abilities trigger, those are handled during your upkeep. As a state-based action, Waterknot will go to Nicole’s Graveyard as it attached to an illegal permanent [CR 704.5n], but, state-based actions are checked only when a player receives priority [CR 704.3], which they do not during the untap step [CR 116.3a]. Thus, even though Amy’s land will stop being a creature before untapping her lands, Waterknot will be put in the Graveyard only during her upkeep, and by then Amy’s land will not be able to untap, as Waterknot is still attached to it at the relevant time.
A: Yes. During the resolution of The Eldest Reborn’s ability, Rona’s ability triggers. This ability is not put onto the stack until after state-based actions are performed, which puts The Eldest Reborn into Amy’s graveyard. The target for this ability is not chosen until it goes on the stack, and by this time, The Eldest Reborn is in the graveyard, so this works.
Note: Suppose that Amy uses In Bolas’s Clutches to take Nicole’s The Eldest Reborn. In this case, the sequence of actions is as follows: Return Rona to the battlefield, Amy sacrifices The Eldest Reborn because it has 3 lore counters on it, Amy puts In Bolas’ Clutches into her graveyard because it has nothing attached to it, Rona’s ability is put onto the stack. State-based actions are checked and performed until no more state-based actions need to happen before the game puts any triggered abilities on the stack [CR 116.5]. This means that Amy can exile In Bolas’ Clutches with Rona’s ability. It also means, for example, if Amy had any triggered abilities that triggered from sacrificing The Eldest Reborn or putting In Bolas’ Clutches into the graveyard, these would also trigger before triggered abilities are put onto the stack, so she can stack these in whatever order she wants, regardless of when they happened.
Q: Can you play the card you exiled with Rona, Disciple of Gix if Rona leaves the battlefield?
A: No. Note that the sentence that says you can cast cards exiled with Rona appears on a separate paragraph on Rona’s text box. This indicates that this is a separate ability from the one that exiles the card, not part of that same effect. Because abilities generally only work on the battlefield, if Rona leaves the battlefield, you won’t be able to cast the card anymore.
Note: Contrast this to something like Gonti, Lord of Luxury which has the text that lets you play the card in the same ability as the exiling. This indicates that the being able to cast happens as the ability resolves and is tied to that card as long as it stays exiled, regardless of what happens to Gonti.
Note: If Rona leaves the battlefield and then comes back, say with Sentinel of the Pearl Trident, Rona will be a new object with no memory of its old self. Any cards that were exiled with the “old” Rona will stay exiled, but you won’t be able to cast them.
Q: How does Torgaar, Famine Incarnate‘s cost reducing ability function? I thought you had to determine the cost to cast the spell before you paid costs. How does the game know how many creatures you’re going to sacrifice so it can reduce the mana cost by the appropriate amount?
A: The process of casting a spell is indeed such that the cost reduction from sacrificing (which happens in the step described in CR 601.2f) happens before the sacrificing actually happens (in step CR 601.2h). This is possible because the intention to pay additional costs is declared before either of these in step 601.2b. So the process of casting Torgaar goes: Say how many creatures you’re sacrificing; determine the cost, which consists of [sacrifice that many creatures] + [some mana calculated from that]; then pay that cost. If you aren’t able to sacrifice the requisite number of creatures, you don’t get a free pass. Rather, the game backs up, just as it would if you tried to cast Genesis Hydra for X = 100000 without the requisite amount of mana.
A: No. Because Shimatsu’s ability is a replacement effect, it applies immediately before Shimatsu enters the battlefield. Thus, Amy can only sacrifice permanents that are already on the battlefield. Because Primevals’ Glorious Rebirth returns all legendary creatures simultaneously, neither one will enter first, so she won’t be able to sacrifice one to the other.
A: In light of the previous answer, it seems like she should be able to. Indeed, both Skitiryxes are still in Amy’s graveyard at the time The Mimeoplasm’s ability is applied. Unfortunately, there’s a rule that says this is too weird to be permissible and prohibits Amy from exiling cards entering at the same time as The Mimeoplasm with its ability [CR 614.13a].
A: No. The sequence of events during the resolution of Primevals’ Glorious Rebirth is as follows. First Ishkanah is returned to the battlefield. At this point, the game checks to see if any triggered abilities have triggered. Because the intervening if clause on Ishkanah’s ability is not true at this point, the ability does not trigger. Then, Primevals’ Glorious Rebirth is put into Amy’s graveyard.
A: None. First Primevals’ Glorious Rebirth returns both Linvalas to the battlefield. Then, the game checks for any triggered abilities that should trigger. Because Amy controls the same number of creatures as Nicole, neither Linvala’s intervening if clause is true, so neither ability triggers. Then, the game performs state-based actions and Amy has to put one of her Linvalas in the graveyard. Finally, any triggered abilities that have triggered get put onto the stack at this point. Unfortunately, even though the if condition is now true for Amy’s remaining Linvala, the ability does not get put on the stack because it wasn’t true at the time when the game checked.
Note: Primeval’s Glorious Rebirth doesn’t indicate that returning creatures is optional. Although Amy may want to just leave one Linvala in her graveyard, and although in practice, that’s what most people will physically do in a case like this, she has to return both.
A: First, Primevals’ Glorious Rebirth returns all four creatures to the battlefield. Unlike in the previous question, Selvala’s ability does not use an intervening if clause because the “if” doesn’t come between the trigger condition and the thing that happens (This is what the “intervening” in “intervening if clause” refers to). Thus, each Selvala triggers three times: once for the other Selvala, and once for each Ghalta. Then, state based actions are performed, and one of each legendary creature is put into the graveyard. After this, the six triggered abilities that have triggered are put onto the stack.
When these triggers resolve, of course the two associated with the Selvalas do not result in a card draw because Selvala’s power is too low. Amy will draw a card for each of the triggers associated with the Ghalta that she kept because the “if its power is greater than each other creature’s power” is checked on resolution, and it will be true at this time. The abilities associated with the Ghalta that was put into Amy’s graveyard do not result in a card draw because its power is the same as the other Ghalta’s power, meaning that it is not greater than each other creature’s power.
Note: If Amy can sacrifice or otherwise remove her remaining Ghalta before any of these triggers resolve, she may wish to consider it because she draws a lot more cards that way. In this case, the Selvala that remains on the battlefield will have power greater than each other creature’s power, so the trigger from it entering the battlefield draws Amy a card. The trigger generated by that Selvala from the other Selvala entering the battlefield does not result in a card draw because the remaining Selvala is a creature on the battlefield that has the same power. On the other hand, all the triggers associated with either Ghalta result in card draws because the game uses Ghalta’s last known information when determining if its power is greater than each other creature’s power. But this number is greater than the power of any other “creature,” which in this usage refers only to creatures still on the battlefield. Thus, Amy draws 5 cards total.
A: Yes. The biggest rule change this time around is removing the planeswalker redirection rule. Previously any noncombat damage dealt to an opponent could be redirected to a planeswalker that player controls. Now this is no more because players can target planeswalkers directly. Lightning Bolt has been errata’d to deal 3 damage to “any target,” and the CR has been updated to define that to mean any creature, player, or planeswalker. This brings with it some functional changes, including this one, being able to bolt your own planeswalkers, and the one in the next question, but it also streamlines this type of effect A LOT and makes much more intuitive sense.
Note: There are some general guidelines about which cards have been errata’d to be able to damage planeswalkers (Lava Spike, Searing Blaze) and which haven’t (Price of Progress, Searing Blood). Some cards even have both! I could try to go over those here, but realistically, the best advice I have is the classic judging staple: just check the Oracle text every time.
Q: Can I use Jaya’s Immolating Inferno to damage my opponent and two of her planeswalkers?
A: Yes. This didn’t work before because of the planeswalker redirect rule. Since damaging a planeswalker could only be accomplished by redirecting damage from its controller, and since JII’s single use of the word “target” means you can’t target the same object more than once, you couldn’t damage a player if you wanted to damage that player’s planeswalker. Now, you can target the player’s planeswalkers directly, so doing this works totally fine.
Note: The rules that allow you to choose an object only once for each discrete use of the word “target” in the spell’s text haven’t changed. So you cannot target your opponent three times and deal 3 times X damage to them.
Q: Amy and Alice are playing against Nicole and Natalie in 2HG. Nicole controls Baird, Steward of Argive. How much do Amy and Alice have to pay to attack?
A: None if they’re smart. In another major rules change, 2HG has moved away from attacking and defending teams in favor of attacking individual players. Accordingly, Amy and Alice can just attack Natalie and not have to pay any mana.
A: Before Grunn’s ability resolves, Grunn is a -2/5. If a calculation that would determine the result of an effect yields a negative number, zero is used instead, unless that effect doubles or sets to a specific value a player’s life total or a creature’s power and/or toughness [CR 107.1b]. So because Grunn’s calculation involves doubling its p/t, and because the rules were changed just for this case, Grunn ends up as a -4/10.
A: Doubling a creature’s power and toughness is accomplished by creating a continuous effect that gives it +X/+Y where X is its power and Y is its toughness. Both of these are evaluated as the spell or ability that doubles power or toughness resolves. Accordingly, Grunn will have two continuous effects acting on its p/t. One that sets it to 0/1, and another that gives it +5/+5. These are applied in sublayer order, so that Grunn starts as a 5/5, then becomes 0/1, and finally ends up as a 5/6.
Note: If Grunn was kicked, it would have three effects acting on its p/t: Humble making it a 0/1, the doubling effect giving it +10/+10, and the 5 counters giving it +5/+5. So Grunn would start as a 5/5, Humble’s effect would make it a 0/1 in layer 7b, the doubling effect would make it a 10/11 in layer 7c, and finally the counters would make it a not very humble 15/16 in layer 7d.
A: The former. The rules for fight now specify what happens in this case. If a creature fights itself, as in any other fight, the damage happens all at once, so this event will make Spirit Link trigger once to have Amy gain 8.
A: No. Abilities that modify what the object they’re on costs to cast or allow paying an alternate cost rather than that object’s mana cost only function while the object is on the stack [CR 112.6c]. Because Bringer of the Blue Dawn isn’t on the stack, that ability doesn’t function, so she has to pay its normal mana cost.
Q: Amy plays Borderland Ranger and searches her library. She doesn’t have a basic land, though, so she can’t reveal one or put it into her hand. Does she still shuffle her library?
A: Until the most recent rules update, it was ambiguous whether the “shuffle your library” was contingent upon doing everything or doing just the searching. Now, we have CR support for it being contingent only on the search [CR 117.12b].
Note: Normally, it isn’t legal to choose to do something that is impossible to do. This update also cleared up the related ambiguity of whether it was legal for a player with no basics to choose to search (you can) [CR 701.18g].
A: Whenever a permanent changes zones, it becomes a new object with no relation to its prior self. Therefore, Grizzly Bears is now a new object, and the permanent that was targeted by Terminate no longer exists. As Terminate tries to resolve, the game sees that its target is now illegal and puts it into Amy’s graveyard. Under the old rules, this counted as the game rules “countering” Terminate. But now, there’s no special term for it. The Terminate is just “put into its controller’s graveyard.” So Multani’s Presence doesn’t trigger.
Q: Where exactly does the penalty counter reset for multi-day events?
A: After every cut. This wording was made clear in light of the fact that multi-GP weekends mean players can now play in two different GP’s on the same day. Any infractions in the first do not count towards the second.
Q: Amy plays a morph creature and passes the turn. During the end step, Nicole casts Into the Roil on Amy’s face up Woolly Loxodon. After returning it to her hand, Amy pauses the game and calls a judge. Away from the table, she explains that the face down card she played was a Forest and that she had meant to play Krosan Colossus. What do you do?
A: Casting a non-morph card face down is an error that cannot be corrected using publicly available information. Therefore, Amy has committed a Hidden Card Error. Ordinarily, the penalty is upgraded to a Game Loss in cases where a player casts a non-morph card face down. However, this upgrade does not apply if the player discovers the error themselves, has a morph card in hand, and has not added any previously unknown cards to their hand since casting the problem card face down. This is the case here, so Amy can switch the Forest on the battlefield with the Krosan Colossus in her hand.
Note: In previous versions of the IPG, adding any cards to the morph player’s hand, even if they were known, would have prevented the exception here from applying.
Note: A literal reading of the IPG indicates that Amy would not have the penalty upgraded even if Krosan Colossus was not in her hand and the only morph creature she actually had at that point was Woolly Loxodon. This is probably not a change the policy writers intended, so I wouldn’t count on this being the case in the future, and would consult the Head Judge if this happened in an event I was judging.
Q: While she is shuffling up for game 1, Amy calls a judge and asks you to look at her opponent’s deck. Nicole is playing a foil Kess, Dissident Mage which is badly warped and can be distinguished from the rest of her cards when in the deck. What do you do?
A: Because this card is marked, Nicole can’t use it. Because the game hasn’t started yet, Nicole can still correct the error by procuring a non-marked version of the card. Unfortunately, because Kess does not have a non-foil printing, it’s likely that any replacement she can find will have the same problem. As a concession to this issue, the MTR has been changed so that the Head Judge can issue a proxy in cases where a foil card is marked and no non-foil version of the card exists.
Note: If this error were discovered during gameplay, the penalty for Marked Cards that could give their owner a substantial advantage is a Game Loss. For this reason, if this happens, the judge should investigate to determine if Amy delayed calling a judge until the game started to secure a harsher penalty for her opponent. Additionally, judges should encourage players to take advantage of this change before the start of any tournament where it might be relevant.
Note: If Nicole’s card had a non-foil version and she could not procure an unmarked copy of it, the marked cards would be replaced with basic lands of Nicole’s choice. In another change, the IPG specifically excludes Wastes from being added this way. It remains to be seen whether the policy team will change this to also exclude snow lands the way MTR 7.2 and IPG 3.4 do.
Q: Amy has 10 permanents when she plays Vona’s Hunger but does not announce that she gets the City’s Blessing as Nicole sacrifices her only creature. Several turns later, Amy has fewer than 10 permanents and plays a second Vona’s Hunger. Nicole sacrifices only one creature, but Amy tells her she should sacrifice half of them because the first Vona’s Hunger gave her the City’s Blessing. Nicole protests that if she knew Amy had the City’s Blessing, she would not have played a third creature last turn. What do you do?
A: In the biggest change of policy this time around, a new class of information was added. Status information includes life totals, any counters associated with a player, and “continuous effects with no defined expiration within the game that apply to that player” such as having the City’s Blessing. Status information must be physically tracked and announced when it changes. Because Amy did not meet these requirements, she has committed a Communication Policy Violation and gets a Warning. In cases of a CPV where a player acted on incorrect information, a backup may be considered. This backup would be to the point where the information was acted on, not the point where the incorrect communication occurred. Use careful judgment and the criteria listed in IPG 1.4 to evaluate whether backing up would lead to a game state closer to what the natural progression of the game would have led to than the current state.
Note: The potential for abuse is very high in cases like this. Nicole’s claim that she would have played around a second Vona’s Hunger had she known Amy had the City’s Blessing may be legitimate. Or it may be that she had not considered this possibility and is trying to create more value for herself due to her opponent’s mistake. Investigate carefully to determine not only whether a backup is warranted but also to determine each player’s awareness and intentions regarding this infraction.
Note: Changes in status information must be represented in a way that’s visible to both players. The easiest way to do this is with a purpose-made token such as the ones representing the Monarch or City’s Blessing that were printed in sets with those mechanics. If the players do not have such a token, or for those effects for which no such marker exists (Stigma Lasher, Praetor’s Counsel, epic), etc.) it’s important that players see a judges as an asset rather than a liability. To this end, if you are intervening in a case like this, be sure to have a suggested legal solution that puts as little of a burden on the players as possible ready. One thing that’s worked well for me in the past is getting an approximately card-sized piece of printer paper and drawing a (cartoonishly bad) pictorial representation of the state on it, then offering it to the players to use.
Note: Astute readers will note that any counters on a player are now status information. This means that experience counters join poison and energy as being no longer trackable using an easily changed method like a die.
Q: Amy attacks with Snapcaster Mage, and Nicole animates a Celestial Colonnade and blocks. After combat, Amy activates the +0 ability of Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Nicole moves the Celestial Colonnade back with the rest of her lands. After putting 2 cards back, Amy thinks for a few seconds, then passes the turn. As Nicole is untapping her permanents, Amy pauses the game and calls a judge. Away from the table, she tells you that she drew a Supreme Verdict with Jace, and that she didn’t play it because Nicole had no creatures in play. Amy says that she would have cast Supreme Verdict if Nicole hadn’t “hidden” Celestial Colonnade with the rest of her lands. What do you do?
A: In another change, play mistakes derived from nonstandard layouts are also considered CPV, effectively making the proposed standard layout from the last MTR mandatory, not just for feature matches, but for everyone. One feature of the standard game layout is that “permanents that are also creatures (e.g. artifacts with March of the Machines on the battlefield, Dryad Arbor, or a Treetop Village that is currently a creature) must be placed in the nonland area.” Therefore, Amy’s claim, that Nicole’s moving Celestial Colonnade affected her play, has merit. Because a misplay was attributable to this violation of the policy found in MTR section 4, Nicole gets a Warning for CPV. A backup may be considered as a fix. This would be done by re-tapping Nicole’s permanents and moving back to Amy’s postcombat main phase.
Note: The layout changes are a mandatory default, but players can agree to modify it in order to make gameplay clearer. For example, if a player is playing dredge or storm, different layouts may be desirable from a gameplay perspective.
Note: Failure to Maintain Game State is applied where a player permits a Game Play Error to occur without pointing it out. CPV is a Tournament Error, so assessing Amy a FtMGS would not be appropriate here.
Note: Investigations skills are important in any backup, but especially in ones involving CPV because such backups ipso facto involve players becoming aware of new information about the game state which can corrupt the new game after resuming from a backup. As written, I could support a backup in this case, but I could also go the other way. Here are some questions I would ask the players (away from the table) to help determine what would be better:
- Why did you attack with Snapcaster Mage into a colonnade?
- What cards did you hit and put back with your Jace activation?
- Why did you tap 5 lands and expose your colonnade to a potential removal spell rather than take 2 damage?
Understanding the players’ thought processes and game plans is vital to making a good backup decision.
Note: It may be the case that Nicole’s CPV influenced Amy’s decision on what to put back with her Jace activation, but I would be very reluctant back up to this point. While it may not look like it, Amy has gained significant information which she would not have had that could change her decision of what to put back. Knowing Nicole has no intention of playing an instant during the end of turn step would reduce the value of conditional counterspells like Dispel and would increase the value of a more expensive instant speed card such as Cryptic Command or Torrential Gearhulk. Considerations like this underscore the importance of format familiarity for judges.
Q: What are the rules for table layout?
A: Below is a useful paraphrase. Reference MTR 4.6 for the full rules.
- Your lands should be the cards closest to you, and your nonlands should be grouped farther away (i.e., closer to your opponent).
- Noncreature permanents that could reasonably be associated with lands (Mox Opal, Carpet of Flowers) may be kept in either area as long as the overall layout is clear. This does not apply to permanents that are also creatures (Dryad Arbor, Llanowar Elves, animated manlands), which must be grouped with a player’s nonland permanents.
- Cards that are attached to permanents (auras, equipment) should be clearly attached to the permanent they’re attached to, regardless of where the land/nonland cards are laid out
- A player’s library, graveyard, and exile zone should all be on the same side of the battlefield, and a player’s graveyard and exile should be adjascent to that player’s library.
- If a card is exiled by a permanent that has some way to perform additional actions on the exiled card (Banisher Priest, Isochron Scepter, Gonti, Lord of Luxury, Karn Liberated), those cards should be kept together.
- Untapped permanents should face their controller unless it’s being turned upside down as a memory aid (Wirewood Symbiote, detained permanents).
It bears repeating that all of these are meant to be a default, and strict adherence can be relaxed if players agree to it or if a tournament official requests it.
Q: Amy has to leave to catch her flight during the first round of the top 4 of a team format event. Can Alice and Angie play their matches without her?
A: The new MTR specifically spells out that if one member of a team drops or is disqualified from a tournament, the whole team is dropped [MTR 8.2], so the strict answer is “no.” However, note that a player isn’t normally dropped from an event until after showing up late for a round, so Alice and Angie should at least be allowed to finish the round they’re in. Additionally, it seems a reasonable request given their situation that Alice and Angie be allowed to “un-drop” and play the finals, though this would be a customer service call at the discretion of the tournament organizer.
That’s all for this set. A special thanks to my collaborator, Uri Hershkovitz, without whose hard work, this article would not have been possible. If you’re interested in joining the New Set Digest team, e-mail JudgingFtW@gmail.com