Irrelephant Ambush

Anna and Nick are playing in a GPT. Anna casts Loxodon Smiter. In response, Nick casts Essence Scatter, targeting the Smiter. When Essence Scatter resolves, Anna puts the Smiter into her graveyard. She then attacks and Nick blocks. During her second main phase, Anna casts another spell, then passes the turn. Nick untaps and draws his card for the turn. At this point, Anna realizes that Loxodon Smiter can’t be countered and calls a judge.

What do you do?

Judges, feel free to discuss this scenario on Judge Apps!

View Answer
This week, we are going to break things down point by point:

● The error was that Loxodon Smiter, a spell that can’t be countered, was countered by Essence Scatter.
● This is a double GRV. From IPG 2.5, “In a situation where the effect that caused the infraction is controlled by one player, but the illegal action is taken by another player, both receive a Game Play Error – Game Rule Violation.”
○ The illegal action occurs when Angie removes Smiter from the stack and puts it in her graveyard.
○ The effect that caused the infraction is Nelson’s Essence Scatter. (The Smiter clearly never gets taken off the stack if the Essence Scatter doesn’t resolve, so it caused the infraction.)
● For the purposes of this scenario, we have chosen not to rewind due to complexity. As always, this decision falls to the head judge or another authorized judge at a real event.
● There is no partial fix available. ”If an object changing zones is put into the wrong zone, the identity of the object was known to all players, and it is within a turn of the error, put the object in the correct zone,“ doesn’t fit because the Smiter was not trying to change zones when it incorrectly went to the graveyard.
● To contrast with the Boon Satyr scenario, Boon Satyr was trying to move from the stack to the battlefield when the error occurred.

The distinction between Smiter and Satyr here may seem like splitting hairs to some. However, policy was carefully designed to support a partial fix for the Satyr but not for the Smiter. One of the most important lessons for a judge to learn is that the IPG is worded as it is for a reason. Applying technical knowledge of both the CR and IPG when a problem arises is the most important factor in fair and consistent handling of infractions. We hope that the pair of scenarios we’ve presented over the last fortnight has both helped you understand this partial fix better and encouraged you to more closely read documents and carefully examine game states.