Rhein Main Judges October

Every month, several local judges and non-judges interested in judging meet in my area (Frankfurt Main, Germany). We usually have around 10 players from Germany, including all kinds of levels(0-3) and experience(ranging from “I want to become judge” to 10-years veteran). This meeting is not a meeting with a previously set schedule. We simply meet and since we’re all judges, it happens that we discuss and talk quite a bit about judging stuff too. This is my report from the latest meeting in October. The meeting was heavily influenced by the new rules of Theros and partly by current discussion on online judge-related platforms.

1. Rules – Chronicler of Heroes and interviening-if clause
2. Rules – Ghost Ride the Whip
3. Rules – Purphoros and Flicker and state-triggers
4. Rules – Bestow / Countered upon Resolution
5. Policy – Picking up cards vs. Concession/Surrender
6. Ressources – Modern Rules Interactions

7. Misc – About this report

1. Rules – Chronicler of Heroes and interviening-if clause
Andy controls Bow of Nylea. He casts Chronicler of Heroes and as soon as it’s on the battlefield, puts a +1/+1 counter on that Chronicler of Heroes to be able to draw a card.
The core question behind this is if Chronicler of Heroes even triggers, when the condition: a creature has a +1/+1 counter, isn’t met at the point it would trigger.

The judges arguing against this (they say: won’t draw a card) referred to the so called interviening if-clause. That is a construct where a triggered ability will not trigger, if it’s connected to a condition to trigger. The most famous examples for an interviening if-clause are probably Oath of Druids and more recently Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle (Valakut Rules Primer)

To find out whether Chronicler of Heroes has one of these “interviening ‘if’ clause”, let’s see the rule for those and compare it with Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle:

603.4. A triggered ability may read “When/Whenever/At , if , .” When the trigger event occurs, the ability checks whether the stated condition is true. The ability triggers only if it is; otherwise it does nothing. If the ability triggers, it checks the stated condition again as it resolves. If the condition isn’t true at that time, the ability is removed from the stack and does nothing. Note that this mirrors the check for legal targets. This rule is referred to as the “intervening ‘if’ clause” rule. (The word “if” has only its normal English meaning anywhere else in the text of a card; this rule only applies to an “if” that immediately follows a trigger condition.)

Whenever a Mountain enters the battlefield under your control,
if you control at least five other Mountains,
you may have Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle deal 3 damage to target creature or player.

Correct card text:
When Chronicler of Heroes enters the battlefield,
draw a card if you control a creature with a +1/+1 counter on it.

Made-up card text:
When Chronicler of Heroes enters the battlefield,
if you control a creature with a +1/+1 counter on it,
draw a card.

The difference here is very small; in the cards’ syntax. One has the comma and keyword IF directly after the triggering event, the other has the keyword IF somewhere in the middle of its effect (thus no interviening if-clause).
That is the reason why Chronicler of Heroes will always trigger when it enters the battlefield, regardless of +1/+1 counters floating around or not floating. The condition whether the trigger will actually do something is checked only upon resolution of the effect. Andy can draw a card in the desired way.

2. Rules – Whip of Erebos and Obzedat, Ghost Council
Tom controls Whip of Erebos and activates it to return Obzedat, Ghost Council to the battlefield. At the end of his turn, he stacks the two exile triggers (delayed trigger from Whip of Erebos and normal trigger from Obzedat) to have Obzedat’s ability resolve first. Obzedat is exiled, and will later return.
Everyone knows it is this way, but there was plenty uncertainity in why exactly it is this way.

I found this the most clear explanation at tappedout.net

After bringing Obzedat from the graveyard to the battlefield and swinging for 5 with lifelink and gaining 2 from his ability, can you exile him from his second ability and he’ll come back in next turn?

This will work. Whip of Erebos creates a replacement effect that exiles the creature if it would go anywhere else. Because Obzedat, Ghost Council is already going to exile, the replacement effect doesn’t do anything. Obzedat, Ghost Council will return to the battlefield as normal when its delayed triggered ability resolves.

3. Rules – Purphoros, God of the Forge and Flicker (a) and state-triggers (b)
Mike has Purphoros, God of the Forge and four Raging Goblins. He attacks with all of them and uses Restoration Angel to “flicker” one of the Raging Goblins. The question is if Purphoros is still an attacking creature.

Certain events can cause an attacking or blocking creature, or a planeswalker that’s being attacked, to be “removed from combat.” A permanent that’s removed from combat has no further involvement in that combat phase. Purphoros is a creature before the Restoration Angel as well as after the Restoration Angel.

506.4. A permanent is removed from combat if it leaves the battlefield, if its controller changes, , or if it’s an attacking or blocking creature that regenerates (see rule 701.12) or stops being a creature. A creature that’s removed from combat stops being an attacking, blocking, blocked, and/or unblocked creature. A planeswalker that’s removed from combat stops being attacked.

Since Purphoros stopped being a creature (that moment when Goblin was in exile, but has not returned yet), it was removed from combat. The time frame was fairly short, but that doesn’t matter.

3. Rules – Purphoros and Flicker (a) and state-triggers (b)
On a similar context, the topic of state-triggered abilities came up.
John has a Emperor Crocodile and a Balduvian Bear. He casts Beast Within targetting the Bear. This is what happens: During the resolution, Beast Within resolves starting with “Destroy target permanent. …”. The Bear dies and Emperor Crocodile is now alone. This makes it ability trigger (yet not go on the stack yet). After that, John puts a 3/3 green beast creature token onto the battlefield, Beast Within finishes resolving and goes to the graveyard, then Emperor Crocodile trigger goes on the stack.

When you control no other creatures, sacrifice Emperor Crocodile.

Upon resolution of the trigger, it will not check again if the condition is still met (because it doesn’t say so on the ability) and thus once triggered, these state-triggered abilities will be carried out. John has to sacrifice the Empereor Crocodile

603.8. Some triggered abilities trigger when a game state (such as a player controlling no permanents of a particular card type) is true, rather than triggering when an event occurs. These abilities trigger as soon as the game state matches the condition. They’ll go onto the stack at the next available opportunity. These are called state triggers. (Note that state triggers aren’t the same as state-based actions.) A state-triggered ability doesn’t trigger again until the ability has resolved, has been countered, or has otherwise left the stack. Then, if the object with the ability is still in the same zone and the game state still matches its trigger condition, the ability will trigger again.

4. Rules – Bestow / Countered upon Resolution

At our Prereleases and afterwards, the number one rules question was about Bestow.

See this image from Facebook Judgecast to explain how Bestow works:

URL to the Picture

Having cleared many doubts, we had only one open question out of curiosity:

I cast a bestowed Boon Satyr, is there any way to get this spell become countered upon resolution?

5. Policy – Picking up cards vs. Concession/Surrender

Adam and Nathan are playing against each other in a PTQ, format being standard. It’s the second game of the match, and Nathan has won the first game. The second game has been very long and grindy, and Adam activates the second ability of his Jace, Memory Adept once more, and mills the last cards of Nathan’s library. Adam asks Nathan “So your library is empty, isn’t it?”, and Nathan confirms.

Adam then quickly collects all his cards and begins to shuffle them. Nathan asks “What are you doing?!”, to which Adam replies “Well, I just won the game, so we’re playing a third one, aren’t we?”. Nathan: “But I didn’t draw a card since.”

We all agreed that the moment you pick up your cards without ensuring you’ve actually won the game means you concede the game. As Scott already mentioned in an earlier thread, the act of scooping, without any prior communication is an act of concession.

6. Ressources – Modern Rules Interactions
Since recently, a number of articles about common card interactions were posted. As of now, those articles are independent and all about cards of the Modern format. Nathan Long from the US wrote these and they’re all very useful for judges and players. As of now, that kind of article series exists only once, by NathanL, all about the Modern format.
They are a great ressource.

Once more judges write these, or more formats are covered, it will be necessary that *someone* makes an index for the articles. Even the best articles will not get the attention they deserve if noone has access to them or people don’t get their attention drawn to it some way.

7. Misc – Blog
I do these reports for half a year now. Recently, I got asked to post this kind of report to magic.judgeblogs too. At the end of this year, all reports will be combined and summarized by me. It is meant as regular report until then.

Now let me sum up shortly what we discussed at the meeting:
1. Rules – Chronicler of Heroes and interviening-if clause
Valakut is different from to than Chronicler of Heroes
2. Rules – Ghost Ride the Whip
Obzedat gets exiled anyway, so Whip is happy/satisfied
3. Rules – Purphoros and Flicker and state-triggers
The duration of a state doesn’t matter, even if it’s near 0.
4. Rules – Bestow / Countered upon Resolution?
5. Policy – Picking up cards vs. Concession/Surrender
If you pick up your cards, you concede.
6. Ressources – Modern Rules Interactions
Great articles, will soon need an overview

This month, we had many rules question to discuss. It was also more non-judging topics at the table thus I can’t present you new topics about policy. But that’s how the meeting is: no strict schedule. I’m sure with more experience from our GP Hongkong judges, we’ll have much to discuss in November!

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