Magic the Gathering: Ask a Judge

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SilPho
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Magic the Gathering: Ask a Judge

Postby SilPho » 24 Aug 2011, 07:13

So as many of us know, Magic is an incredibly complicated game with almost 12,000 unique cards. In there lies the possibility for nearly limitless combinations of bizarre card interactions and strange rulings. Most people don't need to know about that stuff and just want someone to tell them what happens in a given situation.

That's where judges come in.

If anyone has any questions about how the game works, how the cards interact, what Morph really means, what the "layers" system is, what to do in tournaments or just what being a judge is like, ask away :D

No question too simple or too complicated (as long as it's about MTG :wink:)
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Trymantha
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Re: Magic the Gathering: Ask a Judge

Postby Trymantha » 24 Aug 2011, 23:17

A question regarding priority during the draw step

say I was drawing for my turn is there a stage where my opponent gets priory after I've drawn say to use Dementia Bat's ability before its my main phase?
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Re: Magic the Gathering: Ask a Judge

Postby ebMusicMan » 24 Aug 2011, 23:36

Two questions. First, if I cast Arc Trail and before it resolves the controller of one of it's targets sacrifices that target does it still resolve?

Second, what is the point of Sundial of the Infinite, I can't wrap my head around why it's useful.
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Re: Magic the Gathering: Ask a Judge

Postby Trymantha » 25 Aug 2011, 00:19

ebMusicMan wrote:Two questions. First, if I cast Arc Trail and before it resolves the controller of one of it's targets sacrifices that target does it still resolve?

Second, what is the point of Sundial of the Infinite, I can't wrap my head around why it's useful.


I can answer the 2nd one. When the ability is used on sundial to end the turn everything that is currently on the stack is removed this can be instants you opponent has cast or even creatures with flash *coughdeceiverexarchcough* in other words it is an uncountable counter spell in that sense. The other main use is for cards that mention the "beginning of the next end step" if you use sundial while those effects are on the stack they are exiled and will not trigger for the rest of the game e.g.ball lightning.
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Re: Magic the Gathering: Ask a Judge

Postby SilPho » 25 Aug 2011, 01:15

@Trymantha
Short Answer: Yes.
Long answer: After a card is drawn the active player receives priority and can choose to play any spells or abilities ("instant speed" only). Whenever priority is received both players will get the chance to play things before the next step happens.

If you've drawn an instant you will always have the chance to use it before Dementia Bat's ability resolves, but you have to wait until the main step for sorceries and lands.

@ebMusicMan
Short Answer: Yes.
Long Answer: A spell with targets will only be countered on resolution due to lack of targets if everything it has explicitly targeted can no longer be found. Arc Trail uses the word target twice, so if one target is made illegal the other works fine. Chandra's Outrage on the other hand only uses the word target once. So if the creature cannot be found the whole spell will end up countered.

Short Answer: Sundial of the Infinite has a bunch of uses. I suggest reading the spoiler article for the card itself.
Long Answer Note that while it can be used to stop the trigger from Ball Lightning on a given turn, that ability triggers every end step, not just the next end step.

For extra cool points, activate the sundial after casting a 12/12 trampler for 1 mana, the sacrifice ability is removed from the stack so your massive creature stays around with no drawbacks.
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Re: Magic the Gathering: Ask a Judge

Postby Trymantha » 25 Aug 2011, 14:03

follow up question regarding sundial, would it work with unearth? or its it the same deal as ball lightning?
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Robert Merlow
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Re: Magic the Gathering: Ask a Judge

Postby Robert Merlow » 25 Aug 2011, 18:22

I have a question about Planeswalker priority:

When a Planeswalker performs an ability and you cast something in response to deal with it, say a Lightning Bolt or Into the Roil in response to Jace the Banned's +2 Fateseal ability. Does Jace maintain priority, or does the ability of the Planeswalker. I've always been confused on that.
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Re: Magic the Gathering: Ask a Judge

Postby SilPho » 26 Aug 2011, 01:35

@Trymantha:
Short Answer: Yes, it works with unearth if you time it right.
Long Answer: Abilities that say "the next end step" are due to trigger just once, whenever that step is met. Once it has triggered it will not trigger again, but that doesn't mean it has to resolve. Activating the Sundial while the Unearth trigger is on the stack will exile the ability and leave your creature on the battlefield (It will still be exiled if it would later leave the battlefield).

Another note with the sundial, ending your turn before such an effect has the chance to trigger means it will still trigger at the next chance it gets. Ending your turn before the end step means any abilities that trigger at the next end step will trigger at the end of your opponent's turn.

@Robert Merlow:
Short Answer: The last player to do something usually receives priority when they finish doing whatever it was.
Long Answer: If Player A activates a planeswalker ability, he will maintain priority. Player B cannot respond until Player A passes priority. When actually playing in tournaments it is assumed that Player A automatically passes priority unless they specify otherwise. After Player B casts a Lightning Bolt aimed at Jace she will also maintain priority. Once the spell resolves the active player (Player A) will always get priority first.

That said, I feel obliged to point out that if Player A's Jace has 3 loyalty and the +2 ability is activated, Lightning Bolt will not be able to kill Jace. Changing the number of loyalty counters on planeswalkers is a cost of activating the ability, not a result of it resolving. Therefore Jace has 5 loyalty before either player receives priority after the ability is activated. Into the Roil will still return Jace to its owner's hand, but the ability sitting on the stack still resolves as normal.

@Everyone:
Some of these explanations seem a little complex. If I've confused you (or you think I've slipped up somewhere) please don't be afraid to ask.
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Re: Magic the Gathering: Ask a Judge

Postby Robert Merlow » 26 Aug 2011, 13:40

Okay, that makes quite a bit of sense. Thanks!
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Re: Magic the Gathering: Ask a Judge

Postby Rikadyn » 26 Aug 2011, 18:47

SilPho wrote:@ebMusicMan
Short Answer: Yes.
Long Answer: A spell with targets will only be countered on resolution due to lack of targets if everything it has explicitly targeted can no longer be found. Arc Trail uses the word target twice, so if one target is made illegal the other works fine. Chandra's Outrage on the other hand only uses the word target once. So if the creature cannot be found the whole spell will end up countered.


I won a game cause of something like this. Guy kept playing Contagion Clasps, and each time i bounced out the one creature i had on the board(playing blue/black). So he kept needing to put -1/-1s on his creatures.

It delayed his plans long enough to let me come from being at 2hp remaining to wining with 26hp :D
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Re: Magic the Gathering: Ask a Judge

Postby theDreamer » 26 Aug 2011, 19:11

The issue is, ever since I discovered DCI's ask a judge chatroom, I haven't had any questions.

I'm too much of a rules lawyer.
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Re: Magic the Gathering: Ask a Judge

Postby SilPho » 27 Aug 2011, 03:39

Nothing wrong with knowing the rules well. That's what prompted me to become a judge in the first place, the game is a lot of fun but I was better at understanding it rather than playing it.
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Re: Magic the Gathering: Ask a Judge

Postby theDreamer » 27 Aug 2011, 13:12

...Actually, I do have a question and this occurs a lot:

Jace Beleran and Jace's Erasure are both on the field at the same time under my opponent's control.

+2, so we all draw a card.

But if I understand correctly, he draws a card, then the person to his right, and the person to THEIR right, until it reaches him again (we play multiplayer a lot).

That means he draws a card, chooses to mill 1, then (let's say 1v1), I draw a card?

Or do we actually do something simultaneously for once?

...Similarly, on Portent, "Draw a card at the beginning of the next turn's upkeep." refers to the next upkeep regardless of whose it is (ie, I can draw a card on my opponents turn), or MY next upkeep?

EDIT: no wait, I read something entirely unrelated, but it answered my first question.
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Re: Magic the Gathering: Ask a Judge

Postby SilPho » 27 Aug 2011, 13:25

Regarding card draws:
Short Answer: Everyone draws a card, then the mill happens.
Long Answer: When Jace's +2 ability resolves each player, in turn order, will draw a card. When the player controlling Jace's Erasure draws a card the ability will trigger but won't be put onto the stack until the next time a player would get priority (the rest of the draws take place first). It is when the ability is put onto the stack that the targeted player is selected. Assuming nobody else does anything at this point the mill will then occur.

And for those who weren't sure, Jace's Erasure triggers once for each card drawn, so "Draw 3 cards" will cause three separate triggers, each of which may be aimed at different players.

Also, you said the person to the right draws a card next. Turn order is traditionally clock-wise (left), not sure whether this was a typo, misunderstanding or known deviation but figured I'd mention it anyway.

Regarding Portent:
Answer: "The next turn" means the next turn, regardless of who takes it.

Edit: Just seen your edit. I'll leave this here since I've typed it already :D
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Re: Magic the Gathering: Ask a Judge

Postby theDreamer » 27 Aug 2011, 13:28

...Yeah, I suck with left and rights. Also, like I said, something unrelated reminded me that it doesn't matter if a trigger happens in the midst of a resolving anything.

That thing better damn well resolve before anything ELSE happens.
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Re: Magic the Gathering: Ask a Judge

Postby SilPho » 27 Aug 2011, 15:11

Even that rule has its exceptions though, the one example I can think of off the top of my head is Isochron Scepter, part of resolving that ability can involve the steps required to start casting another spell entirely.

One of the big things you gain from knowing the rules is major appreciation for the guys that have to code Magic Online. It boggles my mind.
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Re: Magic the Gathering: Ask a Judge

Postby Graham » 30 Aug 2011, 15:53

Hey! I only just noticed you made level 2.
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Re: Magic the Gathering: Ask a Judge

Postby Drunk On Mystery » 02 Sep 2011, 10:59

Quick question:

I have a Phantasmal Bear in play. My opponent, we'll call him "Steve", plays a drain life(or something with the same effect. I don't remember the specific card) on my bear. We then have a brief argument on timing rules.

I posit that his spell will hit the stack, which immediately causes the bear's ability to trigger and go on the stack. The bear's ability activates, the bear dies, and then there is nothing left in play for Steve's spell to legally target, and it basically fizzles. My rationale is that the bear's ability triggers when he's targeted by a spell, not when it resolves.

Ergo: he gains no life from the spell.

Steve disagreed. Vehemently.

Who was right?
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Re: Magic the Gathering: Ask a Judge

Postby SilPho » 02 Sep 2011, 11:50

I'll assume you meant Consume Spirit rather than literally Drain Life even though both do exactly the same thing in this situation.

You are correct; the bear dies as described. When the spell attempts to resolve it will do nothing because it has no legal target.
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Re: Magic the Gathering: Ask a Judge

Postby Robert Merlow » 03 Sep 2011, 19:26

Quick question about the Scars block swords (Body and Mind, Feast and Famine, War and Peace):

If there are multiple copies of a single sword on a creature, does the effect of the sword trigger multiple times because of the multiple swords?
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Re: Magic the Gathering: Ask a Judge

Postby SilPho » 04 Sep 2011, 00:38

Fun fact: Don't forget about the Scars block ancestors from the original Mirrodin block, there are in fact five swords like that.

Short Answer: One trigger per sword.
Long Answer:
If a creature is carrying one of each sword then each of the five abilities will trigger independently. Assuming the same player controls all of the swords that player can stack the abilities however he or she chooses.

If a creature is carrying four (or any other number) of the same sword, each sword's ability will still trigger, but only once each. You don't end up with any weird exponential growth.
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Re: Magic the Gathering: Ask a Judge

Postby DuelLadyS » 04 Oct 2011, 10:17

This might be a really stupid question, but I've only got about a month's worth of play under my belt, so I'm pretty sure that's still allowed. Anyway...

My fiance has 3 Bloodthrone Vampires on field. I have nothing. He attacks with all 3. I play Choking Fumes, which would end up destroying all 3. He activates the ability on 1 vampire, sacrificing the other two to bring up to 5/5, so my Choking Fumes would drop it to 4/4 and it wouldn't die. I let it go through, but I am curious- can he activate Bloodthrone Vampire's ability in response to an instant, and sacrifice creatures he's already declared as attacking? (Just becuase it's likely to come up again...)
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Re: Magic the Gathering: Ask a Judge

Postby SilPho » 04 Oct 2011, 11:34

Short Answer: Yes.

Very Long Answer: Most of the time the game does not progress in any way without both players having the chance to play some sort of "instant-speed" spell or ability. Creature abilities are all "instant-speed" unless they specifically say "Activate any time you could cast a sorcery".

In combat, specifically, players have the option to do something before attackers are declared, before blockers are declared, before damage is dealt, and before the game advances to the post-combat main phase.

Only creatures still alive and attacking when the combat-damage-step begins actually deal damage. The rules used to allow for weird shenanigans here, but now everything works pretty much the way you would expect it to.
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Re: Magic the Gathering: Ask a Judge

Postby Drunk On Mystery » 04 Oct 2011, 11:58

SilPho wrote:Only creatures still alive and attacking when the combat-damage-step begins actually deal damage. The rules used to allow for weird shenanigans here, but now everything works pretty much the way you would expect it to.



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Re: Magic the Gathering: Ask a Judge

Postby Avistew » 04 Oct 2011, 22:54

If I am to believe the video game DotP (which makes most of my playing experience) you can even declare blockers, then activate abilities, sacrifice some of the blockers, and have the creatures they blocked still be blocked by nothingness (unless they have trample).
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