Tolarian Academy – Apologies to Sheldon on Behalf of Kresh



Hey folks, and welcome to yet another exciting edition of “Thraximundar Academy”, I mean, um, “Tolarian Academy.” Yep. Definitely not confused by the fact that I signed a Thraximundar the other day. (Thanks, Kyle Richter!) All right, now that Word is done telling me that my entire introduction is a grammar error (it’s a conversational style choice! Get over it, Word) I’ll ask as usual that you submit your rules questions to me at [email protected] or follow this link to the Rules Q&A forums here at ChannelFireball.com to discuss them there! Interesting answers will be rewarded with $5 in credit as usual. Let’s get started!

Q: I attack my opponent with my Exalted Angel. In response, he activates Djinn of Wishes, hitting Mind Control. He puts Mind Control on my Baneslayer Angel and blocks the Exalted Angel with it. Before damage is assigned, I Solemn Offering his Mind Control. Does anyone gain any life?
A: First of all, this sounds like a really fun game. Second of all, the only life anyone is gaining is from Solemn Offering! (I could have said “no,” but hey, trick question!) When the Mind Control gets destroyed, Baneslayer Angel switches back to your control and is therefore removed from combat. Since Baneslayer isn’t in combat, it won’t deal damage, and since Exalted is still blocked but no longer has a creature to hit, it doesn’t deal damage due to not having trample. Since neither lifelinker deals damage, neither one gains its controller any life. They just sit on the sidelines looking pretty. Or, in the case of Baneslayer, they sit on the sidelines looking like $35 or so. That card is going nowhere but up, I think. (NOTE: I am not Jeremy Fuentes, or even close. I once tried to break Soulcatchers’ Aerie. I was 19 and probably trying to impress someone.)

Q: I cast Gilded Drake and swap it for my opponent’s Wilt-Leaf Liege. In order to make this trade even more unfair, I Mind Control my Gilded Drake so that I have control of it as well! My erstwhile opponent is prepared for this, however, and Naturalizes my Mind Control. Do I get to keep my Gilded Drake, since I own it?
A: Nope! When the game is looking at who should control a permanent, it uses the most recently timestamped control-Djinn of Wisheschanging effect to determine where it goes. Before the Naturalize, the Mind Control was the most recent one, but after that goes away, the most recent control-changing effect is the one created by the Gilded Drake’s own ability, so it goes back to your opponent. Beware of drakes bearing gifts! Of course, this gift is a Wilt-Leaf Liege, so who really cares?

Q: While casting Violent Outburst, I tap Forbidden Orchard to pay the green mana cost. What happens first, the cascade or the token generation? My understanding is that it would be the cascade, but I’m not sure.
A: Well, that all depends on how you decide to order it! You see, the Forbidden Orchard triggers while you’re casting the Outburst, but the trigger can’t go on the stack while you’re doing that, so it sits around on the sidelines waiting and cheering and hoping you cascade into an Oath of Druids. As soon as you finish casting the Outburst, cascade will trigger before anything else happens. Since you’ve got two triggered abilities waiting to go on the stack and you control both of them, you choose in what order they go on the stack. So, you can work it however you want! If you feel like you’re going to want to cascade into Lava Dart to kill their Spirit token, so be it; you can try. (Or maybe you have a really classy answer like Shower of Sparks. That card is such a beating. Not really.)

Q: This came up when I was playing on MTGO. I cast a Boggart Ram-Gang and attacked into a Kinsbaile Borderguard with 2 +1/+1 counters on it. I pumped the Boggart Ram-Gang with a Jund Charm (so it survived), but when the Borderguard went to the graveyard, MTGO gave my opponent Kithkin tokens. Isn’t wither suppose to cancel those +1/+1 counters out??
A: It is indeed supposed to do so. However, because of the ordering of state-based actions, the Borderguard will actually go to the graveyard at the same time the counters would be removed, so your opponent will get Kithkin tokens based on how many counters were on it. Notice how I didn’t say “+1/+1 counters.” Yep, I said “counters.” Read that Borderguard! Your opponent will actually get seven Kithkin tokens here, since the Borderguard had two +1/+1 counters and five -1/-1 counters. Crazy!

Q: I control Garruk with 2 loyalty counters, a 3/3 Beast Token and a 2/2 Runeclaw Bear. I attack with both creatures. My opponent blocks my Beast with his 3/3 Canyon Minotaur and then uses Harm’s Way to redirect the Bear’s damage back to Garruk. Does Garruk die?
A: Well, since that’s an illegal play, no! Combat damage can never be redirected to a planeswalker, and even if it could, that’s damage from a source you control, so it can’t be redirected to your Garruk! I know I answered this question in a recent article, but I still got multiple e-mails containing this question, so I figured I would address it again.

Q: My opponent has enchanted my Kresh the Bloodbraided with a Lignify. On my turn, I cast Violent Ultimatum, targeting Lignify, one of his lands, and his Fendeep Summoner. After Violent Ultimatum finishes resolving, does Kresh get any +1/+1 counters?
A: Sadly, poor Kresh will remain unpumped. (Apologies to Sheldon, who is obviously unhappy any time Kresh doesn’t get bigger.) You might think this makes no sense. If that’s the case, I submit to you the following quotation from the Comprehensive Rules:
410.10d Normally, objects that exist immediately after an event are checked to see if the event matched any trigger conditions. Continuous effects that exist at that time are used to determine what the trigger conditions are and what the objects involved in the event look like. However, some triggered abilities must be treated specially because the object with the ability may no longer be in play, may have moved to a hand or library, or may no longer be controlled by the appropriate player. The game has to “look back in time” to determine if these abilities trigger. Abilities that trigger specifically when an object leaves play, when an object is put into a hand or library from a public zone, or when a player loses control of an object will trigger based on their existence, and the appearance of objects, prior to the event rather than afterward.
Since the ability did not exist prior to the event (that is to say, the destruction of the three permanents,) Kresh will not get bigger. Now you know what everyone who plays against Lignify in EDH knows: it’s a beating.

Q: My opponent has an Illusionary Servant in play. Can I target it with Deathmark to kill it despite it not being green or white?
A: Nope! Deathmark has a targeting restriction that only allows it to target green or white creatures. If Deathmark said “Destroy target creature if it is green or white,” then we’d be in business, but as it is, nope!

Q: Team A in a Two-Headed Giant game (at 6 life) is attacking with their 3/3 creature. Team B blocks with a Drudge Skeletons. Team B then casts Righteousness, targeting that Drudge Skeletons. Team A plays a Branching Bolt targeting the Skeletons, forcing them to regenerate it and then take it out of combat. Note that this happens before Righteousness resolves. Team B then plays Soul’s Fire to have the Drudge Skeletons deal damage to Team A. How much damage does Team A take?
A: Well, this sure is a confusing mess of spells and abilities. When the Branching Bolt resolves, the Skeletons’ regeneration shield gets used up, and they get removed from combat. Righteousness, upon trying to resolve, says “Wait a second! This isn’t a blocking creature!” and fizzles. Therefore, the Skellies are still 1/1 when their souls (they have souls?) shoot fire at Team A. Sorry, Team B!

The person who submitted the following question is receiving $5 store credit with ChannelFireball.com!

Q: Player A attacks Player B with a Woolly Thoctar. Player B has 21 life and blocks with a Divinity of Pride. Now, the Thoctar certainly hits the bin, but what about the Divinity? Does the change in rules concerning lifelink allow it to remain in play?
A: Actually, yes! As soon as the damage event happens and you gain your 4 life, putting you to 25, the static ability of the Divinity turns its switch to the “on” position, making it an 8/8. This all happens BEFORE state-based actions are checked, at which point the game sees an 8/8 with 5 damage on it and says “whatevs, obv. Lol, etc.” State-based actions spend too much time on internet message boards.

Fruitcake Elemental’s Corner: Silver-Bordered Rulings

Q: In a casual game next to a game in a PTQ, I cast Ass Whuppin on my opponent’s Bad Ass, and with that on the stack, I cast Sleight of Mind on it to change “silver” to “black.” I then Swerve my Ass Whuppin’ to one of the permanents in the PTQ game. What happens?
A: When your Ass Whuppin’ resolves, do a dance. Then, if you see a nearby judge who isn’t doing anything important, call him or her over and say “Hey, look at this thing I did!” They will probably give you a pat on the back or a cookie or something. Unfortunately, that’s about all you get, since as soon as your Ass Whuppin’ targets something in a sanctioned event, it is countered. By me. (That guy is everywhere!) I have all kinds of counterspells. Clever, though!

Well, that concludes our show for this week. Remember to send your rules questions to [email protected] for a chance to win $5 in store credit! Join me next time, when I tell you all about the dangers of domesticating squid. Seriously, it’s a perilous hobby. Don’t try it without supervision. You might end up with a Draining Whelk, or even a Fylamarid.

22 thoughts on “Tolarian Academy – Apologies to Sheldon on Behalf of Kresh”

  1. Question 1 doesn’t work… Solemn offering is a sorcery, and consequently can’t be played in combat…

    I’ll just assume there’s an unmentioned Vedalken Orrery somewhere in a corner.

  2. Actually, the answer to the 1st question is wrong (and much simpler). Solemn Offering is a sorcery, and thus can’t be played in the middle of combat.

    But for the sake of the question at hand, let’s just say it was a Disenchant instead, shall we? 😛

  3. I still dont see how harms way cant redirect the damage to the Garuk. Dont you have the ability to direct the harms way at the opponent, then redirect to Garuk??? What is illegal about that?? Im trying to wrap my head around this one. Ive thought about it everywhich way, and it just doesnt seem to make sense.

  4. Anthony Williamson

    @Eryk H 306.8. If noncombat damage would be dealt to a player by a source controlled by an opponent, that opponent may have that source deal that damage to a planeswalker the first player controls instead. Key word is noncombat damage in the above rule. Even though harms way is redirecting the damage. It is still combat damage.

  5. “I still dont see how harms way cant redirect the damage to the Garuk. Dont you have the ability to direct the harms way at the opponent, then redirect to Garuk??? What is illegal about that?? Im trying to wrap my head around this one. Ive thought about it everywhich way, and it just doesnt seem to make sense.”

    The problem is not dealing the damage to your opponent it is the redirection of the damage to the planeswalker which doesn’t work. You can’t redirect it to garuk because the controler of him and of the damage source (the bears) are the same player. Just like if he would have played a cloud thresher you can’t decide to have him deal the damage to his planeswalker.

  6. The Harm’s Way thing is actually pretty simple. However, I think Eric forgot to tell the most important nuance of the issue 🙂

    (1) you can of course not target Garruk with Harm’s Way, as Eric pointed out. Harm’s Way can target a player or creature, and Garruk is neither.

    (2) you can of course target the player, hoping to redirect the Beast token damage to Garruk. However, remember that it’s not the Harm’s Way who is dealing the damage, but still the token. The controller of the token is also still your opponent. Hence, it’s not your, but your opponents decision whether he wants to redirect damage from himself to his planeswalker (which he probably won’t do, unless he’s already below 4 life, or some other cornercases which would not want to target Garruk in the first place).

    The important thing to keep in mind here is that (1) Harm’s Way does not deal damage itself, but only redirects it, and (2) that the choice of whether damage should be redirected to a planeswalker is always the damage sources controller’s.

  7. Doesn’t that last question not work because, as far as magic is concerned, silver isn’t a colour word and therefore can’t be changed to black.

  8. I remember reading a similar version of that last question, but instead of swerve it used twincast. The difference being that, while Ass Whupin might be able to target black bordered cards because of sleight of mind, it is itself still silver bordered, and the rule, as I remember Maro putting it, is that silver bordered cards can’t affect black-bordered ones in non-casual games. Twincast, however, is black bordered (border colour is not one of the properties which is copied, apparently), so it should technically be able to affect other black-bordered cards.

  9. You all are entirely confused on the answer to the last question. The part of the play that doesn’t work is the Sleight of Mind. The only words considered color words by MtG rules are White, Blue, Black, Red, Green. So the Sleight of Mind resolves on the Ass Whuppin’, and does nothing on resolution.

  10. I thought that +1/+1 counters and -1/-1 counters cancel each other out like matter and anti-matter. Wouldn’t that mean that borderguard would give you 3 tokens instead of 7?

  11. I fixed the “black creature” references, since they were rather distracting. Instant Solemn Offering left in because it’s slightly amusing, and really not central to the question about lifelink. Just pretend it is Disenchant, or there’s an Orrery or whatever.

  12. @ xLeitix – Actually, not even your opponent has the choice of whether to redirect the damage to his plainswaker, since, as was mentioned, the damage is combat damage, but *also* because the source of the damage is not controlled the by plainswalker’s controler’s opponent.

    You can’t, for example, redirect damage from your own volcanic fallout to your own plainswaker.

  13. @ Reno Donk – That rule only exists in black bordered magic. When playing with Un-sets, everything is allowed as long as it’s fun.

  14. How does he Solemn Offering? It’s a sorcery and it sounds like he is playing it at instant speed.

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