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Tolarian Academy – Restricted, Required, and Unbanned

Hey folks, and welcome to a very special edition of “Tolarian Academy”! What’s special about this edition, you ask? Absolutely nothing, in fact, is special about this edition of my column; I just like to rope people in with flowery language and false promises, so be warned. I’d like to thank Alexei Gousev for letting me sign, if not a Tolarian Academy, then at least an Academy Ruins, which is now an “Urza’s Diving School.” Because, you know, the Academy is underwater now and stuff. I think. Let’s move on to your rules questions! Remember to send yours to [email protected]

Q: My opponent and I are both playing Warp World combo decks. I cast my Warp World, and my opponent and I both get super-unlucky and somehow only end up with one nonland permanent each. His is a Bogardan Hellkite, and mine is a Mind Control. When I put the Mind Control onto the battlefield and enchant his Hellkite, do I get to deal five damage to him?
A: Not until you actually start attacking him. As soon as the favorite son of Dragonstorm enters the battlefield, his triggered ability triggers. It doesn’t go on the stack until the Warp World finishes resolving, but the person under whose control the Hellkite came into play gets to choose what the Hellkite will burninate, so your opponent will likely blow you up at least a little bit. [Or possibly the Hellkite itself. –Riki, who feels free to dispense strategic advice when in editor mode]

Q: I have a Spellbound Dragon on the battlefield with Whispersilk Cloak attached to it. I attack, draw a card, and discard Cruel Ultimatum, making my Dragon a 10/5 until end of turn. Since it’s unblockable, my opponent takes 10. Can I use the Soul’s Fire in my hand to target my opponent and have my Spellbound Dragon deal 10 damage to him, which adds up to 20 and soundly defeats him?
A: Unfortunately for you, the fire will stay squarely inside your Dragon’s soul. Soul’s Fire requires two targets: one is the creature or player to whom you wish to set fire, and one is the creature which becomes, for lack of a better word, the flamethrower. Since your Spellbound Dragon has shroud, it can’t be targeted for any reason, so this won’t work. If shroud’s reminder text was something like “Can’t be the target of spells or abilities except when you feel like it,” we’d be on to something.

Q: Okay, follow-up question. In my second main phase, can I unequip the Whispersilk Cloak? I don’t have any other creatures to put it on, but he should be able to take the cloak off somehow, right?
A: Not with those tiny dragon arms. Although you could equip the Cloak to another creature if you did indeed have one, there are actually no provisions for simply removing a piece of equipment from a creature. Once you spend the mana, it kind of sticks on there. Think of it like a sticky note; once you take it off the pad, it’ll always be stuck to something; you can’t just toss it on the floor because it’ll adhere to your fingers. (Sticky notes are not allowed in my home for this very reason.)

Q: Hi, Eric! I played you in the first round of the first grinder at Nationals and I enjoy reading your articles! Here’s my question: I have a Thousand-Year Elixir and a Merieke Ri Berit on the battlefield and my opponent has Runeclaw Bear and Forest Bear [Or the High-Five Bear, as I call it. -Riki]. I know that if I tap Merieke to gain control of Runeclaw Bear, then untap her with the Elixir, and then tap Merieke again to gain control of Forest Bear then I gain control of both creatures and neither are destroyed at that point. But what happens later on when Merieke is untapped or leaves the battlefield? Is Runeclaw Bear destroyed, is Forest Bear destroyed, or both?
A: I remember that grinder! I lost in round 2 because I didn’t keep a one-lander in game 3. Or at least, that’s what my friends said. Long story. Anyway, yes, you’re correct that if you tap, untap, and re-tap Merieke, you will have control of both Runeclaw Bear and Forest Bear, since the duration of the ability (the “as long as” is set by controlling Merieke, not by her staying tapped or on the battlefield, and the delayed trigger that blows the creature up when she untaps or leaves the battlefield hasn’t been applied yet, as the ability has yet to resolve. When Merieke untaps or leaves the battlefield, however, both of those delayed triggers set up by the ability say “Hey! Time for us to go on the stack and probably resolve!” Barring Stifles, Trickbinds, Voidslimes, and other such shenanigans, both creatures will be destroyed.

Q: Recently, my friend and I were playing Magic. [No kidding! Really? –Eric] He had a morph creature and some other dudes, but whatever, the other dudes don’t matter. Long story short, he smashes my face in and doesn’t even unmorph his card. At the end of the game, I demand to know what the heck that stupid Gray Ogre actually is, and he refuses, claiming a poker type rule that he doesn’t have to reveal the card to me. Is he a Cheatyface or just really sneaky?
A: He is a Cheatyface. In Magic, there’s no “mucking”- you can’t just leave that morph creature face down once your opponent concedes or dies. In fact, at the end of the game, your opponent is required to reveal what that morph actually was. Check out rule 707.9: “If a face-down permanent moves from the battlefield to any other zone, its owner must reveal it to all players as he or she moves it. If a face-down spell moves from the stack to any zone other than the battlefield, its owner must reveal it to all players as he or she moves it. At the end of each game, all face-down permanents and spells must be revealed to all players.” The idea is to prevent people from beating their opponents down with “morph creatures” that are actually, you know, not cards with morph. In a tournament, this would fall under the infraction category “Game Play Error – Failure To Reveal,” which carries a Warning at Regular REL and a Game Loss at Competitive and Professional RELs. (REL: Rules Enforcement Level, an indicator of, to be simplistic, how “serious” a tournament is.)

Q: I have a Mycosynth Lattice and a Quicksilver Elemental on the battlefield, and my opponent has Tezzeret the Seeker. I play Karn, Silver Golem, and use him to animate Tezzeret. I then copy Tezzeret’s abilities with Quicksilver Elemental. Can I now use Quicksilver Elemental to untap some lands for more Karn activations?
A: Yes! Since Quicksilver Elemental has now copied all of your animated Tezzeret’s abilities, you can use those abilities at their normal loyalty counter costs. Since Quicksilver Elemental is not a planeswalker, those abilities are not subject to the restrictions normally placed on planeswalkers and their abilities, so you can play the untap ability as many times as you want, search up a pile of artifacts, and then smash with the ones that won’t have summoning sickness. Seems ridiculous, I know, but when you’ve gone through all the effort required to make Tezzeret an artifact AND a creature AND to copy his abilities, you deserve to win, in my opinion.

Q: I have Xathrid Demon (my only creature) and Goblin Assault on the battlefield. During my upkeep, can I make a token before I have to sacrifice a creature?
A: Yes. Since you control both triggers, you can stack them in whichever order you choose. Since the Demon’s ability requires you to sacrifice a creature but doesn’t target, the creature you sac doesn’t have to be in play before the trigger goes on the stack. So, if you put the Goblin Assault trigger above the Xathrid Demon’s trigger, you’ll be able to sacrifice the Goblin token you make. This works similarly with any token generation effect; if you want to make a token with, say, Thopter Foundry with the Xathrid Demon trigger on the stack, you can do that and sacrifice that token.

Q: Here’s a silver-bordered question. What exactly are considered “rare” so far as Rare-B-Gone is concerned? Do mythic rares count? How about cards that were printed as rare at one point or another? For example, if I’m using a Mirrodin Loxodon Warhammer, does it die? What if I’m using a Tenth Edition one? And what about textless spells (that weren’t originally rare, such as Condemn or Harmonize?) What about special promos like FtV:E?
A: When in doubt, check the symbol. According to Level 5 Judge Toby Elliott, mythic rares count as rares because they’ve got rare in the name. A Mirrodin Warhammer is an uncommon and will be treated like an uncommon. The 10th Edition version is a rare and will be wrecked by Rare-B-Gone. Textless spells and promos have no set rarity and, as such, cannot be rare. Finally, things like FTV: Exiled have symbols on them. Those symbols show mythic rarity, so they count as mythic rare. (This is pretty much all opinion, but it’s a good way to settle disputes.

The author of the following question will receive $5 store credit with ChannelFireball!

Q: Let’s say I control Ghostly Prison, Alluring Siren, and a planeswalker. During my opponent’s first main phase, I activate the Siren’s ability targeting my opponent’s only creature. What are all of the legal attack declarations my opponent can choose when his or her combat phase rolls around?
A: Ah, a question about attacking requirements and restrictions! Let’s take a look at the relevant rule:
508.1d. The active player checks each creature he or she controls to see whether it’s affected by any requirements (effects that say a creature must attack, or that it must attack if some condition is met). If the number of requirements that are being obeyed is fewer than the maximum possible number of requirements that could be obeyed without disobeying any restrictions, the declaration of attackers is illegal. Tapped creatures and creatures with unpaid costs to attack are exempt from effects that would require them to attack.
So, let’s go through a few different options and see whether or not they’re legal.
1 )Creature attacks your planeswalker. Zero requirements are being obeyed. Now, that creature could attack you (as it is “required” to do) but that would disobey a restriction, as the player cannot be required to pay mana for Ghostly Prison, so zero requirements can be obeyed without disobeying any restrictions. 0=0, so this is a legal attack.
2) Creature attacks you. One requirement is obeyed. 1>0, so this is a legal attack.
3) Creature does not attack you. Zero requirements are obeyed, but zero requirements can be obeyed without disobeying restrictions. 0=0, so this is a legal attack.
So your opponent can pretty much do whatever they want. Awesome!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this exciting journey into the land of restrictions and requirements. Did you folks see the Legacy unbans? Metalworker, Dream Halls, and Entomb sounds like fun! I hope to hear some questions about those next week. Remember, for your chance to win $5 in store credit, send your questions to [email protected] Join me next week when I talk about my Epic failure in the last Epic 5K in San Jose. 12th place ewwwwww!

8 thoughts on “Tolarian Academy – Restricted, Required, and Unbanned”

  1. Just a little clarification if possible. With the Merieke question…when exactly do the bears die. Do both bears die when the elixir trigger fires? or do you have control of both bears until you untap her again?

  2. Eighfists8: The bears would die if at some point you used an ability (such as Thousand-Year Elixir) to untap her and you do not respond to her untap trigger by tapping her again.

    In short, if you keep her untapped they will explode. No more high five bear 🙁

  3. As a corollary to the Rare-B-Gone question, this is from Mark Rosewater’s Twitter:

    For those wanting to destroy mythic permanents in play, let me stress as Un-Rules Manager that Rare-B-Gone does affect mythic rares.

    Rare-B-Gone destroy all rares including mythic rares. It doesn’t destroy timeshifted cards which are also a higher rarity.

  4. My god, the Rare-B-Gone question. Chris Richter assured me otherwise on SCG!

    …shouldn’t’ve lost a few Cube games I did, then. Oops.

  5. @Nick Ayd (& Eightfists8 by extension)
    It doesn’t matter if you retap Merieke. When she untaps, the destruction trigger fires. Since it doesn’t have an intervening if clause, they will be destroyed when it resolves regardless of whether she is tapped or untapped.

  6. I have a suggestion to improve readability of the articel.

    Right now its not that good to read a “block” of text , and the “Q” for Question and “A” for answer and the like.

    It would be better if each question might be serperated , or the Question in “bolt” to better scroll from question to question.

    And its just me but i like it if the answers could be done in “spoiler” tags , so they are not visible instantly, just that the reader actual thinks a second for itself before reading the answer (which is no must, but a good thing).

    As the side allready supports the Card view its not needed to give card pictures or something, but it would for sure make the “text block” a little less strong, just that the card for the question is directly connected to the question, makes it more intresting aswell.

    Might be a good thing to take this suggestions in the next article.

    Good job anyway, any rulez article is a good thing to improve the players knowledge (without reading the rulez themself, which is horrible homework).

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  8. The ruling on Tezzeret / Mycosinth Lattice is no longer correct. The “once per turn” rule used to be connected to Planeswalkers as a function of their card type, but that was changed not so long ago. It is now part of Planeswalk abilities. Your quicksilver Dragon could only untap artifacts, or use any of Tezzeret’s abilities, once per turn.

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