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Tolarian Academy – Trigon of Ragequit

Tolarian Academy – Trigon of Ragequit

Hey folks, and welcome to a new and exciting edition of Tolarian Academy, where Urza has been legally dead for over 200 years for tax reasons. As a reminder, make sure to send your rules questions to [email protected]. The one I decide is the “best” each week (and this is extremely subjective) will win its author $5 in store credit with ChannelFireball.com. Make sure to register for a ChannelFireball account if you don’t already have one; that way, when you win, I can give you your prizes.

And now, let’s go under the hood for some video instant replay!

Q: I have a Vesuvan Shapeshifter on the battlefield copying a Death-Mask Duplicant. I imprint a Mulldrifter and Shriekmaw onto it out of my graveyard. Then, in my upkeep, I flip the Shifty Duplicant face down. I unmorph my Shapeshifter again, copying the Soul Foundry that’s animated due to my March of the Machines. Then, I activate my new Soul Foundry, paying 5. What do I get?

A: Before Wizards brought back Imprint, they fixed it up a bit, thankfully, and this is one of the areas that got cleaned up. Soul Foundry’s new wording looks like this:

Imprint — When Soul Foundry enters the battlefield, you may exile a creature card from your hand.
X, Tap: Put a token that’s a copy of the exiled card onto the battlefield. X is the converted mana cost of that card.

So, Soul Foundry’s first ability exiles a card, and its second ability refers to that card. The question is, are Mulldrifter and Shriekmaw “the exiled card,” and if so, which one shows up? Do you get to pick? Let’s ask the Comprehensive Rules.

406.5. An object may have one ability printed on it that causes one or more cards to be exiled, and another ability that refers either to “the exiled cards” or to cards “exiled with [this object].” These abilities are linked: the second refers only to cards that have been exiled due to the first. See rule 607, “Linked Abilities.”

Whoa! Turns out these are linked abilities. Since no card was ever exiled by our new Soul Foundry’s first ability, the second ability has no card to reference, and you can’t even play its ability. In this situation, much like Charlie Brown at Halloween, all you get is a rock.

Q: I control a Darksteel Juggernaut, which is my only artifact. I then play a Quicksilver Gargantuan, choosing to copy the Darksteel Juggernaut. How big is my Gargantuan?

A: This came up at GP: Toronto, and while I wasn’t there, I got this question from a judge who was. I’m happy to say that I’d already had a similar question at a draft at my house, and between me and two other judges, we sussed out Quicksilver Gargantuan pretty well. Quicksilver Gargantuan says:

You may have Quicksilver Gargantuan enter the battlefield as a copy of any creature on the battlefield, except it’s still 7/7.

So, Quicksilver Gargantuan copies all of the characteristics of the Juggernaut except for its power and toughness. After applying the copy effect, our Gargantuan looks like this:

Darksteel Juggernaut (5)
Artifact Creature – Juggernaut
Darksteel Juggernaut’s power and toughness are each equal to the number of artifacts you control.
Darksteel Juggernaut is indestructible and attacks each turn if able.
7/7

But wait! It’s got a characteristic-defining ability that changes its power and toughness that applies after the copy effect! So that will overwrite its previous power and toughness, making it a 2/2, since you now control two artifacts.

The important thing to remember here is that the 7/7ness of the Gargantuan is not applied in the power and toughness-setting layer (layer 7b) – it’s simply a basic characteristic of the creature.

Q: My opponent controls Leyline of Anticipation and attacks me with a 3/3 Beast Token. I block with my 4/4 Beast Token. Before damage, my opponent casts a Mind Control on my Beast Token. What happens?

A: Unfortunately for you, this bestial battle is not going to happen. Since control of the 4/4 Beast Token changed, it gets removed from combat. Since it’s no longer blocking when combat damage happens, it won’t receive any damage, nor will it deal damage to your opponent’s 3/3. Better hope he doesn’t have a Contested Cliffs!

Q: My opponent controls a Quest for the Holy Relic with five counters on it and two Memnites. At the end of my turn, he sacrifices his Quest. If I kill the guy he’s going to put the equipment on, does that counter the ability?

A: Whoa there, partner! You have no idea which Memnite he’ll suit up, because Quest for the Holy Relic doesn’t target! Let’s take a look at what it says:

Remove five quest counters from Quest for the Holy Relic and sacrifice it: Search your library for an Equipment card, put it onto the battlefield, and attach it to a creature you control. Then shuffle your library.

The choice of what creature to attach the equipment to isn’t actually made until the ability is resolving, so you won’t be able to stop the ability.

Q: Okay, but what if I kill all of his guys? Then surely he can’t get an equipment!

A: Wrong again, I’m afraid. Since the ability isn’t targeted, it will do as much as it can. He’ll be able to search up his Argentum Armor, Sword of Body and Mind, Adventuring Gear, or (hopefully) something horrible like Echo Circlet. There won’t be anything to attach it to, but he’ll still get it, which might be rough for you.

Q: I have a Necrotic Ooze on the battlefield and a Barrage Ogre in my graveyard. Barrage Ogre’s activated ability refers to Barrage Ogre by name. Does that mean I can’t use Necrotic Ooze to play that ability, since it’s not Barrage Ogre? Or does that mean the Barrage Ogre in the graveyard is dealing the damage?

A: C) None of the above. The rules are our verbose friend, as they ever are:

201.4b. If an ability of an object refers to that object by name, and an object with a different name gains that ability, all instances of the first name in the gained ability should be treated as the second name.

So, in this case, Necrotic Ooze has an ability that says:
Tap, Sacrifice an artifact: Necrotic Ooze deals 2 damage to target creature or player.

Easy enough! That means you can play that ability and that Necrotic Ooze will be dealing the damage.

Q: My opponent is at 1, and I’ve just drawn the last card in my library – Zap. When I Zap my opponent, he’ll take 1, putting him to 0, and I’ll draw from my empty library. Who loses? Who wins?

A: Losing the game due to having 0 life or less or drawing from an empty library happens as a “state-based action” and can’t occur during the resolution of a spell or ability. Instead, that “you lose the game” action lurks, waiting until a player would get priority. Then, it strikes! In this case, you (the active player) would get priority after the resolution of Zap. Instead, the game sees two state-based actions it needs to take:

1) Your opponent dies due to having 0 life.
2) You die due to having drawn from an empty library.

It takes those two actions simultaneously, meaning you both lose. What does that mean for your game? Well, the rules tell us this:

104.4a. If all the players remaining in a game lose simultaneously, the game is a draw.

So, it’s a draw! Shuffle up and keep playing!

**The next question is so awesome, it won my $5 store credit prize for best question of the week! Congratulations, Kyle!**

Q: My opponent controls a Contagious Nim equipped with Grafted Exoskeleton. I control Geargrabber Ogre and two Trigons of Rage. I attack with the Ogre, steal the Exoskeleton, and double-Trigon pump my Ogre, making him a 12/6 Infect. I figured the Nim would die and I’d get in for 12 poison. Magic Online, however, seems to disagree – when I did this, the Nim lived! MTGO sucks! What gives, Levine?

A: What gives, in this case, is rule 701.13a. It gives us the knowledge that MTGO is actually right in this situation. Take a look:

701.13a. To sacrifice a permanent, its controller moves it from the battlefield directly to its owner’s graveyard. A player can’t sacrifice something that isn’t a permanent, or something that’s a permanent he or she doesn’t control.

Grafted Exoskeleton’s ability triggers when it moves from the Nim to the Geargrabber. Since you gain control of the equipment before it moves, you control the triggered ability that would sacrifice the Nim as well. However, you can’t sacrifice the Nim, because you don’t control it! Furthermore, the equipment doesn’t become unattached until after you lose control of it, so your Geargrabber won’t get sacrificed at end of turn, either.

Sigh. Magic Online is right? What a crazy world we live in. I guess they had years to get Grafted Wargear right.

(Writer’s note: I love MTGO! Please don’t delete my account! Lee Sharpe NOOOOOO)

Now that we’ve gone through some of your questions, let’s take a look at last time’s Judge Call of the Week! Just to refresh you, here’s the situation:

At a PTQ, Andy, who controls three Runeclaw Bears, says “Declare my attack step?” Nathan says, “During beginning of combat, I use Vedalken Certarch to tap one of your Bears.” Andy is about to attack with his two remaining Bears, but he realizes Nathan doesn’t have metalcraft and calls a judge. Assuming Nathan is not cheating, what penalty or penalties should the judge give out, and what else, if anything, should he or she do

Before I reveal the best answer, let’s take a look at some wrong answers and talk about why they’re wrong. Let the painful process of learning commence!

“I would not give him a penalty considering it is not competitive.”
Pro Tour Qualifiers have a big prize at stake – an invitation to the Pro Tour! As such, all Pro Tour Qualifiers are run at Competitive REL. This means it wouldn’t be appropriate to give no penalty.

“I would … based on the fact that Scars of Mirrodin is a relatively new set.”
This isn’t a prerelease, it’s a PTQ! We can’t spend time worrying about the fact that some players might not know things about how Metalcraft works because the set’s new. At least, that shouldn’t affect our decision to give out a very common penalty like this one. At a PTQ, players are expected to know the rules and how cards work.

I’ll let Ryan Bogner from Signal Hill, CA explain things:

First, Nathan has committed a Game Play Error – Game Rules Violation. At the Competitive Rules Enforcement Level (C-REL) the penalty is a warning, which is appropriate. After getting permission from the head judge of the event, the judge called should back up the game to the Beginning of Combat with the Runeclaw Bear and Vedalken Certarch both untapped.

Second, the judge would need to decide whether to issue Andy a Game Play Error – Failure to Maintain Game State. (…) Andy called the judge in the next step of the combat phase, before any other decisions were made (e.g. no instant draw spells were played by Andy). This leads me to conclude that the “has not pointed it out it before he or she could potentially gain advantage” is not satisfied and that no Failure to Maintain Game State penalty should be issued.

I would ask Nathan if he understood his mistake, and if he did not, I would explain it to him. Then I would thank Andy for calling me and remind both players to have fun and to continue upholding the integrity of the event.

Well done, Ryan! Enjoy your $5 store credit with ChannelFireball.com. Now let’s take a look at this week’s scenario for Judge Call of the Week. Remember to refer to the documents in the DCI Document Center (easily Googled) to help form your answers. Submit your answers to [email protected], and don’t expect to win if you have any judge levels!

Arthur is playing a Pyromancer Ascension deck. He has two Burst Lightnings, two Lightning Bolts, a Scalding Tarn, and a Preordain in his graveyard, in that order, with the Burst Lightnings at the bottom. Noah is playing U/W Control and has two Negates in his graveyard. Arthur casts Foresee, and while he’s picking up the top four cards for the Scry effect, knocks over the next card in his library. Both players see that card – a Pyromancer Ascension. Noah calls a judge. Assuming no one is cheating, what penalties, if any, should the judge assess, and how should the situation be fixed, if it can be?

That one should be fun, and it reminds me of something I wanted to make my Judge Tip of the Week. Here goes!

When you play against people with Jace, the Mind Sculptor, and they Brainstorm, do you notice them grabbing a clump of cards off the top of their library? Do you ever count those cards? Do you know for sure that was three cards? And when they put their cards back… was that one card or two that went back?

I hate it when people do that kind of stuff, honestly. It would be so easy to grab four, accidentally or on purpose, or to put one back without your opponent knowing. This is actually two tips in one:

1) When you draw multiple cards, draw them one at a time. You can even count 1-2-3 out loud to make sure your opponent knows what you’re doing and can’t accuse you of cheats. When you put cards back for Jace, do the same.
2) Keep track of your opponent’s hand size mentally, or even with a die. When they’re about to draw multiple cards, ask how many they have, and after they finish their draw or Brainstorm effect, scope out their hand and see if things are right.
Of course, don’t jump to conclusions about your opponent cheating – just call a judge and let us handle it. (If you think they are, feel free to take us aside and let us know quietly, but don’t harangue your likely-innocent opponent directly!)

That’s all for this week’s issue of Tolarian Academy. Check back next week for the Halloween Edition of Tolarian Academy, where every creature in every question is a Zombie, a Vampire, or Frankenstein’s Monster!

You say I missed Halloween?

Never mind.

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