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.

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.

25 thoughts on “Tolarian Academy – Trigon of Ragequit”

  1. Cool article! Loved it! 🙂
    By the way.. I got a question concidering the Contagious Nim,Grafted Exoskeleton and Geargrabber Ogre situation. If the controller of Geargrabber Ogre happened to control a Contagious Nim, would he have had to sacrifice it as a result from Grafted Exoskeleton unattach effect?

  2. @SH:
    No. The trigger from the Exoskeleton is instructing the player to sacrifice the recently unequipped Nim, not just “a Contagious Nim”

  3. Lol, genuinely funny and informative. I really hope this series continues here on CFB and thanks for making me giggle like 3 times Mr Levine.

  4. Wow, I catch a judge in an incorrect ruling.

    102.3e If a player would both win and lose simultaneously, he or she loses.

    This covers the “Zap an opponent on 1 with no library,” and is the exact example given to me by level 3 judge Eric Smith when I asked how it was possible to win and lose at the same time. There is a difference between winning the game and your opponent losing, which is why Abyssal Perscutor doesn’t just say “You can’t win the game.”

  5. ProdigalT:
    This doesn’t cover my example. Neither player “won” – both lost. Winning in a duel can happen only two ways:

    104.2. There are several ways to win the game.
    104.2a. A player still in the game wins the game if all of that player’s opponents have left the game. This happens immediately and overrides all effects that would prevent that player from winning the game.
    104.2b. An effect may state that a player wins the game.

    This, combined with the fact that a player who loses the game leaves the game (see 104.5) is what covers my situation. 102.3e does not cover Zapping an opponent on 1 with no library, because no one is winning and losing at the same time. Both players lose simultaneously.

  6. I have a question about mimic vat. I was just playing a game and a guy took control of my mimic vat with volition reins he then wrathed the board and killed my frost titan. He used vats imprint on titan. My next turn at the end of my 2nd main step he used vat to bring a copy of titan. He then did not exile the copy. He said that at my end step he did the ability so the copy stays until his next end step. Meaning he gets to attack with that frost titan and another copy he can make on his turn. I told him there is no way he can do that because it would make mimic vat imbalanced. He said that’s how it works. I said how can have priority at my end step when I cant pass priority on the end step? I believe he summoned the copy at the end of my 2nd main. Is there any way anyone can do what he says he can do? Use mimic vat at the end step then have the copy it creates stay around until the next end step? Please clarify and solve this mystery!

  7. Joshua,

    Your opponent’s play actually does work, although not in the way described. The key thing here is that if your opponent activates Mimic Vat at the end of your second main phase, then the trigger would cause it to be sacrificed at the beginning of the end step.

    However, both players do get priority during the end step, after “at the beginning of the end step” triggers have triggered, but before “until end of turn” which happens during the cleanup step. If he activates the Mimic Vat during your end step, the token of the imprinted creature will not be sacrificed until the beginning of his end step.

    This is actually specifically stated by rule 513.3 “If a permanent with an ability that triggers “at the beginning of the end step” enters the battlefield during this step, that ability won’t trigger until the next turn’s end step. Likewise, if a delayed triggered ability that triggers “at the beginning of the next end step” is created during this step, that ability won’t trigger until the next turn’s end step.”

    It may seem unfair or imbalanced, but that is the way the card works. Hope that helps.

  8. There is a difference between ‘at end of turn’ and ‘until end of turn’. Things that are ‘until end of turn’ are checked at the cleanup step, which is repeated anytime anything happens. ‘At end of turn’ is checked at the end of turn step. If you activate it after the ‘end of turn’ step begins, the effect won’t end until the next turn’s ‘end of turn’ step.

    Hope that was helpful (and correct)

  9. I strongly disagree about drawing cards 1 at a time. Doing this every turn takes forever, and you can just as easily accidentally draw an extra card if you are trying to grab 1 card as if you try to grab 3. If you’ve ever played against someone in a control mirror who pulls 1 card at a time for every Top Activation, Brainstorm, etc. you know how often this leads to time-outs.

  10. Putting them back 1 at a time is welcome though. Ask often what your opponent’s hand size is, and if they count the cards they are putting back and you keep track, there should be no confusion about how many they drew.

  11. Andy:
    I’ve played and watched lots of control mirrors, and if people actually focus, they can draw those cards plenty fast. As for my reasoning, I’m not talking about people accidentally drawing an extra card, I’m talking about people “accidentally” drawing an extra card 🙂

  12. I also find that generally, this method is just as fast as the “grab three” method:
    Put the top 3 cards of your library face down on the table.
    Pick them up.

    That achieves clarity while maintaining speed for people who aren’t quite as good at not flipping over extra cards.

    1) I’m pretty sure it’s the thinking and hemming and hawing that make Jace/Top take a long time, not the actual physical drawing of cards. I’ve seen lots of players play lots of games at lots of levels of play. I should know.
    2) If it’s the physical drawing of cards that takes the time, why is putting one back at a time okay? Isn’t that just the reverse physical action of card drawing, and shouldn’t that not be okay by your logic?
    3) Simply tracking cards in hand before and after does not protect you from Brainstorm cheats. “Draw 4, put 3 back” leaves you with the “right” number of cards in hand.

  13. Placing them on the table first is fine, I think that’s a fine compromise for the sake of time. I say you can place them back one at a time to solve the problem you present in problem 3. The physical action is the same, but “cards in hand” is much easier to answer than “cards in library”. Honestly, if you are quick with your actions drawing one at a time is acceptable, but players pick up strange habits like pulling the card off the top of their library, dragging is slowly across the table, then flipping it into their hand. So I’m willing to acknowledge that my problem could be more with the specific players I’ve had experiences with who draw 1 card at a time rather than the actual act itself.

  14. FILO:
    The same thing can be achieved by selecting both cards in your hand and then putting them back one at a time in sequence. PV’s point is not to select the “obvious” one you don’t want and then go “Hrmmm hrrr hard decision,” because then they know your top card is live and your second one is a blank.

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  16. AndyC:

    Sorry if this offends you, but if you don’t have a crisp, clear style of play (which includes being extremely explicit whenever you draw cards/ manipulate your library), you haven’t had much top level tournament experience (or you’re likely a cheater)

    By the strickest sense of rules, you’re allowed to draw three cards haphazardly palming them all at the same time, but most high level players (except Saito? Edel? 😎 understand the need to maintain the integrity of the game and be as clear and controversy free as possible about the game state at all times.

    Having played with/against Finkel, Turian, Kastle, Ruels, GerryT, Gabe, Kai etc I can tell you they are very clear and crisp with their actions (even shuffling, pretty sure JohnnyMagic could be a croupier any casino he wanted with his card dexterity).

    If you wanna maverick your brainstorms and play loose, enjoy all the judge calls you will inevitably get…

  17. @prodigalit well since you and your opponent both in the same condition of could win and lose at the same time you both lose. and since both of you lose you get a draw instead….. get it?

    i hate jace ……… so many card “advantages”, real advantage and of course by cheatyface
    i propose to ban jace tms for good who is with me? (a card that causes so many controversy should never been printed)

    oh while i`m in presence of a judge, i want to ask something if you don`t mind. i am thinking if my opponent is side shuffling my deck for a whole 3 minutes it will clogged my land together ( i have tried it myself and always got my land cards stuck together…… an excellent way to get yourself a bye or at least a mulligan) should i called a judge to tell my opponent to stop it? what is the definition of properly shuffled and randomized?

  18. I also had a question regarding imprint/Mimic Vat

    What if both players control a Mimic Vat? Who gets to imprint the creature when it destroyed?

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