Ask the Judge, 06/15/2006
Rules Tip of the Day: State-based effects are checked whenever a player receives priority. This is at the beginning of most steps and phases; whenever a spell or ability is played; whenever a spell or ability resolves; or when a player passes priority to their opponent.
A: No. A spell or ability is not played until the entire announcement process has been completed. In this example, the Burning-Tree Shaman is not in play when the announcement of Miren's activated ability becomes played, so the Shaman's ability will not trigger.
A: It will get +5/+5. It does not matter that the Courier only costs four mana, it is all five of the colors in Magic, so Blessing of the Nephilim will give it +5/+5.
A: No, it won't get any counters. You apply the Ulasht's coming into play ability before it actually comes into play. As you have shuffled all of your creatures into your library and have not put any into play yet, you do not control any creatures, let alone red or green ones.
Q: I was wondering whether the text of a Spliced spell is included in the spell that Eye of the Storm removes from the game. For example, if I Splice Glacial Ray on Reach Through Mists, then when Eye of the Storm creates a copy of Reach Through the Mists, will that spell also have Glacial Ray Spliced on to it?
A: No, Eye of the Storm counters spells, removes the cards that represent them and then makes copies of the removed cards, which you can play. These copies have no relation to the spell that was initially played. So any additional costs piad when the original spell was played will not be automatically copied. When you play the copy, you can Splice a Glacial Ray onto it. However this will not be free, you'll have to have a Glacial Ray in hand, and pay the 1R Splice cost.
Q: What happens when a player has two or more Ink-Treader Nephilim in play? If an instant or sorcery is played targeting one of them, would it be an endless?
A: No. Ink-Treader's ability only triggers when a spell or ability is played that targets it. If a spell or ability is put on the stack targeting the Nephilim, its ability will not trigger, as this spell was not played.
Q: My play group has a few questsion about Damping Engine. Does it target the player with the most permanents as it comes into play, or is it calculated as cards are played? Also what would happen if two players are tied for the highest number of permanents?
A: Damping Engine has a static ability that is applied to all players as long as it is in play. This ability does not target, as it does not use the word "target." It works like this: if any player in the game controls more permanents than any other player, then he cannot play lands or any spell that becomes a permanent when it resolve. However, this person who controls the most permanents can choose to sacrifice a permanent in order to ignore this effect until the end of the current turn. (Keep in mind that the player can play abilities, instants and sorceries that put permanents into play without becoming them.) Also, if two or more player are tied for the most number of permanents then Damping Engine's ability will not do anything, as no player controls more than any other.
Q: Can you use Maze of Ith on a creature that has Vilgilance?
A: Yes, you can. The word 'untap" in the Maze's text is an instruction to untap the targeted attacking creature when the ability resolve; it is not a targeting restriction. You can target an attacking creature that is untapped. Then, when the ability resolves, the untap portion of the effect will not do anything, but this creature will have combat damage dealt by and to it prevented this turn.
Q: I'm playing Two-Headed Giant, and I have Necropotence in play. Does my teammate have to skip his draw step?
A: Yes. You are sharing your draw step, so if you have to skip your draw step, your teammate will too.