Ask the Judge, 12/27/2006
Rules Tip of the Day: You cannot counter a creature's comes-into-play ability or cause it to somehow not trigger by destroying the creature. The only way to prevent the comes-into-play ability is to counter that creature spell when it is on the stack so that it never comes into play; to cause to creature to come into play without any abilities e.g. via Humility; or to counter the triggered ability directly with Stifle or a similar spell.
Q: I have a tapped Spectral Force in play and my opponent does not have any black permanents in play. I know it will not be untapped during my next untap phase. But will it get untapped during my next next untap phase? Players around my area think that it will not untap as long as my opponent controls no black permanents.
A: Yes this Spectral Force will untap in your following untap step. What the players in your area believe is incorrect. When Spectral Force attacks its ability triggers. The effect from this triggered ability will prevent it from untapping just once in your next untap step. It will untap as normal later in the game. This also means that if Spectral Force becomes tapped for some other reason besides attacking it will untap as normal.
A: No. When you play a spell or ability where you divide damage you must choose to assign at least one point of damage to each individual target.
A: Copy effects copy other previously applied copy effects so this new Vesuva will be a Strip Mine.
A: No. Immediately after it is turned face down by its upkeep triggered ability you will receive priority as you are the active player. While paying a Morph cost does not use the stack you do have to have priority to pay this cost. So when you receive priority you can turn it face up right away. Even if you did wait and allow your opponent to play the Repeal you could respond to the spell by paying the Morph cost turning the Shapeshifter face up and copying some creature in play that has a converted mana cost other than zero. This would cause the Repeal to be countered on resolution.
Q: When Mana Skimmer attacks and deals damage to a player it taps a target land and that land doesn't untap during the player's next untap step. What if the land is already tapped—will the second part of the ability still take effect or is the first part required to even make it a legal target?
A: Mana Skimmer's triggered ability targets a land; the status of the land does not matter. The word "tap" is an instruction to tap the land when the ability resolves not a targeting restriction. And the effect from Mana Skimmer's ability is applied to this targeted land even if this triggered ability is not what caused this land to become tapped.
A: Yes that does work. It does not matter why the creature targeted by the Valkyrie goes to the graveyard only that it does. Just make sure that you play and resolve the Valkyrie's ability before you sacrifice this creature.
A: Assuming that these two permanents are controlled by two different players then yes this interaction will cause an infinite loop and the game will be a draw if the loop is not broken. Whenever the controller of the Transcendence loses life Transcendence's last ability will trigger. However when this triggered ability resolves this player will lose life instead of gaining it due to Rain of Gore's replacement effect. This will cause Transcendence's ability to trigger again and continue this loop.
A: Yes that works. Each time Quicksilver Elemental gains an ability it is a new and different copy of the ability. Each of these individual abilities can be played once. Keep in mind that you will end up skipping your next six turns.
Q: I used an Imperial Seal to put Tinker on top of my library. My opponent uses Ghost Quarter targeting my Underground Sea on his turn. Must I search my library for a card or can I choose not to search my library—therefore not shuffling my Tinker away—since Ghost Quarter says "may search?"
A: You can do what you want. The word "may" in the text of Ghost Quarter's ability refers to the entire action of searching putting a land into play and then shuffling your library. You can choose to not search your library at all in order to not shuffle your library.
A: Just one. Barring first strike damage all combat damage is dealt at one time. Phantom Centaur's ability prevents all damage that dealt at this one time regardless of the number of sources that are dealing this damage.