Ask the Judge, 7/23/2007
Rules Tip of the Day: As of last Friday (July 20th) 10th Edition is legal in all constructed formats. Additionally, 9th Edition is no longer legal in Standard.
Q: I have five Swamps in play and I play Tendrils of Corruption to kill a 1/1 token so I gain 5 life. Can I gain more life than the amount of damage dealt?
A: Yes. Tendrils of Corruption has you gain equal to the number of Swamps you control. It did deal five damage to the targeted 1/1 creature, but that does not really matter, as the life gain is dependent on the number of Swamps you control and not the amount of damage dealt.
A: Yes. With Urborg in play, all lands that come into play will be Swamps, so Thelon's Chant's ability will trigger.
Q: I play a Vampiric Link on one of my opponent's creatures. When they attack me, I gain that much life, so it's as if I didn't take any damage, correct?
A: Yes. Keep in mind that Vampiric Link (or Spirit Link) has a triggered ability that uses the stack. If the damage from this attacking creature lowers your life total to zero or below, you will lose the game before you gain any life. If the damage from this attacking creature does not lower your life total to zero or below, then the damage will end up being negated and your your life total will go back to what it was.
Q: If a Soul Collector kills a 1/1 Goblin token creature in combat, what happens?
A: The token creature will go to the graveyard and Soul Collector's ability will trigger, but before this triggered ability can go on the stack, the token will cease to exist. So the token will not return to play under your control.
Q: I have Wild Pair in play, and I play a Spike Feeder. Since both triggered abilities are comes-into-play abilitiess and I control how they stack, can I stack the triggers so that the Spike Feeder gets both +1/+1 counters before Wild Pair's trigger resolves, allowing me to search for a creature with a total power and toughness of 4 instead of 0?
A: First of all, this does not quite work as you describe it. Spike Feeder does not have a triggered ability. It has a static ability that generates a replacement effect. This replacement effects is applied as the Feeder comes into play. This is not a triggered ability. If it were, then the Spike Feeder would come into play and then immediately go to the graveyard before it got the +1/+1 counters, as state-based effects will be checked before any abilities that triggered on the Feeder coming into play even get to go on the stack, let alone resolve. You will get the result you want, but because it is not a choice. Spike Feeder will come into play with two +1/+1 counters on it, making it a 2/2 creature.
Q: Using the Fire half of Fire / Ice, do I have to deal 1 damage to a creature or player in order to make it a target, or do I choose the damage assignment on resolution? I attack with a Silver Knight and my opponent blocks with Ravenous Baloth. After first strike damage resolves, I cast Fire on the Baloth and my opponent. Can I wait until after my opponent decides whether to sacrifice his Beast to determine how I'll divide the damage?
A: No, that is not legal. When you play a spell or ability that asks you to divide some effect, like damage, amongst objects or players, you must choose this division when the spell or ability is played. Further, you must assign at least one of whatever is being divided to each target. In the example given, in order to make sure that the Baloth went away, you'd have to choose it as the sole target of Fire. Your opponent could still sacrifice to gain four life, but at least you won't have to deal with the Baloth anymore.
Q: I'm at 20 life and I have Noble Purpose and a Serra Avatar in play. Serra Avatar has Armadillo Cloak on it and is equipped with Fireshrieker. When Serra Avatar attacks, it is blocked by a 5/5 creature. Do I gain life from both Noble Purpose and Armadillo Cloak for both the first-strike and regular combat damage?
A: Yes, provided that your opponent doesn't lose the game first. When first-strike combat damage is dealt, the Avatar will deal 20 points of damage. I assume you assigned five to the blocking creature and 15 to the defending player. This will cause the abilities of both Noble Purpose and the Armadillo Cloak to trigger. When each of these two abilities resolve you will gain 20 life. Then, when you move on to the normal combat damage step, the Serra Avatar will be a 60/60 creature. As the blocking creature is no longer in play, your Avatar will assign all 60 points of its combat damage to the defending player, since it currently has Trample. When this damage is dealt, the abilities of Noble Purpose and Armadillo Cloak will trigger again. Provided that this additional 60 points of damage is not enough to kill your opponent, then these two abilities will go on the stack and you will gain 60 life each time one of them resoles.