Ask the Judge 1/16/2008
Rules Tip of the Day: It used to be that artifacts, by default, lost their abilities when tapped. However, that was changed with the introduction of the 6th Edition rules in 1999. Now there are only a few artifacts whose effects turn off when they are tapped.
Q: Can Harbingers target Shapeshifter cards (Changlings)?
A: When you resolve a Harbinger's comes-into-pplay triggered ability, you can search for any card that has an appropriate creature subtype. Cards with Changeling have all creature types, so you can search for a Changeling card. Keep in mind that this does not target the creature card in any way, and that not all cards with the subtype Shapeshifter have the Changeling ability; only (at present) Shapeshifters from Lorwyn block do.
Q: Does Guile's ability work on 'X' spells that are countered? If so, do they resolve with the same value of X as they were originally played with?
A: You can play any counterspell that was (almost) countered, as long as you control Guile. However, the spell you end up playing is a new spell, with no connection to the one that was just removed from the stack. And as you are playing this spell without paying its mana cost, the value of X is zero.
Q: In a casual multiplayer game, Confusion in the Ranks is in play. My friend attacks with three creatures, and activates Militia's Pride three times, creating three tokens which, due to Confusion in the Ranks, switch control with various other creatures controlled by different players. The tokens are still tapped and attacking, right?
A: No, when a creature in combat changes controllers, it is removed from combat. These token creatures will remain tapped, but they will not be attacking any longer.
Q: Lightning Axe is played, and an opponent's creature is targeted. As part of its cost, Brain Gorgers is discarded, and is played for its Madness cost. Can the opponent then sacrifice the creature that was the target of the Lightning Axe to counter the Brain Gorgers?
A: Yes. In this example, Lightning Axe will be put on the stack as soon as is it played. During the announcement, the Brain Gorgers is discarded and its Madness ability will trigger. This Madness trigger will go on the stack on top of the Lightning Axe spell. When this Madness trigger resolves, the Brain Gorgers can be played. When this happens, the Brain Gorgers other trigger will go on the stack. The Lightning Axe is still on the stack, underneath this new trigger. When Brain Gorgers' trigger resolves, the controller of the creature targeted by the Lightning Axe can choose to sacrifice this creature to counter the Brain Gorgers spell. This will also cause the Lightning Axe spell to become countered on resolution.
A: No. Only creature spells that are played when they lose their last time counter gain haste, and only for as long as you control them. Non-creature spell played this way that become creatures will not have haste.
Q: If I activate Grinning Ignus's mana ability, does my opponent have a chance to respond to the "return this to your hand" portion of the card?
A: You return the Ignus to your hand as part of the activation cost of this mana ability. Because this is a mana ability that does not use the stack, you will put the Ignus back in your hand, add this mana to your pool, and will be able to spend it before your opponent can play anything.
A: No, Cabal Coffers is not a Snow permanent. It will generate non-Snow mana, regardless of whether or not your Swamps are Snow permanents.
Q: I have Enduring Renewal, Blasting Station, and Ornithopter in play. When I sacrifice the Ornithopter to the Blasting Station, can my opponent play Honor the Fallen to remove it from the game (killing my combo), or will the ability of the Enduring Renewal resolve first?
A: Enduring Renewal's ability that returns creature cards to your hand is a triggered ability that uses the stack. Your opponent can respond to this ability and cause the Ornithoptor to be removed from the game before this ability resolves and returns it to your hand.
Q: Vodalian Illusionist Phases creatures out. Does this inherently mean that they have Phasing, allowing them to Phase back in, or are they stuck out in Phaseland until something else Phases them back in?
A: All permanents in the Phased-out zone Phase back into play at the beginning of their controller's next untap step. This happens whether or not they have the Phasing ability.