Ask The Judge, 05/29/2003
Q: If I Fork a card with the storm ability, do I get the storm ability for the copy of the spell?
A: No. Storm only triggers on playing the spell. The rule specifically says"When you play this spell..." (rule 502.30a).
The Vortex deals each player two damage during their upkeep, but also says that if a player would gain life, they would not. According to Transcendence, for every damage you take, you gain life. Would this place you at an infinite standstill? You can't take damage because of Transcendence, nor can you gain life because of the Vortex. Would this work out?
A: You wouldn't be at infinite life, but you'd be pretty hard to kill. The Vortex keeps you from gaining life, replacing Transcendence's triggered ability, and keeping you from getting too high in life. It's one of the few times you could actually see a negative life total.
Q: Let's say I play a Jinxed Idol, then sacrifice Celestial Gatekeeper to give it to my opponent. I put True Believer into play as part of the Celestial Gatekeeper's ability (or have it in play by any other means, I suppose). True Believer's ability should prevent me from getting Jinxed Idol back, as it says"target" opponent in its ability.
Can my opponent still sacrifice a creature to get rid of Jinxed Idol, or must he choose himself as only valid target?
A: The first part's correct. He can't target you to give you back the Idol. The answer to the second part is"no." He doesn't have a valid target; he must target an opponent, and he certainly isn't his own opponent, regardless of how badly he plays.
Q: A friend and I are very confused about enchantments. I want to cast a Mistform Mask on his creature and then pay the ability of my enchantment to change the creature type of his creature. He says I can't because the enchantment is now on his creature, so therefore he has control of it.
I believe it's the total opposite because I cast the permanent, so I control it and can change the creature type who is right, and how does this effect other types of enchantments?
A: For the zillionth time, the friend is wrong. You control the enchantment, regardless of whose permanent it's on. Obviously, in some cases it doesn't matter (like Mythic Proportions, which gives +8/+8 and trample and never offers any option to do anything else); it only matters when it comes to activating the enchantment's ability (like with Mistform Mask). Only you can activate it.
Note that some enchantments read"Enchanted creature has <ability>", such as Immobilizing Ink. That means the enchantment grants an ability to the creature; if that's the case, then only the controller of the creature can activate the ability.
In the first case, it's an ability of the enchantment; in the second case, it's now an ability of the creature.
Q: Now, I'm pretty sure I'm right on this but I wanted a second opinion. I was playing in a Onslaught Sealed Deck PTQ. A friend of mine attacked with his Krosan Vorine and targeted an active Gravel Slinger with provoke. His opponent tapped the Gravel Slinger in response to do one damage to the Krosan Vorine. My friend then chose not to provoke the Gravel Slinger, therefore the Gravel Slinger would remain tapped and any creature could block the Krosan Vorine.
I'm pretty sure this is a legal play because provoke is a triggered ability and you have to target something with the ability, regardless if you actually want to provoke something or not.
At the PTQ, the judge ruled in favor of my friend's opponent, saying once you target a creature with provoke, you have to untap it and it has to block if able. I pulled the judge aside after his ruling and tried to tell him he was wrong. I even made him go ask the head judge, who is Dan Gray, a Level 4 judge. Dan agreed with the judge and said that once you target a creature with provoke, it has to untap and block if able.
As a result, my friend was not able to take his attack back (which is understandable), but lost because of the judge's mistake. I am just looking for a second ruling on this as I do not want to be over-ruled next time I try to provoke something with a tap ability.
A: Your friend was correct and the judges were wrong. The choice isn't made until the triggered ability resolves. You can tell anyone, including Dan, that I said so. (g)
Q: I'm writing about an answer you gave to a very interesting question. The question was:
And you responded with:
"A: You're at twelve life. You play Form of the Dragon. At the end of your turn, your life total changes to five. This counts as losing seven life, triggering Transcendence. You gain fourteen life, taking you to nineteen (and barely avoiding losing the game)."
My question comes from the part you said"This counts as losing seven life". Then am I to assume that if I had one life with Form of the Dragon in play and the end of turn effects triggers that, this then counts as gaining life and if I have more than five life it would then count as losing life?
So if that is true and there is a Sulfuric Vortex in play, would my life total not go to five if I have one life with a Form of the Dragon in play at the end of a turn? Could I play a False Cure in response to Form of the Dragon end of turn trigger ability if that player has one life to make that player lose life instead of gaining it?
On the other hand, if you had more than ten life with a Form of the Dragon in play , somebody plays a False Cure, would it do nothing when the Form of the Dragon end of turn trigger ability resolves as you would be losing life, not gaining life?
A: Your assumption is correct. If you're at one with Sulfuric Vortex and Form of the Dragon in play, then your life total won't go to five, it'll stay at one.
False Cure triggers on life gain; it doesn't replace it. The player would first gain life, and then lose twice that much due to False Cure. If they had been at one, then went to five (gaining four), they would then lose eight life (and the game).