Ask The Judge, 06/20/2003
Q: Let's say I have a Words of Waste in play, my opponents turn just ends, after untap, I choose to pay one during my upkeep; during my draw phase, can I choose to force my opponent to discard a card instead of drawing my general card-a-turn?
What I'm trying to ask is if it's legal to replace my natural draw with a Words ability. I don't see why I can't, but maybe there's a rule somewhere I haven't looked over.
A: You haven't missed anything. Your normal draw is as available for Words replacement as is any other.
Q: Provoke is a cool ability but lately I have seen conflicting things about provoke and I have some questions.
I have Krosan Vorine and I provoke a Goblin Sharpshooter. In response, the Sharpshooter is untapped and quickly tapped. What happens now? Does the Krosan Vorine deal damage to the player, or does nothing happen because it is an illegal block?
The other thing is I that was playing Magic Online and someone provoked my Wellwisher; I quickly tapped the Wellwisher in response, but it still died. You see how confused I am.
A: Understanding how Provoke works will unconfuse you.
Provoke is a triggered ability meaning"Whenever this creature attacks, you may choose to have target creature defending player controls block this creature this combat if able. If you do, untap that creature."
After you declare your attackers, Provoke triggers. You put the ability on the stack, targeting a creature. When that ability resolves, you untap the creature, and it must block if it's still able to once the Declare Blockers Step comes around.
If you activate your Wellwisher in response to the Provoke ability going on the stack (which is a good idea), then it will get untapped when the Provoke ability resolves. The good news is that since now players get priority before declaring blockers, you can tap it again, gaining more life. Since it's tapped when you go to declare blockers, you can't block with it.
Q: You said yesterday that if someone tapped five soldiers to use Catapult Master and someone changed the creature type in response, it would still work.... But I got a ruling on a Grand Prix in a similar situation.
My opponent wanted to make a soldier bigger with his Grassland Crusader. I wondered what would happen if I changed the creature type and he answered that the ability checked on both targeting and resolution. What is the difference?
A: The difference is that the activation of Catapult Master only cares that they're Soldiers when it's announced; it doesn't target them, it just ensures that they're Soldiers when you activate the CM.
Grassland Crusader targets a creature with its ability. When the ability is announced, the creature must be either an Elf or a Soldier, and it must be either an Elf or a Soldier when the ability resolves. Note that it can be a Soldier when the ability goes on the stack but and Elf when it resolves and still work just fine.
A: No. The difference is Warped Devotion triggers because it leaves play at the same time as the other cards, and"sees" them. When the discard actually happens, Megrim is no longer in play and therefore doesn't trigger.
Q: If there are two Mirari's Wakes out under my control, does that make my land produce two extra mana or just one?
A: Two extra, because both trigger.
Q: I'm at four life, and my opponent is at six. I have a Megrim in play, and I follow up with Urza's Guilt. This will have killed us both, but my opponent should die after (s)he discards three cards. Because the three effects of Urza's Guilt are separated by"then," does that mean that each event occurs separately? If it does, does that mean I've won the game? Or is it a draw?
A: The game sees the resolution of Urza's Guilt as a single event with multiple parts, meaning that no player gets priority in between"thens." If players don't get priority, there's no check for State-Based Effects.
What happens in this situation is that you lose. Megrim triggers when your opponent discards the cards, but doesn't go on the stack until after Urza's Guilt is finished resolving (again, because no one gets priority during resolution of a spell). Before those three Megrim triggers go on the stack, we check State-Based Effects and see that you're at zero life (and your opponent's at two), and you lose.
Q: I was recently playing Magic with a few of my friends and I put my Crypt Rats into play. Then, when it was my turn again I used their creature spell. Does the damage the rats do with their spell also deal that damage to them?
A It's not a spell, it's an activated ability - but yes, because on the card, it says"each creature."
Q: Temple of the False God. I haven't read too much about this, but I put it in a deck and found myself wondering: Does the card itself count towards the land count? For instance, let's say I have four regular lands played, and it is now my turn. If I lay Temple of the False God as a land, can I now tap it for the two mana? The card text leaves room for argument.
A: Yes, it can be your fifth land. Otherwise, it would say"...five other lands..."
A: Yes. Whenever you play a spell, your opponent has the opportunity to respond.
Q: If I have a Defiant Elf and with Alpha Status on it and I cast a Steely Resolve naming"elves," will the enchantment stay on? Is it still targeting it or does it recheck what it's targeting at a certain time and then falls off?
A: It will stay on. Once an enchantment spell has resolved and is enchanting a permanent, it no longer targets it.
Q: My opponent has a Zealous Inquisitor and a Daru Spiritualist in play. If he activates the ability of the Inquisitor, redirecting future damage to the Spiritualist, does this immediately"target" the Spiritualist, giving it +0/+2, or does damage need to be dealt to the Inquisitor first before it"targets" the spiritualist?
A: The Spiritualist's ability triggers on a Cleric becoming targeted, so it will resolve before the Inquisitor's ability resolves, setting up the damage redirection.
Q: I just have a quick question about Stupefying Touch. If a creature's ability is"Tap an untapped ~thing~: ~something~", like Master Apothecary, and I Stupefying Touch it, can he tap it to use the ability?
A: No, you can't; it's an activated ability of the Apothecary, regardless of what the cost is.
Q: If you return Wirewood Symbiote to your hand with its own ability, is it okay to play it again and use it's ability again?
A: Wirewood Symbiote isn't an Elf, it's an Insect - so you can't use its ability to bounce itself at all.
If you have something like Conspiracy in play, where all your creatures are Elves, then yes, you can - because once a creature leaves play and then comes back, it has no memory of what it previously did. It's a"new" version of the creature.
Q: A question about Avalanche Riders' echo upkeep (or any creature with echo and cumulative upkeep) and Hell's Caretaker. Assuming it is my upkeep phase, can I sacrifice my Avalanche Riders to Hell's Caretaker for other creatures, without paying the echo costs needed for the Avalanche Riders?
A: Yes. You put the Echo or Cumulative Upkeep on the stack, and then activate the Hell's Caretaker's ability. Note that you have to target a creature that's in the graveyard when you activate the ability, so you can't sac your Avalanche Riders and bring it back.
Q: If I Mana Drain a Dismantling Blow with kicker, do I get six or three mana in the next main phase? If I Mana Drain a Call of the Herd played from the graveyard, do I get three or four mana in the next main phase?
A: Nothing ever changes the mana cost of a card. You get three from Dismantling Blow, Kicker or not, and three from Call of the Herd, Flashback or not.