Ask the Judge, 03/15/2004
Q: I have Pristine Angel in play, and I attack with it. My opponent activates his Royal Assassin to destroy it. In response, I play an Instant and untap my Angel. Is it still destroyed because the Assassin's ability is already on the stack?
A: No. As with all targeted spells and abilities, when the Royal Assassin's ability goes to resolve, it will check to make sure its target is still legal. It's not, so the ability will be countered on resolution (rule 413.2a).
A: Not if your opponent doesn't want you to. Because all the damage is being dealt simultaneously, he can choose which he prevents.
A: Your opponent draws the cards. He controlled the Skullclamp when the creature was put into the graveyard, during the first part of the resolution of Murderous Spoils. You don't get control of the Skullclamp until afterward.
Q: I understand that if I target my opponent's creature with the ability from Sword of Fire and Ice, and he sacrifices the creature in response, I do not get to draw a card because the entire ability is countered on resolution because its only target is invalid (your often-quoted rule 413.2a). Does this same situation occur with Sword of Light and Shadow? If the creature card in the graveyard is removed before resolution (like with Scrabbling Claws), would I still gain 3 life?
A: Yes, it's the same. The triggered ability has a single target. If the target is invalid on resolution, the entire ability is countered, so there's no card draw.
Q: Just what the heck is a charge counter?
A: A counter is a marker placed on an object, either modifying its characteristics or interacting with an effect."Charge" is just a name for a particular type of counter. All counters of the same name are interchangeable. There are also age, bomb, flood, fuse, and spore counters, to name a few, along with several counter variants that modify a creature's power and toughness.
A: It comes into play tapped. A permanent that states it comes into play tapped will come into play that way regardless of how it gets there.
A: Only the Gemini Engine gets the bonus. The token is named"Twin," not"Gemini Engine." The smart play is to play the Echoing Courage before attacking. That way, you'll get a larger Gemini Engine, and the Twin will have the great power and toughness.
Q: If I Imprint Recuperate onto Mourner's Shield, do I have to pay anything to use the spell, or have I just created a way to lavish 6 points onto myself every turn? Additionally, do you get to choose between the two abilities on the card or do you choose one at the imprint stage?
A: Imprinting a card gives you the opportunity to play that card only if the ability specifically says so. Mourner's Shield doesn't. It only looks at the color of the Imprinted card for the purpose of preventing damage of that card's color(s). If you had Imprinted Recuperate on something that allows you to play the spell, you could choose the mode when you announce the spell.
Q: I know mana abilities don't use the stack. So, if I want to mana burn on my opponent's turn (I'm playing with Mirror Universe), I can wait for him to pass priority on an empty stack at the end of his second main phase, float some mana and pass, and there's nothing he can do about it, right?
A: Wrong. Taking any game action or any game event occurring, even one that doesn't use the stack, breaks the"pass in succession" chain. After your mana ability resolves, you still have priority. If you pass and then he passes, the game will move to the next Phase.
Q: Suppose I have Mycosynth Lattice and Karn, Silver Golem in play. Can I use Karn's ability to turn noncreature artifacts into artifact creatures, as an extremely cheap way of destroying my opponent's lands by making them 0/0 creatures?
A: Yes. With the Lattice in play, the lands are noncreature artifacts. As soon as Karn animates them, they'll be 0/0 creatures because the converted mana cost of lands is 0. They'll be put into the graveyard as a State-Based Effect.