Ask the Judge, 02/17/2005
Rules Tip of the Day: Local enchantments only target when they are spells on the stack. When they are permanents in play they no longer target the permanents they enchant.
Q: Ninjutsu seems worded strangely to it; it says 'return an unblocked attacker you control to hand' and it does not specifically say 'owner's hand,' so does this finally make it possible to have other people's cards in your hand?
A: No, because of this general rule:
217.1a If an object would go to any library, graveyard, or hand other than its owner’s, it goes to the corresponding zone of its owner’s instead. If an instant or sorcery card would come into play, it remains in its previous zone instead.
And this specific one:
502.43a Ninjutsu is an activated ability that functions only while the card with ninjutsu is in a player’s hand. "Ninjutsu [cost]" means "[Cost], Reveal this card from your hand, Return an unblocked creature you control to its owner’s hand: Put this card into play from your hand tapped and attacking."
The thing to keep in mind is that the reminder text on cards is there to give a general description of how a mechanic works, they are not the rules themselves.
Q: I have Toshiro Umezawa in play when a creature controlled by my opponent goes to the graveyard. I target Hanabi Blast in my graveyard with Toshi’s ability and then play it. When Hanabi Blast resolves is it removed from the game if it is the card I randomly discard? How about if it isn’t the card I randomly discard?
A: In both situations Hanabi Blast will not be removed from the game. When Hanabi Blast goes from the stack to your hand it is treated as an entirely new card. Because of this, Toshiro’s effect will lose track of it and be unable to remove it from the game even if it does end up in your graveyard that turn.
Q: If I use Heartless Hidetsugu's ability and then play Awe Strike, would it prevent damage to my opponent as well or just me? Also, if I had Spirit Link on Heartless Hidetsugu, would I gain life for both the damage to my opponent and myself?
A: Awe Strike will prevent all of the damage, to both you and your opponent. Similarly, if Hidetsugu is enchanted with Spirit Link, then you will gain life equal to the damage dealt to you and your opponent.
Q: Does Overblaze work when I play it after the combat damage step has begun?
A: Yes, it will double the combat damage of the targeted permanent that has been assigned and is on the stack.
Q: If I attack with a creature that has Double Strike and my opponent blocks with a creature which regenerates, how many times it must be regenerated?
A: Just once. The first time it regenerates it is removed form combat, so it won't have normal combat damage assigned to it.
A: You won't lose the game. This is because state-based effects are not checked until after Reanimate has completely resolved. At this point the Angel will be in play and you wont; lose the game due to having a life total of zero or below.
Q: Can I use a regeneration ability as many times as I like, assuming I have enough mana? Meaning can I keep activating Spiny Starfish's ability at one go for a gadzillion starfish? If not, why?
A: While you can use a regeneration ability as many times as you can pay for it, what you want to happen will not work. When Spiny Starfish was originally printed the rules were different and you could only use a regeneration ability just prior to when a creature would be destroyed. Because the changes to the rules would make the Starfish far too good it received errata so that now you only receive 0/1 counters if the Starfish actually regenerates, not just when the regeneration ability is activated.
Q: I have a question regarding Dream's Grip: if a situation arises in which my opponent controls a tapped creature with Seizures I control on it, can I use Dream's Grip and pay its Entwine cost to untap and then tap the same target creature to deal my opponent 3 damage, if he can't pay the 3 mana cost to prevent the damage?
A: No. When you resolve an Entwine spell with the Entwine cost paid, you follow the text in the order written.. This means that you will first tap the targeted permanent and then untap the targeted permanent, not the other way around.