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  • posted a message on Who's going to what prelease... Dissension edition!!!
    I shall be attending the prerelease in Columbus, Ohio on both days. I'll either be wearing a Dungeon (game store) t-shirt or a green "Choose Your Weapon" dice sweatshirt, and I'll have a big red backpack. Flights and drafts all day both days for me, unless one of my buddies cons me into doing a 2HG flight. There's also an outside chance I might wind up judging on Saturday.
    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on blinking spirit + loxodon warhammer
    Thou art correct. Warhammer grants the ability to the creature it's equipping. When you return Blinking Spirit to your hand, it's no longer in play to have that ability, and as such when damage is dealt there's no ability to trigger.
    Posted in: Magic Rulings Archives
  • posted a message on Head judge sees an illegal play
    If the game state is illegal or the players are making an illegal play, it is the judge's job to step in. The judge doesn't have to wait for them to call him over or anything, and while we can always hope that the players see and correct the situation that's not always the case, so if you see an illegal play of any sort as a judge, speak up.

    Keep in mind that they must actually be making the play in order for you to step in. Players are allowed to bluff to a certain point, and a player might be arranging his blockers in a way that might be illegal, and as long as he eventually gets them into a legal position and declares them that way, he's fine. A judge interfering before that may be coaching the opponent, so the general idea is to let the players actually make the bad play, then step in immediately, stop the game, and back up the game state to before the illegal action.
    Posted in: Magic Rulings Archives
  • posted a message on Question for Judges...
    Quote from The Y »
    It depends on the test. They construct the tests and then norm them with a target score. I believe the A1 is 70/85 and the A2 is 75/90, I don't know what the A3 is. (Don't quote me on this, I don't have access to the tests.)
    Posted in: Magic Rulings Archives
  • posted a message on Who is going to what Pre-Release? Version1.2 - SOK
    Michigan events bounce around quite a bit. The last prerelease was in Birch Run, the GP was in Detroit as is this prerelease, Regionals is in Novi, PTQs and such are usually in Garden City... basically always check either the Wizards site or the Professional Event Services site before you make plans.

    PES Judge
    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on Who is going to what Pre-Release? Version1.2 - SOK
    I'll be at the Detroit, MI prerelease. Name is (oddly enough) Jeff Vondruska. I'm only going Sunday and I'll be in the team tournament, no idea what team yet. I'll be in a black MTGnews t-shirt with a red backpack.
    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on Cranial Insertion: Don't Eat the Cake

    Cranial Insertion
    Don't Eat the Cake
    By Eli Shiffrin, Thijs van Ommen, and Jeff Vondruska

    Greetings, and welcome to yet another installment of Cranial Insertion! Allow myself to introduce… myself. I'm Jeff Vondruska, a DCI level 2 judge from northeastern Ohio. As you know if you've paid attention to the previous columns, I'm mainly the behind-the-scenes guy, helping Eli and Thijs out with their articles and proofreading and such.

    Speaking of Eli, you may be wondering where he is at the moment. After all, it is his turn in the rotation. Eli has unfortunately come down with a nasty case of some mutating virus, most likely contained in the cake Thijs sent (and probably assisted by the bird doo that it picked up mid-flight). This might explain his eyes. Needless to say, he's out of commission for the week.

    An unfortunate side effect of this little turn of events is that there will be no Moko this week. Moko was already in the air on his Crypt Angel headed for Arizona when we got the news about Eli's health, and the flight couldn't be cancelled. So I'm running this one solo, with a little help from my friends over on the #mtgjudge channel on the EFnet IRC network.

    Let's start off with a few questions I ran into while judging at Grand Prix: Detroit a couple of weeks ago!


    Q: My opponent just played Otherworldly Journey on my Mountain which had been animated by Genju of the Spires. He says that it stays removed from the game because it's not a creature anymore. I say it comes back. Who's right?

    A: You are quite correct. Of course, the Genju itself will go to the graveyard and stay there, since the Mountain didn't go to the graveyard. At the end of the turn, the Mountain will come back into play. The reason for this is contained in rule 202.2a:
    202.2a. If an ability of an object uses a phrase such as "this [something]" to identify an object, where [something] is a category or characteristic, it is referring to that particular object, even if it isn't the appropriate category or characteristic at the time.

    The even cooler thing about this situation is that your Mountain will return to play with a +1/+1 counter on it. There's nothing in the rules that says +1/+1 counters can only go on creatures. Unless you manage to animate the Mountain again, the +1/+1 counter will have no visible effect. However, it sits there, ready and waiting to pump up your Mountain should your second Genju show up. (You do have a second Genju, right?)


    Q: I have a Ronin Warclub in play and cast a Shimmering Glasskite. When it comes into play, does the Warclub automatically equip to my Glasskite?

    A: Do you honestly expect one of those Glasskites to be able to hold a club? I mean… how many hands does a Glasskite have, anyway? Unfortunately for the laws of physics and fortunately for you, the answer to your question is yes. (I'll file this away on my list of Magical situations which don't equate to the real world. Cranial Plating equipped to a Headless Horseman, for example. Or that no monkeys come out when a Monkey Cage is Shattered.) You see, there's a difference between playing an equip ability of a piece of equipment and simply attaching it to something. The equip ability goes on the stack, targeting the creature you want to put the equipment on. When it resolves the equipment attaches itself, an action which in itself targets absolutely nothing. Ronin Warclub skips the first step of that process and simply attaches itself to the creature which just came into play. Since it's not doing any targeting, the Glasskite has itself a Warclub.


    Sticking to the Glasskite theme…

    Q: My opponent just played Consuming Vortex, splicing on Kodama's Might. He targeted my Jetting Glasskite with the Vortex, and his own Silverback Ape with the Kodama's Might. Does his ape get +2/+2?

    A: The player in me wonders at what your opponent was thinking while making that play. The judge in me then chimes in with a firm no. Unlike an untargetable permanent or a permanent with the Protection ability, the Glasskite is not an illegal target for the spell (which would allow the spell to resolve and do as much as possible to the remaining legal targets).

    What Jetting Glasskite does is counter the spell, which because of Splice consists of some weird conglomeration of the Vortex and the Might. (Whether it be Consuming Might or Kodama's Vortex is up to you.) Splice actually takes the text of the spliced spell (in this case Kodama's Might) and adds it onto the end of the spell that's being played (the Vortex). Thus, what you end up with is a spell on the stack that looks roughly like this:
    Consuming Vortex
    Instant – Arcane
    Return target creature to its owner's hand.
    Target creature gets +2/+2 until end of turn.
    You now have one spell with two targets, but it's still one spell, so the entire thing is countered, which means his Ape stays 5/5. (Besides, isn't he big enough already?)


    Q: If I'm in the final round of a PTQ and my opponent and I are deadlocked with neither person willing to concede. Is it ok to just flip a coin to decide the winner?

    A: That depends on whether you and your opponent would like to be disqualified without prize from that particular PTQ. Here's an excerpt from section 25 of the DCI Universal Tournament Rules:
    The following actions are prohibited:
    • Attempting to determine the winner of a game or match by a random method, such as a coin flip or die roll

    The philosophy behind this particular policy is that games and matches in sanctioned tournaments should be decided on gameplay. Also, the determination of a winner by a random method could conceivably be viewed as gambling, which is illegal in quite a few states and countries where the DCI runs tournaments. Because of this, the DCI takes a pretty stern stance, and that little die roll or coin flip will probably result in your stay in the tournament being cut rather short.


    Q: My opponent attacked me with his Goblin Cohort. I responded by shooting it with my Frostwielder, then shooting it with my Initiate of Blood. I flipped it, and my opponent called the judge over. What's the deal?

    A: Sorry, no Goka the Unjust for you. What your opponent noticed that you missed is that Frostwielder will remove the Cohort from the game using what's called a replacement effect. Replacement effects are designated by the use of the word "instead". As you no doubt have noticed, Frostwielder uses that little buzzword, making it a replacement effect. Let's take a look at one of the relevant rules:
    419.5. If an event is prevented or replaced, it never happens.
    The rule goes on to talk about the modified event triggering abilities and such, but the bottom line is the top line. The Initiate only flips over if the creature it damaged goes to the graveyard, and as the event is replaced it never actually goes to the graveyard. Your opponent may have been a bit hyper on the judge call, but he was right.


    Q: I have a Honden of Cleansing Fire and a Honden of Seeing Winds in play. On my upkeep I gain 4 life from the white Honden, and then draw a card from the blue one. I went to activate my Sensei's Divining Top before drawing the second card for the Honden and my opponent stopped me. Aren't separate card draws different events or something?

    A: Well, first off let me make sure you understand that the blue Honden's triggered ability only triggers once and goes on the stack once, it just draws you two cards in this case. It doesn't go on the stack once for each card draw. Since it's just one ability, what you're trying to do is activate the Top in the middle of the resolution of the Honden's ability. Keep in mind here that you can only activate an ability or play a spell when you have priority. Let's take a look at the rules for who gets priority when:
    408.1c. The active player gets priority at the beginning of most phases and steps, after any game actions are dealt with and abilities that trigger at the beginning of that phase or step go on the stack. No player gets priority during the untap step and players usually don't get priority during the cleanup step (see rule 314.3). The player with priority may either play a spell or ability, take a special action, or pass. If he or she plays a spell or ability, or takes a special action, the player again receives priority; otherwise, his or her opponent receives priority.
    Let me boil this down a bit for you. The nonactive player gets priority pretty much only when the active player gives it to them, so I'm going to focus on the active player. The active player gets priority at the beginning of each phase or step (except for the untap step and the cleanup step), after game actions (such as declaring attackers) are taken care of, and also immediately after they finish playing a spell or ability and after a spell or ability resolves. That's it. You'll notice the distinct lack of anything about gaining priority after each individual action during the resolution of a spell or anything, so you can't respond to the first card you draw. You can activate the Top before you draw any cards, you can activate the Top after you draw the two cards for the Honden, and you can activate the Top after you draw for your turn (or any combination of the above), but not in between cards #1 and #2.


    Q: My opponent just cast Reweave on the Heart of Light that I put on his creature. I sacrificed it and then revealed cards from my library until I found a Genju of the Falls. The problem is that I don't control any Islands at the moment. We can't just leave it in the library because the card says you have to put it into play, but we can't just put it into play enchanting nothing… my head hurts.

    A: Was that a question?

    Q: Ok, ok… what happens to the Genju?

    A: Ah, much better. Fortunately for you the nice people on the Wizards of the Coast Rules Team put a rule in the book which covers this situation quite nicely, so your head can stop hurting as soon as you stop banging it on the table.
    212.4e. If a local enchantment is coming into play by any other means than being played, and the effect putting it into play doesn't specify what it will enchant, the player putting it into play chooses a permanent or player for it to enchant as it comes into play. In this case, the enchantment doesn't target the permanent, but the player who is putting it into play still must choose a permanent or player that the enchantment can enchant. If no legal permanent or player is available, the enchantment remains in the zone from which it attempted to move instead of coming into play.
    The rule goes on to talk about moving enchantments from one permanent to another, but that's another discussion. Essentially what that big long rules-y thing says is that your Genju stays exactly where it always was: in your library. No funky stuff like coming into play, not enchanting anything, and then going to the graveyard.

    Before anyone starts complaining about the Golden Rule (referring of course to rule 103.1, go look it up if you're not familiar), it doesn't apply in this situation. The Golden Rule is there strictly to make cards work like they say they do. Unless a card directly contradicts a rule, the Golden Rule just sits there and does nothing. An example of a card that makes the Golden Rule kick into effect is Platinum Angel. Platy directly contradicts all the rules that tell you how winning and losing work by simply turning them off. Reweave falls under this rule:
    416.3. If an effect attempts to do something impossible, it does only as much as possible.


    Well, I think that about covers the good stuff I saw at Grand Prix Detroit. A good time was had by all; congratulations to Jordan Berkowitz for winning, huzzah, huzzah, etc. To fill up the rest of the column this week, I'm going to go over a few more random questions.


    Q: I have a Chalice of the Void in play with one counter on it, and it's been there for a couple of turns. I just played a Xantid Swarm. Isn't casting a spell you know will be countered an illegal play? My opponent has to let me take that back, right?

    A: *loud buzzer* I'm going to give you a warning for rules cheesing simply for asking the question. Please send your DCI number to me at your earliest convenience so I can file the warning. If you don't have one, one will be provided for you.

    Despite the nature of the question, the fact that it's in this column means I actually have to give a coherent answer. The answer is no. You played the spell, you made the mistake, your spell will be countered. It's not an illegal play at all, just a very bad one, and last time I checked the rules don't stop you from being a bad Magic player. (Or else I would've finished a lot higher at last week's tournament.)


    There was a picture of Pernicious Deed
    here, but our buds had to go home.
    Q: My friend and I are both in an Extended PTQ. I made the top 8 but he didn't and he wants to leave. I borrowed a couple of Pernicious Deeds from him and needless to say he wants his cards back before he heads home. Pernicious Deed's a pretty expensive card and I can't just come up with two more on the spot, so that means I have an illegal deck. Can I force him to let me keep the Deeds or am I just screwed?

    A: Well, they're his cards, so you can't really make him leave them behind if he doesn't want to (and neither can the judge). According to the letter of the rules, you're screwed. Unless you can find a few more Deeds before the top 8 starts, you do have an illegal deck and the judge is perfectly within his rights to penalize you for it. However, this is one of those situations where the letter of the rules can't really plan for.

    One of the major factors judges have to take into account when determining a penalty is how much potential there is for abuse in that particular situation. If you're just leaving cards off of your decklist, you could be swapping cards in and out (which is obviously an advantage), or just running a deck that's less than 60 cards (which is good because you have a better shot of drawing your good cards). There's some serious abuse potential there. We know that most people do it completely innocently, but to discourage those who might be doing it intentionally we have to give that a game loss. This situation is perfectly legitimate, and I can't possibly see a way that you could gain any advantage off of your friend leaving with part of your deck, so were I the head judge I would proxy the two cards that are missing and allow you to finish the tournament normally.

    (Disclaimer: How each judge handles this situation may be different from how I handle it. This is just my opinion, though it is shared by other judges I've discussed this with. I don't want to hear anyone at a tournament saying "But Jeff said so in Cranial Insertion!")


    Q: My opponent just tapped his Glimmervoid for mana. I Shattered his only artifact in response to make his Glimmervoid go away. Does he still get the mana?

    A: Confused player, rule 406.4. Rule 406.4, confused player.
    406.4. A mana ability can be activated or triggered. Mana abilities are played and resolved like other abilities, but they don't go on the stack, so they can't be countered or responded to.
    The short answer is that he already has the mana by the time you can even think about Shattering his artifact. As the rule says, mana abilities can't be responded to. By anything. Or anyone. Not even you.

    The other problem with what you're trying to do is that Glimmervoid doesn't check to see whether there are artifacts in play until the end of the turn, specifically at the beginning of the End of Turn step. This means it won't go away right away after you Shatter the artifact, so even if you could respond to the mana ability (which you can't), the Glimmervoid would still be in play.


    Q: I Terrored my opponent's Jushi Apprentice. In response, he used its ability to draw a card. That gave him nine cards, and he flipped the Jushi. He says that since the creature's now Tomaya the Revealer, it's not the same creature anymore and so the Terror doesn't work. He's not right, is he?

    A: Lucky for you, he's not. Let's take a look at what happens when you flip a flip card:
    508.2. In every zone other than the in-play zone, and also in the in-play zone before the permanent flips, a flip card has only the normal characteristics of the permanent. Once the flip permanent in the in-play zone has been flipped, the normal name, text box, type line, power, and toughness of the flip permanent don't apply and the alternative versions of those characteristics apply instead.
    You'll notice nothing that says anything about becoming a new permanent. All it does is switch up a few characteristics. Terror doesn't look at the name or the text box or anything, it keeps an eye on that specific creature. It sees it get bigger, shinier, and legendary, but it's still the same creature, so Terror will bump it off quite neatly.


    Q: I just tapped my Forbidden Orchard for mana, giving my opponent a little 1/1 Spirit. I have a Kyoki, Sanity's Eclipse in play. Does he have to remove a card from the game or doesn't he?

    A: He doesn't. There's a large difference between the terms "play" and "put into play". Playing something means announcing it, putting it on the stack, choosing modes and targets, paying costs, and so forth. Putting something into play is a simple change of position: That something is moving from another zone (such as your graveyard or your hand) into play. If you read these two cards carefully, you'll see that Forbidden Orchard puts a token into play, and Kyoki triggers when you play a Spirit or Arcane spell. Since play is not the same as put into play, the two don't meet up and Kyoki doesn't trigger. (Neat idea, though.)


    Well, that about wraps it up for this week. Keep the questions rolling! Next week Thijs will return with a look at multiplayer and casual, kicking off Casual Week here at MTGSalvation! Moko's already on his way back to the Netherlands on board a Leviathan. (Eli was too sick to book him another Lemure and the Leviathan was the best Thijs and I could do from where we were.) I've also been informed that Eli's on the mend, which means we may well have a collaborative trans-Atlantic article on our hands next week. Tune in and find out!

    Until next time, watch out for that Dutch cake! (Send it all to Eli instead.)

    --Jeff Vondruska
    DCI Level 2 Judge
    Elyria, OH USA
    Posted in: Articles
  • posted a message on Most Dramatic Death
    Having not read anything Apoc-forward in awhile, I have to go with Barrin in the #1 slot. Gerrard and Urza run a close second with the Apocalypse, and Hanna dying from the plague with Gerrard and Barrin's subsequent reactions kinda hits me when I read that.
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on [Official Thread] Tooth & Nail
    Oddly enough I haven't noticed much of a problem against ponza. Sure, they salt me, but at least half the time I seem to pull through it and Tooth anyway, get Vamp/Trike, game over. I haven't noticed a real serious problem matchup, my deck has just undergone a bit of reconstruction for the past couple weeks and isn't doing as well at the moment. The majority of Tooth players around here are abandoning the deck (within the last two weeks I've traded two people substantially in my favor for pretty much their entire Tooth decks and turned around and sold the pieces) and I think it'll allow me to act almost as a rogue deck now, with people not really worrying too much about sideboarding because there's only one serious tooth player left in our store (me, of course).

    The results of my testing over the past couple weeks: I'm sticking with the mono-g tron build, it just works for me. My Tooth team is Kiki, Titan, DSC, Dup, T/V. The Simulacrums have become Trellises, the MD Plows have become Tops, I moved Boseiju to the main and dropped the Scryings to 3, dropped the Abunas out of the board and put in two Rudes. Tonight's the first time I'll actually be putting all of those things together, I'll try to write up a mini-tourney report with my decklist tomorrow.
    Posted in: Standard Archives
  • posted a message on Ravnica- Mercadia Reborn
    I can see that it's pretty cliche, but unfortunately the whole Magic storyline has become kinda cliche lately... Hero (Gerrard, Kamahl, Glissa, Toshi/Michiko) fights a war against huge overpowerful enemy (Phyrexia, Cabal, big fat artifact guy I don't remember, O-Kagachi/Spirit world), overcomes great adversity and winds up victorious, and someone becomes a planeswalker. With different themes, the Magic storyline has pretty much been rinse/repeat post-revision. I could say the same thing about Urza in the Brothers' War, Jodah in Ice Age, Tetsuo in Legends 2...

    I'm not saying it's a bad thing, they manage to vary it enough to keep it interesting and keep all of us reading it, but the major theme has been the same for the vast majority of the post-revision story arcs. I honestly don't see Ravnica being much different.
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on Ravnica- Mercadia Reborn
    I doubt it's Mercadia. Too much water in the picture. The only city-ish thing on the Mercadian plane that's got that much water around it is Rishada, which didn't strike me as a place worthy of a block.

    In the largest metropolis of a city-covered plane, perspectives will clash and laws will be tested. From the depths under the city to its lofty spires above, Ravnica's citizens eke out an existence even as all around them ancient guilds vie for control and power.
    That to me sounds more like Arena than anything... maybe not quite so much fighting, but ancient guilds vying for control of everything with the people kinda starving all around them is pretty much what Arena was about. My guess is that the story will revolve around a character somewhat like Garth, champion of the common people, trying to bring down the guilds, and so forth.
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on [Official Thread] Tooth & Nail
    The problem with Choke against MUC is Spectral Shift. Lots of decks are running them now specifically to deal with things like Boil, Choke, and Genjus. I picked up a couple Chokes and put them in my spare parts box just in case Choke somehow gets good, but right now that's exactly where they're staying: In the spare parts box. My MUC tech at the moment is Boseiju and Troll. I'm probably going to try MDing the Boseiju and upping the Troll count to 4 once I get done testing Plow vs. Top.
    Posted in: Standard Archives
  • posted a message on [Official Thread] Tooth & Nail
    Quote from CrAzEd MiKe »
    (well, actually 11 green, i run one MD boseiju)
    11 green, 13 colorless. I also don't necessarily think that every good idea has to come out in a deck immediately. Look how long Goblin Welder, Sundering Titan, and reanimator were in extended before anyone put them all together and ended up with Teen Titans. I've tried running 12 tron, I've tried running 24 lands, and this is the best the deck's ever worked for me.

    Oh, and my first tournament's playtest results are in for the Plow Under vs. Top change. The Plow was never really as much of a house as I thought it would be based on my initial playtesting. It worked well in the mirror, but there's not much mirror left around here since the rotation (everyone's off trying new things), and after getting Extracted the second time in game 2 I found myself very much wishing I had the top to dig up some win conditions. In pretty much all the other matchups I found myself wanting top much more than Plow Under. I'm going to stick with it for another week or two then switch back for a few weeks and compare results.
    Posted in: Standard Archives
  • posted a message on [Official Thread] Tooth & Nail
    With your build, in come the Troll Ascetics, Boseiju, Rudes, and possibly the Duplicant (against Keiga and Meloku). You take out anything you don't want your opponent to have (Bribery and Shackles). That would be the A-team, Colossus, Titan, and probably Kiki as well. Round out your boarding with Plows. Really the only Tooth target you should be leaving in against MUC is the Duplicant because it doesn't hurt you overmuch if they bribe it out and if they drop Keiga, you need to have that guy ready and waiting. If you resolve a Tooth post-board in this matchup you're either fetching double Troll or Troll/Dup. You essentially become Rock in this matchup.

    Cyan: With your scenario (3 power plant), you never search for the Mine first. The first piece you search for is the Power Plant, leaving only two of that in the deck and a greatly reduced chance of actually drawing it. If I already have a Tower, that leaves me with 4 Mines, 3 Towers, and 2 Power Plants left in the deck. Since dropping the 12th piece of Tron lets me run one more green source, that gives me an improved chance of drawing either a Mine or a green source rather than drawing a Tower or Plant and duplicating a piece I already have.
    Posted in: Standard Archives
  • posted a message on [SoK]Who becomes the planeswalker?
    I don't know that Pearl-Ear's a big enough character... my first guess would be Toshi or Michiko like everyone else, but if I had to guess one of the minor characters I'd go with Sharp-Ear... He's still rather mysterious and there's a lot about his character we don't know. (His real name, for instance.)
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
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