Published on 08/14/2006

DQ or Not DQ?

Cranial Translation
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Note: This article is over two years old. Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes. Proceed with caution.

Welcome back to another edition of Cranial Insertion, kids. This week, we're going to cover a lot of ground. Our mailbox is swelling with questions, some of which we'll get to here. Also, after the highly-publicized disqualification of Olivier Ruel, we're going to talk about exactly what happens during a DQ., what you can get disqualified for, and more. Don't cheat and just skip ahead to the DQ parts – cheating will get you DQed!

As always, you can send your questions to us at . The mailbox has been very busy over the past week, and no one has offered to sell us any herbal Viagra during that time, so they're real questions. We will answer your question and will probably use it in a future edition of CI. The only easier way to get your name in lights is to cheat to win the Tour de France! (Note: cheating the French is, unfortunately, still cheating as far as Magic is concerned.)

We have plenty of questions queued up, so let's get to them.

Q: If I play a spell with ripple, do I choose the order that the other cards go onto the bottom of my library?

A: Yes. It's not spelled out clearly on the ripple cards, but you can put any cards not sharing a name with the ripple spell on the bottom of your library in any order you choose. It's for the same reason that the victim of Plow Under gets to put the two lands atop his library in any order he chooses, namely:

217.2d If an effect puts two or more cards on the top or bottom of a library at the same time, the owner of those cards may arrange them in any order. That library's owner doesn't reveal the order in which the cards go into his or her library.

Now with more snowy goodness!
Q: If I play Gifts Ungiven, can I search for two different basic lands and their snow-covered equivalents?

A: Certainly. Gifts Ungiven instructs you to search for four cards "with different names." Island, Forest, Snow-Covered Island, and Snow-Covered Forest definitely have different names.

Bonus: (OMG strategery) "What good is pulling out four lands?" you might be asking yourself. Well, it does increase the odds of you drawing business spells for the rest of the game, and guarantees you your next two land drops.

Q: When I gain control of an opponent's land with Herald of Leshrac, does it trigger my Vinelasher Kudzu?

A: Your Kudzu will have to lash itself to another vine. Herald of Leshrac might go around pinching lands for you, but those lands were already in play. The Kudzu will only trigger when a land comes into play under your control, not when you gain control of a land that was already in play.

Q: Can Gigadrowse be countered by Voidslime if it gets replicated? What about by Swift Silence?

A: Voidslime can counter either the original Gigadrowse, or the triggered ability that creates the replicate copies. (Or, I suppose, one of the copies.) If the original spell (or one of the copies) is countered, you'll still have the rest of the copies to deal with. If the replicate trigger is countered, then you'll have just the original spell to deal with. Swift Silence, if played after the replicate copies have been created, will counter all of them, plus the original spell. So if you really want to put a stop to the Gigadrowsing action, Swift Silence is the weapon of choice.

Bonus: It also has much cooler flavor text.

Q: If I use Gelid Shackles to give the enchanted creature defender, and the Shackles are removed in the same turn, does that creature still have defender?

A: Yes. Gelid Shackles' ability gives the enchanted creature defender until end of turn. That is the duration of the effect; the enchantment leaving play before that duration is over will have no impact on what happens.

Q: I know Coldsnap becomes legal for Constructed play on August 20th. When does it rotate out of Standard?

A: Coldsnap will rotate out of Standard when the Time Spiral block leaves the format. Presuming the rotation schedule does not change between now and then, that would occur on October 20th, 2008.

Bonus: Wizards missed a golden opportunity with the names of the two sets following Time Spiral. Planar Chaos and Future Sight be damned; the second and third sets should have been called Tolarian Academy and Memory Jar. It would have been a great nod to the past, a tongue-in-cheek homage to what might be the most broken deck ever.

Q: During a recent game, I attacked with two creatures. My opponent blocked one, then played Boros Fury-Shield (paying ), targeting the unblocked creature. If I play Commandeer on the Fury-Shield, is the still paid?

Commandeer gives you control of a noncreature spell. Any additional or optional costs which were originally paid are still paid. Since you control Commandeer, you can choose new targets for it. And since Boros Fury-Shield can target either an attacking or blocking creature, you'll be able to change the target to the blocker.

Bonus: With any spell or ability that lets you change targets, you must change the target to a legal target. Note that you don't have to change the target, but if you do, your choice must be a legal one. If there are no other legal targets, you have to leave the target as it was originally chosen.

Q: I was at 6 life, and my opponent attacked with his Nantuko Husk and Paladin en-Vec. He said he could let the Paladin do its 2 first strike damage, then sacrifice it to the Husk before regular damage to kill me. Is this true?

A: "Taps" will be playing for you, I'm afraid. Your opponent's play was perfectly legal. After the Paladin en-Vec deals its 2 first strike damage, both players receive priority to play spells and abilities within the first strike damage step, before regular damage goes onto the stack. When your opponent has priority, he can sacrifice the Paladin to make his Husk a 4/4 and finish you off.

Q: The recent interest in Spelljack led me to a question: how many times can I play the spell removed from the game by Spelljack?

A: Just once. If the removed spell is an instant or sorcery, it will go to its owner's graveyard after it resolves. If it's an artifact, creature, or enchantment spell, then it becomes a permanent under your control when it resolves. Note that you have to follow the normal timing rules for playing a spell of the appropriate type, so no playing creatures during your opponent's end of turn step.

Q: If I play a ripple spell, like Surging Flame, does the ripple ability trigger before I declare targets?

A: Ripple only triggers when the spell has been played. That means you have gone thru all the steps of playing a spell, including choosing any targets. Once the spell has been played, then ripple triggers and goes onto the stack.

What's my name, fool?
Q: My opponent has enchanted my Dimir Doppelganger with Pillory of the Sleepless. If I use the Doppelganger's ability to turn itself into another creature, does the Pillory then fall off?

A: Your Doppelganger will continue to be Pilloried. The Pillory aura is attached to the Doppelganger object, regardless of what name it might have. If it leaves play, stops being a creature, or gains a relevant form of protection, then the Pillory will be shipped off to the graveyard as a state-based effect. Otherwise, it remains on the Doppelganger, whatever it might be copying.

The following questions all deal with disqualifications. DQs have gotten a lot of press over the past couple of weeks, and while we're not trying to comment on any particular situation, we feel a few questions covering the generalities would be beneficial.

Q: What happens when a player is DQed from an event?

A: Eli covered this last week, but I'm just adding some details to it. A DQ will typically come at the end of an investigation. Typically, the player is being questioned about some potentially Very Shady Behavior. The head judge, who is the only person who can DQ someone from an event, will talk to all parties involved: both players, any floor judges involved, and any spectators and witnesses who have something to add. Once all of that talking is done, the head judge will make the decision whether to DQ the player.

Let's assume we have a DQ. Now, the head judge has to do a lot of paperwork. :( The head judge needs to write a statement about what happened, in as much detail as possible. Floor judges and witnesses who were involved will also need to write statements, and the head judge needs to coordinate this. Of course, the DQed player should also write a statement. Sometimes, players who have been DQed will refuse to write statements. This does them absolutely no good, and probably hurts their cause. The player's statement is his chance to explain his side of the story to the DCI. Without this, the other parties' statements stand uncontested. It is the player's right to refuse to write a statement, but that refusal is certainly not in his best interests.

It's worth noting that DQs are not solely punitive measures; they are done to protect the integrity of the event.

Arrr, mateys, there be shenanigans afoot.
Q: What gets done with all that paperwork?

A: It all gets sent in to the DCI, where they use all the statements to hold paper airplane contests. If the player's statement sails farther than the judge's, he avoids a suspension. Or not. Once the DCI has the paperwork, the matter is reviewed by several people. Anyone involved may be contacted by the DCI as part of their investigation. When the DCI's investigation is over, a decision is made whether to suspend the player. This process varies in how long it takes, depending on the event where the incident happened, the nature of the incident, and how many other investigations are being conducted.

Q: Does a player who got DQed automatically get suspended?

A: Suspension is sometimes the result, but it's not automatic. It depends on what the offense was. Recently, the DCI has started organizing offenses by Rules Enforcement Level (REL) of the event where the DQ happened. Cheating is still cheating, however, be it at a Prerelease or the Pro Tour. Judges, and the DCI, will not go easy on someone just because they screwed the pooch at a "low-level" event. I have no way of knowing what percentage of DQed players end up getting suspended. The easiest way to avoid finding out is, of course, to not get yourself DQed.

Q: So what offenses will get someone DQed from a tournament?

A: First, let me say there are two types of DQ: a DQ without prize, and a DQ with prize. A DQ with prize is generally an upgraded penalty. If a player commits an infraction that carries a game loss penalty, he will get a game loss the first time. If he does it again within the same event, the penalty can be upgraded to a match loss. If he does it yet again within that event, the head judge can upgrade the penalty to a DQ. In these DQs, a player does not forfeit his spot in the standings, nor any prize that comes with it.

A DQ without prize (DQWOP) is far more common. A player will get a DQWOP for one of two things: cheating or severe unsporting conduct. Cheating is any infraction committed deliberately, often with the intention of gaining some advantage. Severe unsporting conduct (listed as Unsporting Conduct – Severe in the Penalty Guidelines) consists of extremely disruptive actions which can place someone under physical or emotional distress. I would recommend reading the Penalty Guidelines (which you can download from the DCI's homepage) for examples of all levels of unsporting conduct, as well as the different flavors of cheating.

Q: If a player has been disqualified, but not suspended, can he still play in sanctioned events?

A: Technically, nothing stops the player from enrolling in a sanctioned event. However, a tournament organizer can refuse anyone entry into an event, and a store owner can refuse anyone entry into their store. A player who was DQed in a certain store, and/or in an event run by a certain TO, may find that the store owner/TO no longer wants him around. This is up to each TO or store owner, but I think it's safe to say that the people who put on Magic events don't take kindly to cheaters, nor to particularly unsporting players. If you get DQed, even if you're not suspended, you may still find yourself unable to play in some sanctioned events.

Q: Why do judges tend to be tight-lipped about DQs?

A: Because all DQs are investigations. All of the statements collected have to be sent to the DCI. The DCI then investigates the situation, and decides whether to suspend the player based on the information they gather. Judges don't talk about ongoing investigations because loose lips can compromise the investigation. Once a player has been suspended, or the matter has been closed with no suspension issued, then you'll find that judges will talk more about what happened. Until then, though, judges should only provide very basic answers to the mildest of questions concerning a DQ.

Q: So if I'm not playing in an event, I can't be DQed, right?

A: Wrong. There are some things you won't be able to get DQed for (cheating, for instance), since you have to be playing to commit certain infractions. However, participation in the event is not a prerequisite for unsporting behavior. If you're not playing in an event, and a judge thinks you have done something disruptive enough to warrant Unsporting Conduct – Severe, the head judge will enroll you in the event and DQ you. Spectators are held to standards of civility, just like anyone else in the event. If they blatantly defy those standards, they merit the same infraction and penalty as someone in the event.

That's all for this week of Cranial Insertion. We'll be back next week with more questions, answers, and general mayhem. In the meantime, don't get yourself DQed from any events.

-Tom Fowler

About the Author:
Tom is a Level 2 judge who frequently works in the MD, DC, and PA areas. He is also an active player, and has written articles from both perspectives. Tom has judged numerous Pro Tours, but would like to make it there as a player at least once.


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