Published on 06/15/2009

Our Word is Bond

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 Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes.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.

Stop agonizing, we have your answer!
Oh man oh man oh man, it was so hard to write this article in the midst of the great Magic 2010 Rules Crisis of 2009. Whether you love 'em or hate 'em, the new rules have raised tons of questions. Unfortunately, without the good book (comprehensive rules) at our fingertips, we can't really answer too many questions about how the new rules work with old cards. I bet you're wondering how your favorite rules team feels about the changes, and while I can't speak for everyone (except Moko, who is just hopping up and down with excitement at how learning new rules makes players' brains all juicy), I'm looking forward to the rush of new rules questions.

If you have any questions about how cards interact with current rules, send them to the CI mailbag at !

Q: If I cascade into a Bond of Agony, can I pay however much life I want for the additional cost of X life?

A: You may remember this controversial question from a recent CI, but now we have an official answer on how it's going to work in the post-M10 world. The rule that says 0 is the only legal choice for X if you're playing a spell for an alternative cost that doesn't include X will be clarified to say it doesn't take additional costs - such as the one on Bond of Agony - into account.

Q: How does Erayo's Essence interact with cascade? Which spell does it counter - a Violent Outburst, or a Tarmogoyf played off cascade?

A: Although a cascaded-into spell will go onto the stack and resolve first, it wasn't the first spell played that turn. The cascaded spell will resolve, and the Violent Outburst will be countered.

Q: A Wrath of God is played, and all my artifact creatures are about to die, including some with modular and +1/+1 counters. Can I let the Wrath resolve, and then with the modular trigger on the stack, animate my Blinkmoth Nexus to put the counters on it?

A: That won't work. Wrath resolves, and the modular triggers all go onto the stack. If you can't pick a legal target, then they'll just drop off the stack, and there's no time for you to animate Blinkmoth Nexus in between.

We cannot tolerate bouncing
of the third kind!
Q: I attack with a Ninja of the Deep Hours, and ninjitsu in a Mistblade Shinobi. If opponent goes to Path to Exile the Shinobi, can I ninjitsu back in the Ninja, then ninjitsu it right back out and drop the Mistblade Shinobi into play?

A: Sure, that'll work. Your ninjas (who are quite used to jumping around like this) come into play attacking and unblocked, and ninjitsu requires you to return an unblocked creature.

Q: At the beginning of my upkeep, I cycle a Naya Sojourners to put a +1/+1 counter on my counterless Mycoloth. I was about to put a Saproling into play, but my opponent said I wouldn't get a Saproling because Mycoloth's ability wouldn't even trigger if it didn't have any +1/+1 counters on it. Who's right?

A: You are. Mycoloth doesn't have an intervening-if trigger, so it'll trigger even if it has no counters on it. Then, it'll count the number of +1/+1 counters and make the appropriate number of baby Saprolings when the trigger resolves.

Q: With Aluren in play, can I drop a Dryad Arbor during my opponent's turn for free?

A: You can't, but I admit it's not readily apparent why unless you've read 212.6d:

212.6d A player can't play a land, for any reason, if it isn't his or her turn. Ignore any part of an effect that instructs a player to do so. Similarly, a player can't play a land, for any reason, if that player has used all of his or her land plays for that turn. Ignore any part of an effect that instructs a player to do so.

You can't play lands during another player's turn, but the situation very rarely shows up.

By the way, this is one of those rare rules-restrictions Eli mentioned in his article last week.

Q: I tap Gwafa Hazid, Profiteer to put a bribery counter on my opponent's Grizzly Bears (don't want that thing getting out of hand) and in response to that, I use Blind with Anger to gain control of it. Do I draw a card?

A: Bribing folks who work for you is frowned upon in the Magic universe. Gwafa's ability will be countered on resolution, because it can't target a creature you control.

Q: When I use Soul's Fire to have my Charnelhoard Wurm burn my opponent's face, can I use the ability to return Soul's Fire to my hand?

A: Yep! Charnelhoard Wurm's ability will go onto the stack after Soul's Fire is in the graveyard, so you'll be able to repeat this dirty trick as long as you have 2R available.

Q: My only lands in play are an Unstable Frontier and an Exotic Orchard. Can I make my Exotic Orchard into an Island, then tap it and return it to my hand to play a Mistvein Borderpost?

A: While Unstable Frontier changes your Orchard's subtypes, it does nothing to its supertypes: It's still not a basic land, it just has the Island subtype. You can only return basic lands to pay for a Borderpost's alternate cost.

Q: I use Sneak Attack to sneak in a bunch of hasty creatures, and then use it to put a Worldgorger Dragon into play. At the beginning of the end step, when I sacrifice Worldgorger Dragon, do all my snuck-in creatures it returns also die?

A: Nope, they'll stick around. Worldgorger Dragon removed them from the game, and when it did, it just so happened to remove their Sneak-Attackedness. They're new creatures, so they'll get to stick around.

Q: I'm at 2, and I'm being attacked by two 2/2s. I block with a Windwright Mage. Do I gain life from lifelink in time to keep me in the game?

A: Not at present, no. Lifelink will trigger, and then you'll lose the game to state-based effects. Note that with the new lifelink rules being introduced in M10, this answer is very likely to change! We'll go into it more when the comprehensive rules are actually published.

Q: I play a Meddling Mage, and my opponent asks me what I'm naming, so I say, "Why, Terminate of course!" Then he tries to Terminate my Angel of Salvation. Can he do that?

A: Meddling Mage doesn't have you name a card until it resolves, so by asking you what card you're naming, he's saying the Mage has resolved. By then, Terminate's already on the "do not play" list.

Q: My opponent attacks me with a Darklit Gargoyle that's pumped up by a Aven Squire's exalted bonus, then pumps two black mana into Darklit Gargoyle. Can he do that? Won't the Gargoyle die at end of turn when exalted wears off?

A: Normally, pumping Darklit Gargoyle twice will drop it to zero toughness and kill it, but the exalted boost means it can basically be pumped an extra time for each instance of exalted that's helping it. Both the exalted bonus and Darklit Gargoyle's ability will wear off at the same time during the cleanup step, so it'll stick around to attack you next turn.

Q: With a Leyline of the Void in play, can I activate a Helm of Obedience on 1 and mill my opponent's entire library?

A: Yep! Leyline of the Void will replace the cards going to the graveyard, so neither a creature card or one card ever comes first. Their entire library will be removed from the game.

Q: I use Extraplanar Lens to remove a Swamp from the game. Do my Snow-Covered Swamps also produce two black mana?

A: Though they're functionally similar in many ways, Swamps and Snow-Covered Swamps both spell and pronounce their names differently. You'll only get one black from Snow-Covered Swamps.

Q: If I get five Bant Sureblades in my draft, can I play all of them?

A: Yep! There's no four-card limit in limited, so you can put them all in your deck.

Q: The store's out of Forests for our booster draft, but they've got plenty of Snow-Covered ones! Am I gonna get game losses for playing them?

A: Normally yes, but since the store is providing the land, if they run out then certain exceptions will have to be made. Just make sure you inform the head judge first to make sure it's okay, though with exceptional circumstances like that it should be fine. Something like 1/3rd of you probably experienced something similar during Shadowmoor prereleases with Mountains.

Knock knock!
Who's there?
An interrupting Goyf!
An interrupting Go---*goyf noise*
Q: What's this funny Fork card in my opponent's graveyard, and why does it say "Interrupt" on it? Does it make my Tarmogoyf bigger?

A: Oh, that. Just pay it no mind, it's a lost relic from the time before the rules changed in a big way. It won't make your Goyf bigger, unless there's no instants in the yard already, as it's an instant nowadays.

Q: What's this "Failure to Maintain Game State" thing I heard about?

A: The DCI's philosophy is that every player in the game is responsible for ensuring that the gamestate is legal. If your opponent accidentally does something illegal, like not attacking with a creature that must attack each turn, and you don't notice and call a judge right away, you'll get a Failure to Maintain Game State penalty. It's a Caution at Regular events and a Warning at higher levels, and judges will very rarely upgrade this penalty. This shouldn't encourage you to help your opponent play, but to make sure your opponent is playing legally by calling a judge as soon as there's a problem.

Q: When do the Magic 2010 rules changes take effect? I was at FNM and someone told me I couldn't sac my Mogg Fanatic with damage on the stack anymore, and it made me sad because I thought I had more time with the little guy.

A: Your Mogg Fanatic doesn't have too long to be its old self; about a month to be exact. Your last tournament where you can say "stack damage" in an un-ironic fashion will be the July 10th FNM. The next day is the M10 prerelease, which as you can imagine, will use the new M10 rules.

Well that's it for me. It's hard to believe I've only got one rules article left before M10 hits! In the meantime, keep sending on your current-rules "how does this work" questions to us!

About the Author:
Brian Paskoff is a Level 2 judge based in Long Island, NY, and frequently judges in NY, NJ, and PA. You can often find him at Brothers Grim in Selden or Friendly Neighborhood Comics in West Islip. He runs a newsletter for Long Island Magic players called Islandhome, which can be signed up for by contacting him.


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