Thanks to all the folks who responded regarding my grammatical shortcomings. Unfortunately, our beloved editor didn’t correct some of my errors (it was mostly piddling stuff, right Anthony?), but he did, as predicted (and as he admitted) (And as I purposely HAD to do, since Sheldon had corrected me before on it in a previous column, but I didn’t want to spoil a good contest – The Ferrett), change something that was correct. No one correctly identified that the proper plural of "Grand Prix" is "Grands Prix", not "Grand Prixs". I submitted the former; the latter ended up in print. Ah, pedantry at its finest.
Thanks again to everyone who responded; since no one got what I was looking for, I’ll just send some foreign cards to the first person to respond, one Daniel Crane of Roanoke, Virginia. Keep those cards and letters (and emails to [email protected]) coming (especially the cards and letters with cash in them!). This week, I’ll slip some Shakespeare in. Be the first to identify the reference, and I’ll send you something foreign (hey, it may be random, but it’s black bordered and non-English).
Now that we’ve covered some abilities, we’re going to look at some effects. An effect is what happens when an ability resolves. I’ve found the trickiest of these to be Replacement and Prevention Effects, so let’s dig in.
Replacement and Prevention Effects sit and wait for a thing to happen, then either replace, modify, or prevent it. They’re identified by the words "instead" for replacements and "prevent" for prevention. Simple, eh? Templating generally goes something like, "when/whenever you would do <something>, do <something else> instead" for replacements and "the next time <damage>, prevent it."
Since Classic (6th Edition) Rules hit the market last year, we’ve used the "shield" analogy for Replacement and Prevention Effects. Once the effect is replaced or prevented, the shield is used up. A shield generated by a static ability wouldn’t be used up in such a fashion; it continually recreates the shield. Let’s look at some practical examples.
Regeneration is a Replacement Effect. Regeneration means, "the next time this turn the permanent would be destroyed, instead remove all damage from it, tap it, and, if it is in combat, remove it from combat." When a regeneration ability resolves, it wraps itself around the creature, waiting for the next time the creature is going to be destroyed. All that’s necessary is that the shield is in place before the destroy event. That’s different from previous editions of the rules. Back then, you would wait for the event to resolve and then regenerate afterward.
Another popular Replacement Effect is that of the Serra Avatar. "If Serra Avatar would be put into a graveyard from anywhere, shuffle Serra Avatar into its owner’s library instead." If you try to put Serra Avatar into your graveyard, it hops into your library (after which, you shuffle). There’s absolutely no way to get it into your graveyard.
One of my current favorite cards in Limited is Shield Dancer. "2W: The next time target attacking creature would deal combat damage to Shield Dancer this turn, that creature deals that damage to itself instead." It’s an excellent example of a nasty replacement. Did I mention it’s a Rebel and it doesn’t tap to use the ability?
Damage Prevention comes in two flavors: One prevents a specific amount, one prevents it all. If an effect prevents a specific amount (such as "the next 3 damage"), the shield isn’t used up until all the damage is prevented. If one source did two points and later in the turn another did one more, it would all be prevented. Note that most, if not all, Damage Prevention effects have a duration, such as "until end of turn."
An event that is replaced never happens, so it doesn’t trigger any abilities based on that event happening. Let’s say you have a permanent that says, "whenever a creature deals combat damage to you, draw a card" and a Circle of Protection: Red. A red creature attacks you and you use the Circle to prevent the damage. You wouldn’t draw a card.
Many Prevention Effects require you to name a source (which you do on resolution of the Prevention Effect’s ability). That source can be any permanent, spell or ability on the stack, or any card or token referred to be a spell or ability on the stack, so long as the source meets any other requirements of the ability that generates the Prevention Effect (for example, a source must be green for a COP: Green to prevent it). You couldn’t, for example, name the Fireball in your opponent’s hand, even if you know it’s there because of Glasses of Urza.
Replacement Effects can interact easily with each other (effectively replacing a replacement). The D’Angelo Rulings* give a fine example. "For example, if one effect says ‘For each 1 life you would gain, instead draw a card’ and another says ‘Instead of drawing a card, return target card from your graveyard to your hand’, both effects would combine regardless of the order they came into play. Instead of gaining 1 life, the player puts a card from their graveyard into their hand."
If two Replacement Effects try to affect a permanent in contradictory ways, the controller of that permanent decides which one happens. For example, if one says, "When a creature card would be put in your graveyard from play, remove it from the game instead" and the other says "When a creature card would be put in your graveyard from play, put it into your hand instead", you’d get to choose whether you wanted to put that creature back in your hand or remove it from the game.
A last Replacement Effect I’ll cover is Damage Redirection. Damage Redirection follows all the rules of Replacement Effects. Redirected damage is dealt to the new source; it’s not dealt to the original source, then moved. Importantly, if the original recipient or the new one isn’t in play or isn’t a creature (or player, as is valid), the Redirection does nothing. The shield, however, is used up.
Putting rules discussions aside momentarily, I have to say I’m thoroughly enjoying Friday night multiplayer games with (among others) StarCity’s own Ferrett and David Phifer, despite the fact that I’m the Threat (and "Gary" in David’s recent column). It’s a fine little social group and they’re fun to beat up on (I’ve still been the last guy standing more often than not). I have but two things to say. First to David: You could have chosen a more threatening-sounding name for me, like "Uther". Second, to the Ferrett: I will forgive, but rest assured, my twitching-whiskered friend, I will never forget. This is my claim, my threatening, and my message.
And my Final Judgement.
– Sheldon K. Menery
* – I’m going to start using Ferrett’s footnote scheme. Here’s where I tell you how cool the D’Angelo Rulings are, and that the URL is http://www.crystalkeep.com/magic/index.html. A good deal of what I tell you is repeated therein, although not quite as charmingly.