FINAL JUDGEMENT: Rulings To Keep In Mind At Regionals

A lot of reminders about how to play cards and what doesn’t work that may mean the difference between win and lose!

The obsession with qualifying for Nationals is coming to a head. Given the decks that you’re going to be seeing this weekend, I thought I’d give you some heads up on some of the cards that might give you trouble, or at least some of the card interactions. Herewith is a compilation.

Tsabo’s Decree/Chimeric Idol: Idols have no creature type. They are immune to Decree. You announce the creature type when Decree resolves, not when you play it. Only a single word that doesn’t have another meaning in Magic is allowable. "Opponent" is not a viable option, while "Spellshaper" is. "Spellshaper Legend" is not (it’s two words). "Artifact" is not a creature type.

More Chimeric Idol: If it gets Tangled, it will not untap on the next untap step, regardless of the fact that it’s no longer a creature. Tapping the lands is part of the effect of making it a creature, not the cost.

Fires of Yavimaya: The Haste function of Fires is a continuous effect. Once you sacrifice the Fires, the effect goes away. That may mean that a permanent has Haste for a little while, then has summoning sickness in the same turn. If you declare a creature as an attacker and then sacrifice the Fires, the creature is not removed from the attack.

Orim’s Chant: *sigh*

Legends: I doubt there are many duplicate Legends problems, but just in case there are, the one that comes into play latest is destroyed as a State-Based effect. That means if someone Terminates your Lin-Sivvi, and in response you search for another, both will die. After the searching resolves and you put Lin #2 into play, the SBE check will dump it into the graveyard. Then the Terminate will resolve, killing Lin #1. On a related note, if a Liberate is used on a Lin-Sivvi and there’s another in play when she returns, the one that was Liberated is considered the latest since she has no memory of her previous life.

Lairs: Since Lairs have a coming-into-play triggered ability, you can tap it for mana before choosing whether to sacrifice it/bounce another land. Lairs, regardless of the mana they produce, are not considered basic land types.

Familiars: Familiars don’t reduce the mana cost/converted mana cost of a spell. They just help you pay the cost. They may be used to help pay Kicker costs. Their ability is not optional, so if you forget and put five mana into your pool for a spell that now costs four due to the Familiar, you must use that extra mana before the end of the phase or take mana burn.

Multiple Saproling Bursts: Each token is tied to the Burst that created it. That means if Burst #1 goes away, only the tokens that came off of it leave; the tokens created from Burst #2 stay around.

Yawgmoth’s Agenda: It counts as your one spell for the turn. The cards in your graveyard are not considered to be in your hand for any purpose other than playing them. You can’t discard a card that already in your graveyard, for example.

Urza’s Rage: If you haven’t heard this a million times already, it’s a legal target for a Counterspell. When the Counterspell resolves, it does nothing. If it’s an Absorb or Undermine, the life gain/life loss still happens. Memory Lapse is dependent on countering the spell, so the Rage won’t be put on top of the library. Rage can be countered by game rules (such as a creature gaining Protection from Red before the Rage resolves).

Nether Spirit: If there are two Nether Spirits in your graveyard at beginning of upkeep, there is no way to get one out. The ability won’t trigger. You’ll have to remove one from the graveyard (like with Cremate) during your opponent’s End Step or something. Nether Spirit only comes back if it is the only creature in your graveyard both when the ability would trigger and when it resolves.

Gating: Gating is a triggered ability. You may put it on the stack and then do other things. Gating doesn’t target, so you may bounce a Blastoderm. If there are no creatures of the required colors when the Gating ability resolves, the ability does nothing. If the creature with the Gating ability is the only creature in play and it’s one of the colors, it must be the one bounced.

Smoldering Tar: You can only use the "sacrifice to do four damage" ability as a Sorcery. That means you can play Smoldering Tar and then sacrifice it before your opponent can Disenchant it. It also means that you can’t sacrifice it in response to anything. You must use it on an empty stack.

Meddling Mage: The card is named as the Mage comes into play, not as a trigger. That means you can’t used the named card to kill the Mage.

Armadillo Cloak: The Cloak has a triggered ability. If you Cloak an opponent’s creature, you’ll be gaining life when it deals damage. If it deals combat damage, it first deals the damage to you, then the trigger goes on the stack. If the damage is sufficient to make your life total zero or less, you’ll lose the game before the trigger ever resolves.

Combat damage: Combat damage has the characteristics of the source when the damage resolves. If your Kavu Chameleon damage goes on the stack and then you change the Kavu to blue, the damage will be blue.

Dismantling Blow: If the target of Dismantling Blow is gone or illegal when the Blow goes to resolve, the spell is countered and you don’t get to draw the cards. The same goes for any card with two parts; if the spell is countered by a spell or game rule, you don’t execute any of its instructions.

Misdirection: You announce the spell you’re targeting when you announce Misdirection. You don’t announce the new target for that spell until Misdirection resolves.

Addle/Voice of All: You name the color when the spell resolves, not during announcement.

Announcing spells: If you make an illegal announcement, you back up to the last legal thing you did before you started announcing the spell. That means if you tap lands or sacrifice lands for mana, then announce the spell, you don’t get to untap/un-sacrifice. You have that mana in your pool. If you announce the spell and then tap/sacrifice lands to pay for it, you would untap/un-sacrifice. If you intentionally make an illegal announcement (for any reason), you’re guilty of cheating.

That should carry you through the weekend. I wish all of you the best of luck for Regionals and hope to see you at Worlds. Remember, be polite to your opponents and the event staff, even if you’re having a lousy day. It’ll make the weekend much better for everyone.

And that’s my Final Judgement.
Sheldon K. Menery