Rule of Law 8 — O, Saviors of Kamigawa

Dominick gives you the rundown of the odd and the confusing from Saviors of Kamigawa – perhaps one of the more oddball rules sets in recent memory.

After planning the three-part triggered ability article, it appears as though the third part didn’t really need to be done. But since I promised it, I will deal with the one issue mentioned with this simple paragraph:

Anyone who is crazy enough to try to make an example using Yosei, the Morning Star should be watched carefully, not only because we might do something odd when you don’t expect it, but also because we only have a 10% chance of getting the example right and we need your help. Yes, that’s right, don’t even try to decipher that example, because it’s dead wrong. If you want to know why, take a look at the forums: http://forums.starcitygames.com/viewtopic.php?t=245910

Now that that’s done, I will deal with what I really want to today: Saviors of Kamigawa.

Ability Words

If you thought keywords were confusing, you will need to read this carefully. I will go slow with this section, because the buzz is that these will show up in more sets. Therefore, making sense of this is a necessary skill.

In one sense, ability words are meaningless. After all, whatever follows the ability word is rules text, which can be interpreted normally. But the ability word ties like abilities together, so that things you learned about one card can transfer in your mind to a similar one. Also, you can talk about Channel or Sweep cards as a unit, so there is a degree of continuity.

Channel cards are mechanically similar to cycling. You can either play them normally for one effect (currently, all the channel cards are creatures) or you can channel them for something related. To channel a card, you put it on the stack from your hand, announce the channel ability, choose targets, and pay for it, just as you would for cycling. But as you are not actually cycling the card, but rather channeling it, you don’t get to draw a card, and all those cards that triggered off when you cycle a card don’t notice channeled cards.

Sweep cards have as their first instruction to return any number of something you control to owner’s hand (in these cases, basic lands), then something happens, the size of which depends on how many things were returned. If the spell is countered, you can’t return any lands to hand. If it’s your opponent’s sweep spell, you have to decide how to respond to it before you see how big it will be.

Epic Spells

These are strange spells, in that if you resolve one, you can no longer play spells. However, any spells that you still have on the stack will resolve, but that’s meaningless except in two cases:

You cast a copy spell (such as Twincast) on an epic spell. If you did it to your own epic spell, you get two copies each upkeep (one for the original plus one for the copy). If you did it to your opponent’s epic spell, neither of you will be able to play spells and each of you will get a copy of the epic spell on your own upkeep. The fact that the copy resolved doesn’t remove the original from the stack, so it resolves normally.

You have Vedalken Orrery in play and you responded to one of your own spells with an epic spell. The other spell still resolves if it’s still there when the time comes to resolve it.

Epic spells are still spells, and they can be countered, whether in their original or copy forms. The copies that you get in your upkeep are just like the original except they don’t copy the “copy this spell each upkeep” ability. If they did, there would be one, then two, then four and so on. (This is different from the above, because the Epic keyword specifically says not to copy the epic ability, while Twincast, Mirari and Fork are under no such restriction. The copies they make will make copies that don’t copy Epic, however, so you only get as many as you resolved on the turn you played it.)


Ascendants begin life as Legendary Creatures (yes, this means you can find them with a Time of Need), but when they flip, they turn into Legendary Enchantments. If the enchantments leave play and return (except by phasing) they will become creatures again.

To clarify Erayo, Soratami Ascendant:

{1} {U}

Card Type: Legendary Creature – Moonfolk Monk

P/T: 1/1

Rules Text (Oracle): Flying

Whenever the fourth spell of a turn is played, flip Erayo, Soratami Ascendant.


Erayo’s Essence

Legendary Enchantment

Whenever an opponent plays a spell for the first time in a turn, counter that spell.

Even the errata (shown above) doesn’t clarify what happens. If Erayo the creature is in play, every time a spell is played, the game checks to see if it’s the fourth spell played this turn (it doesn’t matter who plays it or if any of the spells got countered). If it is exactly the fourth (not the third or the fifth), her triggered ability goes on the stack to flip her. If Erayo’s Essence the enchantment is in play, the game checks whenever an opponent plays a spell if it is the first spell that opponent has played this turn. If it is (and again, it has to be exactly the first spell that player has played this turn), then Erayo’s Essence’s triggered ability counters that spell.

If you splice a number of spells onto an Arcane spell, it’s still one spell, but it might damage someone multiple times (Lava Spike with Glacial Ray splice targeting the same player damages that player twice, important with Michiko Konda, Truth Seeker). The game knows how many spells have been played, so spells played earlier in the turn count. A first-turn play of Island, Chrome Mox, Erayo, Soratami Ascendant, Ornithopter and Ornithopter will flip Erayo, but if you cast her after the two Ornithopters, she won’t. (By being the 4th spell of the turn, she’s not in play to trigger when the condition is met.)

Strange Cards


I’m sure everyone else has mentioned this already, but this is a spell that can’t be played in the normal fashion. Don’t even try. You can put it on an Isochron Scepter or Panoptic Mirror, but it can’t be played even from these places. The primary use is to splice onto other Arcane spells, but there are other things you can do with it. It is Blue, so it can be pitched to Force of Will. It is a Blue Instant, so you can search for it with Merchant Scroll. And it’s Arcane, so Eerie Procession can find it.

Kaho, Minamo Historian

What this does is let you search for three instant cards (yes, you can search for Evermind, but you still can’t play it) and remove them from the game. Then, when you play the activated ability, you may take one of these cards (and only these cards) removed from the game with the samve converted mana cost (i.e. regardless of color) and play it. When you do, that card goes on the stack normally and then to the graveyard (unless other effects interfere). In any case, the fact that it left the RFG (Removed From Game) zone means that Kaho loses track of it. Likewise, if Kaho leaves play and comes back (except by phasing), it loses track of all of the cards it put in the RFG zone. Also, if the “you may play a card…” ability only looks for cards removed by Kaho’s “comes into play” ability. If somehow this card removed cards using another ability, those don’t get to be played.

Measure of Wickedness

The comment from the FAQ:

Once the at-end-of-turn ability triggers, it affects the player who controlled Measure of Wickedness at that time. If Measure of Wickedness is under a different player’s control as its at-end-of-turn ability resolves, however, Measure of Wickedness stays in play.

What this means is that, if the first ability triggers, and somehow (such as by destroying something) the second ability triggers, Measure of Wickedness will move to an opponent. When the first ability resolves, it can’t be sacrificed, as the person instructed to sacrifice it no longer controls it, but the life loss still happens.


In order to attach this, the creature must have three or more power before it attaches. Once it attaches, its power adds to the creature to see if it stays on. The checks are made whenever state-based effects are checked. (The “3 or more power” is an additional condition imposed on the Equipment to see if it still legal.)

Sasaya, Orochi Ascendant

Yes, this means that you can reveal your hand any time you have priority. If you do it at a tournament incessantly, the judges will not look kindly upon this, though.

When flipped, any land you tap for mana produces extra mana if you control other lands with the same name. The amount of extra mana is equal to the number of other lands with the same name. So if you control 3 Forests, 4 Islands and two Tropical Islands, the Forests each produce {G} {G} {G}, the Islands each produce {U} {U} {U} {U}, and the Tropical Islands each produce {G} {G} or {U} {U} (not {U} {G}) as you choose. Things that produce two different colors at once (like Mossfire Valley) can choose which color to take extra mana in, and if you are entitled to more than one extra mana, you can mix and match these.

Now that I’ve decided to take the summer off of school, it should be easier to get Rule of Law 9 into play. Until then, may you find the card you need to be a Savior of your game.