www.Blackborder.com www.Blackborder.com www.Blackborder.com


Small orders ship for just 60 cents!


Subscribe to Syndicate

Hot Products

Hot Buylist Offers

You are here

Geist of Saint Traft and His Fellow Angel


About Riccardo Tessitori

Riccardo Tessitori
Riccardo Tessitori

Riccardo Tessitori is a level 5 judge from Italy; he judged more than 50 professional events, headjudged 10 Grand Prix and has just started headjudging Pro Tours, such as:

  • Pro Tour Kyoto 2009
  • Pro Tour Austin 2009
  • Worlds Chiba 2010
  • Pro Tour Philadelphia 2011

Geist of Saint Traft and His fellow Angel

Hello everybody!

Summer, summer, summer, that time of the year when we sunbathe at the sea, go hiking in the mountains… or just keep playing Magic, as always.

The World Magic Cup is approaching, and those of us who aren’t qualified (I would say most of us) are waiting for the next PTQ season in autumn, or just enjoying the Grand Prix or SCG weekends or more casual local tournaments.

Let’s keep our rules knowledge up-to-date; to warm up, as always, I encourage you to read the question and to try to guess your answer before reading the written answer; then, we will analyze in depth the much played Geist of Saint Traft.

Happy reading.

Reader Questions

Q: At the end of my opponent's turn, if I have no cards in hand and activate my Desolate Lighthouse, drawing a miracle, will I be able to put the miracle trigger on the stack, resolve it, cast the miracle, and then not discard (due to having no cards in hand), therefore effectively drawing a card with the lighthouse?

A: You cannot cast it. Desolate Lighthouse says “Draw a card, then discard a card”; during the resolution of the Lighthouse’s ability, you need to perform all the instructions: you will actually draw your miracle (and you might reveal it and “book” its miracle cost) and you will have to discard it. Miracle is a keyword that represents two abilities: “You may reveal this card from your hand as you draw it if it’s the first card you’ve drawn this turn. When you reveal this card this way, you may cast it by paying [cost] rather than its mana cost”. The moment when you are allowed to cast the card with miracle is when this second, triggered ability resolves; such triggered ability would be put on the stack after the Lighthouse’s ability had finished resolving; when the miracle triggered ability resolves, it cannot find the card with miracle in your hand, and you won’t be able to cast it. Extra: after you reveal a card with miracle, but before you actually cast it, your opponent can cast instants or even a Vendilion Clique to prevent you from casting the card with miracle.

Questions of the Week

Q: I have two creature cards in my graveyard, and I play Exhume targeting one of them; can my opponent cast Surgical Extraction?

A: Actually, Exhume doesn’t target. Your opponent will exile one of your creature cards, but you will still be allowed to reanimate the other. When there is no word “target” in the text, the choice is made when the spell resolves.

Q: I control Flagstones of Trokair, enchanted with my opponent’s Spreading Seas that makes it an Island. My opponent plays his own Flagstones of Trokair; are they put into the graveyard or not?

A: Yes. Your Flagstones of Trokair produces only blue mana, but its name hasn’t changed and its legendary supertype hasn’t changed. Spreading Seas modifies only the land subtype and the ability that can produce mana.

Q: My opponent plays a Splinter Twin combo deck, and I have Ratchet Bomb in my sideboard; how should I use my Bomb to destroy all the tokens my opponent might create?

A: You need to have three counters on the Ratchet Bomb. When an ability puts a token on the battlefield which is a copy of a creature, it copies everything of the original creature, including the mana cost (Pestermite = 3; Deceiver Exarch = 3). The tokens with converted mana cost equal to zero are the tokens created by an effect that puts the tokens on the battlefield and defines what they are, without copying any other creature.

Q: I have an Ancestral Vision in my graveyard and I cast a Snapcaster Mage; can I cast the Ancestral Vision again? Can I suspend it again?

A: No and no. Snapcaster Mage gives flashback and defines that the flashback cost is equal to the mana cost; not having a mana cost, Ancestral Vision cannot have a flashback cost. About suspending it, it should be in your hand to allow you to suspend it.

Q: I have a token that is a copy of a Delver of Secrets; can I transform it?

A: No, tokens cannot transform. Transform means “turn the card”; if you turn a token, there is nothing on the other side (no, sorry, “I use a non-sleeved Delver of Secrets to represent my token, so it would be a 3/2 on the other side” doesn’t work, otherwise I would have a 1/1 token with a painted 100/100 on the other side ^__^)

Card of the Month – Geist of Saint Traft

Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce to you one of Delver’s best friends: Geist of Saint Traft!

The Standard deck known as “U/W Delver” is actually made possible by a trio of quite powerful creatures:

Delver of Secrets, Snapcaster Mage and Geist of Saint Traft.

Delver of Secrets is a one-drop that can transform into a 3/2 creature with flying.

Snapcaster Mage is impressive because it allows to reuse cards from the graveyard.

Geist of Saint Traft has the role of a “bulldozer” when he attacks; he’s a 2/2 that creates a 4/4 with flying, able to bring the game to an end quite quickly.

Although Geist of Saint Traft has been around for several months and has seen a lot of play, he still generates interesting situations that raise questions. This is caused by the not-so-easy text of the card and also by some recent rules changes; let’s take a look at them!

When Geist of Saint Traft attacks, you put onto the battlefield an Angel token “Tapped and attacking”. This means that the Geist of Saint Traft passes from the status of “not attacking” to the status of “attacking”, while the token is created directly with the status of “attacking”.

For some specific rules situations, the Geist of Saint Traft “attacked” but the token creature didn’t.

If there is a triggered ability that says “whenever a creature attacks”, the Geist of Saint Traft will make it trigger, but the token creature won’t.

Druids' Repository would get only one counter, and Hellrider’s ability would deal only one damage.

Exalted would trigger and would give +1/+1 to the Geist of Saint Traft, because Exalted triggers when a single creature is declared as attacking.

Let’s imagine that your opponent controls Gideon Jura and that he used his first ability to make all your creatures attack Gideon. The Geist of Saint Traft must attack Gideon, but the creature token (which enters the battlefield already attacking) can attack your opponent or another planeswalker he controls, because Gideon’s effect applies only at the moment you declare your attacking creatures.

Because Geist of Saint Traft has hexproof (it cannot be targeted by spells or abilities controlled by your opponents), your opponent cannot cast a spell like Dead Weight from his hand to kill it, but there is a way to attach Dead Weight to the Geist: your opponent can attack with his Sun Titan, and then return the Dead Weight to the battlefield choosing to attach it to the Geist of Saint Traft (casting an aura enchantment spell targets the creature, but putting an enchantment directly onto the battlefield doesn’t target the Geist of Saint Traft).

The last part of the ability says “exile the token at the end of combat”, it creates a delayed triggered ability at the moment the original ability resolves. The delayed triggered ability waits until the game reaches the end of combat step, and then goes on the stack.

A delayed triggered ability is just like a normal triggered ability and can be countered by Stifle; because delayed triggered abilities trigger only once, if it’s countered, the 4/4 Angel token will remain on the battlefield forever.

Now, let’s change from the theory of the Magic rules to the actual Competitive tournaments; you might have heard of the new policy about “Lapsing triggers”:

You are not required to help your opponent by reminding him or her about his or her triggered abilities.

If you forget a lapsing trigger and you perform another action, or the game moves on to the next step, the ability is lost.

Let’s see first if the Geist of Saint Traft’s ability is lapsing:

  • It puts a token on the battlefield; this is listed as one of the effects of lapsing abilities (“it’s good”).
  • It creates a delayed triggered ability; this is not on the list.

To handle this second effect, it was added to the definition of lapsing abilities that “ignore portions of abilities that “clean up” previous parts of the effect”.

Conclusion: Geist of Saint Traft’s ability is lapsing.

What’s a typical situation at a Competitive tournament that creates problems?

Geist of Saint Traft
Innistrad (Foil)

Player A: I attack with my Geist

Player B: Can I block?

Player A: Sure.

Player B: Block your Geist.

Player A: OK, you take 4.

Player B: No, you didn’t put the token on the battlefield.

Player A: What?!? It’s obvious that I put the token on the battlefield, should I really say it?!?

In this precise situation, the judge would rule in favor of the defending player, because the attacking player didn’t hint in any way that he put the token on the battlefield.

To avoid such an unfortunate situation, the attacking player needs to somehow mention the ability, so that it will be clear that he wants to put the token on the battlefield:

I attack with my Geist (and he puts the physical token on the battlefield)

I attack with my Geist and his Angel

I attack with Geist and friend

I attack for six.

I attack, take six?

Now, let’s see another situation that can happen at a Competitive tournament that should be avoided: you write only “Geist” on your decklist.

This is what the Infraction Procedure Guide says about names on decklists:

A card listed on a decklist is not identified by its full name, and could be interpreted as more than one card. Truncated names of storyline characters (Legends and Planeswalkers) are acceptable as long as they are the only representation of that character in the format and should be treated as referring to that card, even if other cards begin with the same name.

And then it also says:

Ambiguous or unclear names on a decklist may allow a player to manipulate the contents of his or her deck up until the point at which they are discovered. Use of a truncated name that is not unique may be downgraded to a Warning at the Head Judge's discretion if he or she believes that the intended card is obvious and the potential for abuse minimal. When determining if a name is ambiguous, judges may take into account the format being played.

If you just write “Geist”, your decklist is ambiguous; it can be Dungeon Geists, Strangleroot Geist or any other existing Geist. The head judge can choose to give you a Game Loss penalty or to downgrade it to a Warning penalty, but only if there is zero potential for abuse (since you are playing blue and the Dungeon Geists is blue, the judge would not be allowed to downgrade to a Warning). To avoid the penalty, what you need to do is just write the full name "Geist of Saint Traft"; it takes just a few seconds more.

Don’t forget to submit all your rules questions for the next installment of Ask the Judge:

Ask the Judge Now!


You have the unique opportunity to ask Level 5 judge Riccardo Tessitori all the questions you want to!

You can ask him questions concerning rules problems, the life of a level 5 judge, DCI policies, interesting tournament situations and anything else you want to ask him!

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed this article and I’m looking forward to reading any comments.


Your rating: None
Average: 4.7 (24 votes)
All trademarks and copyrights are acknowledged and are the property of their respective owners. This website is not produced by Wizards of the Coast TM. As an Authorized Internet Retailer of Wizards of the Coast, adventuresON.com may only ship sealed Magic: the Gathering products within the United States. As an Authorized Internet Retailer of Wizards of the Coast, adventuresON.com cannot sell sealed Magic: the Gathering products business to business. Authorized Internet Retailer for Wizards of the Coast