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Melira, Cavern of Souls and the World Magic Cup


About Riccardo Tessitori

Riccardo Tessitori
Riccardo Tessitori

Riccardo Tessitori is a level 5 judge from Italy (and former Pro Player ^__^); he judged a hundred professional events, headjudged 15 Grand Prix events in Europe, the United States and Asia and has been headjudging Pro Tours and World Champinships since 2009:

  • Pro Tour Kyoto 2009
  • Pro Tour Austin 2009
  • Worlds Chiba 2010
  • Pro Tour Philadelphia 2011
  • Pro Tour Barcelona 2012
  • World Magic Cup Indianapolis 2012

Melira, Cavern of Souls and the World Magic Cup

Hello everybody!

Summer, summer, summer! Some of us are lying on the beach, and others are frantically playing Magic like any other day; there is no right and there is no wrong; the only “right” is to do what we like the most in our lives.

There has also been the World Magic Cup, this year at the famous Gen Con in Indianapolis!

Let’s warm up with some rules questions (be aware that the first one is quite complicated), then let’s dive into some tricky situations with our card of the month, and finally, I’ll have some stories from the World Magic Cup! (more about the World Magic Cup in the next article, in two weeks)

Happy reading.

Reader Questions

Q: This has been a hot topic among me and some rules gurus I know and we would like to know with great detail if Melira, Sylvok Outcast gained Persist would she enter the battlefield with or without a -1/-1 counter? If she would, why does it differ from cards like Tatterkite and Melira's Keepers? Also, does Persist set up a replacement effect or is it just simply a normal effect?

A: Melira with persist would be returned to the battlefield WITH a -1/-1 counter; Tatterkite and Melira's Keepers with persist would be returned to the battlefield WITHOUT the counter. The difference is very very small and is about the fact that Melira’s effect applies to several permanents, while Tatterkite and Melira's Keepers have an effect that applies only to them. The relevant rule is the following:

“614.12. Some replacement effects modify how a permanent enters the battlefield. (See rules 614.1c–d.) Such effects may come from the permanent itself if they affect only that permanent (as opposed to a general subset of permanents that includes it). They may also come from other sources. To determine which replacement effects apply and how they apply, check the characteristics of the permanent as it would exist on the battlefield, taking into account replacement effects that have already modified how it enters the battlefield, continuous effects generated by the resolution of spells or abilities that changed the permanent’s characteristics on the stack (see rule 400.7a), and continuous effects from the permanent’s own static abilities, but ignoring continuous effects from any other source that would affect it.”

To help you realize that you have already seen a similar difference, think about a card like Orb of Dreams, that would make ALL the permanents enter the battlefield tapped, but it enters the battlefield untapped (its effect doesn’t apply to itself, just like the effect from Melira); then think about any creature that enters the battlefield tapped (their effects apply only to themselves, just like the effects from Tatterkite and Melira's Keepers).

Q: Hey, I and my friends were wondering, what would happen if someone had only one artifact in their deck and someone was to use Shape Anew on it? Would they technically be milled out, or would it just destroy the artifact?

A: Shape Anew would just “destroy” the artifact. If you have no other artifacts in your library, you will follow the instructions of Shape Anew, revealing all the cards in your library, putting nothing on the battlefield and then shuffling your library. The spell doesn’t instruct you to put them in the graveyard or exile them, otherwise you would probably lose the game on the following turn. Technically in this case, the cards don’t even leave your library; even if we physically put the cards on the table next to the library, the spell just instructs you to reveal them, without moving them anywhere.

Questions of the Week

Q: I control Karn Liberated and Venser, the Sojourner. I exiled a couple of permanents with Karn, and I use Venser to have Karn come back with more loyalty counters. If I succeed in restarting the game, will I get all the permanents I exiled with Karn?

A: No. When Karn leaves the battlefield and returns to the battlefield (with more loyalty counters, as you desire), it’s considered to be a new object and isn’t associated anymore with the permanents that were removed earlier during the game. To say it with simple words, we can say that “a card that blinks loses its memory”.

Q: I control a Young Wolf (with Undying) and my opponent controls Necroskitter. During combat, he kills my Young Wolf with his Necroskitter. Who will get the Wolf and with what type of counters?

A: It depends if it’s your turn or his turn. When the Wolf dies, two abilities trigger; your Undying ability would return the Wolf under your control, with a +1/+1 counter; his Necroskitter ability would return it under his control with a -1/-1 counter. Only one of these abilities, which don’t happen simultaneously, will return the Wolf to the battlefield. The order of how triggered abilities are put on the stack is “first the abilities controlled by the active player”, and the order of how they resolve is “first the abilities controlled by the non-active player”. If you want your ability to get your creature back to you, this combat needs to happen in your opponent’s turn. Extra, because the Wolf is 1/1: in case it’s your turn, your opponent will get the Wolf with a -1/-1 counter; unless he has an enchantment that gives it +1/+1 or more, the Wolf will be a 0/0, it will die, and its Undying triggered ability will eventually return it to the battlefield under your control.

Q: I play an affinity deck and I control an artifact creature; my opponent enchants it with Lignify. Will my creature still count for affinity?

A: Yes. Lignify changes the creature type, power and toughness, and removes all abilities, but “Artifact” is a card type and is not influenced by Lignify. In simple words, we can say that “card types and supertypes are above creature types and land types; all these types are above abilities” (indeed, look at any card: first you read card type and supertype, then you read subtypes and abilities, correct? ^__^)

Q: I control Jin-Gitaxias and my opponent has a Wilt-Leaf Liege in hand. What happens when he has to discard the Liege?

A: It will be discarded to the graveyard. The Liege would be put on the battlefield instead only if one of your spells or abilities caused it to be discarded; your Jin-Gitaxias doesn’t directly make your opponent discard; your Jin-Gitaxias affects the rule of the game that sets the maximum hand size, and then it’s the rule of the game that makes your opponent discard.

Q: I control an artifact creature equipped with Nim Deathmantle, and I make it blue with my Grand Architect to make it bigger. With what colored creatures will my opponent be able to block it?

A: Blue and artifact. Your creature has Intimidate thanks to the Nim Deathmantle. The Nim Deathmantle would make it black, while your Grand Architect would make it blue; because these two effects apply in the same layer, they are applied in timestamp order (in simple words: “same type of effect: the last one wins”)

Card of the Month – Cavern of Souls

Many deck-builders, after seeing this card, have probably fallen off their chair.

Instead of just “playing a land”, here we get the possibility to have our best creatures be immune to counterspells (or even ALL of our creatures, in case we are playing a theme deck like Zombies), while also fixing our mana.

More, in case we want to cast a non-creature spell or another type of creature, the Cavern can still be used to get colorless mana.

Well, if I have to be honest, the single word that comes to my mind is “INSANE”!!

It looks like Cavern of Souls was designed to bring an earthquake to some formats (like Standard with all the Delver decks) and somebody might think that the remedy is worse than the original situation.

It’s common to see tournaments where most of the Standard decks have multiple copies of Cavern of Souls; it is also played in all the other formats.


If we tap five Forests and a Cavern and we cast a Primeval Titan without saying what ability we are using for the Cavern, will the Titan spell be uncounterable or not?

It is assumed that the Cavern is always used in the “correct” way, and you can read a lot more about how this policy was created in my PT Barcelona report.

If your opponent casts the Titan this way and you respond with a counterspell, it won’t accomplish anything.

If you control multiple Caverns and you chose different creature types, it’s a good idea to use small pieces of paper (or tokens or glass beans) to indicate what the Caverns are for, so that you will prevent any miscommunication with your opponent (which is always one of the main goals).

If your opponent plays a Cavern and forgets to name a creature type, you should remind him that he has to make a choice; if it is discovered later that your opponent hasn’t made any choice, he will be allowed to make a choice at that moment (and you don’t want him to be allowed to make his choice at the precise moment you cast a Counterspell on his only Avatar creature, right? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.)


The choice of the creature type is made “as” the Cavern enters the battlefield, not “when” the Cavern enters the battlefield. This is a static ability and it’s not possible to respond to the choice.

There are similarities and differences with Meddling Mage and Pithing Needle:

  • with the Mage and the Needle it’s possible to respond to the spell on the stack, while playing a land doesn’t use the stack.
  • with the Cavern, it’s still possible to cast a Counterspell targeting the uncounterable spell; if you have a Geist Snatch, you won’t counter the spell, but you will get the 1/1 token.
  • with the Cavern, it’s still possible to “counter” the spell by exiling it (with Mindbreak Trap) or by returning it to its owner’s hand (with Venser).

The colored mana you get from the Cavern has to be used to cast the creature spell, not only to pay its mana cost; if you want to, you can use the mana produced by the Cavern to pay an additional cost (let’s imagine that the additional cost is a color that you can produce only with the Cavern; you will get both an uncounterable and a kicked creature!).

With a Sphere of Resistance on the battlefield, you can use the mana produced by the Cavern to cast an uncounterable Memnite.

Advanced Rules

The “types of mana” are six: white, blue, black, red, green and colorless.

Cards like Reflecting Pool or Exotic Orchard, which produce mana “of any type that another land could produce” can produce any of the six types of mana if there is a Cavern of Souls, but such mana won’t have the special characteristic to be usable only to cast an uncounterable creature spell; such mana can be used to cast any spell, to activate any ability and to pay any cost.

If you play Vesuva and you copy a Cavern of Souls, it’s exactly like you were playing a Cavern of Souls: you get to choose a creature type (you can choose a different type, of course).

If somehow a permanent becomes a copy of Cavern of Souls, no creature type has been chosen; activating the second ability is legal and you will produce mana of any color, but you won’t be able to spend it in any way because there is no “chosen type” (but it will pump your Omnath, Locus of Mana!).

Event Report – World Magic Cup 2012, Part 1

It’s Taiwan, the 2012 World Champions!

… and there will be a Grand Prix in Taipei in three months! Wow, a great party is awaiting us.

My congratulations to the four members of the team that claimed the title!

Let’s now take a look at the top teams:

  1. Taiwan: 36,193
  2. Puerto Rico: 9,104
  3. Poland: 312,685
  4. Hungary: 93,030
  5. Croatia: 56,594
  6. Scotland: 78,387
  7. Philippines: 299,764
  8. Slovak Republic: 49,035

These unknown numbers above are the square kilometers of all these countries.

This World Magic Cup will be remembered as the year when the smallest islands took over the entire world, which is indeed amazing to me. You don’t need to be a giant, you don’t need to be born in the biggest and most modern cities to show that you can do great things in your life.

Wait, this is a concept I have already read somewhere…

Let me think…

Oh, yes, HERE!

What did I like the most about this tournament?

I saw a wonderful spirit of camaraderie in many teams; on Saturday and Sunday there were only three people playing, with the fourth team member being a kind of “coach”; I saw the fourth team members jumping from one table to the other, I saw decklists being analyzed continuously in the Top8, I saw group discussions about the most important plays of a game…. This was indeed a TEAM competition, and I liked it much more than I could have ever imagined.

What did I like the least about this tournament?

After the end of the event, rumors spread about the shuffling technique of one of the finalists, which would cast a shadow of doubt on the legitimacy of his undoubted merits of being a top level competitor.

About this specific situation, we will wait another couple of days for an official reply from Wizards of the Coast (yes, Wizards has an interest in replying to important things that are brought to their attention).

In general, I would like to use this situation as an opportunity to give you some advice:

When YOU shuffle: just pile shuffling is not a random shuffle, you need to use some other types of shuffling; if you search your deck, and especially if you move cards, you need to shuffle more; always present your deck to your opponent and ask him to shuffle your deck. I am sure that you aren't manipulating your deck, and I believe that you would never want your opponent to be afraid that you might be manipulating it, right? ^__^

When YOUR OPPONENT shuffles: always look at how your opponent is shuffling, and always shuffle his deck (not just cut, but shuffle it); in case of doubt, you can ask to your opponent to shuffle more; in case of strong doubt, you can call a judge who will help you with making your opponent aware that he needs to shuffle better. Your final goal is to be sure that your opponent doesn’t manipulate his deck.

I would like to suggest you read some old articles about deck manipulation and how to prevent cheating.

A Tournament Dedicated to… Michael Wiese

Michael is the Regional Coordinator of the German speaking countries (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) and you might have seen him head judging the GP Royal Wedding in 2011. In addition to being one of the best judges in the world, behind his strong German accent (hello Michael ^__^) you can also find a very kind and smart person. During the World Magic Cup, Michael contributed a lot to the event and to the judge community, collecting and sharing the most interesting rules questions, giving advice to the judges and also writing reports and reviews before the end of the weekend; a great example to follow…

… and this is my final ruling!

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.


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