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 Championships since 2009:
Tour Kyoto 2009
- Pro Tour Austin 2009
- Worlds Chiba 2010
- Pro Tour Philadelphia 2011
- Pro Tour Barcelona 2012
- World Magic Cup Indianapolis 2012
Return to Ravnica has
arrived and, well, it looks like it’s a great set; I love drafting, and all
these two color spells are great; I still remember how difficult it was to
draft the original Ravnica block (when all three sets were available) and I’m
looking forward to the first Gatecrash spoilers!
This weekend, there will be
the first huge event with Return to Ravnica: GP San José; then, we will have
the PT in Seattle; when this article will be published, I will be on my way to
California, for this great combo!
This article is dedicated
to rules, with the initial questions of the week, and then the card of the
month: Dryad Militant.
Q: If I do 3 damage to an
opponent with Rakdos in play, I get to play a morph creature for free,
correct? If I have already done 3 points of damage, can I tap my Cavern
to use a mana to make my morph creature uncounterable or does it no longer have
a casting cost? Do creatures played face down for a morph cost have a
creature type I can declare for Cavern of Souls?
A: Morph is an ability that
allows you to cast a spell “differently”, which means that “paying 0 instead of
paying the mana cost” is an alternative cost. Rakdos reduces the cost of
creature spells, which means it’s a “cost reduction”. Yes, you will be able to
cast your morph for free. Your second question is interesting: you would like
to pay one mana as if the cost reduction were only for two mana; I am sorry,
but you cannot pay mana for a spell that costs zero mana. Let’s now remove
Rakdos; you would like to make your morph spell uncounterable by using your Cavern of Souls; I am sorry again, but morph spells and morph creatures have no
Questions of the Week
Q: If my opponent controls
a Blazing Archon, can I attack his planeswalkers?
A: Yes. Blazing Archon
specifically says “Creatures cannot attack you” and doesn’t say anything about
Q: I control both Gaddock Teeg and Thalia; can my opponent cast Blightning?
A: Yes. Thalia would make
your opponent use four mana to cast Blightning, but this doesn’t mean that the
casting cost of Blightning changes.
Q: I control two Kiln Fiend
and I tap the three creatures of my opponent with a twice replicated Gigadrowse;
will my Kiln Fiends become huge or will they be pumped only once?
A: Once. Kiln Fiend’s
ability triggers when you cast a spell, and paying the replicate cost of your
spell doesn’t mean that you are casting several spells; you move one card from
your hand to the stack, which means that you are casting only one spell. Storm
works the same way.
Q: I control Kitchen Finks
without any counter; my opponent casts Mutilate and kills it; will it come
A: Sure. Mutilate gives
-X/-X, it doesn’t put any -1/-1 counters on the creature. Persist will trigger
because Kitchen Finks left the battlefield without -1/-1 counters.
Q: I control Strangleroot Geist with a +1/+1 counter; my opponent casts Black Sun's Zenith (he got the
difference between giving -X/-X and putting counters, and he substituted Mutilate with the Zenith; luckily, now I have creatures with undying too ^__^).
Will the Geist come back?
A: No. This looks trickier,
because your Geist has both +1/+1 and -1/-1 counters, but they would be removed
from the Geist at the same time the Geist dies, so there won’t be any moment
when the Geist is on the battlefield without the +1/+1 counter, which prevents
it from returning.
Card of the Month – Dryad
Dryad Militant is the most
recent of a series of cards that Wizards of the Coast printed to fight one of
its most powerful creations of the last years: the loved and hated Snapcaster Mage!
The effect of the Dryad and
its quite interesting power and toughness for just one mana remind us of Samurai of the Pale Curtain, another very interesting little creature.
Dryad Militant has a static
ability that creates a replacement effect. This means that the replacement
effect happens only as long as the Dryad is on the battlefield, and ends as
soon as the Dryad leaves the battlefield.
Fighting Against the Dryad
Spells are still on the
stack during their resolution, when we apply their effects; spells are put into
the graveyard as the last step of their resolution.
If we cast an instant or
sorcery spell to kill the Dryad, it’s important to understand how it actually
works to determine if it will be exiled or not.
If the spell destroys,
bounces or exiles the Dryad during its resolution, at the moment it will leave
the stack to be put into the graveyard the Dryad won’t be on the battlefield
anymore and the spell won’t be removed. Some spells of this kind are Murder and Supreme Verdict.
If the spell deals damage
to the Dryad or decreases its toughness, the Dryad will remain on the
battlefield until the next moment the state based effects will be checked,
which will happen after the spell will have finished resolving and will be put
into the grav… no, wait, it will be exiled. Some spells of this kind are Searing Spear and Chandra's Fury.
«If that spell is countered
Some effects counter a
spell and then they replace it with their own effect, by putting the countered
spell in a zone different from the graveyard (the top of the library, the
bottom of the library, the hand, the exile). These effects are called
self-replacement effects and are always applied first:
[614.15] Some replacement
effects are not continuous effects. Rather, they are an effect of a resolving
spell or ability that replaces part or all of that spell or ability's own
effect(s). Such effects are called self-replacement effects. When applying
replacement effects to an event, self-replacement effects are applied before
other replacement effects.
This means that,
independently of what the two players would like to happen, the self-replacement
effect will always apply before any other effect; then, because the spell isn’t
about to be put into the graveyard anymore, the effect from the Dryad won’t
«...As it resolves.»
Some spells have abilities
that remove them from the stack during their own resolution, and put them in
the hand of their owner or in the exile zone. In this case, the effect isn’t
trying to substitute the action of putting the spell into the graveyard, but
it’s a simple instruction of the resolution. Dryad Militant doesn’t interact
with these effects.
Other Replacement Effects
If there are different
replacement effects that would apply to the same event, it’s the controller of
the affected object who chooses the order the effects are applied.
For example, let’s imagine
our opponent is enchanted by Wheel of Sun and Moon and a Dryad Militant is on
the battlefield. It’s not important who controls the Wheel and the Dryad. If a
spell is about to be put into our opponent’s graveyard, it will be the
controller of the spell (him) who will choose if he wants to apply the effect
from the Wheel (and put the card at the bottom of his library) or the effect
from the Dryad (and exile the card).
Tournament Situations and Policy
It can happen that we
forget to apply the effect from the Dryad Militant, because nobody has cards
that interact with the graveyard, and we will just see the Dryad as a 2/1 for
Not exiling the card is an
infraction of the category Game Play Error. Because Dryad’s ability is not a
triggered ability, so the infraction is a Game Rules Violation, the penalty is
a Warning and the rules about Game Rules Violations say that the head judge has
the possibility to rewind the game up to the point when the infraction was
Though, this case falls
into a special category, where we can apply a partial fix instead of rewinding
the game, thanks to this exception: “If an object is in the wrong zone, the
identity of the object was known to all players, and it is within a turn of the
error, put the object in the correct zone.”
If the mistake is
discovered before an entire turn has passed, the card is simply moved from the
graveyard to the exile; if the mistake is discovered later, the card simply
stays in the graveyard.
Don’t forget to submit all
your rules questions for the next installment of Ask the Judge:
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!
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Buyin expires on Fri, 26 Oct
Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed this article and I’m looking
forward to reading any comments.
In the next article, with
the experiences from GP San José and PT Seattle, we will analyze how the
October IPG (Infraction procedure Guide) changed the lapsing abilities, and
also the most frequent and most interesting rules situations; see you on the
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