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Deathrite Shaman And GP Chicago


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 Championships 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

Deathrite Shaman And... Not Just A Tournament (GP Chicago)

Good evening to everybody!

It’s Modern time, and we have just had a Pro Tour and a couple of Grand Prix in this format.

What’s the most beautiful deck of the format? EGGS for sure (if you haven’t read about the latest PT, check out my last article here.).

What’s the most interesting new card of the format? Deathrite Shaman, which is our latest Card of the Month!

Happy reading.

Questions of the Week

Q: I control a Goblin Sharpshooter and, during combat, four creatures die; is it true that my Sharpshooter will be able to deal damage and untap four times?

A: Yes. Whenever any single creature dies, the Sharpshooter’s ability triggers; every time a single ability that untaps the Sharpshooter resolves, you can tap it to deal one damage, before it untaps again for the next triggered ability.

Q: I control a Goblin Sharpshooter and four other creatures; my opponent casts Day of Judgment. Is it true that my Sharpshooter will be able to deal damage and untap four times?

A: No. In this case, the Sharpshooter is destroyed at the same time the other creatures are destroyed; the abilities that would untap it are put on the stack and resolve after it gets destroyed.

Q: I control Melira, Sylvok Outcast and Devoted Druid, can I get infinite mana by tapping and untapping the druid?

A: No. To untap the Devoted Druid you would need to activate his ability; to activate his ability you would need to pay its cost; to pay its cost you would need to put a -1/-1 counter on it; and here is where Melira makes your combo unsuccessful, because she disallows you to put the -1/-1 counter on the creature, sorry.

Q: My opponent casts a Lightning Bolt targeting me; in response, I cast Surgical Extraction targeting another Lightning Bolt in his graveyard. Do I counter the Lightning Bolt that is targeting me?

A: No. Surgical Extraction allows you to exile all Lightning Bolts from your opponent’s graveyard, hand and library, but doesn’t affect the Lightning Bolt on the stack; you actually have to counter it with a Counterspell, or prevent the damage or give shroud or protection to yourself.

Q: My opponent casts a Lightning Bolt targeting me, while he controls a Pyromancer Ascension and has a second Lightning Bolt in his graveyard; in response, I cast Surgical Extraction targeting the Lightning Bolt in his graveyard. Does my opponent get to put a counter on his Pyromancer Ascension?

A: Yes. The Pyromancer Ascension’s triggered ability triggers at the moment he casts his Lightning Bolt; there is no check during the resolution of the triggered ability. Extra: the abilities that check both when they trigger and also when they resolve have to be written like this: “Trigger event, IF condition, effect” with a comma just before the term “if” and another comma at the end of the condition. (If there are targets, they should be legal both when the ability triggers and also when the ability resolves.)

Card of the Month – Deathrite Shaman

Let’s admit it, this Shaman is one of the best cards in Return to Ravnica. It might have initially been put in the group of “medium value” rares of the set, but then it has soon been put to good use in several Modern decks, especially in the current Jund that had good results in both Pro Tour Seattle and Grand Prix Lyon.

This is not the type of card that makes you win immediately or solves difficult problems (like Abrupt Decay or Supreme Verdict), not at all; instead, the Shaman is a “business spell”, a card that we are happy to draw early in the game, but also later in the game. Its abilities can give us several small advantages and are great at controlling both graveyards.

Sure, sometimes our Tarmogoyf will become smaller, but we can’t have everything at once ^__^.

Just like determining the correct value of this card isn’t easy, it’s not that easy to be to play it and maximize its potential. To help you understand a little better what you can do with your Deathrite Shaman, here you have all the rules situations about it, I hope you will win more games thanks to this!

All the three abilities of our Shaman exile target card from a graveyard. Exiling the card is not part of the cost (while other cards like Grim Lavamancer exile cards from the graveyard as a cost to activate the ability); instead, it’s part of the effect.

Because of this difference, it’s possible to respond to the ability by casting the targeted card (if it’s an instant and it has flashback) or by exiling the card; if this happens, the Shaman’s ability loses its target and is countered (it means that the extra effect of adding mana or gaining life or making the opponent lose life doesn’t happen).

If it looks weird to be able to “respond to a mana ability”, because it has never been possible to respond to mana abilities, it’s necessary to clarify that this is not a mana ability.

Although the ability adds mana, it has a target and therefore it’s not such special “mana ability” (you can find the reference in the Comprehensive Rules 605.1a). This is an activated ability like all the others, which just happen to add mana in addition to the other effect, and uses the stack as normal.

If the target becomes illegal before the ability resolves, the ability is countered.

If we cast a spell like Stifle, the ability is countered.

If we cast Pithing Needle and we name Deathrite Shaman, its abilities cannot be activated.

A small but important detail (for tournaments) is that the color is chosen on resolution. At a Competitive event, if your opponent activates the first ability and you ask “what color?”, it’s considered that you aren’t doing anything in response. You cannot ask him to tell you the color he wants and only afterwards perform an action in response.

Note that, on the contrary, if it’s your opponent that says the color (without you asking for it), you are still allowed to do something in response to the ability; yes, asking a question is sometimes equivalent to performing an action or allowing a spell/ability to resolve; this is why it’s important to know it.

Let’s now take a look at the entire card: the cost to cast it has a hybrid mana symbol; this means that the Deathrite Shaman is multicolor. It’s both black and green in all zones of the game.

Even if you spend black mana to cast it, it can be countered by spells like Flashfreeze (which can target only a green spell).

If you control Pyroconvergence and you cast Deathrite Shaman, the triggered ability will trigger.

You can choose Deathrite Shaman with Glittering Wish.

Etc, etc. (add anything that comes to your mind about multicolored cards and spells)

The second ability doesn’t deal 2 damage to your opponent; instead, it makes him lose 2 life. Although the final result is often the same, there are some differences to mention.

Effects that prevent or redirect the damage don’t apply; important: you cannot redirect the 2 life loss to a planeswalker controlled by your opponent, sorry.

In Two Headed Giant, the second and the third ability are not symmetrical (in the sense of “+2 for me, -2 for you”).

The second ability says “each opponent loses 2 life”; since you have two opponents and each of them will lose two life points, the entire team will lose four life points.

The third ability says “You gain 2 life”; since your teammate isn’t mentioned, you gain two life but he doesn’t; the entire team gains only two life points.

Event Report - GP Chicago 2012 - Not Just a Tournament

I usually read and sometimes reply to my local forums and Facebook pages, where the regular PTQ players write; one of the topics that sometimes pops up is the equilibrium between the cost of the tournament and the “gain” (boosters for sealed, product prizes and invitations to events).

What I’ve learned in all these years is that what we call “Magic tournament” is NOT JUST A TOURNAMENT.

If you have participated in several local events, PTQs or GPs, you might have noticed that there are many differences between the types of events and also differences between two events of the same type.

Some take place in wonderful hotels or conference rooms, others take place in garages and small venues.

GP Disneyland

Some are easily accessible with both public transportation and by car, others can be in remote and difficult to access areas (I’ve heard about a tournament being organized on a boat!); some are held in exotic locations (Honolulu, for example) or in special places (again, I’ve heard about a tournament being organized on a boat!), others are just “one of the many tournaments in town”.

PT Honolulu

Some may also have wonderful prizes (putting aside the money that we can win on the Pro Tour, what about this prize that was given to the UK National champion in 2007? Or what about travel and hotel vouchers for a GP? Or what about a weekend in a SPA?)

A Magic event is not just about prizes, it’s about the EXPERIENCE you get during the entire weekend!

Adding a couple of days of holiday to a Grand Prix and visiting one of the wonders of the Earth is a great example of how we can have a great experience (if you haven’t read it, here you have the recent GP Shanghai report, with The Great Wall of China!).

GP Moscow

The Great Wall

Visiting friends is also a great extra for any tournament; renting a car and visiting the region is great too; I could give you dozens of good examples.

PT Nagoya

But what about the hours we spend in the tournament room?

When we go to a Grand Prix, there is not just the main event!

You can find very interesting public events with interesting prizes (like money or collection frames), public events with interesting formats (Urza’s block draft; Italian Legends sealed; foil rotisserie draft…), you can have your cards signed and personalized by your favorite artists, you can play against famous Pro players and also celebrities of the Magic world (like Richard Garfield!).

This time in Chicago, the tournament organizer created a “VIP service”, which is a series of interesting services (for a price, of course) that sometimes we may find quite useful; the first reaction I had was “Really? They can get my cards signed instead of making me wait hours in line?”; now, I’m curious to see what other kinds of services will be offered at future GPs, with the goal of allowing the participants to choose what kind of personalized service they want to receive.

Here you have the “VIP services” for GP Chicago:

Pastimes VIP Program (Very Important Player)

Want to make the Grand Prix weekend a little easier? We have come up with a great way to make that happen. Consider it an upgrade…

This package includes:

  • Sleep-in Special (Player must have earned the appropriate byes. If you do not have byes, no Sleep-in Special)
  • Fixed seating through the first day. (To keep the integrity of the event, the software to run Magic Events may pair fixed-seated players together. If this is the case, fixed seating for one player may be broken for that round. There may be some restrictions in later rounds. We apologize for any inconvenience)
  • 10 coupons for bottles of water through the weekend
  • Artist signing service. We can bring cards to the artists for you. We will also be arranging a special time for VIPs to meet with the artists in a closed setting.
  • Everyone should know you are a VIP, so you will also receive a special VIP playmat from the event.
  • A special VIP line for registering for events throughout the weekend. No need to wait – you’re a VIP!

A Tournament Dedicated to… Ben McDole

Ben is a Level 3 judge from Tampa, Florida.

He started judging in 2007 and he became L3 at Pro Tour Philadelphia in 2011.

In his real life, he’s a mathematics professor at the Hillsborough community college, and in the Magic world he’s making great efforts in transferring his education skills; in addition to great conversations during Magic tournaments, Ben works on several education projects:

Indeed, it’s a long list for a single person! I am sure that we all agree that Ben is a great example of how a judge can contribute to a better Judge Program and, as a direct consequence, to a better Magic world; we are proud of you…

Ben McDole

… 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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