Rulings Summary: General (07/15/97)

Skip to first unread message

Stephen D'Angelo

Jul 15, 1997, 3:00:00 AM7/15/97


General Rulings Summary Updated 07/15/97


Rulings are collected from many sources. See credits and disclaimer at the
end of the file for details. The most recent mtg-l digest used was
"13 Jul 1997 to 14 Jul 1997".

These rulings are updated monthly. The most recent version is available on
the web (WWW) as either of the following:

The above files are also available via FTP to "" under
"pub/sdangelo/magic" as "rule-general.txt". If you have neither WWW nor FTP
access, send e-mail to "" requesting a copy of the current
Rulings Summaries.

A '+' is used to mark changes since the last released version on 06/18/97.


Stephen D'Angelo | Official Magic: The Gathering Rules Summary | Network Representative for Wizards of the Coast, Inc.


Table of Contents:
I. Turn Order
II. Attack Phase
III. Spell and Ability Timing
IV. Glossary of Magic Topics
V. Tournament Rulings
VI. Changes Between Fourth and Fifth Edition Rules
VII. Acknowledgements and Disclaimers

Turn Order Rules and Rulings

About The Phases:
Each phase is broken into 5 parts. They are: [Mirage Page 42]
1. Process all effects that occur at the beginning of the phase.
2. The main body of the phase, which can contain any number of batches
of spells and abilities (phase abilities or other announced spells and
abilities). This is the only time where non-specialized spells and
abilities can be announced.
3. Process all effects that occur at the end of the phase. Once this
part starts, you cannot go back and announce more spells and abilities
during this phase.
4. Check for "mana burn".
5. Check the life totals of all players.
If more than one thing happens at the beginning or end of a phase, and the
order of these effects matters, they are played in the same way as
specialized abilities. [Mirage Page 42] This means the current player
resolves all of his or her effects and abilities in any order desired,
then the opponent resolves his or her effects and abilities in any order
they desire.
You cannot leave part 2 and enter part 3 of a phase until all "phase
costs" and mandatory "phase effects" or "phase abilities" (which are not
specifically done at the end of the phase) have been dealt with.
[Mirage Page 42]
Also see the "Phase Effect" and "Phase Cost" entries for more information.

Starting the Game:
Prior to the first phase of the first turn of the game, each player brings
their deck to the play area and shuffles it. The opponent may also cut
(or shuffle then cut) the deck. Each player's deck becomes their library.
[Mirage Page 46]
If this is the first game between players, randomly determine who gets first
choice. If this is not the first game, then the loser of the previous
game chooses. If the previous game was a draw, then the player who chose
last time chooses this time. [Mirage Page 46]
The player gets to choose if they want to go first or not. The player that
goes first skips their first draw phase. [Mirage Page 46]
This is called the "play or draw" choice.
After this choice is made, each player draws a hand of 7 cards and the
game begins. [Mirage Page 46]

Phase 0: Beginning of Turn
This isn't really a phase, but there is a "beginning of turn" effects and
abilities time before untap that works just like other beginning of phase
effects and abilities times.
There are a few cards that actually do something before the beginning of
untap. These are ones that say they happen at the "beginning of turn",
such as the change in power/toughness due to Vibrating Sphere, or the
control change from Wellspring. [D'Angelo 11/06/96]
Continuous abilities, such as Vibration Sphere, are dealt with prior to
actual "beginning of turn" effects and abilities like Wellspring.
[Aahz 01/14/97]
Summoning sickness is removed from permanents after all beginning of turn
effects and abilities finish resolving. [Duelist Magazine #17, Page 24]
As usual, when choosing to skip a phase/turn, you make the choice just
before you would start that phase/turn. In the case of skipping turns,
that choice is made before this step. [D'Angelo 11/06/96]
Mana sources which are used during this step do not cause mana burn until
the end of the first phase that you play. Normally this is the untap
phase, but if you skip your untap it could be the upkeep phase.
[Aahz 04/07/97]

Phase 1: Untap
You untap cards as a mandatory phase effect (see Phase Effects for more
information) during the middle of this phase. [Mirage Page 46]
Any mana in mana pool at end of this phase causes "mana burn".
[Mirage Page 9]
Check for player death at end of phase. [Mirage Page 52]
All cards being untapped, untap simultaneously. [Mirage Page 46] This
means that untapping one thing cannot affect what else you can or cannot
untap. For example, if a Winter Orb is tapped, then it cannot affect
your untapping even though it will also be untapped at the same time.
The cards to be untapped are checked upon resolution of the untap effect.
Thus, when this effect resolves, anything that can untap will untap (unless
you are given the option to not untap it and choose to take that option).
[Aahz 11/01/96]
If there are any decisions to be made about what to untap (if you are
allowed to decide), those decisions are made when you announce the
untap effect. [bethmo 11/07/96] Mirage rulebook page 46 is incorrect
in saying you do this at the beginning of the phase. If something new
happens that would force a decision after you announce the untap, you
must make that decision at the first opportunity, but you may not undo
any previous decisions. Thus, if a land becomes tapped after announcing
and Winter Orb is in play, you may choose that land if you had none
chosen before but may not choose it if you already had one chosen.
[D'Angelo 11/13/96]
You MUST untap each turn. You cannot "forget".
Phasing happens as a beginning of untap effect. Simultaneously "phase in"
any cards which are currently "phased out" and also "phase out" any
permanents which are in play with the "Phasing" ability.
[Mirage Page 2] Remember that neither happens before the other. They
happen at the same time.
Neither player may cast spells or abilities (other than specialized ones)
before or during the untap phase. [Mirage Page 46] Mana sources are
legal, however. [WotC Rules Team 10/03/96] Interrupts to specialized
spells/effects and anything that happens during damage prevention if
damage occurs are always allowed. [D'Angelo 11/06/96]
If a card enters play due to something (like a Tawnos's Coffin) untapping,
so that it enters play after or during the resolution of the untap phase
effect, the card entering play does not get to untap. [Bethmo 05/16/96]
All Limited/Unlimited/Arabian Nights/Antiquities cards which said to do
things during the untap phase take place during the upkeep phase.
[PPG Page 110] Newer cards may require you to do something during untap.

Phase 2: Upkeep
You still have an upkeep phase even if nothing happens during it.
Fast effects may be used during this phase by any player. [Mirage Page 46]
Any mana in mana pool at end of this phase causes "mana burn".
[Mirage Page 9]
Check for player death at end of phase. [Mirage Page 52]
It is common for permanents or effects to offer some actions which can be
done during the Upkeep phase or must be done during the Upkeep phase.
These actions follow the rules for "phase effects". See the
"Phase Effect" entry for more information.
It is common for permanents or effects to require a payment of some sort
during the Upkeep phase. These follow the rules for "phase costs". See
the "Phase Costs" entry for more information.
Many permanents offer the ability to untap them during the upkeep phase
for some cost. This is called an "untap cost". See the "Untap Costs"
entry for more information.

Phase 3: Draw
Fast effects may be used during this phase by any player. [Mirage Page 46]
Any mana in mana pool at end of this phase causes "mana burn".
[Mirage Page 9]
Check for player death at end of phase. [Mirage Page 52]
Drawing a card is a mandatory "phase effect" done during the middle of
the phase. See "Phase Effects" for more information.
Each ability that provides one or more additional draws is played separately,
rather than combining into a single draw effect. For example, if there
are three Howling Mines in play, then each provides its own effect, rather
than combining with the draw effect you get normally. Similarly, effects
such as Sylvan Library would not combine with other card draws.
[WotC Rules Team 10/12/94]
You cannot skip a draw or take additional draws unless an effect says
If you try to draw and have no cards in your library to draw from, you
lose the game. [Mirage Page 53]

Phase 4: Main Phase
May do the following in any order: [Mirage Page 47]
a. Cast a spell or use an ability -- Do this step any number of times
before or after other actions.
b. Play a land -- only one per turn before or after other actions.
c. Declare an attack -- only one per turn.
The full logic for the turns (without any odd effects applied) works out as:
a. Cast spells/play abilities
b. Play a land
c. Cast spells/play abilities
d. Declare an attack
e. Cast spells/play abilities
f. Play a land (if have not already done so)
g. Cast spells/play abilities
This is the only phase in which you may cast sorcery, summon, enchantment,
or artifact spells. [Mirage Page 47] The opponent may not use these kinds
of spells/abilities during your Main phase. [Mirage Page 43]
Playing a land is a not a fast effect. It cannot be done in response
to something else, nor can it be reacted to with anything (including
interrupts). [Duelist Magazine #5, Page 123]
You may play multiple lands if you have Fastbond, Storm Cauldron or some
other enabling effect in play, but they can only be played when you could
otherwise play a land. [bethmo] They cannot be played in the same
instant. They are played one at a time.
You only get one attack per turn and only on your turn. [Mirage Page 47]
If you manage to untap creatures they cannot be used in that same turn to
attack again unless some effect gives you an additional attack.
If a creature is required to attack (due to a spell like Siren's Call or an
ability like the Nettling Imp) the player must declare an attack that
turn and send out the affected creature(s) if it is legal to do so.
[Mirage Page 48]
Any mana in mana pool at end of this phase causes "mana burn".
[Mirage Page 9]
Check for player death at end of phase. [Mirage Page 52]

Phase 5: Discard
Fast effects may be used during this phase by any player. [Mirage Page 46]
This is the last phase where instant speed effects can be used by either
player in the turn.
Any mana in mana pool at end of this phase causes "mana burn".
[Mirage Page 9]
Check for player death at end of phase. [Mirage Page 52]
Discarding down to 7 cards in your hand is a mandatory "phase effect" done
at the end of this phase. See "Phase Effects" for more information.
The discard effect is done only once, even if more cards somehow get into
your hand afterwards. [Aahz 09/19/96]
You may not just choose to discard because you want to. You only do so if
you have more than 7 cards or because an effect tells you to do so.

Phase 6: Cleanup
No instants may be used during this phase by any player. [Mirage Page 47]
Mana sources are still legal. [WotC Rules Team 10/03/96] And any
interrupts to specialized effects or effects used during damage prevention
are legal as always. [D'Angelo 11/06/96]
Any mana in mana pool at end of this phase causes "mana burn".
[Mirage Page 9]
Check for player death at end of phase. [Mirage Page 52]
All damage and "until end of turn" effects end simultaneously during this
phase. [Mirage Page 47] This is done as a mandatory Phase Effect.
At the end of the phase, all "at end of turn" effects are dealt with as
per the normal end of phase rules. [Mirage Page 47]
If any new "until end of turn" effects which are started during this phase,
the new effects start up and then immediately end. [Mirage Page 48]
If any new "at end of turn" effects are scheduled for the current player
after starting to resolve that player's "at end of turn" effects, the new
ones are dealt before going to the opponent's effects. Once starting the
opponent's "at end of turn" effects, any new ones generated for the
current player are ignored. [WotC Rules Team 10/03/96]
If any creature is reduced to zero or less toughness at this time, it
dies and cannot successfully live to the next turn because even if it
regenerates, it will immediately die again.
+ If any damage is dealt during this phase and the damage is not sufficient
to kill the creature, the damage is immediately removed.
[Fifth Rulebook, Page 54]
There is no time between turns in which to take actions. [bethmo]

Attack Phase Rules and Rulings

Step 0: Declare intention to attack.
This step is actually done as an action during the Main Phase.
[Mirage Page 48]
Your opponent can respond with fast effects. If they do so, the attack
is cancelled. You can try again when the effects are all resolved.
If no one announces any fast effects, continue on to step 1.
[Mirage Page 48]
A player may only attack once per turn and only during their own main phase.
[Mirage Page 48]
It is similar to any phase change in that you cannot go on to declare
attackers until your opponent is done doing actions in your main phase.
See the "I'm Done" entry for more information.
You are not required to say which player in a multiplayer game you are
attacking. You just need to say you want to attack. [D'Angelo 01/23/95]
Any mana in mana pool when going to the next step causes "mana burn".
[Mirage Page 48]
Check for player death before going to the next Step. [Mirage Page 48]

Step 1/2: Beginning of Attack
Anything that happens at the beginning of the attack, such as Goblin
Flotilla, gets dealt with here. This works like a normal "beginning of
phase" time. Deal with these prior to declaring attackers.
[D'Angelo 11/06/96]

Step 1: Declare Attackers
No instants are allowed during this step by either player. If you want
to play spells or abilities prior to declaring attackers, they must be
done during the main phase. [Mirage Page 48] Mana sources and specialized
abilities are the only effects usable during this step.
A creature can be declared as an attacker if it is untapped, does not have
summoning sickness, is not a Wall, and does not have any other effect
preventing it from attacking. [Mirage Page 49]
Creatures tap when declared as an attacker. [Mirage Page 49] This is not
a creature ability. It's a side effect of being declared.
Creatures which have the ability to not tap when attacking, must still be
untapped during this step in order to be declared as an attacker.
[Mirage Page 49]
Typically, all attackers are declared at once. Actually, you can declare
attackers in any order. Each time, you may declare zero or more attackers
at once, followed by any specialized abilities that are to be played, and
repeat as needed. This allows you to deal with paying costs that allow a
creature to attack and so on. [Mirage Page 50]
You may attack with zero creatures. Such an attack is called a "null
attack", and it does count as your one attack during your turn.
[Mirage Page 49] The Mirage Rulebook erroneously says "one or more
attackers" early on page 49 but is correct later on the page.
[Duelist Magazine #15, Page 28]
Once an attacker is declared, untapping the attacker will not remove it
from the attack. [Duelist Magazine #5, Page 35] Note that
regenerating a creature, losing control of a creature, or having a
creature stop being a creature will remove it from the attack as well.
If some creatures are required to attack, they must be declared (if
possible) before or at the same time as declaring other attackers.
[Mirage Page 49] See "Must Attack or Block" for more information.
Creatures with zero power may attack. [Mirage Page 49]
Creatures cannot attack (or be tapped for their own special ability) unless
that card or token has been in play on your side since the beginning of
your turn. See the "Summoning Sickness" entry for more information.
Banding of attackers must be declared at this time and cannot be changed
later. [Mirage Page 19] You may add members to a band across multiple
declarations within this step of the attack if desired. You do not need
to declare all members simultaneously. [Aahz 03/17/97]
You only check if the creature is allowed to attack (such as can only attack
if opponent has Islands) during this step. If any attack enablers are
removed or attack inhibitors are introduced later, it does not make a
difference. The creature is still attacking. [D'Angelo 02/01/95]
Brainwash and Jade Statue are examples of specialized abilities used during
this step. [WotC Rules Team 06/15/95]
+ Any abilities that trigger during this step are dealt with at that time.
[WotC Rules Team 07/03/97] (REVERSAL) They used to save up until the
end of the step.
Most penalties and bonuses due to attacking or not attacking are considered
as triggered abilities. For example, damage from attacking with the
Hasran Ogress. [D'Angelo 10/01/96]
Continuous effects that happen because a creature becomes an attacker take
immediate effect and can affect how other creatures get declared.
[Aahz 10/22/96]
Triggered abilities that trigger on being declared are retroactively treated
as if they never happend if the creature gets undeclared by False Orders
or some other retroactive removal effect. [Aahz 10/22/96]
+ Creatures like the Mijae Djinn which require a coin flip to see if they
attack have their coin flip done at the end of this step. You cannot
add or remove creatures once you flip the coin. [D'Angelo 04/04/95]
You always attack your opponent and not your opponent's creatures.
[Mirage Page 48]
You cannot attack yourself or your own creatures. [Mirage Page 48]

Step 2: Fast Effects before Blocking
You are not limited to a single stack of spells and abilities.
[Mirage Page 50]
This is the ideal time for the defender to eliminate attackers they do
not want to deal with (using Royal Assassin or Lightning Bolt, for
example), or to enhance potential blockers (with Jump or such) to allow
them to be used for defense.
Remove from the combat any attackers and blockers which were killed (even if
they regenerated).

Step 3: Declare Blockers
No fast effects are allowed during this step by either player.
[Mirage Page 50] Mana sources and specialized abilities are the only
effects usable during this step.
Only untapped creatures can block. [Mirage Page 50]
A blocker can only block one attacker unless otherwise stated on a card.
[Mirage Page 50] You do not declare to block a band, you block a member
of a band and thereby become a blocker to all creatures in the band.
This means that if any member of a banded group of attackers can be
blocked by your creature, the entire band can be blocked.
More than one blocker can be declared on a single attacker. [Mirage Page 50]
This is true even without banding ability.
There is no summoning sickness for declaring blockers. You can use any
untapped creature you have. [Duelist Magazine #5, Page 36]
Typically, all blockers are declared at once. Actually, you can declare
blockers in any order. Each time, you may declare zero or more blockers
at once, followed by any specialized abilities that are to be played, and
repeat as needed. This allows you to deal with paying costs to allow a
creature to block and so on. [Mirage Page 50]
The creatures assigned to block an attacker do not have to be assigned all
at once. [Mirage Page 50]
If some creatures are required to block, they must be declared (if possible)
before or at the same time as declaring other blockers. [Mirage Page 50]
See "Must Attack or Block" for more information.
If a creature is required to block more creatures than it can legally block,
then the defender chooses which creature(s) to block, but must choose to
block as many as possible. [Mirage Page 50]
Once blockers are declared against a creature, it is blocked. It remains
blocked even if the blocking creature is killed or the block is made
"illegal" by some action. [Mirage Page 50] This means that if you cast
Jump (for example) on your attacking creature after blockers are declared,
that you do not get around the blocker or even avoid damage.
[Mirage Page 51]
Defenders do not band or group. They can just decide to choose the same
creature to block. Defensive banding only helps during damage
dealing. [Mirage Page 20] See the "Banding" entry for more information.
This is the only time that you check if the creature is allowed to block.
If any evasion abilities or blocking inhibitors are introduced or removed
later, it does not make a difference. The creature either can or cannot
block at this time. [Mirage Page 51]
To block, the creature must be able to get around all of the attacking
creature's evasion abilities. For example, a Flying creature with Fear
can only be blocked if the blocking creature has Flying (to satisfy the
Flying evasion ability) and if it is Black and/or Artifact (to satisfy
the Fear evasion ability). [Mirage Page 51]
An attacking creature with an evasion ability (flying, xxxwalk, etc.) may
not "turn off" the ability and choose to be blockable. [PPG Page 79]
Defending creatures do NOT tap. This is one of the oldest myths of the
+ Any abilities that trigger during this step are dealt with at that time.
[WotC Rules Team 07/03/97] (REVERSAL) They used to save up until the
end of the step.
Most penalties and bonuses due to blocking or not blocking are considered as
triggered abilities. For example, blocking a or blocking with a Thicket
Basilisk triggers its delayed destruction effect. [D'Angelo 10/01/96]
+ False Orders is played at the end of this step, after all blocking
assignments are made. False Orders can result in a new blocking
assignment or retroactive removal of an assignment.
[Duelist Magazine #8, Page 47]
+ Creatures like the Ydwen Efreet which require a coin flip to see if they
block have their coin flip done at the end of this step. You cannot add
or remove creatures once you flip the coin. [D'Angelo 04/04/95]
For some other important rulings on blocking, see the "Blocking" entry.

Step 4: Fast Effects after Blocking
You are not limited to a single stack of spells and abilities.
[Mirage Page 51]
This is the ideal time for the attacker to surprise the defender by using
fast effects to make the creatures more powerful. Howl from Beyond,
Berserk, and built in creature abilities are good examples.
Any "if is not blocked" abilities of creatures are declared and resolved
at this time. [Duelist Magazine #5, Page 36] See the "Is Not Blocked"
entry for more information.
Remove from the combat any attackers and defenders which were killed (even
if they regenerated).
Remember that killing or otherwise removing the blockers from an attacking
creature does not unblock the attacking creature. [Mirage Page 51]
This is the last chance to use fast effects before the main phase resumes
after the end of combat. [Mirage Page 51]

Step 5+6: First Strike and non-FirstStrike Damage Dealing
In Step 5, all creatures with First Strike deal damage simultaneously. In
Step 6, all creatures without First Strike deal damage simultaneously.
Otherwise, the two steps follow the same rules. [Mirage Page 51]
At the start of Step 5, creatures are divided up depending on whether or not
they have First Strike. This determines if the creatures deal damage in
Step 5 or Step 6. It also means that if a creature gains or loses
First Strike during these step, it does not change which step the creature
actually deals damage in. [Duelist Magazine #18, Page 28]
If the order of assignment makes a difference, the current player assigns
damage first.
Unblocked attackers deal damage to the defending player. Blocked attackers
deal damage to their blockers (if any). [Mirage Page 51] If a Trampling
attacker has no blocker that can legally take the attacker's damage, then
the damage is directly dealt to the player. [Aahz 05/23/95]
Blocking creatures deal damage to the attacker(s) they blocked only if they
are still untapped at this time. [Mirage Page 51]
There is one damage prevention at the end of each step, followed by putting
dead creatures into the graveyard. [Mirage Page 52]
If more than one blocker is declared for an attacker, the attacking player
decides how the attacker's damage is divided among the blockers. If
one of the blockers has Banding, then the defending player decides.
(See the Banding entry for more information)
If more than one attacker is blocked by a single blocker, the defending
player decides how the blocker's damage is divided among the attackers.
If the attackers are part of a Band, then the attacking player decides.
(See the Banding entry for more information)
Each member of a Band of attackers is a separate source of damage. Also,
Banding does not make the attackers or blockers act like one creature or
share abilities. Banding just allows a group to be blocked or let through
as a whole, and for the ability to distribute damage. [bethmo]

Step 7: End of Combat
Deal with all effects that happen "at end of combat". Follow the normal
rules for "end of phase" effects.
Any mana in mana pool after dealing with "at end of combat" effects causes
"mana burn". [Mirage Page 52]
Check for player death before returning to the main phase. [Mirage Page 52]

Other Attack Phase Rulings:
Creatures involved in combat are either "attacking creatures" or "blocking
creatures", and during the attack is the only time when spells which
target such creatures can be played. [Mirage Page 49]
Creatures which are removed from combat stop being an attacking or blocking
creature. They do not untap. They will not deal or receive combat damage
later in the combat. [Mirage Page 49]
A creature which regenerates is removed from combat. [Mirage Page 49]
A creature which stops being a creature is removed from combat.
[Mirage Page 49] If it becomes a creature again, it does not rejoin the
combat. [D'Angelo 10/01/96]
A creature which changes controllers is removed from combat. It will not
rejoin even if it switches back to its original controller. If the
control change happened prior to declaration of blockers, it is possible
for the creature to be declared as a blocker. [Aahz 03/09/95]
Tapping or untapping a creature does not remove the creature from combat.
[Mirage Page 49]
The terms "combat damage" or "damage in combat" only apply to damage dealt
by creatures during the damage dealing steps. Spells and effects which
do damage during the attack phase are not considered "combat damage" or
"damage in combat". [Mirage Page 48] Once damage is redirected, it stops
being "combat damage" [Duelist Magazine #17, Page 24]
If a creature is removed from the combat, all "at end of combat" effects
that would affect that creature will still work. If the creature is
retroactively removed from the combat, however, such "at end of combat"
effects are removed. [Aahz 09/24/96] "Retroactive" only covers cases
where it is as if the creature never attacked, such as with False Orders
removing the creature from the attack.

Spell and Ability Timing

Kinds and Speeds of Abilities:
Spells and abilities can be announced by a player at any one of four speeds:
mana source, instant, interrupt, or specialized. Sorcery isn't really a
speed, since sorceries are used in the same stacks as instants. Sorcery
is more of a limitation on when the spell or ability can be announced.
Spells and abilities come in four types: one-shot, continuous, duration,
and scheduled. One-shot is obvious. The effect does its thing and then
ends. The others are discussed later in this section.
Effects can also be generated when something else happens. These are
generated by triggered abilities.
The ability of a permanent with an activation cost is handled as an instant
(and not an interrupt) unless otherwise stated on the card.
The term "fast effect" was used a lot prior to Fifth Edition to include
interrupts, instants and the abilities of permanents. Such spells and
abilities can be used at many times during your turn or your opponent's
Artifacts, sorceries, summonings, and enchantments can only be used during
your main phase and only to start a batch of spells and abilities.
[Mirage Page 38]
Such spells are sometimes referred to as "non-fast effects".
Artifacts, creatures, enchantments, and sorceries are _not_ slower in
resolving or in being announced than instants. The only difference
between such spells and instants is that these spell types are only usable
during the main phase and only to start batches. They resolve at the
same "speed" as an instant.
A mana source ability can be used at almost any time. [Mirage Page 36]
Actually, the book says at any time, but there are a couple of narrow
windows where they cannot be used.
The more complete rule for when you can play mana sources is: You can use
mana sources whenever you have priority to play a spell or ability, even
if there are no such things you can legally play. This applies to any
time in which a normal spell or ability or specialized ability can be
played. [Aahz 01/17/97] This more complete rule does not make any
important changes in when you can play mana sources because priority
switches often enough. It just closes a few odd loopholes.
Mana sources cannot be interrupted like other announced spells and abilities
can. [Mirage Page 8] Abilities that trigger on their use take place
after they finish resolving.
Lands can only be played during your main phase as well, but playing a
land is not a spell or ability. It is a special action. [Mirage Page 72]
You cannot play a land in response to a spell or ability and the playing
of a land cannot be responded to.
Casting a spell means playing a non-Land card from your hand. Using
abilities of creatures, artifacts, or enchantments are not spells.
[Mirage Page 72] Also putting things into play via an effect is not
considered to be a spell.

Life-Cycle of a Spell or Ability:
The life-cycle for a spell or ability looks roughly like this. All spells
and abilities follow this cycle. More detailed sections follow this one.
1. Announcement -- Costs are paid. Targets are chosen. Choices are made.
2. Chance for interrupts -- A chance is given to use interrupts to counter
the spell or ability. If it is a spell (not an ability) you can also
use modify color, target, and wording interrupts and have them change
the effect of the spell. Abilities are different since very few things
target abilities, and destroying or modifying the source will not counter
or modify the effect of the ability. Abilities are currently not
modifiable once they are announced, but cards could theoretically be added
to do so.
3. Waiting for resolution -- When a spell/ability gets to this stage, it is
considered successfully "cast" or "activated". It can no longer be
modified or countered. It is placed into the batch. Then responses to
the spell/ability can be announced. Specialized abilities are not placed
into batches, so they move through this step immediately to step 4.
4) Resolution -- The batch resolves in last-in first-out manner.
Check targets at this time. If a spell/ability's targets are valid, then
its effects take place, else it "fizzles".
The chart in Duelist #9 does not reflect Fifth Edition timing rules.
A permanent cannot be acted upon as a permanent until it is successfully
resolved. This means it will have its full effect before you can do
anything to it.
Destroying or modifying the source of a spell/ability after it is announced
will never cause the spell/ability to fail or change in any way.
[Mirage Page 26]

Step 1: Announcing a Spell/Ability
The first thing that happens to a spell/ability is that it gets announced.
Announcing a spell/ability is a special action that cannot be interrupted.
[bethmo 09/07/94] Not even mana sources may be used during this step.
This step is also called "playing" the spell or ability.
During announcement, all costs are paid (see the "Costs" entry for more
information on costs), all targets are selected (see the "Targeting"
entry for more information), and all other spell/ability decisions are
Everything that happens during this step is considered to be simultaneous.
[Mirage Page 30] If this gets confusing, consider it as if the state of
the game were saved just as the step starts and that's what you are playing
against. This means, for example, you can target the card you are
sacrificing to pay the cost of an ability.
In addition to the spell cost or activation cost, you must pay any
additional costs listed in the card text. [Mirage Page 30]
You must have all necessary payments for the cost before starting this step.
For spells/ability with a mana cost, this means that you must use your
mana sources prior to starting the announcement and have the mana in your
mana pool. [Mirage Page 32] You cannot get mana during this step.
Nothing can stop a cost from being paid or prevent the results of anything
which is done as a cost. [Mirage Page 33] Things may prevent you from
announcing a spell/ability. Usually these involve raising the cost
(Gloom) or making a resource unavailable for use (Imprison).
[D'Angelo 11/07/96]
Targets are chosen during this step. All targets chosen must be legal.
[Mirage Page 31]
If more than one target is to be selected at the same time, the same target
may not be selected twice. [Mirage Page 31]
All other decisions which do not require looking at another player's hand
or in a player's library are made at this time. [Mirage Page 31]
Some cards will clearly state that a decision is made upon resolution and
will thereby override this rule.
Decisions which are made that affect neither how it is announced or how it
resolves are always delayed. For example, what to do about Mind Bomb
damage or how many cards to draw during the upkeep following Arcane
Denial being used. [Duelist Magazine #13, Page 26]
Any counting of cards in play (which does not affect whether or not you can
announce it) is done on resolution and not on announcement.
[Visions FAQ 02/16/97]
+ All characteristics of the source of an ability are "locked in" at this
time. [Mirage Page 27] This is true even if the permanent is also the
target of its own ability. The characteristics are locked in on
announcement and are not looked up again on resolution.
[WotC Rules Team 07/03/97]
Targets and other choices selected by the opponent are also made during
this step. [WotC Rules Team 06/27/96] But they are made after the current
player makes any of their choices.
Random choices are not made on announcement unless they are part of the
cost. [D'Angelo 10/03/96]
Any abilities that trigger during this step are saved up and handled at the
end of this step as a single group of triggered abilities. [Aahz 01/12/95]
See "Triggered Abilities" in this section for more information.
A spell goes into "limbo" when it is announced and it is not considered to
be in play or in the graveyard until it resolves. [Mirage Page 60]
The spell itself leaves your hand even prior to paying costs.
[D'Angelo 11/07/96]
If a spell asks you to choose a card in your hand, you cannot choose a
spell that is currently announced (including the one which is asking you
to choose a card) but not resolved. [WotC Rules Team 02/06/96] The card
is, however, considered to be in your hand until the end of announcement
for all other reasons. For example, if you announce Infernal Harvest with
no other cards in your hand, the swamps return to your hand at the same
time the Infernal Harvest leaves your hand. There is no time when you
have zero cards in your hand. [WotC Rules Team 03/14/97]

Step 2: Interrupting a Spell/Ability
Just after announcement is complete but before the spell is considered
successfully "played" (or "cast") or ability "played" (or "activated" or
"used") as appropriate, there is a chance to interrupt the spell/ability.
At this point we say the spell/ability is "being played" (or "being cast"
or "being activated").
See the "Interrupts" entry for more information on interrupts.
Interrupts may only target the spell which is currently "being cast" (i.e.
that is in Step 2 of the life cycle). If more than one spell is in the
"being cast" state, the most recently announced one is the only one that
can be targeted. [Mirage Page 38]
Interrupts follow the standard life-cycle steps, so they too may be
interrupted or responded to. [Mirage Page 38] When responding to an
interrupt, you only get to target the spell that interrupt was targeting.
When interrupting an interrupt, you only get to target that interrupt.
There may be any number of batches of interrupts during this step.
[Mirage Page 38]
If the spell/ability is countered, then it is not considered
successfully cast, activated, or used. If it is a spell, it is placed in
the graveyard at that time. [Mirage Page 38] Any other interrupts
targeting that spell will fizzle.
An interrupt which modifies the color, target, or wording of a spell can
change how the spell will resolve. [D'Angelo 05/19/95]

Step 3: Waiting for Resolution
Once all interrupts to a spell/ability are resolved, the spell is placed
into the current batch of spells/abilities. At this point it is
considered successfully played, cast, or activated as appropriate.
During this step, a response to the spell or ability can be announced. Only
interrupts may respond to interrupts. Only instants (and the abilities of
permanents which are played as instants) may respond to non-interrupts.
Note that some spells which are interrupts are played as instants when
targeting a permanent and may be used to respond to a non-interrupt.
The term "responding to a spell/ability" means to play a spell/ability
during this part of a spell's life-cycle.
The spell/ability will not proceed to step 4 until its response (if any)
has been resolved. The result of this is a last-in first-out behavior
which is described more fully under "Batches of Spells and Abilities"
Specialized abilities (and other ones which are not played in batches) move
through this step to Step 4 immediately.

Step 4: Resolution
The spell or abilities rechecks any targeting conditions it has. If it has
any targets and all the targets are illegal, the spell/ability fizzles and
does nothing (and if it was to become a permanent, it is put into the
graveyard instead). If it has no targets or at least one target is legal,
the effect proceeds to happen normally but fizzles with regards to any
targets which are illegal. See the "Targeting" entry and "Fizzle" entry
for more information.
Once resolution of a batch starts, no additional spells/abilities may be
announced (and added to that batch) until all spells/abilities in the
batch have been resolved. [Mirage Page 36] Specialized abilities and
damage prevention spells/abilities can be used as normal.
+ Mana sources are allowed during a spell/ability's resolution. But they
cannot be used during the middle of a single step in the resolution. For
example, with Balance you could use mana sources between any of the three
steps you are required to do, but you cannot use them during the dealing
with any single thing required by the resolution.
[Duelist Magazine #15, Page 56] You determine where the 'gaps' where you
can play mana sources are by looking for the word "then". This indicates
a chance to use mana sources before continuing.
[WotC Rules Team 07/03/97] (REVERSAL) You used to also be allowed to use
them at periods/sentence endings.
If the thing resolving is a spell, its card is either put into play as a
permanent (if it is a summon, artifact or enchantment) or it is put into
the graveyard when it finishes resolving. [Mirage Page 60]
+ Any abilities that trigger on a spell/ability's resolution are saved until
the next time at which mana sources would be allowed. For most
spells/abilities, this means after resolution. But if the spell/ability
has multiple steps (separated by "then") then triggers from one step
are resolved before continuing to the next step. [Aahz 07/14/97] For
example, Balance has three times at which triggered abilities are dealt
with. After lands, then after cards in hand, then after creatures.
+ Triggers from the use of mana sources or specialized abilities which happen
to get used during this step (which is the resolution of a spell/ability)
are not saved up. They happen as appropriate for that mana source or
specialized ability. [WotC Rules Team 07/03/97]
After each triggered ability is dealt with, a damage prevention step happens
if damage was dealt by that ability. [Mirage Page 41]
Note that continuous abilities and triggered abilities are checked at all
times during the resolution. Continuous abilities happen immediately,
while triggered ones do not do anything until the end of the this step.
[Aahz 08/20/96] For example, a Sea Serpent will trigger a "bury itself"
ability if at some point during the resolution you had no islands, and this
effect will happen even if you have some islands before the end of the
resolution. As another example, a Maro will be killed as a continuous
ability during the middle of the resolution of Wheel of Fortune because
its toughness will become zero.

Batches of Spells and Abilities:
The above timing life-cycle results in batches of spells/abilities. This
entry describes how batches work.
A batch of spells/abilities can be started by either player.
[Mirage Page 37] See "Who Announces First" for more information.
A batch may be started using any instant (or ability of a permanent that
is played as an instant), or during the main phase the current player may
start a batch with a sorcery, enchantment, summon, or artifact spell.
Spells/abilities are added to the batch as they become successfully cast.
The batch continues to build until neither player wants to add any
more spells/abilities to the batch. At that time it begins to resolve.
[Mirage Page 36]
Batches resolve in last-in first-out order. [Mirage Page 36] This can be
counter-intuitive sometimes, but it works to allow the responding player
a minor advantage.
Once the batch begins to resolve, the spells/abilities in that batch resolve
one at a time, each effect resolving completely before the next one starts
resolving. [Mirage Page 36] In between effects resolving, triggered
abilities and damage prevention may occur. [Mirage Page 36]
You do not need to alternate one player and then the other when announcing
spells/abilities. See "Who Announces First" in this section for more

Batches of Interrupts:
Interrupt batches follow all the rules for normal batches except that only
interrupts may be added to them. [Mirage Page 36]
During a batch of interrupts, the player whose spell is most recently "being
cast" (and is thereby the legal target for interrupts) has the right to
announce first. This is the only time the "current player goes first"
rule is overridden. [Mirage Page 38]

Who Announces First:
The general rule is that if both players want to announce something, the
current player gets to go first. This works fine for casual play, but
a more complete system follows.
Each phase starts in a "neutral state". At this time the active player
decides if they want to start a batch or not. If they do not do so,
the opponent gets a chance to start a batch, and if they don't do so
either, the phase ends. [Mirage Page 37] Note that once the current
player passes on starting a batch, they've effectively said "I'm ending
the phase if you don't do anything" and that player cannot take back this
If either player starts a batch by announcing a spell/ability, the active
player now has the option of responding to it. If that player does not,
the opponent may. If they do not, the batch of spells/abilities begins
resolving. [Mirage Page 37] Again, once the current player passes, it's
like saying "I'm done with this batch if you are".
If either player responds with a spell/ability, repeat the process until
both players pass. [Mirage Page 36] This way, both players get to use as
many spells/abilities as they want.
+ If a spell/ability is countered, you return to the same state you were in
before that spell/ability was announced. This could be the neutral state
or one of the players may have priority in the middle of a batch.
[Aahz 07/11/97]
These timing rules prevent any possibility of a stalemate where neither
player wants to act first during play. The active player always has to
choose whether or not to act.
Only the player with priority at the moment can play mana sources.
[Aahz 01/17/97] This reverses something I had in here before about mana
source priority being a different concept, but it does not affect any
scenarios I've been able to think up because priority is given often
enough, especially if you consider priority to play specialized abilities.
When in the "neutral state" during the main phase, the current player may
play a land (if they have not already done so) instead of starting a
batch. The land enters play and then play returns to the "neutral state".
[Mirage Page 37]
When in the "neutral state" during the main phase, the current player may
declare the intent to start an attack (if they have not already done so)
instead of starting a batch. The opponent may respond to this declaration
by starting a batch and thereby cancelling the attack declaration.
[Mirage Page 37]
There is no difference between a sorcery and an instant in terms of priority
of announcing. It only matters if it is legal to be cast at this time.
The current player goes first even if the spell they want to cast is a
sorcery and the opponent has an instant. [Duelist Magazine #3, Page 22]
There are no official rules for what order players announce spells/abilities
in multiplayer games. One suggested strategy is to let the current
player go first, then go around the table in the order of play.
If a the current player skips on to a new phase when the opponent wanted
to announce something, or a player announces multiple spells/abilities at
one time without allowing a chance to make a legal response, or the
opponent announces something when the current player was going to do so,
then you should back up the game and continue from the point where the
goof-up occurred. Players are not bound to follow the same set of actions
they did after that time. You should stop the game as soon as possible by
jumping in with a "Wait! I want to do something". Letting something pass
without saying "Wait" is quiet agreement with what they did.
If the opponent announces something without first getting the current player
to say (or otherwise indicate) they are not doing something, this is
technically an illegal move and should be taken back. The most common way
to deal with this, however, is for the current player to get the choice of
saying that they want to do something and force the other player to take
back their action, or to let the opponent's action stand and announce
whether or not they want to respond. This is pretty much equivalent in
the outcome to taking it back and then having the current player say
"I'm not doing anything, go ahead and play that again."
[D'Angelo 02/12/97]
You cannot make someone back up because you forgot to do something, even
if it is something you "usually do". They may allow you to if they want
but they are not bound to do so.
Strictly speaking you have to notify your opponent at every point what you
are doing with things like "I'm announcing this spell, do you want to
interrupt it", "I'm done with this spell stack, do you want to add
anything to it before it resolves", and "I'm done with the xxxx phase,
do you want to do anything". This is very annoying and breaks up game
play, but if you are having problems with a given player, fall back on
this until you learn to deal with each other.

Specialized Abilities:
Specialized abilities are abilities that can be used when spells/abilities
could not normally be used. By definition, these kinds of abilities break
the normal rules for when something can be announced.
These abilities typically have nothing happen in Step 3 of their life-cycle
because they cannot be responded to. [D'Angelo 10/03/96] See below
for handling of triggered abilities.
These types of spells are usually of type Instant, but they are not played
in batches. [Mirage Page 40]
Specialized abilities are usually used once each time their condition is met.
For example, Regeneration abilities can only be used once each time the
creature is sent to the graveyard. [D'Angelo 10/03/96]
If a specialized ability is countered or otherwise fails and the condition
for its use still exists, you may use the ability again (if available).
For example, if a regeneration ability is countered, you may try again.
[D'Angelo 11/06/96]
If more than one specialized ability can be used at a given time, the
current player uses all of theirs first, then the opponent uses all of
theirs. Each ability is announced and resolved fully before the next one
is announced. [Mirage Page 40]
If any damage is caused in the resolution of a specialized ability, a
damage prevention step happens prior to the use of any additional
specialized abilities but after any triggered abilities from the
specialized ability are resolved. [Mirage Page 41]
Regeneration abilities are an example of a specialized ability.
[Mirage Page 40] They can be used whenever a creature is being sent to
the graveyard due to being destroyed or to having lethal damage (and
thereby prevents it from going there). Thus, this kind of ability is
often used during the middle of Step 4 of the spell life-cycle.
Most specialized abilities fall in to one of two categories. Either they
are "replacement effects" which are used just prior to something happening
in order to change that action. Or they are specialized only in that they
are used at a non-standard time, in which case they are usually used
just prior to or just after normal a action at that special time.
[Aahz 11/07/96]
If an effect says to do something "instead" of something else, the something
else never happens. Thus, if you gain 1 life "instead" of drawing a card,
abilities that trigger off drawing a card will not happen.
[bethmo 10/14/96]
Jandor's Ring and Aladdin's Lamp are also used as specialized abilities to
modify the resolution of a draw effect. [Aahz 11/30/95]
+ If an ability is triggered off the use of a specialized ability, the
triggered ability is dealt with as normal for a spell or ability.
[WotC Rules Team 07/03/97] (REVERSAL) Triggers on specialized abilities
used to wait until the end of the resolution in which they were being
+ About all that happens in Step 3 is abilities that trigger on the
specialized effect being successfully cast. [D'Angelo 10/03/96]
How do you tell if something is a specialized ability? Well, you just have
to notice that the ability is used when other abilities are generally not
legal, such as to modify something which happens during a spell/ability's
resolution, during declaration of attackers or blockers, and so on.
Things that are done during specific phases (like phase effects or declaring
attackers during the declare attackers step) are not considered
specialized abilities. They are handled as appropriate.

Triggered Abilities:
Triggered abilities follow the same rules as specialized abilities for how
they are played. See "Specialized Abilities" for more information.
Triggered abilities differ from specialized abilities because they "trigger"
upon some condition in the game. You cannot choose whether or not they
"trigger", but if there is an activation cost, you may choose whether
or not to use the ability which is triggered. [D'Angelo 10/03/96]
When triggered during the resolution of a spell/ability, all abilities
triggered during that resolution are handled in one group.
Remember that even though the resolution of a triggered ability may be
delayed, the ability actually triggers if the condition is met at ANY
time, even during the middle of a spell/ability's resolution.
A triggered ability can trigger on its own permanent leaving play. It will
still be resolved even if its source is no longer in play.
[Mirage Page 41] Thus, an Animate Artifact on a Soul Net will allow
you to use its ability when the Soul Net is killed.
Triggered abilities nest. If one effect's resolution causes two triggered
abilities to trigger, then during the resolution of the first one of
these triggered abilities, another effect is triggered. The newly
triggered ability is resolved prior to going back and resolving the second
of the original pair of triggered abilities.
[Duelist Magazine #14, Page 26] Note that nesting does not mean that the
triggered abilities resolve during the middle of the resolution of another
triggered ability. They just get dealt with immediately following its
resolution and prior to dealing with anything else that may be waiting to
Triggered abilities are controlled/owned by the controller of the permanent
which triggered the ability at the time the ability is triggered (which
may not be the same as the controller at the time the ability is played
and resolved). [D'Angelo 07/22/96]
Abilities which trigger on you losing control of something also trigger if
it leaves play since you lose control of it when it leaves play.
[bethmo 01/15/96]
Multiple abilities can trigger off the same thing happening, but a single
card will never double-fire off of a single event. For example, if you
have two Scavenging Ghouls in play, each will get a counter if a creature
dies, but neither will get two counters. [D'Angelo 10/03/96]
Abilities that say "If something leaves play, do something to it" will only
work if the "something" is in the same location that it left play to. For
example, if it says "If creature leaves play, remove it from the game" and
the card is sent to the graveyard, but before this effect resolves it is
instead sent to the hand, the removal from the game will fizzle.
[bethmo 06/26/96] In other words, abilities are not smart enough to track
a card around.
+ Triggers on announcing a spell/ability or successfully casting a
spell/ability are always dealt with after completing the announcement or
successful casting. [WotC Rules Team 07/03/97] The only exception to
this is mana sources, for which all triggers are saved until after the
mana source resolves (since mana sources cannot be interrupted).
[WotC Rules Team 07/03/97]
+ Triggers on things that happen during resolution of a spell/ability always
happen after completion of the resolution, regardless of when this
happens. [WotC Rules Team 07/03/97] This means that if a specialized
spell/ability, such as Death Ward, were used during the resolution of
something else, such as Wrath of God, any triggers on the Death Ward are
resolved before continuing with the resolution of the thing the
specialized ability is acting on.
+ Triggers that happen during declaration of attackers or blockers are also
dealt with as normal. For example, if Choking Vines is played while
blockers are declared, abilities of cards such as Bazaar of Wonders and
Skulking Ghost are played just after Choking Vines is played, rather than
waiting until after blockers have been declared.
[WotC Rules Team 07/03/97]
How do you tell if something is a triggered ability? The most common
wordings are like this: "when or if such and such happens, do such and
such" (like "If at any time you control no islands, bury Sea Serpent")
and "for each such and such that happens, do such and such". Another
good clue is that most triggered abilities cause a one-time or duration
effect on something in play. Some continuous abilities use similar
wordings but obviously have some sort of continuous effect.
[D'Angelo 07/15/96]
A handy way to translate triggers into timing is to change "when" or "if"
to "just after" in your head, since triggers are resolved just after the
thing that triggers them finishes happening. [D'Angelo 10/15/96]

Rule Triggers:
Some rules work much like triggered abilities. For example, if a duplicate
Legend enters play, the new one is buried. Such Rule Triggers are
resolved using all the rules for normal Triggered abilities regarding
order (active player first) and such, but they are resolved immediately
instead of waiting until the next trigger time. [WotC Rules Team 03/14/97]
This makes all Rules Triggers resolve prior to dealing with any normal
The burial of enchantments because their targets are not valid is considered
a Rule Trigger. [WotC Rules Team 03/14/97]
Rule Triggers are applied after continuous effects. [D'Angelo 05/22/97]
Rule Triggers are resolved using the same ordering rules as normal triggers.
[D'Angelo 05/28/97]

Continuous Abiltiies and Continuous Effects:
Continuous abilities are always on. They have their effect at all times,
even during the resolution of a spell/ability. You can never do something
before a continuous effect is applied.
Continuous effects may even modify how a permanent enters play, such as
with Kismet. [Aahz 12/18/95]
Continuous abilities of artifacts which are not creatures or lands only
work as long as they are untapped. [Mirage Page 12]
Continuous abilities of creatures work whether or not they are tapped.
Artifact creatures count as creatures for this ruling. [Mirage Page 12]
Continuous abilities of lands work whether or not they are tapped. Artifact
lands count as lands for this ruling. [WotC Rules Team 04/26/95]
The term "immediately" is often used to describe how continuous effects
take effect, because nothing is faster than these kinds of effects.
A continuous effect affects permanents as soon as they enter play. For
example, if Blood Moon is in play and a non-basic land is played, the
land enters play as its original land type but is changed to a Mountain
immediately. If the permanent has any "when it comes into play" triggered
abilities on it, or any effects trigger on the original land type entering
play, those abilities still trigger. [D'Angelo 10/03/96]

Duration Effects:
These are effects which last for a given time period, such as "until end of
turn", "until the beginning of your next upkeep phase", but they can
also be until a certain condition is met, such as "until the creature
leaves your control".
Many activated spells/abilities and triggered abilities will cause a
duration effect.
The effect lasts for the duration no matter what happens to the source of
the effect.
The effect lasts for the duration even if the target of the effect becomes
illegal or even nonsensical. [Mirage Page 34]
If the duration is only until a certain condition happens and that
condition is met before the ability generating the effect resolves, the
effect still takes effect but ends immediately. [Mirage Page 28] For
example, if you take control of a creature with Seasinger and the
Seasinger is untapped before the ability resolves, you take control of the
creature and then immediately lose control of it.
If the duration is until a player's next phase ending or such, it does not
pick one, it waits until the next such time actually happens. This means
if phases or turns are skipped, that it might take a while.
[D'Angelo 11/07/96]
Duration effects end when the permanent they are affecting (if any) leaves
play. [D'Angelo 11/07/96]
An "until time T" effect ends right before time T starts and handing of any
things that happen "at time T" is dealt with. So, if something lasts
"until your next upkeep", it ends right before handing "at beginning of
upkeep" effects. And if something lasts "until end of upkeep", it ends
right before processing "at end of upkeep". [Aahz 01/30/97]

Delayed or Scheduled Effects:
These are effects which wait until a specific time to do something. For
example, "do this at end of turn" or "draw a card at the beginning of
your next upkeep". If the effect waits until a specific thing happens
instead of until a specific time, it's a triggered ability.
Many activated spells/abilities and triggered abilities cause something to
happen at a later time, and therefore create delayed effects.
The effect happens no matter what happens to the source of the effect or
even if the original conditions that set them up no longer apply.
Effects that say "Do this at end of turn" can be avoided if the creature
phases out because the creature will not be there at the scheduled time.
Ones that say "Do this at end of _any_ turn" are applied every turn.
[Aahz 10/04/96]
The effect will do what it can at the specified time even if the effect
would be meaningless on the target at that time. Meaningless effects
do nothing. For example, you cannot give damage to or change the
power/toughness of a non-creature. You may however, give a +1/+1 counter
to a non-creature. Counters are always meaningful even if their effects
are not. [D'Angelo 10/03/96]
If an effect says to do something in your next Xxxx phase, it means the
next one you encounter. It does not look into the future and pick a
specific phase. So if some phase skipping happens in between, then you
don't get to/have to do the thing until the right time comes around.
[D'Angelo 11/08/96]
Delayed effects differ slightly from triggered abilities in terms of
resolution because they happen at the start or end of a phase or such.
See the "Phase Effect" entry for more information.

Damage Prevention:
Damage prevention can happen after any spell/ability resolves or after the
damage dealing steps in combat. [Mirage Page 44] They happen only if
damage was assigned.
A damage prevention step occurs even if there is no hope of preventing
the effect in question. Often it is meaningless and can be ignored,
but it is always there (much like upkeep phase).
Loss of life is not damage and cannot be prevented or redirected. It also
does not cause a damage prevention step.
Destruction or burial of a permanent does not cause damage prevention.
All damage which is dealt at one time is handled in the same damage
prevention step. [Mirage Page 44]
Being reduced to zero toughness (or to less or equal toughness to the damage
on the creature) does not cause a damage prevention. The creature just
dies of lethal damage. [Mirage Page 4]
Although the damage prevention is actually one step, I've broken it down
below so the rulings are easier to find in time-order.
Sub-Step A: Main Part of Damage Prevention
Damage is considered assigned when this step starts.
At the start of the damage prevention step, any abilities or effects which
automatically prevent or reduce damage take effect. For example, the
damage reduction due to Protection from Color. These effects are also
re-applied if any new damage arrives during the step. [Mirage Page 44]
Automatic damage prevention abilities are dealt with as triggered
abilities at the start of this step. [Aahz 01/14/97]
There is no difference between automatic abilities like Protection from
Color and abilities that trigger on "damage being assigned", like
Benevolent Unicorn or Justice. [Aahz 01/14/97]
During damage prevention, batches of spells/abilities are used as per the
normal timing rules, but the only allowed spells/abilities are those
which prevent or redirect damage or those which are used when a player
or creature is damaged. Multiple batches of spells/abilities can be
used. [Mirage Page 44] Remember that mana sources are always legal and
that damage prevention effects follow the normal life-cycle so they can
be interrupted.
Spells/abilities which coincidentally allow a creature to survive damage
prevention are not allowed. For example, Giant Growth or Unsummon.
[Mirage Page 46]
If anything happens during this part of damage prevention which causes new
damage to occur that damage is added to this damage prevention and dealt
with during it. A new damage prevention step is not started.
[Mirage Page 45] Also, any automatic damage prevention spells/abilities
are immediately re-applied. [D'Angelo 11/07/96]
Damage from a single source to a single recipient comes in a "packet". If
a source damages multiple things, each thing gets a "packet" of damage.
Preventing all the damage in a "packet" will cause the "packet" to cease
to exist, along with all of its side effects. [Mirage Page 44] See the
"Damage" entry for more information.
Damage prevention spells and abilities target one or more "packets" of
damage. [Mirage Page 44] They cannot be used if there is no packet to
target. [Mirage Page 4]
Because you choose which damage points to prevent with damage prevention
spells/abilities, you are never forced to prevent one type of damage
instead another type of damage, unless the damage prevention effect
itself forces you to do so. So, you can prevent Trample damage and
leave non-Trample damage, or remove damage of one color before damage of
another color. [bethmo]
Tapping a blocking creature at this time to use a damage prevention
spell/ability is legal and will not undo the damage the blocker already
did. [Duelist Magazine #5, Page 37]
Sub-Step B: End of Damage Prevention
At the end of the damage prevention step, any abilities or effects which
automatically redirect damage (like Veteran Bodyguard and Martyrs of
Korlis) and abilities or effects which specifically wait to prevent
damage (like Ali from Cairo and Sustaining Spirit) take effect.
[Mirage Page 44]
If this redirection moves damage to new places, a second damage prevention
step will follow this one to handle that damage. [Mirage Page 45]
Trample is considered as automatic damage redirection. Trample damage
(when added above any other damage) on a blocking creature in excess of
the creature's toughness is redirected to the defending player.
Unprevented damage is applied with non-Trample first and then Trample
damage, so that there is the greatest chance of Trample working.
[Mirage Page 19] Note that when redirected, the Trample nature is
removed from the damage.
Soul Echo happens during this step. [Aahz 11/27/96]
Damage redirected by automatic damage redirection is not considered
"successfully dealt" and is handled in the next damage prevention step.
Sub-Step C: Side-Effects of Damage
Once all the automatic prevention happens, the damage becomes
"successfully dealt" to the player or creature.
At this time, all side-effects of dealt damage take effect (like Hypnotic
Specter or Spirit Link). [Mirage Page 44] If there are multiple
side-effects, follow the rules for end of phase effects to determine the
order of resolution. This means the current player's resolve first,
then the opponent's.
If the side-effects assign damage to new places, a second damage
prevention step will follow this one to handle that damage.
[Mirage Page 45]
Damage does become successfully dealt if the permanent is no longer
a creature at the end of damage prevention. Effects due to damage will
still happen if they make sense, but the target is considered to have
zero power and toughness for things like El-Hajjaj or such. Note that
the target had to be a creature when the damage effect resolved in order
to be damaged at all. [Aahz 11/08/96] Spirit Link works because it is
not bounded by the toughness of the creature.
Damage successfully dealt to players causes loss-of-life as a side effect.
[DeLaney 01/28/97]
Sub-Step D: Dead Go to the Graveyard
This separate sub-step exists only to point out that all side effects are
dealt with before putting the creatures into the graveyard.
All creatures with lethal damage are sent to the graveyard (but may be
regenerated). [Mirage Page 44]

Duration of a Spell/Ability:
The effects of all spells and abilities are permanent unless otherwise
stated on the card. [WotC Rules Team 09/22/95] Many older cards have
errata in order to deal with this change. In particular, many cards which
give +X/+X did not have the "until end of turn" on them and this has now
been added by errata.

Who Plays Abilities:
Generally, the controller of the card generating the ability plays it.
This happens if no player is specified or if "you" is stated as the
player to do something. [bethmo 02/21/97]
If a card says "During such-and-such player's upkeep, do something", the
ability is played by the controller of the card with this ability because
no player is stated. [bethmo 02/21/97] For example, the place a counter
ability of Unstable Mutation is played by the Unstable Mutation's
controller during the creature controller's upkeep.
If a card says "all players", "each player" or "any player may" do
something, then the ability is played by that player and not by the card's
controller. [bethmo 02/21/97] The effect is controlled by the source's
controller even though the other player played the ability.
[Aahz 03/17/97] For example, Howling Mine makes each player play the
drawing ability during their draw phase.

The characteristics of the source of a spell/ability (i.e. color, power, or
anything else which might be relevant to how the effect works) are set
when the spell/ability is announced. The characteristics of the target
(and the rest of the universe) are set when the spell/ability itself
begins to resolve. Interrupts to a spell (but not to an ability) can be
used just after announcement to alter the characteristics of the spell.
[Mirage Page 27] For example, using Giant Growth on Tracker after his
ability is announced will not increase his amount of damage, but doing it
on the target will increase the target's amount of damage.
Characteristics of the target (and the rest of the universe) are set when
the spell/ability starts resolving, so if something happens during
resolution, it will not change the effect. [WotC Rules Team 12/03/96]
For example, Divine Offering gives you an appropriate amount of life even
though its target is no longer in play.
+ If the source of a spell/ability targets itself, then the characteristics
of itself as a target are locked in on announcement at the time when the
characteristics of itself as a source are locked in. They are not
checked again on resolution. [WotC Rules Team 07/03/97]
Targets are also fixed. Also, who the "you" is on the card is fixed.
If you use an Orcish Artillery, you will take the damage even if you
lose control of it before it resolves because the "you" on the card is
set when the spell/ability is announced.

Glossary of Magic Topics

This is a general term for any activated or continuous things a permanent
may do. The result of an ability is called its "effect".
A permanent may have the same ability more than once. If this happens,
it has all the abilities. For many abilities, having it more than once
makes no difference, such as with Flying or First Strike. These kinds
of abilities simply make a creature able to do something or make something
"true" about it. For others, such as Rampage X and Flanking, the ability
becomes cumulative because the effect is active. [Mirage Page 28]
Abilities played when a card is not in play are not "creature abilities",
"artifact abilities" or so on. They are card abilities (or more
specifically "creature card abilities", etc.). Thus Elvish Spirit Guide
and similar cards are not affected by Gloom or Cursed Totem.
[WotC Rules Team 06/01/97]

Activation Cost:
An activation cost is anything listed as "xxx : effect". [Mirage Page 32]
Parts of the cost may be on the right hand side of the colon for older
cards so they read "xxx: do yyy to do effect". (See the "Costs" entry
for more information as to what constitutes a cost.)
Only the controller of a permanent can pay an activation cost for that
permanent. [Mirage Page 11] Cards may override this rule explicitly.
A single cost payment cannot pay for multiple different cards. For
example, sacrificing a single artifact will not feed two Atogs.
Permanents which have an activation cost cannot have that cost paid more
than one time in a single activation. [Duelist Magazine #12, Page 26]
A restriction like "no more than BB can be spent this way each turn"
effectively limits the number of uses. Note that if the activation cost
is increased or decreased that the number of uses that is possible may
change, and it may even become zero. For example a Roterothopter with
Power Artifact can be given +4/+0 since this can be done with four
payments of 1 mana. [WotC Rules Team 11/10/95]
A restriction like "No more than XX can be spent per turn" applies to all
players who might control the card during a turn. A restriction like
"Use this only X times" or "You may pay no more than X" applies to each
player separately since it implies the controller is affected.
[Aahz 03/17/97]
Effects that make an enchantment or artifact activation more expensive
apply to each activation. For example, if Gloom were in play and Holy
Armor was used 5 times in sequence, you would have to pay 20 mana
(5*(1+3)) for the +0/+5 bonus. [D'Angelo 06/28/96]
Paying an artifact or enchantment activation cost is not considered to be
"casting a spell" and so it cannot be countered by something which
counters a spell (such as Counterspell, Deathgrip, etc.) [bethmo]
Some non-permanent-creating spells (instants, interrupts, sorceries) have
the "cost: effect" format text in them. In this case, this is not an
activation cost, it is merely an addition to the casting cost. You cannot
pay this cost more or less than once. [bethmo 11/27/96]
The term "Mono Artifact" was used on Limited/Unlimited/Arabian Nights/
Antiquities cards to mean that the artifact had "Tap" as part of the
activation cost (if it had one) or as the activation cost (if it had no
activation cost before). This is considered errata to such cards.

Animated Lands and Animated Artifacts:
Animated lands do not automatically get a color. They are by default
colorless. Note that just because they are colorless does not make
them artifacts. [Peterson 10/14/94] Similarly, they do not get a
creature type. They have no creature type at all unless the card that
animates them says they do. In other words, Forests animated by Living
Lands have no creature type. They are not creature type Forest.
[WotC Rules Team 06/01/97]
Animated lands and artifacts fall under all the rules for creatures
with regards to summoning sickness. This means that unless the permanent
started your turn in play on your side, it cannot be tapped for any
ability or used to attack. See the "Summoning Sickness" entry for more
Animated lands have casting costs of zero. [bethmo]
When a land or artifact de-animates, any enchant creatures on it are
immediately buried at the speed of a rule-speed trigger (which is
effectively a continuous effect).
When a land or artifact de-animates, any counters on it that specifically
apply to creatures are not removed. These counters just don't do anything
until the land or artifact becomes a creature again. For example, a
+1/+1 counter from Dwarven Weaponsmith remains.
When a land or artifact de-animates, any duration effects which specifically
apply to creatures (like "+1/+1 until end of turn") stay in effect until
the duration would normally end. If the land or artifact becomes animated
again before the duration ends, the effect kicks back in immediately.
When a land or artifact de-animates, any damage on it remains until end of
turn, when it is healed normally. If the land or artifact becomes
animated before the end of turn, the damage is still there.
[WotC Rules Team 09/22/95] Such damage is still removed during Cleanup.
+ Animating a land or artifact does not count as a "creature entering play".
It was already in play. It's just becoming a creature. [bethmo 06/30/97]

Magic can be played for "ante". This means that you are playing for the
ownership of one (or more) of your opponent's cards.
The standard way to play for ante is for each player to take the top card
off of their decks after shuffling and cutting. These cards are then
considered to be the "ante" for the game. The winner gets these cards.
[Mirage Page 55]
Any card that refers to a player's ante, refers to the card(s) they
currently have in the ante area. [Mirage Page 55]
The ante area can be examined by either player at any time. [Mirage Page 59]

Artifacts which are not creatures or lands lose their abilities when
they become tapped. Any continuous abilities, triggered abilities,
specialized abilities, and so on cease and any activation costs cannot be
paid. [Mirage Page 12]
There are three systematic exceptions to artifacts turning "off" when
tapped. They are: 1) any phase costs, even ones in the card text, must
still be dealt with [Mirage Page 12], 2) any abilities which are used to
untap the artifact automatically override this rule, 3) any time the card
says something happens when it is in a tapped state (i.e. Mana Vault
damage). [WotC Rules Team 10/18/95] Phase abilities of a tapped artifact
are not exempted unless they fall into the above.
Artifacts have no color but can given a color with effects like the
xxxxLace spells. [Mirage Page 65]
The artifact quality of a card has nothing to do with its color. If you
Chaoslace an artifact, it is now a red artifact. [bethmo]
The term "Mono Artifact" was used on Limited/Unlimited/Arabian Nights/
Antiquities cards to mean that the artifact had "Tap" as part of the
activation cost (if it had one) or as the activation cost (if it had no
activation cost before). This is considered errata to all such cards.
The term "Poly Artifact" was used on Limited/Unlimited/Arabian Nights/
Antiquities cards to mean that the activation cost did not include
The term "Continuous Artifact" was used on Limited/Unlimited/Arabian
Nights/Antiquities to mean that the artifact had no activation costs.

Artifact Creature:
Artifact Creatures cannot attack the turn in which they are put into play
or do any action which would require them to tap to pay for the action.
They have all the limitations that regular creatures do. [Mirage Page 12]
The abilities of artifact creatures (or artifact lands) can be used even
when the creature (or land) is tapped (as long as tapping is not part of
the use cost). [Mirage Page 12]
Artifact creature cards are not "summon" spells.
These are considered "creature cards" while in play, in your hand, in
the graveyard, or anywhere else.

See the section on the "Attack Phase" for information about attacks.

Attack or Die Effects:
Several creatures and spells have the ability to force a creature to attack
or be destroyed. These include Siren's Call, Nettling Imp and Norrit.
See the "Must Attack" entry for more information.
Creature is destroyed if it cannot attack. This includes a Sea Serpent
which cannot attack if opponent has no Islands, non-flying creatures
which cannot attack if the opponent has an Island Sanctuary, or if the
creature is in a tapped state and cannot attack. [Aahz]
Can affect a tapped creature. [Snark]
These effects can only affect a creature or set of creatures if used on
the appropriate player's turn. Thus, you cannot use it on your turn to
affect an opponent's creature. In multiplayer games, you cannot make it
affect a creature unless it is that player's turn.
[Duelist Magazine #4, Page 64]
Can only be used prior to the attack on a player's turn. Cannot be used
after the end of the main phase even if the player did not declare an
attack. [Aahz 04/11/95]
If the player cannot attack due to an effect such as Festival, then these
effects are not legal since they can only be played at a time in which
the player can declare an attack later this turn. [Aahz 06/16/97]
These effects cannot be used on creatures with summoning sickness.

Banding consists of two separate abilities, which can be referred to as
"mutual assistance" and "damage sharing". [Mirage Page 19]
Mutual assistance only applies to attacking creatures. It is an agreement
that if any one of the attackers is blocked, that the whole group will
stop and gang up on the blocker(s).
Damage sharing applies only when damage is assigned during the attack phase
due to attacking or blocking. This part of the ability applies to
attackers and defenders and allows the players with banding in their
group to distribute damage among the banded creatures. [Mirage Page 20]
The attacking player needs for all or all-but-one of the attacking
creatures to have banding ability in order for the attacking group to
be considered banded. [Mirage Page 19]
The creatures in an attacking band are set when the attackers are announced
and cannot be changed after that. [Mirage Page 19] Even during the
declaration of attackers, once an attacker is added to a band, it cannot
be removed. [Aahz 04/07/97]
The defending player needs to only have one creature with banding blocking
an attacker for all the creatures blocking the attacker to gain the
benefits of damage sharing. [Mirage Page 20]
Creatures do not "band for defense". Even without banding multiple
creatures can choose to block one attacker. Creatures must still be
able to block the attacker in order to be declared as a blocker. For
example, if a Serra Angel is attacking, you cannot choose to "band"
your War Mammoth with your Mesa Pegaus as a defense. The Mammoth
simply cannot block the Angel. [Mirage Page 20]
To block an attacking band with a creature, your blocker only needs to be
able to block one of the creatures in order for mutual assistance to
kick in and have it block the entire band of attackers. [Mirage Page 19]
For example, a Mesa Pegasus banded with an Fear-enchanted Scathe Zombies
can be blocked by either a flying creature or a black or artifact
If the conditions for banding are met (i.e. one banding creature in a
group of blockers or all or all-but-one in a group of attackers), then
the damage sharing ability automatically kicks in. You cannot choose
not to use it.
Damage may be divided up among a banded group any way you want to. You
can give all of it to one creature or any other way you want.
[Mirage Page 20] But all of it must be assigned somewhere.
Assigning more damage to a creature than it can survive is allowed.
[Mirage Page 38] If some or all of the extra damage assigned to a blocker
is Trample damage, it does go past and damages the defending player.
Each member of a Band of attackers is a separate source of damage.
Banding just allows a group to be blocked or let through as a whole,
and for the ability to distribute damage. It does not mean that the
creatures act as one.
Grouping or banding in defense or banding to attack, does not change the
actual power, nature, or color of the creatures attacking. When damage
gets distributed, the damage still has color and may have Trample or
other special abilities. [Mirage Page 19]
If Banding is removed after attackers are declared, the band stays intact
anyway. But the attacker does not get to use the damage sharing ability
unless at least one band member has Banding when damage is assigned.
[Duelist Magazine #17, Page 24] (REVERSAL)
If a Banding creature in a defending group is killed before damage dealing
and it regenerates, it is removed from the combat and cannot contribute
Banding any longer.
Banding on attack does not work like Banding on defense. Banding must be
declared along with the attack. If a defending creature that can block
more than one attacker chooses to block a creature that has Banding and
one that does not have Banding, the two attackers are not considered to
be Banded. Note that this is different from the opposite case where two
blockers block one attacker and one of the blockers happens to have
Prior to Fourth Edition, this ability was called "Bands" rather than

Bands with Other:
Bands with Other rules were introduced in the Legends expansion set and
have not been seen in any other set as of yet.
Creatures with the ability 'bands with other <creature type>' have a
limited form of the banding ability. When attacking, a creature with
this ability may join with any number of attacking creatures as long
as they all have banding or 'bands with other <creature type>' where
the creature type listed is the same. The choice to use this ability
must be announced when the attack is declared. These creatures must
then be treated as if they had joined together using the regular
banding ability. When defending, if at least two creatures with the
ability 'bands with other <creature type>', where the creature type
listed is the same, block the same attacker or attackers, then the damage
from the attacking creature or creatures is distributed among all the
blockers of this attacker as the defending player decides.
[Legends Rulecard -- complete text]
This ability is similar to Banding but only allows creatures with this
ability to band with others of the appropriate type. For example,
Wolves of the Hunt (as created by the Master of the Hunt) can Band with
Other Wolves of the Hunt.
This ability does not allow for creatures without the ability to join in.
The key is the <creature type> specified. If the types match, then
they creatures can band together.
Creatures with full Banding ability may join the band. [Legends Rulecard]
If Bands with Others is removed after attackers are declared during an
attack, then band will stay together. See the rules under "Banding" for
more information.

See Step 3 in the Attack Phase section for more information.
The rules differentiate between being "assigned to block" or "assigned a
blocker" from "blocking" or "blocked". The first two only happen during
the "Assign Blockers" step of the attack. The latter happen no matter
how a creature gets blocked. [WotC Rules Team 09/22/95]
A creature is "assigned to block" another creature by a specific action
taken during the "Assign Blockers" step of the attack.
[Mirage Page 50]
Some effects can result in a creature being blocked or blocking without
actually being assigned. For example, when a blocker is assigned to one
member of a band of attackers, the other attackers in the band are blocked
but were not "assigned" a blocker. [Duelist Magazine #8, Page 46]
Also, General Jarkeld and Sorrow's Path can swap blockers such that they
are now blocking different creatures but never were "assigned" to block
them. [WotC Rules Team 09/22/95]
See individual card entries to see if they depend on this distinction.
If a blocking ability does not indicate that it happens when or because
of blockers being "assigned", it is safe to assume that it works no
matter how a creature becomes blocked. [Duelist Magazine #8, Page 47]
Conditions for a blocking ability are checked when the block happens and
may set up a delayed effect. The effect will happen even if the creature
would not qualify for the effect later (i.e. a War Mammoth blocks an
Abomination but is Chaoslaced before the end of combat so it is no longer
green). [Duelist Magazine #8, Page 47] However, a creature which is
retroactively removed from combat will not be affected by "end of combat"
effects affecting it. Normal ways to remove a creature from combat will
still leave "at end of combat" effects on the creature. [Aahz 09/24/96]
Conditions are not constantly rechecked. For example, if a Hill Giant
blocks an Abomination, it is not marked for destruction. Then if it is
lifelaced to green later, it will not be rechecked to discover that it
is now eligible for the effect. [Duelist Magazine #8, Page 47]
It is possible for a blocker to end up blocking two un-banded attackers
or even two separate banded groups. If there are two groups blocked by
one defender, then the defender chooses how to divide damage between
the two groups. And if one or more of the groups is an attacking band,
that banded group decides how to share the damage amongst itself after
the defender divides its damage among the groups.
[Duelist Magazine #2, Page 9]

This means to put a permanent into the graveyard. A bury may not be
prevented by any means. [Mirage Page 11]
Burial has been extended to apply to any placing of a card into the
graveyard, whether this is from play or not. [WotC Rules Team 03/14/97]
You may not attempt to regenerate a buried creature.
[Duelist Magazine #16, Page 24]
Also see "Destroy".
The Limited/Unlimited/Arabian Nights/Antiquities cards did not use
this term. They used "destroyed without the possibility of regeneration"
or something similar.

Cards which say "Draw a card at the beginning of the next turn" or "Draw a
card at the beginning of the next turn's upkeep" are called 'cantrips'.
All older cantrips have errata to draw a card at the beginning of the next
turn instead of the next turn's upkeep. [Duelist Magazine #18, Page 28]
You draw at the beginning of the next turn regardless of which player's
turn that is. [D'Angelo 04/11/97]
If a targeted cantrip fizzles you do not draw a card for it.
[WotC Rules Team 06/15/95]
If a cantrip is countered you do not draw a card for it.
[Duelist Magazine #7, Page 8]
It does mean the next turn's upkeep. If you use a cantrip during
untap (prior to upkeep), you will not draw on that turn's upkeep.

Card Text:
Whenever a card mentions its own card name, it means to refer to itself.
It does not refer to other cards of its name. [bethmo 11/18/96]
Something that affects "each X and Y" affects everything that counts as an
X and/or counts as a Y. It will not affect anything twice.
[WotC Rules Team 11/10/95]
The text "target X or target Y" is the same as "target X or Y" and is just
spelled out to make the targeting more clear.
[WotC Rules Team 11/10/95]

See "Controller, Caster, and Owner".

Casting Cost:
The "casting cost" of a spell is the number of mana points, regardless of
color, which are specified in the upper right hand corner of the card.
[Mirage Page 32]
If there is an 'X' in the cost, consider the amount paid in 'X' to be
part of the cost during casting, but to be zero after the card becomes
a permanent. [Mirage Page 30]
The "casting cost" does not include any extra mana that was spent to
overcome obstacles like Gloom or Power Sink. [Mirage Page 32] Nor does
it include any extra costs listed in the text box.
The casting cost is not reduced by a spell or ability which helps pay part
of the spell/ability's cost. [Mirage Page 32]
Nothing can increase the cost to cast an already-announced spell. For
example, you cannot Sleight of Mind a Gloom enchantment to make green
spells cost 3 more after a green spell is cast and expect 3 extra mana
to have to be spent. [bethmo]
Token creatures have casting costs of zero. [Mirage Page 23]
Animated lands have casting costs of zero.
A creatures which is in play due to an effect like Animate Dead has a
casting cost equal to the cost on the creature card, not that of Animate
Dead. [bethmo]
If a spell, ability, or effect directs you to pay the casting cost of a
spell, rather than an amount of mana equal to it, you must pay the
specific colors of mana listed on the spell card. [D'Angelo 11/07/96]
Few cards do this. Some are Flash, Transmute Artifact, and Illusionary

Black, Blue, Green, Red, and White are the only colors in the game.
[Mirage Page 8]
Artifact is not a color, it is an attribute. [Mirage Page 8]
Colorless is not a color. It means "no color". [Mirage Page 8]
"Gold" is not a new color in the game. It is just used to help identify
cards with more than one color. [Aahz 06/15/94]
Also see "Color of a Spell".

Colorless and Generic Mana:
The colorless/generic mana symbol is a grey circle with a number in it.
Generic mana is the term for spell and ability costs which can be paid
with any color (or with colorless) mana. [Mirage Page 9]
Colorless mana is the term used for effects that generate mana which has
no color. [Mirage Page 8]
A generic mana symbol of cost N when used in a spell or ability's cost or as
part of a payment indicates that N mana of any color needs to be spent.
[Mirage Page 9] For example, an Artifact can be cast with mana of any
There technically is no colorless mana symbol. But some old cards use the
generic mana symbol when listing the color of mana they produce. In this
case, consider the mana colorless.
The generic X cost is still considered generic even if there is a
requirement that a specific color be used for it. For example, "only
black mana can be spent this way". This distinction is important for
effects which reduce the colorless portion of a spell's cost. For
exmaple, if you had 2 Helms of Awakening in play (each reduces the gemeric
costs of all spells by 1), you could cast a Fifth Edition Drain Life for
just "B" and still do 1 damage. [WotC Rules Team 06/01/97]

Color of a Spell:
The initial color of a spell is the color of mana specified in the casting
cost. [Mirage Page 9] The background color of the card is used only as
an aid. [Mirage Page 10] For example, the error with the Serendib Efreet
in the Revised Edition has a green background color, but the card is blue
because the casting cost includes blue mana.
If a spell only has generic mana in its casting cost, then it is colorless.
Note that some cards with a zero casting cost do have color. When this is
so, there will be card text to remind you. For example, the Kobolds have
a text saying they are red. In general, the explanitory color text is
subject to Sleight of Mind, but for some cards such as Dark Heart of the
Wood, it cannot. See the appropriate card ruling if you really need to
If a spell has more than one color of mana in its casting cost, it is
considered to be of all the specified colors.
A card which takes red and black mana to cast is considered to be both
red and black. It would therefore be immune to Terror (which cannot
target black) and could have its damage prevented with a Circle of
Protection of either color. [Mirage Page 27]
A card with more than one color will become a single color if xxxxLaced.
[Mirage Page 8]
If an effect changes the mana symbols on a card, it will change the base
color for that card. For example, Celestial Dawn will temporarily change
a Phantom Monster to be white. When the effect ends, the base color of
the card reverts to match its actual mana symbols. So the Phantom Monster
becomes blue again when the Celestial Dawn leaves play.
[Duelist Magazine #16, Page 24]
An effect which overrides the color of a card (such as a xxxxLace spell),
overrides the color regardless of the casting cost or changes to the
casting cost. [Duelist Magazine #16, Page 24]
An effect which affects "non-black" things means things which are not black
at all. It does not mean things which have a color in addition to black.
[Mirage Page 27] Things are either black or non-black. They cannot be
both and they cannot be neither.
A spell which becomes a permanent, becomes a permanent of the same color
the spell was when it resolved. Usually this is the color in the casting
cost, but if the color is changed by a xxxxLace or such, the color change
is permanent. [Mirage Page 10]

Comes Into Play Effects:
Comes into play effects are triggered abilities on permanents that happen as
soon as the card is brought into play by casting or by any other means.
Since it is a triggered ability, you cannot use anything other than mana
sources (and maybe specialized abilities if they apply) between the card
entering play and the triggered abilities being dealt with.
[bethmo 11/06/96]
If the spell/ability is countered and the permanent does not enter play, the
ability does not trigger.
Any effect of the permanent on itself due to the permanent coming into play
follow the same rules as phase costs, so the abilities of the permanent
entering play may not be used until the comes into play effect is dealt
with. [Duelist Magazine #16, Page 25] Note that they are not actually
phase costs, they just follow the same rules. [Aahz 06/14/97] This closes
up a loophole in which permanents with mana source speed abilities were
using their abilities prior to dealing with the comes into play effect.
Comes into play effects from cards other than the permanent itself do not
follow the phase cost rules.
Some comes into play effects are not considered costs, for example the
Kjeldoran Dead. The key to knowing if it is a phase cost is if there is
an "or do something else" (most often bury something) in the effect.
[Duelist Magazine #16, Page 25] See Phase Cost and Phase Effects for more
All comes into play effects which are considered costs (which means innate
and externally applied ones) must be dealt with together. This means they
work just like other phase costs do. They combine and get paid or not
paid at once. [Aahz 12/18/96] Combined costs of this type are very
Phasing a card in will never trigger such abilities. [Mirage Page 2]

Continuous Abilities and Continuous Effects:
See the "Continuous Abilities and Continuous Effects" entry in the Timing

Controller, Caster and Owner:
The owner of a card is the one who started the game with that card in their
library. [Mirage Page 23] Note that the game does not care who has
property ownership of the cards in the game. Ownership changes only when
a card specifically says that it does.
The controller of a permanent starts as the one who brought the permanent
into play, but cards can change controller. [Mirage Page 11] Also, there
are a couple of cards, such as Varchild's War-Riders, that actually put
something into play under your opponent's control. But this is stated on
the card if it applies.
The controller of a spell is the player casting the spell. [Mirage Page 23]
All effects are considered "controlled" by the player who played the spell
or ability that generated the effect. The actual controller of the card
is not relevant. For example, the player who plays and pays for the
ability of Zur's Weirding is the controller of the effect, whether or not
that palyer controls Zur's Weirding itself. [WotC Rules Team 06/01/97]
This is a REVERSAL of previous rulings where the controller of the card
that generated the effect was the controller of the effect.
+ Phase abilities, phase costs, and untap costs are played by the active
player. It does not matter who controls the source of the ability or
cost. [WotC Rules Team 07/03/97]
The caster is the one who cast the spell. This is always equal to the
owner. [Duelist Magazine #5, Page 123] Actually, Grinning Totem changes
this and allows the caster to differ from the owner. [bethmo 10/14/96]
Only the controller can pay costs associated with a permanent (unless
otherwise specified on the card). [Mirage Page 11] This means that if
an enchantment you control, like Regeneration, ends up on an opponent's
creature, that you (not your opponent) can power the enchantment's ability
since you are still the controller of the enchantment.
There is currently no way to change the controller of an enchantment. This
means that enchantments are controlled by their caster. Enchantments on
a creature do not switch controllers if the creature switches controllers.
[Aahz 07/05/95]
The text "you" or "your" refers to the controller of the card and not the
owner. [Mirage Page 11]
Cards which go to the graveyard or to a player's hand or library always go
to their owner's graveyard, hand or library , regardless of who currently
controls them. [Mirage Page 23]

Copy Cards:
Cards which copy other cards include Clone, Doppelganger, Dance of Many,
and Copy Artifact.
All copy cards are targeted and cannot be brought into play without a legal
target. If the target becomes invalid after declaration but before
resolution, the spell fizzles. [WotC Rules Team 02/09/95] They are
considered targeted no matter how they are brought into play. They cannot
Autumn Willow (which cannot be targeted by effects) when brought into
play with Resurrection, for example. [Aahz 12/07/96]
If a copy card is brought into play by a means other than casting, then the
target is chosen when the copy card would enter play, and if there is
no valid target, the bringing into play will fizzle and the copy card will
remain where it is. [D'Angelo 11/07/96]
A Doppelganger changing forms is also targeted and will fizzle if the target
becomes illegal before resolution. [Peterson 11/07/94] If it fizzles, it
remains in its old form.
Copy cards in general cannot copy things which are only of the appropriate
type due to some effect. This is because the copy cards do not copy
existing effects on the target, they only copy the target. They look to
see the type of the target with all effects on it removed and if it
is still not of the correct type, it will not allow itself to be used.
[D'Angelo 06/30/95]
Clone and Doppelganger can only copy permanents created by a "Summon" or
"Artifact Creature" spell, or tokens that inherently count as
creatures. They may not copy permanents which are only creatures due
to some sort of animation such as Kormus Bell. [WotC Rules Team]
+ Creatures in play due to Animate Dead or similar spells can be copied.
[WotC Rules Team 07/03/97] (REVERSAL)
Copy Artifact can only copy permanents created by "Artifact" or "Artifact
Creature" spells, or tokens that inherently count as artifacts. They
may not copy permanents which are only artifacts due to some other
effect. [WotC Rules Team] Copy Artifact cannot copy another Copy Artifact
since it is only an artifact due to an effect.
The casting cost is one of the characteristics which is copied. This means
that casting the Sacrifice spell on a Clone of a Lord of the Pit would
give you seven black mana. [WotC Rules Team 07/27/94]
The copy of an artifact creature is an artifact creature. In other words,
"artifactness" is a characteristic that is copied.
Copies the color of the target unless otherwise stated on the copy card.
[WotC Rules Team 10/03/96]
The name is a normal characteristic and is copied. For example, a Clone
of a Plague Rat counts towards the number of Plague Rats in play.
[WotC Rules Team 07/27/94]
They come into play in the same tapped/untapped state as the target
would have when cast. [WotC Rules Team]
They do not copy the "expansion symbol" on a card. [WotC Rules Team]
They remain cards even when copying a token. [WotC Rules Team]
If a card being copied has variable forms or characteristics (set at
casting or changeable during play), the copy will be of the current
form. If the form is changeable, then the copy may change at a later
time as per the characteristics of the card that was copied.
[Aahz 06/06/94]
Anything that is normally done when a card enters play is done when the
copy comes into play. For example, if a copy of a Nameless Race is put
into play you would have to pay the life. [Aahz 01/16/95]
They copy the base creature/artifact and not any enchantments or counters
on it, regardless of whether the counters are due to natural abilities of
the creature/artifact or of other spells. [WotC Rules Team] This means
that a copy of a Rock Hydra with 6 heads will be a zero-headed Hydra (and
will most likely die immediately).
The copy does get tokens when the copy card is cast if the card being
copied gets tokens when it is normally cast. This ruling includes the
Tetravus, Triskelion, Clockwork Beast and Clockwork Avian. The
Doppelganger does not get any tokens when switching to one of these
creatures during upkeep. [WotC Rules Team 07/27/94]
Copies of creatures (such as the Rock Hydra) with an X in the casting
cost treat X as zero. [WotC Rules Team 07/27/94]
+ The effects of Sleight of Mind, xxxxLace, and Magical Hack affect the
characteristics of the card and so copies of that card will also have
the same change. For example, a copy of a Hacked Nightmare to be based
on Islands will also be based on Islands. [Duelist Magazine #3, Page 22]
All permanent effects which do not use counters are copied.
[WotC Rules Team 07/03/97]
Permanent effects which use counters are not copied, so Ashnod's
Transmogrant, Aisling Leprechaun, and other such effects are not copied.
[WotC Rules Team 07/27/94]
Permanent effects played on the copy card override the characteristics it
is copying. For example, if a Doppelganger is modified with Ashnod's
Transmogrant, it will act as a Transmografied version of the creature it
copies even if it changes creatures. [Aahz 08/08/94]

Payment of costs is always unpreventable. It happens during announcement
of the spell or ability. [Mirage Page 33] Things may prevent you from
being able to pay a cost. Usually these involve raising the cost (Gloom)
or making a resource unavailable for use (Imprison). But nothing can
stop you if you have the resources available. [D'Angelo 11/07/96]
The cost to cast a spell includes the mana cost in the upper right hand
corner of the card, plus any other costs written in the text.
While the "Cost: Effect" notation on a permanent indicates an activatable
ability, this same notation on a non-permanent spell indicates a cost
that must be paid when announcing the spell. [D'Angelo 01/28/97]
The cost to use an ability is usually written as an activation cost
(See "Activation Cost" for more information) but can also just be
spelled out.
Costs can usually include tapping the source of the ability, sacrifices,
mana, payment of life (loss of life on some older cards), or removal of
counters. Generally, if something on the spell or permanent is not one
of these, then it is not a cost. If it is one of these, and the card
text is not clear as to when this is done, it is probably a cost and not
an effect.
All cards that read "Do X to do Y" now mean that X is a cost regardless of
what it has you do. [Duelist Magazine #11, Page 56]
All cards written as "X: do Y" mean that X is a cost regardless of what it
has you do. [Mirage Page 32]
Costs are all lost if a spell is countered. [Mirage Page 38]
If something has a cost, it cannot be paid accidentally. For example,
someone cannot make your Prodigal Sorcerer deal damage by making it
become tapped. You must actually pay the cost with the intent of
getting the effect in order for the effect to occur.
You cannot pay a cost of life if you have zero or less life or if the
payment will bring you below zero life. [Duelist Magazine #3, Page 22]
You cannot tap a tapped card or untap an untapped card as part of a cost.
The payment of the cost must be successfully done and cannot fail.
[D'Angelo 12/23/96]
If costs combine (as with phase costs) into something that is contradictory,
then you cannot pay the cost at all. For example, you cannot both
unsummon and sacrifice the same card. [Aahz 02/16/97]
Costs are also not modifiable. Hence, you cannot use a draw modifying
spell/ability on the draw cost of Psychic Vortex. [Aahz 06/16/97]

Countering Spells and Abilities:
A countered spell is placed in the owner's graveyard and all mana (or
other costs such as sacrifices) used for the casting are wasted.
[Mirage Page 38]
A countered spell or ability simply goes away without any of its costs
(including sacrifices) being refunded. [Mirage Page 38]
If a spell is countered, it is not considered to have been "successfully
cast". This means that you cannot use spells or abilities which say
"Gain one life if xxx is cast" or anything similar. [Aahz]
Once a spell is countered, it is an illegal target for any other interrupts,
so any interrupts which target it that have been cast and are waiting to
resolve will fizzle. [Mirage Page 38]
Note that you cannot use an interrupt until after all decisions about
a spell/ability are made, so you cannot counterspell until the person
declares how much mana is actually in that X damage spell, or otherwise
finishes announcing the spell/ability.
There are currently few spells/abilities which will counter the ability of a
permanent, and countering the ability of a permanent is completely
different from countering a spell.

Counters are used in Magic to signify permanent or long-lasting effects
on a creature or other permanent. [Mirage Page 24] Typically counters are
given names or numeric values to be associated with them.
Counters of the same name are interchangeable. Thus a 'spore' counter from
any source is considered to be the same as any other 'spore' counter.
[Mirage Page 25] Unnamed counters are never interchangeable. They only
work with that particular card and are not counted or affected by other
cards. Counters with just values, such as +1/+1, are considered to be
unnamed. [D'Angelo 09/01/95]
Counters are considered to apply themselves to the permanent they are on
as a continuous effect. If the effect cannot be applied to the permanent
because it does not make sense (e.g. +1/+1 counter on a land), the
counter remains on the permanent and will become active again as soon
as the permanent can be legally affected again. [Mirage Page 25]
Counters remain even on a permanent if what they do does not currently
apply. For example, if a Mishra's Factory gets a +1/+1 counter while it
is a creature, the counter will remain when it de-animates.
[Mirage Page 25]
Note that tokens and counters are different concepts in Magic. These
rulings do not apply to tokens.

Creature in the Graveyard:
Cards which refer to a "creature in the graveyard" or "dead creature" really
mean a "creature card in the graveyard."
A creature card is any "Summon Xxxx" or "Artifact Creature" card.

Creature Power and Toughness:
Enchantments on a creature which enhance the power of a creature do not
change the color of the damage that creature does. For example, a
Firebreathing Pegasus does White damage. [Mirage Page 8]
Creatures can have negative power ratings due to a variety of reasons.
Such a creature does zero damage when attacking or defending and is
considered to have a power of zero for all intents and purposes other
than changes in their power. [Mirage Page 13] For example, a creature
with Power of -2 and Farrel's Mantle still deals 2 damage with that
Creatures can have negative toughness ratings due to a variety of reasons.
This is usually _very_ temporary since the creature is dying, but it can
happen. If it does, the toughness is considered to be zero for all
reasons other than changes in their toughness. [Mirage Page 13]
This ruling becomes important in cases like Creature Bond, where it is
not possible to cause a negative amount of damage.
If an effect sets the power and toughness on a creature to a specific value,
treat this as if the numbers on the card were changed. The effect of
any fast effects, enchantments, or other things stay in effect.
[Mirage Page 13] So if a Hill Giant(3/3) with Giant Growth(+3/+3) and
Holy Strength(+1/+2) is affected by a Sorceress Queen(set to 0/2), then
it's power/toughness is 4/7. Similarly, with Blood Lust (+4/-4 but
toughness does not dip below 1) instead of Giant Growth, the Hill Giant
would be 8/3 before and 5/3 after the Sorceress Queen. The trick to
remember is that you are altering the base creature, and the base is
considered the first effect in play, then reapply effects in the order
they entered play.
If a creature's toughness becomes 0 (or less) at any time during a spell or
ability's resolution, the creature is destroyed and the death is dealt
with before even continuing with the resolution. [Aahz 09/27/96]

Creature Type:
Creature type is defined as being the word(s) that follow the word "Summon"
on a "Summon Xxxxx". The creature is of type "Xxxxx".
[Mirage Page 14]
The plural of a creature type is the same as the base creature type. Thus
Goblin and Goblins are the same, and Faerie and Faeries are the same.
[Mirage Page 15]
The gender of a creature type does not matter. "Summon Actor" and "Summon
Actress" are the same type as are "Summon Sorcerer" and "Summon
Sorceress". Also "Brother" and "Sister". [Duelist Magazine #18, Page 28]
Creature type names do have to match identically (other than in
single/plural sense) to be considered the same. "Spirit" and "Blinking
Spirit" are not the same creature type. [Duelist Magazine #9, Page 36]
Token creatures are of the creature type they are specified to be in the
spell/ability that generates them. [Mirage Page 24] For example, the
creatures generated by The Hive are of type "Wasp" and ones from the
Serpent Generator are type "Poison Snake".
When an effect turns a permanent into a creature, it will specify the
creature type, which will often be the same as the name. For example,
Mishra's Factory becomes a creature of type (and name) Assembly Worker.
[D'Angelo 10/25/95] Note that many artifact animators simply say that
the artifact becomes an Artifact Creature and therefore it has no
creature type.
Cards which say "Counts as a Xxxxx" such as the artifact creatures which say
"counts as a wall" are considered to be of that creature type.
[Mirage Page 14]
"Artifact Creature" and "Land Creature" are not creature types. Those are
permanent types. Such permanents do not have a creature type at all
unless the card text says that they do. [Mirage Page 14] For example, an
artifact creature that says "Counts as a wall" is of creature type "Wall"
in addition to being an Artifact Creature. Also, there are several token
creatures which are also artifacts and have types.
Elder Dragon Legends have errata to say "Summon Legend" instead. They count
as type Legend for all spells that affect Legends.
[Duelist Magazine #9, Page 36] They do not count as Dragons.
[bethmo 09/17/96]
Other card characteristics, such as color, do not count as a creature type
either. So "red creatures" or "flying creatures" are not valid choices
of creature type. [Duelist Magazine #9, Page 36]
Creatures can have more than one creature type. For example, Goblin Scout
tokens are both Goblins and Goblin Scouts because the card says it
produces Goblin Scouts that count as Goblins. [Aahz 10/08/96]

Cumulative Upkeep:
A card with cumulative upkeep requires you to pay a cost that increases by
its base value each upkeep. This generally means that you pay the cost
on the first upkeep, 2 times the cost on your next upkeep, 3 times the
cost on your next upkeep and so on. If you do not pay, bury the card.
[Mirage Page 61]
For example, if a card has "Cumulative Upkeep: B and 2 life", you pay
B and 2 life on the first upkeep, BB and 4 life on the next upkeep,
BBB and 6 life on the next upkeep, and so on.
Cumulative upkeep is tracked with counters associated with the source of the
cumulative upkeep ability. If the upkeep is paid, a counter is added when
the upkeep ability resolves. If it is not paid, no counter is added and
the consequences are suffered. There is no way to remove these counters
or to cause cumualtive upkeep to be reset. [Duelist Magazine #16, Page 24]
(REVERSAL) Note that although the counter is associated with the source
of the ability (so it'll go away with the source), if the source affects
multiple things, the counters for each affected thing are separate. It's
probably easier to put the counters on the affected thing and just
remember to remove them when appropriate. [D'Angelo 12/04/96]
If a cumulative upkeep payment is suspended by some odd case, the upkeep
continues where it left off once it resumes. For example, a green
creature is affected by Breath of Dreams for 3 turns. Then the Breath of
Dreams is changed to affect blue creatures for a while. Then it is
changed back to affect green creatures. The cumulative upkeep resumes
from 3. [Duelist Magazine #16, Page 24]
Note that if a card has more than one cumulative upkeep applied to it that
you track and pay for each one separately. [bethmo 03/06/96]
+ Cards that count their last paid cumulative upkeep, only count their own
cumulative upkeep, not ones imposed by other cards. [bethmo 06/20/97]

See "Damage Prevention" for more information.
Damage accumulates on creatures over the course of the turn and is healed
at the end of each turn. [Mirage Page 15]
Damage arrives in "packets". A "packet" contains all the damage done by
a single creature in combat or by a single effect. If an effect damages
more than one target, the effect does one "packet" to each target.
[Mirage Page 44]
Damage always remembers all the characteristics of the source of that
damage. This includes color, creature type, artifact nature, and any
special ability associated with the damage. [Mirage Page 44]
Damage is compared to a creature's toughness. You total up all damage
done to a creature, and once it has as much damage than it has toughness,
it has lethal damage. [Mirage Page 15]
You recheck a creature's damage versus toughness whenever it takes more
damage or has its toughness change. This means that if a 3/3 Hill Giant
with Holy Strength (+1/+2 making it a 4/5 creature) takes 3 damage then
later in the turn the Holy Strength gets Disenchanted, the Hill Giant
will die of its wounds because it is now just a 3/3 creature with 3
damage. [Mirage Page 13]
Damage is not subtracted from toughness. A 5 toughness creature with 4
damage still has a toughness of 5 and will be worth 5 to a Diamond
Valley. [bethmo]
If a creature is ever removed from play, all damage to it is immediately
removed. This includes creatures targeted by an Oubliette.
[WotC Rules Team 02/07/94]
Damage is not removed if a permanent stops being a creature. The damage
will be there if it becomes a creature again at a later time during the
same turn. [WotC Rules Team 09/22/95] Remember that all damage is
always removed from all permanents at the end of the turn.
Damage can only be assigned to a creature or player. If a target of damage
is not still a creature or player when the damage effect resolves, then
it won't take the damage. The target does not still need to be a creature
or player all the way through damage prevention.
[WotC Rules Team 09/22/95]
If you are to distribute damage among some number of targets of a
multi-targeted spell or ability, you can only distribute whole number
values and you cannot choose zero. [Duelist Magazine #7, Page 100] This
does not apply to Fireball which tells how to distribute damage, and it
does not apply to Dwarven Catapult which just targets an opponent.
[Duelist Magazine #7, Page 100]
Combat damage is a term used to describe damage done during the damage
dealing step of the attack. It does not include damage due to spells or
abilities used or triggered during the attack phase. [Mirage Page 48]
All cards that refer to "damage in combat" mean "combat damage".
[Duelist Magazine #13, Page 51]
Damage to a player causes a loss of life equal to the amount of the damage
when the damage becomes successfully dealt. This is done as a side
effect. Note that the damage is not removed from the player by this loss
of life. [DeLaney 01/28/97] Retroactive damage removal can see this old
damage and adjust the player's life total without being considered a
gain of life. [DeLaney 01/28/97]

Damage Prevention:
See "Damage Prevention" in the Timing section for more information.
See "Damage" for more information.
+ Damage prevention spells and abilities do not target damage or "packets"
of damage. They just target what the card says they target.
[WotC Rules Team 07/03/97] (REVERSAL) The rules used to say that they
targetd the damage "packets".
+ If the spell/ability prevents a specific amount of damage, you choose one or
more packets of the appropriate type of damage and divide that amount of
prevention among the packets. [WotC Rules Team 07/03/97]
+ If the spell/ability prevents all damage of a type, it seeks out all damage
of that type which is there upon resolution. [WotC Rules Team 07/03/97]
This means that if you redirect Earthquake's damage to all your creatures
to yourself, you can prevent all the damage with one use of a Circle of
Protection: Red (because all the damage is from a single source).
[WotC Rules Team 10/03/96] Similarly, you can take damage multiple times
from Manabarbs during a Damage Prevention step (since damage during Damage
Prevention gets added to the current step) and prevent it all with one use
of a Circle. [Duelist Magazine #17, Page 24]
+ Damage prevention spells/abilities may only be played during a Damage
Prevention step and only if they have valid damage to prevent.
[Mirage Page 44] You cannot cast them if there is not at least one
point of relevant damage to be prevented, even if you want to choose to
prevent zero damage. [WotC Rules Team 07/03/97]
+ If all damage in a "packet" is prevented, the packet ceases to exist.
[Mirage Page 44]
The side-effects of damage are associated with the damage in a "packet", so
preventing all the damage will also stop the side-effects from happening.
[Mirage Page 44]
If damage is retroactively prevented (with spells like Reverse Damage or
Simulacrum) then the damage is undone but any effects of the damage are
not undone. [WotC Rules Team 05/10/95]
+ You can cast a damage prevention spell to try to prevent more damage than
is actually there. It will then prevent what it can. [Aahz 05/19/97]
+ When an effect that pervents all damage from a source resolves, it also
prevents any damage from that source that arrived after the prevention
spell/ability was announced but before it resolved.
[WotC Rules Team 07/03/97] (REVERSAL)
+ If an effect deals damage but gives a way to prevent that damage, the
prevention is played during damage prevention and not during the
resolution of the effect. [WotC Rules Team 07/03/97] For example, Mind

Damage Redirection:
Spells and abilities which cause damage to move from one target to another
are called Damage Redirection spells/abilities.
+ For deciding whether or not a redirection spell/ability can be used and
whether or not it'll affect the damage, see the "Damage Prevention" entry.
Damage redirection effects follow the same rules.
Excess Trample damage is considered damage redirection. [Mirage Page 18]
Note that Whippoorwill, which prevents redirection, will not prevent
Trample damage from passing through. [Aahz 11/07/96]
Redirected damage maintains its color, source and nature. Nature
includes any special effects that occur due to damaging. For example,
the Hypnotic Specter will cause a player to discard if any of its
damage is redirected to the player. [Duelist Magazine #5, Page 37]
If damage is redirected in a retroactive manner, as Simulacrum does, then
the damage only retains color and other knowledge of the source. It does
not keep any abilities of the original damage such as the Hypnotic Specter
or Sengir Vampire. [WotC Rules Team 05/10/95]
Damage loses its Trample nature when redirected. This is because the
Trample ability only applies to the creature(s) blocking the attacker.
[D'Angelo 01/06/96]
Damage stops being "combat damage" when it is redirected.
[Duelist Magazine #17, Page 24]
Damage may be redirected from a target to that same target.
[WotC Rules Team 03/14/97] (REVERSAL) This means you can erase some
damage nature such as Trample and "combat damage" and still keep the
damage in the same place. Note that Page #28 of Duelist #18 is in error
when it says that you cannot do this. [Aahz 06/06/97]
Redirecting damage can cause a "packet" of damage to be split. These
packets do not rejoin if they later get redirected back to a single
target. [Aahz 09/19/96]
Redirecting all the damage from a "packet" causes the original "packet" to
no longer exist and damage prevention spells/abilities targeting that
packet will fizzle. [D'Angelo 11/07/96]

To destroy something is to place it into the graveyard from play.
Destroying a creature is the same as killing it. Creatures can be
regenerated from a destroy.
Also see "Bury".
All cards that destroy themselves have errata to say they bury themselves.
For example, Dragon Whelp buries itself if pumped up too much.
[WotC Rules Team 10/03/96]

A discard is putting a card from your hand on top of your graveyard.
[Mirage Page 54]
Some spells/abilities may have you put a card from your hand into the
graveyard in a way that is not a "discard" unless the card says so.
[Mirage Page 54]
When you are asked to discard and are not told how, you get to choose a
card from your hand. [Mirage Page 54]
If you are required to discard more than one card due to an effect, all the
cards are chosen and discarded at one time. Specific cards can declare
that a discard order is in effect, as with Stupor.
[Duelist Magazine #18, Page 55] (REVERSAL) You used to choose and
discard one at a time.
A triggered ability which says "for each card discarded" will trigger only
once even if multiple discards happen as the result of a single
spell/ability. When dealing with the triggered ability, the effect for
an X card draw, the effect happens X times during the resolution of that
single triggered ability. [Aahz 06/16/97] (REVERSAL) It used to trigger
once for each card discarded.
A triggered ability which says "whenever a card is discarded" will trigger
once for each discard, even if multiple discards happen as the result of
a single spell/ability. [Aahz 06/16/97]
Some of the older cards used the word "discard" when talking about
cards in play instead of in your hand. All such cards have errata
issued on them to treat the word "discard" as "destroy".
[PPG Page 113] Except if the card is "discarding" itself. A card which
discards itself is considered to be a sacrifice.
[WotC Rules Team 01/29/95]
Discards which are done as costs are not considered forced. This includes
Land's Edge. [D'Angelo 06/11/97] Ones that are done as effects of
spells or abiliites are forced, even if you do them to yourself on
A discard that is part of a spell/ability's resolution is considered forced,
even if you can do something instead. [Duelist Magazine #14, Page 26]

Drawing a card is defined as taking the top card from your library and
putting it into your hand. [Mirage Page 53]
Effects that happen when or modify a draw happen only when you are told that
the action is a draw. Effects that move cards around and happen to move
one from your library to your hand are not necessarily draws.
[Mirage Page 53]
If you are required to draw more than one card due to a single
spell/ability, all the draws happen at once.
[Duelist Magazine #18, Page 55] (REVERSAL) The draws used to happen one
at a time.
A spell/ability which triggers on the drawing of cards triggers on each card
drawn in a multiple draw but waits until the effect is completely resolved
before being dealt with. [Mirage Page 54]
A triggered ability which says "for each card drawn" will trigger only once
even if multiple draws happen as the result of a single spell/ability.
When dealing with the triggered ability, the effect for an X card draw,
the effect happens X times during the resolution of that single triggered
ability. [Aahz 06/16/97] (REVERSAL) It used to trigger once for each
card drawn.
A triggered ability which says "whenever a card is drawn" will trigger once
for each draw, even if multiple draws happen as the result of a single
spell/ability. [Aahz 06/16/97]
Specialized abilities which modify a single draw modify a single card in the
multiple draw being done and is played (and resolved) before looking at
any of the cards. [D'Angelo 06/11/97]

You cannot play a spell/ability which will cause an exchange unless you have
the thing you will be exchanging. [Mirage Page 29]
The spell/ability fails to do anything on resolution if either player does
not have a thing to be exchanged upon resolution. [Mirage Page 29]

Global enchantments are of card type "Enchantment". They are played in your
territory and may affect any number of players or permanents.
[Mirage Page 22] They may target something when played, but they are
still played in your territory. [Mirage Page 23]
Local enchantments are of card type "Enchant _something_". They enchant
and target a permanent of type "_something_". They are also played
onto the permanent they target and may or may not be in your territory.
[Mirage Page 22]
Enchant World is a special kind of global enchantment that follows special
rules. See "Enchant World" for more information.
If a local enchantment's target becomes illegal at any time, the enchantment
is buried. [Mirage Page 22]
If a local enchantment says "Play on a such-and-such", the "such-and-such"
is considered a targeting restriction even though it does not use the
word "target". [Mirage Page 22]
Enchantments are not specifically prevented from becoming tapped, but they
generally do not tap. The exception to this is that Copy Artifact is both
an artifact and an enchantment. [Aahz 10/11/96]
Changing control of the permanent a local enchantment is on will not change
the controller of the enchantment. [Mirage Page 23]
Only the controller of the enchantment can pay the activation cost on an
enchantment. There is a misleading statement in the Fourth Edition
rulebook about creature enchantments acting like their text is on the
creature. This is not strictly true. [Aahz 05/19/95]
If two enchantments or other effects contradict one another, the most
recently cast wins. See the "Order to Apply Effects" entry for more
Using the ability of a local enchantment card does not target the card each
time it is used. [Duelist Magazine #5, Page 122] For example, the use of
Firebreathing does not target the creature it is on with an effect each
time it is used.
If an enchantment is removed after its ability is used, the effect
still remains until the duration would normally end (usually end of turn).
For example, if a 1/1 creature with Holy Armor (treated as 1/3) gets
pumped up with 3 white mana, it gets +0/+3 making it 1/6. If the Holy
Armor was then removed, the +0/+3 would still remain, although the +0/+2
granted by the enchantment would leave and the creature would be 1/4.
The text "enchanted something" refers to the something that the enchantment
is on. It does not mean _any_ enchanted something in play.
[Duelist Magazine #11, Page 54]
A "creature enchantment" means an "Enchant Creature" card. It does not
include "Enchant Permanent" or other local enchantments that may end up
on a creature. [DeLaney 01/28/97]

Enchant World:
See "Enchantments" for more information.
Enchant World rules were introduced in the Legends expansion set and
have been in the base rules since Fourth Edition.
Enchant world cards are treated like enchantments, except that only one
enchant world may be in play at a time. If one enchant world is
brought into play while another is already in play, the one in play
is buried. [Legends Rulecard] [Mirage Page 57]
Enchant World spells follow all the normal rules for Enchantments. They
are not more powerful than normal enchantments and do follow the normal
rule of the most recently used effect overrides the previous one. So,
for example, a Flight enchantment put on a creature after Gravity Sphere
is put into play will override the Gravity Sphere's effect.
[bethmo 07/07/94]

Existing Effects:
See "Order to Apply Effects".

Face Down Cards:
Face down creatures (hidden by Camouflage or Illusionary Mask) still have
any counters they have on top of the creature. Some creatures are just
not very disguisable. [bethmo]
Face down creatures do not have their enchantments turned face down as well.
[Duelist Magazine #11, Page 56]
A blocking decision made on a face down creature may turn out to be invalid.
If this happens, the creature simply does not block and cannot be assigned
to a different attacker. [WotC Rules Team 11/10/95] The creature is
considered retroactively removed from combat if all of its block
declarations are negated because they are illega. [Aahz 12/07/96]
Face down token creatures need not still be shown as tokens in play. You
can use cards to mark them so your opponent cannot tell them apart.
[WotC Rules Team 12/15/94]
Continuous effects of face down creatures still take effect. If you have
a face down Goblin King, you should tell your opponent that his Goblins
are 2/2 creatures now. Again, these creatures are hard to disguise.
All you really know about a face down card is what kind of permanent it
is. Usually, it is a creature. This means that you may target any spell
which targets creatures at the card. If the target turns out not to be
valid (for example, you try to Terror a black creature) the spell will
fizzle. [PPG Page 57] This rule applies even if you have more
knowledge, such as knowing that your opponent is playing an all black
A face down creature with Lure on it must be blocked. This is true even if
you know the block will be illegal (because the attacker has a landwalk
ability or some other evasion ability). Your blockers do not know this
unless the ability is granted by an enchantment or external effect.
[D'Angelo 11/21/95]
If a face down creature is controlled by Control Magic or other means by
another player, it remains face down but the new controller may look at
the card.
A Clone or Doppelganger can be made of a face down creature. Your
opponent does not need to tell you anything about your creature's
power/toughness or abilities. The opponent must, however, inform you
of the results of actions you take (i.e. how much damage was done, or
whether tapping the creature allows you some special ability).

Fast Effect:
Fast effects are Instants, Interrupts, Mana Sources, or non-continuous
special abilities of a permanent. [Mirage Page 68] Most people use the
term as slang for "instant speed effect" but this is not accurate.
Some other game actions are treated as instant speed fast effects. For
example, the draw during your draw phase. [D'Angelo 07/30/96]

First Strike:
Creatures with First Strike deal combat damage before creatures without it.
If a creature without First Strike is killed during First Strike damage
dealing, then it will not deal damage during normal damage dealing.
(See Step 5 of Attack Phase Rules and Rulings for more information.)
Having First Strike more than once has no additional effect. [Page 34]

The term "fizzle" is used to indicate a spell/ability which was announced
with a legal target but whose target becomes illegal or invalid prior to
resolution. The spell/ability does nothing and is said to "fizzle".
[Mirage Page 68] This is different from a "failure" to work correctly on a
valid target.
Spells which fizzle are still considered "successfully cast" even though
they have no effect. [bethmo 05/30/94]

Whenever a creature without Flanking is assigned to block a creature with
Flanking, the blocking creature gets -1/-1 until end of turn.
[Mirage Page 1]
This may kill the blocker prior to it dealing damage, or in fact prior to
even fast effects after blocking being announced. [D'Angelo 10/15/96]
Note that this only applies to assigned blockers and not to all blockers.
There are ways to have a creature end up as a blocker without being
assigned. For example, if you assign a creature to block a member of a
band, the creature ends up blocking the other members but was never
"assigned" to block them. [Mirage Page 1]
Flanking is cumulative. A creature with Flanking twice gives out -1/-1
twice (total of -2/-2 but in two separate triggered abilities) to a
non-Flanking blocker. [bethmo 09/26/96] A blocker with Flanking never
takes any penalty.
Remember that if Flanking kills the blocker, the attacker is still blocked.
Flanking is not a targeted ability. In general, blocking assignment-based
abilities are not targeted. [D'Angelo 05/21/97]

A creature with Flying can only be blocked by a creature with Flying.
[Mirage Page 17]
A Flying creature can block a non-Flying creature if it wants to.
[Mirage Page 17]

Fog Effects:
Fog effects are effects that prevent a creature from dealing damage in
These effects only prevent combat damage (which is damage done by creatures
during the damage dealing portion of the attack) and do not prevent damage
from other effects during the attack phase. [Mirage Page 48]
Does not prevent a creature from being affected by blocking abilities such
as the Thicket Basilisk's [Duelist Magazine #2, Page 8] Note that
Revised Edition Fog does add in that special prevention clause.
Does not prevent the "Is Not Blocked" abilities from being used.
[Aahz 12/19/94]
If a Trampling attacker can deal damage (because it is not under the fog
effect) but none of the blockers can receive damage, then the Trample
damage goes through to the defender. [Aahz 05/23/95]
If a single creature is under a Fog effect and it is a member of a band,
it can still contribute banding to the band. [Aahz 08/31/94]
If a single creature is under a Fog effect and it is a member of a band,
it cannot have damage assigned to it as part of the band. [Aahz 12/03/94]

Generic Mana:
See "Colorless and Generic Mana".

The graveyard is also called the discard pile. [Mirage Page 59]
The graveyard has an order to it. All cards that enter the graveyard
are placed on top of it. If more than one card is to be placed in at
a time, the owner of that graveyard decides the order the cards get
stacked in. [Mirage Page 59]
Cards in the graveyard are just cards. They have no memory of whether
they were ever in play or not, or of anything that may have happened
to them when they were in play. This includes removal of any choices
about the card, any alterations via spells like Magical Hack or Purelace,
and so on. [Mirage Page 59]
Some special cards (such as Nether Shadow) do work in the graveyard, but
these cards explicitly say so.
When a card goes to the graveyard, several things happen before triggered
ability resolve. First, any effects that depend on it being in play end,
then any changes to the permanent are erased, and then if it is a token
creature it is "dissolved" (removed from the game). [Aahz 06/18/96]
If something goes to the graveyard then comes back, it is considered a
new card since it forgot its previous life when it went to the graveyard.
[bethmo 05/03/94]
Any player can look at any other player's graveyard at any time. This
means that a player cannot hide what goes into or gets taken out of the
graveyard from any other player. Cards are always face up.
[Mirage Page 59] Same goes for any cards removed from the game.
[Mirage Page 60]
When a card comes from the graveyard back into play (for example by
Animate Dead or Resurrection), any features which are normally set at
summoning time are set as if it was just summoned. If the creature has
an X in the casting cost, X is zero. So, Clockwork Beast comes out
fully wound, Clone must choose a creature to copy as it is brought out,
and the Rock Hydra has zero heads. [WotC Rules Team 02/07/94]
If a card talks about a creature in the graveyard, it is referring to any
Summon or Artifact Creature card.

All players have the right to know how many cards you have in your hand.
[Mirage Page 59]
You always know what cards are in your hand, and get to know what cards an
opponent sees when they look at cards from your hand. [D'Angelo 02/10/97]
You are technically not allowed to show cards in your hand to other players.
[Aahz 03/04/97]
Spell cards being announced are considered to not be in your hand for
purposes of target selection, sacrifices, and other things related to
casting the spell. For all other reasons, such as for the power/toughness
of Maro, the spell card is still in your hand until the spell announcement
is complete. [Duelist Magazine #18, Page 28]

"I'm Done":
"I'm done" always means "I'm done unless you do something else". If the
player does something, then you continue as if you never said you were
done. Anything legal at that time is still legal. [bethmo]
Be careful about the use of this phrase since it is often unclear if you
are done with a stack of spells, done with the main phase or done with
your turn.

Infinite Combos:
Infinite combos are legal. There are currently no rulings to prevent them
from happening. [D'Angelo 11/07/96]
In reality, most "infinite" combos are just "arbitrarily large" combos.
This means that you can do it as many times as you want, but the question
of how many times comes up. There is no official ruling on this. Some
people play that you can just say you do it X times (where X may even be
infinity!) and get on with the game, but many say that you are required to
do each instance so it would not truly be infinite. And then taking too
long to do something may actually considered stalling the game. At a
Pro-Tour event, it was ruled that you had to do the action 10 times
individually. If it was not broken after that, you could pick any finite
number and just say it happens that many times.
Some things really are infinite. For example, a Clergy of the Holy Nimbus
with Weakness on it will keep dying and regenerating until the end of
time. And if an Ivory Gargoyle comes into play at end of turn while a
Vibrating Sphere is in play, it'll keep dying and coming back. In these
cases, it has been ruled that you project the eventual outcome and just
have it be that way. The Clergy stay tapped but in play. The Gargoyle
is put in the graveyard and you lose all your draw phases for the rest of
the game. Usually the really infinite things are automatic and not under
your control.
A player with infinite life or a creature with infinite toughness cannot
be killed by damage, even infinite damage. [Aahz 11/04/96]

In Play:
Player's hands, graveyards, libraries, removed from game, ante, "set aside",
"out of play", and "limbo" zones are not in play. [Mirage Page 59]

This is the standard speed at which most spells/abilities resolve.
Instant speed spells and abilities may be used to start batches or to add to
an existing batch. [Mirage Page 37]
Instants can be used on your turn and your opponent's turn.
Artifacts, summons, enchantments, and sorceries resolve at the same speed
as instants. These spell types can only be announced during your main
phase to start a batch.

Interrupts are spells and abilities which target other spells and abilities
with the intent of countering or modifying them. [Mirage Page 38]
Cards printed prior to Mirage and the introduction of Fifth Edition rules
may be labeled as interrupts when they are not. All such cards that
produce mana (and no other effect at the same time) work as mana sources
instead of interrupts. And all such cards that which have an effect that
does not produce mana and it does not target a spell or ability are played
as instants. [Mirage Page 2-4] This is considered mass errata.
Cards which are modal and can either target a spell or do something else
are played as interrupts or as instants as appropriate.
[Mirage Page 39] But they are still considered to be spell type
"interrupt" in any case.
You cannot respond to an interrupt with a non-interrupt. [Aahz 10/21/94]
See "Step 2" of the "Spell and Ability Timing" section for more information.

This means to play an interrupt to target a spell/ability during the
interrupting portion of that spell/ability's life cycle. See the major
section "Spell and Ability Timing" for more information.

Is Not Blocked:
This ability is also known as a "saboteur" ability.
This ability is treated as a triggered ability that is dealt with at the
end of declaration of blockers. For some, such as Coral Fighters, the
ability is not optional. For others, such as Farrel's Zealot, which say
you "may do something", the ability is optional. For optional abilities,
the choice is made at this time as to whether or not the triggered ability
is used. You cannot delay the choice of usage until later.
[Aahz 03/17/97] (REVERSAL) These abilities used to be played as if they
were zero cost instant-speed effects used during the fast effects step
after declaration of blockers.
The abilities are typically worded with a targeted effect and the untargeted
effect of not dealing damage that turn. If the targeted effect fails
because the target is invalid then the untargeted portion also fails and
the creature will deal damage (unless prevented by other means).
[Duelist Magazine #6, Page 132]
This ability works even if Fog is cast. As long as the creature is not
blocked, it works. [Duelist Magazine #4, Page 6]
These abilities can be used cumulatively with other "Is Not Blocked"
abilities. [Duelist Magazine #4, Page 6]
You can use more than one of the same Is Not Blocked ability on the same
creature. For example, you can use two Cloaks of Confusion or Gazes of
Pain and take benefit from both abilities. [Aahz 06/12/96]
If an attacker changes controllers, it is removed from the attack and since
it is not attacking any longer, the new controller cannot use the ability.
[Duelist Magazine #7, Page 100]
The ability only checks to make sure it is not blocked when announced, it
does not check on resolution. [Duelist Magazine #7, Page 100]

Basic land types are: Forest, Island, Mountain, Plains, and Swamp.
Multilands and the other special lands are not "basic" lands types for
purposes of any spell. [Mirage Page 12] The Snow-Covered variations of
the basic lands are still basic lands.
Tapping a land for mana is always done as a mana source.
[Mirage Page 12]
If something is turned into a basic land, it becomes a land of that name
with exactly the same card text and loses any previous abilities.
[Mirage Page 58] Aspects of the nature of the card are not lost, so the
land may still be Snow-Covered, have a color, be an artifact, or be a
creature in addition to being the new basic land type. [D'Angelo 11/07/96]
Changing a land's type will not change the land's color if it was given a
color by a Lace or other effect. [Mirage Page 58]
Changing a land's type will not remove any expansion symbol the land might
have had. The symbol is still there. [Aahz 10/07/95]
Changing a land creature's land type can remove or change the creature type.
Thus, a Mishra's Factory which is animated to an Assembly Worker
and is then hit with a Phantasmal Terrain to become a Mountain is no
longer an Assembly Worker, it is just a 2/2 animated Mountain.
[WotC Rules Team 11/10/95] It's creature type is also changed.
[Aahz 11/08/96]
If a land is animated by an effect that lasts until end of turn, such as
Mishra's Factory or Thelonite Druid, the animation effect will not wear
off immediately if the land changes type. The land stays animated until
the effect would normally end. [WotC Rules Team 11/10/95]
Not all lands produce mana. If a land does not specifically say that it
does produce mana, then it doesn't. [Mirage Page 12]
Lands are not spells. [Mirage Page 72]
Lands have no color. [Mirage Page 69] But they can be given a color.
If there is a question about what mana gets produced by a land, first figure
out what kind of land it is by applying any land changing effects
(like Conversion or Phantasmal Terrain) in the order they entered play.
Then figure out what color mana it produces by applying any color changing
effects (like Reality Twist). Finally figure out any additional mana
that might be produced (from Wild Growth, Mana Flare, etc.).
[Mirage Page 61]
If a spell/ability puts a land into play for you, it does not count as your
land for that turn. [bethmo 11/05/96] For example, the Mirage lands that
bring a land from your library into play.
Lands are not considered "mana sources", but any ability that gets mana from
a land is played as a "mana source". The Mirage rulebook erroneously
leads to the wrong conclusion in the glossary.
[Duelist Magazine #15, Page 28]

This actually comes in specific flavors such as Islandhome.
This is a name for a restriction on a creature. The creature cannot attack
unless the opponent has at least one land of the required type, and the
creature is buried if at any time you control no lands of the required
type. [Mirage Page 17]
The land type (if it is a basic type) can be affected by Magical Hack or
Mind Bend.

This actually comes in specific flavors such as Swampwalk or Plainswalk.
A creature with a landwalk ability can be blocked normally if the defending
player does not have any lands of the appropriate type, but they cannot
be blocked at all if the defending player does have lands of that type
at the time blockers are declared. [Mirage Page 17] Even other creatures
with the same landwalk ability cannot block them.
Cards which look for a kind of landwalk work whether or not the landwalk
is more specific or not. For example, a spell/ability that targets a
creature with IslandWalk will work on one with Snow-Covered IslandWalk.
[WotC Rules Team 09/22/95]
The land type (if it is a basic type) can be affected by Magical Hack or
Mind Bend.

The most common kind of Legend is the Summon Legend card. In addition to
these, there can also be Legendary Lands, Artifacts, and Enchantments.
[Mirage Page 56]
There may be only one legend of the same name in play at a time. If a
second legend of the same name is brought into play, it is buried. If
more than one legend is brought into play at the same time, all of them
are buried. [Mirage Page 56] Note that two (or more) legends of different
names can be in play at the same time.
If one Legend is phasing out while another phases in, they will not see
each other. [bethmo 09/19/96]
If a Legend is changed into something else for a while and changes back,
it is considered the "new" one entering play and will be buried if there
is already one in play. [Mirage Page 56]
Cards which affect "all legends" or use similar text refer to Summon Legend
cards. They do not refer to cards from the Legends expansion set, nor do
they refer to Legendary Lands. [Duelist Magazine #2, Page 7] The Mirage
rulebook was a bit too general when it classified Legendary cards as all
being Legends. [Aahz 10/22/96]
A copy of a Legend (Clone, Doppelganger, etc.) will immediately be buried
because it is considered the new Legend that is entering play.
[Duelist Magazine #2, Page 7]
If you have a Legend face down because of Illusionary Mask or some other
effect, any duplicate Legend brought into play is still buried.
[WotC Rules Team 12/15/94]
All "Summon Elder Dragon Legend" cards have errata to make them say
"Summon Legend" instead. They have also never been considered as
dragons. [Duelist Magazine #11, Page 57]
The burial due to duplicate legends happens as a rule-speed trigger (which
is just about as fast as a continuous effect) and will happen even before
an interrupt can be declared.
The effect of a Legend burying itself since it is the newest in play is
considered to be controlled by the controller of the permanent that is
burying itself. [D'Angelo 07/30/96]
Just because a card has a gold border does not make it a Legend.
Token creatures can be Legends.
All "Summon Legend" and "Legendary Land" cards were on the Duelists'
Convocation restricted list (only 1 per deck) for tournaments from
08/01/94 until 11/01/95.

Legendary Land:
See "Legends".

Also called your "draw pile". [Mirage Page 59]
You do not need to show anything which goes into or comes out of your
Library (unless it came from or goes to a publicly viewable place).
[Mirage Page 59]
The number of cards in your library is public information and any player
has the right to know this count. [Mirage Page 59]
Spells/abilities which allow you to dig into your library are not targeted.
[Aahz 06/18/95]
If an effect has you do something to more cards in your library than you
currently have in your library, it affects all the remaining cards.
[Mirage Page 59]
You must have at least 40 cards in your library at the start of the game.
[Mirage Page 46]
Several cards let you choose a card (or cards) in your library, shuffle the
rest of the library, and put the chosen cards on top. The chosen cards
are considered to be "in the library" during this time, and the entire
action is one step. You cannot use mana sources during this time.
Consider it a kind of modified shuffle. [Aahz 03/17/97]

You start the game with 20 life but may gain life and have a higher total
during the game.
You lose if you have less than 1 life at the end of any phase or the
beginning or end of an attack. [Mirage Page 52]
You cannot spend more life than you currently have. It's not possible to
pay life and end up with less than zero life. [Mirage Page 52]
You can be knocked to below zero life by damage and loss of life.
[Mirage Page 53]
It is not possible to prevent or redirect any loss of life. [Mirage Page 53]
If you are at less than 0 life, you are treated as having 0 life for all
reasons other than changing your life total. [Mirage Page 52]
If an effect has you lose a fraction of your life total and you are
already below 0 life, your life total does not change. [Mirage Page 53]
All players are entitled to know each other's life totals at all times.

Losing the Game:
Check for player death due to less than one life at the end of each phase,
the beginning and end of the attack. [Mirage Page 52] This allows even
sorceries and similar abilities such as Stream of Life to save the player.
As long as you have a positive life total at the end of a phase, you will
If both players have life totals of zero or less at the time it is checked,
they both lose. It does not matter if one player is more negative than
the other. They are both dead. [Mirage Page 52]
You lose if you try to draw a card from your library and you can't because
the library has no more cards. This is true no matter how or why you are
drawing a card and happens immediately and not at the end of the phase.
[Mirage Page 53]
Check to see if a player loses only after fully resolving a spell/ability
and not part way through. For example, if Wheel of Fortune is cast and
neither player has enough cards in their library, they both lose. It
is not the first one to draw that loses. [Duelist Magazine #5, Page 123]
This most often only applies to draw effects since that is one of the
few ways to lose because of an effect.
The damage prevention step that follows the resolution a spell/ability is
not considered contiguous with the effect for purposes of "losing at the
same time". For example, if one effect made the current player draw and
did lethal damage to a creature (which would cause the player to lose the
game if that creature left play) while the current player had no cards in
their library, the current player would lose prior to starting damage
prevention. The same goes for any triggered abilities due to a spell or
ability's resolution. A player can lose prior to resolving any triggered
abilities. [D'Angelo 08/01/96]
A player can concede at any time and if they do so they lose any ante
they have put up. [bethmo] This can be done at any time other than
during the middle of the resolution of a spell/ability.
[D'Angelo 11/08/96]
A player loses if they have 10 or more Poison counters. This is a
continuous effect.

Loss of Life:
Loss of life is not the same as damage. Only players have life points.
Creatures do not. Unprevented damage will result in a loss of life. Life
can also be lost directly due to effects which do not cause damage.
There is no way to prevent or redirect the loss of life caused directly by
spells and abilities. Only damage can be prevented. [Mirage Page 53]
Many cards say this (as reminder text), but it is true even if they do
Loss of Life in general does not have color associated with it.
Abilities that trigger on loss of life also trigger when you pay life for
something. [WotC Rules Team 02/06/96]
Note that the pre-Fourth Edition Conservator has errata issued to say that
it prevents damage to a player (rather than preventing loss of life) and
that Forcefield has errata saying that it prevents all but 1 point of
damage rather than causing one loss of life.

Lucky Charms:
The Lucky Charms are: Crystal Rod, Iron Star, Ivory Cup, Throne of Bone,
and Wooden Sphere.
Since these are triggered abilities, they can only be used once for each
time their condition (an appropriate spell being cast) is met. They
trigger on the spell becoming "successfully cast". [D'Angelo 04/17/97]
They are normal triggered abilities that can only be used at the time that
ability is dealt with. You cannot wait until later in the turn to use
them. [D'Angelo 04/11/97]
Abilities of cards like Soul Net and Tablet of Epityr are not considered
"lucky charms" even though they have a similar effect. [Aahz 07/05/95]
The Limited, Unlimited and Revised Edition versions do not say you can only
use them once per spell, but they are triggered abilities and so are under
this restriction anyway. [D'Angelo 10/16/96]
Prior to Fifth Edition, the cards said they could be used later in the same
turn. This is no longer true. [D'Angelo 04/11/97]

Mana Burn:
Mana burn is the loss of life caused by having extra mana in your pool at
the end of a phase or at the beginning or end of an attack. You lose 1
life for each mana left in your pool. [Mirage Page 9] Remember that
loss of life cannot be prevented or redirected.
Mana burn is a single action which uses all the mana in your pool.

Mana Pool:
Spells' costs are not paid by tapping lands. Spells' costs are paid by
using mana from your mana pool. You cannot shortcut mana from
the land directly to the spell. It must go to the pool first.
[Mirage Page 9]
Tapping basic lands is the most common way to add mana to your mana pool.
You can leave mana in your pool during the casting of several spells.
If you have mana in your pool at the end of a phase or the beginning or
ending of an attack, then you will take mana burn (See the "Mana Burn"
entry for information). [Mirage Page 9]

Mana Source:
A mana source spell/ability can be used at almost any time. [Mirage Page 36]
+ Mana sources do not go through the normal life-cycle, they resolve
immediately after being announced. They are never responsded to.
[Duelist Magazine #15, Page 28] They do, however, have separate
announcement and resolution steps, but nothing can be done between these
steps. [WotC Rules Team 07/03/97]
Mana sources cannot be interrupted like other announced spells and abilities
can. [Mirage Page 8]
Any abilities which trigger off a mana source being used are dealt with
normally. [Mirage Page 39] But the triggers don't happen until after the
resolution is complete. Cards like Nether Void that trigger and try
to counter the spell/ability will fizzle on a Mana Source like Dark
Ritual. [Duelist Magazine #15, Page 28]
Cards like Imprison can stop a mana source spell/ability from even being
played. [Duelist Magazine #15, Page 56] Same for Drought.
[Aahz 01/14/97]
Tapping a land for mana is always done as a mana source even if it does not
say so on the land. Lands themselves are not considered mana sources.
See the Spell and Ability Timing section for more information.

Modal Effects:
Some spells/abilities require a choice as to which mode they operate in.
This choice is a casting decision made on announcement.
[Duelist Magazine #8, Page 50]
If someone tries to redirect the spell/ability, they cannot change the mode
of the effect. [WotC Rules Team 09/22/95]
If a spell is modal and has different kinds of targets depending on the
mode, you choose the mode before picking targets. [D'Angelo 10/15/96]
If the opponent gets to pick the mode, the caster must make all choices
before knowing the mode. This means, he may have to pick targets which
won't actually be targeted upon resolution. [Aahz 10/07/96]
Cards worded as "Do A to target X or do B to target Y" or "Do A or do B to
target X" require you to choose which of the two options is being used.
If the spell is Forked or Deflected, this choice of mode cannot be
changed. For example, Red Elemental Blast lets you choose to counter a
spell or destroy a permanent. If the choice is made to counter a spell,
then a target spell is selected. The Blast cannot then be redirected to
target a permanent since that is an illegal target for the spell's mode.
[Duelist Magazine #8, Page 50]
Cards worded as "Do A to target X, Y, or Z" are not modal. You do not have
to choose the type of target before choosing the target. For example,
Twiddle can tap a land, artifact, or creature. If the spell/ability was
redirected, the type of the target could be changed, but the choice to
tap or untap is modal and cannot be changed.
[Duelist Magazine #8, Page 50]
Interpreting to figure out if a spell is modal can be tricky. In general,
if the spell does more than one kind of effect (which is usually easy to
pick out since there will be more than one verb) then it is probably modal
with regards to those kinds of effects.
Some spells/abilities are considered modal even though the choice is not up
to the player. For example, Gangrenous Zombies has two modes: "deal 1
damage" and "deal 2 damage". The mode is locked in on announcement and is
not changed later even if which lands you control changes.
[Duelist Magazine #8, Page 50]

Moving Enchantments:
Several spells/abilities can result in the moving of a local enchantment
from one target to another.
The rulings in this section apply to enchantment movers, like Enchantment
Alteration and Crown of the Ages, that say to treat the enchantment as
if it were just cast.
When moving an enchantment, play the card from scratch. This means that
all counters, modifications, cumulative upkeep, and choices associated
with the enchantment are removed and you make all new choices as if you
were freshly casting it. [Mirage Page 56] This includes changes by
interrupts such as Sleight of Mind.
The enchantment considers itself as freshly entering play and will trigger
any "comes into play" abilities which it has in its text. For example,
the damage from Earthbind or drawing a card for Krovikan Fetish.
[Mirage Page 56]
Other cards in play do _not_ consider the enchantment to have entered play
or to have been "cast". For example, a Verduran Enchantress or Lucky
Charm will not trigger on the move. Effects already in play just see
a move and not a re-entering of play. [Mirage Page 56]
You can move an enchantment onto a permanent that cannot normally be
targeted by a spell or effect. This is because the enchantment is just
a permanent and is not considered either a spell or effect.
[Mirage Page 56] Examples are Deadly Insect and Autumn Willow.
There is one exception, and that is Bartel Runeaxe which is never a legal
target for an enchantment. [WotC Rules Team 05/26/96]
Any choices made when moving the enchantment are made by the enchantment's
controller/caster and not necessarily by the player using the move
spell or ability. [D'Angelo 09/25/95]
When the enchantment is moved, it forgets that it had been used that turn.
So, you can use an Instill Energy again if you move it.
[WotC Rules Team 09/15/94]
If you move an enchantment such as Firebreathing after mana has been spent
to pump it up, the effects of the pumping are directly on the creature and
do not move with the Firebreathing card. If you moved it after activation
but before resolution, the effect will still happen to the original
creature and not the new one because this is locked in on announcement of
the ability. [WotC Rules Team 12/03/96]
If the enchantment itself has upkeep costs or effects and you deal with them
prior to moving it, you still have to deal with them again because it
acts as just cast and forgets you dealt with it.
[WotC Rules Team 11/16/94]
If there is an X in the casting cost of the enchantment, treat X as zero
when it is "re-cast". [D'Angelo 04/14/95]
If the enchantment was targeted by a spell or ability prior to being moved,
the moving will not cause the targeting to fail. It is still the same
enchantment. [D'Angelo 09/26/95]
Keep in mind that you cannot move an enchantment onto an illegal target
using the current enchantment movers. Thus, you cannot move a black
enchantment onto a creature with protection from black.
If the destination of the move is not in play upon resolution of an
enchantment moving effect, the enchantment simply does not move.
[Aahz 09/19/96]
You cannot move Dance of the Dead, Animate Dead, or Necromancy to another
creature or to a creature in the graveyard. These have exactly one legal
target creature, the one they were cast for.
[Duelist Magazine #17, Page 25] [D'Angelo 06/05/97]
If an enchantment is moved onto something that turns out to be invalid,
the enchantment "falls off" (is destroyed) after reaching the destination.
For example, if a Chaoslaced Holy Armor is moved from a Scryb Sprite onto
a Black Knight, the move is legal since a red enchantment can be moved
onto a creature with Protection from White. But during the move, the
lace effect is lost and the enchantment arrives White.
[Duelist Magazine #10, Page 43] Note that the enchantment "falling off"
is after any continous effects of the enchantment are applied. This means
that an enchantment like Enfeeblement could actually kill the creature
before falling off. [D'Angelo 05/22/97]
Moving an enchantment does not make its effect start as if it just came into
play for purposes of the "apply effects in the order they enter play
rule." [Aahz 11/08/96]
For the enchantments that can be played as an instant, you do not get to
choose to do that when you move them. [Aahz 10/15/96]
When the enchantment is moved, any effects on the enchantment stay on it.
For example, the enchantments that play as an instant and are scheduled to
be buried at end of turn will still be buried at end of turn if they are
moved. [Duelist Magazine #16, Page 24]

Multiplayer Rulings:
Opponent is defined as any player other than yourself.
In team play, opponent should not include your teammates.
[WotC Rules Team 01/10/95]
In multiplayer games, cards which read "both players" affect all players.
A permanent that targets a player with a continuous ability has a single
player chosen when it is cast. This player choice cannot be changed
even if the permanent changes control. If the target player leaves the
game then the permanent becomes useless but stays in play.
[WotC Rules Team 01/10/95]
A permanent that targets a player when it is activated may choose a player
each time it is used. [WotC Rules Team 01/10/95]
A permanent that says "opponent's choice" allows you to choose an opponent
each time the choice needs to be made. Examples are Demonic Hordes and
Clergy of the Holy Nimbus. [WotC Rules Team 01/10/95]
If a card reads "each upkeep" or "each turn", it means each of your
upkeep phases or each of your turns. If the card affects multiple
players, it affects each player during his (or her) upkeep or turn.
In most multiplayer rule sets, if a player is killed, all of that
player's cards are immediately removed from the game. This can have
a drastic effect on the balance of power in the game.
+ In multiplayer games, if the order of players matters, such as with
triggered effect resolution which is current player then opponent, a
rule needs to be made for how to deal with this in multiplayer
environments. One suggestion is that the things be handled from the
current player around the table in turn order (which is usually to the

Must Attack or Block:
Sometimes a creature will be required to attack or block.
All required attackers or blockers must be declared before or at the same
time as any creatures which are not required to do so. [Mirage Page 49+50]
If a creature is forced to attack, it does not have to attack immediately,
but it must attack this turn if possible. This means you must declare an
attack (if possible) and send the creature out (if possible).
Being already tapped or being tapped for a special ability prior to the
attack will make it unable to attack.
Being prevented by an effect such as Island Sanctuary or card text such
as the Sea Serpent's "cannot attack if opponent has no Islands" will also
make it unable to attack.
You are not forced to maximize the number of "must attack" (or block)
creatures that you can declare. "Must attack" (or block) creatures do
have to be declared first, but if one of them has Errantry on it you can
declare that one and thereby cause the others to be unable to attack. You
cannot use a non-"must attack" creature with Errantry to do this, however.
[D'Angelo 07/25/95]
You cannot use the declaration of a non-"must attack" attacker as a way to
avoid attacking with a "must attack" attacker. For example, if you are
only allowed to declare 2 attackers, those two slots must be taken by
"must attack" creatures if possible. [WotC Rules Team 09/15/94]
If something happens to make a "must attack" attacker able to attack, you
must declare it at that time if possible. For example, Orcish Conscripts
cannot attack unless at least 2 other attackers do. If the Conscripts
must attack, you must declare it if you declare at least 2 other
attackers. [D'Angelo 11/07/96]
If there is a cost to declare the attacker, the fact that it would be
required to attack if possible does not require you to pay the cost in
order to allow it to attack. For example, you don't have to pay the
Brainwash cost on a Juggernaut. If you do pay the cost, it must attack,
but if you do not, it does not. [Aahz 01/25/96]
If a creature is required to block more creatures than it can legally
block, then you must block as many as possible but you are otherwise
free to choose what you block. [Mirage Page 50]
A creature that must attack each turn, must attack during each attack in
each turn. [DeLaney 01/28/97]

On Its Way to the Graveyard:
This term was used prior to Fifth Edition to mean a card with a destroy
effect or lethal damage on it. It is not defined for Fifth Edition.

Order to Apply Effects:
The rule for effects is that they are applied in the order in which they
enter play. [Mirage Page 29] This also means that the most recent one
takes precedence if the order matters. For example, if Earthbind is
placed on a creature and then Flight is placed on the creature, the Flight
will take precedence because it is the newer effect.
This goes for general continuous effects as well as it does for
enchantments, spells, or abilities on a permanent. If Gravity Sphere is
put into play, it removes Flying ability from all creatures in play. If a
Flight spell were placed on the creature after that, the Flight would have
precedence because it took effect more recently. [bethmo 06/29/94]
All kinds of effects are subject to this rule. This includes enchantments,
instants, abilities of permanents, and more. Just resolve things in
If the source of an effect is removed, reapply the effects in order of
casting. This does not happen often but is theoretically possible.
For example, if you cast a Conversion spell to change all Mountains into
Plains and then used Magical Hack on a second Conversion spell to
turn all Mountains into Forests, the first one would be applied and turn
them all into Plains. The second one would find no Mountains in play,
so it would do nothing. Later, if the first one were removed, the
second one would immediately discover the Mountains and convert them to
Forests. [bethmo 06/29/94]
Note that these rules apply to non-continuous effects as much as to
continuous ones. A non-continuous effect "enters play" when it resolves.
Thus, a Jump spell can make a creature with Earthbind fly.
[D'Angelo 08/01/96]
Each permanent considers its built-in abilities to be the oldest effect
upon itself and then the effects of other permanents are applied to it in
order. [Mirage Page 30] This means that if an enchantment says that
all creatures lose Flying, a Flying creature that was in play before or
enters play after this enchantment entered play will still lose Flying.
Changing the base power/toughness of a creature (using Sorceress Queen) or
altering the text of a card (using Sleight of Mind) will not change the
"when it entered play" time for an effect. [D'Angelo 11/07/96]
When a card phases in, it's effect is considered the new one in play for the
order to apply effects. [Aahz 11/08/96]

See "Controller, Caster, and Owner".

A permanent is any card in play (enchantments, creatures, artifacts, land)
or any token in play which represents a creature (or other permanent
type). [Mirage Page 10]
Cards in play are not spells, they are "permanents". They can no longer
be affected by things that affect "spells" (e.g. Counterspell, Lifeforce).
A permanent stays in play until destroyed by an effect or otherwise
removed from play. You cannot just destroy a permanent because you no
longer want it. [Mirage Page 10]
Spells which become permanents do not become permanents until they resolve.
[Mirage Page 60]

Phase Cost:
Phase Costs are payments that a player is supposed to make during a
certain phase. The most common phase costs are called Upkeep Costs.
Generally, a phase cost is optional but contains a penalty for
non-payment, but some phase costs must be paid if you are able.
Paying (or not-paying) a phase cost is done as an instant. [Mirage Page 43]
The cost is paid or not paid during announcement, and the phase cost is
considered "dealt with" when the instant-speed action resolves. At that
time, the cost is either considered paid or any negative results of not
paying are resolved.
A phase cost may only be paid once per phase. [Mirage Page 43] And they
are almost always paid during your appropriate phase.
Permanents with phase costs on them may not use optional abilities (like
ones with activation costs) until the phase cost has been "dealt with".
[Mirage Page 43] If the phase cost is paid during upkeep, the ability
cannot be used at any time during the turn prior to it being paid.
[D'Angelo 11/07/96]
Continuous and non-optional abilities are not prevented by phase costs.
If you choose not to pay the phase cost, the optional abilities may be used
as soon as the negative results are applied. [D'Angelo 06/06/95]
Under previous rules it was possible to use a mana source during the
damage prevention after it was destroyed by not paying upkeep. This is
no longer true. The card is put into the graveyard during the resolution
so there is no chance after the resolution to use it. [Aahz 10/22/96]
Phase costs are always dealt with. Even tapping a non-creature, non-land
artifact will not prevent the phase cost from being required.
[Mirage Page 43] The only way to avoid dealing with the phase cost is
by removing the permanent from play. [Duelist Magazine #3, Page 15]
Most phase costs are on a permanent. You can avoid dealing with the phase
cost by removing the permanent from play. [Mirage Page 43] Or by
removing the cause of the phase cost if that is possible.
If a permanent has more than one phase cost applied to it, the costs combine
into a single one. You cannot pay just some of the phase costs on a
permanent. You must pay them all or not at all. [Mirage Page 43]
If there are multiple phase costs (for the same phase) on a permanent, they
are all paid at the time the latest one would be paid. [Mirage Page 43]
For example, if part is paid "during upkeep" and the other part is "at the
end of upkeep", the entire thing is paid at the end of upkeep.
If there are multiple phase costs on a single permanent and any one of them
is mandatory, then all of the costs on that permanent are mandatory. In
other words, the entire phase cost is an all-or-nothing deal. You pay all
the costs or none of them. [WotC Rules Team 06/01/97] For example, a
Lord of the Pit is in place with The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale, then you
must sacrifice a creature and pay 1 mana (if possible).
If there are penalties for multiple phase costs on a single permanent, these
penalties are played out as a sequence of effects rather than as a single
effect. First the permanent's own penalties, then the others in the order
in which those effects entered play. [WotC Rules Team 06/01/97]
If there are multiple phase costs on a single permanent and they are
contradictory, then you simply cannot pay the combined cost and have no
option but to suffer the penalties. [WotC Rules Team 06/01/97] For
example, if you had to both sacrifice a card and send that same card to
your hand as part of the phase cost of a single permanent, you could not
do either.
Even if a phase cost says you must pay it, you do not need to do anything
special to make it payable. So, if a phase cost says you must sacrifice
a creature and you have no creatures, you are not required to use your
The Hive to generate a creature. Similarly, you are not required to
draw mana from any mana sources in order to pay a phase cost (unless the
effect says otherwise). [Aahz 08/20/96]
If something happens which adds an phase cost during a phase, it must be
paid. For example, if a Doppelganger becomes a Lord of the Pit, during
upkeep, a creature must be sacrificed. [Duelist Magazine #3, Page 15]
If not paying upkeep results in the card being destroyed or buried, the
card is considered to be destroying or burying itself. This is true
even if the upkeep cost is imposed from an outside source.
[WotC Rules Team 08/17/95]
Optional phase costs are written as "Do something during your Xxxx phase or
do something else". You can choose to do either to deal with the cost.
Mandatory phase costs are written as "Do something during your Xxxx phase.
If you cannot do that, do something else". You must do the something
if possible. If there is no "or" or "If you cannot do that" clause, then
it is a phase effect and not a phase cost, and there is no bad effect if
you cannot do it. [D'Angelo 12/03/96]
Phase costs differ from phase effects in their wording. Phase costs have
something that happens if you do not pay. For example: "During (your)
Xxxx phase, do something or something else happens". Also, the verb is
usually "pay" or "sacrifice". If you are unsure whether it's a phase cost
or effect and the verb is something other than "pay" or "sacrifice", it is
most likely a phase effect. [D'Angelo 12/03/96]

Phase Effects and Phase Abilities:
Phase Effects are things you are told to do during a specific phase. The
term applies to something done during the middle of the phase, or to
something done at the end or beginning of a phase. An example effect is
Unstable Mutation requiring during Upkeep that you put a -1/-1 counter
on the creature it enchants.
No player may let a phase end until all mandatory phase effects are dealt
with. [Mirage Page 42]
Each player plays their own phase effects. For example, the controller of
Unstable Mutation will play that effect at a time of their choice during
creature controller's upkeep. [Duelist Magazine #17, Page 24]
Each phase effect is used only once per phase. [Mirage Page 42]
Phase effects played during the middle of a phase are played as instants.
[Mirage Page 42] You announce them like any normal spell or ability and
the result takes place (and the phase effect is considered "dealt with")
when the effect resolves. They can also be part of batches.
Phase effects played at the beginning or end of a phase follow the
appropriate timing rules for effects played at that time.
Most phase effects are imparted by a permanent. You can avoid dealing
with the phase effect by removing the permanent from play or by otherwise
deactivating its effect (remember that non-creature, non-land artifacts
deactivate when they are in a tapped state). [Mirage Page 43] For
example, if you Disenchant an Unstable Mutation off a creature, you do not
later need to put the -1/-1 counter on it. If you already dealt with the
effect prior to removing the permanent from play, however, this does not
undo the effect.
You may not announce the dealing with of a targeted phase effect unless
there is a legal target at the time. [D'Angelo 09/25/96]
If there is no legal target for a mandatory phase effect, you can end the
phase without dealing with it. [Mirage Page 43] For example, Erhnam Djinn
says to give an opponent's creature ForestWalk during Upkeep. You cannot
end upkeep without dealing with this if there are any valid target
creatures in play, but if there are no valid target creatures, you may
do so.
You can always choose not to use an optional phase effect. In this case,
you simply end the phase without declaring it.
If a phase effect fizzles with respect to all its targets, it is considered
dealt with and need not (may not) be used again. It was successfully
used. [Duelist Magazine #16, Page 25] (REVERSAL)
Having a phase effect applied to a permanent does not prevent the abilities
of the permanent from being used. [WotC Rules Team 11/16/94] Only
"phase costs" can do that. See "Phase Costs" for more information.
If more than one effect happens at the beginning or end of a phase, and the
order of these effects matters, they are played in the same way as
specialized effects. [Mirage Page 42] This means the current player
resolves all of his or her effects in any order desired, then the
opponent resolves their effects in any order they desire.
If a new beginning or end of phase effect is introduced which affects a
player while dealing with that player's end of phase effects, you have to
deal with the new effects as well. But, once you pass a player's phase
effects and go to the next player, you do not loop back and do the
previous player's effects again. Such extra effects are just ignored.
[Duelist Magazine #15, Page 28]
Note that beginning and end of phase effects done by permanents are dealt
with in the same group with ones scheduled by Scheduled Effect.
[D'Angelo 09/25/96] This is important only in understanding that
although specialized ability timing is used for such effects, that not
all of them are specialized abilities.
If an infinite loop of effects happens at the end of a phase, such as an
Ivory Gargoyle and Vibrating Sphere (where you can't pay to remove it),
simply figure out what the end result would be and continue. In the
Gargoyle and Sphere case, the Gargoyle is put into the graveyard and the
player loses all their draw phases for the rest of the game.
[WotC Rules Team 10/03/96]
Phase effects are typically written as "During (your) Xxxx phase, (you may)
do something." Ones that are written "Cost: Effect. Use this effect only
during Xxxx phase" are not phase effects. [Aahz 10/16/96]

Phase Skipping:
You check if you are to skip a phase right before it would start, which is
the same as just after the end of the previous phase's "end of phase"
effects. If you are to skip it, then continue to the next phase.
[Mirage Page 58]
If you skip a phase to use an ability, then the phase is skipped as a cost.
You cannot "spend" the same phase more than once. You can only pay a
phase during your turn and only before that phase starts. [Mirage Page 58]
Some effects may cause you to automatically skip a particular phase. These
effects happen at the time the specified phase would start. Instead of
starting the phase, you just skip it. [Duelist Magazine #13, Page 26]
Necropotence is an example. If it is in play when your draw phase would
start, you skip it.
The effects which allow you to choose to skip a phase can override the
automatic skipping because the choice effect is used earlier.
[Duelist Magazine #13. Page 26] Thus you may "spend" the phase prior to
the automatic effect getting a chance at it.
If more than one automatic phase skipping effect is in play, you choose
which one actually causes you to skip the phase. Normally, this does
not matter, but it can in the case of the Ivory Gargoyle for which you
have to skip a certain number of draw phases using its effect.
[Duelist Magazine #13, Page 26]
The Ivory Gargoyle ability that causes you to skip a draw phase is
considered an automatic one. [D'Angelo 07/29/96]
If an effect says to skip your next Xxxx phase, it means the next one you
encounter. It does not look into the future and pick a specific one.
[D'Angelo 11/08/96]

All your permanents which are "phased out", will "phase in" at the
beginning of your untap. [Mirage Page 1] They do not have to have
Phasing ability to phase in, they just do.
A permanent with Phasing ability which is in play will "phase out" at the
beginning of your untap simultaneously with any other permanents "phasing
in". [Mirage Page 1] Permanents phasing out and phasing in at this time
never are both play. [bethmo 09/19/96]
When a permanent "phases out", it leaves play much as if it were removed
from the game, except that any enchantments, counters, and permanent
changes to the card phase out with it and are not removed.
[Mirage Page 1] Permanent effects (such as Ritual of the Machine) also
stay with it. [Duelist Magazine #15, Page 28]
+ All effects that trigger on the permanent phasing out, do trigger.
[D'Angelo 07/03/97]
All "at end of turn" effects or other effects on the permanent or that
depend on it being in play are removed. Also, all damage on it is
removed. [Mirage Page 1]
Permanents remember their history when they phase out. For example, The
Fallen remembers who it has damaged and Safe Haven will not forget what it
has removed from the game. [Duelist Magazine #16, Page 24]
When a permanent "phases in", it enters play in the same tap/untap state it
was in when it phased out. As far as the permanent is concerned, it never
left play, does not have summoning sickness, and will otherwise continue
where it left off. [Mirage Page 2]
If the permanent was only under your control due to an effect which having
the creature phase out would end, the permanent would switches controllers
while phased out, it will phase in its old controller's untap phase, but
it will phase in under it's new controller's control.
[bethmo 10/03/96]
Any effects that would trigger on the permanent coming into play are
ignored. [Mirage Page 2] Any effects that modify how a card comes into
play, such as Kismet, are ignored. [Duelist Magazine #18, Page 28]
Abilities that are only usable if something had come into play earlier in
the turn, but that are not triggered by the coming into play, may be used
if an appropriate permanent phased in this turn. [Aahz 06/14/97] For
example, Fungus Elemental.
An apparent exception to this is having a Legend come into play. The Legend
phasing in will consider itself to be the newer one and will bury itself
if another Legend of the same name is still in play. Similarly, an
Enchant World phasing in will bury an existing Enchant World. This isn't
really an exception, though since the Legend and Enchant World burials are
continuous effects and not triggered. [D'Angelo 10/15/96]
A token that phases out has left play so it is removed from the game.
[Mirage Page 2]
While phased out, the card does not change its tapped state and cannot be
targeted by a spell or ability.
Cumulative upkeep is not reset or increased while it is phased out.
[D'Angelo 10/15/96]
Creatures like Stangg and Hazezon Tamar which get token creatures when they
enter play do not get those creatures when they re-enter.
[WotC Rules Team 09/15/94] (Actually a ruling for Oubliette)
When a card phases in, it's effects are considered the new ones in play for
the order to apply effects. [Aahz 11/08/96]
All cards phase in without summoning sickness regardless of whether or not
they had it when they phased out. [Visions FAQ 02/16/97]
If more than one card phases in at a time, you may need to determine the
order in which the effects enter play. See the "Simultaneous" entry for
details on how to do this.
Enchantments on a permanent phase in when the permanent phases in, but if
the permanent never phases in, the enchantments do not return either.
For example, a token creature with enchantments on it that phases out will
leave the game and will never phase in, so its enchantments stay out of
play. [WotC Rules Team 12/03/96] This overrides the general rule that all
your phased out permanents phase in.

Pitch Spells:
This is the nickname for spells which allow you to discard cards (typically
they are actually removed from the game) instead of paying the casting
cost. They were introduced in Alliances.
This name has also been extended to cover other non-mana ways to cast
spells. For example, the Visions card Fireblast which lets you sacrifice
The card is discarded (or other non-mana cost is paid) at the time you
announce the spell or ability and is considered to be paying the cost.
[Duelist Magazine #11, Page 55]
It does not actually change the casting cost of the spell for any other
reasons, including spells or abilities like Spell Blast.
[Duelist Magazine #12, Page 32]
If there is a penalty on the cost of the spell, such as Gloom on a Scars
of the Veteran, you must pay the penalty even if you use the "pitch"
ability to avoid the rest of the casting cost.
[Duelist Magazine #12, Page 32]
You cannot use Sleight of Mind to stop a "pitch" spell which requires a
card of a certain color to be discarded. This is because the costs are
paid prior to the Sleight being usable. [Duelist Magazine #12, Page 32]

Poison counters are poison counters. A player dies if they have 10 (or
more) such counters no matter what the source is.
[Duelist Magazine #2, Page 7] This loss of the game is immediate. It's a
continuous effect.
The "you die with 10 poison counters" effect is built into the poison
counters. You do not need a poison generating card in play for the
rule to have effect. [D'Angelo 10/01/96]

A creature may have Protection from anything, but typically you get
Protection from a color.
Protection from <XXX> means that a creature: [Mirage Page 21]
1. Reduces damage from <XXX> to zero.
2. Cannot be blocked by <XXX> creatures.
3. Cannot be targeted by <XXX> abilities, spells, or enchantments.
Not being targeted by <XXX> enchantments means that any such
enchantments on the creature are buried. The creature may be affected
by <XXX> spells or abiltiies which do not target it specifically.
Note that ability #1 still reduces damage from these untargeted
abilities to zero.
Protection from <XXX> does not protect creatures from general enchantments
or spells. So a creature with Protection from Red is still affected by
Orcish Oriflamme.
Protection from <XXX> does not stop damage prevention spells from working.
Damage prevention spells target the damage and not the creature. For
example, you can use a Healing Salve to remove damage from a creature
with Protection from White.
See the "Targeting" entry for more information on what is targeted and
what is not.
Protection does not protect creatures from being sacrificed (even from
spells or abilities of the appropriate type). Sacrificing is not
The "cannot be blocked by <XXX> creatures" ability is an absolute
statement. The creature cannot even be blocked by creatures of <color>
which have Protection from the appropriate color. So, a Black Knight
and a White Knight cannot meet each other in combat.
Protection from <XXX> protects the creature but it does not protect any
of the enchantments on the creature. [bethmo]
A Protection from <XXX> ability does not work for a creature while it is
not in play. [Mirage Page 21] Hence a White Knight can have Animate Dead
cast on it and a Black Knight can be Resurrected. Note that the White
Knight would immediately dispel the Animate Dead and go back to the
graveyard, but the example still holds.
If Protection is gained during a damange prevention step, it will not
reduce any damage already on creatures to zero. It will only affect
damage assigned after the Protection starts. [Aahz 02/16/97]

Protection from Color:
See "Protection".

After defense is chosen but before damage is assigned, an attacking
creature with 'rampage *' gains +*/+* until end of turn for each
creature beyond the first assigned to block it. [Mirage Page 22]
This ability is triggered by declaring blockers so it happens at the end
of that step.
Bonus is applied when blockers are declared and lasts until the end of
the turn. Removing a blocker after this does not change the bonus.
[Duelist Magazine #2, Page 7]
Fog effects do not stop the bonus from being gained. [Aahz 02/09/95]
If a creature which already has Rampage X gets Rampage Y added to it, it
now has Rampage Z where Z=X+Y. [Duelist Magazine #13, Page 26] So if a
creature with Rampage 1 gains Rampage 1 again, it now effectively has
Rampage 2.
This used to be written "Rampage:X" and is now written "Rampage X".
Note that this applies only to assigned blockers and not to all blockers.
There are ways to have a creature end up as a blocker without being
assigned. For example, if you assign a creature to block a member of a
band, the creature ends up blocking the other members but was never
"assigned" to block them. [D'Angelo 10/15/96]

Regeneration is a means of preventing a creature from going to the
graveyard. It is used as a specialized ability at the time the creature
would go there. As a specialized ability, regeneration abilities cannot
be used except when the creature is actually going to go to the graveyard.
Regeneration actually prevents the creature from going to the graveyard so
no effects of going to the graveyard will trigger. [Mirage Page 15]
You may not even attempt to regenerate a creature which has been buried or
sacrificed. [WotC Rules Team 12/03/96]
You may attempt to regenerate a creature which "cannot regenerate" because
of an effect like Bone Shaman. [Aahz 02/18/97]
When a creature regenerates, any damage on it is removed. [Mirage Page 15]
When a creature regenerates, all counters and enchantments or other
modifications to the creature remain.
When a creature regenerates, it becomes tapped. This tapping is part of
the effect of regeneration and not part of the cost. This means that
tapped creatures can still be regenerated. [Mirage Page 16]
If a creature is in an attack and it regenerates, it is removed from the
combat [Mirage Page 5] Being removed from combat does not negate any
"at end of combat" effects on the creature.
Regeneration effects generally target the creature they are played on
(unless the regeneration is a built in ability or is granted by an
enchantment on that creature). [Aahz 04/07/97]
If more than one creature is being destroyed by a single effect,
regenerating one of them removes it from the current destruction but does
not remove any of the others. This is true even if the act of
regenerating one causes another one to have its toughness raised so it
would not have died. In other words, once a creature is dying, it can
only be saved by actually regenerating that particular creature.
[WotC Rules Team 06/01/97]
+ You cannot regenerate a creature which is not dying. Regeneration replaces
the creature's destruction with a regeneration, so it cannot be used
unless there is a creature being destroyed.
+ If by some chance a regeneration resolves when the creature is not dying,
the spell "fails" but does not fizzle. For example, if your Debt of
Loyalty on your opponent's creature is Forked to point at the same
creature, the Forked one regenerates it and causes the control effect,
then your spell resolves and fails to regenerated but it still gives you
control of the creature. [bethmo 06/20/97]
+ If a regeneration ability is countered, you cannot use that same ability
again for that creature's death, but you can use other regeneration
spells/abilities. For example, if a Clay Statue's built-in regeneration
is Rusted, you cannot use its built in ability again, but you can use
Death Ward. [Aahz 07/03/97] This is because each specialized ability
can only be used once per time it is usable.

Removed from the Game:
If a creature is "removed from the game" by some effect, it cannot be
regenerated from this. Also, all enchantments on the creature are put in
the graveyard just like they would be if the creature were destroyed.
Any player can look through the cards in the "out of the game" pile
at any time. [Mirage Page 60]

Resolving Spells and Effects:
Spells always resolve as completely as possible. A spell that says "Do one
thing. Do another" or one that says "Do one thing and do another" will
do both parts even if one part fails (see the next entry for the exception
to this rule). [Duelist Magazine #5, Page 22]
Spells that say "Do one thing to do another" do the first thing during
announcement and as a cost, regardless of what that thing is. The rest of
the text is the effect. [Duelist Magazine #11, Page 56]
Effects will try to keep doing their thing for their full duration (which
may be permanent). They do not continue to check if their target is
legal after they resolve. If the target of the effect becomes illegal,
the effect still continues. [Mirage Page 34] For example, if you steal
a card with Aladdin or Seasinger, you do not lose control of the card if
it stops being an artifact or creature (as appropriate).
If the effect itself makes no sense when applied to the target, then the
effect becomes dormant until it can take affect again. [Mirage Page 34]
For example, if a creature has Giant Growth cast on it and then stops
being a creature, the +3/+3 will remain dormant until either the end of
turn (it's duration) or in case the card becomes a creature again.
Note that the Mirage rulebook on page 34 uses the term "target is illegal"
instead of "effect cannot be applied to the target". This is an error.
[Aahz 10/22/96]

Responding to a spell/ability means to add a spell/ability to the batch the
one you are responding to is in. See the major "Spell and Ability Timing"
section for more information.

Rounding down means to drop the fractional part. Rounding up means to
add one if there is a fractional part, and then drop the fractional part.
[bethmo 05/30/94]

A sacrifice is a burial of a permanent which is usually done as a cost.
Sacrifices cannot be prevented by any means. [Mirage Page 33]
You can only sacrifice things that you control. [Mirage Page 26]
When done as a cost, the sacrifice happens during the announcing of the
appropriate spell or ability. You do not get the permanent back if the
spell/ability is countered or otherwise prevented. [Mirage Page 26]
There are a few spells/abilities which have you sacrifice something during
resolution. These sacrifices are still unpreventable. [D'Angelo 10/15/96]
A given permanent cannot be sacrificed more than once. [Mirage Page 26]
This makes sense when you think that you cannot pay the same mana point
to power more than one spell.
Sacrificing is not a targeted effect. So Protection from Color or any other
anti-targeting ability will not protect a creature from a sacrifice.
[bethmo 10/03/96]
A permanent can sacrifice itself to itself as part of an ability (if it is
of the proper type) unless prevented by some card text or other means.
[Duelist Magazine #5, Page 123]
Some older cards had you sacrifice a card in your hand. All such cards have
errata changing these sacrifices into discards. [WotC Rules Team 05/10/95]
The Antiquities expansion used the text "choose one of your artifacts in
play and place it in the graveyard" to mean a sacrifice. [bethmo]
Any Limited/Unlimited/Arabian Nights/Antiquities card which destroys
itself when used is considered to sacrifice itself.
[WotC Rules Team 01/29/94]
You can sacrifice something even if it is tapped or has just entered play.
There is no summoning sickness or "turning off" for sacrifices.
[D'Angelo 07/05/95]
You may not even attempt to regenerate a sacrificed creature.
[WotC Rules Team 12/03/96] This is irregardless if the sacrifice is a
cost or effect. [Aahz 11/08/96]

Very few things in Magic are simultaneous, meaning "happening as an
indivisible and unordered action". While many things are indivisible,
they are usually broken up into steps which are taken in order.
Be careful with the use of this term. The rulings summaries try to use
this term only when it applies.
If something is to be done simultaneously with something else and both
things have decisions to be made, all decisions are made before you do
anything. Then you do all the simultaneous actions. For example, untap
is simultaneous, but you may need to decide what to untap. If so, you
do so before untapping anything. This way, the untapping of any one
thing (or more generally, any part of a simultaneous action) cannot
affect any of the others. [D'Angelo 08/01/96]
It is possible for several permanents to enter or leave play simultaneously.
For example, Wrath of God's resolution will destroy all creatures at once.
And a number of creatures can phase in at once. [D'Angelo 12/31/96]
If more than one card enters play simultaenously, then the order in which
the effects of those cards are applied to play needs to be determined.
Note that calculating this order for effects does _not_ mean that the
cards actually entered play in any order. They entered play
simultaneously, but their effects must have an order. The order for the
effects entering play is determined by the following rules. When multiple
cards enter play, the active player decides the order in which their
effects enter play. All enchantments on a card will have their effects
enter play after the main card but before any other cards. The local
enchantments are considered to enter play after the card they are on, and
in the same order (relative to each other) that they originally entered
play. Enchantments on those enchantments follow the enchantment they are
on and precede any other enchantments. For example, a Sandbar Crocodile
is phased out with Flight and Earthbind on it (cast in that order).
Feedback is on the Flight. When it phases in, the Crocodile's effects
are considered to enter play first, then Flight's effect, then Feedback's
effect (since it is on the Flight), then Earthbind's effect.
[Aahz 12/04/96]

Snow-Covered Lands:
Think of "snow-covered" as another adjective about a card, like color or
artifactness. For example, a land can be a basic Plains and be animated,
snow-covered, artifact, and blue all at once.
Snow-Covered lands are treated like non-Snow-Covered lands of the same
type. Being snow-covered does not stop a land from being a basic land.
[Mirage Page 62] The Ice Age rulebook says "Snow-covered lands are
considered basic lands." What this means is that the cards named
"Snow-covered XXXX" are considered to be basic XXXX cards.
[D'Angelo 06/08/95] The Mirage rule is a bit clearer.
They are considered to be of the proper basic land type. Anything which
affects Plains will affect a Snow-Covered Plains. Forestwalk will work
on a Snow-Covered Forest. [Duelist Magazine #6, Page 132] Land Tax and
other cards that look for basic lands also work on them.
[Duelist Magazine #7, Page 8]
Effects that change a land type, like Phantasmal Terrain, cannot give a
land Snow-Covered nature or take it away. [Mirage Page 62] If you change
a Snow-Covered Forest to a Mountain with Phantasmal Terrain, then it is a
Snow-Covered Mountain.
Cards which require Snow-Covered lands only work on such lands. Ones that
only require a land type work whether or not it is Snow-Covered.
[Duelist Magazine #6, Page 132]
Cards which look for a kind of landwalk work whether or not the landwalk
is more specific or not. For example, an effect that targets a creature
with IslandWalk will work on one with Snow-Covered IslandWalk.
[Duelist Magazine #8, Page 51]
If you manage to make a non-basic land gain the snow-covered attribute, it
does not become a basic land. [Duelist Magazine #7, Page 8]
Cards which ask you to specifically name a card, such as Nebuchadnezzar,
do not see "Swamp" and "Snow-Covered Swamp" as the same name. They are
distinctly named cards. [D'Angelo 01/07/96]
Another way to evolve the rules for Snow-Covered lands is to compare them
to creatures. The land "Snow-Covered Swamp" is of 'land type' "Swamp" and
it has the 'ability' "Snow-Covered". Compare this to a creature
"Whatumacallit" of 'summon type' "Thingy" and the ability "Flying". If a
spell affected all Thingies (Swamps), you would not care if it was
Flying (Snow-Covered) or not. If it affected all "Flying Thingies" (Snow-
Covered Swamps), you would not consider non-Flyers an option.
[D'Angelo 01/13/97]

Successfully Cast:
A spell is considered successfully cast once it leaves step 2 of its life
cycle. See the "Life-Cycle of a Spell or Ability" entry in the Spell and
Ability Timing section for more information.

Summoning Sickness:
Creatures cannot attack (or be tapped for a special ability of their own)
unless that creature's card or token has been in play on your side since
the beginning of your most recent turn. [Mirage Page 14] This includes
all possible ways of getting creatures: Summon, Animate, Resurrect, Living
Lands, Control Magic, etc.
If a card or token starts your turn in play on your side, leaves your
side and then returns in the same turn, and it is a creature, you cannot
use it. It must wait until it begins your turn in play on your side
again. [Mirage Page 28]
It does not matter whether the creature was a creature at the start of your
most recent turn. It only matters if you have controlled its permanent
since then. This means you can animate a land or artifact and whether or
not it has summoning sickness depends on how long you've controlled it.
[Mirage Page 14]
If a non-creature is tapped for an ability on the turn it enters play and
is animated so that it is a creature at some time before the ability
resolves, the effect will not fizzle. [D'Angelo 06/07/95]
All permanents get summoning sickness when they come under your control.
Some cards allow you ignore the effects of summoning sickness, but none
remove it entirely. So for example, a creature which just entered play
but can ignore summoning sickness is immune to Siren's Call.
[Aahz 12/07/96]
Creatures with summoning sickness can be tapped by spells or by the
abilities of permanents other than their own. For example, Veteran's
Voice and Icy Manipulator can be used to tap a creature which has
summoning sickness. [D'Angelo 12/18/96]

Tap and Hold Abilities:
Abilities for which you tap the card, and the effects last as long as the
card is tapped are called 'tap and hold effects'.
This is a kind of duration effect. See "Duration Effect" in the Spell and
Ability Timing section for more information.
Although these cards only say "as long as it remains tapped", it also
means "and is in play". [WotC Rules Team 02/06/96] A card which is not
in play cannot be still tapped. A similar rule applies to "as long
as you control" effects; these wear off if the source of the effect leaves
play. [WotC Rules Team 02/06/96]
The effect lasts until the card is untapped. This is similar to a normal
time duration effect such as "until end of turn", but is "until the
card which generated the effect is untapped or leaves play".
[D'Angelo 09/12/95]
If the card untaps before the tap and hold ability actually resolves, the
tap and hold effect ends immediately after the ability resolves. This
means that the full effect takes place then stops immediately thereafter
causing anything that happens when the effect ends to happen.
[Duelist Magazine #9, Page 60]
The effect continues even if the card loses its abilities (which is possible
if an artifact is animated by Titania's Song or a land changes type by
Phantasmal Terrain). It only ends if the card untaps or leaves play.
[D'Angelo 09/12/95]
If one of these cards or its target leaves play temporarily by phasing out
or by entering an Oubliette or Tawnos's Coffin, the effect will end and
will not restart when it re-enters play. [D'Angelo 10/15/96]

Tapping a Permanent:
Tapping a permanent with an effect will never trigger any ability on that
permanent which has tapping as part of the activation cost.
You can use a tap effect on an tapped card. The effect does not
"fizzle", but it does "fail" to do anything.
[Duelist Magazine #5, Page 23]
You cannot tap a tapped card as part of a cost. Costs must be successfully
done and cannot be faked. [D'Angelo 12/23/96]

Some old spells/abilities let you pick a "target" and did not say what kind
of target. This was shorthand for "target creature or player".

Targeting--Announcing and Resolving:
You may not announce a targeted spell or ability unless it is aimed at a
legal target. [Mirage Page 33]
You may not announce a targeted spell declaring an illegal target with
the intent to use an interrupt afterward to somehow make the target
legal. [Mirage Page 33]
If a spell/ability has you pick multiple targets, you may not pick the same
target more than once. There is an implied "multiple different targets".
[Mirage Page 33] But if the spell or ability has you pick a single target
at one time and again has you pick a target later, you can pick the same
target. [Mirage Page 58]
Spells which target "all" of something can be played even if there is
none of the somethings available. For example, you can use Flashfires
even if no Plains are in play. This is because the spell does not require
a target to act upon. It just does something.
Some spells are modal in their targeting. See the "Modal Effects" entry
for more information.
In addition to having a valid target when announced, a spell or ability must
have a valid target when resolved. If the target is not valid when
the spell or ability would resolve, then it fizzles. [Mirage Page 34]
Note that it only checks validity on announcement and on resolution and
not continuously in between. [Mirage Page 34]
If a spell has multiple targets and one of the targets becomes illegal,
only that one portion of the spell fizzles out. The rest of the
targets are affected normally. [Mirage Page 34] For example, if a
Fireball is used on 3 targets and one is Unsummoned, the damage is still
spread between the 3 targets with one target's damage fizzling out.
If all the targeted parts of a spell fizzle, then the untargeted parts will
not take effect, and the spell as a whole is said to fizzle.
[Mirage Page 34] For example, Crumble targets an artifact to be buried
and has an untargeted gaining of life. If the target becomes invalid and
the spell fizzles then no life will be given.
Note that some cards target something which is used in the cost, for
example "tap target creature to do ...". In this case, the target only
needs to be legal at the time the cost is paid and not on resolution as
well. [Duelist Magazine #13, Page 26] This rule applies to all ways that
costs can do something to a card.
There are many ways to make a target illegal before resolution. The
most common way is for the target to be destroyed, unsummoned, or
otherwise removed from play prior to resolution. Other requirements
on the targeting may be invalidated due to adding Protection to a target
creature, or through the use of interrupts to change the color or wording
of the spell or target.
Spells can be modified between being announced and being successfully cast.
If something about the targeting makes the target choice illegal at that
time then the spell will fizzle. Effects have all their attributes
set on announcement and even text changes to the source card cannot make
the effect fizzle. It remembers what the text said when it was
announced. [Mirage Page 26]
Some permanents have you pick a target when they are played. This target
choice stays with the permanent and cannot be changed. [Mirage Page 35]
For example, Kismet and Black Vise both target a player when played. The
choice of player is made on casting and does not change later.
If a card reads "a xxx" or "any xxx" it means "any one xxx in play, no
matter who it belongs to." [bethmo]
If a card requires a target when played, then it requires a target in all
ways in which it can be brought into play. [Aahz 02/16/97] For example,
you cannot Eureka an Enchant Creature into play without a creature to
target, nor can you put Clone in for the same reason.
See "Resolving Spells and Abilities" for more information on what happens on

Targeting--Is Something Targeted:
New cards are clear as to when something is targeted (it will use the word
'target' on the card), but older cards were not so clear.
All local enchantments target the thing they are played on.
Choosing defenders is not a choice that makes something a targeted spell or
ability. Hence abilities which affect creatures "blocking" or "blocked by"
a creature are not targeted and are not stopped by Protection from Color.
For example, a Green Ward will not save a creature from being destroyed by
the Thicket Basilisk. [WotC Rules Team 02/07/94]
Combat damage and effects are not targeted. This means that the Basilisk
gaze, Battering Ram ability, Aisling Leprechaun, and others are not
targeted abilities and will therefore not be prevented by Protection from
Color or other "you can't target me" effects.
Any spell or permanent that affects itself does so in a non-targeted way.
[D'Angelo 05/19/95] Although some targeted spells and abilities can be
aimed at the permanent that generated the effect. If this happens, it is
still a targeted spell/ability.
Spells/abilties which affect a card which is in the graveyard are targeted.
[Duelist Magazine #5, Page 123]
Enchantments on a permanent target the permanent (as a spell) when cast and
continue to target it (as a permanent) while in play. The abilities of
enchantments generally do not target the card they are on, however.
For example, Firebreathing's effect does not target the creature to give
it +1/+0 and Regeneration does not target the creature when it is used.
[WotC Rules Team 02/09/95]
Damage prevention cards almost never say they are targeted, but they target
damage "packets".
When deciding if an older spell/ability targets a something or if it is a
general spell/ability, just ask if the player using the spell/ability at
any time chooses something to be affected. If no choice is made, then it
is a general spell/ability, if at least once a card or target must be
specified, then it is a targeted spell/ability. [bethmo]

Targeting--Valid Targets:
Damage prevention spells usually target the damage and not the source of
the damage or even the creature or player with damage on it.
[Mirage Page 44]
You may target a spell/ability which removes an ability at a permanent
without that ability. It just does nothing.
[Duelist Magazine #5, Page 23]
You may target a tapping spell/ability at a tapped card or an untapping
spell/ability at an untapped card unless the card says it targets a tapped
or untapped permanent. [Duelist Magazine #5, Page 22]
Spells that target "attacking" or "defending" creatures may only be used
during an attack and only if there is an appropriate creature to target.
You cannot target a spell which will become a permanent with a spell/ability
that targets a permanent until the permanent resolves. Prior to it
resolving, it is just a spell.

Token Creatures:
Token creatures are in all ways like card creatures, except they are not
cards. [Mirage Page 23] Some older spells/ability which target "cards"
instead of "permanents" cannot target token creatures.
The color and creature type of token creatures is set by the spell or
ability which created them. The token name and creature type name are the
same (unless overridden). [Mirage Page 23] Tokens do not inherit the
color of the spell/ability that made them.
Token creatures are removed from the game entirely if they are ever removed
from play. [Mirage Page 24] This happens as a continuous effect, which
means it happens during the resolution of whatever effect removes it from
play, so the token will be gone before triggered abilities happen.
[D'Angelo 10/15/96] Removal from play means sending to hand, library,
graveyard, phasing out, and so on.
Before leaving the game token creature actually do go to the graveyard or
other out-of-play zone very briefly. Trips to the graveyard can be used
by Soul Net and other cards. [Mirage Page 24] This means that abilities
which triggering off them leaving play to the appropriate place do
Token creature are considered to have a zero casting cost. [Mirage Page 23]
Note that this is true even if a cost was paid to generate the token
creature (i.e. a Wasp from the Hive).
A Clone (or other copy card) used on a token creature is a card and not a
token, so the copy ignores the rules about token creatures which appear
on some cards as reminder text. Token creatures, such as the ones the
Tetravus makes, may have rules on them and those are copied.
Token creatures are not considered to have expansion symbols on them so
they ignore "expansion killer" cards like City in a Bottle or
Golgothian Sylex.
The 'owner' of the token is the player that played the spell/ability that
brought the token into play. [Aahz 06/08/95] This is true even if the
spell/ability brings the token into play under another player's control.
[Bethmo 05/16/96]

Trample is an ability that allows an attacking creature to do damage to the
defending player even when blocked. All it has to do is overcome the
Any successfully dealt trample damage (when added to other damage on the
creature) in excess of a blocker's toughness is redirected to the
defending player (and causes a second damage prevention step).
[Mirage Page 18] Remember that there is a chance to prevent or redirect
damage prior to the damage becoming successfully dealt. See "Damage
Prevention" in the "Spell and Ability Timing" section for details on
exactly when this happens.
When determining how much excess Trample damage goes through when there is
a mix of Trample and non-Trample damage are involved, non-Trample damage
is applied first, and Trample damage applied is applied afterwards.
[Mirage Page 19]
If by the time damage dealing comes around, a trample creature has no
blockers or all the blockers are unable to receive damage, all of the
trample damage is delivered directly to the defending player.
[Mirage Page 18]
Remember that if more than one blocker is blocking a creature that the
damage from that creature may be divided up among the blockers in any way.
You may put all of it on one blocker (even if it exceeds the blocker's
toughness) or you can spread it around. Normally, the attacking player
divides the damage among the blockers, but if a blocker has banding, the
defending player does so.
See "Damage Prevention" and "Damage Redirection" for more information.
Defenders do not get to use Trample ability. Only attackers.
Damage loses its Trample nature when redirected. [D'Angelo 01/06/96]
Whippoorwill, which prevents redirection, will not prevent Trample damage
from passing through. [Aahz 11/07/96]

Untap Cost:
Follow the same timing rules as Phase Costs but differ in other ways.
[Mirage Page 47] See "Phase Cost" for more information.
You are not required to pay untap costs. [Mirage Page 47]
If you have a way to untap the card with a spell/ability (such as Instill
Energy), you do not also have to pay the untap cost.
[Duelist Magazine #3, Page 15]
Untap costs which are not used at the end of a phase, may be used more
than once if desired. [Mirage Page 47] For example, a creature with
Paralyze on it may be untapped any number of times during Upkeep as long
as you can keep paying the 4 mana.
Must pay the entire untap cost on a creature or none of it. For example,
if an Island Fish Jasconius had two Paralyze spells on it, you would have
to pay the three blue mana plus 8 mana of any color to untap it.
[Duelist Magazine #7, Page 98]

Untapping a Permanent:
Untapping a permanent does not undo the effects of that card; it merely
makes the card available to be used again. [bethmo]
You can use an untap spell/ability on an untapped card. The spell/ability
does not "fizzle", but it does "fail" to do anything.
[Duelist Magazine #5, Page 23]
An external effect which untaps the card, such as Jandor's Saddlebags,
Twiddle or Instill Energy is not cumulative with untap costs. They just
untap the card. [Duelist Magazine #7, Page 98]
You cannot untap an untapped card as part of a cost. Costs must be
successfully done and cannot be faked. [D'Angelo 12/23/96]

Upkeep Cost:
See Phase Cost.

Walls are in all senses creatures. They are affected by any spell or
ability which affects creatures (including Paralyze, Terror, Creature
Bond, and so on). [Mirage Page 13]
Walls cannot attack even if power is greater than zero. If Animate Wall
is used on them, they may attack even if power is zero.
Creatures which say "Counts as a wall" are Walls.

X Cost:
If there is an 'X' in the cost, consider the amount paid in 'X' to be
part of the cost during casting, but to be zero at all other times.
[Mirage Page 31]
Spells with an X cost can legally be cast with zero as the X, unless
otherwise stated on the card.
Spells with an X cost are declared when they are cast as to how much mana
is in them. This amount cannot be increased or decreased after it is
If more than one X is in the cost, both Xs must be the same. In fact, all
Xs on the card are considered to have the same value.
[Duelist Magazine #13, Page 27]

There are 9 zones in Magic. Each player has their own version of each zone.
The zones are: Hand, Graveyard, Library, Territory, Out of Game, Out of
Play, Set Aside, Ante, and Limbo.
If a card moves from one zone to another, it forgets everything about what
it was doing and any effects which were upon the card lose track of it.
[Mirage Page 58] The only effects that can track are ones that
specifically do track certain transitions (i.e. from play to the
Each player has their own hand, graveyard, and library zones. The "in play"
or Territory zone is shared by both players.
[Duelist Magazine #18, Page 55]
If more than one card is moved from one zone to another by a single effect,
all those cards move simultaneously. If the target zone requires some
sort of ordering (as with the graveyard and library), the controller of
that zone decides in what order to place the cards.
[Duelist Magazine #18, Page 55]
An ability that triggers on something going from one zone to another is not
resolved until after the something gets to its target zone.
[Mirage Page 60]
The Hand, Library, Graveyard, Ante, and Out of Game zones are fairly
The Territory is also known as your "in play" area. Tokens cannot exist
outside of this zone. [Mirage Page 59]
An Out of Play card is one that is not in play but is expected to return to
play at some time. Cards in this zone can be examined only if the card
could have been examined while it was in play. [Mirage Page 59] This
usually only applies to permanents. In some cases, as with Phasing, the
card may even keep counters and enchantments.
Some effects have cards "Set Aside". These cards are commonly put under
or near other cards which are in play, but these cards are not in play.
[Mirage Page 59] Cards that are set aside may only be viewed if the
effect that puts them there makes them face-up.
Limbo is the place where spells that have been announced but are not yet
resolved are. Such cards are not in your hand, in play or in the
graveyard. [Mirage Page 59] Cards in this zone break one of the basic
rules of zones. They can enter and leave this zone and carry changes
with them. Normally zone changes clear a card's "memory".

Tournament Rulings

Most tournaments are now being played as per the most recent card texts.
This means you play all cards as if they read like the most recent English
language version of the card (plus errata).
+ All cards are played according to the text on the most recent edition of the
card plus any errata. [Tourney Rules 10/01/96] This is true even if the
most recent edition is not actually being used in the tournament. For
example, Cloak of Confusion as printed in Fifth Edition would be the
text played in an Ice Age/Homelands/Alliances tourney. [Aahz 07/13/97]
+ You can play cards from older or newer printings/expansions which bear the
same name as a card which is allowed in the tournament format. Note
that the "most recent text" rule applies. [Aahz 07/13/97]
Non-English language cards are to be played by the most recent English
language version of that card. Translational errors are avoided in this
way. [Tourney Rules 10/01/96] For misprinted cards with the wrong art,
the card is played according the title and text. The art is unimportant.
[D'Angelo 03/17/97]
Mixed language decks can be played. [Aahz 07/09/95]
If during tournament play, a player forgets to deal with upkeep prior to
drawing their card, the upkeep is considered as if the player chose not
to pay it. [Aahz 08/12/96] This is a fix put in place to stop people
from purposely "forgetting" to pay upkeeps until they see what's going
on. The rules actually require that a player who forgets something should
go back and deal with it, but if that rule appears to be bent by a
player's actions, this rule should be used instead. Try giving a player
a warning or two before going full force on this one.

Floor Rules:
Fifth Edition rules become the standard rules as of November 8, 1996.
[Update 10/01/96]
Decision of the judge is final. This is true even if the judge turns out
later to have made an incorrect ruling. [Tourney Rules 10/01/96]
All tournaments are single elimination, double elimination, round-robin,
or Swiss draw format with each round consisting of up to 3 duels during
a fixed time limit. A win gets 3 points and a draw gets 1 point. A bye
gives a player 6 points. [Tourney Rules 10/01/95]
Players cannot change the contents of their deck and sideboard throughout
the entire tournament, but cards can be rotated between the deck and
sideboard between games. The sideboard (if used at all) must always have
exactly 15 cards (except in Sealed Deck tournaments).
Players may not play for ante. [Tourney Rules 10/01/96]
If a player draws all land or no land in the initial 7 cards, they can
call a 'mulligan' and reshuffle, recut, and draw again. If a player does
this, the opponent has the option of doing so as well. Each player is
allowed to use this rule once per duel. [Tourney Rules 10/01/96]
Card sleeves are allowed on cards, but the judge or opponent in a specific
duel may request that they be removed. If this is requested, it must
be complied with. If sleeves are used, all cards in the deck, library and
sideboard must be identically wrapped. If holograms are on the sleeves,
they must be on the face (not the back) of the cards. Players can ask the
judge to inspect the sleeves and can disallow them if they are obviously
marked, worn, or in a poor condition that may interfere with shuffling.
[Tourney Rules 10/01/96]
Black-backed sleeves are allowed but are subject to the normal sleeve
removal rule. The deck must be fully legal without the sleeves.
[DCI Letter Jan 1997]
You can always use a card sleeve as a reminder when placing one of your
cards in your opponent's territory.
Using "proxy" cards is not allowed. [Tourney Rules 10/01/96]
If a deck contains Alpha printing cards, it must consist entirely of them.
You should also inform the judge that your deck is so constructed.
[Tourney Rules 10/01/96]
A time limit of 45 or more minutes may be placed on a round other than the
semi-final or final rounds. A 10 minute warning should be given. The
duel is over when the time is called, except the current player has 60
seconds to finish their turn. The turn is considered started if they
had already untapped all their cards. [Tourney Rules 10/01/95]
A time limit may be placed on the final rounds, but it is strongly
recommended that the judge not do so. [Aahz 01/14/97]
The head judge may terminate a match early. If this is done, at least a 30
minute warning must be given. It a game is terminated this way, the
judge will give the player who is currently in the middle of their turn
a fixed amount of time to finish it. [Tourney Rules 10/01/96]
If time runs out before all the games in the match are completed, the player
who won the most games wins the match. If time runs out during a game,
neither player is considered the winner of that game. If neither player
won more games than the other, the match is a draw. If the tournament is
an elimination tournament where a player must advance, the judge should
declare the player with the higher life total the winner.
Players can look through their sideboards during play. [bethmo 07/18/95]
After whatever normal shuffling you do, you are required to do three "riffle
shuffles" (this is the standard shuffle technique of dividing the deck in
half and then placing the ends of the two halves together and rapidly
interleaving them as the fall together). [Tourney Rules 10/01/96]
Your opponent is always entitled to shuffle your deck before each duel
begins if they want to. They get the right to a final shuffle if they
want it. [Mirage Page 46] This is to prevent people from possibly
stacking the deck. Usually people just settle for "cutting the deck".
Your opponent is always entitled to shuffle or cut your deck after any
shuffle during a game. They may not use this opportunity to view cards
in your deck. [Tourney Rules 10/01/96]
As per the game rules, the first player each game skips their draw phase.
The winner of the coin toss before the each match decides if they want
to play first or to draw first. [Mirage Page 46]
You are not allowed to waive any penalties imposed by the judge on your
opponent. Violation of the floor rules must be enforced.
[Update 10/01/96]
Players are allowed only 5 minutes prior to each duel to do sideboarding,
deck shuffling and shuffling/cutting of opponent's deck. Violation of
this rule is considered stalling and may result in a warning or
disqualification as decided by the judge. The judge may alter this time
limit (usually lowering it) but if so, this must be advertised prior to
the tournament. [Update 10/01/96]
Players in a tournament environment that withdraw before the first match
will receive a loss for that match and the opponent will receive a win.
Players may withdraw between matches without penalty. To withdraw, the
proper official must be notified prior to the pairings being assigned for
the next round. Failure to do so, such as just wandering out of the
tournament area, will result in a loss of the next round for failing to
show up. [Update 04/01/97]

Other Regulations:
In a strict tournament, there are some additional rules that get enforced.
If the tournament requires deck registration, any player discovered with a
deck that does not match the registration forfeits a game.
[Duelist Magazine #14, Page 52]
If a player is found with an illegal deck (as with less than 60 cards),
they forfeit the match, and may even be upgraded to ejection from the
tournament. [Duelist Magazine #14, Page 52] Ejection is normal in games
which do not have registered decks so it cannot be determined where
the deck became illegal. [Aahz 01/14/97]
If you "forget" to pay upkeep before drawing your card or otherwise
proceeding, you must go back and deal with all mandatory upkeep effects,
but optional ones are all considered to go unpaid (with the stated
results). [Duelist Magazine #14, Page 52]
Be sure to collect your cards after each game. Losing cards to another
player may cause your deck to be misregistered or fall below the 60 card
minimum. If such a mistake is discovered, both players forfeit a game.
[Duelist Magazine #14, Page 52]
Players may be required by the judge to record deck contents, including
changes to the deck from the sideboard. [Tourney Rules 10/01/96]
If a player leaves a Pro-Tour event without checking out, they are banned
from the next equivalent event. [Duelist Magazine #14, Page 52]
Being caught cheating will automatically cause disqualification. Cheating
includes (but is not limited to): receiving outside assistance or
coaching, scouting other player's cards, underpaying mana, using marked
cards, marking cards during play, drawing extra cards, manipulating which
cards are drawn from your (or your opponent's) deck (including stacking a
deck to separate land and spell cards), arranging cards in a deck to
manipulate card draw, and deliberately stalling to take advantage of a
time limit. [Tourney Rules 10/01/96]
Players must take their turns in a timely fashion. Deliberately stalling
is not allowed and can give you a warning. Failure to begin a match in
a timely way in order to get a psychological advantage is grounds for
disqualification. [Tourney Rules 10/01/96]
Unsportsman-like conduct is not allowed. Profanity and arguing or acting
belligerently toward a tournament official will give a warning. Repeat
offenses will result in disqualification. [Tourney Rules 10/01/96]
Collusion to alter the results of a duel or match (meaning trying to get
someone to throw a game or match) is considered unsportsman-like conduct.
[Tourney Rules 10/01/96]
Both players may agree to call a match a draw before the start of the first
duel of that match. This is called the "Intentional Draw" rule. This
rule does not apply to individual games. This is not considered to break
any other rules. It cannot be declared during or just after a duel.
[Tourney Rules 04/01/97]
Players must keep the cards in their hand above the table. First violation
is a warning and the second may result in disqualification.
[Tourney Rules 10/01/96]
Wizards of the Coast reserves the right to publish deck contents as well as
transcripts or video of any sanctioned tournament.
[Tourney Rules 10/01/96]
Use of counterfeit cards in decks is considered cheating and is subject to
legal action as well. [DCI Letter, Jan 1997]
A player can always request that a judge check the opponent's deck to see
that it only contains legal and genuine Magic cards.
[DCI Letter, Jan 1997]

Classic Tournaments:
This is also called "Type I" tournament style.
Can be composed of cards from any edition or expansion of Magic (unless the
judge says otherwise). Collector's Edition cards are not allowed.
Promotional cards are allowed. The poker cards are not allowed (despite
the April Fools article in the Duelist).
Portal cards are not allowed unless they have the same name as a legal card.
In this case, they play as the legal card text and not the Portal card
text. [Duelist Magazine #18, Page 44]
New card sets become effective on the first day of the month following their
introduction. If a set is relesed in the last two weeks of a month, then
the set's effective date is pushed out to the first of the second month.
For example, a set released on January 8th is legal on February 1st, and
one released on January 25th is legal on March 1st. [Update 05/01/97]
Minimum of 60 cards in a deck.
Optional 'sideboard'. If you have one, it must be exactly 15 cards.
No more than 4 of any card which is not a basic land can be in the
combination of deck and sideboard. Cards with different art or in
different languages or from different prints but which are the same card
are considered the same.
+ Some cards are 'restricted' so that only one may appear in the combination
of deck and sideboard. These cards are:
[Tourney Rules 10/01/96] [Update 06/01/97]
Ancestral Recall Feldon's Cane Mox Sapphire
Balance Fork Mox Jet
Berserk Ivory Tower Recall
Black Lotus Library of Alexandria Regrowth
Black Vise Maze of Ith Sol Ring
Braingeyser Mirror Universe Timetwister
Candelabra of Tawnos Mishra's Workshop Time Walk
Copy Artifact Mox Emerald Underworld Dreams
Demonic Tutor Mox Pearl Wheel of Fortune
Fastbond Mox Ruby Zuran Orb
Some cards are 'banned' so that none may appear in the deck or sideboard.
These cards are: [Tourney Rules 10/01/96]
Amulet of Quoz Darkpact Mind Twist
Bronze Tablet Demonic Attorney Rebirth
Channel Divine Intervention Shahrazhad
Chaos Orb Falling Star Tempest Efreet
Contract from Below Jeweled Bird Timmerian Fiends
Ring of Ma'Ruf can only bring in cards from the sideboard or ones that were
removed from the game by an effect such as Swords to Plowshares.

Standard Tournaments:
This is also called "Type II" tournament style.
+ Can be composed of cards from the most recent edition of The Gathering
(currently Fifth Edition) and all sets from the two most recent "blocks"
of expansions (currently Ice Age-Homelands-Alliances, and
Mirage-Visions-Weatherlight). A "block" is a stand-alone set and the two
expansion sets which follow it. This means that cards stay in use for
approximately two years. The Ice Age-Homelands-Alliances "block" will
rotate out (all three sets) when the next stand-alone is introduced.
[Update 05/01/97]
Portal cards are not allowed unless they have the same name as a legal card.
In this case, they play as the legal card text and not the Portal card
text. [Duelist Magazine #18, Page 44]
The policy for removal of sets is that each new edition of the base set
will replace the previous one 30 days after release of the new base set.
A new standalone set will replace the previous standalone set. A new
limited expansion will replace the oldest limited expansion over 10 months
old. [Update 10/01/96]
Cards from previous editions or expansions which are in the current one
are allowed. Collector's Edition and promo cards (which do not appear
in a currently allowed set) are not allowed.
New card sets become effective on the first day of the month following their
introduction. If a set is relesed in the last two weeks of a month, then
the set's effective date is pushed out to the first of the second month.
For example, a set released on January 8th is legal on February 1st, and
one released on January 25th is legal on March 1st. [Update 05/01/97]
Minimum of 60 cards in a deck.
Optional 'sideboard'. If you have one, it must be exactly 15 cards.
No more than 4 of any card which is not a basic land can be in the
combination of deck and sideboard. Cards with different art or in
different languages or from different prints but which are the same card
are considered the same.
+ The following cards are 'banned' (so that none may appear in the deck or
sideboard cards): [Update 05/01/97]
Amulet of Quoz (IA) Timmerian Fiends (HL) Zuran Orb (IA)
There is no 'restricted' list any more. [Tourney Rules Update 12/01/96]
+ Snow-covered lands are legal again.

Classic-Restricted Tournaments:
This is also called "Type 1.5".
Can be composed of cards from any edition or expansion of Magic (unless the
judge says otherwise). Collector's Edition cards are not allowed.
Promotional cards are allowed. The poker cards are not allowed (despite
the April Fools article in the Duelist).
Portal cards are not allowed unless they have the same name as a legal card.
In this case, they play as the legal card text and not the Portal card
text. [Duelist Magazine #18, Page 44]
New card sets become effective on the first day of the month following their
introduction. If a set is relesed in the last two weeks of a month, then
the set's effective date is pushed out to the first of the second month.
For example, a set released on January 8th is legal on February 1st, and
one released on January 25th is legal on March 1st. [Update 05/01/97]
Minimum of 60 cards in a deck.
Optional 'sideboard'. If you have one, it must be exactly 15 cards.
No more than 4 of any card which is not a basic land can be in the
combination of deck and sideboard. Cards with different art or in
different languages or from different prints but which are the same card
are considered the same.
There is no restricted list.
It used to be that all cards banned or restricted for Type I or Type II were
banned in this tournament type. Now a list is kept.
Some cards are 'banned' so that none may appear in the deck or sideboard.
These cards are: [Tourney Rules 03/01/97]
Amulet of Quoz Falling Star Rebirth
Ancestral Recall Fastbond Recall
Balance Feldon's Cane Regrowth
Berserk Fork Shahrazad
Black Lotus Ivory Tower Sol Ring
Black Vise Jeweled Bird Strip Mine
Braingeyser Library of Alexandria Tempest Efreet
Bronze Tablet Maze of Ith Time Walk
Candelabra of Tawnos Mind Twist Timetwister
Channel Mirror Universe Timmerian Fiends
Chaos Orb Mishra's Workshop Underworld Dreams
Contract From Below Mox Emerald Wheel of Fortune
Copy Artifact Mox Jet Zuran Orb
Darkpact Mox Pearl
Demonic Attorney Mox Ruby
Demonic Tutor Mox Sapphire
Divine Intervention

Extended Tournaments:
This is sometimes called "Type 1.75" tournaments, but the DCI is refraining
from giving this type an official number.
This format comes into effect on 07/01/97.
The DCI originally released this tournament format on 05/01/97 as a
replacement for Classic-Restricted but decided on 06/01/97 to change this
decision and support both formats.
Can be composed of cards from any edition of the basic set from Revised
Edition on (includes Chronicles) plus any expansion of Magic from The Dark
on. Collector's Edition cards are not allowed. Promotional cards are
allowed. The poker cards are not allowed (despite the April Fools article
in the Duelist).
Portal cards are not allowed unless they have the same name as a legal card.
In this case, they play as the legal card text and not the Portal card
text. [Duelist Magazine #18, Page 44]
New card sets become effective on the first day of the month following their
introduction. If a set is relesed in the last two weeks of a month, then
the set's effective date is pushed out to the first of the second month.
For example, a set released on January 8th is legal on February 1st, and
one released on January 25th is legal on March 1st. [Update 05/01/97]
Minimum of 60 cards in a deck.
Optional 'sideboard'. If you have one, it must be exactly 15 cards.
No more than 4 of any card which is not a basic land can be in the
combination of deck and sideboard. Cards with different art or in
different languages or from different prints but which are the same card
are considered the same.
There is no "restricted" list.
The banned list includes all cards from Limited Edition, Unlimited Edition,
Arabian Nights, Antiquities, and Legends which have not been reprinted in
a more recent set are banned. [Update 05/01/97]
These cards are explicitly banned even though they are from legal sets:
[Update 05/01/97]
Amulet of Quoz (IA) Demonic Tutor (RV) Rebirth (4E)
Balance (RV/4E) Fastbond (RV) Regrowth (RV)
Black Vise (RV/4E) Ivory Tower (4E) Serendib Efreet (RV)
Braingeyser (RV) Jeweled Bird (CH) Sol Ring (RV)
Bronze Tablet (4E) Juggernaut (RV) Strip Mine (4E)
Channel (RV/4E) Kird Ape (RV) Tempest Efreet (4E)
Contract from Below(RV) Mana Crypt (PR) Timmerian Fiends (HL)
Darkpact (RV) Maze of Ith (DK) Wheel of Fortune (RV)
Demonic Attorney (RV) Mind Twist (RV/4E) Zuran Orb (IA)
Here is a (hopefully) complete list of cards are banned because they
have not been reprinted: LIMITED/UNLIMITED> Ancestral Recall, Berserk,
Black Lotus, Blaze of Glory, Camouflage, Chaos Orb, Consecrate Land,
Copper Tablet, Cyclopean Tomb, Dwarven Demolition Team, False Orders,
Forcefield, Gauntlet of Might, Ice Storm, Illusionary Mask, Invisibility,
Jade Statue, Lich, Mox Emerald, Mox Jet, Mox Pearl, Mox Ruby,
Mox Sapphire, Natural Selection, Psionic Blast, Raging River, Sinkhole,
Timetwister, Time Vault, Time Walk, Two-Headed Giant of Foriys,
Word of Command. ARABIAN NIGHTS> Ali from Cairo, Army of Allah,
Bazaar of Baghdad, Camel, City in a Bottle, Desert, Desert Nomads,
Diamond Valley, Drop of Honey, Elephant Graveyard, Flying Men,
Guardian Beast, Ifh-Biff Efreet, Island of Wak-Wak, Jihad, Juzam Djinn,
Khabal Ghoul, King Suleiman, Library of Alexandria, Merchant Ship,
Moorish Cavalry, Old Man of the Sea, Oubliette, Pyramids, Ring of Ma'ruf,
Rukh Egg, Sandals of Abdallah, Serendib Djinn, Shahrazad, Singing Tree,
Stone-Throwing Devils, Ydwen Efreet. ANTIQUTIES> Argivian Archaeologist,
Argivian Blacksmith, Argothian Treefolk, Artifact Blast, Artifact
Possession, Artifact Ward, Candelabra of Tawnos, Citanul Druid,
Damping Field, Drafna's Restoration, Gaea's Avenger, Gate to Phyrexia,
Golgothian Sylex, Haunting Wind, Martyrs of Korlis, Mightstone,
Mishra's Workshop, Orcish Mechanics, Phyrexian Gremlins, Power Artifact,
Powerleech, Priest of Yawgmoth, Sage of Lat-Nam, Staff of Zegon, Su-Chi,
Tablet of Epityr, Tawnos's Coffin, Transmute Artifact, Urza's Chalice,
Urza's Miter, Weakstone. LEGENDS> Acid Rain, Adventurers' Guildhouse,
The Abyss, Adun Oakenshield, AErathi Berserker, Aisling Leprechaun,
Al-abara's Carpet, Alchor's Tomb, All Hallow's Eve, Angus Mackenzie,
Arboria, Avoid Fate, Backdraft, Barbary Apes, Barktooth Warbeard,
Bartel Runeaxe, Blazing Effigy, Boris Devilboon, Brine Hag,
Cathedral of Serra, Caverns of Despair, Chain Lightning,
Chains of Mephistopheles, Cleanse, Clergy of the Holy Nimbus, Crevasse,
Crimson Kobolds, Crookshank Kobolds, Deadfall, Demonic Torment,
Devouring Deep, Disharmony, Divine Intervention, Dream Coat, Dwarven Song,
Elder Spawn, Enchanted Being, Equinox, Eureka, Falling Star, Feint,
Field of Dreams, Fire Sprites, Firestorm Phoenix, Flash Counter,
Floral Spuzzem, Forethought Amulet, Frost Giant, Ghosts of the Damned,
Giant Turtle, Glyph of Delusion, Glyph od Destruction, Glyph of Doom,
Glyph of Life, Glyph of Reincarnation, Gosta Dirk, Gravity Sphere,
Great Defender, Great Wall, Gwednlyn Di Corci, Halfdane, Hammerheim,
Hazezon Tamar, Headless Horseman, Heaven's Gate, Hellfire, Hell Swarm,
Holy Day, Hornet Cobra, Horror of Horrors, Hunding Gjornersen, Hyperion
Blacksmith, Ichneumon Druid, Imprison, Infernal Medusa, Infinite
Authority, In the Eye of Chaos, Invoke Prejudice, Jacques le Vert,
Jasmine Boreal, Jedit Ojanen, Jerrard of the Closed Fist, Jovial Evil,
Karakas, Kasimir the Lone Worf, Knowledge Vault, Kobold Drill Sergeant,
Kobold Overlord, Kobolds of Kher Keep, Kobold Taskmaster, Kry Shield,
Lady Caleria, Lady Evangela, The Lady of the Mountain, Lady Orca,
Land Equilibrium, Lesser Werewolf, Lifeblood, Life Chisel, Life Matrix,
Living Plane, Livonya Silone, Lord Magnus, Mana Drain, Mana Matrix,
Marble Priest, Master of the Hunt, Mirror Universe, Moat, Mold Demon,
Moss Monster, Mountain Stronghold, Nether Void, North Star, Nova Pentacle,
Part Water, Pavel Maliki, Pendelhaven, Pixie Queen, Planar Gate,
Presence of the Master, Princess Lucrezia, Psychic Purge, Quagmire,
Quarum Trench Gnomes, Ragnar, Ramiriz DePietro, Ramses Overdark,
Rapid Fire, Rasputin Dreamweaver, Reincarnation, Relic Barrier, Reset,
Remove Enchantments, Reverberation, Righteous Avengers, Ring of Immortals,
Riven Turnbull, Rogahh of Kher Keep, Rust, Seafarer's Quay, Sea King's
Blessing, Shelkin Brownie, Sir Shandlar of Eberyn, Spectral Cloak,
Spinal Villain, Spiritual Sanctuary, Storm World, Subdue, Sunastian
Falconer, Sword of the Ages, Sylvan Paradise, Syphon Soul, Tabernacle at
Pendrell Vale, Telekinesis, Tetsuo Umezawa, Thunder Spirit, Tolaria,
Torsten Von Ursus, Touch of Darkness, Tuknir Deathlock, Typhoon, Undertow,
Underworld Dreams, Unholy Citadel, Urborg, Ur-Drago, Venarian Gold,
Walking Dead, Wall of Caltrops, Wall of Earth, Wall of Light, Wall of
Putrid Flesh, Wall of Tombstones, Willow Satyr, Wood Elemental.

Sealed Deck:
These rules apply to any sealed deck format.
Decks consist of 90 to 300 cards. The standard way to do it is to provide
one starter deck plus two 15 card boosters or three 8 card boosters. The
judge may also allow additional (usually 4) basic lands to be added to
this. [Tourney Rules 10/01/96]
45 minutes are given to construct the deck.
There is no 30 day period after an expansion set is released in which the
expansion is not valid for Sealed Deck tournaments.
[Tourney Rules 10/01/95]
Minimum of 40 cards in the play deck.
All additional cards function as the 'sideboard'. The sideboard and deck
size can change freely between duels.
Games are not played for ante. The judge may allow play for ante, but if
so, it is required for all games in the tournament.
[Tourney Rules 10/01/96]
When playing for ante, the top card off each player's deck is put face-down
on the table as the ante.
No restricted or banned cards, except Ante cards may not be used when
not playing for ante.

Block Constructed Deck Formats:
This section takes effect on 07/01/97.
These formats follow the Type II rules for deck construction but only allow
cards from a given "block" rather than from the larger list of sets.
The current "blocks" are: Ice Age/Homelands/Alliances and
Only cards explicitly banned from this format are banned. The Type II list
is not the only indicator.
Some cards are 'banned' from the Ice Age/Homelands/Alliances format so that
none may appear in a deck or sideboard. These cards are:
[Tourney Rules 10/01/95] + [Update 04/01/97]
Amulet of Quoz (IA) Thawing Glaciers (AL)
Timmerian Fiends (HL) Zuran Orb (IA)
Some cards are 'banned' from the Mirage/Visions/Weatherlight format so that
none may appear in a deck or sideboard. These cards are:
[Update 06/01/97]
Squandered Resources (VI)

Ice Age Constructed Deck:
It appears that this format is no longer supported by DCI as of 07/01/97.
Only cards from Ice Age can be used with the exception of basic lands (which
do not have to be from Ice Age).
Minimum of 60 cards in the play deck.
Optional 'sideboard'. If you have one, it must be exactly 15 cards.
No more than 4 of any card which is not a basic land can be in the
combination of deck and sideboard. Cards with different art or in
different languages or from different prints but which are the same card
are considered the same.
Some cards are 'banned' so that none may appear in the deck or sideboard.
These cards are: [Tourney Rules 10/01/95] + [Update 04/01/97]
Amulet of Quoz Thawing Glaciers Zuran Orb

Ice Age/Alliances Constructed Deck:
It appears that this format is no longer supported by DCI as of 07/01/97.
See the Block Format for Ice Age/Homelands/Alliances.
This follows the same rules as Ice Age Constructed Deck except that
Alliances is allowed. [Tourney Rules 10/01/96]

Booster Draft:
Players sit in groups of no more than 8 players.
On a signal from the judge, each player opens one pack, picks a card and
then passes the remaining cards (face down) the the player on their left.
Repeat until all cards in the opened packs have been chosen by someone.
Then repeat for any additional packs.
Ante cards in initial boosters are replaced by tournament officials from
a random stack of cards.
30 minutes are given to construct the deck after drafting is complete.
Players may add as many basic lands as they want to the deck.
Minimum of 40 cards in the play deck. All other cards function as the
sideboard (as in sealed deck play).

Rating System:
All players start with a rating of 1600.
People who have played less than 25 matches (best 2 of 3) are considered
to have a 'provisional rating'. After that, scores should be accurate
to within plus or minus 56 points.
During 'provisional rating' period, a person's rating is:
(Rc) + ((400 * (wins - losses)) / number of matches)
Rc = Average rating of all opponents
This rating is re-calculated after each match.
Once a player is off of provisional rating, their score changes with each
match: New Score = (Old Score) + (K * (W - We))
K = 32 for ratings of 0-2099, 24 for 2100-2399, 16 for 2400 and up.
W = 1 for a win, 0 for a loss
We = 1 / ((10^D)+1)
D = (difference between your and opponent's ratings) / 400
Scores only count in officially sanctioned tournaments and if the
tournament coordinator actually sends the results to WotC.

Changes Between Fourth and Fifth Edition Rules

It is now legal to have the same ability more than once. For simple
abilities like Flying or First Strike, this is meaningless. But for
things like Farrel's Mantle or Flanking it can matter.
You used to be able to multiply-pump an ability in a single activation.
This was actually removed late in Fourth Edition.

Activation Costs:
All activation costs for the abilities of permanents are now written in the
format "cost: effect." Previously, some activation costs were
included in the card effect such as with "Cost: Pay additional cost to do

Bury used to be preventable by some rare means. Now it is flat out

Combat Damage:
This term is now defined clearly to mean damage dealt during the attack
phase's dealing damage step by attackers and blockers.

Damage Prevention:
Damage prevention used to be saved up until the end of a batch of
spells/abilities. Now it is handled after each specific spell/ability
resolves. For example, a Pearled Unicorn (2/2) has Giant Growth (+3/+3)
cast on it. The other player responds with a Lightning Bolt. Under the
old rules, the 3 damage from the Bolt would wait until after the Giant
Growth resolved before you had to deal with it. Under the new rules, the
2/2 Unicorn gets 3 damage and the Giant Growth will Fizzle if you don't
save the Unicorn in some way.
Interrupts used to be allowed during damage prevention. Now they are usable
only if a spell or ability is announced which they can target.
Destroy and bury effects used to cause damage prevention steps. They no
longer do so.
Being reduced to zero toughness or to less or equal toughness to the amount
of damage on the creature does not cause a damage prevention. Toughness
changes in general do not cause damage prevention steps like they used
to. Only damage causes damage prevention.
Damage is now clearly defined to be in packets in the rulebook and not just
in rules postings.
You used to be able to use spells/abilities that could prevent zero damage
on something that had no damage.

The terms Local Enchantment and Global Enchantment are now defined.
There is no longer a rule preventing enchantments from being tapped.
[Aahz 10/11/96]
Moving enchantments is now in the rulebook instead of just in rules

Generic Mana:
Colorless mana is mana without any color. Generic mana is a requirement
for mana of any color or which is colorless. Thus, cards can produce
colorless mana, but casting and activation costs require generic mana.

Interrupt timing has been completely rewritten.
As errata to older cards, interrupts which only produce mana are considered
mana sources. Interrupts which do not only produce mana and do not target
a spell or ability are now instants. [Mirage Page 3-4] Ones that can
be used multiple ways are played at the appropriate speed in each case.
[Mirage Page 39]
Interrupts to a spell/ability used to be able to target any announced but
not successfully cast spell/ability, instead of just the current one.
Untargeted interrupts were also allowed at this time.
Interrupts used to resolve first-in-first-out with some crazy ordering
rules. They now resolve in batches just like instants do.
Specialized spells/abilities used to not be interruptable (counterable). Now
all spells/abilities can be interrupted, except mana sources.
There used to be a rule that using an interrupt did not give up the right to
announce things because a player needed to use interrupts to get mana.
Mana sources now have this rule and interrupts no longer have it.

This is a new shorthand for a creature which needs a certain kind of land
on your side to live and on the opponent's side to attack.

The Legend rules have been broadened to include Legendary lands, artifacts
and creatures.

Players used to be unable to count the cards in each other's libraries.

Mana Burn:
It used to be damage and is now loss of life.

Mana Source:
A new "speed" of spell/ability has been created called Mana Source. All
mana-producing interrupts are now called mana sources. Use of a mana
source cannot be interrupted or countered. They are almost always legal
to use.

On Its Way to the Graveyard:
There used to be a concept of "on its way to the graveyard". A card which
as on its way to the graveyard could not be sacrificed. This rule has
been removed.

Phase Effects:
Effects that happen at the beginning or end of a phase now use the
specialized ability timing rules (active player first, then opponent)
instead of having the active player decide the order of resolution for
all of these effects.
Phase effects used to be played by the current player and are now played
by the phase effect's controller. [bethmo 02/21/97]

The old rules defined only Protection from Color. A creature can now have
protection from other things.

Regeneration used to be an instant-speed ability used during damage
prevention. It is now a specialized ability. It used to be usable
multiple times, but only one would succeed. Now it can only be used
(successfully) once (like all specialized abilities).
Regeneration used to cause damage on the creature to be "ignored" to fix
some rulings. Now damage is truly removed.
Creatures with several "destroy at end of turn" or similar effects on them
used to only have to regenerate once. Now they need to regenerate once
for each effect.
If an attacking or blocking creature is regenerated, it is removed from
combat. The creature used to stay in combat but just be unable to deal
or be assigned damage.

Triggered Abilities:
A card can now trigger on its own trip to the graveyard, which was not the
case before.

Turn Order:
The "play or draw" rule was added to the core rules. The player who goes
first does not get to draw a card on their first turn. The player who
wins the toss decides if they want to go first or draw first.
The End Turn phase is gone. The Heal Creatures phase was renamed the
Cleanup phase. As a result of this change, the Discard phase is the
last phase in which effects can normally be played in a turn.
The order of "until end of turn" and "at end of turn" effects has been
reversed. "until end of turn" and damage healing are still simultaneous,
but "at end of turn" effects now happen after this instead of before.

Acknowldgements and Disclaimers
While this work is not officially issued by Wizards of the Coast, it does
represent the collected rulings from official sanctioned representatives
of and publications by Wizards of the Coast.
This summary is collected from rulings made by officials and network
representatives of Wizards of the Coast, along with a number of
unofficial rulings also collected from the net. Whenever a source for
a ruling is known, the name of that person is listed with the ruling.
"bethmo" is Beth Moursund, the network representative for the "mtg-l"
mailing list. "D'Angelo" is Stephen D'Angelo, the previous "mtg-l"
representative. "Peterson" is Paul Peterson, the previous "mtg-l"
representative. "bethmo" was also the representative before Paul.
"Aahz" is Tom Wylie, the Magic Rules Guru. "DeLaney" is David DeLaney,
the network representative for the ""
newsgroup. "Snark" is Dave Howell of WotC. Official rulings from the
rules team are marked as "WotC Rules Team". Rules from the Mirage rule
book are marked with "Mirage Page #". Errata from the Magic Official
Encyclopedia are marked with "Encyclopedia Page #".
These files may be freely copied and posted anywhere you'd like. The
contents can also be included in other formats (such as HTML or databases)
or in products, but there are two restrictions. I insist that the files
are not sold for profit. Anything you put them in must be available at
no more than cost of duplication. Also, you must give credit to me and
list the version date your work is derived from. Thanks.
Every attempt has been made to make this summary accurate, but errors do
creep in. Nothing in this work is guaranteed to be accurate. Use at your
own risk.
Magic: The Gathering and all of the cards listed herein are copyrighted by
Wizards of the Coast.

Reply all
Reply to author
0 new messages