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Frequently Asked Questions for Mirage

"Eeeeee-lite Goblin Infantry" Edition

compiled by Bill Rose, Jared Earle, and Rich Redman, with indispensable help from Tom Wylie, Adam Conus, Shirley Carlson, and all the players who supplied us with questions.

[Fifth Edition/Mirage Rules] | [Specific Card Questions]

Q: Does phasing remove damage from a creature?
A: Phasing out a creature removes all damage (Mirage rulebook, p.1) in the same way that ending a turn removes all damage. However, phasing is not considered a damage-prevention or regeneration effect, and therefore a phasing effect cannot be played during damage prevention. For example, you cannot assign damage to a creature and then phase it out to avoid the creature's death.

Q: When do phasing creatures first phase in or out?
A: At the beginning of your untap phase, all phasing creatures you control that are in play phase out; simultaneously, all creatures you control that are "out of phase" phase in. A phasing creature normally phases out the turn after it's played, phases in the turn after that, phases out the next turn, and so on. However, effects that phase the permanent out throw it out of sequence.

Q: At what speed does phasing happen?
A: Phasing is no faster or slower than any other fast effect, and fast effects resolve like instants. Let's say I phase out my Wild Elephant with Reality Ripple and in response you cast Dark Banishing on my Wild Elephant. According to the last-in, first-out rule, the Dark Banishing resolves first, burying my Wild Elephant. Because it has no target, my phasing spell then fizzles. On the other hand, let's say that you hit my Wild Elephant with Dark Banishing and in response, I phase the Elephant out. According to LIFO, my phasing spell resolves first and my Wild Elephant phases out. The Dark Banishing then resolves, but it has no target and therefore fizzles.

Q: Can phasing a card out save me from paying an upkeep cost?
A: Yes. If a permanent with an upkeep cost phases out during your upkeep, you do not pay the upkeep, just as if it had been destroyed. For example, if you enchant your opponent's phasing creature with Thirst, you will have to pay Thirst's upkeep during your upkeep only if your opponent's creature is in play--not if it's phased out--because Thirst phases out along with the creature.

Q: If I give a legend or a legendary land phasing, can I, on the next turn, play another legend of the same name and give it phasing?
A: Yes. Because the first legend will phase out on the next turn, neither legend will be in play at the same time, so you're not violating the rules for legends.

Q: The Fifth Edition rules say that only effects that give control of a card to someone permanently will remain on the card when it phases out (Mirage rulebook, p. 1). What does this mean?
A: Effects that permanently give control don't have a condition that might give the controlled card back to the previous controller. For instance, Gauntlets of Chaos lets you swap a land, creature, or artifact with your opponent. Nothing on the card says how that effect wears off, because it lasts for the rest of the game. Seasinger is an example of a control effect that's not permanent, because it provides a condition under which control wears off. So if you swapped a permanent via Gauntlets of Chaos, and that permanent phased out, you would keep control of the permanent. However, if you gained control of an opponent's creature via Seasinger and the creature phased out, you would lose control of it.

Q: What's a local enchantment?
A: A local enchantment is an enchant artifact, enchant creature, enchant enchantment, enchant land, or enchant permanent (Mirage rulebook, p. 22).

Q: What's a global enchantment?
A: A global enchantment is an enchant world or an enchantment (Mirage rulebook, p. 22).

Q: What's the casting cost of a token creature?
A: As before, token creatures are considered to have a zero casting cost.

Q: Are the banding rules changed with flanking?
A: No. One creature can only be assigned to block one other creature (Mirage rulebook, p. 50), and banding doesn't change that. You still have to assign a blocking creature to block one specific member of a band. Although that blocking creature will block the entire attacking band, it's only assigned to block one member of that band, so unless you assign your creature to block the flanking one, the flanking will not have an effect. On the other hand, if you block a band that has Thicket Basilisk, the Basilisk's ability will still take effect, as it depends on whether or not it's blocked, not whether or not a creature is assigned to block it specifically.

Q: Is flanking cumulative?
A: Yes. In Fifth Edition rules, all creature abilities are. This doesn't always have an effect, however. Having first strike twice doesn't accomplish anything more than having it once. However, flanking is a triggered ability, and each instance of flanking will trigger whenever appropriate.

Q: Does a blocking creature with flanking give the attacking creature -1/-1?
A: No. Flanking, like trample, only works when attacking.

Q: How do interrupts work in Fifth Edition rules?
A: Interrupts that target spells and effects can only target the spell or effect they actually interrupt. For example, I cast Fireball, and you interrupt the Fireball to cast Counterspell. I could interrupt the Counterspell with Fork, but then I would have to target the Counterspell, and Fork can't target interrupts. Instead I can respond to Counterspell with Fork and add it to the batch that interrupts the Fireball. Notice that I can still only respond to an interrupt with an interrupt.

Interrupts that target permanents rather than spells or effects are now played as instants.

Q: What does the rule about "pumping up" abilities really mean (Mirage rulebook, p. 3)?
A: The rulebook states that when you play an ability, you can now pay its cost only once, generating its effect only once each time it's activated. More specifically, every time you perform a fast effect, the active player has a chance to respond to it. If you're the active player, that means that you can keep stringing instants together and your opponent can't respond until you're done playing instants. If you're not the active player, then you only get to respond with one fast effect before the active player regains control.

Q: How does damage prevention work under Fifth Edition rules?
A: Let's say you've created a batch of ten Pestilence activations. When you resolve each activation in the batch, Pestilence deals damage to you immediately. You now have an opportunity to prevent, redirect, or reduce the damage before you go on to resolving the next effect in the batch.

Q: How can I tell if an interrupt that supplies mana is a mana source?
A: If all the interrupt does is provide mana during resolution, then it's a mana source. If it does something else during resolution, then you play it as an interrupt or instant, as appropriate. For example, Spoils of Evil provides mana (speed of a mana source) but also gives you life (speed of an instant), so you play it as an instant.

Q: Are artifacts that generate mana considered mana sources as they are being cast?
A: No. The card itself is not a mana source, so you can counter the casting.

Q: The sacrifice rules have been changed so that a card on its way to the graveyard can be sacrificed. Does this mean that I can sacrifice a creature after it has taken lethal damage?
A: No. Remember that sacrifice is a cost, and you cannot interrupt damage resolution to pay a cost; all you can pay for after damage assignment is damage prevention. Removing the "on its way to the graveyard" rule does not add a rule that all instants requiring a sacrifice are legal during damage prevention. When a creature is damaged, you automatically go into the damage-prevention stage and unless a sacrifice is preventing damage, you cannot sacrifice a creature that has already taken lethal damage.

Q: In the Fifth Edition rules, burying is not the same as destruction without regeneration. How does this affect older cards such as Guardian Beast that were printed before the term "bury" even existed?
A: Previously Guardian Beast prevented its controller's artifacts from being destroyed by Shatterstorm or Jokulhaups. However, Shatterstorm and Jokulhaups both use the term "bury," and the new rules for burial prohibit any kind of prevention, even passive effects like Guardian Beast's.

Card Specific:

Q: Is discarding a hand of 0 cards a legal discard for activating Lion's Eye Diamond?
A: Yes. If you discard all your cards, you get the Diamond's effect. The size of your hand is irrelevant.

Q: Can you use the mana from Lion's Eye Diamond to cast spells in your hand before you discard them?
A: No. You have to have the mana for a spell or an effect in your mana pool before announcing that spell or effect. Because discarding your hand is part of the activation cost for Lion's Eye Diamond, you have to discard your hand to get the mana before you cast any spells from your hand, and by the time you get the mana, your hand is empty.

Q: Can the Mirage "fetch lands" like Mountain Valley be used to play a land during your opponent's turn?
A: Yes. The activation of the lands is a fast effect.

Q: If I have Verduran Enchantress in play, can I draw an extra card if I play a Mirage enchantment like Armor of Thorns as an instant?
A: Yes. When you play an "insta-chantment" like Armor of Thorns as an instant, you are still casting an enchantment spell; you're just casting it using the rules for instants.

Q: If I target a summon spell with Ersatz Gnomes, is the change to colorless permanent?
A: Yes. The ability of Ersatz Gnomes works just like -lacing or Hacking a spell; the change is permanent.

Q: Can I activate Hakim, Loreweaver's ability to put an enchantment from the graveyard on it and in response, activate it again--until I run out of mana or enchantments--even though the card says to use the ability if there are no enchantments on Hakim?
A: Yes. You do not check for restrictions on when you can play a spell or ability until the effect resolves.

Q: Zirilan of the Claw lets me bring a Dragon card from my library into play, and the Dragon is unaffected by summoning sickness and is removed from the game at the end of the turn. If I put the Dragon in Safe Haven after attacking, then next turn sacrifice the Safe Haven and release the Dragon, is it still removed from the game at the end of the turn?
A: No. All changes to the Dragon's original text are lost, just as if it had been put into the graveyard. However, if the Dragon is not put into Safe Haven and phases out instead, the permanent effects of Zirilan's ability remain.

Q: When I play Shimmer, can I choose a nonbasic land type?
A: Yes. Choosing a land type for Shimmer works exactly like choosing a land type for Illusionary Presence.

Q: When casting Aleatory, do I have to declare the target creature I plan to give +1/+1 before the coin is tossed?
A: Yes. Even though the results of the spell are unpredictable, you must still choose Aleatory's target as you play it.

Q: Can you clarify Benevolent Unicorn's special ability?
A: The Unicorn's ability doesn't reduce damage from an enchantment assigning damage, a creature assigning damage, or a spell assigning -X/-X; it only reduces damage assigned by a spell.

Q: Do I have to show my opponents the creatures I put back in my library with Bone Harvest?
A: Yes. You must show all the creatures, plus the order that you put them back on top of your library.

Q: When, exactly, is the blocking creature's power halved by Catacomb Dragon?
A: The blocking creature's (or creatures') power is halved immediately after blockers are declared. Effects played later in the turn that increase power are not halved.

Q: How does Celestial Dawn affect Drain Life?
A: Celestial Dawn changes all colored mana symbols in all appropriate cards to [White]. Thus, it converts Drain Life's text to read: "For each [Black] you pay in addition . . ." to "For each [White] you pay in addition. . . ."

Q: How does Dazzling Beauty affect trampling creatures?
A: A target creature with trample is considered blocked, but because it has trample, the damage goes through.

Q: Can you play Delirium on a tapped creature?
A: Yes. The tapping of the creature is not part of the cost. It is only part of the effect of the spell.

Q: When I choose two cards with Dream Cache, can I put one on top of my library and one on the bottom?
A: No. Both cards go together--either both on the top or both on the bottom of your library.

Q: Can I keep one of the two cards from casting Preferred Selection?
A: No. Preferred Selection only says you get to look at the top two cards of your library. It doesn't say that you draw them or that you put them in your hand.

Q: If I put Lure on my Stalking Tiger, do all of my opponent's creatures have to block it even though it cannot be blocked by more than one creature?
A: No. One creature that is able to block the Tiger must do so; the others do not.

Q: What effects can happen between assigning a creature to block Dream Fighter and the creatures phasing out?
A: Dream Fighter's ability is a triggered effect, so only other triggered effects (and mana sources) can be played before Dream Fighter and the creature blocking it or blocked by it phase out. The phasing takes place even if an effect like flanking causes Dream Fighter to leave play.

Q: Can I cast Phyrexian Dreadnought and do something else before I sacrifice creatures to pay for it?
A: No. This is another example of a triggered ability. Again, the only abilities that you can play are other abilities that are triggered (and mana sources).

Q: What happens if I forget to attack with Ekundu Cyclops?
A: Players (or a judge if you're playing in a tournament) should decide whether or not it's possible to rerun the combat with the Cyclops attacking. If it's too messy to restart the combat, then the Cyclops becomes tapped, as it would be tapped if it had attacked. If you're playing in a tournament, the player may receive a warning for misrepresenting the card, especially if he or she has previously forgotten.

Q: If I pay [Red][Red] or 2 life to take control of Emberwilde Djinn during my upkeep, does it get summoning sickness?
A: Yes. Until you've had control of it from the beginning of your turn, it will have summoning sickness.

Q: Is the change in color caused by Grave Servitude permanent?
A: As long as Grave Servitude remains on the creature, the creature is black, so if you play the card as an instant, it will only last until the end of the turn. The color change also overwrites the creature's current color(s), just as if you had -laced it.

Q: Does Mist Dragon have flying automatically?
A: No. After casting it, its controller must activate its flying ability by announcing that the Dragon is flying; until this happens, Mist Dragon does not have flying.

Q: Can I use Mystical Tutor to get land from my deck?
A: No. The mana-producing abilities of lands are mana sources, but the lands themselves are not, so you may not search for them with Mystical Tutor. Similarly, you may not search for Quirion Elves, Diamonds, and so on.

Q: If I cast Polymorph, what happens if there are no creatures in the controller's library?
A: A creature targeted with Polymorph dies even if there are no creatures left in the controller's library. Because you reshuffle the revealed cards back into the library, the controller doesn't run out of cards.

Q: If I put a land into play via Rampant Growth, can I play another land?
A: Yes. The land played from Rampant Growth does not count toward the one-land-per-turn limit.

Q: Can I cast Reign of Chaos if there are either no creatures or no lands in play?
A: To play Reign of Chaos, there must be both a target land and a target creature in play. Just like with any spell or effect, you have to have all the legal targets to cast the spell or activate the effect. If only one target remains when Reign of Chaos resolves, Reign of Chaos still destroys the other target. Again, just like any other spell or effect, once the spell is successfully cast or activated, it will generate as many of the effects as it can. If one effect fizzles, the rest will still happen.

Q: Can I generate a token with Sacred Mesa and then use that token to pay the upkeep cost?
A: No. You must pay the upkeep cost before you are allowed to use a permanent's ability. Remember too that you cannot play fast effects during your untap phase, so you cannot generate a token to sacrifice during your untap phase.

Q: Can I activate Searing Spear Askari's ability after blockers are assigned?
A: Yes, but if you wait until after blockers are assigned, it will have no effect.

Q: When, exactly, is Skulking Ghost buried?
A: Skulking Ghost is buried as soon as the spell or effect that targets it is played. The spell or effect targeting it then fizzles. For example, if Skulking Ghost is targeted by Flare, Skulking Ghost is buried before the batch of fast effects created by playing Flare is resolved. Then, when Flare resolves, it has no target and therefore fizzles. The player playing Flare would not draw a card at the beginning of the next upkeep. Note, however, that the spell or effect that targeted Skulking Ghost is still being cast. For example, if you target Skulking Ghost with Flare, you can still redirect the spell to another creature with Meddle. Flare will then fizzle or not (and give you a card, or not) based on what happens with the new target.

You can target Skulking Ghost to get it out of the graveyard (with Bone Harvest, for example) because its rules text doesn't apply while it's in the graveyard. The same is true if your opponent tries to counter it when it is being cast and the counter spell is then countered. In addition, damage prevention that doesn't target, such as Healing Salve's, can be used to protect Skulking Ghost without triggering its bury effect.

Q: When is the decision to remove counters from Soul Echo made?
A: If you control Soul Echo, your opponent makes the choice to remove counters instead of dealing damage at the beginning of your upkeep. You're then stuck with that decision until the beginning of your next upkeep.

Q: If I do not care to search my library for Spirit of the Night and put it into play, can I sacrifice Urborg Panther (without sacrificing Feral Shadow and Breathstealer), just to get the Panther out of play?
A: No. The cost of the sacrifice is to sacrifice all three creatures, not just one. You can, however, play the ability even if you do not have a Spirit of the Night in your library.

Q: Can I choose not to tap Ventifact Bottle and thus not take the mana?
A: No. If Ventifact Bottle has charge counters on it, then you must tap it; if it has no counters, then you do not have to tap it. Your only choice is whether or not to put counters on the Bottle.

Q: What happens if I put Agility on Telim'Tor?
A: The flanking is cumulative. (See question 5.) Telim'Tor only gives attackers with flanking a flat +1/+1, and thus doesn't give itself +2/+2 while attacking.

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