Network  Dec 2, 2001

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Knowing the Rules
  - by Morgan Chang

Knowledge of the rules is vital, we all know that. If you didnít before, then perhaps itís time to pick up a rulebook and become familiar with the rules. If you donít have one handy, you can find one at HERE. While you are at it, take a look at the Universal Tournament Rules
HERE, if you want to participate in DCI-Sanctioned events.

Judges, as we all know, are not perfect. While we do our best to issue the correct rulings every time we do make a ruling, we are human and do err, and so from time to time we do give incorrect rulings. Therefore, it is then to the player's advantage to know the proper ruling, inform the judge, and to politely request the judge to reconsider the decision (only if you ask real nice).

Anyway, back to the knowledge bit. We could take a look at what happened to me last Thursday night in a draft.

Let me first say that my opponent in the T4 (where we met) is a braggart, and thinks he's all that because he has one of the highest limited ratings in the area. Here's how the board looked:

Opponent: Attack Phase: Declared Attackers
Patrol Hound, Blessed Orator, Crypt Creeper

I have a Wild Mongrel in play and six cards in my hand.

So I declared blockers: Wild Mongrel blocks the Patrol Hound. Opponent then passes priority before damaged is put onto the stack, at which point I discard a card pumping the Mongrel to a 3/3 and changing its color to black. Damage is then put onto the Stack and my opponent casts Shelter targeting his Patrol Hound. Shelter resolves, he names black, draws the card for Shelter, and passes priority.

At this point before damage is resolved, I pitch another card to change the Wild Mongrel to white and pump him to 4/4. That resolves fine, and we move onto damage resolution. I move my life counter down three notches and wait for him to put the Patrol Hound into the graveyard.

We sit there for thirty seconds to a minute and he just says "I'm done, your turn". At this point in time, I tell him that we are still in the combat phase and that I was waiting for him to put his Patrol Hound into the graveyard.

What happens in the next few minutes is a mess and a whole lot of yelling. We were arguing about whether the Hound dies or not (obviously). However, we have a slight problem. I'm one of four judges in the city of Buffalo, well, four that I know of at least. There is one Lvl 1 and three Lvl 2's, myself being one of them. I was the only judge present and the TO is a bit slow when it comes to rules so he isnít any help.

At this point, my opponent says that he's had a ruling from the Lvl 2 in Rochester last week at FNM. (Side note: I donít respect the 3 DCI Sanctioned judges that I know of in Rochester as peers, nor their rulings if I donít happen to be playing there as I've seen some absurd rulings that went against all logic being issued.) I then say that he, along with the Lvl 2 of Rochester, are wrong. That simple. Lethal damage dealt to the Patrol Hound, thus it dies. He argues that when damage was put onto the stack, itís black damage, thus protection granted by the Shelter reduces it to 0. This was when I enlightened him on the rules. Unfortunately, we didnít have a rulebook handy; however, I did know the ruling but he wouldnít believe me.

Here's the rule (which I found later browsing online) which could have easily revealed who was right and who wrong:

[i]310.4. Combat damage resolves as though it were a pseudospell. When it resolves, it's dealt as originally assigned. This happens even if the creature dealing damage is no longer in play, its power has changed, or the creature receiving damage has left combat. (Note that the source of the damage is the creature as it currently exists, or as it most recently existed if it is no longer in play.) If a creature that was supposed to receive damage is no longer in play or is no longer a creature, the damage assigned to it isn't dealt. After combat damage finishes resolving, the active player gets priority.[/i]

Now, lets take a look at these few lines from the Rules. First and foremost this part:

When it resolves, it's dealt as originally...

Notice it says when it resolves, not when its put onto the stack. Damage carries with it, its source. Thus all characteristics of the damage are obtained from the source upon resolution. (Thus when damaged resolved on the Patrol Hounds, itís from a white source as the Mongrel at that point in time is White.) Even the Note within the Rule itself states as it currently exists when the damage is resolving.

However, since nobody else seemed to know the proper ruling, and I'm not backing down from my correct stance on this, nor was my opponent willing to back down from bullheadedness, we resorted to a die roll (which it should never come down to in a tournament for any reason, unless any card specifically states to use a coin flip or die roll).

Anyhows, the roll ended up in my favor, and my opponent was more than unhappy, not that I cared, as it would have turned out that way in a proper ruling anyway. I won the match and split the finals, so it wasnít all bad.

Still, this isnít an excuse for ignorance. If you are to play the game, know the rules, or dont play. I wouldnít have minded so much if it was a kid sitting across from me, and it being an unsanctioned event, wouldnít matter much to me. However, my opponent being one that prided himself in being "good" player, and not knowing a simple thing like this, is beyond silly. It also shows a lack of ability to see reason when presented. With that said, I urge people to keep an open mind when your opponent is trying to explain something, but anything you arenít sure of, always call a judge over.

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