About Us

We're a local unofficial Magic gathering group in Hixson, TN.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Soulbond and Miracle and How To Play Them

Hey everyone!
  I wanted to give a bit of an introductory lesson on how to use the two new mechanics in Avacyn Restored, Souldbond and Miracle. Hopefully this will answer a lot of questions before Saturday, but I'll still go over a demonstration of the effects Saturday just to be sure everyone is up to speed.

  First off, let's look at Soulbond.

  (And before I start off, let me say that I'll emphasize a lot of rulings by using bold, italicize, underline, and/or ALL CAPS! I do this only to make sure certain rules points hit home. It's not because I think everyone's dumb or anything. lol!)

Image from magiccards.info

As you see, Soulbond has some lengthy reminder text. But what it basically boils down to is when the Soulbond creature or another creature enters the battlefield, they may pair up. When they do, both creatures get whatever bonus(es) the Soulbond creature gives to itself and the other creature. This is a triggered ability and can be responded to.

For example, take Llanowar Elves coming onto the battlefield while Wolfir Silverheart is also out. Normally, you have a 4/4 and a 1/1. But you choose to pair the Llanowar Elves with the Wolfir Silverheart. Now, because both are paired to each other, the Llanowar Elves is now a 5/5 creature while Wolfir Silverheart is an 8/8. BUT...as it's a triggered ability for pairing the creatures, you could Lightning Bolt the Llanowar Elves and destroy it before the Soulbond would get a chance to up its toughness.

Now, how do you signal which creatures are being paired when one enters the battlefield? I've asked this question of the Rules Manager at Wizards of the Coast and here's the response: You can overlay one with the other and simply say "these are together." That's it. You don't have to explicitly say "These are paired" or "These are soulbound" or anything.

What I would not suggest, however, is to keep the cards separate and declare that they are paired. If you get to moving creatures around and they get separated from each other, while technically they are still paired together it makes it difficult to accurately read the board state.

A few other quick highlights of the Soulbond mechanic:
1) If one of the pair dies, gets returned to the hand, is no longer a creature (perhaps you animated a Treetop Villiage and cast Wolfir Silverheart to give it +4/+4), etc, the pairing goes away and you can make a new pair with a new creature that enters the battlefield. In other words, cards are either paired or they're not. If they were once paired but something happened to one creature in the pair, the leftover creature is no longer paired.

2) You get a couple of chances to respond to make sure a pair doesn't happen.
    A) Technically, there's no time where you have to declare your pair for your opponent to know what you're up to. In other words, when you cast the creature you're wanting to use in a pair, you don't have to declare it then. Also, when the triggered ability for the pairing comes up (technically, it's a "When this enters the battlefield..." trigger), you do not have to announce the pair when it goes on the stack. You only declare the actual pair on resolution of the triggered "enters the battlefield" ability.

    B) The two creatures in a pair are individual creatures in every other way. In other words, just because one attacks, the other does not necessarily have to.

3) A "pair" is exactly that: 2 creatures. You cannot Soulbond onto a creature that's paired with another. So let's say all you have is a Soulbond creature already paired with any other creature. When you bring in another Soulbond creature, it cannot pair with either of the first 2 as they are already in a pair. The new Soulbond creature would then just have to wait for another creature to enter before being able to pair with it.

Next up we have another new mechanic, one that changes the timing of when you can cast certain spells. We have for you a recap of Miracle!

Image from magiccards.info

Miracle basically is an effect that lets you play certain spells earlier than normal for a reduced cost...as long as it's the very first card you draw for any turn. (Yes, this even includes your opponent's turns, for stuff like Faithless Looting that can be done at Instant speed).

In fact, I'm sure you've noticed the border of the card looks a bit different than normal. This is so you'll be able to quickly identify the card as a Miracle card instead of having to see the text box to be sure.

Miracle cards are a tricky bunch because normally when you draw a card it goes straight to your hand.

"Then how will we know if someone who plays a Miracle for its Miracle cost really drew it as their first card?"

Here's how casting a Miracle card will work: When you draw your very first card for the turn, look at it. If it's a Miracle card, think about whether you want to use it or not. IF YOU DO WANT TO CAST FOR ITS MIRACLE COST, go ahead and reveal it. Then, once everything else tied to the card being drawn is complete (example: for Faithless Looting, you've drawn you 2 cards and then discarded 2), you can cast it for its Miracle cost. This is your ONLY chance in a turn to get the reduced miracle cost!

If you pass up paying the Miracle cost after you draw it as your first card of the turn, there's no turning back.  After you decide not to cast it for its Miracle cost at the right timing, you have to look at the regular casting cost from there on out. (Barring effects that can put a card in your hand back on top of your deck and drawing it as your first card next turn, of course.)

Also, Miracle changes the timing of casting the card. Sorceries and Instants alike can be cast when the card is first drawn. This follows a basic rule of the game: "Card text overrides normal rules." Normally, you couldn't cast a Sorcery until it's your Main Phase and the stack is clear. Miracle, on the other hand, like Suspend in Time Spiral block, ignores the conventional timings and allows you an earlier play than normal for Sorceries that have Miracle. Again, though, YOU MUST CAST YOUR MIRACLE SORCERY WHEN IT'S THE FIRST CARD DRAWN TO GET THE BENEFIT OF PLAYING "OUT OF ORDER"! If you do not, then it's just a regular ol' Sorcery and you can only cast it for its normal cost on your turn in one of your Main Phases when the stack is empty.

Another question that's bound to come up: "Let's say a card lets you draw 2 cards. Assume those are the first 2 cards drawn for the turn by that player. You draw 2 Miracle cards. What happens?"

This is fairly easy if you're familiar with how the game treats multiple draws. If an effect would tell you to draw X cards, you are really drawing 1 card X times. So for our example, "draw 2 cards" means more like "draw 1 card, then draw 1 card."

So, knowing that, here you're drawing 2 cards. Both happen to be Miracles. First off, you've just passed up your ability to play any Miracle cards. Why? You drew past the 1st card of the turn. If you do that, you're acknowledging you're not wanting to play any Miracles for their reduced cost.

So let's say you are more careful. What then? Well, same as before of course! Draw the first card in that chain of drawing cards. Look at it. If it's a Miracle, delcare your intention to cast it (remember, by the full technicality of the rules, you never cast anything during an effect's resolution. You always wait until after. Anything that would happen during a resolution happens after instead.)

Finally, I'm sure we'll have this come up because some of Red's "Looting" (a mix of drawing cards and discarding in the same effect): "What happens if I have no cards in my hand, I use Desolate Lighthouse's ability on my opponent's turn, and draw a Miracle card. Do I still get to use it?" Unfortunately, the answer is "no", and here's why. If, during the resolution of a spell or effect, you have anything come up that could go on the stack, you have to wait for the whole spell/effect to resolve before putting anything on the stack. Then, if everything's still okay for putting the new effect on the stack, you do so.

SO...let's get back to our example: You have an empty hand and 5 lands (an Island, Mountain, Forest, Plains, and Desolate Lighthouse, let's say). You tap an Island, Moutain, Forest, and Desolate Lighthouse to use the Lighthouse's effect. You draw your first card...GASP! It's a Terminus! You immediately think "I'll reveal it and I'll get to cast it for 1 and wipe the board. Sweet!"

Unfortunately, you forgot the other part of Desolate Lighthouse. You still have to discard a card. :(

So now you have to discard the Terminus. Then, Miracle checks. "Cast this card from your hand for its Miracle cost...*game looks at your hand*...your hand's empty, so nothing happens."

So in short: If you activate a "draw, then discard" effect and end up with no cards in your hand, you can't use a Miracle card because by the time you could cast the card it's no longer in your hand.

Again, I'll do a recap of these rules when we do our pre-draft announcements Saturday morning around 11:00 AM. If there's something you don't understand, feel free to ask it now or you can wait until Saturday if you wish.

So until then or sooner, take care everyone! :)

No comments:

Post a Comment