Rules Questions concerning Dual Giselas

The following scenario is hypothetical but something that theoretically could happen in a high stakes Vintage tournament (damn you, Brian Kelly).

Player A activates Oath of Druids, targeting player B, and putting Gisela, Blade of Goldnight into play. Player A passes the turn to player B, who casts Phyrexian Metamorph. When Phyrexian Metamorph resolves, player B chooses Gisela and passes the turn back to player A. Player A chooses not to use Oath of Druids, proceeds to the declare attackers step, and moves their copy of Gisela into the red zone as an attacker. Player B blocks with the Metamorphed Gisela. Player A asks if combat damage occurs, Player B says yes. Player A picks up their copy of Gisela and places it into their graveyard, then proceeds to cast a Preordain in their second main phase. Player B picks up their copy of Gisela and places back among their other creatures.

As player A is resolving Preordain, player A notices that Gisela is still on the battlefield and says that it should be in the graveyard. Player B responds by saying

"The player whose permanent is being dealt damage chooses the order in which replacement effects are applied. The optimal line and the way it is handled on MTGO is that the damage reduction is applied first, reducing the damage dealt from 5 to 2 (Gisela rounds up the amount of damage prevented). Your Gisela's effect will then double it to 4 and my Gisela will survive combat. As for your Gisela, I assumed you chose to stack the replacement effects in the opposite order so that 5 damage is doubled to 10 and then halved to 5 since you placed the card in your graveyard."

At this point, a judge is called.

As a judge, how would you handle this situation? Would it be different if the players would be reversed (i.e. does turn order matter)?

Note: This is not a line of play I would make, recommend, or endorse. I am however curious how the rules would be applied if this situation were to happen.

last edited by ChubbyRain

@chubbyrain Ironically this exact scenario of dualing Gisela’s (minus the preordain) happened to a friend of mine at the last Deal Me In Games monthly event.

I believe after some confusion and amazement that it was a game of vintage in which this situation was occurring they both lost their Gisela, laughed, and then moved to second main phase.

I do not know if a judge was called and it may have been resolved between the players.

@poxeveryturn The preordain was to make clear that Player A went past combat. Intuitively, the two cards should cancel out and since this is a Vintage event, I doubt a judge was called. However, the rules are different and part of this was to inform players how this interaction works. You might want to mention to your friend that this interaction is more complicated. He or she might appreciate that if it comes up again - In general the board state is much more advantageous for the Oath pilot since Ballista doesn't do damage, Foundry Inspector deals 1, etc.

Actually, this leads to another question... If the opponent casts Metamorph on Gisela and then sacs all their artifacts to Ravager, then modulates onto Walking Ballista, then says "Shoot you for Lethal", does that mean their Ballista goes to the yard and no damage is dealt?

last edited by ChubbyRain

I thought the wording suggests that the dealing double damage is a replacement effect keyed by "instead" and the second ability was a triggered ability, "if it would deal damage, halve it rounded down" without a replacement i.e. no "instead". Is this not true? I'm not sure there is an issue here with two replacement effects. If one is triggered and the other a replacement then in scenario 1) each Gisella does 10 damage as there is only one replacement effect for each Gisella (no stack for replacement effects) and the triggered abilities then resolve dropping them back to 5 damage and both creatures die at end of combat. In the metamorph scenario, the activated ability puts 1 damage on the stack targeting the opponent, which gets replaced to two damage (no stack), then the opponents Gisella halves it to 1 as a triggered ability that resolves after the now 2 damage activated ability resolves, so the opponent takes one damage. If I'm wrong, then I'm so sorry for making this all more confusing.

Marc

@marcb Prevention is essentially a replacement effect for damage. They are handled at the same time as per rule 616. They are not triggered abilities and could not function as such. In the scenario you listed, both Gisellas would die as a state-based effect of having 10 damage dealt to them, before the trigger would resolve and before either player had a chance to respond to the trigger.

@chubbyrain

Thanks! That makes a lot of sense. I admit, I was confused since combat damage no longer used the stack, but I didn't realize the prevention was also treated as a replacement.

reducing the damage dealt from 5 to 2 as it is rounded down.

Card text : If a source would deal damage to you or a permanent you control, prevent half that damage, rounded up.

Seems like it will be 5 to 3 then doubled, right?

reducing the damage dealt from 5 to 2 as it is rounded down.

Card text : If a source would deal damage to you or a permanent you control, prevent half that damage, rounded up.

Seems like it will be 5 to 3 then doubled, right?

The prevented damage is rounded up. 2.5 damage is prevented, rounded up to 3 damage prevented.

reducing the damage dealt from 5 to 2 as it is rounded down.

Card text : If a source would deal damage to you or a permanent you control, prevent half that damage, rounded up.

Seems like it will be 5 to 3 then doubled, right?

The prevented damage is rounded up. 2.5 damage is prevented, rounded up to 3 damage prevented.

Right. I just got confused with round down quote.

@matori I fixed it in the scenario to make it more clear. Thanks @Maxtortion for the assist.

Bumping...still never heard back from a judge.

L1 Judge here. If I were called to the situation you described in your first post, I’d rule that player B’s explanation is correct: Player A putting their Gisela in the graveyard indicates that they chose to apply the damage doubling effect first, which is a legal choice for them to make. Player B’s choice of applying the damage reduction effect first is also legal, so there’s nothing to do here: Player A’s Gisela is dead, Player B’s Gisela is alive, and they can continue with the game.

Note that it doesn’t matter whether Player A knew that they could choose in which order they apply the replacement effects. Player B gets an advantage for having a superior knowledge of the rules, but that’s how competitive Magic works.

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