11/5/2009 Judge Article: "The Layer System"

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This thread is for discussion of the Judge Article The Layer System.

These layers have driven me crazy since I returned to the game. I'm no expert on them now having read the article, but I definitely have a better grasp on the concept. It's like some code was deciphered. I feel like an article like this really was overdue and I am sure I will be referencing it from time to time.

I can't wipe the smile off of my face. This always happens when someone else references one of my FAQs--I start to feel all warm and fuzzy inside and this inane grin of paternal pride paints itself across my face. It generally takes a few minutes for the ego-swelling to wear off, but when it's in an official article on the site...this may take a day or two. :P


Huh; looks like the author email isn't working. I guess they don't set it up for non-columnists or something. I managed to find another way to contact Justin to respond, though.

Come join me at No Goblins Allowed


Because frankly, being here depresses me these days.

It's nitpicky, but shouldn't that be layer 6 mentioned in 7c of the 4th question? That's the one where all the abilities get wiped out - except for the Opalescence, the Copy of Opalescence, and Humility, all of which started applying their abilities before they got wiped out.


I'm trying to hammer that part into my head, as I had originally assumed that the Opalescence part carried over because you can't have a creature without a power/toughness that's set. Of course, this could be the reason why the rules let an ability that started applying continue to apply all parts.


 

MTG Rules Advisor

Found this article from the DCIJUDGE list.


I first learned the layer system when I heard a L0 friend mention the changes to layers, and realized that I didn't even know what they were.


NOTE: In layer 6 all three enchantments lose their abilities. This does NOT create a paradox or infinite loop. All three enchantments started applying their abilities before they lost them, so they will continue to apply each part of their ability even though they no longer have them.


What about permanents which enter the battlefield after Humility resolves? Ex. I cast Opalescence, Opalescence, and Humility, and now control three 1/1 enchantment creatures with no abilities (I think). I then cast Oblivion Ring. What happens now?

You know, I'm not sure. I'm guessing, since the triggered ability doesn't apply during any of the layers that it's a 1/1 creature for 2W.


If I'm wrong, the other option is that you get to exile something indefinitely, especially if the ring dies prior to Humility going away.

MTG Rules Advisor

It's a 1/1 for 2W that doesn't do anything when it comes into play. When something happens, you apply continuous effects before you figure out if any abilities trigger, and Humility has removed the ability that would normally have triggered.


You don't take the end-result game state (with blank Humility and Opalesences) and then drop Oblivion Ring into that--you drop Oblivion Ring onto the table, then re-build the game state from scratch.

Come join me at No Goblins Allowed


Because frankly, being here depresses me these days.

You know the layer system still needs more work when WotC's own article trying to explain it contains errors.


 


You know the layer system still needs more work when WotC's own article trying to explain it contains errors.


 



There's really not much way to simplify it.
At any rate, it's not likely to be simplified until 'layer shenanigans' start annoying noobs and flavor-nazis in quantities we used to get from DOTS shenanigans.

Given rule 611.2c, it would seem to me that layers should only apply to continuous effects generated by static abilities, since other continuous effects are supposed to be applied in stack order by that rule.


Also, I suppose Judges must have a special secret web site, which is why this article is only visible from the link in the post beginning this thread, and not from the main Daily MTG page - and even following the link to the Justin Hovdenes Archive turns up an archive page - but one with no articles in it.

Coming up with weird ideas to make everyone happy since 2008!

 

I have now started a blog as an appropriate place to put my crazy ideas.

I know it's been a long time...  But about the answer to question 4:

Shared Triumph, Night of Souls' Betrayal, and Dralnu's Crusade have their abilities removed in layer 6, not 5, correct?

Also, since Dralnu's Crusade already started applying its effect in layer 5, doesn't that mean it will continue to apply in later layers even if the ability is removed?  So, shouldn't all of Alfred's enchantments be 2/2 blue goblin zombies, not 1/1?

Or does Dralnu's Crusade have 3 separate abilities, not 1 single ability?

Apologies for the thread necro. I'm studying for my judge test.

I have the same question as AluminumAngel above: since Dralnu's Crusade begins to apply its effect in layer 4 before losing it in layer 6, shouldn't that effect continue to apply for the same reason that Humility's effect continues to apply?

With respect to AluminumAngel, it is layer 4 and not layer 5: Dralnu's Crusade changes the cards' type (layer 4) then color (layer 5) then applies +1/+1 (layer 7c).

The article is correct. Dralnu's Crusade has one ability, but that ability produces three continuous effects. One effect adds "Zombie" to the type line, one effect makes creatures black, and one effect gives creatures +1/+1. The rule that governs the interaction is that once an effect (not an ability) has been applied, it continues to apply even if an effect in a later layer removes the ability from which it comes. Hence, in a simplified version with just Humility, Opalescense, and Dralnu's Crusade,

  1. The effect which turns Goblins into Goblin Zombies from Dralnu's Crusade's ability continues to apply even after the ability creating it is removed in layer 6.
  2. The effect which turns the Goblin Zombies black continues to apply even after the ability creating it is removed in layer 6.
  3. The effect which gives the black Goblin Zombies +1/+1 is never applied because the ability that creates it disappears in layer 6.

​Note that the distinction between effects and abilities was crucial to understanding this. Also, in the future, you should open up a new thread (and probably put it in the Rules Q&A forum). For one thing, your question would be much less likely to languish unanswered for 11 hours.

 

If you'd like to listen to a careful, detailed, and clear explanation of the Layers System and its nuances, the Judgecast podcast did a two-part episode on it (Episodes #61 & 62). I recommend them in any case as just a generally excellent resource.

"Proc" stands for "Programmed Random OCcurance". It does not even vaguely apply to anything Magic cards do. Don't use it.

Level 1 Judge as of 09/26/2013

Zammm = Batman

"Ability words are flavor text for Melvins." -- Fallingman

I'm guessing time stamp was moved to the bottom order so layers need not worry over them

 

copy control text type color abilty statistic

 

I would put ability after text

Astarael7 wrote:

The article is correct. Dralnu's Crusade has one ability, but that ability produces three continuous effects. One effect adds "Zombie" to the type line, one effect makes creatures black, and one effect gives creatures +1/+1. The rule that governs the interaction is that once an effect (not an ability) has been applied, it continues to apply even if an effect in a later layer removes the ability from which it comes. Hence, in a simplified version with just Humility, Opalescense, and Dralnu's Crusade,

  1. The effect which turns Goblins into Goblin Zombies from Dralnu's Crusade's ability continues to apply even after the ability creating it is removed in layer 6.
  2. The effect which turns the Goblin Zombies black continues to apply even after the ability creating it is removed in layer 6.
  3. The effect which gives the black Goblin Zombies +1/+1 is never applied because the ability that creates it disappears in layer 6.

​Note that the distinction between effects and abilities was crucial to understanding this. Also, in the future, you should open up a new thread (and probably put it in the Rules Q&A forum). For one thing, your question would be much less likely to languish unanswered for 11 hours.

 

If you'd like to listen to a careful, detailed, and clear explanation of the Layers System and its nuances, the Judgecast podcast did a two-part episode on it (Episodes #61 & 62). I recommend them in any case as just a generally excellent resource.

 

This answer is incorrect.

 

Dralnu's Crusade has two abilities:

  • Goblin creatures get +1/+1.
  • All Goblins are black and are Zombies in addition to their other creature types.

 

The second one applies in layers 4 and 5, so it doesn't matter that it gets removed in layer 6; it's already done all it was planning to do. The first one is removed in layer 6 so it doesn't get a chance to do anything in layer 7.

 

Also, your comment about distinguishing between abilities and effects is very misleading. There's this rule:

613.5. If an effect should be applied in different layers and/or sublayers, the parts of the effect each apply in their appropriate ones. If an effect starts to apply in one layer and/or sublayer, it will continue to be applied to the same set of objects in each other applicable layer and/or sublayer, even if the ability generating the effect is removed during this process.

 

Your interpretation of it is wrong. By splitting up the effects the way you do, it would be impossible for a single effect to be in multiple layers. Also, there's no need to specify that an effect will continue to be applied if the ability removed in a later layer. That just follows naturally from going through the layers in order. Instead, that rule is about the relatively unusual case where an effect is in multiple layers such that part of it is before or during the ability-removing effect and part of it is after the ability-removing effect. The basic Humility + Opalescence + Opalescence is an example of this. Even though all of those lose their abilities in layer 6, their P/T setting effects still work in layer 7 (and which one wins depends on the timestamps).

 

Because of this, if Dralnu's Crusade actually did have only a single ability (as it did prior to the errata to account for tribal cards), it would still give the Goblins +1/+1.

See that's what happens when I fail to notice that the Oracle text is different from the printed text: I have to rationalize some explanation for what I know is the correct answer.

"Proc" stands for "Programmed Random OCcurance". It does not even vaguely apply to anything Magic cards do. Don't use it.

Level 1 Judge as of 09/26/2013

Zammm = Batman

"Ability words are flavor text for Melvins." -- Fallingman

right

 

key abilities while defined by text are not subject to changes with in their text

 

could I cast sight of mind and change the colr of a fear ability ?

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