Today's Rules Corner

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"River of Tears has a mana ability that produces Blue Mana or Black Mana depending on whether you played a land this turn, but Reflecting Pool only "sees" an ability that can tap for Blue Mana or Black Mana. It will be able to produce either color regardless of whether you have played a land this turn."

That's what it said today. I just wanted to clarify, the official answer from the MTG-Judge list is that it produces coloured mana exactly like River of Tears does... if you played a land, you get Black Mana. If not, you get Blue Mana.
I would think that part of the Ask Wizards is incorrect, since River of Tears appears to have an applicable replacement effect.
Right. River of Tears produces mana depending on whether or not you've played a land that turn. If you haven't played a land that turn, it can only produce blue, thus Reflecting Pool can only produce blue, at least that was my understanding of how the Pool worked. Pool would be able to create any color if you had a Vivid Crag in play without any counters left, since the crag is capable of producing any color, but you can't pay the cost (taking off a counter) any more.
Reflecting Pool...

yeah, it's not modal, so I too say that the information is bad

EDIT: per Rudolf's find below, I guess I retract my statement... reflecting pool + crystal quarry = the world best city of brass?
I would think that part of the Ask Wizards is incorrect, since River of Tears appears to have an applicable replacement effect.

There's this ruling Reflecting Pool in Gatherer - is it incorrect?
10/4/2004 It checks for types the land could produce under all possible conditions. For example, if a land can only produce mana if you pay a cost or if some condition is met, Reflecting Pool can still generate mana of that color.

Reflecting Pool doesn't say 'a land you control could produce as you play this ability,' and even then I don't know if that'd actually make a difference (though I'm fairly sure it would). It just says 'a land you control could produce.' Could a Vivid land produce any color? Yes--it doesn't matter whether or not you actually have a counter to remove, RP just sees that it could. So, you can add any color. Could River of Tears produce blue mana or black mana? Yes, it can at some point, so RP could add blue or black, regardless.
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Questions don't have to make sense, but answers do.

Not to be offensive, Natedogg, because I appreciate the attempt for clarification, but I fail to see the need for clarification. River of Tears /could/ produce black mana under /some/ condition, so Reflecting Pool should be able to do so as well. I know the ruling is one of those 10042004 ones that means 'anything before this date is given this date since this is when we put these here,' but I don't think it's inaccurate due to age. (Not that I'm being impatient--I'm curious to see the actual answer, just tossing in my two cents on it.)
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...And then I look at another ruling under Reflecting Pool and read 'River of Tears' which has a replacement effect...

"# 10/4/2004 Any replacement effects are considered by Reflecting Pool when determining the types of mana a land can produce."

Hmm. So now there are two rulings, one of which supports RP adding either, one of which supports adding one based on what RoT would add if tapped. Hmm. Okay, now I see the need for clarification. I'll shut up now. ^_^;;
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This was discussed in some detail in the rules mailing list. Here's the final result.

so it's important to understand why Reflecting Pool treats
Tainted Peak one way but River of Tears another.

The difference is in the templating (the exact wording, on the card)
-- one is a restriction on when the ability can be played, the other
is a self-replacement effect. In the end, the decision of what is and
isn't included in the definition of "could produce" is up to the rules
team, and that's what we use to differentiate.

* It DOES take into account replacement effects (Reality Twist) and
self-replacement effects (Rain of Tears)
* It does NOT take into account costs on the mana ability in question
(Crystal Quarry, {T}, etc)
* It does NOT take into account play restrictions (Tainted Peak,
Temple of the False God)
* It does NOT take into account other possible futures (Playing a
land, a Blood Moon, or a Stone Rain)

It might change depending on clarification...but there you go. The way I see it is that Replacement effects sort of outright change what a land can or cannot produce. It sort of changes a Forest into an Island, and Islands cannot produce green regardless of whatever conditions.
If you have a Swamp and 2 Reflecting Pools in play, then those lands can tap for {B}. If the Swamp is destroyed, why don't the Reflecting Pools continue to "reflect" the ability to tap for {B} between themselves? Is this a state-based effect, or just the ruling for such cases?
Because NEITHER reflecting pool will have any ability to produce black once the Swamp is destroyed. A reflecting pool cannot produce any mana without other land in play. To further clarify, Reflecting Pool's ability an activated mana ability, it checks what mana you can add when you use it, and if you can't add any, then no mana gets produced.
The ability to tap for black is not inherant in Reflecting Pool's ability.
If you have a Swamp and 2 Reflecting Pools in play, then those lands can tap for {B}. If the Swamp is destroyed, why don't the Reflecting Pools continue to "reflect" the ability to tap for {B} between themselves? Is this a state-based effect, or just the ruling for such cases?

Because continuous effects are just that: continuous. Reflecting Pool doesn't look back at what other lands said they could produce the last time the question was asked. It asks "what could you produce now." Neither one sees a land that says "I could produce now."
Believe the judge list. Ignore the Ask Wizards response. The Shadowmoor update to the Comp. Rules will be more clear about how Reflecting Pool works.

Half the MagicTheGathering.com team was out sick last week, including the person who's normally responsible for verifying the Rules Corner answer. The situation is being dealt with, but I don't know how long it will take.

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Another question on this response. Why does graven cairns only allow reflecting pool to tap for B or R?
Half the MagicTheGathering.com team was out sick last week, including the person who's normally responsible for verifying the Rules Corner answer.

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Another question on this response. Why does graven cairns only allow reflecting pool to tap for B or R?

If you asking why no mention was made of tapping for , it was possibly an oversight or possibly intentionally discarded because tapping for is really boring when you can tap for a color.
They can have it produce either , or .
[indent]* It does NOT take into account costs on the mana ability in question (Crystal Quarry, {T}, etc)[/indent]
Believe the judge list. Ignore the Ask Wizards response. The Shadowmoor update to the Comp. Rules will be more clear about how Reflecting Pool works.

Half the MagicTheGathering.com team was out sick last week, including the person who's normally responsible for verifying the Rules Corner answer. The situation is being dealt with, but I don't know how long it will take.

Well, I'd like to put my two-cents worth in that forcing Reflecting Pool to be limited to what River of Tears can actually produce, instead of what it could produce, seems very counterintuitive. I would hope that the rules folks have a very good reason for making such an apparently contradictory ruling.
Actually, it does make sense. It's a replacement effect. It doesn't involve a currently-unpayable cost that might let you get a different color. It involves a replacement effect.

As an example...

A Vivid land can, at any time, produce mana of any colour. You might not have the counters on that land, but when you tap it, you have two options: Remove a counter for any colour, or don't. Since you can't choose the impossible cost of removing a counter, you don't, but you still had the option, so it still COULD produce any colour at the exact same time it COULD produce its natural colour.

River of Tears, however, is a different story. When you tap it, you're not choosing what colour you add. It's not 'I'll add when I tap this because I played a land this turn, instead of .' It's 'Because I played a land this turn, the only possible mana I can add is .' The difference is that when you tap River of Tears, it doesn't give you the option of adding or ; it adds one mana of a certain colour based on what you've done so far that turn.

Let me see if I can be more concise...

A Vivid Grove has this:

": Add to your mana pool."
AND
", Remove a charge counter from Vivid Grove: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool."

The 'and' means it can do either one at any time.

River of Tears, however, has this (not worded as such, but this is the effect):

": Add to your mana pool."
OR
": Add to your mana pool."

The 'or' means it never has both abilities at the same time, so at any given time, it'll only produce one colour--and so Reflecting Pool can only produce one colour.
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Actually, it does make sense. It's a replacement effect. It doesn't involve a currently-unpayable cost that might let you get a different color. It involves a replacement effect.

As an example...

A Vivid land can, at any time, produce mana of any colour. You might not have the counters on that land, but when you tap it, you have two options: Remove a counter for any colour, or don't. Since you can't choose the impossible cost of removing a counter, you don't, but you still had the option, so it still COULD produce any colour at the exact same time it COULD produce its natural colour.

River of Tears, however, is a different story. When you tap it, you're not choosing what colour you add. It's not 'I'll add when I tap this because I played a land this turn, instead of .' It's 'Because I played a land this turn, the only possible mana I can add is .' The difference is that when you tap River of Tears, it doesn't give you the option of adding or ; it adds one mana of a certain colour based on what you've done so far that turn.

Let me see if I can be more concise...

A Vivid Grove has this:

": Add to your mana pool."
AND
", Remove a charge counter from Vivid Grove: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool."

The 'and' means it can do either one at any time.

River of Tears, however, has this (not worded as such, but this is the effect):

": Add to your mana pool."
OR
": Add to your mana pool."

The 'or' means it never has both abilities at the same time, so at any given time, it'll only produce one colour--and so Reflecting Pool can only produce one colour.

but in both cases there is a dependency...

Vivid Grove can always produce
but its ability to tap for any colour is dependant on paying the cost
(ie tapping and removing the counter)
whereas
River of Tears is dependant on the game state
if a land was played it produces and if not it produces

if Vivid Grove had no counters left it could no longer play any colour mana
if I played a land this turn River of Tears could no longer play blue mana

what is the difference?

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but in both cases there is a dependency...

Vivid Grove can always produce
but its ability to tap for any colour is dependant on paying the cost
(ie tapping and removing the counter)
whereas
River of Tears is dependant on the game state
if a land was played it produces and if not it produces

if Vivid Grove had no counters left it could no longer play any colour mana
if I played a land this turn River of Tears could no longer play blue mana

what is the difference?

Vivid Grove can't tap for mana of another color because you can't currently pay the cost of that particular ability. River of Tears can't tap for mana of another color because it no longer has that ability, it has the ability to tap for a different color instead. Reflecting pool only cares about the abilities it currently has, not the abilities that you can currently play.

Look at it this way too: You can't tap a Forest for when it's tapped, and you can't tap a Vivid Grove for any color when it doesn't have a counter. Reflecting Pool will still produce green mana when all your forests are tapped, and it will still produce mana of any color when your Vivid Grove has no counters.
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not to stir up another hornet's nest, but how does this work with gemstone caverns without a luck counter?
if Vivid Grove had no counters left it could no longer play any colour mana
if I played a land this turn River of Tears could no longer play blue mana

what is the difference?

Reflecting Pool ignores whether you can pay costs or play the ability. Otherwise, having a tapped Forest wouldn't let the Pool provide , which would be extremely counterintuitive.

The only reason you can't get any color out of a Vivid is because you can't pay the cost (remove a counter). Reflecting Pool ignores this.

The reason you can't get U out of River of Tears is because there is a replacement effect that turns it into B. Reflecting Pool does take this into account.

The distinction between replacement effects and other things which affect the type of mana produced is somewhat arbitrary, but completely intentional and unlikely to be changed. It is there to get the most intuitive results when using cards like Reality Twist. If your opponent controls Reality Twist and you control Forests and Reflecting Pools, do you expect to be able to produce any ? Most people would say no.

The same reasoning applies to River of Tears, which has the same type of ability as Reality Twist: a replacement effect that changes what type of mana a certain land produces when its activated ability resolves. It just happens to be on the same land it modifies.

not to stir up another hornet's nest, but how does this work with gemstone caverns without a luck counter?

Gemstone Caverns also has a replacement effect, so Reflecting Pool takes it into effect in the same way. You can only get colors from Reflecting Pool if the Caverns do have the luck counter. (You can tell it has a replacement effect because of the word "instead.")
Reflecting Pool only cares about what types of mana your lands could produce for each mana ability on that card. At any time, River of Tears can only produce one color, the vivid lands can (they may not be able to produce colored mana, but they could) produce all 5 colors or *EDIT* it's appropriate color.
the vivid lands can (they may not be able to produce colored mana, but they could) produce all 5 colors or 1 colorless.

A vivid land can't produce colorless mana.
Gemstone Caverns also has a replacement effect, so Reflecting Pool takes it into effect in the same way. You can only get colors from Reflecting Pool if the Caverns do have the luck counter. (You can tell it has a replacement effect because of the word "instead.")

while I am inclined to agree with you, I am sure this fact is confused by the bulleted rulings on the reflecting pool gatherer page. http://ww2.wizards.com/gatherer/CardDetails.aspx?&id=4936

# 10/4/2004 Any replacement effects are considered by Reflecting Pool when determining the types of mana a land can produce.

# 10/4/2004 It checks for types the land could produce under all possible conditions. For example, if a land can only produce mana if you pay a cost or if some condition is met, Reflecting Pool can still generate mana of that color.


Wouldn't that condition be a luck counter?

These two rules seem contradictory to say the least.
not to stir up another hornet's nest, but how does this work with gemstone caverns without a luck counter?

Gemstone Caverns, much like River of Tears has a replacement effect. The caverns produce colorless mana. IF you have a luck counter on it, instead add one mana of any color to your pool.

Without a luck counter, the caverns only tap for colorless, so Reflecting Pool will only tap for colorless.
# 10/4/2004 It checks for types the land could produce under all possible conditions. For example, if a land can only produce mana if you pay a cost or if some condition is met, Reflecting Pool can still generate mana of that color.[/i]

Wouldn't that condition be a luck counter?

These two rules seem contradictory to say the least.

I agree that separating replacement effects from the ruling about "all possible conditions" can seem arbitrary. Perhaps examples of only producing mana under "some condition" will help: Gaea's Cradle allows Reflecting Pool to produce even if you control no creatures. Tainted Peak allows Reflecting Pool to produce or even if you control no swamps. These fall under the ruling about "all possible conditions." Notice how neither of these use the word "instead."

Does that help draw a distinction? If you are looking for an intuitive reason why replacement effects are treated differently from other "conditions," you might not find one that satisfies you. It just works best in the most common cases (e.g. Naked Singularity) at the time the ruling was made.
I've always been better at iterative thinking.
card -- reflecting pool produces?
Timberland Ruins - any color
Tinder Farm -
shimmering grotto - or any color
Saltcrusted Steppe -
temple of the false god -
meteor crater - or what ever color you have permanents of
cabal coffers -
primal beyond - any color and it can be used for what ever

If I'm wrong anywhere, correct me.
meteor crater - or what ever color you have permanents of

I don't believe Reflecting Pool can tap for in this instance.

Gerdef
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I don't believe Reflecting Pool can tap for in this instance.

You're right. Meteor Crater can't produce colorless mana. If you have only colorless permanents in play, Meteor Crater actually won't produce any mana at all.
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These two rules seem contradictory to say the least.

Only if you misunderstand them. The only conditions that matter are conditions on what type of mana could be produced by the ability; not whether or not the ability could be played.

Essentially, you assume that an ability of the land already has been played, and is resolving. Look at what type(s), regardless of the amount, that its text says it makes and apply any replacements you need to.
This argument is not supported by the rules:
River of Tears can't tap for mana of another color because it no longer has that ability, it has the ability to tap for a different color instead.

According to Oracle, River of Tears has one ability:

: Add to your mana pool. If you played a land this turn, add to your mana pool instead.

It always has this same ability, whether or not you played a land.

The argument that the ability itself, if actually played, can only produce one type of mana at any given moment, is at least a logical one. However, it also seems logical to me that the following two statements are true statements, causing confusion with this rule:

1. Reflecting Pool's ability adds to your mana pool one mana of any type that a land you control could produce.

2. River of Tears has an ability that could produce either or .
The argument that the ability itself, if actually played, can only produce one type of mana at any given moment, is at least a logical one. However, it also seems logical to me that the following two statements are true statements, causing confusion with this rule:

1. Reflecting Pool's ability adds to your mana pool one mana of any type that a land you control could produce.

2. River of Tears has an ability that could produce either or .

The current Comp Rules say this:[indent]The type of mana a permanent "could produce" is the type of mana that any ability of that permanent can generate, taking into account any applicable replacement effects. If the type of mana can't be defined, there's no type of mana that that permanent could produce. The "type" of mana is its color, or lack thereof (for colorless mana).[/indent](emphasis added)
The effect of River of Tears ability includes a self-replacement effect, which you have to take into account when determining what kind of mana the River can produce. So the "type of mana that River of Tears could produce" varies based on whether or not you have played a land this turn, which means that the type of mana you can get from Reflecting Pool also varies with whether or not you played a land this turn.
River of Tears can't tap for mana of another color because it no longer has that ability, it has the ability to tap for a different color instead.

This argument is not supported by the rules:


According to Oracle, River of Tears has one ability:

: Add to your mana pool. If you played a land this turn, add to your mana pool instead.

It always has this same ability, whether or not you played a land.

Not quite true. It is printed as one ability because the replacement effect replaces what the ability does. It could be worded as such:

"River of Tears has ': Add to your mana pool.' unless you played a land this turn. If you played a land this turn, River of Tears has ': Add to your mana pool.'" The effect would be the same, but it's more wordy. Ignoring conditions for how it has each effect, RoT has this:

: Add to your mana pool.
OR
: Add to your mana pool.

It has two different abilities, neither of which is active while the other is. It can never add 'black or blue' to your mana pool. It can add 'black' or 'blue' to your mana pool (note the difference; included in quotes implies that when you tap it, you CHOOSE what to add. The difference is that you have absolutely zero choice what to add when you play the ability; you can choose when to play the ability to get a different color of mana, but when you play the ability, it only adds one color and no choice to add something else instead).

The difference here is that, even if you haven't met the condition that says, as example, ": If you have three or more creatures, add to your mana pool." (dunno if real or not, but the templating is real, or close to something out there), the land always has the ability and COULD produce or at all times, even if when the ability resolves you add 0 because you don't have enough creatures. River of Tears, on the hand, doesn't always have the ability to produce , nor can it always produce . A condition on whether or not the ability will add any mana when it resolves is not the same as a condition that replaces one ability with another.
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To make myself perfectly clear, I accept this explanation as logical, even though I still think it will cause a lot of confusion:
The current Comp Rules say this:[indent]The type of mana a permanent "could produce" is the type of mana that any ability of that permanent can generate, taking into account any applicable replacement effects. If the type of mana can't be defined, there's no type of mana that that permanent could produce. The "type" of mana is its color, or lack thereof (for colorless mana).[/indent](emphasis added)
The effect of River of Tears ability includes a self-replacement effect, which you have to take into account when determining what kind of mana the River can produce. So the "type of mana that River of Tears could produce" varies based on whether or not you have played a land this turn, which means that the type of mana you can get from Reflecting Pool also varies with whether or not you played a land this turn.

However, I do not agree with this logic:
It is printed as one ability because the replacement effect replaces what the ability does. It could be worded as such:

"River of Tears has ': Add to your mana pool.' unless you played a land this turn. If you played a land this turn, River of Tears has ': Add to your mana pool.'"

Oh yes, it could have been worded as such, but it was not worded as such. If the designers wanted it to have two different abilities, depending on the game state, they would have printed it that way.

RoT has this:

: Add to your mana pool.
OR
: Add to your mana pool.

It has two different abilities, neither of which is active while the other is.

No. The plain fact is that it has one abiliity, which has a replacement effect in its resolution. It does not have one ability that gets replaced by another. If you have comp rules that say otherwise, please point them out, and I will gladly recant my assertion - I'd rather be proved wrong and be corrected, than be blissfully unaware of my ignorance.
It does have two different abilities, only one of which is 'there' depending on the game state.

: Add to your mana pool.
OR
: Add to your mana pool.

All I am doing is representing what the replacement effect does.

River of Tears has, if you haven't yet played a land that turn:
: Add to your mana pool.

If you have played a land that turn, it instead has this:
: Add to your mana pool.

It is only listed as one ability, because the replacement effect replaces one ability with another; it doesn't have to show two abilities to have two abilities. (Think of it this way: Just because Sinew Sliver doesn't actually say "Poisonous 1" while Virulent Sliver is in play, that doesn't mean it doesn't have "Poisonous 1.")

Also, you seem to be confused on how a choice and a replacement effect work.

The Vivid lands always give a choice of what kind of mana to add as part of their abilities.

The dual lands always give a choice of what kind of mana to add as part of their abilities.

River of Tears, however, does not allow you to choose what type of mana to add to your mana pool as the ability resolves. The choice is when you play the ability, not part of the ability itself. It doesn't say 'Add or to your mana pool.' (That would be an Island Swamp.) It says 'Add to your mana pool.' OR (from the standpoint of the game checking for abilities) 'Add to your mana pool.' It can never (with a few exceptions) produce ' or ' (note the quotation marks). If you haven't played a land, RoT cannot possibly add black, so Reflecting Pool can't. If you have, RoT cannot possibly add blue, so Reflecting Pool can't. That's how replacement effects work: they replace one thing (in this case, an ability) with another.
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I know you're just trying to explain the logic, Kedar, but you should stick to a correct terminology.
1. River of Tears has one ability.
2. Replacement effects do not replace abilities, they replace events (partially or completely).
To recap: Reflecting Pool does not take costs into account (like the cost of removing a counter from a Vivid Crag). It does however take replacement effects into account. Right?
Alright, then let me try this one...

When you tap Reflecting Pool, you choose what mana to add on resolution (you don't choose what type you're adding as you play it, though functionally (since it can't be responded to) there isn't a difference).

Reflecting Pool asks this: "If you were to use any other land to produce mana right now, what could it possibly produce under the current game state if you could pay the cost?" River of Tears will only be able to produce or , not ' or ' (note the quotations), depending on the game state.

Does that make sense?
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