Questions about card rulings
By - NKnown2000
Hi! I think it's easiest to say Magic is extremely literal with (most) of its rules, so you'd hope most weird interactions are spelled out specifically the card.
1. If it doesn't literally say 'activate only as a sorcery' assume it can be done any time you could cast an instant
2. If it doesn't say it 'enters the battlefield tapped' then it won't- by default everything enters untapped no matter when you play it
3. You can activate Teferi once _each_ turn- so that's on your turn and on each of your opponents' (yeah, he's powerful)
4. Dauntless Survivor doesn't say 'other target creature' so it can target itself
5. The first way you calculated the damage is the right way- you essentially 'share' ("assign") the damage out between the blockers, it has to do exactly 6 damage but that damage goes to different places
6. Counters are permanent and stay on things as long as they're on the battlefield, but they 'fall off' if it leaves (i.e. exiled, or returns to your hand, etc.) The same is true for Auras and Equipment- but watch out for auras which say 'enchant creature you control'- if the enchanted thing changes hands then it no longer meets the requirement and falls off.
An activated ability, like that on Selfless Savior, can be activated at any time its controller has priority (which is also whenever a player can cast an instant).
Cards with flash enter the battlefield untapped unless the card itself or another effect specifies otherwise.
Yes, loyalty abilities of Teferi, Master of Time can be used on both its controllers turn and an opponent's turn.
Yes, Dauntless Survivor can put its counter on itself. It would specify "another target creature" if it couldn't target itself.
Trample damage is excess damage beyond what is needed to kill the creature(s) blocking it. In your example, the 6/6 would need to deal 2 damage to the 4/2 and 1 damage to the 3/1, which would result in 3 trample damage to the defending player.
If a player gains control of a creature, the creature keeps any counters or permanents attached to it. If a creature is exiled, counters and attached permanents are removed.
1. Unless an activated ability includes a timing restriction (like "activate only any time you could cast a sorcery") it can be activated any time you could cast an instant. Since Selfless Savior doesn't have any restrictions, you can activate it at instant speed.
2. Flash has no bearing on whether a card enters the battlefield tapped or untapped. So unless an effect specifies that a card will ETB tapped, it will enter untapped by default.
3. You can activate Teferi's abilities once during each player's turn. So in a two player game you could activate him on your turn, then again on your opponent's turn, and so on.
4. Yes. Otherwise it's ability would state "...put a +1/+1 card on \*another\* target creature."
5. During combat, the creature's power determines the \*total\* damage it deals, not the damage it deals to \*each\* creature blocking or blocked by it. So in your example, the 6/6 will deal 1 damage to the 3/1, 2 to the 4/2, and 3 ( = 6-2-1) to your opponent.
6. Counters remain on a creature as long as it remains on the battlefield. Changing control doesn't affect them at all. However, when a creature leaves the battlefield, it loses all "memory" of its previous existence. Even if it returns to the battlefield right away, it will come back as a new game object with no counters on it.
1) You can sacrifice it whenever you can cast an instant. You can use your creatures abilities on your opponents turn unless there are some timing restrictions added to the ability. ie. Something might say "this ability can be activated anytime you can cast a sorcery" in which case you can only do it on your turn when the stack is empty. You also could not use an ability that requires the tap symbol if you did not control it continuously from the start of your last upkeep (summoning sickness). Under normal circumstances you can use abilities on your opponents turn.
2) Everything enters the battlefield untapped unless the card or ability says otherwise.
3) Both. It is the only Planeswalker ability that you can use on your opponents turn.
4) Yes it can. When a creature has an enter the battlefield (ETB) ability it has to be on the field when its ability is put on the stack. When that ability resolves you choose which creature will get the counter which can be the Dauntless Survivor under normal circumstances.
5) Excess damage is damage that exceeds the amount necessary to kill the creature. For instance if you have a 4/4 Trample and it is blocked by a 4/2 creature you assign 2 damage to the blocker and the rest is excess damage and that can be assigned to the player you are attacking. Both creatures will die and your opponent will take 2. If you had a 4/4 Trample Deathtouch in the same situation you would have a slightly different result since any damage is enough to kill a creature when it is damaged by a deathtouch creature. In this case 1 damage needs to be assigned to the blocker and 3 can be assigned to the player.
6) The creature would keep the counters. The creature simply changes control on the battlefield it does not leave and come back. If it did, ie exiled and brought back, it would lose the counters since it changed zones (battlefield to exile to battlefiled)
1. You can use abilities everytime you could use an instant, unless it says otherwise (like with [[Corpse Traders]])
2. Cards always enter untapped, unless the card says otherwise (like [[Boros Guildgate]]) or another card forces it to enter tapped (like [[Authority of the Consuls]])
3. Once each turn, so once during your turn, and then another again during your opponents turn.
4. Yes, cards with etb effect can enter themselves, unless they say otherwise (like [[Living Totem]])
5. Your first calculation is right.
6. As long as the creature doesn't leave the battlefield, the counters stay on. As soon as it is exiled however, it would leave the battlefield. An exception is [[Skullbriar]]
[Corpse Traders](https://c1.scryfall.com/file/scryfall-cards/normal/front/4/c/4cd6d782-ce5a-4994-8310-34faf9c41de2.jpg?1600714377) - [(G)](http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=Corpse%20Traders) [(SF)](https://scryfall.com/card/jmp/220/corpse-traders?utm_source=mtgcardfetcher) [(txt)](https://api.scryfall.com/cards/4cd6d782-ce5a-4994-8310-34faf9c41de2?utm_source=mtgcardfetcher&format=text)
[Boros Guildgate](https://c1.scryfall.com/file/scryfall-cards/normal/front/c/c/cce912e1-73fe-41f3-a86c-4c19ff3f100f.jpg?1608917952) - [(G)](http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=Boros%20Guildgate) [(SF)](https://scryfall.com/card/cmr/478/boros-guildgate?utm_source=mtgcardfetcher) [(txt)](https://api.scryfall.com/cards/cce912e1-73fe-41f3-a86c-4c19ff3f100f?utm_source=mtgcardfetcher&format=text)
[Authority of the Consuls](https://c1.scryfall.com/file/scryfall-cards/normal/front/3/2/324b2f55-1e09-490e-8f7e-bfde85a91ac4.jpg?1576380742) - [(G)](http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=Authority%20of%20the%20Consuls) [(SF)](https://scryfall.com/card/kld/5/authority-of-the-consuls?utm_source=mtgcardfetcher) [(txt)](https://api.scryfall.com/cards/324b2f55-1e09-490e-8f7e-bfde85a91ac4?utm_source=mtgcardfetcher&format=text)
[Living Totem](https://c1.scryfall.com/file/scryfall-cards/normal/front/c/a/ca21890c-68be-4929-913e-d28ace6b40a7.jpg?1562794245) - [(G)](http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=Living%20Totem) [(SF)](https://scryfall.com/card/m15/184/living-totem?utm_source=mtgcardfetcher) [(txt)](https://api.scryfall.com/cards/ca21890c-68be-4929-913e-d28ace6b40a7?utm_source=mtgcardfetcher&format=text)
[Skullbriar](https://c1.scryfall.com/file/scryfall-cards/normal/front/6/9/69dad154-2616-4bd6-8448-0e0458ee136d.jpg?1562274121) - [(G)](http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=skullbriar%2C%20the%20walking%20grave) [(SF)](https://scryfall.com/card/cm2/165/skullbriar-the-walking-grave?utm_source=mtgcardfetcher) [(txt)](https://api.scryfall.com/cards/69dad154-2616-4bd6-8448-0e0458ee136d?utm_source=mtgcardfetcher&format=text)
^^^[[cardname]] ^^^or ^^^[[cardname|SET]] ^^^to ^^^call
I do love when I see a thread like this, go in to do my best to answer, and see that several people have already thoroughly answered the question.
Keep being rad /r/magicTCG
And I hope you come to love the game as much as we do /u/NKown2000 !
Thanks a lot man!
[Selfless Savior](https://c1.scryfall.com/file/scryfall-cards/normal/front/6/9/6911759c-7177-402c-a95a-f9f46efaf521.jpg?1594735224) - [(G)](http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=Selfless%20Savior) [(SF)](https://scryfall.com/card/m21/36/selfless-savior?utm_source=mtgcardfetcher) [(txt)](https://api.scryfall.com/cards/6911759c-7177-402c-a95a-f9f46efaf521?utm_source=mtgcardfetcher&format=text)
[Teferi, Master of Time](https://c1.scryfall.com/file/scryfall-cards/normal/front/9/c/9c0c61e3-9f3d-4e7f-9046-0ea336dd8a2d.jpg?1594735806) - [(G)](http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=Teferi%2C%20Master%20of%20Time) [(SF)](https://scryfall.com/card/m21/75/teferi-master-of-time?utm_source=mtgcardfetcher) [(txt)](https://api.scryfall.com/cards/9c0c61e3-9f3d-4e7f-9046-0ea336dd8a2d?utm_source=mtgcardfetcher&format=text)
[Dauntless Survivor](https://c1.scryfall.com/file/scryfall-cards/normal/front/5/2/52b1b4a2-52a7-4fcd-aa96-f7d9e459657b.jpg?1604198710) - [(G)](http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=Dauntless%20Survivor) [(SF)](https://scryfall.com/card/znr/184/dauntless-survivor?utm_source=mtgcardfetcher) [(txt)](https://api.scryfall.com/cards/52b1b4a2-52a7-4fcd-aa96-f7d9e459657b?utm_source=mtgcardfetcher&format=text)
[Mind Flayer](https://c1.scryfall.com/file/scryfall-cards/normal/front/c/2/c29ac797-a186-4224-94e1-9bb9dca4b029.jpg?1627703456) - [(G)](http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=Mind%20Flayer) [(SF)](https://scryfall.com/card/afr/63/mind-flayer?utm_source=mtgcardfetcher) [(txt)](https://api.scryfall.com/cards/c29ac797-a186-4224-94e1-9bb9dca4b029?utm_source=mtgcardfetcher&format=text)
^^^[[cardname]] ^^^or ^^^[[cardname|SET]] ^^^to ^^^call
People have explained the way that damage assignment works (your 6/6 trampler has 6 damage total to divide between the creatures blocking it and the defending player), but what they haven't mentioned is that the only time you actually *have to* assign any damage to the defending player at all, when attacking with a trampling creature that is blocked by creatures with insufficient toughness to prevent there being any "excess damage" that "could" trample over them, is when the blocking creatures get removed from combat prior to the combat damage step (because then the only place you can assign damage to is the defending player, exactly like it was unblocked to begin with) - you "can", and probably should" assign 3 damage to the defending player in the scenario you described, but you're not actually obliged to.
You get to choose where the damage your creature deals out goes, you see, when it's blocked: the only hard and fast rule is that all available points of damage have to be allocated somewhere, and when there are multiple creatures blocking your attacking creature, you have to assign enough damage to the one you select to be 1st in the blocking order before you're allowed to assign any damage to the one you picked to be 2nd in the blocking order, and so on.
Nothing actually stops you from assigning more damage than would be required to kill that 1st block *to* the 1st blocker though, you just have to at minimum assign enough to kill it before you can move on to the 2nd, etc etc - in the scenario you described, it wouldn't be advantageous to not kill both creatures and also hit your opponent for 3, but there will be times when you rumble on in with something large and an opponent blocks with multiple creatures, one of which they clearly want to die to trigger an ability: their choice to multi-block means it's now *your* decision whether that creature that they clearly want to die actually does die in combat, because you chose the blocking order and assign damage, and can put it towards the back and not choose to damage it.
Depending on what it is that would happen were you to split your damage "optimally" and cause that creature to die, sometimes the correct line to take is to not do that, so knowing that it's an option can come in handy.
I'm not coming after OP here, I'm genuinely interested in how people get confused about some of these things.
Mostly 2, 5, and 6. The way it works seems like the intuitive way. Am I just so enfranchised that they seem obvious? Is it as simple as someone being taught wrong by another person who doesn't know the rules and just made some shit up?
Is there some pitfall I should be trying to avoid when teaching new players so they don't get confused about this stuff?
When I started a few weeks ago I just read the rulebook that came with the Starter Kit. Even though it definitely got me started, it wasn't really enough to cover many mechanics and rules that are in the game, so I learned most things on the go, looking them up on the internet as I played. However some things I didn't find, at least they weren't completely apparent.
Here's my reasons for asking these questions.
1. I didn't know whether activated abilities are something you can do the same way as instants. This hadn't come up when reading rules from anywhere.
2. This confusion came because I thought summoning sickness meant the same thing as putting the card onto the battlefield tapped. I didn't even know you could defend with a creature with summoning sickness (though I did find this information on the wiki today).
3. It seemed really OP if it actually could be activated so often. Which is the case though, and I'm surprised because it really sounds incredibly overpowered.
4. I mean this one is one of the more easily understandable ones I guess. It doesn't say you couldn't put it on yourself so I wanted to make sure.
5. Combat mechanics are just something that have to be learned. At first I wasn't aware how many creatures can defend how many creatures. I had to look this all up before doing anything. Same thing with trample and damage distribution I guess.
6. I didn't know if gaining control of an opponent's creature just moves it on the battlefield or if it "leaves" it for the time of switching sides. And since exile isn't quite the same as graveyard and the creatures there are still very much alive I wasn't sure if that meant they still retain the counters.
When teaching new players, I think it varies a lot by player what you have to explain and what you can expect they know already. My wife has dyslexia and has a very hard time understanding the phrasing and hence the rulings of many cards, even ones I think are obvious. But at least for me, a good explanation on a puzzling subject once is enough so that I'll never have to ask about it again. But I like to be sure so I tend to ask even quite simple things once just to make sure they actually are what I assume they are.
Ok, so this is less you thought things worked the wrong way and more you wanted to make sure just in case. That makes sense. I think someone else said it in the thread, but for the most part, stuff does just kinda do what you think it does.
I also want to get out ahead of this, Teferi, Time Master is not a good card. Yes, activating two loyalty abilities per turn cycle is strong, but those loyalty abilities are super marginal, and they're stapled on to a 4-mana sorcery speed spell in a color that has [[Behold the multiverse]].
Maybe with Disturb and Flashback and a smaller card pool, it might be relevant in standard, but I wouldn't hold my breath. I mean, you tap out for Teferi and your opponent just slams [[Goldspan Dragon]], good luck.
[Behold the multiverse](https://c1.scryfall.com/file/scryfall-cards/normal/front/2/7/27855a38-a682-4f97-ad22-ac625e86faec.jpg?1631046745) - [(G)](http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=Behold%20the%20multiverse) [(SF)](https://scryfall.com/card/khm/46/behold-the-multiverse?utm_source=mtgcardfetcher) [(txt)](https://api.scryfall.com/cards/27855a38-a682-4f97-ad22-ac625e86faec?utm_source=mtgcardfetcher&format=text)
[Goldspan Dragon](https://c1.scryfall.com/file/scryfall-cards/normal/front/9/d/9d914868-9000-4df2-a818-0ef8a7f636ae.jpg?1631049376) - [(G)](http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=Goldspan%20Dragon) [(SF)](https://scryfall.com/card/khm/139/goldspan-dragon?utm_source=mtgcardfetcher) [(txt)](https://api.scryfall.com/cards/9d914868-9000-4df2-a818-0ef8a7f636ae?utm_source=mtgcardfetcher&format=text)
^^^[[cardname]] ^^^or ^^^[[cardname|SET]] ^^^to ^^^call
Others have answered the questions pretty well; I just want to make a correction to some of the answers I've seen to question 1.
The specific-case answers have been correct; you can activate Selfless Spirit's ability at any time you can cast an instant.
The more general-case answers exclude a couple notable exceptions.
Activated abilities can be activated at any time you could cast an instant, with three major exceptions:
-Some cards' abilities specify that you can only activate them at any time you can cast a sorcery, such as [[Birthing Pod]]
-Planeswalker Loyalty Abilities can only be activated at Sorcery speed, unless some effect says otherwise (like the one on Teferi, Master of Time)
-Equip abilities can only be activated at Sorcery speed, unless some effect says otherwise such as [[Leonin Shikari]]. Only the first few printings of equipment (in original Mirrodin block) include this in reminder text; all those printed after exclude it. Note this only applies to actual Equip abilities, not other abilities that say to attach, like on [[cranial plating]].
Beyond this, there's some funkyness about being able to activate mana abilities at times when you couldn't even cast an instant, but those are typically intuitive and hidden away enough that you likely won't need to worry about them for a long time.
[Birthing Pod](https://c1.scryfall.com/file/scryfall-cards/normal/front/b/7/b768efa2-e56b-4a7e-ace8-d673f10e0714.jpg?1562880960) - [(G)](http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=Birthing%20Pod) [(SF)](https://scryfall.com/card/nph/104/birthing-pod?utm_source=mtgcardfetcher) [(txt)](https://api.scryfall.com/cards/b768efa2-e56b-4a7e-ace8-d673f10e0714?utm_source=mtgcardfetcher&format=text)
[Leonin Shikari](https://c1.scryfall.com/file/scryfall-cards/normal/front/4/7/47db94ce-e9f3-4bc3-b05f-17fde1d91329.jpg?1562606847) - [(G)](http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=Leonin%20Shikari) [(SF)](https://scryfall.com/card/c17/66/leonin-shikari?utm_source=mtgcardfetcher) [(txt)](https://api.scryfall.com/cards/47db94ce-e9f3-4bc3-b05f-17fde1d91329?utm_source=mtgcardfetcher&format=text)
[cranial plating](https://c1.scryfall.com/file/scryfall-cards/normal/front/e/1/e1375f17-bc25-4a65-98b7-4785bbdbe974.jpg?1599953696) - [(G)](http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=cranial%20plating) [(SF)](https://scryfall.com/card/2xm/245/cranial-plating?utm_source=mtgcardfetcher) [(txt)](https://api.scryfall.com/cards/e1375f17-bc25-4a65-98b7-4785bbdbe974?utm_source=mtgcardfetcher&format=text)
^^^[[cardname]] ^^^or ^^^[[cardname|SET]] ^^^to ^^^call
That will definitely save me from some further questions later on, thanks!
Thanks a lot for the answers everyone! This definitely makes the games a lot less confusing :)
One thing I found out I missed before was that summoning sickness doesn't actually mean that the card enters tapped in a sense that it couldn't defend on the opponent's next turn. So far I've been playing like they couldn't defend right away and that's what confused me with Flash since it seems like a keyword that should allow for quick additional defense.
Teferi, Master of Time seems insanely OP to me now that I know it can activate abilities on both players' turns... I thought it was good even when I used it only once per turn cycle.