#CMAskTheJudge Episode 156: Discard Disease

Welcome to Episode 156 of Cardmarket's AskTheJudge series. Each episode includes a video that poses a question regarding the rules of Magic. Watch the video, comment with your answer, and then check your work below. This week's question is about the way in which replacement effects work!

Welcome to #CMAskTheJudge! This time we want to know what happens when you only have Obstinate Baloth in your hand, no other creatures on the battlefield, and your opponent casts Smallpox. Are you able/forced to sacrifice the Baloth? Comment on our video (or below) with your answer and then check whether you got it right or wrong!

obstinate baloth smallpox

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14 Commentaires

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Housegheist(17.01.2022 10:50)

Haven't thought it would work this way... Thank you for this one.

In our playgroup occured another situation with other creatures we could not clarify:

Opponent had a Roalesk with a bunch of +1/+1 counters which made him a about 20/20. On the other side was an Angel of sanctions (3/4), protected by Shalai, Voice of Plenty and Vigor. What happens, if Roalesk is blocked by the Angel of Sanctions? How much Dmg will be prevented by Vigor and how many +1/+1-Counters will be put on the Angel afterwards?
Thank you very much in advance

amrtina(17.01.2022 17:04)

@Housegheist Shalai in this situation does nothing. Roalesk has trample and has to assign at least lethal damage (can be more if the controller wants, though), which is in this case 4. Lethal damage doesn't care about any effects, only about the toughness. In that case, Vigor will prevent 4 damage, put 4 counters on the angel instead, and you will receive 16 damage.

enrimassi(16.01.2022 11:36)

Ok, you got me.
Dfinitely though Baloth's was a triggered ability, not a replacement.

MTGamer0815(14.01.2022 21:23)

I would say the Smallpox effects "Each player loses 1 life, discards a card, sacrifices a creature" happen simultaneously at the same time. The Effect "Then sacrifices a land" happens afterward, because of the "THEN".

So you lose 1 life, discard and sacrifice a creature at the same time which makes the baloth go to the battlefield, but since it all happens at the same time he is not on the battlefield when the sacrifice a creature effect happens.

amrtina(14.01.2022 22:08)

@MTGamer0815, check the answer :) in general, cards resolve in the order they are written in. With smallpox and similar cards that are listing the stuff that happens, you can view each comma as a "then".

Groox(14.01.2022 13:33)

Perfect timing for this one!
Yesterday I was searching for replacement effects because i didn't remember if those are triggered or static abilities.
I didn't find a clean answer but If i recall correctly and based on what i found those are static abilities.
So this should be like:

Each player loses 1 life;

Each player discards a card, so I discard Obstinate Baloth that goes on the battlefield and not on the graveyard immediately and not as a trigger;

Each player sacrifices a creature (and I'm half sad and half mad because I have to sacrifice my beloved baloth);

Each player sacrifices a land.

After that there's a check (before someone gets priority) that put the Obstinate Baloth' first ability on the stack.

I hope to have understood correctly, and in any case to have learn something.
As always thanks for those posts, i love them!

amrtina(14.01.2022 13:43)

@Groox you got it completely right :)

Lavilledieu(14.01.2022 12:32)

I'm a little bit confused about what is defined as a trigger. You wrote "first each players loses 1 life, then ...", but that's not what's on the card. The card doesn't have that "then", only a comma, and generally a comma is a replacement for the word "and". That makes me believe it reads like 1 trigger: "loses 1 life and discards a card and sacrifices a creature". Demogorgon's Clutches has a somewhat similar templating, and resolves with 1 trigger.

MichaelW(14.01.2022 12:41)


First you dont understand what a trigger is. Neither the cards involved here or Demogorgon's Clutches have a trigger (well except for the gain 4 life part, which is not relevant here).

Cards resolved in the order written. The second effect of the Baloth is a replacement effect, so you discard, but instead put baloth into play and then you sac a creature in play. If baloth is your only creature, you have to sac it.

amrtina(14.01.2022 13:48)

@Lavilledieu exactly as Michael said, and to add: I wrote "then", as you have to resolve the card in the order it's written in. Smallpox has no triggers at all, and in general, most instants and sorceries don't. There is no time to react or do anything, or exchange priority while something (in this case Smallpox) is resolving. Triggers, on the other hand, are on the stack and priority is exchanged before each of them resolves.

To help you better recognize triggers, this is from the Comprehensive Rules:
603. 1. Triggered abilities have a trigger condition and an effect. They are written as “[When/Whenever/At] [trigger condition or event], [effect]. [Instructions (if any).]”

Therefore, if there's no When/Whenever/At, it's not a triggered ability.

lucario90(14.01.2022 10:41)(Edited: 14.01.2022 12:29)


This comment was deleted.

MichaelW(14.01.2022 12:38)


Its not a trigger

Sargeist(14.01.2022 10:39)(Edited: 14.01.2022 10:40)

My guess is : The Baloth's effect is a remplacement effect so as smallpox resolves, players lose 1, discard a card, in replacement Baloth is put into play (etb trigger on the stack), players sacrifice a creature, Baloth is sacrificed, then they sacrifice a land. Baloth etb trigger resolves.

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