Maze of Ith = Vigilance?

Written by Ron Saikowski, January 19, 2018

If you do not have Maze of Ith on your deck, you need to read this carefully and seriously reconsider finding a home for it in your deck no matter what you need to drop to fit it in.

Let me start by saying I did not know about this until last week when this effect was played against me. Life is tough teacher as they say... she gives the test first and the lesson second. That's exactly what happened to me.

The test
My opponent played a Maze of Ith during his turn and then proceeded to attack me with his monstrous creature. Having no recourse, I stoically took the damage while dying a little bit on the inside.

And then, at the end of combat step, after damage had be dealt and resolved, he untapped his attacking creature using his own Maze. I breathed a huge sigh of relief thinking I wasn't going to take the beatdown this turn.

Then he told me I still take the damage, he's just using his Maze after damage resolves and the game has moved to the end of combat step to untap his attacking creature. The damage still happens.

Wait... what??? Hold on one second.

The lesson
You've never seen someone get their own Maze out to double check the wording. And there it was, plain as day on the card, "This creature neither deals nor receives damage as a result of combat." Causally I pointed this out, thinking he had somehow missed this on his own card.

And the game stopped right there. Metaphorically speaking, we'd moved from the test to the lesson. We both put our cards down and he began to explain to me the ruling posted on the WotC website for Maze of Ith that specifically allows it work this way.

Directly from the WotC site...

In the Details section, under Rulings for Maze Of Ith, dated 6/8/2016

"You can activate Maze of Ith's ability targeting an attacking creature you control during the combat damage step or the end of combat step. It'll be untapped and the damage it had already dealt won't be undone.

Well now, that changes everything doesn't it.

So you mean I can attack my opponent with my big nasty creature and then untap it during the end of combat step during my turn and my opponent will still take the damage as normal?
Yep... certainly seems that way to me.

Good thing this is restricted. (At least in EC 93-94 rules which is what I use)

So there you have it. Today's "Bet you didn't know" segment brought to you by Old School Ron. Go get your Mazes dear players and get them into your decks!

UPDATE: This "trick" apparently has even more uses than I realized.
Help bigger creatures escape from under Meekstone.
Help "untap" creatures with a cost like Colossus of Sardia or Leviathan.
Permit creatures to use additional effects even after attacking (Prodigal Sorcerer).

NOTE: A huge thanks to my opponent for taking a few minutes to teach me about this. As far as misunderstandings go, this may have been the most civilized discussion in the history of Magic. Another thanks to everyone who has commented on social media with their thoughts and opinions while keeping it civilized there too!

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IMAGE: Artwork (Maze of Ith) and card by WotC.
KEYWORDS: Old School Magic, editorial