Rules Q&A - Magic Rules FAQ

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There are a half-dozen or so posts starting at #55 that say "reserved for FAQ expansion".  Can't you edit one of those to be a new FAQ entry?

Yes, but just adding the new entry at the end throws off the organization of the thread. Maintaining the organization requires moving every entry one post down.


I suspect most people follow the links in the first post(s), and aren't aware that it's organized in any particular order. Certainly that's what I do; I only figured out there even was an organizational scheme fairly recently, more or less by accident. So I think having a few newer entries dangling off the end isn't the end of the world; if it bothers you, you can always note in the first post that newer entries are sometimes where you'd expect them to be and sometimes at the end (though since you're also presumably providing links directly there, the difference won't matter to most people reading that). Doing as Rudolf suggested seems fine to me, perhaps accompanied by doing a wholesale rebuild every few years to get things back in the order they "should" be in.
Jeff Heikkinen DCI Rules Advisor since Dec 25, 2011
Agreed.  I didn't even know posts were in order.  I just follow the links if I'm trying to find something.
DCI Level 1 Judge Please autocard: [c]Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon[/c] = Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon [c=Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon]Skittles[/c] = Skittles Cards do what they say they do. No more. No less.
I suspect most people follow the links in the first post(s), and aren't aware that it's organized in any particular order. Certainly that's what I do; I only figured out there even was an organizational scheme fairly recently, more or less by accident. So I think having a few newer entries dangling off the end isn't the end of the world; if it bothers you, you can always note in the first post that newer entries are sometimes where you'd expect them to be and sometimes at the end (though since you're also presumably providing links directly there, the difference won't matter to most people reading that). Doing as Rudolf suggested seems fine to me, perhaps accompanied by doing a wholesale rebuild every few years to get things back in the order they "should" be in.

My sense of reason sees your point, but my sense of aesthetics is whimpering in pain.

Come join me at No Goblins Allowed


Because frankly, being here depresses me these days.

I suspect most people follow the links in the first post(s), and aren't aware that it's organized in any particular order. Certainly that's what I do; I only figured out there even was an organizational scheme fairly recently, more or less by accident. So I think having a few newer entries dangling off the end isn't the end of the world; if it bothers you, you can always note in the first post that newer entries are sometimes where you'd expect them to be and sometimes at the end (though since you're also presumably providing links directly there, the difference won't matter to most people reading that). Doing as Rudolf suggested seems fine to me, perhaps accompanied by doing a wholesale rebuild every few years to get things back in the order they "should" be in.

My sense of reason sees your point, but my sense of aesthetics is whimpering in pain.

I kind of figured that was likely the case here . It probably takes a slight case of OCD to do what you do for this forum of your own free will, so it makes sense that it would bother you even knowing the practical importance wasn't all that high. If it helps, the fact that this is the first time it's come up probably means it won't be a major or ongoing concern.

But if WotC/Onesite can make some accomodation, like faking the timestamp on a post or something, they probably should even if you're the only person it matters to. You do this community a huge favour by compiling the FAQs and if they can make it easier on your nerves they should.

Jeff Heikkinen DCI Rules Advisor since Dec 25, 2011
I suspect most people follow the links in the first post(s), and aren't aware that it's organized in any particular order. Certainly that's what I do; I only figured out there even was an organizational scheme fairly recently, more or less by accident. So I think having a few newer entries dangling off the end isn't the end of the world; if it bothers you, you can always note in the first post that newer entries are sometimes where you'd expect them to be and sometimes at the end (though since you're also presumably providing links directly there, the difference won't matter to most people reading that). Doing as Rudolf suggested seems fine to me, perhaps accompanied by doing a wholesale rebuild every few years to get things back in the order they "should" be in.

My sense of reason sees your point, but my sense of aesthetics is whimpering in pain.



"I have CDO.  It's like OCD except that all the letters are in the correct order like they should be."
 
DCI Level 1 Judge Please autocard: [c]Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon[/c] = Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon [c=Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon]Skittles[/c] = Skittles Cards do what they say they do. No more. No less.
Agreed.  I didn't even know posts were in order.  I just follow the links if I'm trying to find something.


dito.

I suspect most people follow the links in the first post(s), and aren't aware that it's organized in any particular order. Certainly that's what I do; I only figured out there even was an organizational scheme fairly recently, more or less by accident. So I think having a few newer entries dangling off the end isn't the end of the world; if it bothers you, you can always note in the first post that newer entries are sometimes where you'd expect them to be and sometimes at the end (though since you're also presumably providing links directly there, the difference won't matter to most people reading that). Doing as Rudolf suggested seems fine to me, perhaps accompanied by doing a wholesale rebuild every few years to get things back in the order they "should" be in.

My sense of reason sees your point, but my sense of aesthetics is whimpering in pain.







"I have CDO.  It's like OCD except that all the letters are in the correct order like they should be."
 

Heh.
[c]Forest[/c] gives you Forest
Suggestion for the Cards and Combos FAQ section:

Gideon Jura's first ability + Norn's Annex
"Do they have to pay?"
"If my opponent isn't playing white, is this an auto win?"
etc...
DCI Level 1 Judge Please autocard: [c]Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon[/c] = Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon [c=Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon]Skittles[/c] = Skittles Cards do what they say they do. No more. No less.
Sorry
wanted to know if
damage creature destroys creatures with indestructible?
don't post in here
we answered that question in the thread you created
proud member of the 2011 community team
Quick feedback question: Regarding priority, I like the explanation I wrote up here better than what's currently in the FAQ. It'd need to be expanded and reworked to fit the FAQ's format, and the Stack and Priority entry as a whole would probably have to be overhauled entirely, but I do like it.

Is the new explanation as good as I think it is, or should I stick with the old one?

Come join me at No Goblins Allowed


Because frankly, being here depresses me these days.

Yeah, it's a whole lot better. The one you use now is a bit messy (and only last question actually explains something). You have to make the new one a bit more formal near the end when you actually explain the rules but the setup is infinitely better (and makes it much clearer why priority is important).

DCI Level 2 Judge

 

"That's what's so stupid about the whole magic thing, you know," Rincewind said. "You spend twenty years learning the spell that makes nude virgins appear in your bedroom, and then you're so poisoned by quicksilver fumes and half-blind from reading old grimoires that you can't remember what happens next."

- Terry Pratchett, The Colour Of Magic

All right, so Innistrad's in all the RPRP and Keyword FAQs, Norn's Annex is in the Cards & Combos FAQ, the CR links have been updated, and the list of various types has been updated to add Curse and Werewolf. Next on the list is an entry for DFCs and reworked Stack and Priority entries.

Come join me at No Goblins Allowed


Because frankly, being here depresses me these days.

Question about Sengir Vampire's ability: (This card is in Daily MTG's, Card of The Day Archive)

Sengir Vampire – Magic 2012 uncommon. Here's a rules question from the early days of Magic. If you have a Sengir Vampire with first strike (the original question used Lance, but let's update that to Sharpened Pitchfork), how many Scryb Sprites would you have to block it with in order to kill it? 

Twelve! The Sengir Vampire kills the first four with first strike, gets four +1/+1 counters, then the other eight 1/1 creatures kill it.


 


Is it because, only the toughness are the counters that added immediately at the phase? The initial 4 Strength from the attacking Sengir Vamprie is distributed to four of the Scrybs,  Sengir Vampire becomes an 0/8 during the phase, and the rest of the Scrybs, all eight of them, blocks him and kills him? All eight of these Scrybs are unharmed because the 4 bonus strength from the Sengir Vampire would've only be added to his counters after that round?


And what if Sengir Vampire wasn't equipped with first strike? Would he be able to use the added counters immeidately after each kills?


 


 


Okay, here we go; first draft of the double-faced card FAQ entry:

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Double-Faced Cards
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Q: What are double-faced cards and how do they work?
A: Double-faced cards are a series of cards from Innistrad block that have no "back", just two faces, one on each side of the card. There are some special rules for playing with double-faced cards in your deck that we'll cover in just a second, but we'll just cover how the cards themselves work right now. A flip card works just like a normal card, except that when it meets certain conditions it will "transform" and change into whatever's on the other face.

A double-faced card looks like this; the first image is the 'front face' of the card, and the second is the 'back face':





Notice that the card's 'front face' has a sun symbol in the upper-left corner and uses the normal card frame coloring. The card's 'back face' has a moon symbol in the upper-left and uses an alternative frame coloring. You play the card as written on the 'front face' as though it were a normal card, which will tell you under what circumstances it will transform.

As far as the game is concerned, the card's 'back face' is only relevant while it's on the battlefield and has transformed to use that face. In all other circumstances, the 'back face' effectively doesn't exist.

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Q: How do I play with a double-faced card in my deck?
A: There are two ways to play with double-faced cards in your deck. The first is to just use the card in your deck as you would any other card. However, you can only do this if you also use opaque card sleeves so that it's impossible to tell your cards apart from the back. (If you didn't do this, then it'd be obvious where the double-faced cards were in your deck, which would be bad.) When your double-faced card transforms, you can take it out of the sleeve and turn it around to show the other face.

The other way of playing with double-faced cards is to use a 'checklist card'. Checklist cards were distributed in most Innistrad block packs in place of basic lands. A checklist card has a normal Magic card back, but the front looks like this:





To use a checklist card, mark down on the checklist which double-faced card that checklist card represents, and then include the checklist card in your deck just like you would a normal card. Make sure to only mark one card off on the checklist, and use a pencil, pen, or marker that won't leave a mark through the card. Keep the actual double-faced card the checklist is supposed to be representing close by--you'll need it.

You'll use the checklist card any time the identity of your double-faced card needs to be kept concealed--say, in your hand or library, or while it's exiled face down. You'll switch out the checklist for the actual double-faced card it represents when it's in a public zone where everyone can see it.

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Q: Can my opponent see what my double-faced card will look like once it transforms?
A: Yes. Any time a double-faced card is visible, the players who can see it can see both faces. Any player who can look at a checklist card in a hidden zone can look at the double-faced card it represents.

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Q: Does transforming a double-faced card cause auras, counters, or equipment to 'fall off' of it?
A: No, for the same reason that tapping doesn't--it's just changing the what the card looks like, not what it is. Simply changing what the card looks like will not remove anything from it. However, if the other face is something that those auras or equipment couldn't legally be attached to, they will fall off. For example, if you cast Coral Net on Cloistered Youth, and then the youth Transforms, the Strength will fall off and go to the graveyard, because it can only enchant green or white creature, and the transformed state of the Youth, Unholy Fiend, is neither green nor white.

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Q: If I'm searching my library for something, can I find the 'back face' of a double-faced card?
A: No. As far as the game is concerned, the 'back face' double-faced card does not exist unless the card is on the battlefield and has transformed to use that face. Everywhere else, the back face is treated as though it does not exist.

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Q: I need to name a card. Can I name the 'back face' of a double-faced card?
A: Yes, you can name either face of a double-faced card. This could allow you to do things like prevent the damage from Gastaf Howler with Runed Halo.

However, remember that the 'back face' of the card only exists when the card is on the battlefield and is using that face. Anywhere else, it only has the characteristics of the front face, so you'd have to name the front face if you wanted to do something like find it with Spoils of the Vault.

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Q: What does transforming a card that has already transformed do?
A: It transforms it back. Transforming can happen both ways; in fact, many double-faced cards have built-in abilities that let them transform from either side. Not every double-faced card will have a way to do this, but if you can find some other way, good for you!

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Q: Can a card that's not double-faced transform?
A: No. Only double-faced cards can transform.

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Q: What is the mana cost and converted mana cost of the back face of a double-faced card?
A: The back face of a double-faced card has no mana cost at all, so its converted mana cost will be 0.

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Q: What color is the back face of a double-faced card?
A: Since the back face of a double-faced card has no mana cost, it uses a color indicator to indicate its color. That's what the little round circle on the left side of the type line on Gastaf Howler above is. The color of the color indicator determines the color of the card. (The color of the frame will reflect the color specified in the indicator, so you could also just look at that.)

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Q: What happens if something turns a double-faced card face-down? Does it transform?
A: Nothing happens. The card does not transform, and it's not turned face-down. A double-faced card can't be turned face-down; anything that tries to turn a double-faced card face-down just fails to do anything to it.

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Q: I Clone a double-faced card. Which face do I get?
A: You get whichever face is currently in use. However, since your Clone is not double-faced, it will not be able to transform--if it tries, nothing happens.

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Q: My double-faced card somehow became a copy of something that's not double-faced, then transformed. What happens?
A: The card will transform, since it has two faces, but the copied values of its characteristics will still be overriding the printed characteristics, so it won't actually look any different until the copy effect wears off.

Transforming changes the "base state" that the card is starting from when you determine what it looks like, but it doesn't override any other effects that are applying to the card, and the copy effect is currently overwriting all the card's normal characteristics.


Back to the Table of Contents

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Because frankly, being here depresses me these days.

Question about Sengir Vampire's ability: (This card is in Daily MTG's, Card of The Day Archive)

Sengir Vampire – Magic 2012 uncommon. Here's a rules question from the early days of Magic. If you have a Sengir Vampire with first strike (the original question used Lance, but let's update that to Sharpened Pitchfork), how many Scryb Sprites would you have to block it with in order to kill it? 

Twelve! The Sengir Vampire kills the first four with first strike, gets four +1/+1 counters, then the other eight 1/1 creatures kill it.


 


Is it because, only the toughness are the counters that added immediately at the phase? The initial 4 Strength from the attacking Sengir Vamprie is distributed to four of the Scrybs,  Sengir Vampire becomes an 0/8 during the phase, and the rest of the Scrybs, all eight of them, blocks him and kills him? All eight of these Scrybs are unharmed because the 4 bonus strength from the Sengir Vampire would've only be added to his counters after that round?


And what if Sengir Vampire wasn't equipped with first strike? Would he be able to use the added counters immeidately after each kills?
From the first post in this thread (and also mentioned once on this page as well):


Please do not post questions of your own here!
You should only post in this thread if you want a question or topic to be added to the list. If you do, please post both question and answer, along with an explanation of why the given answer is the correct one.
Please make your own thread if you want to get a question answered.




Jeff Heikkinen DCI Rules Advisor since Dec 25, 2011
Okay, here we go; first draft of the double-faced card FAQ entry:

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Looks good.
 
I noticed you call them "flip cards" near the beginning, obviously just a slip but one better removed before this entry goes live.

I'll update this post with anything else I think is worth pointing out.
Jeff Heikkinen DCI Rules Advisor since Dec 25, 2011
I noticed you call them "flip cards" near the beginning, obviously just a slip but one better removed before this entry goes live.

Yeah, I stole the formatting from the flip cards post, so that's where that comes from. It's been corrected in the master copy.

Come join me at No Goblins Allowed


Because frankly, being here depresses me these days.

Currently rewriting the Stack entry from scratch. I'm still working through how to explain everything, but the basic idea is the same as with the priority entry: explain why the concept is important and why it's useful to know this stuff before diving into the technical details.

Looking at the existing examples for that section, several of them deal with the difference between costs and effects while the actual entry doesn't cover it that well, so I'll definitely make sure to try to improve that, too.

Here's the first two questions I've written so far; this should be an improvement.

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Q: What is the stack?
A: Technically speaking, the stack is a game zone, like the battlefield or even your hand. It's the place where spells and abilities exist in between the time they are cast, activated, or triggered (whichever is appropriate) and the time they resolve and actually do whatever they're supposed to do.

Even if this is the first time you've ever heard of the stack, chances are you've taken advantage of it before--the existence of the stack is what allows players to respond to their opponent's spells and abilities. Any time you've used a counterspell or used a spell or ability to protect your stuff from an opponent's spells somehow, you've been using the stack.

The stack is often a difficult concept to learn for players who are encountering it for the first time, but don't worry; this FAQ should give you a good basic grounding in how it works. And if you still have questions, you're more than welcome to start a new thread to ask them. We're always happy to help players in need.

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Q: Why should I learn about the stack?
A: Because knowing how the stack works leaves you better equipped to do Really Cool Things, and allows you to figure out how to stop your opponent from using those same Really Cool Things against you. For many games, the casual "in response, I do this" terminology you probably already know works just fine, but being able to figure out what's happening when things get more complicated is a valuable skill.

The stack is like a computer or a smartphone--if you want to use it for nothing but the basics, that's fine, and a lot of people do that. But there's a lot more you can do with it if you care to take the time to understand how.

Come join me at No Goblins Allowed


Because frankly, being here depresses me these days.

On the topic of a DFC FAQ...

I found the information here: www.wizards.com/WPN/Sales/Article.aspx?x...
to be very useful. Would it be worth including any of it in your FAQ zammm?

~ Tim
I am Blue/White Reached DCI Rating 1800 on 28/10/11. :D
Sig
56287226 wrote:
190106923 wrote:
Not bad. But what happens flavor wise when one kamahl kills the other one?
Zis iz a sign uf deep psychological troma, buried in zer subconscious mind. By keelink himzelf, Kamahl iz physically expressink hiz feelinks uf self-disgust ova hiz desire for hiz muzzer. [/GermanPsychologistVoice]
56957928 wrote:
57799958 wrote:
That makes no sense to me. If they spelled the ability out on the card in full then it would not be allowed in a mono-black Commander deck, but because they used a keyword to save space it is allowed? ~ Tim
Yup, just like you can have Birds of paradise in a mono green deck but not Noble Hierarch. YAY COLOR IDENTITY
56287226 wrote:
56888618 wrote:
Is algebra really that difficult?
Survey says yes.
56883218 wrote:
57799958 wrote:
You want to make a milky drink. You squeeze a cow.
I love this description. Like the cows are sponges filled with milk. I can see it all Nick Parks claymation-style with the cow's eyes bugging out momentarily as a giant farmer squeezes it like a squeaky dog toy, and milk shoots out of it.
56287226 wrote:
56735468 wrote:
And no judge will ever give you a game loss for playing snow covered lands.
I now have a new goal in life. ;)
On the topic of a DFC FAQ...

I found the information here: www.wizards.com/WPN/Sales/Article.aspx?x...
to be very useful. Would it be worth including any of it in your FAQ zammm?

~ Tim



That's actually the same FAQ that already stickied at the top of this forum.

Wizards.Com Boards Net Rep

DCI Level 2 Judge

Questions don't have to make sense, but answers do.

All right, first draft of the new Stack and Priority sections.

What do I need to add?


----------

The Stack
Back to the Table of Contents

Q: What is the stack?
A: Technically speaking, the stack is a game zone, like the battlefield or even your hand. It's the place where spells and abilities exist in between the time they are cast, activated, or triggered (whichever is appropriate) and the time they resolve and actually do whatever they're supposed to do.

Even if this is the first time you've ever heard of the stack, chances are you've taken advantage of it before--the existence of the stack is what allows players to respond to their opponent's spells and abilities. Any time you've used a counterspell or used a spell or ability to protect your stuff from an opponent's spells somehow, you've been using the stack.

The stack is often a difficult concept to learn for players who are encountering it for the first time, but don't worry; this FAQ should give you a good basic grounding in how it works. And if you still have questions, you're more than welcome to start a new thread to ask them. We're always happy to help players in need.

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Q: Why should I learn about the stack?
A: Because knowing how the stack works leaves you better equipped to do Really Cool Things, and allows you to figure out how to stop your opponent from using those same Really Cool Things against you. For many games, the casual "in response, I do this" terminology you probably already know works just fine, but being able to figure out what's happening when things get more complicated is a valuable skill.

The stack is like a computer or a smartphone--if you want to use it for nothing but the basics, that's fine, and a lot of people do that. But there's a lot more you can do with it if you care to take the time to understand how.

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Q: So how does the stack work?
A: Much as its name implies, the stack is effectively a pile of spells and abilities waiting to resolve. Whenever any player casts a spell or activates an activated ability and whenever a triggered ability triggers, that spell or ability is put onto the stack to wait for responses. When nobody wants to respond to whatever happens to be on top of the stack, that spell or ability resolves, and everyone has another chance to respond before the next spell or ability resolves.

The things that were cast/activated most recently (and were thus placed on top of the pile) will resolve before things that were played first (and are thus on the bottom, buried under everything else). This is referred to as "last in, first out", or LIFO.

When the stack is empty and nobody wants to do anything, then the current step of the turn ends and the game moves on to the next step.

For example: Player A casts Doom Blade targeting Player B's Mother of Runes. The Doom Blade goes onto the stack and waits to resolve. In response, Player B activates Mother of Runes's ability to protect herself. That ability goes onto the stack on top of the Doom Blade and also waits to resolve. Since the things on the stack resolve in LIFO order, top to bottom, the top thing on the stack (the Mother's ability) will resolve first, protecting it when the Doom Blade resolves shortly after.

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Q: What can I use to respond to things?
A: The only spells you can use in response to other spells are Instants and cards that have the Flash ability--these spells can be cast during anyone's turn, no matter how many spells or abilities are on the stack already. Other spells cannot be used in response to things; you can only cast them in the main phase of your own turn when no other spells or abilities are on the stack.

The vast majority of activated abilities also follow the timing rules for instants--you can use them during anyone's turn and even if there are already spells or abilities on the stack waiting to resolve. The activated abilities that don't work like this will specifically say you can only activate them 'any time you could cast a sorcery'.

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Q: What can I respond to? (ie, "What uses the stack?")
A: An easy way to remember the things that use the stack, and which therefore you can respond to, is to remember the acronym SAT: Spells, Activated abilities, and Triggered abilities.

All spells use the stack and can be responded to, without exception; the vast majority of activated and triggered abilities also use the stack. The ones that don't are mana abilities: abilities that produce mana. (And fit a few other requirements that we won't get into here.) Since mana abilities don't use the stack, they can't be responded to.

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Q: What can't I respond to?
A: Anything that is not listed in the above question doesn't use the stack and can't be responded to, but we'll list a few of the specific ones that tend to cause problems here.

  • You cannot respond to the announcement and cost-payments of a spell or ability. You cannot wait until your opponent tries to do something and then try to 'respond' to make it impossible for them to do it.

    You can respond to the spell or ability itself, meaning you can do things before the effect the spell or ability will have once it resolves, but not the cost for casting/activating it. By the time you have a chance to do anything, the spell/ability has already been cast/activated.
    For example, Avatar of Woe has the ability ": Destroy target creature". If your opponent decides to activate that ability, you cannot use your Gideon's Lawkeeper to stop him, since tapping is part of the cost of activating the ability, and by the time you get to respond, it is already tapped. (Technically, you can use the Lawkeeper, but it will just have no effect.)

  • You cannot respond to a player paying costs.
    This is usually the same as the above point, but it also includes special costs like on Lost In Thought, Calming Licid, Ghostly Prison, or Mana Leak

  • You cannot respond to mana abilities; they do not use the stack.
    Mana abilities are abilities that produce mana. (And fit a few other requirements.) To learn the full details, see the mana abilities section of this FAQ.

  • You cannot respond to turn-based actions.
    The turn-based actions are untapping at the beginning of your turn, drawing a card at the beginning of your draw step, declaring attackers and blockers, assigning and dealing combat damage, and cleanup. For more information on these actions, see the Turns and the Turn Structure section of this FAQ.

  • You cannot respond to a player playing a land.

  • You cannot respond to a morph creature being turned face up.
    You can respond to any triggered abilities that may trigger on them turning face up, though. To learn what exactly constitutes a triggered ability, see the Triggered Abilities section of this FAQ.


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Q: Can I stop my opponent from casting a spell or activating an ability by doing something in response?
A: No. Never. By the time you know your opponent is casting the spell or activating the ability and have the chance to do anything about it, they have already finished casting/activating it. You cannot retroactively stop them from having cast/activated it.

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Q: Can I respond to a spell with one thing, wait for that thing to resolve, then respond with something else? (eg, Can I Mana Leak my opponent's spell, then Mana Leak it again if they pay?)
A: Certainly. Spells and abilities on the stack resolve one at a time, and after each resolution there's a chance for both players to respond before the next resolution.

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Q: Can my opponent respond to something I cast in response to something of his?
A: Certainly, but fortunately for you you can respond to that response, too. ;)

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Q: Can I use something that taps my opponent's stuff to preemptively stop him from using an ability with in the cost?
A: Not usually, no. If you try to preemptively use a spell or ability to tap his permanent before he attempts to use the ability, he still has a chance to use the ability in response, rendering your spell/ability useless.

The only time you could effectively tap something pre-emptively is when the ability couldn't be used in response for some reason. (Maybe it needs a target that isn't available right now, for example.) Otherwise the absolute most you can do is force your opponent to use the ability sooner than he might otherwise want to.

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Q:
A:

Back to the Table of Contents




Priority
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Q: What is priority?
A: Basically, the priority system is a way to answer the question "Both players want to do something right now, before their opponent has a chance to do something--who gets to act first?" It also answers the similar question "Both players want to wait and see if their opponent will do anything before deciding whether or not to do something--who has to act first?"

The priority system is pretty involved, but at its heart, the intricate details of who has priority will only ever matter if both players want to do something at the same time, or if they both want to wait to see what their opponent is going to do. In any other situation, priority won't matter and you can safely ignore it.

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Q: Why does priority matter?
A: The best way to explain this is by example. Let's set up a situation where priority matters.

Player A has just cast a planeswalker (let's say Liliana of the Veil). It resolves and enters the battlefield. Now, Player A wants to use Liliana's + ability right away, and at the same time Player B wants to use Incinerate on Liliana so that she dies and Player A doesn't get any benefit out of her. Who wins? Can Player A use Liliana before Player B can use the burn spell, or will Player B get to use the burn spell before Player A can use Liliana?

Another example: Player A casts Time Warp and has a Twincast in hand. Player B has a Cancel in hand. Player A would like to use Twincast on the Time Warp, but wants to see if Player B is going to cast Cancel first, so that he doesn't waste the Twincast. Meanwhile Player B wants to see if Player A is going to cast Twincast before casting Cancel, so that he can potentially get rid of both spells at once. Who has to make the first move here, and who gets to wait and see what the opponent is doing?

(For the answers to these example questions, keep reading.)

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Q: So how does priority work?
A: At any given point in the game, at most one player will have priority. A player who has priority can do things. A player who does not have priority cannot.

A player who has priority can either do something (cast a spell, activate an ability, play a land, take a special action, whatever) or "pass" without doing anything. If they do something, then they get priority again. If they pass, then their opponent will get priority, and he or she will face the same choice.

If both players pass priority in succession, the top spell or ability on the stack resolves. (If the stack is empty, the current step or phase of the turn ends and the next one begins.) During the resolution of spells or abilities or while performing turn-based actions like declaring attackers and blockers, no player has priority--nobody can do anything.

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Q: Who gets priority first?
A: During any given player's turn, that player is always the first to receive priority in each new step or phase, and he or she is always the first to receive priority after a spell or ability finishes resolving.

This means that the player whose turn it is has to decide whether or not to do things before knowing what the opponent will do. It also means that the opponent cannot do anything before the player whose turn it is decides whether or not to do something.

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Q: How does priority work in multiplayer games?
A: Priority works essentially the same in multiplayer games as it does in two-player games, except that priority passes around the table in turn order, (starting, as before, with the player whose turn it is) and every player has to pass priority in succession instead of just two.

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Because frankly, being here depresses me these days.

I don't like that you give two examples in the 'Why does priority matter?' post and don't actually answer them. I think you can move section two sections down and then actually answer them in the post. That is more clear and easier to follow.

And in the example for 'So how does the stack work?' I'd add a priority pass in between the Mother activation and Doom Blade resolving, just to be complete and reinforce it again (you might not want to actually say 'priority pass' but something along the lines, 'and, assuming nobody does anything will protect it when...). Also maybe mention that Doom Blade will 'try' to resolve but doesn't actually resolve.

DCI Level 2 Judge

 

"That's what's so stupid about the whole magic thing, you know," Rincewind said. "You spend twenty years learning the spell that makes nude virgins appear in your bedroom, and then you're so poisoned by quicksilver fumes and half-blind from reading old grimoires that you can't remember what happens next."

- Terry Pratchett, The Colour Of Magic

Artifacts
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Q: Does tapping an artifact "turn it off"?
A: Not usually, no. Read the current Oracle text of the card. If the card doesn't say that it turns off, it doesn't.

Artifacts used to automatically turn off when they were tapped, but that rule was eliminated more than eight years ago; some artifacts (like Howling Mine) were given errata to keep the same functionality, but the vast majority weren't; tapping them will have no effect whatsoever on their abilities.

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Q: Can I choose "Artifact" when asked to choose a color or creature type?
A: No. "Artifact" is a card type, like Instant or Enchantment. You cannot choose "Artifact" as a creature type or color for the same reason you can't choose "Venusian"--it's not a legal choice.

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Q: Is something that is colorless automatically an artifact? Is an artifact automatically colorless?
A: No. Most artifacts are normally colorless, but that's only because they don't have colored mana in their mana costs--being colorless is not an inherent property of artifacts, and being colorless doesn't automatically make something an artifact.

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i would like to ask a question. if a card tells you you to destroy all artifacts, will it also destroy artifact creatures?
i would like to ask a question. if a card tells you you to destroy all artifacts, will it also destroy artifact creatures?

Yes.

By the way, the next time you have a question to ask, please put it in a new thread instead of posting in the FAQ thread.
Although posted in the wrong thread, he (inadvertantly) raises a good point. Questions about whether artifact creatures (and other cards with several types) count as their individual types are fairly common, and people are more likely to look for the answers under the individual types than anywhere else. While it's land creatures that people seem to find the most confusing, artifact creatures, being by far the most common multi-type configuration, get a decent share of such questions too.
Jeff Heikkinen DCI Rules Advisor since Dec 25, 2011
All right, the section for DFCs is now up, as are the updated Stack and Priority sections. I also added the artifact creature question and a related land one while I was at it, and fixed up a few other things, like finally changing the 'EDH' entry to 'Commander'.

Come join me at No Goblins Allowed


Because frankly, being here depresses me these days.

I think this topic should be in both FAQs and Reference and Rules Q&A. People might be looking for it in either forum. I like how the Innistrad FAQ is in both forums.
I think this topic should be in both FAQs and Reference and Rules Q&A. People might be looking for it in either forum. I like how the Innistrad FAQ is in both forums.


Which topic are you referring to?  This FAQ covers many.
 
I think this topic should be in both FAQs and Reference and Rules Q&A. People might be looking for it in either forum. I like how the Innistrad FAQ is in both forums.


Which topic are you referring to?  This FAQ covers many.
 



I assume by "this topic," he means "this thread."

IMAGE(http://steamsignature.com/status/default/76561197995631463.png) No longer a commander as of 7/29/13.

I think this topic should be in both FAQs and Reference and Rules Q&A. People might be looking for it in either forum. I like how the Innistrad FAQ is in both forums.

Which topic are you referring to? This FAQ covers many.

I assume by "this topic," he means "this thread."

Right. I meant this thread.
Abilities
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Q: What are the different kinds of abilities?
A: There are three four main categories of abilities: activated abilities, triggered abilities, spell abilities, and static abilities. There is also a special class of abilities called mana abilities, which follow special rules. Activated abilities, triggered abilities, and mana abilities are covered in their own posts below (though there is an explanation of what they are here). If you want to know more about one of those kinds of abilities specifically, see their specific posts. This post covers issues relevant to all kinds of abilities, as well as an explanation of static abilities.





It looks like you have a typo in this entry.  You say that you have three four types of abilities and then list four types.  You probaly need to drop the 'three'
Typo corrected, plus a couple other ones in the same entry I noticed as I was fixing it.


While I like the concept of having this FAQ in both forums, doing so would require significant additional maintenance--whenever I edited an entry in one I'd also have to edit the other and each thread would need to maintain different links, which would require me to maintain two master copies, one for each thread. The work that needed to be put into any significant change would pretty much double--editing over fifty posts in a major reorg is already enough of a chore, without catapulting that number to over a hundred. So that's not going to happen.

I do like the idea of having a reference to it, though, so I'll see what can be done about that. Most likely I'll just end up having to post a new thread linking to this one.

Come join me at No Goblins Allowed


Because frankly, being here depresses me these days.

So it says there is no priority when someone is declaring attackers, declaring blockers, or dealing combat.  When is it ok to play [C]Giant Growth[/C] on my Wurm to catch my opponent by surprise?  I thought that was basic stuff but I've been doing it between my opponent declaring blockers and dealing combat.  Is that fine?
So it says there is no priority when someone is declaring attackers, declaring blockers, or dealing combat.  When is it ok to play [C]Giant Growth[/C] on my Wurm to catch my opponent by surprise?  I thought that was basic stuff but I've been doing it between my opponent declaring blockers and dealing combat.  Is that fine?


From the start of the thread:

Please do not post questions of your own here!

Please make a new thread if you have questions.

DCI Level 2 Judge

 

"That's what's so stupid about the whole magic thing, you know," Rincewind said. "You spend twenty years learning the spell that makes nude virgins appear in your bedroom, and then you're so poisoned by quicksilver fumes and half-blind from reading old grimoires that you can't remember what happens next."

- Terry Pratchett, The Colour Of Magic

But...I had a question earlier and I was directed here
But...I had a question earlier and I was directed here


To this FORUM maybe (and rightly so), but not to this THREAD. As Hardtrack's post says, make a new thread in this forum to get a question answered.

Reading comprehension is important in Magic, you'll find...

Jeff Heikkinen DCI Rules Advisor since Dec 25, 2011
Well...I was actually directed to this thread when I asked a question about instants and priorities and I don't understand what I'm supposed to do cause when I asked a question that was vaguely touched on in this thread I was directed here because there was no need to make a new thread apparently and when I asked a question that was vaguely touched on in this thread WITHIN this thread I was told there IS a need to make a new thread apparently.  So I don't see the difference much between me asking a question and you insulting my reading comprehension in terms of irrelevence especially when the action of clicking on a link requires absolutely none of it.  But I understand and will not ask any more questions in this thread.  Thanks.
Well...I was actually directed to this thread when I asked a question about instants and priorities

Ah, then they probably meant to direct you to the FAQ post which deals with priority.
If I kill vorinclex do my lands untap nxt turn