I don't know what priority is but I never seem to have a problem...

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I know what the stack is and get the concept. But I have no idea what priority is. And I never seem to run into problems. I've tried reading up on priority, but it never makes any sense. So I'll just ask some questions and see if I get the feel of it.

1.) Player A has a 1/1 creature in play. Player A then plays Armored Ascension and targets to enchant the 1/1 which would make it a 5/5 (assuming there is 4 Plains in play). Before it gets enchanted, so while it's on the stack, Player B plays Lightning Bolt and targets the 1/1 creature, destroying it before it becomes a 5/5. This works because the Lightning Bolt was played second and thus, on top of the stack and goes off first. I get all that, it makes sense. But what does priority have to do with any of that? Does priority not come into play here? Or did I mention the effects of priority and not realize it?

2.) Player A has a Cemetery Reaper in play and Player B has Buried Ruin in play. Player B sacs Buried Ruin to return Myr Battlesphere from his graveyard to his hand. Can Player A use Cemetery Reaper's ability to exile Myr Battlesphere while Buried Ruin, which is targeting Myr Battlesphere, is on the stack? Because Cemetery Reaper's ability would be activated second and therefore happen first since it's on top of the stack. Is this where priority comes into play? I ask because a move like this seems a little awkward.

Could someone give me an example (like a hypothetical play example like the two I gave) of where priority happens or what it does? Because I'm not getting it by just being told what it is. I need examples.

Priority is just the ability for players to do things. You need priority to cast spells, or activate abilities. Passing priority means you don't want to do anything.

You can think of priority as a ball, only the person with the ball gets to do things, and the ball gets passed around.


1 and 2 don't deal with priority directly, priority is involved in that the player needs it to cast a spell or activate an ability, and that the top item of the stack only ressolves if all players pass priority.


Example:

My main phase starts. Since it's my turn i get priority. I decide to use it to cast a planeswalker. I pay the cost and put the spell on the stack.

I then get priority again since i just cast a spell. I don't want to do anything else so i pass it. My opponent also doesn't want to do anything so he passes it. Since everyon passed priority, the top item of the stack ressolves.

The planeswalker enters the battlfeild. Since my spell just ressolved i get priority again. I decide to activate the planeswalker's ability.

The ability goes on the stack. I get priority again, i pass it to my opponent.

And so on.

… and then, the squirrels came.
In both of your examples, priority came into play in that both players need to pass priority in order for something on the stack to resolve. This is what creates an opporotunity to do something "in response".


The time I see where priority comes into play besides responding to spells or abilities is when a player is trying to burn a planeswalker.

1. Active player (A) casts Jace, the Mind Sculptor.
2. Active player (A) passes priority
3. Nonactive player (B) can now cast his Lightning Bolt targeting A, but since Jace is not yet on the battlefield, he will not be able to redirect the damage to kill Jace.
4. B passes priority. Jace resolves and enters the battlefield with 3 loyalty counters.
5. Active player (A) gains priority until he passes it.
 
If player A activates Jace's +2 ability, then while that is on the stack B may cast the bolt, but Jace is already at 5 loyalty because the +2 is a cost.
If player A casts Ponder, then B may bolt Jace and kill him before A has activated any of his sweet abilities.
Essentially, priority restricts player B from casting Bolt while player A is just sitting there thinking, because player A has priority.
I know what the stack is and get the concept. But I have no idea what priority is. And I never seem to run into problems. I've tried reading up on priority, but it never makes any sense. So I'll just ask some questions and see if I get the feel of it.

1.) Player A has a 1/1 creature in play. Player A then plays Armored Ascension and targets to enchant the 1/1 which would make it a 5/5 (assuming there is 4 Plains in play). Before it gets enchanted, so while it's on the stack, Player B plays Lightning Bolt and targets the 1/1 creature, destroying it before it becomes a 5/5. This works because the Lightning Bolt was played second and thus, on top of the stack and goes off first. I get all that, it makes sense. But what does priority have to do with any of that? Does priority not come into play here? Or did I mention the effects of priority and not realize it?


Here is what priority looks like in this example:

  1. A gets priority and casts Armored Ascension.  A chooses the 1/1 creature as the target.  A pays the cost using obtained in an unspecified way.

  2. A gets priority and passes.

  3. B gets priority and casts Lightning Bolt.  B chooses the 1/1 creature as the target.  B pays the cost using obtained in an unspecified way.

  4. B gets priority and passes.

  5. A gets priority and passes.

  6. The top object on the stack (the spell cast in step 3) resolves.  Lightning Bolt deals 3 damage to the 1/1 creature.  Lightning Bolt is put into B's graveyard.

  7. A would get priority, but there is a state-based action to resolve.  The 1/1 creature has lethal damage and is destroyed.

  8. A gets priority and passes.

  9. B gets priority and passes.

  10. The top object on the stack (the spell cast in step 1) would resolve, but its only target is gone.  It is countered and goes to A's graveyard.

  11. A gets priority and ....

2.) Player A has a Cemetery Reaper in play and Player B has Buried Ruin in play. Player B sacs Buried Ruin to return Myr Battlesphere from his graveyard to his hand. Can Player A use Cemetery Reaper's ability to exile Myr Battlesphere while Buried Ruin, which is targeting Myr Battlesphere, is on the stack? Because Cemetery Reaper's ability would be activated second and therefore happen first since it's on top of the stack. Is this where priority comes into play? I ask because a move like this seems a little awkward.

Could someone give me an example (like a hypothetical play example like the two I gave) of where priority happens or what it does? Because I'm not getting it by just being told what it is. I need examples.


For this, I will assume it is B's turn.

  1. B gets priority and activates the ", , Sacrifice Buried Ruin: Return target artifact card from your graveyard to your hand." ability of Buried Ruin.  B chooses the Myr Battlesphere card in his graveyard as the target.  B pays the cost by spending obtained in an unspecified way, tapping Buried Ruin, and sacrificing Buried Ruin.

  2. B gets priority and passes.

  3. A gets priority and activates the ", : Exile target creature card from a graveyard. Put a 2/2 black Zombie creature token onto the battlefield." ability of Cemetery Reaper.  A chooses the Myr Battlesphere card in B's graveyard as the target.  A pays the cost by spending obtained in an unspecified way and tapping Cemetary Reaper.

  4. A gets priority and passes.

  5. B gets priority and passes.

  6. The top object on the stack (the ability activated in step 3) resolves.  B's Myr Battlesphere card is exiled.  A puts a 2/2 black Zombie creature token onto the battlefield.

  7. B gets priority and passes.

  8. A gets priority and passes.

  9. The top object on the stack (the ability activated in step 1) would resolve, but its only target is gone, so it is countered.

  10. B gets priority and ....

No, I am not a judge. That's why I like to quote sources such as the rules that trump judges.
Neither of those situations really involve priority. Sure, priority happens in them, but the details of it don't really matter.

Basically, priority 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 anything--who has to act first?")

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.


For an example of a situation where priority matters, try this: 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?

In this case, we know that Player A gets to act first, because it's his turn, and the player whose turn it is is the one who gets to act first after any spell or ability resolves.


A different example: Player A is attacking Player B with Plague Stinger and has a Ranger's Guile in hand. Player B has eight poison counters already, and a Shock in hand. Player B wants to wait and see if Player A is going to use a pump spell on the Stinger to boost it up before damage--that way he can respond with the Shock and kill it, taking no damage and getting a pump spell out of Player A's hand. Player A wants to wait and see if Player B is going to use a removal spell on the Stinger to kill it before it can deal damage--that way he can respond with the Guile to protect his Stinger and kill his opponent. Who has to make the first move here, and who gets to wait and see?

Again, we know that here Player A has to make the first move, because it's his turn, and the player whose turn it is is the one who gets to act first during any given step of the turn.

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Priority is pretty important - it's one of those things that should be mentioned when explaining someone how to play the game, but often gets omitted.

For example, it can win you the game. Suppose you have a Laboratory Maniac on the field and no cards in your deck (post draw phase). It's your turn. Your opponent has plenty of burns/removal in his hand, which he is patiently waiting to use on your Maniac to cause you to lose, before you win. Unfortunately for him, you have priority, so he can't do anything until you do something (like cast a spell), or choose not to (move to a new phase). It seems futile, no matter what you do, you have to pass priority to your opponent, at which point he will be able to destroy your Maniac (assuming you have no counterspells in hand). Even if you give it indestructibility. But, priority is not passed with a mana ability. So, your Chromatic Sphere can't be responded to. If you activate that with Maniac on the field and no cards in deck, you will win the game. Your opponent will not be able to Shock, Dismember or do anything else in response. Priority matters.

People mentioned planeswalkers, an important point to remember. When the plansewalker is cast, priority shifts between players. But the spell is not on the field yet so Beast Within will do nothing. Basically, the planeswalker can only be countered at this point. When the planeswalker hits the field, that person has priority again, and they can activate a loyalty ability. The opponent can't Beast Within the PW until they have priority, after one of the planeswalker abilities has already been played. If the planeswalker's owner performed a novice move, such as doing something else (casting another creature, instant, sorcery, whatever), before using the PW ability, the opponent could Beast Within the walker in response.

Speaking of shocks & things, another example is basic creature removal. Suppose you want to cast Artillerize and have only one creature on the field. Your opponent knows your deck (it's game 3) and has high suspicions of Artillerize coming. He does not have priority, so he can't just Doom Blade your only creature at any random time. If you cast Artillerize, the creature was sacrificed as part of the spell's cost. By the time the opponent receives priority, the creature no longer exists; Doom Blading at that point would do nothing.
I actually disagree. Priority is a fairly advanced concept that isn't usually all that important to discuss. The stack and responding to things needs to be explained fairly early on, and the difference between cost and effect, but priority can be safely left behind until it actually comes up.

In the absence of an understanding of priority, most players will tend to naturally adopt the whoever-speaks-first-wins approach, which while technically horribly inaccurate at least almost never produces results that actually break the rules of the game.

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For an example of a situation where priority matters, try this: 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?

In this case, we know that Player A gets to act first, because it's his turn, and the player whose turn it is is the one who gets to act first after any spell or ability resolves.



Forgive my ignorance but I'm fairly new to the game and I just want to make sure I understand the situation (side note this question involves the stack as well as priority).  So far I follow completely but say player A has priority and uses Liliana's +1 ability then player A passes priority to player B who uses Incinerate.  Let's assume now that neither player has anything they want to play so they both pass priority, because Incinerate is on the top of the stack it would resolve first right? Thus dealing 3 damage to Liliana before her ability resolves right?  Basically I want to know how the rest of that exchange would go off. Can player A wait until player B casts Incinerate and then activate Liliana's +1 so that it resolves first?  Am I completely turned around?

Thanks in advance for any help. 
Let's assume now that neither player has anything they want to play so they both pass priority, because Incinerate is on the top of the stack it would resolve first right? Thus dealing 3 damage to Liliana before her ability resolves right?

Yes, incinerate resolves first. Note that liliana's ability will still eventually resolve, even if incinerate kills liliana.
Can player A wait until player B casts Incinerate and then activate Liliana's +1 so that it resolves first?

That's an option with most abilities, but it is not possible with planeswalker abilities. Loyalty abillities can only be activated any time you could cast a sorcery, which means it cannot be used in response to something else.

Let's assume now that neither player has anything they want to play so they both pass priority, because Incinerate is on the top of the stack it would resolve first right? Thus dealing 3 damage to Liliana before her ability resolves right?

Yes, incinerate resolves first. Note that liliana's ability will still eventually resolve, even if incinerate kills liliana.
Can player A wait until player B casts Incinerate and then activate Liliana's +1 so that it resolves first?

That's an option with most abilities, but it is not possible with planeswalker abilities. Loyalty abillities can only be activated any time you could cast a sorcery, which means it cannot be used in response to something else.




Ok.  Very cool.  That makes sense.

So if Liliana's ability still resolves what that ultimately means is each player discards a card but Liliana still goes to the graveyard correct? 
If Liliana's +1 ability was activated right after she entered the battlefield (with her 3 loyalty counters) she gets another loyalty counter as a cost to activate her first ability. Meaning, she already has 4 loyalty counters by the time Incinerate is cast. It won't be able to kill her, even if it resolves before her own ability. But even if she leaves the battlefield before her ability resolves, each player will still discard a card.
If Liliana's +1 ability was activated right after she entered the battlefield (with her 3 loyalty counters) she gets another loyalty counter as a cost to activate her first ability. Meaning, she already has 4 loyalty counters by the time Incinerate is cast. It won't be able to kill her, even if it resolves before her own ability.



ohhhh ok.  I'm glad I'm asking these questions before they come up.

Thanks for the help everybody.

I actually disagree. Priority is a fairly advanced concept that isn't usually all that important to discuss. The stack and responding to things needs to be explained fairly early on, and the difference between cost and effect, but priority can be safely left behind until it actually comes up.

In the absence of an understanding of priority, most players will tend to naturally adopt the whoever-speaks-first-wins approach, which while technically horribly inaccurate at least almost never produces results that actually break the rules of the game.




I wouldn't go into crazy detail, sure. But I've seen this scenario often:

Cue multiplayer game

Someone plays a creature. It resolves. Another player wants to Doom Blade it. (He can't yet, obviously, since he doesn't have priority). Often this kind of a line comes up: "Well whatever, then the next time I can do it, it gets Doom Bladed." That doesn't work if the person is going to sacrifice the creature as a cost for another effect (and sacrifice is pretty common). I think the planeswalker examples are pretty common too. Sure, expecting a new player to have all the intricacies of priority in their head is ridiculous, but situations like those two, in my opinion, are rather rudimentary. I was thinking a simple 1-liner as a reminder (you don't even have to use the word "priority") of when you can cast spells when it's not your turn, during the explanation of the stack.
I wouldn't go into crazy detail, sure. But I've seen this scenario often:

Cue multiplayer game

Someone plays a creature. It resolves. Another player wants to Doom Blade it. (He can't yet, obviously, since he doesn't have priority). Often this kind of a line comes up: "Well whatever, then the next time I can do it, it gets Doom Bladed." That doesn't work if the person is going to sacrifice the creature as a cost for another effect (and sacrifice is pretty common). I think the planeswalker examples are pretty common too. Sure, expecting a new player to have all the intricacies of priority in their head is ridiculous, but situations like those two, in my opinion, are rather rudimentary. I was thinking a simple 1-liner as a reminder (you don't even have to use the word "priority") of when you can cast spells when it's not your turn, during the explanation of the stack.

Eh, even there priority only really enters into that if the sacrifice is something that can only be done as a sorcery or the removal spell has split second. Otherwise it generally doesn't matter whether or not the player allows the opponent a chance to cast their spell, because they can just respond with the sacrifice--and that's usually better for them, since their effect resolves first and they've drawn a removal spell from their opponent's hand.

It matters that something that's already been sacrificed can't be hit with removal, but that's an issue of the difference between costs and effects, not directly one of priority.

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A different example: Player A is attacking Player B with Plague Stinger and has a Ranger's Guile in hand. Player B has eight poison counters already, and a Shock in hand. Player B wants to wait and see if Player A is going to use a pump spell on the Stinger to boost it up before damage--that way he can respond with the Shock and kill it, taking no damage and getting a pump spell out of Player A's hand. Player A wants to wait and see if Player B is going to use a removal spell on the Stinger to kill it before it can deal damage--that way he can respond with the Guile to protect his Stinger and kill his opponent. Who has to make the first move here, and who gets to wait and see?

Again, we know that here Player A has to make the first move, because it's his turn, and the player whose turn it is is the one who gets to act first during any given step of the turn.



Worth noting that in this example, Player A can opt to pass, to see if Player B wants to use his Burn to keep the 9th counter off. Player A can respond to the burn with sufficient pump to keep the creature alive and win.. but risks Player B just passing and ending the combat without taking lethal damage.
I run a landfall deck in,my extended games, this create a interesting situation for me.
Example:i cast my roil elemental. It resolves, my opponent has a creature that taps to deal 2 damage. I now want to play a land. I have priority. How will this resolve? Will a land pass priority? Its not a spell so thats why I ask.
I run a landfall deck in,my extended games, this create a interesting situation for me. Example:i cast my roil elemental. It resolves, my opponent has a creature that taps to deal 2 damage. I now want to play a land. I have priority. How will this resolve? Will a land pass priority? Its not a spell so thats why I ask.


If you have priority, you can play a land, the triggered ability will go on the stack and you get priority again.

The triggered ability won't resolve until all players pass priority without doing anything.

 

Basically, you cast Roil Elemental. Eventually, it resolves.
Once it enters the battlefield, as long as there are no triggers that care about creatures entering the battlefield (Soul Warden), you will gain priority. If something does, then both you and your opponent will have to pass priority before the game can continue. So a Soul Warden would give an opponent a chance to Shock the Elemental. And since the stack isn't empty, you can't "play" a land. Walking Atlas could get your around that because its ability isn't "playing" a land, but that's overcomplicating things.

But let's assume there is no trigger. Roil enters the battlefield. You have priority. Your opponent has to wait on that Shock. Magic isn't a game of reflexes. Now with the stack empty, you play an Island. Roil's ability goes on the stack (and you choose a target for it IMMEDIATELY.) And THIS is your opponent's chance to Shock the Elemental.

Now, NORMALLY in Magic when you destroy the source of an ability, the ability still resolves and everything happens (Doom Blade-ing a Prodigal Pyromancer doesn't stop it from dealing damage.) But with Roil Elemental, it's different... Here, the ability resolves and does nothing. Because, you're gaining control of the targeted creature for as long as you control Roil Elemental. If you don't control Roil Elemental when its ability resolves, you never gain control of the targeted creature. Not even for a tiny split-second. Why does this happen this way? Well, the short answer is because the rulings on Roil Elemental's Gatherer page (accessible by clicking the autocard links in this post) say so.

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I Had a Problem Once When My Opponent Casted Liliana of the Veil.
After it Entered the Battlefield Before He Had Time to Activate Any Abilities I Sacced Vampire Hexmage to Destroy it but He Claimed I Still Had to Sac My Other Creature: Vampire Nighthawk Because of the Ability He Never Had Time to Activate. It Was a Modern Game Where Everyone Was Using Mono-Black. He Claimed He Had Priority but There is No Such Thing and We Couldent Get Help With the Situation Because it Was Online Where Rules Were Not Enforced and You Had Accsess to a Unlimited Collection of Cards.

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Number 2 Gives Person a a Zombie Because it Had a Target Then Buried Ruin is Still Targeting That So it is Returned From Exile to Your Hand.

I Had a Problem Once When My Opponent Casted Liliana of the Veil.

 After it Entered the Battlefield Before He Had Time to Activate Any Abilities I Sacced Vampire Hexmage to Destroy it



Stop. Right there.


After a spell resolves, the active player gets priority. Magic is not a game of reflexes, you can't try to be "faster" than your opponent like that; he does have all the time to activate Liliana's ability after she enters the battlefield. You need to wait for him to pass priority before you can try to use Vampire Hexmage's ability.


He Claimed He Had Priority but There is No Such Thing



Didn't you read the thread before posting on it? There IS such a thing as Priority in Magic. That's how the game works. Your opponent is right.
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It should be noted that spells can be cast when a player doesn't have priority.

eg. during a cascade trigger, during a suspend trigger, during the resolution of Djinn of Wishes' activated ability, during the resolution of Brilliant Ultimatum, etc.

likewise mana abilities can be activated to pay costs during spell casting, during ability activating, during triggers that have costs, and during game actions that may have costs because of certain static abilities. No player has priority at these times either.

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It should be noted that spells can be cast when a player doesn't have priority.

eg. during a cascade trigger, during a suspend trigger, during the resolution of Djinn of Wishes' activated ability, during the resolution of Brilliant Ultimatum, etc.

likewise mana abilities can be activated to pay costs during spell casting, during ability activating, during triggers that have costs, and during game actions that may have costs because of certain static abilities. No player has priority at these times either.

That only happens, however, because an effect instructs you to do so or the game specifically allows you to. It's not the general case.

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Number 2 Gives Person a a Zombie Because it Had a Target Then Buried Ruin is Still Targeting That So it is Returned From Exile to Your Hand.

That's wrong. Player A will indeed exile the card and get a Zombie, but the card won't go back to Player B's hand. The ability of the Buried Ruin is countered on resolution. 
He Claimed He Had Priority but There is No Such Thing.

That is also false. Where did you get the idea that there is no such thing as priority?

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He Claimed He Had Priority but There is No Such Thing.

That is also false. Where did you get the idea that there is no such thing as priority?




If I were to hazard a guess, I would say Duels of the Planesalkers.. where Priority is given to he who has the twitchiest finger.