Discarding to hidden zones

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I'll quote the relevant rule for this question.

Rule 701.7c
If a card is discarded, but an effect causes it to be put into a hidden zone instead of into its owner’s graveyard without being revealed, all values of that card’s characteristics are considered to be undefined. If a card is discarded this way to pay a cost that specifies a characteristic about the discarded card, that cost payment is illegal; the game returns to the moment before the cost was paid (see rule 717, “Handling Illegal Actions”).


Does this mean that if I activate the ability of Tarox Bladewing while I control a Library of Leng I can't put the discarded card on top of my library? Yet I may do this if my opponent controls Telepathy? That seems highly unintuitive. If you are discarding a card with a certain characteristic to pay a cost, shouldn't you be required to reveal the card before you discard it?
Rules Advisor
Library of Leng says : "If an effect causes you to discard a card, discard it, but you may put it on top of your library instead of into your graveyard." In your example, the discard is a cost, so it is not affected by Library of Leng.

Now for your question, Rule 701.7c says that if the discarded card is revealed to all players just before, during, or just after the process of discarding that card, then the cost payment is legal. I don't see anything unintuitive in this.
Ok, so my example doesn't work. Say instead that my opponent cast Wrench Mind on me, and I want to discard an artifact card to the top of my library. Rule 701.7c disallows this. As far as the issue of "without being revaled", if I choose to show the other players the cards in my hand, but no effect is explicitly revealing those cards, are they still considered revealed? Can I put the artifact card on top of my library if I show my opponent that it is indeed an artifact?
Rules Advisor
if you reveal your hand without anything telling you to do so they are not revealed

just like when you tap a permanent without anything allowing you to do so it is not tapped, regardless of its physical status
proud member of the 2011 community team
So it is impossible for me to choose both to discard an artifact and to put it on top of my library? That seems like an unintuitive interaction.
Rules Advisor
yes, with Wrench Mind you have 4 choices

discard 1 artifact to the graveyard
discard 2 cards to the graveyard
discard 2 cards to the library
discard 1 card to the graveyard and 1 card to the library

it doesn't matter if your library is known or revealed, it is always a hidden zone
proud member of the 2011 community team
The rule, as written, says that if a card is discarded to a hidden zone without being revealed, its characteristics are considered undefined. Without the Telepathy, then, I would be discarding a card with no type (and thus not an artifact) to the top of my library, which is illegal. Is this interpretation incorrect?
Rules Advisor
yes, I misread your post and edited in the mean time

even with Telepathy and/or Future Sight you cannot discard a single artifact card to the library, because officially the card you discard is not known, even if every player can see it
proud member of the 2011 community team

“[Do something] unless you [do something else].” means the same thing as “You may [do something else]. If you don’t, [do something].” The action [do something else] is a cost, paid when the spell resolves. Wink



But I see your point. Currently, if no effect is revealing the discarded card, it can't be discarded to pay such a cost, even if you show it to all players.

Note that rule 701.7c cares only about costs, not effects. In fact, I'm not aware of any effect that makes a player discard a card with a given characteristic without revealing his hand before.
In fact, I'm not aware of any effect that makes a player discard a card with a given characteristic without revealing his hand before.

Wrench Mind
proud member of the 2011 community team
"unless you discard an artifact card" is a cost, not an effect.


117.12. Some spells, activated abilities, and triggered abilities read, “[Do something]. If [a player] [does or doesn’t], [effect].” or “[A player] may [do something]. If [that player] [does or doesn’t], [effect].” The action [do something] is a cost, paid when the spell or ability resolves. The “If [a player] [does or doesn’t]” clause checks whether the player chose to pay an optional cost or started to pay a mandatory cost, regardless of what events actually occurred.

117.12a Some spells, activated abilities, and triggered abilities read, “[Do something] unless you [do something else].” This means the same thing as “You may [do something else]. If you don’t, [do something].”

you're right...
proud member of the 2011 community team
If a rule were added that any card discarded to pay a cost is revealed as it is discarded, that would potentially solve this issue. Maybe the card would only be revealed if the cost required a certain characteristic.
Rules Advisor
By the way, this rule was created due to the interaction between library of leng and Chandra Ablaze's 1st ability (source).
Ah, that's a trickier situation, since you can legally discard any card.
Rules Advisor
"unless you discard an artifact card" is a cost, not an effect.

In is an effect. It is the effect of the resolving spell Wrench Mind.

Library of Leng should reveal the card and put it on top of the library. Every other replacement effect that replaces a card moving to a public zone with moving to a hidden zone reveals the card. For example Darksteel Colossus, Progenitus, Wheel of Sun and Moon.

Edriss quoted the rule, and bolded the part that says it is a cost.

Edit: Which raises the questions, "Is it still the effect of the spell?" "Can something be both a cost and an effect at the same time?" 

Level 1 Judge

In is an effect. It is the effect of the resolving spell Wrench Mind.

That's correct. Anything that happens as a result of a resolving spell or ability is an effect. Even if it also happens to be a cost.

In is an effect. It is the effect of the resolving spell Wrench Mind.

That's correct. Anything that happens as a result of a resolving spell or ability is an effect. Even if it also happens to be a cost.

The ruling of Library of Leng disagree with you.
You can't use the Library of Leng ability to place a discarded card on top of your library when you discard a card as a cost, because costs aren't effects.



The ruling of Library of Leng disagree with you.

The ruling is simplistic. Most costs aren't effects, so most of the time that ruling is correct. However, costs and effects are not mutually exclusive. Wrench mind is indeed an example of an effect which is also a cost. Another example which makes it a little clearer that costs and effects can overlap is Mana Leak.
That ruling is imprecise and should be changed. There are certainly costs that aren't effects, such as those to cast spells or activate abilities. Those are what it means there by "costs". However, the actual definition of costs is much broader and includes some things that are also effects.
so you can apply it to an effect that is also a cost?
proud member of the 2011 community team
Yes.
Here is an example of why Library of Leng should reveal the card.

You control Fallow Wurm, and its ability triggers. You choose to discard a land card, which is legal. Then you apply Library of Leng's effect to the event, which should also be legal. Rule 117.11 says that the cost is still paid.
117.11. The actions performed when paying a cost may be modified by effects. Even if they are, meaning the actions that are performed don't match the actions that are called for, the cost has still been paid.>br>
Example: A player controls Psychic Vortex, an enchantment with a cumulative upkeep cost of "Draw a card," and Obstinate Familiar, a creature that says "If you would draw a card, you may skip that draw instead." The player may decide to pay Psychic Vortex's cumulative upkeep cost and then draw no cards instead of drawing the appropriate amount. The cumulative upkeep cost has still been paid.

Library of Leng should not have its own rule that makes it work strangely. It is an old card, and its templating was off.

Another weird case. If I target my opponent with Psychic Miasma, my opponent can discard a land card but put it on top of their library with Library of Leng to avoid Psychic Miasma's effect.
Library of Leng's versatility would slightly increase if you were forced to reveal the card, but it's power level would drop a bit.

I find no issue with the way it currently works. Inability to discard cards with certain characteristics is an acceptable drawback to keeping the information private.
Why just not make the an option to reveal the discarded card? Seems like a good compromise.
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Why just not make the an option to reveal the discarded card? Seems like a good compromise.



Because this is a game that takes thought to play correctly, so when given a choice, each choice should be viable depending on a situation. If there is only one correct play, then that doesn't take thought. I've never understood the desire to remove choices from the game when more choices == more complexity == more fun.
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Well, in the case of Wrench Mind, or any "...unless you discard a [characteristic] card" or "equal to the discarded card's [characteristic]" situation, you actually would have an interesting choice.

It's probably not that way because that would be a functional change, and if they wanted to rewrite Library of Leng, I'd imagine they'd just give the thing a cleaner template altogether.
the problem is that funtional changes happen like on Aladdin's Lamp x can't be 0. I believe discarding should be revealed. It acts like a replacement effect like leyline of the void but is different.

What s the origal intent of the cards function?
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It's hard to say what the original intent of the card was. If I had to guess, I'd say the designer didn't care or didn't think about interactions pertaining to whether the card is revealed.

However, the original text gives us a small clue. The card specifies that you can look at a randomly determined card before deciding whether to apply this effect. That tells me that the card wants you to decide what you're discarding before you actually do it.

So, Wrench Mind hits me:
1) Choose whether I'm discarding two or discarding an artifact.
2) Do the discard.
3) Apply Library's effect? Oh wait, maybe I can't!

In that light, I can understand why a reveal could be desirable. But I believe that Wizards tries to avoid functional changes at any reasonable cost.
It's hard to say what the original intent of the card was. If I had to guess, I'd say the designer didn't care or didn't think about interactions pertaining to whether the card is revealed.

However, the original text gives us a small clue. The card specifies that you can look at a randomly determined card before decided whether to apply this effect. That tells me that the card wants you to decide what you're discarding before you actually do it.

So, Wrench Mind hits me:
1) Choose whether I'm discarding two or discarding an artifact.
2) Do the discard.
3) Apply Library's effect? Oh wait, maybe I can't!

In that light, I can understand why a reveal could be desirable. But I believe that Wizards tries to avoid functional changes at any reasonable cost.

They do but if there is something funky they ask the designer of the card to restore intent along as it don't break the game. Someone now has to ask Richard Garfield.
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I'm having trouble recalling a situation where a card's original designer was asked about the card's intent. There have been rare occasions where the Oracle team has asked for feedback about specific cards were adjudicated back in the day. (Musician comes to mind.)

Is there a format where the interaction between Wrench Mind and Library of Leng is relevant?

Del Laugel

Editing manager, Magic TCG

Legacy, Vintage and Commander are the only formats where both are legal
I don't think the library sees play in Legacy/Vintage, and while I run it in some of my Commander decks discard is not common in that format, at least not targetted like Wrench Mind

so I guess it's not a pressing issue because this situation will not come up often, but it's still unintuitive when it does
proud member of the 2011 community team
yes, I misread your post and edited in the mean time

even with Telepathy and/or Future Sight you cannot discard a single artifact card to the library, because officially the card you discard is not known, even if every player can see it



Telepathy: "Your opponents play with their hands revealed."

I would expect to be able to discard a single revealed artifact card to the library because the card is revealed.

The cases where I'd expect to be unable to discard a single artifact card to the library despite everyone knowing what it is are:


  • I have two (different) artifacts in my hand, both of which were publicly revealed at some point but are no longer. In other words, you can deduce that I'm discarding an artifact purely from public knowledge, but not directly from observing the current public gamestate.

  • Each player is currently affected by an effect that allows them to see the card I'm discarding individually, but there is no such general effect in effect. In other words, everyone knows what I'm discarding as part of their private knowledge, but the nature of my discard is not public information.


The latter case falls under "officially the card you discard is not known, even if every player can see it".
M:tG Rules Advisor
The ruling for Library of Leng that says that the discarded card is kept hidden contradicts rule 400.6. Not revealing the card directly breaks that rule. First all players look at the card, then any appropriate replacement effects are applied.
400.6. If an object would move from one zone to another, determine what event is moving the object. If the object is moving to a public zone, all players look at it to see if it has any abilities that would affect the move. Then any appropriate replacement effects, whether they come from that object or from elsewhere, are applied to that event.

The ruling for Library of Leng that says that the discarded card is kept hidden contradicts rule 400.6. Not revealing the card directly breaks that rule. First all players look at the card, then any appropriate replacement effects are applied.
400.6. If an object would move from one zone to another, determine what event is moving the object. If the object is moving to a public zone, all players look at it to see if it has any abilities that would affect the move. Then any appropriate replacement effects, whether they come from that object or from elsewhere, are applied to that event.




That rule seems to break Morph, so I think it must not really do what it says.

 
That rule seems to break Morph, so I think it must not really do what it says.

It says to look at the card, but doesn't specifically say to look at the face.  Presumably, if it will be face down in the new zone, you look at its face down characteristics to determine which replacement effects to apply.