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On today’s episode we’re diving deep on a complex and often misunderstood topic: The Stack and Player Priority. We’ve got L2 Judge Danny Simard in studio to help us explain how these rules intricacies work in multiplayer and, more importantly, how understanding this stuff can help you make better strategic decisions about what moves to make and when.
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You guys said around minute 35:00 that if an opponent interrupts the transition between the postcombat main phase and the end step to cast something, priority returns to the active player but the active player should have already passed priority stating he wanted to end his turn. He shouldn't be able to cast anything that isn't an instant at this point because the opponent's spell is already on the stack. Am I wrong?
DarkDiodoss after a spell/ability on the stack resolves, priority is returned to the active player. So if someone interupts the changing of phases, that means something resolved (be it the spell/ability, or even a counter to that spell/ability) and thus priority is returned
Craziest stack moment I've come across so far:
Two players left in game, player A & B.
Player A is active player, has Pyrohemia and Sower of Discord in play. Sower has named player B.
Player B has a stuffy doll in play.
No one present knew about how triggers stack Active Player/Non-active player, so the discussion about what actually happens when the Pyrohemia was active got very creative.
Afterwards I looked up APNAP, which was helped me sort out what should have happened. I won't describe it here, I'll leave that to anyone who's curious.
Definitely recommend reading about APNAP to any EDH player, the rule is very concise and helps sort out these tricky situations.
What is the ruling and explanation on blocking with a creature and sacrificing it? doesn't that just remove it from blocking allowing the attacking creature through? I have seen so many people block then sacrifice and everyone is always like "ok so no combat damage"
A prefect example of priority... I played a deck with Ob Nixilis, The Fallen. Many times my opponent would try to Lightning Bolt him before i could play a Verdant Catacombs from my hand. But because my opponent let him resolve and i was the active player i got to play my verdant catacombs before he could do anything.
When it came to exploring all the phases, specifically the combat phase i was instinctly remembered of this "short" and comprehensive video which even goes though all the phases and very simply, how the stack works. I recommend it to anyone who wants to get into magic or is unsure about some of the "basic" stuff about the game. its a great video
You should talked about how many players who know about it will cast their Vendillion Clique on their opponents draw step so they can also see the card that their opponent just drew, and potentially tuck it before they get to use it.
I was hoping to see Phasing and especially morphing, so more people would know about them and be more knowledgeable about them (and stop asking me How I can Willbender their Krosan Grip or what my Teferi’s Isle does).
There are some things that I feel need to be corrected or better explained and I'd like to make the attempt. Though a lot of it is wording in the priority section and nothing really entirely, flat out inaccurate:
I think a good amount of this is a problem with the shortcut phrase "hold priority". You don't actually hold onto the same priority, like flickering a creature it's not the same 'object' or priority. Instead it is a whole new priority cycle that is starting with you as the player to most recently add to the stack. Instead the way it's worded in the show implies that you're holding on to the same priority which implies you're the last to have priority again. For most of the show you guys clarified this is not the case but even the first time Mel is mentioned there is a slip up where JLK says it so that he would have priority last, and I think this stems from the way it's worded right beforehand which is why this is important to correct. JLK consciously knows this isn't right, as evidenced almost immediately after and beyond, but newer players may still be confused because of this. It also implies that if you respond to something and hold priority on that, since it's the same priority under the wording used, those who had priority before won't get it again and it is too late for them even though it's a new addition to the stack.
Because of this and other parts I think it would have been really helpful to actually cite and read some of these rules which are pretty straight forward and provide context, but without them it is still confusing
116.3. Which player has priority is determined by the following rules:
116.3a The active player receives priority at the beginning of most steps and phases, after any turn-based actions (such as drawing a card during the draw step; see rule 703) have been dealt with and abilities that trigger at the beginning of that phase or step have been put on the stack. No player receives priority during the untap step. Players usually don’t get priority during the cleanup step (see rule 514.3).
116.3b The active player receives priority after a spell or ability (other than a mana ability) resolves.
116.3c If a player has priority when they cast a spell, activate an ability, or take a special action, that player receives priority afterward.
(my addition: this is them not holding the same priority, it's a new priority cycle)
116.3d If a player has priority and chooses not to take any actions, that player passes. If any mana is in that player’s mana pool, they announce what mana is there. Then the next player in turn order receives priority.
I think it's also important to clarify that a player does not start the priority cycle, the game does. This means a player cannot just randomly pass priority to see if anyone has effects, they have to do a thing and then the game creates a priority cycle.
Parts of a turn -
I think it is important, especially as we're trying to explain priority and the stack, to not just say untap step triggers are pushed to upkeep but to explain why. Because the why is also part of why triggers happening at the same time works the way it does and effects other specific cases. So as stated during upkeep priority does not go around, but things can still trigger. The part missing is that triggers need the game attempting a priority cycle to be put on the stack:
116.5. Each time a player would get priority, the game first performs all applicable state-based actions as a single event (see rule 704, “State-Based Actions”), then repeats this process until no state-based actions are performed. Then triggered abilities are put on the stack (see rule 603, “Handling Triggered Abilities”). These steps repeat in order until no further state-based actions are performed and no abilities trigger. Then the player who would have received priority does so.
What this priority pseudo-replacement rule (it's essentially a replacement effect without the word instead for some reason) means is that while they have triggered they cannot go on the stack until the game attempts to pass priority after resolving SBAs, which doesn't happen during untap and at other points creating this push effect. Another reason it is important to note it is the game creating priority cycles and not players. This applies to more than untap and is why triggered abilities during untap are pushed.
That's all for what you guys say just two side notes:
Because Sylvan Library was brought up: personal thing but it really bothers me there are cards like Sylvan Library where the modern wording is inaccurate to the way the card actually works and it's the old versions that are accurate, like a reverse errata (for the library new version says "those cards" which confuses players into thinking you can only choose your card per turn and cards drawn with library but it's the old wording of "drawn this turn" that is accurate meaning even if you drew the card on upkeep it is valid to put back to keep a card drawn with library and not pay 4 life. Total tangent but I can't look at the newer printings and not be bothered by that especially since I have to explain it all the time)
One thing that is rather strange is that damage no longer uses the stack and can't be responded to (it did for a long time) but on Arena I've had priority to respond to damage and commonly people still play that you can. So not really sure what's up with Arena on that
Love you guys, love your work, didn't get chance to apply to play at game knights these past two rounds but hoping I can for the next time around.
Steven Smith yes some things they missed are SBA’s, levels and stacking. Well explained. I think the “hold priority” phrase is completely misused because SBA’s can happen in between. You can never “hold” priority. You are always “gaining priority” after your spell or ability (as the active player) and deciding to use it again before passing.
In the example of forking a bolt vs giant growth didn't seem right. Why would I use my fork before they cast the growth? I would let them choose the wrong target and then I get to pick that target again, which would kill it, or I target what I wanted to take out all along. Doing the fork too soon is an error. Josh is the best player I've ever watched play the game so I'm shocked.
Ok, lemme see if you can help me figure out this stack:
I play a Zedruu deck that has Confusion as a theme. I win the game by getting my combo pieces while I wheel everyone and create absurd board states that takes too much effort to resolve.
I've had a boardstate that even a Lv2 judge had issues figuring out.
Knowledge Pool + Possibility Storm + Mind's Dilation
What would you do? LOL
Omg thank you so much for this video! I can’t tell you how many times a game hasn’t been fun bc ppl didn’t understand priority and mana abilities not being on the stack. And I don’t mean that in a competitive way either.
I remember once my friends and I were playing against someone who was a much more experienced Magic player and I was playing my five-color sliver deck that I was very proud of (I’m talking Tempest/Stronghold slivers here). I went to play my sliver queen and in response, he played Turnabout to tap down all of my lands. I thought, “ok, it just goes back to my hand then...” He then said that it goes in the graveyard because the spell “fizzles out”, which I said was bs cuz if that was the case then all someone had to do was tap down ur lands/artifact at instant speed to counter your spells. How is anyone suppose to play anything if that was allowed?
The problem was that because he was more experienced, everyone in my play group believed him and started following suit from then on (can’t google search the rules on a Nokia phone...). After that, everyone started building their decks with spells and abilities that tapped down artifacts, creatures, and lands, which is extremely annoying when playing five colors and multicolored spells. I either had to have my spells “fizzle out” or tap virtually double the mana for everything and take mana burn when they decided not to tap me down. It was ridiculous, and the games stopped being fun.
The worst part about all of this was that that sliver deck was my favorite. It wasn’t anything super powerful by today’s standards, but I worked really hard to find all of those pieces to make it work, which was very difficult to do since it was before the days of sites like card kingdom. 3 sliver queens, mana fixing artifacts, some Coat of Arms and Explorations, lands that produced multiple colors, I even had the old Recycle & Aluren combo that was always satisfying to pull off.
But just like that, the whole deck was unplayable. I stopped playing shortly after that and didn’t come back to the game until I Ixalan when my wife surprised me with a starter kit. (She kept seeing me look at and ask about the cards at the comic book store). Now she plays with me! And I have to say that I am so grateful that channels like the Command Zone, Tolarian Community College, and many others are here to teach people about this game, to play fair, and to have fun! Hope these channels never fizzle out!
Planeswalkers and cards that triggers when permanents enters the battlefield do come up here and there, like Altar of the Brood and Landfall triggers. It adds a stop or window where you otherwise have priority. And there's been a couple of times where people have played their planeswalker and then done something else before using it, and that has opened up a window for me to kill of their planeswalker.
47:30 technically "Move to Combat" is a shortcut for moving to mainphase to moving to attackers. You have to say "You are in combat" and or "Before you declare attackers" or they are still in their mainphase.
around 43:00 when they started talking about Underrealm Lich, reminded me of a cool interaction I didn't even realize was in one of my decks. I had Underrealm Lich and Jin-Gitaxias on the field. So instead of drawing the 7 cards, each of those single cards was replaced with the Lich's ability. I ended up getting deep enough into my deck on that one turn to find all the pieces of my combo. Unfortunately I was at such a low life total by that point that it didn't really matter.
I didn't get the part about Sylvan Library being a replaement effect? It is a trigger and you can respond to it with things such as Brainstorm why it is a card that can actually require a judge to be present to be able to resolve it correctly.
Draw for turn, sylvan trigger.
Cast brainstorm, draw 3 put back 2. Opp dpesn't know which card you put back and which you drew this turn.
Sylvan, draw 2 put back either of those two or possibly some other card that you drew with brainstorm but opp doesn't know which ones those were.
As a person that has been playing for just about 9 months, I find your show as a wealth of knowledge. Not just for enjoyable game play, but also for learning the nuances of rules and also unique cards to add to my collection and decks. I would love to see an episode where you guys go over your collection, storage of said collection and how you come up with and find the cards that you talk about when discussing a certain subject in any given episode. Thank you and keep up the great content!!!
Let's be real, Reconnaissance wasn't created with pseudo-vigilance in mind. There probably was no end of combat step back then.
It should've been errata'd to "Target attacking creature that hasn't dealt combat damage this turn."
Thanks for making this video guys! This is definitely a subject that it's easy think you know it all when you actually don't. I certainly learned a few things and will be sharing this video. Keep up the good work.
My commander deck of choice is a Primal Surge deck. Essentially, if I cast it, my entire deck gets put on the table and it’s built in such a manner that I’m (supposed to) win instantly, or kill everyone that turn.
How the heck does everything resolve as im constantly putting permanents on the field?
If your opponent has a Laboratory Maniac, an empty library and a Chromatic Sphere on the board... You're fucked. Activating the sphere doesn't use the stack, he draws a card and just wins. Yes, this actually happens in EDH.
wow the stack now explained and this complicate mtg thing are simple now. But you said there nothing that can happens on draw step, but in modern people often Vendilion Clique on draw step. Do they actually cast clique while you declare your changing phase since your going to main phase 1 after your draw step so they don't really answer to the draw step?
What should a non active player do if they want to play something after the active player has passed priority in Beginning of combat?
Like let's say the active player says "combat". Non active player wants to exit the main phase so they say "okay" which means pass priority during main phase. Now if the active player is nice they might say "declare attackers" without actually doing anything which means pass priority during beginning of combat. But what if the active player skips straight to the turn action of declaring attacks and says "I'll attack you with this creature?"
Intuitively, I would say that the fault lies with the active player because they assumed non active player passed priority without doing anything during beginning of combat step. However the non active player only said "okay" once and they said it during main phase so there's no reason to assume that means the non active player is gonna pass priority during beginning of combat. Therefore, even though the active player revealed their intended attackers, the game never actually entered declared attackers yet so the non active player can still use their priority during beginning of combat.
Is this correct?
Once on my playgroup a player used Helm of Obedience with Rest in Peace in play on me, I began putting cards on my graveyard and it was exiled as a replacement effect, but suddenly I face Nexus of Fate. The thing is that it also have a replacement effect just like RIP, so we were not sure if the Active Player Rotate order should be apply or the owner of the Nexus of Fate should choose what order the effects should take placing (making the second to be placed on the stack to happen first), and the craziest thing is that it was all in the middle of the resolution of Helm of Obedience, so players shouldn’t get priority during the resolution.
So what we find out with Judge Chat is that the owner of the card can decide what replacement effect should take place first, and I chose the Helm, making the Nexus be placed back at the deck and shuffle it. But them the Helm of Obedience continue to resolve trying to place cards on my graveyard and being exiled instead, you can see where it all ended, only nexus of fate on my deck with it being shuffled many times (of course we just skip to that moment) but if someone had effects that care about shuffling deck we would have to count how many times it happened.
At the end there was just Nexus of Fate and the Helm of Obedience trying to end the resolution, so on that point the active player (me) had two options and there is a rule that say that a player can’t make a choice that don’t let the game move further. So for that reason I had to finally chose to resolve Nexus last, making Helm of Obedience exile it and end up without any cards on my deck. If this rule didn’t exist it could be a draw, but it took a while for us to find out !
Basically anytime I play my niv mizzet parun deck the stack gets super messy. Huge shoutouts to mtgo and arena because playing niv mizzet there has singlehandedly helped me understand how the stack works!
A good exemple is Recurring nigthmare. You cast it, if it resolves, you then have priority. You can then use it, return it to your hand as a part of its cost, it then resolves. No one can disenchant it at any point.
can you assassin's trophy a planeswalker before their +1 resolves? basically kill the walker with your instant before their sorcery speed ability resolves, I'm confused because this vid made it seem like when they cast a planeswalker they can +1 it and there's nothing you can do about unless you just countered the planeswalker or something
I had one yesterday where I had a beginning of end step trigger form Gisela the broken blade and bruma the fading light and someone tried to path to exile Gisela in response and stop the transformation. I argued that this could not be responded to and there chance to respond had passed since it was the beginning of the end and their priority would be pushed to my end step but because Gisela specifically says both creatures exile at the start he no longer had a target for path to exile. Then at my actual end step Brisela hits the field and her effect that stops spells with cmc less than 3 immediately takes affect therefor meaning path to exile can’t be cast at all.
Probably the craziest I've ever been a part of is when in a long game of edh, one of my opponents resolved Rise of the Dark Realms. Luckily for everyone, Worldgorger dragon was in the graveyard. Craziness ensued with etb/ltb effects.
Yes because for it to be hit by lighting bolt it has to be on the field to be a valid target. A shortcut or simple way is to declare your response to the lighting bolt as ticking it however many it’s plus is. Which isn’t technically officially correct in what’s happening officially there responding to your tick but unless it’s tournament play getting that specific is unnecessary.
Great in-depth episode, pretty much entirely correct. The one thing I think might have been stated in a misleading fashion is who gets priority after a spell is cast. The player who casts a spell/activates an ability gains priority immediately after casting/activating it (this is how one holds priority), but after the effects actually resolve, priority goes to the active player. These may have been mentioned correctly separately, but I didn't hear a direct comparison made between the two, so I thought I'd chip in.
The two most relevant things I think may be overlooked, is how damage interacts (or rather no longer interacts) with the stack, and that state-based actions are checked whenever priority is gained. (though the full implication of state-based actions is probably better suited for its own topic lol)
I have a Selenia, Dark Angel deck where the whole point of the deck is to play Repay in Kind and then hold priority and pay my entire life total into Selenia’s ability (go to 1 life or to 0 if I have phyrexian unlife in play) there is also a bunch of extort things in the deck to ping people for that list bit of life
The only thing that I had a problem with rules wise is priority, and you fixed it for me. Thanks guys! Ok, but I'll share something that happened to me. A wrath effect happened, and I was playing my Glissa commander deck. My Scrap Trawler was out along with a few other artifact creatures. As I know the rules, Scrap Trawler will trigger multiple times for each artifact that hits the graveyard. The artifacts are already in the graveyard when the triggers go on the stack. Someone who wasn't even in the game argued with me for 30 minutes that I have no legal targets for those triggers since I didn't have anything in the graveyard at the time they happened. I looked it up later, I know I was right now, but I was tired of arguing, so I let it go. What would be the best thing to do in those situations? If someone challenges your concept of how the rules work, should you try to prove them wrong, or let it go?
Extremely simplistic way to explain it is the first hit of double Strike is the first strike phase, and the second hit is normal combat damage. A lot of people don’t know the first strike combat phase is separate from normal combat and typically just kill everything at once which is typically fine but because there’s that space to respond after fire strike phase it may be important to verbally declare the separation.
Hey guys! This video is really useful, great job!
By the way, i still have some trouble with the end step. I play a Feldon of the Third Path deck: i always read online that if i use feldon's ability at the beginning of my opponent's end step, i will be able to keep the token created until my next end step, as feldon's ability reads: "sacrifice it at the beginning of the next end step". But i also read online that effects able to end my turn like "Sundial of the Infinite" will allow me to keep the token created by feldon for the rest of the game. This is what i did not understand: shouldn't i be forced to sacrifice the same token at the beginning of my opponent's next end step?
Correct me please. At 35:00, jimmy says that, after a non active player has acted on second main before the end step, that the active player is able to then cast sorceries. It is my understanding that this action was done in response to the changing of phases, from main to end step, therefore the active player will no longer be able to cast sorceries after the fact.
Players gain priority after certain specified points in phases, after spells/activated/triggered abilities are put on the stack, and after their effects resolve. Steps and phases only move on once ALL effects have resolved and every player has passed on priority. Hence, if a non-active player puts an effect on the stack, there will be another round of priority after it resolves (starting with the active player) but before the step/phase moves on.
Sorry but you guys make it seem much harder than it is.
116.4. If all players pass in succession (that is, if all players pass without taking any actions in between passing), the spell or ability on top of the stack resolves or, if the stack is empty, the phase or step ends.
This rule is the core of the stack and understanding this much easier than your explanations.
I don't think I heard it mentioned but something I see people get wrong often is sacrificing a creature as a cost for something like Attrition or High Market and wanting to respond while the creature is still on the battlefield.
3 things I felt where maybe not quite as clear, got a bit confusing due to other similar examples being used, that worked different etc.
Just for clarification sake, I believe you *can* respond to the Sylvan Library trigger that was brought up before. It doesn't replace your draw-1 with a draw-3, but triggers as every other ability after you've drawn your first card. It also doesn't trigger with you drawing the cards, you decide if you want to draw the cards as the ability resolves. So you can flash in a Consecrated Sphinx in response to the trigger, but the owner of the Library can just decide to not draw the additional 2 cards, as to not give you any carddraw.
Is that actually correct in this case? While Deathreap Ritual won't see the creature dying before the beginning of the endstep and thus won't even trigger/go on the stack, it shouldn't care for creatures dying to an Archfiend of Depravity in the endstep of the turn before?
To clarify again, you *can* take actions like casting instants etc during the cleanup step, but only when either state-based actions or triggered abilities happen. At that point, it becomes similar to the upkeep/draw, as that you can cast instant-speed spells etc and all players need to pass priority with an empty stack for the cleanep step to end. However if that happens, there will be additional cleanup steps, until a cleanup step happens where no state-based actions or abilities are put on the stack, at which point no player gets priority either.
Also, talking about state-based actions, feels like that topic might fit fairly well following this.
My mom and uncle play commander with me and my friends sometimes and we have to explain the stack a fair bit. I shared this episode with them and they both said they understand it a lot better now. Great guest in Danny! Thanks for a helpful episode.
Craziest thing I've heard of is infinite turns with Inalla and Wanderwine Prophets. It involves the "abuse" of the "at the beginning of the next end step" part of Inalla's eminence ability causing the token to stay around until the end step of the following turn [your free turn]. Similar to the Gitrog monster you showed here.
It's a small thing but you didn't mention that a creature with double strike would also create that "first strike" step.
I like putting Etrata the Silencer's 2nd ability on the stack then responding to it and either phasing her out, unsummoning or flickering here so she won't shuffle into my commander deck.
this was a great video. next i'd like to see a video about the different Rules Enforcement Levels. i know commander is supposed to be casual and whatever the table agrees to, but this seems like a good time to ask for a REL video.
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