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Rules Questions thread

Note: The limit is simply on mirrors in general, and thus applies to his arrives ability as well as his [2] ability. The appearance of a distinction on the limit is just because sirlin likes being concise, rather than clear.


You can still get extra mirrors, it just requires a little more work:

Sharpobject ruled otherwise back in 2016 (post ~484 in this thread), and I now see that a few posts later Sirlin mentioned that he would discuss it with sharpo, but I didn’t find any follow-up. Was there an update to this that I missed?

I was aware of the previous ruling, but I thought it had been overturned later. Ericf method works though, with a highly cooperative opponent.

Yay Gilded Glaxx!

There’s a Gilded Glaxx with 4 -1/-1 counters on it, kept alive by floating gold, and a maxband Orpal Gloor in play.

The Glaxx player spends their last gold playing a unit, say, Immortal. Gilded Glaxx dies, and Orpal’s ability triggers. Is the Immortal a valid target for Orpal’s maxband -1/-1 counter?

Does it make a difference if the last gold is spent on a spell that puts units into play, like Summon Skeletons or Temporal Distortion? (For that matter, is the Glaxx alive long enough to be rescued with Temporal Distortion, or does it die before the spell can resolve?)

If the last gold is spent on a spell that removes a unit from play, is the would-be removed unit a valid target for the -1/-1? Say they want to spend their last gold casting Temporal Distortion to return an Illusion to their hand, are they forced to kill it with :target: -1/-1 counter first?

given how Smoker works, I’m inclined to believe it would go something like this:

  1. Player pays gold and chooses targets.
    • Gilded Glaxx dies instantly, as a state-based effect.
    • If they target a Smoker, the bounce goes on the queue.
    • If they target an Illusion, it dies (immediately? or on the queue?)
      • possible death triggers (Orpal, Bugblatter, Teller of Truths would also go on queue)
  2. Enqueue the spell effect.

Do you make all choices for a spell at the time you choose targets?

If not: Opponent has Brave Knight, Spectral Hound in patrol. I play Ember Sparks (or Sickness?), targeting both. Spectral Hound dies immediately. Can I then assign all 3 damage to the Brave Knight?

this one i know for sure. No the 1 dmg to kill the hound is lost. You target them all at the same time with ES


Targets are chosen as late as possible, so the Illusion or Smoker in question won’t die or bounce until the spell or ability is in the process of being resolved.

Illusions die immediately when targeted; their death is not an effect that goes into the queue. Smoker works the same way. These are exceptions to the general rule that once an ability starts resolving, it completes its resolution before other abilities get a chance to resolve, as the unit’s departure can prevent parts of the spell or ability that try to interact with them.

My understanding is that you pay the gold as you play the Temporal Distortion card, and the spell effect goes into the queue as the card is played. The Glaxx would die immediately (before Temporal Distortion has a chance to rescue it), triggering Orpal’s maxband and the Second Chances I’m giving you. You get to choose the order those 2 abilities go into the queue, but I’m not sure if can choose to put them in the queue ahead of Temporal Distortion’s effect or not.

If you’re trying to use Temporal Distortion to bounce an Illusion and put an Immortal into play, and Orpal’s maxband resolves after Temporal Distortion, Orpal will not be able to target the Illusion, but will be able to target the Immortal.

If you choose to have Second Chances resolve before Orpal’s maxband, you can target the Glaxx put back into play by Second Chances instead of the Immortal, assuming you have 1 other unit in play to take 2nd rune. If you don’t have that 2nd unit, you’d probably rather resolve Orpal first so the new Glaxx can avoid the rune.


@sharpobject said (in discord)

iirc MtG has

  1. Declare spell/ability
  2. Pay costs, including optional costs. (can activate “mana abilites” to pay costs; triggered abilities go on the stack here? I think you wait for the event stack to clear before moving on, but no player gets priority to play another effect.)
  3. Choose modal effects (like Versatile Style or Feral Strike) and targets. (MtG has Smoker/Illusion like effects that can also go on the stack here, and resolve before the original spell/ability does.)
  4. Put the spell / ability on the stack.
  5. Active player gets priority (to play another instant or ability)
  6. Assuming both players pass, resolve the top thing on the stack.
  7. During this resolution, make any further choices (like “choose a creature”) the effect requires.

codex would work with a separate targeting step — I think it would actually work more cleanly, Smoker/Illusion/etc stuff just goes on the queue during at step, and come off before the spell resolves, rather than needing special timing rules — but it doesn’t have a separate step. (Attacking, however, does have multiple steps, I need to look into those because there’s weirdness there too)

if spells have exactly one step (“pay all the costs and do everything”) then

  1. Play Temporal Distortion. Pay 2g (Glaxx dies instantly, Orpal and Second Chances become steps 2 and 3, per active player’s ordering), make all choices — choose to return Immortal (Glaxx isn’t an option) triggering 2nd Second Chances — and putting Blooming Ancient into play.
  2. Second Chances puts Glaxx back into play. BA +1/+1 rune goes on queue.
  3. Orpal effect puts a -1/-1 rune on Glaxx and Blooming Ancient. (Bonus: just for fun suppose the opponent has 3 Abominations in play. Blooming Ancient dies immediately, before it can get the +1/+1 rune!)
  4. 2nd Second Chances puts Immortal back into play. BA rune goes on the queue.
  5. Blooming Ancient gets Glaxx rune. It immediately cancels with the -1/-1 rune.
  6. Blooming Ancient gets Immortal rune.
  7. Active Player can now attack, play a spell, play an ability, etc.

Unless Second Chances is even faster than that and puts the units in play before Blooming Ancient arrives?

Actually, I think from previous rulings Second Chances has ultra-fast “jump to the head of the queue” speed, so it puts Glaxx back in time to be a valid choice for Temporal Distortion. Since regular triggers are pushed onto the queue, Orpal maxband happens after and will put the -1/-1 counter on Glaxx and the fetched unit. If you choose to bounce Glaxx with TD, a 2nd Second Chances helpfully bring it back from the Temporal Distortion in time to get sick again!

The closest I could find to what you suggest is this. The unusual thing about Second Chances is that it remembers the list of units that were all removed at the time it triggers, then chooses randomly from the units in that list that are still eligible by the time it resolves. I don’t see anything about Second Chances weirdly cutting to the front of the queue.

Even if you have 2 Second Chances, you only get 2 units rescued if they both get removed at exactly the same time, otherwise they both trigger when the first unit is removed, and assuming no other card has whisked away that unit, the 1st Second Chances to resolve will successfully return that unit, then the 2nd will not have any eligible units left in its remembered list and will fizzle, wasting its effect for that turn, even if another unit was removed before it resolved. Basically, the “Once-per-turn” refers to the number of times the ability can trigger, not the number of units that can be returned, and as a result, Second Chances suffers from severe diminishing returns.

You’re right, multiple Second Chances only help if two things leave simultaneously. Found the ruling here: Rules Questions thread

As far as Second Chances (Teller of Truths, Graveyard, etc) jumping ahead, we have Rules Questions thread

(there’s also a ruling that these cards won’t work if one of the other two move it first but I lost it, think I may be getting sidetracked)

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The Smoker/Illusion part I get, as the majority of the time those abilities would not function as intended otherwise, but the recovery trio cutting ahead is rather confusing. Both the specifics of how exactly that’s supposed to work, and the reason why that case is special enough to not be allowed to occasionally fizzle like most other cards can, are unclear to me.

I agree, and am going to propose alternate rules / errata for them so we don’t need different effect speeds.


1.) Overpower and Garus Rook

If I would kill a Garus Rook on Max (Two Lives)with Overpower: what to do with the excess damgage of Overpower? Does it go to Rook again? Do I lose it? Does it go somewhere else?

2.) If my opponent hast two units in the Patrol zone, one as a Squad Leader and a Dothram Horselord somewhere else:

If I kill the Squad Leader with Overpower and now I have more ATK than my opponent: Does the Horselord join my forces immediatley and can I use the excess damage somewhere else or do I have to deal Overpower damgage to him before he joins my forces?

3.) In General: is the dealing of excess damage of Overpower obligatory or optional?

Dothram Horselord’s ability says that it checks total power during your upkeep.

  1. let’s say rook is 4/3+A and you attack it with crashbarrow (6/2) crashbarrow 4 dmg “kill” rook, but 2 lives saves rook, removing dmg and adding crumbling. the remaining 2 you have to give to something else (patroller/base/backline something etc).
  2. no, horselord checks only during upkeep, not every single second. So you overpower to the horselord.
  3. afaik is mandatory, it doesn’t say “You may/can”, so you must do as much as you can. Ofc if you attack a non patroller OP does not trigger
  1. and 3. is clear now. Ad 1.): Can you give me an explanation, why the excess damage is not done to Rook again?

because rook is “dead”. he does not have 12 hp total with 2 lives he has 6 and 6 after death. Imagine it like this you attack and kill rook. OP sees him at 0 hp and chooses a new target. after dmg is resolved, rook’s 2nd live triggers, instead of going to command zone, you put the rune and remove the dmg.

But on the card it says: “If this would die…”

So it is not dead…?