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From a design point of view, I cannot figure out why Cascade should specifically exile the cards involved, then return them to the bottom of the deck instead of revealing them (like Spellshift or Reweave do)? Is there some sort of interaction I didn't notice?

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Not sure Spellshift and Reweave are the best examples - they require shuffling, which potentially takes a lot of time. Maybe something like Abundance is a better example? –  Jefromi Aug 9 '13 at 1:43

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

Cascade works with exile rather than revealing because of the possibility of one Cascade triggering another Cascade.

The full meaning of Cascade is (702.84a):

When you cast this spell, exile cards from the top of your library until you exile a nonland card whose converted mana cost is less than this spell's converted mana cost. You may cast that card without paying its mana cost. Then put all cards exiled this way that weren't cast on the bottom of your library in a random order.

With this definition, if one Cascade spell finds another Cascade spell, the way you handle it is easy: the cards exiled by the first Cascade are still exiled, so you keep going through your library until you find another appropriate spell. It's simple and a very literal cascade through your library.

What if you were simply revealing cards from the top of your library? Well, the "reveal" doesn't actually move the cards from your library. So if you needed to Cascade again, you have to put those cards back and then look through them again! Then, making the "put all cards revealed this way" phrasing work becomes much more complicated, because some of the cards are subject to two or more Cascade effects.

In short, I don't believe that there's a deep gameplay reason, but it makes the Cascade mechanism (specifically, its recursive nature) and the wording simple and elegant.

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The recursion is definitely the big deal, though there are probably also some little picky things here and there where the difference does matter - for example, Grafdigger's Cage doesn't stop Cascade. –  Jefromi Aug 9 '13 at 4:17
    
Thanks! I was actually somewhat unaware that a card revealed from the deck is still in that play zone, and of the problem that generated with Cascade. –  Circeus Aug 9 '13 at 4:49
    
I have actually noticed that the exile zone seems to be an all-purpose zone to just throw cards into as a (semi) temporary storage area. I think it is probably one of my favorite, non-obvious portions of Magic's design. Cascade uses this design element exactly. –  Milo Gertjejansen Aug 9 '13 at 20:26
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This answer is wrong. The first triggered ability has to fully resolve before you move on to the second one. –  Affe Aug 9 '13 at 21:28

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