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My friend told me I only get 5 seconds to say if I'm going to counter a card in Magic the Gathering, even if I tell him to wait. Is that true?

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Your friend is wrong, you get as much time as you want. – Colin D Oct 30 '13 at 17:26
In addition to what Kevin said, note that there's nothing in MTG ever that comes down to speed, timing, reaction quickness, etc. Despite the way it may play out in practice, it's a fully turn-based game where only one player at a time is ever allowed to do anything. – GendoIkari Oct 30 '13 at 18:19
Gendolkari doesn't like my Chaos Orb deck :( – Affe Oct 30 '13 at 23:44
Sideboard in some Triton Tactics. Wish him good luck making decisions in 5 seconds the first time he has to read that card. – deworde Oct 30 '13 at 23:45
@Affe, I almost listed "dexterity" along with the others, but then realized I didn't want to get into the whole Chaos Orb discussion, lol. – GendoIkari Oct 31 '13 at 4:46

Your friend made that up. There is nothing in the comprehensive rules about how long a player may retain priority. Once you've got it, you keep it as long as you like until you play a spell/ability or pass.

If you're in an official tournament setting, your opponent can call a judge if he thinks you're intentionally playing slowly. If you're playing at your friend's kitchen table, then anything goes. Of course, the host can always decide to kick you out of his house, so try to play at a reasonable speed.

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And consider telling your friend that trying to make up rules like this (in essence, cheating) might make it harder for him to find people to play games with. – Jefromi Oct 30 '13 at 20:00
In the PC game, you only get about 2 seconds to counter a spell, so he might have confused that for an official rule. However, even in the PC game, you can pause the timer if you need time to read the card. – BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Oct 30 '13 at 22:21
@Jefromi, I would give the benefit of the doubt and assume that the friend had learned the rules wrong himself. – GendoIkari Oct 31 '13 at 4:48
@GendoIkari It's always possible, hence "consider". I think the OP probably knows which one it is. A lot of people do unfortunately try things like this even though they know better, trying to make up or bend a rule that one time they really want something to go their way. – Jefromi Oct 31 '13 at 4:56
@BlueRaja When I play MTGO, I can spend as much time as I want to decide to counter something or not. If I want to spend all 30 minutes of my time deciding to counter his opening mystic druid (even if I have no land out yet or anything) I can do that! – corsiKa Nov 3 '13 at 1:23

Not only is your friend wrong - "time" actually is not relevant to any part of Magic The Gathering. (Except maybe in tournament play when each session of rounds is timed)

And regardless of rules, a friend should never rush a friend, especially if asked nicely to wait.

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