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I have a Darksteel Reactor on the battlefield, and my opponent plays Platinum Angel. How does the Reactor's effect resolve when it hits 20 counters with the PA in the battlefield? Do I win the game or not?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 18 down vote accepted

The game will be a draw. Darksteel Reactor will trigger, attempt to win you the game, and then resolve and do nothing (since you can't win the game). Once resolved, Darksteel Reactor will see that it is still in play and still has 20 counters, and it will trigger again.

603.8. A state-triggered ability doesn't trigger again until the ability has resolved, has been countered, or has otherwise left the stack.

This will continue without moving the game forward until a player removes either Darksteel Reactor or Platinum Angel or both. Since the game can't move forward, it is a draw.

Note: in a multiplayer game, "You win the game" is translated as "Each opponent loses the game." So if Player A had Darksteel Reactor, player B has Platinum Angel, and player C had nothing, player C would lose and players A and B would tie.

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You are correct. My answer isn't wrong but not complete. –  Ivo Beckers Feb 7 at 15:00
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@John, It is a state-based trigger (one which triggers based on a specific game state, checked along with other state-based actions). I don't have the CR in front of me so I can't give you a reference, but state-based triggers do not trigger again until they have resolved. If that were not the case, Reactor would always draw the game, because it would never let itself resolve. –  Brian S Feb 7 at 15:13
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This is an interesting result –  itcouldevenbeaboat Feb 7 at 16:24
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@BolucPapuccuoglu The problem is that the Reactor will trigger an infinite number of times in the first upkeep where it hits 20 counters: "Did I win? No." Reactor still has 20 counters, so "Did I win? No." Repeat an infinite number of times. (It's exceedingly silly, but rules are not known for being flexible.) –  Paul Marshall Feb 7 at 19:49
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@TheSpooniest: Rule 104.1 only applies after the ability has resolved. Also every triggered ability that triggered off of state would cause the game to go to a draw, so it really is a moot point. –  Guvante Feb 7 at 21:41

You will not win the game.

This rule is relevant here:

101.2. When a rule or effect allows or directs something to happen, and another effect states that it can't happen, the "can't" effect takes precedence. Example: If one effect reads "You may play an additional land this turn" and another reads "You can't play land cards this turn," the effect that precludes you from playing lands wins.

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I don't know about the official rule system, but the "house rules" way I've always seen this played with my friends (who think draws are stupid) is that any persistent state that would cause you to win the game is effectively "put on hold" until Platinum Angel is off the battlefield (the effect doesn't retrigger until it can resolve differently).

So, if you put 20 counters on Darksteel Reactor, the game would continue, and if (before your opponent wins) you remove Platinum Angel while Darksteel Reactor is still down with 20, you win as soon as Platinum Angel is removed.

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You make a good case for the existence of house rules, but the world is not your house. –  Rainbolt Feb 8 at 22:42

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