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So I announce the end of my turn.

My opponent responds with a lightning bolt to my head. It resolves so I take 3.

Do I still have priority to do something else, eg to play instants that says do this when you take this much damage etc~?

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2 Answers 2

In your case, you do have priority and you can cast the instant in question. However, an instant that says "When you take [some amount of] damage, [do something]" won't really do much because the damage has already been done, so to speak. However, if you had responded to the lightning bolt with your instant, then it would have worked as intended.

You ask specifically about the end of the turn and responding to damage, but you also seem to not completely understand the priority system in general. There are several points during a turn (upkeep, end of draw step, main phase, beginning of combat, attack step, block step, end of combat step, end step) when the active player (the player taking the turn) gains priority. Whenever a player has priority, they can either do something (play a spell, activate an ability) or they can pass priority. Spells and abilities don't resolve and steps don't end until every player has passed priority. Usually, people take the shortcut that if somebody doesn't say anything, they are assumed to be passing priority.

The important thing is that every player gets priority every step (as long as someone gets it) and before anything resolves (so you always get an opportunity to respond). You can read the comprehensive rules entry about timing and priority for more information.

In your specific case, when you say "I end my turn", it really means "I propose a shortcut that we skip to my end step" (there is also a comprehensive rules entry about Shortcuts and when your opponent cast the spell, they were implicitly accepting your shortcut, casting the spell during your end step, and then passing priority to you.

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On the topic of settling perceptions about how the stack and priority work, it might be worth linking to my own hugely confused question from a while back:… It received a few fantastic answers which together cleared things up for me. – doppelgreener Jun 15 '14 at 6:18
Indeed, for newer players who are generally confused about priority and the stack, the basic rules are a much better starting point than the comprehensive rules. (The top answer in Jonathan's question quotes it.) – Jefromi Jun 16 '14 at 21:33
Speaking as one of those newer players: yeah, the basic rules were what got me finally understanding it. The comprehensive rules themselves were what got me more confused; I recommend against pointing new players to them. – doppelgreener Jun 17 '14 at 6:30

This answer assumes that you are playing with Competitive or Regular REL, which includes your typical Friday Night Magic. I explicitly mention tournament rules when they apply, so just know that they do not apply in a non-tournament setting.

Your opponent did not specify when he was casting Lightning Bolt, and so he is assumed to be acting during your end step because of the following tournament rule:

The statement "Go" (and equivalents such as "Your turn" and "Done") offers to keep passing priority until an opponent has priority in the end step. Opponents are assumed to be acting then unless they specify otherwise

The game moves forward to your end step, with a Lightning Bolt on the stack, and you have priority because of yet another tournament rule:

Whenever a player adds an object to the stack, he or she is assumed to be passing priority unless he or she explicitly announces that he or she intends to retain it.

The game continues normally from that exact point. You have a few options:

  • Pass priority. Lightning Bolt will resolve, and then you will get priority again because you are the active player.

116.4. If all players pass in succession, the spell or ability on top of the stack resolves

  • Cast an instant spell. The spell would resolve before Lightning Bolt resolves.

116.1a A player may cast an instant spell any time he or she has priority.

  • Activate an activated ability. The ability would resolve before Lightning Bolt resolves.

116.1b A player may activate an activated ability any time he or she has priority.

In short, the game can only progress when all players pass in succession. Your opponent decided to cast Lightning Strike in your End Step, and you get the option to respond.

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A minor comment on your last sentence: it seems like in the example that the opponent was acting after the end of the proposed shortcut, not deviating from the proposed shortcut. – murgatroid99 Jun 17 '14 at 16:43
@murgatroid99 Thanks. Corrected (I think). – Rainbolt Jun 17 '14 at 16:55

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