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Apologies if this is poorly phrased. I'll try to make this as clear as possible...

I recently realized that I can utilize the period of time between a players turn and my turn in Magic. What's the name of this period? What is the appropriate verbiage/ettiquette to indicate doing something during that time? I don't think its "during your upkeep"...

Essentially, I'd like to use this time to activate lands like Arid Mesa search my library for land that I want without losing a cycle doing that.

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You might want to have a look at the basic rulebook. In particular for this question, page 16 explains the phases/steps of a turn. But there might be other things in there you haven't realized too! –  Jefromi Jul 7 at 18:00
"I'd like to use this time to activate lands like Arid Mesa search my library for land that I want without losing a cycle doing that." If by "cycle" you mean "the ability to play a land once on each of your turns", don't worry; using Arid Mesa's ability doesn't count towards that. You can use its ability without consuming your "land drop" for the turn. –  Kevin Jul 7 at 20:09
There are reasons to do it that way though. For example, if you have both a Steam Vents and a Hallowed Fountain in your deck, you may want to wait as long as possible to decide which to get, but you also want to get them before your next untap step so that you don't have to pay the 2 life to untap them. –  murgatroid99 Jul 8 at 3:47

1 Answer 1

up vote 23 down vote accepted

There is no between turns; the end of one turn transitions immediately to the beginning of the next. The last time you can definitely activate abilities and play instants is during your opponent's End Step, which is after their second main phase. The end step is is followed by the cleanup step (the last step of the turn), when players usually do not gain priority, and that is followed immediately by your untap step.

The standard way of indicating that you want to do something during this time is to wait for your opponent to say "I end my turn." (or equivalent), and then you say "During your end step, I activate my Arid Mesa's ability."

Technically, this falls under the Shortcut rules. The official tournament rules (section 4.2) list "Your turn" (and equivalents) as meaning "I propose a shortcut: that I pass priority until you have priority at my end step" and when you say "I would like to do something at your end step" it means "I accept your shortcut, and when it is complete I do something."

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It is worth noting that there is no time to take actions between turns. There is only priority during the End Step of each turn. –  VolleyJosh Jul 7 at 18:08
I tried to explain that with "[the cleanup step] is followed immediately by your untap step." Was that unclear? –  murgatroid99 Jul 7 at 18:10
I think it's pretty clear from the second sentence, actually (...the last time you will be able to do so..."). But sometimes it is also worth explicitly addressing the phrasing in the question. It sounds like the OP thought the turn ended at the end of the second main phase, but it doesn't: it's followed by the end step (and the cleanup step), which are part of the turn, not between turns. –  Jefromi Jul 7 at 18:17
Do you think it's clearer now? –  murgatroid99 Jul 7 at 18:19
@corsika Saying "During your end step" is not declining the shortcut. Declining the shortcut would be more like "Please play out the remainder of your phases." Shortcutting the shortcut would be like "I'll take priority in your second main phase." Accepting the shortcut is like "During your end step, I'll do X." Untapping also means "I accept your shortcut, and then I pass." Passing in the end step progresses the game to the untap step. Most players are not so verbal about it, but you don't really need to consult your opponent to pass, right? –  Rainbolt Jul 8 at 2:48

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