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If I play a spell that makes an opponent discard a card, but they have no hand, would they have to discard those cards from their library, or would nothing happen?

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Every player always has a hand. What you are referring to is an empty hand, which is subtly different. – jwodder Jul 12 '14 at 20:39

Nothing happens.

He is instructed to discard a card.

701.7a To discard a card, move it from its owner’s hand to that player’s graveyard.

It's impossible for him to discard a card, so he does as much as possible.

609.3. If an effect attempts to do something impossible, it does only as much as possible.

It does not affect him.

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Note: As you can see from the definition of "discard", the phrase "discard from a library" makes no sense. You can move a card from a library, but you cannot discard from it. – ikegami Jul 12 '14 at 20:14

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