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If I cast Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger and target my opponent's two Plains on the board, does the exile effect resolve before my opponent has a chance to tap one of the lands to play Path to Exile?

My guess is that the cast effect would go on the stack & resolve prior to Ulamog being on the field and in play as a legal target for Path, but I'd like some confirmation to be certain.

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Note that you can not have mana on the battlefield, mana can only exist in your mana pool. You can have lands and other permanents that produce mana on the battlefield, but they aren't the same thing as mana. – diego Jan 19 at 17:59
Which explains the power level issues with cards like Mox Ruby. Because you get a +1 mana acceleration for free. Makes sense. – RayGe Jan 19 at 18:06
Also, as an aside, tapping for mana doesn't use the stack. – Jake Jan 20 at 13:03
I've updated to use the card "Plains"; am I right in thinking this is what you meant? – deworde Jan 20 at 16:11
@deworde Yes, that is correct – RayGe Jan 20 at 16:12
up vote 16 down vote accepted

You can exile your opponents' Plains before Ulamog resolves, but you can't stop your opponent from getting mana from them. Assuming no one has anything else to do besides the things you mentioned, it'd go like this:

  • You cast Ulamog.
  • Ulamog's "when you cast..." ability triggers, and you target your opponents' two Plains.
  • Your opponent taps both Plains for white mana, leaving it in their mana pool. (They float two white.)
  • The triggered ability resolves, exiling both Plains.
  • Ulamog resolves, entering the battlefield.
  • Your opponent spends one of the white mana to cast Path to Exile.

From your question it sounds like you might be thinking of lands and mana as being the same thing, but as that sequence of events pretty clearly shows, the lands are separate from the mana they produce.

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Ah ok, that makes sense. Thank you for answering! – RayGe Jan 19 at 17:53
Note that the mana "leaves" the pool at the end of the step, so if you move to combat or to the end of your turn, they've missed their chance. – deworde Jan 20 at 16:16
But you can't force your opponent to move to any step/phase without having an opportunity to act one last time in the current step/phase. – LovesTha Jan 21 at 0:45
Yeah, I can't imagine they'll have the presence of mind to float the mana then make the mistake of just agreeing to move on to the next step/phase. – Jefromi Jan 21 at 0:49
@Jefromi You'd think so. – deworde Jan 29 at 10:38

No, you cannot prevent your opponent from tapping their Plains for mana.

Specifically, the play you describe plays out in the following sequence of events:

  1. You cast Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. It goes on the stack.
  2. The spell's triggered ability triggers, and goes on the stack on top of Ulamog.
  3. Now you have a chance to respond. From your description, you probably do nothing.
  4. Now your opponent has a chance to respond. They tap their two Plains, and if they're planning to cast Path to Exile, they probably don't do anything else.
  5. The triggered ability resolves, and the Plains are exiled.
  6. If nobody has a response at this time, Ulamog resolves.
  7. Now you have priority, but if you choose to do nothing, or you cast a spell or activate an ability, your opponent has the chance to cast Path to Exile targeting Ulamog.
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Got it. I dont have enough rep to upvote unfortunately. I also will accept Jefromi's answer on basis of submission time. I'll upvote you when I can! – RayGe Jan 19 at 17:54
@RayGe Do keep in mind there are also minor differences between the two answers, which is why I upvoted Murgatroid's answer over Jefromi's. – Waterseas Jan 19 at 18:21
@Waterseas You're certainly welcome to vote how you like, but you could also consider commenting if you see an answer and decide it's not good enough to upvote. – Jefromi Jan 19 at 18:41
@Jefromi The big part was Murgatroid was more explicit about passing of priority, which is a big thing that a lot of newer players don't get, and in my opinion, should be engrained whenever possible. – Waterseas Jan 19 at 19:49
@Waterseas I see. I tend to omit it in things like this because priority is passed a lot of times, and I don't necessarily think "you could've done something here!" every time really helps answer the question. Good to know, though, thanks. – Jefromi Jan 19 at 19:52

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