In a Competitive REL tournament with an opponent, a player casts Lion's Eye Diamond, Lion's Eye Diamond, Infernal Tutor, making a note of storm count after each spell is cast. If the active player has not declared immediately after casting Infernal Tutor that they are intending to respond to it, are they able to activate their Lion's Eye Diamonds in the following situations?

a) The opponent does nothing, and the active player goes to activate the Lion's Eye Diamonds after finishing writing down the storm count.

b) The opponent says, "In response," and the active player says, "Before you respond I need to activate my Lion's Eye Diamonds".

c) The opponent says, "That resolves," before the active player has finished updating the storm count (this may be a duplicate of a).

Are there any differences in rulings in these situations? Or is it a case of "Declare the maintaining of priority immediately, or the opponent can force you to lose it"?

  • 2
    Don't know exactly how a judge reacts, but the answer will center around "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."
    – ikegami
    Commented Apr 12, 2013 at 13:24
  • that's my expectation, I guess my question comes down to "at what point is a player finished adding a spell to the stack" they clearly aren't finished until they have emptied the mana from their mana pool, which in a storm deck will be at the same point they are adding one to the storm count.
    – Patters
    Commented Apr 12, 2013 at 13:26
  • 1
    Woah, didn't notice it refers to adding to the stack, not casting. Technically, adding to the stack is done before you targets are picked and costs payed. But this is a from a game that explicitly allows out of order sequencing...
    – ikegami
    Commented Apr 12, 2013 at 13:29

3 Answers 3


There is no way to give absolute answers to some of those scenarios in a vacuum on the internet. I agree with Hackworth's answer as far as the 'most correct' interpretation based on the rules absent any other information, but you did ask about player communication in a CREL event. Judges are in fact required to, well, apply judgement in some situations and there is not always a 100% correct answer or 100% repeatability.

Taking scenario C, it could be:

1) Storm player is leaning forward over table looking down, holding his hand of cards, taps a swamp and puts down a Ritual and a Tutor, still leaning forward, without looking up, grabs pen with other hand to mark paper then reaches for LEDs. Opponent says some possibly more polite version of "Haha, you forgot to explicitly retain priority, picking up the pen isn't a game action so it implies you were done casting, GG sucker." Storm Player calls for judge.

2) Storm player puts down Ritual and Tutor, leans back in chair, puts down hand of cards, makes eye contact with opponent, then picks up pen, marks, then reaches for LEDs. Opponent calls for judge.

As much as we'd like paper magic to be an absolute black and white game as if we were on MODO, these are different situations and some judges will treat them differently. That's the reality of a situation that has three human participants. (Further compounded by the fact that the judge probably didn't actually witness it personally!) If a head judge gives you a ruling on the day-of, that is the ruling. "Some guy on the internet said XYZ" will get you nothing but reminded not to argue with judges.

  • re-reading i think this is the actual best answer. it really does come down to "what the judge on the day decides" and playing storm you are always best off being as explicit as possible.
    – Patters
    Commented Apr 23, 2013 at 9:19

Magic is Absolutely not a reaction-time game, in-fact it's 100% a turn based game.

So When you cast infernal tutor, you still have priority, and don't have any specific time restriction on when you can activate lions eye diamond.

However, If you do pass priority, then you won't get priority again until either after your opponent responds to your spell, or until after infernal tutor resolves.

Now what constitutes communicating that you've passed priority is a grey area. If you pause, and wait for your opponent, that normally counts as passing priority.

what some people do is say "I cast X, retaining priority", so that there's no confusion, so if you want to be extra safe, you can say that after you cast your tutor


If you want to activate LED before Infernal Tutor resolves, you have to do it in response to casting Infernal Tutor, or you have to hope that your opponent casts a spell or ability of his own, passing priority back to you.

If the active player has not declared immediately after casting infernal tutor that They are intending to respond to it, are they able to activate their Lion's Eye Diamonds in the following situations?

I assume that means the following course of actions:

  • You play an LED, you both pass, LED resolves, both pass
  • You play an LED, you both pass, LED resolves, both pass
  • You play Infernal Tutor, you pass.

That means the opponent has priority now, and the stack consists of Infernal Tutor.

116.3. Which player has priority is determined by the following rules:

116.3a The active player receives priority at the beginning of most steps and phases, after any turn-based actions (such as drawing a card during the draw step; see rule 703) have been dealt with and abilities that trigger at the beginning of that phase or step have been put on the stack. No player receives priority during the untap step. Players usually don’t get priority during the cleanup step (see rule 514.3).

116.3b The active player receives priority after a spell or ability (other than a mana ability) resolves.

116.3c If a player has priority when he or she casts a spell, activates an ability, or takes a special action, that player receives priority afterward.

116.3d If a player has priority and chooses not to take any actions, that player passes. If any mana is in that player’s mana pool, he or she announces what mana is there. Then the next player in turn order receives priority.

a) No. The opponent passes priority, and since all players have passed in succession, the stack starts resolving. Since Infernal Tutor is top of the stack in this scenario, you will not get a chance to activate a Lion's Eye Diamond, because you can only activate it when you have priority.

405.5. When all players pass in succession, the top (last-added) spell or ability on the stack resolves. If the stack is empty when all players pass, the current step or phase ends and the next begins.

b) No. You cannot respond to a response that way - as long as the opponent has priority, he will get to play his spells and abilities (see 116.3c). You can only activate mana abilities during that time. Lion's Eye Diamond is a mana ability, but it has the additional timing restriction that it can only be activated as an instant, so unlike e.g. a land you may NOT activate LED if you don't have priority. Of course, if the opponent has played at least one spell or ability, then you will get back priority at least once, and you can activate one or both LEDs. But the opponent can play as much stuff as he likes before that, potentially adding to the Storm count.

c) No. It is indeed the same as a). Also I'm not sure why you found it important to mention that, but players don't have to update the Storm count. It is not an action formally recognized by the game rules - "the game" (which means the players in the end, of course) tracks that for them. The only time when Storm count matters is during the resolution of a spell/ability with the Storm ability.

  • I thought this might be the case. thanks for the answer!
    – Patters
    Commented Apr 12, 2013 at 13:59
  • Just an addendum, because of the way you asked the original question, the correct answer for a communication issue in a CREL event is always "whatever the head judge that day thinks."
    – Affe
    Commented Apr 12, 2013 at 17:48
  • 2
    I don't see how that answers your question. He simply assumes an answer to your question to answer the subparts ("I assume that means the following course of actions: [...] You play Infernal Tutor, you pass." when your question is about whether you passed or not)
    – ikegami
    Commented Apr 12, 2013 at 18:16
  • Isn't the answer to b) actually Yes, because the player still has priority after casting Infernal Tutor? If the opponents says 'In Response' then 'No, I'm not done' is a valid reply
    – briddums
    Commented Apr 18, 2013 at 21:23

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