If I cast a sorcery spell to force the opponent to discard two cards, and he/she then casts one of those cards as an instant, would the instant apply first or would the sorcery take precedence?

  • In simple terms to add with all the answers below. A spell has to resolve however during the times where people can activate abilities, cast instant spells, that original spell has not resolved yet until the abilities or instants spells resolved. TL DR, Wait till what happens next finishes before yours if you start of course.
    – wesdfgfgd
    Commented Apr 26, 2013 at 19:47
  • 4
    Recommend learning about the concept of the stack, which is pretty fundamental to understanding MtG... wizards.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/406/~/… Commented Apr 26, 2013 at 20:02

2 Answers 2


In simplest terms possible: Your opponent can cast any instants in response to your sorcery, but he'll still have to discard 2 cards if he has any.

so, if you cast mind rot, your opponent can't choose 2 instants to discard and cast them instead. He can cast instants before he chooses.

If you cast duress, your opponent can't cast the instant that you pick for him to discard. He can cast instants before he shows you his hand.

Here's how It works

  • You have priority
  • You cast the sorcery.
  • You pass priority to your opponent
  • Your opponent may cast instant speed spells
  • You get priority
  • You pass priority to your opponent
  • Your Opponent passes priority
  • The instant spell resolves
  • You get priority
  • You pass priority to your opponent
  • The sorcery spell resolves from start to finish
  • You get priority
  • ...

Everything that the sorcery spell does happens while it's resolving. If you look at your opponents hand and choose the cards, than that would happen while it resolves. If your opponent chooses, he chooses while it resolves.

Once the spell has begun to resolve, You cannot cast any spells until the spell has finished resolving.

  • Would that still apply if opponent only has 2 cards?
    – user9963
    Commented Nov 13, 2014 at 23:10
  • I might add a tiny 'you get priority' or the like between 'You cast the sorcery' and 'You pass priority to your opponent' - by the rules of the game, you have priority immediately after casting the sorcery, and someone might read this as saying otherwise. (Though of course the floor rules sort of tweak this a bit) Commented Nov 14, 2014 at 0:14
  • @sandy, I think you're asking "if I play Mind Rot on my opponent, is he prevented from performing any actions before it resolves, that would reduce his hand size to less than two?" The answer being, no. He is still free to cast instants, even if doing so reduces or eliminates the usefulness you get out of Mind Rot.
    – Kevin
    Commented Nov 14, 2014 at 13:53
  • 1
    @StevenStadnicki sorry about that. It said that you pass priority, not that you lose it. I've updated the list to be more explicit though Commented Nov 14, 2014 at 16:37
  • @SamIAm Your bulleted list has an issue: If your opponent casts an instant, your opponent receives priority afterwards. You were probably thinking that it defaulted to the active player, but that only occurs at the beginning of steps and phases or when a spell resolves.
    – Rainbolt
    Commented Nov 14, 2014 at 19:53

Short Answer: As long as they chose to cast the instant before you chose the cards to discard, then the Instant applies (resolves) first.

Magic the gathering uses a stack for casting spells. This means that literally all spells being cast go on the stack.

Each time a player casts a spell they get priority back after the spell is cast so they can continue to put spells on the stack. If they choose to be done casting spells at that moment then they pass priority to their opponents who can add spells to the stack.

After everyone is done adding spells to the stack, it starts to resolve from the top down.

This means the last spell cast is the first spell to resolve.

So the instant would apply first because it went on the stack last and was cast in response to the sorcery.

Because of this there is almost never a time where you can cast a spell that your opponent can not react to, if they have the mana and cards to react with.

405.1. When a spell is cast, the physical card is put on the stack (see rule 601.2a). When an ability is activated or triggers, it goes on top of the stack without any card associated with it (see rules 602.2a and 603.3).

601.2. To cast a spell is to take it from where it is (usually the hand), put it on the stack, and pay its costs, so that it will eventually resolve and have its effect. Casting a spell follows the steps listed below, in order. If, at any point during the casting of a spell, a player is unable to comply with any of the steps listed below, the casting of the spell is illegal; the game returns to the moment before that spell started to be cast (see rule 717, "Handling Illegal Actions"). Announcements and payments can't be altered after they've been made.

601.2h Once the steps described in 601.2a-g are completed, the spell becomes cast. Any abilities that trigger when a spell is cast or put onto the stack trigger at this time. If the spell's controller had priority before casting it, he or she gets priority.

608.1. Each time all players pass in succession, the spell or ability on top of the stack resolves. (See rule 609, "Effects.")

Personal Note:

Magic is very deceptive because on the surface it seems to be an aggressive game but in truth is an extremely reactive game. Mastering timing and priority can take a long time and is one of the key points of strategy for the game.

It can be a bit confusing when first starting out but I suggest reading the comprehensive rules section 116 - Timing and Priority.

  • Needs a tl;dr...
    – wesdfgfgd
    Commented Apr 26, 2013 at 19:49
  • already on it :)
    – Pow-Ian
    Commented Apr 26, 2013 at 19:50
  • Why the down vote?
    – Pow-Ian
    Commented Apr 26, 2013 at 20:04
  • There is only one stack. It is a game zone. Spells do not "start a stack." It's always there. Mixing terminology with Yu-Gi-Oh chains is a bad path to follow :)
    – Affe
    Commented Apr 26, 2013 at 20:05
  • Best answer in my opinion.
    – Samuel
    Commented Nov 14, 2017 at 22:25

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