Consider this complicated scenario: I'm about to gain a card (Current event reacting to: "would gain a card"), so I reveal Trader. I gain a silver instead. Then, I reveal Watchtower (Current event reacting to: "gain a card") and trash the Silver. Now, I reveal and discard Market Square (Current event reacting to: "one of your cards is trashed") and gain a Gold. I could even reveal Watchtower again and put the Gold on top.

My question is: how do nested events work? Does the new event "override" the old one? For example, when I use Market Square off of Watchtower's trashing, am I no longer "gaining a card?" Or do triggers happen in layers, so once I'm done using Market Square, and resolving any other "On trash" triggers, I can go back to "gaining a card?" If so, will I still be able to resolve other effects that trigger off of "gaining a card?" (For example, I gain Ill-Gotten Gains, Watchtower it to the Trash, use Market Square to gain a Gold, Watchtower that to the top of my deck, then after those resolve, it goes back two layers to "gaining Ill-Gotten Gains," and give everyone else a curse?)

I hope that made sense, I'm just trying to understand how the game handles multiple layers of things reacting and triggering.

2 Answers 2


The key point is that you're not reacting to the reaction cards. Rather, you're reacting to what happens after those reactions resolve. Thus there is no "going back".

There actually isn't nesting in your examples. This is what should happen for your 2nd paragraph example. I've indented the reactions

Buy Ill-Gotten Gains.
Gain Ill-Gotten Gains.
Other players gain curse (triggered).
    Watchtower: trash Ill-Gotten Gains
Ill-Gotten Gains goes to trash.
    Market Square: discard to gain Gold
Discard Market Square.
Gold gained.
     Watchtower: put gold on top of deck.
Gold goes to top of deck.

There is no nesting; events are purely sequential. The cursing for buying Ill-Gotten Gains should happen as soon as you buy it (think of it like a "triggered event" in MtG if that helps). When you use the Watchtower, you're no longer gaining Ill-Gotten Gains, but your opponents have already taken their curses.

First paragraph example:

Buy a card (say, a Copper).
Would gain Copper*...
    Trader: gain Silver instead
Gain Silver.
    Watchtower: trash Silver
Silver goes to trash.
    Market Square: discard to gain Gold
Discard Market Square.
Gain Gold.
    Watchtower: top-deck card just gained.
Gold goes on top of deck.

Reaction cards are revealed sequentially, and their owner may choose whether to reveal them and in what order. (As the old Isotropic server demonstrated sometimes annoyingly, but very effectively, you can even reveal reaction cards multiple times. You can reveal moat 4 times for the same effect as revealing it once.

This is why, for cards like Horse Traders or Market Square which could have a compounding effect if revealed more than once, using the reaction requires you to remove it from your hand.

Hopefully things will stay sane and the upcoming Guilds expansion won't introduce a reaction card that can be revealed in response to someone else revealing a reaction card. On second thought maybe that would be fun... Unless that happens though, there's no nesting, just a sequence of reactions.

(*Trader footnote) Note that Trader is special: it's wording is "When you would gain a card," and the Hinterlands rules state explicitly that if something would have happened due to gaining the other card, it does not happen. Thus Trader is like an MtG replacement effect for gaining a card. The original card is never gained. With Watchtower, you gain the original card, then send it to the trash.

  • Okay, thanks for the explanation, I think I got it. I play Magic and I'm used to things going on the stack, and it seemed like it might work similarly here. I think my problem was I was thinking of triggers (like Ill-Gotten Gains's ability) to work like a reaction. In Dominion, if multiple things happen at once to a player, they choose the order, so I thought triggers would work at the same time as reactions, and you got to choose the order. How about: something trashes Squire, and you gain an attack. Now there are two reactions that could be used: Market Square and Watchtower. What happens? Commented Jun 11, 2013 at 0:27
  • I did find this in the rulebook, which seems to suggest that there is nesting going on: These abilities happen directly after the card is put into the trash, and can function in the middle of resolving effects for an Action card; for example, if a player plays Graverobber and uses it to trash a Cultist, he first draws three cards for trashing Cultist, then continues with resolving Graverobber and gains a card costing up to 8. Commented Jun 11, 2013 at 1:07
  • @C0D3BR34K3R I still don't really think of it as nesting. It can be, as you say, in the middle of resolving an action card--which is technically nesting, you're right, --but at a maximum depth of 1. Reactions themselves will be sequential. You can choose to use more than one reaction in response to a specific event, but then you choose the order and you do them sequentially. For the Graverobber (or any Remodel variant) trashing the cultist, there's just a triggered event (Cultist: +3 cards when trashed) that goes off when you trash the cultist. Commented Jun 11, 2013 at 6:27
  • Unlike MtG most Dominion cards don't have costs, and if a card has you do more than one thing, you just do them in order. In Magic (and I'm stretching myself here--not that good at Magic rules), the entire card would resolve or not at one time. In Dominion, it's like every item on a played card is put on the stack one at a time, and all players get "priority" to check for reactions, then everything resolves before the next item on the played card goes on the stack. Commented Jun 11, 2013 at 6:32
  • 1
    @shujaa I think the main benefit of thinking of it as nesting rather than purely sequential could be illustrated by the same example, but with two market squares in hand. To use both of those market squares in reaction to trashing the same card, you either have to think of it as a branching structure (I play the two market squares at once, then sequentially resolve them one at a time) or a nesting structure ("start silver trashed event" "start playing market square" "resolve market square" "start playing market square" "resolve market square" "end silver trashed event").
    – Samthere
    Commented Jun 11, 2013 at 13:53

If there are multiple possible triggers, then the rules say that you choose which order they happen in. So if there are two "when buy" effects - e.g. you've bought a $4 non-Victory card when both Talisman and Haggler are in play - you resolve both, in either order. If resolving one trigger nullifies the other (particularly in cases where the "lose track" rule kicks in) then you don't get to do both.

In the case of your trashing-Squire-then-Market-Square-and-Watchtower example, there are two trigger points - first, when your Squire is trashed, both Squire and Market Square can react to that and neither interferes with the other. Then, when you resolve each of those, you gain a card, to which you can react with Watchtower. Thus:

Trash Squire
1Gaining an attack card
1.Reveal Watchtower
1..Top-deck the gained card
2Reveal and discard Market Square
2.Gaining a Gold
2..Reveal Watchtower
2...Top-deck the Gold

Where the 1 and 2 blocks are interchangeable. So there is a little bit of a stack, but it's hard to make it nest more than this without a lot of very specific cards. One particularly nifty case is the interaction of Market Square and a trashed Cultist:

Trash a Cultist (with an appropriate trasher)
.Reveal and discard Market Square
..Gain a Gold
.Draw 3 cards with Cultist's on-trash ability
.Reveal and discard the Market Square you just drew
..Gain a Gold
Then presumably resolve the rest of the card that trashed Cultist

The trick is that the second Market Square is actually the same as the first one - if you have no cards in your deck when you draw from Cultist, you thus have to shuffle your discards, which means you have a chance of drawing back the Market Square you'd just discarded. It's the same trick as with Secret Chamber (which, when an opponent plays an Attack, you may reveal to draw two cards then put two cards from your hand on top of your deck) - you can do some screwy stuff if you have other "on-Attack" reactions:

Opponent plays Attack
.Reveal Secret Chamber
..Draw two cards, including a Moat
..Put two cards on top of your deck
.Reveal Moat
.Reveal Secret Chamber
..Draw two cards (the same ones you put back before)
..Put two cards, including the Moat, on top of your deck

But the important thing is to always remember what you're reacting to. Moat and Secret Chamber react to an Attack card being played. Tunnel reacts to being discarded. Squire, Cultist, Feodum react to being trashed. Haggler, Goons and Talisman react to buying a card, while Border Village, Watchtower and Ill-Gotten Gains react to gaining it, but Trader reacts to "would be gaining", a mystical stage that happens in between the two.

  • Thanks, I was wondering about the trashing Squire example. So reactions and triggers can be done in either order, good to know. I guess the game does backpedal in a way when handling complicated situations like those. Commented Jun 13, 2013 at 7:00

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