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My friend and I were playing Magic the Gathering when he tried to summon Ghor Clan Rampager. He used all his mana to cast him, but in response I played Twiddle and tapped one of his lands. What would happen to his creature?

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  • The best time to twiddle a land if you want to stop someone from using it, is at the end of their upkeep when they pass priority. This way the mana they could produce by tapping in response is gone because it was at the end of a phase.
    – Pow-Ian
    Oct 8, 2013 at 10:32
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    The answers make it clear that you cannot respond before the mana is tapped. But let's change the universe a little so you can, for just a moment. Why couldn't he respond to your twiddle by tapping his land?
    – corsiKa
    Oct 8, 2013 at 14:56

3 Answers 3

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What happens to a spell if an oppenent runs out of mana while casting it?

That's impossible. There is no chance to spend mana between the point where one starts casting a spell and the point where one pays for it.[1]

but in response I played Twiddle and tapped one of his lands.

"In response to" means "after it has been cast but before it resolves". When Ghor Clan Rampager is cast, the lands have already been tapped and the mana has already been produced.[1]

(Or did you mean in response to activating the land's ability? One cannot do anything in response to activating a mana source as it does not use the stack.)

You would have to cast Twiddle before he casts Ghor Clan Rampager (which means before he even mentions he's going to cast it), but then he could just tap the land for mana in response to you casting Twiddle, so it would have no effect.


Notes:

  1. The steps to casting a spell or activating an ability are:
    1. 601.2a) Place card on stack.
    2. 601.2b-d) Make choices, including targets.
    3. 601.2e) Check if spell can legally be cast.
    4. 601.2f) Determine total cost.
    5. 601.2g) Activate mana abilities.
    6. 601.2h) Pay the previously determined cost.
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    To be more precise, tapping a land is an action that does not use the stack, and thus cannot be responded or prevented by a spell (not even a spell with Split second) cast at that time (as opposed to casting the spell at an earlier time).
    – Circeus
    Oct 8, 2013 at 15:54
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    @Circeus: To expand on your split second example (since I at first got it wrong), split second has an explicit exemption for mana abilities.
    – Guvante
    Oct 9, 2013 at 17:24
  • (@Circeus's comment was incorporated into the answer yesterday.)
    – ikegami
    Oct 9, 2013 at 17:31
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    You would have to cast Twiddle before he casts Ghor Clan Rampager (which means before he even mentions he's going to cast it), but then he could just tap the land for mana in response to you casting Twiddle, so it would have no effect. It's doable, you just need to cast Twiddle before opponent can cast a sorcery (so e.g. during upkeep).
    – Allure
    Feb 22 at 3:22
  • I said it's impossible, but it is possible in very weird circumstances. See tengfred's answer for details about that odd situation.
    – ikegami
    Feb 26 at 20:13
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The answer by @ikegami correctly describes the specific situation in this question. For the more general question (as stated in the headline), the answer is that if a player finds he is unable to pay any costs (e.g. because he miscalculated the mana available), the game will be restored to the point before the spell casting was started, see comprehensive rule 601.2.

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  • The biggest example for not having enough mana during the casting of a spell is usually Selvala, Explorer Returned, since you could have anywhere between 0 and 4 (in commander/2hg) mana from her ability but you don't know which until she's been activated.
    – Andrew
    Feb 22 at 13:34
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Tapping mana doesn't go on the stack, so therefore you cannot react to it and tap his land before he creates mana off it. The casting cost of his spell is determined at the time of casting, and before putting the spell on the stack (casting) he has to pay the cost.

He has to tap his lands (for mana), something you cannot react to, then cast his spell. But the mana is already in his pool.

What probably happened (I see it a lot). He put his creature on the battlefield and he wanted to tap his lands, but you wanted to react to it. It should be the other way around, first tap for mana, then cast the card.

If somehow you got priority before he taps his lands (for example as a reaction on another spell), you can tap his lands with Twiddle. But even then, when you target his land with your spell, he can react to it and tap it himself (for mana).

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    the proper steps for casting a spell, are to reveal it, pay its costs and then put it onto the stack. you can tap your mana first if you want, but you dont HAVE to. from the moment he reveals his spell, his opponent cannot respond until after it is on the stack, giving him plenty of time to activate his lands etc as required.
    – Patters
    Oct 8, 2013 at 8:35

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