8

The comprehensive rules of MTG state:

104.4b If a game that’s not using the limited range of influence option (including a two-player game) somehow enters a “loop” of mandatory actions, repeating a sequence of events with no way to stop, the game is a draw. Loops that contain an optional action don’t result in a draw

So, if I have a Sporemound and a Life and Limb, that creates an infinite combo. A land enters the field, which creates a 1/1 Saproling, which is also a land, which creates a 1/1 Saproling, etc. This cannot end, and according to the rules the game now ends in a draw.

However, I have an unsummon, or destroy enchantment, or some other way to remove one of the cards creating this loop. Does this make the game not end in a draw? Can I allow the loop to continue through a million cycles, then destroy my enchantment to break the loop? Or does the game end anyway?

EDIT:

Thanks for all the answers. So, if I have a way to bounce or destroy one of the pieces of an infinite loop, I can allow the loop to resolve as many times as I want, and the game isn't a draw. However, the rules for shortcuts (719) also say:

719.4. If a loop contains only mandatory actions, the game is a draw. (See rules 104.4b and 104.4f.)

Does this mean I draw anyway?

I hope you guys don't mind, but I have a few more questions about loops:

When is the game considered a draw, as in how many times does a loop have to resolve to trigger the draw state? If I have an infinite loop that damages a player, but no way to remove a piece of the loop, is the game still a draw?

For example, I have a Sanguine Bond and an Exquisite Blood. It will kill all of my opponents, but it is only mandatory actions and I have no way to stop it. The rules also don't say anything about the game state changing.

Thanks again for all the help.

  • 3
    Almost every single Magic question here is about the rules, and can be answered with help from the comprehensive rules, but we've never tagged any of them. We also don't tend to tag things with really specific things like "infinite combo"; the game name is plenty. – Cascabel Oct 15 '14 at 3:32
  • I don't think Unsummon would work because once Sporemound's affects resolve (and the 1/1 Saproling is now Unsommon-able), it is immediately triggered again. – FreeAsInBeer Oct 15 '14 at 12:42
  • 1
    @Free, There is only one copy of Sporemound's trigger on the stack at any given time. You can potentially stop the loop with an Unsummon, and the Sporemound's controller will get 1 additional saproling when the remaining trigger resolves. – Brian S Oct 15 '14 at 14:03
  • @BrianS Ah, I see. Unsummoning Sporemound, not the Saproling. Excuse me while I go ingest more coffee. – FreeAsInBeer Oct 15 '14 at 14:14
  • The sanguine blood combo does have a way to stop... Your opponent will die. So it's not an infinite loop. For the other combo, it's only a draw if you do not end the loop. – GendoIkari Oct 18 '14 at 4:58
13

You have 2 options:

(1) Propose a shortcut where you pass priority on the triggers, allowing Saprolings to be made. If your opponent agrees, you can specify the number of iterations, and then use something like naturalize to destroy one of the enchantments, ending the loop.

(2) You can let the loop proceed indefinitely, resulting in a draw. This is allowed by rule 719.5

719.5. No player can be forced to perform an action that would end a loop other than actions called for by objects involved in the loop.


To answer your new questions: Rule 719.4 applies in the situation where no one can interact with the loop, and all actions are mandatory (e.g., you can't set up a mandatory loop with 3x Fiend Hunter because the triggered ability is optional)

The interaction between Sanguine Bond and Exquisite Blood will cause a player to lose the game. This is because state-based actions are responsible for making a person lose when his or her life is 0 or less. State-based actions are checked before any player gets priority and before any triggered abilities are put on the stack, which means that they occur before effects like Sanguine Bond and Exquisite Blood can continue to loop.

4

Every time the ability triggers, you gain priority. When you pass priority, your opponent gains priority. When they pass priority, the ability resolves, another token enters play, and the ability triggers again. Whenever you have priority, you have the opportunity to play a spell like Naturalize to destroy your enchantment. If you do so, the triggered ability currently on the stack will resolve, but since the enchantment is gone, the ability won't trigger again and the loop will end.

Of course, you are not obligated to stop the loop. Rule 719.5 says

No player can be forced to perform an action that would end a loop other than actions called for by objects involved in the loop.

So if you have a Naturalize in your hand, you can choose to end the loop after you have as many saprolings as you want, or you choose to let the game end in a draw, if that's better for you.

-2

Note that the rule includes the clause "with no way to stop". The situation you describe includes a way to stop.

The accepted way to handle this sort of thing in a paper game is just to say, "I repeat this loop X times" with the assumption that your opponent will either agree, or interrupt the combo. Then you can interrupt the combo yourself. Because they can't program this kind of shortcut into Magic: Online, decks like this are frequently (but not always) impractical because all the necessary clicking may lead to timeouts.

High-level tournament decks have been built on concepts like this in the past. The shortcut described above works there, too; it's explicitly allowed to propose shortcuts of the form "I do X until Y happens or you have a response", as described here.

  • "The situation you describe includes a way to stop." What way is that? The trigger isn't optional. This situation is specifically different from a normal infinite combo because there isn't an option not to put another saproling into play when the ability triggers. – murgatroid99 Oct 15 '14 at 6:42
  • @murgatroid99 OP specifically limited the sitaution to one where he has castable cards in his hand that can interrupt the combo. To me "no way to stop" would imply that he has no legal action that can prevent the combo from continuing. – Chad Miller Oct 15 '14 at 13:29
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    Players are under no obligation to cast a spell or activate an ability to interrupt an infinite loop of mandatory actions. – Brian S Oct 15 '14 at 14:04
  • "here" is a dead link. – Joshua May 16 '15 at 23:07
  • -1: 716.5. No player can be forced to perform an action that would end a loop other than actions called for by objects involved in the loop – LJ2 Jul 7 '15 at 15:19

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