A friend just told me I'm not allowed to, when he played a spell that lets him instantly chose a blind card from my hand to graveyard it. As I played with my decks first card open, I knew which he wanted to destroy. I was going to shuffle my hand to make it harder for him to pick the one I drew, but he said as it is instant, so I'm not allowed to shuffle my hand.

How is this dealt?

  • 1
    When you say "blind", did the card say "at random?" Are you sure that the card didn't say to look at your hand?
    – murgatroid99
    Apr 27, 2015 at 23:25
  • 2
    What spell was your friend using?
    – John
    Apr 27, 2015 at 23:31
  • 1
    Unless I messed up my search, there is no instant (or sorcery) that allows you to exile a card from someone else's hand.
    – murgatroid99
    Apr 27, 2015 at 23:32
  • 4
    "but he said as it is instant, so I'm not allowed to shuffle my hand." This is somewhat beside the point, but it's probably worth noting that "instant" is not synonymous with "happens too quickly for you to do anything in response". The colloquial term "instant speed" only indicates when a spell or ability can occur, not how fast it is.
    – Kevin
    Apr 28, 2015 at 14:19
  • 2
    I think it's worth noting that, while "instant speed" is colloquial, the equivalent phrase "any time you could cast an instant" is actually explicitly defined in rule 304.5.
    – murgatroid99
    Apr 28, 2015 at 17:22

3 Answers 3


When you are playing a game, you can reorder your hand whenever you want. Your opponent is not supposed to know which card is which in your hand unless your hand is revealed.

If a spell allows you to make your opponent discard a card, it will either say

[Player] discards a card at random from their hand.

In which case, you should shuffle the hand before allowing them to chose a card from it.

Or, it will say

Look at [player]'s hand (or "[Player] reveals their hand"). You choose a [quality] card from it. That player discards that card.

In that case, they are looking at your hand, so they will definitely be able to know what card they are choosing.

  • 2
    Also the premise of the original question is a bit flawed in that there is no rule that says the resolution of discard at random happens by your opponent choosing a face down card. You can always simply lay your hand out and use a fair dice roll or some other method if you prefer.
    – Affe
    Apr 29, 2015 at 17:37
  • In actuality - if the card is at random, competitive tournaments would not consider you shuffling and your opponent picking to be sufficiently random. It HAS to be by Shuffling followed by dice roll or some other completely random method.
    – Patters
    May 1, 2015 at 12:40

Just for posterity's sake, this is the relevant rule that governs this scenario:

400.5. The order of objects in a library, in a graveyard, or on the stack can't be changed except when effects or rules allow it. The same is true for objects arranged in face-down piles in other zones. Other objects in other zones can be arranged however their owners wish, although who controls those objects, whether they're tapped or flipped, and what other objects are attached to them must remain clear to all players.

So if the zone in question is not the library, graveyard, or stack (which it isn't, we're talking about the hand, although there is also the battlefield and exile) then the order of objects in that zone can be arranged any which way but Sunday.

Also, while technically the graveyard is an ordered zone, you're allowed to fiddle with the order of the graveyard:

3.14 Graveyard Order In formats involving only cards from Urza’s Saga™ and later, players may change the order of their graveyard at any time. A player may not change the order of an opponent’s graveyard.

Only a select few cards actually care about the order of the graveyard, and it was decided early on (apparently, around the time of Urza's Saga) that maintaining the order of the graveyard just wasn't important enough to justify a game loss for failure to maintain board state. So in reality, the library and the stack are the only zones whose order actually matters, and let's face it - most people don't even realize the stack is a zone. I mean, we construct the stack in our head from memory of what was played and triggered when. We don't put the cards out on the table or anything.

So the good rule of thumb is, for the casual player, if it's not a library, you can probably shuffle it any time you want. Just don't be a jerk.


The order of your hand in Magic the Gathering is never part of the game. You are always allowed to reorder your cards in hand, and do so secretly. You might most commonly do so before playing something like a morph card, so as to obscure which card you're playing face down.

In the case described above, if you are playing in any type of competitive setting you should never allow your opponent to select a card when discarding at random, or pic their's. All cards should be laid out in a row, and then a die should be used to select the card. This makes it actually random, as the card instructs, and not a game of remembering order, or hiding cards.

  • 2
    Your comment regarding morphs is incorrect. While what a facedown creature actually is may be secret, you cannot take actions to obscure what order they came into play. Apr 28, 2015 at 17:32
  • @bengoesboom I am not saying that. I am saying you are slowed to obscure what card you used from your hand to play face down
    – Andrey
    Apr 28, 2015 at 20:17
  • @Andrey What you've written appears to be saying you're allowed to reorder your morph cards and do so secretly. I suggest you rewrite or replace that last sentence. Apr 29, 2015 at 3:52
  • @Andrey it just clicked for me why you're mentioning morph, and I've edited your answer slightly to try to make what I think you're saying clearer. Could you check it and see if you're happy with it, and if this is what you mean? Naturally edit further or roll back if you like. Apr 29, 2015 at 13:55

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