We are at a Competitive REL tournament. With ten minutes left on the clock in game three, my opponent is at 5000 life. I control two Elite Arcanists. Each of them have Time Stop exiled. I also control a Subversion.

  • Subversion triggers and resolves (my opponent loses one life)
  • I activate Elite Arcanist and end my turn
  • I activate the other Elite Arcanist and end my opponent's turn

I demonstrate this loop to my opponent and offer to shortcut 5000 iterations. My opponent asks me to play it out. If I comply, the game will certainly end in a draw.

Can I call a judge and force my opponent to accept the shortcut unless he has an action to take?

  • Aren't you going to draw each time this happens? And your opponent as well? Further, can't spells and abilities be cast during the cleanup step? What if your opponent casts Shock during the cleanup step on one of the Arcanists? Or a quickened Time Ebb?
    – durron597
    May 17, 2015 at 4:27
  • 1
    @durron597 Upkeep step happens before draw step; he activates the end turn during upkeep; so draw never happens. And no, players do not get priority during cleanup. The do at the end of turn step, which is before cleanup and skipped by Time Stop.
    – GendoIkari
    May 17, 2015 at 12:42
  • His opponent could cast shock during upkeep, in response to Time Stop, but he would need to have a combo-ending card in hand or on the battlefield. In that case he can reject the shortcut and instead end the combo.
    – GendoIkari
    May 17, 2015 at 14:33
  • @durron597 If my opponent casts Shock on my Elite Arcanist, it will die.
    – Rainbolt
    May 18, 2015 at 13:28
  • @Rainbolt Quick answer, ALWAYS call a judge if you're uncertain on something. Can't hurt to do so.
    – Waterseas
    May 18, 2015 at 14:03

1 Answer 1


They can't refuse a shortcut[1]; they can merely shorten it by naming a place where they will deviate from the shortcut. The game then advances to that point, and they must take a different action than the shortcut.

716.2b Each other player, in turn order starting after the player who suggested the shortcut, may either accept the proposed sequence, or shorten it by naming a place where he or she will make a game choice that’s different than what’s been proposed. (The player doesn’t need to specify at this time what the new choice will be.) This place becomes the new ending point of the proposed sequence.

716.2c Once the last player has either accepted or shortened the shortcut proposal, the shortcut is taken. The game advances to the last proposed ending point, with all game choices contained in the shortcut proposal having been taken. If the shortcut was shortened from the original proposal, the player who now has priority must make a different game choice than what was originally proposed for that player.

What you should do: After your opponent refuses the shortcut, ask at what point of the shortcut they would like to do something different. If they refuse to name one, call for a judge as they are refusing to take a mandatory action. If they name one, they gain priority. If they don't do anything different than your shortcut had proposed, call for a judge as they just violated 716.2c.

  1. Obviously, they can refuse a shortcut if it's illegal. For example, they could refuse the shortcut by pointing a point at which the complete game state would no longer be known
  • 1
    So if the opponent had something like Mana Screw in play (or some legal card that he can tap for a coin flip; even if the result of the flip wouldn't matter), could he say it needs to be played out because the flip result is part of the game state?
    – GendoIkari
    May 17, 2015 at 14:58
  • @Gendolkari, You won't find Mana Screw in Competitive play, but you could find a card with the same ability, so let's assume such a card exists. The game would jump to where he uses the ability. If he were to get the mana and not use it, I'd call the judge.`
    – ikegami
    May 17, 2015 at 17:20
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    Wirefly Hive could work as an example. Every turn, in response to Time Stop being cast, you could flip a coin to possibly create a new Wirefly; or to destroy your Wireflies. Neither result can help end the combo, but you are certainly changing the gamestate with every flip.
    – GendoIkari
    May 17, 2015 at 17:30
  • Or Tavern Swindler. (Ok, that one is a bad example because you would be on average gaining 3 life every turn, so the other combo won't ever kill you)
    – GendoIkari
    May 17, 2015 at 17:31
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    @Arcanist Lupus, Of course. If that's all you do before passing, keep in mind that slowing the game is an offense.
    – ikegami
    May 8, 2018 at 19:34

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