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I've been thinking about integrating Mana Flare and Mana Reflection into a deck.

As far as I can tell, by reading the Layer's rules (rule 613). They resolve in timestamp order.

That is, if Mana Flare is played first, and Mana Reflection is played second, each mountain I tap would give me {R}{R}{R}{R}.

However, if Mana Relfection is played first, and Mana Flare is played second, each mountain would give me {R}{R}{R}.

Is this interpretation correct? I'm still new to this layer stuff.

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Layers don't apply here. There aren't any continuous effects interacting.

Mana Flare is a triggered ability (it says "whenever"). It would normally use the stack, but since it's a mana ability, it simply resolves immediately after the event that triggered it. Mana Reflection is a replacement effect (it says "instead"). It just happens as you tap the permanent.

So if you tap a Mountain, Mana Reflection causes it to produce RR instead of R. Mana Flare also triggers, and when it resolves, you add an additional R to your mana pool, for a total of RRR.


Even if they were both replacement effects, or both triggered, layers still wouldn't come into play. You'd get to pick the order, presumably choosing to maximize the generated mana.

If two replacement effects apply to the same event, the affected player picks what order to apply them in. (If the event affects an object, that's the controller of the affected object, or its owner if it has no controller.)

If two triggered abilities you control trigger at the same time, you choose the order to put them on the stack. If they're controlled by different players, the active player puts their triggers on the stack first. (If they're mana abilities like this, you still get to pick the order, even though they don't use the stack.)

In both cases, if they're both affecting you tapping a permanent for mana, you get to pick what order they happen in.


Layers are used for determining interactions of continuous effects, which are effects that are simply stated as a fact, something like "Enchanted creature gets +1/+1" or "Target permanent becomes blue". Fortunately, the most common time they matter is with power/toughness effects, and the vast majority of those are simply setting base power/toughness before applying things that change it.

You can get a pretty good idea of the kinds of things where layers matter by simply reading what the layers are: copy, control-changing, text-changing, type-changing, color-changing, ability-adding/removing, and power/toughness. If the effect isn't in in one of those categories, it's a good bet you don't need layers. (Timestamp order is only used within layers as a last resort.)

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  • Re "Even if they were both replacement effects, or both triggered", Two Mana Reflection is an example of the first, and two Mana Flare is an example of the second. – ikegami Jul 4 '15 at 1:56
  • @ikegami True - I didn't bother saying that since if it's two of the same thing, being able to choose the order doesn't matter so much. – Cascabel Jul 4 '15 at 3:50
  • @IvoBeckers Fixed. (The answer is still correct, because they still resolve after the triggering event.) – Cascabel Jul 4 '15 at 18:35
  • @Jefromi So, the "rule of thumb" here, is that "replacement effects" occur "immediately" (i.e. they "replace" something) and a "triggered ability" occurs "after" the "thing" occured. Correct? – John Jul 5 '15 at 17:09
  • @John Mostly, yes. I'd go a little further for replacement effects: they make it so that the thing they replaced never actually happened, so they really have to happen before anything else at all. Triggered mana abilities happen just after the thing that triggered them, but they're the exception. Normal triggered abilities use the stack like other spells and abilities, so they happen not only after the event that triggered them, but also after anything done in response. – Cascabel Jul 5 '15 at 17:20
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The timestamp of the two is irrelevant in this case; tapping a mountain with these two permanents will always produce a total of {R}{R}{R}. The reason is that Mana Flare doesn't actually increase the mana the mountain itself produces: it's a triggered ability that triggers when the mountain is tapped instead of a replacement effect. When you tap a mountain for {R}, Mana Reflection replaces this with putting {R}{R} into your pool, then Mana Flare puts an additional {R} from its trigger, for a total of {R}{R}{R}.

On a side note, even if Mana Flare was a replacement effect with something like "If a land you control would produce mana, it produces that mana and an additional mana of any type it produced instead", the timestamps still wouldn't matter: you get to choose which order the replacement effects apply in without worrying about timestamps.

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  • Small quibble: if it were a replacement effect, it wouldn't say "whenever". That means triggered ability, so you won't see it as part of a replacement effect ("...instead"). – Cascabel Jul 4 '15 at 6:46
  • Yeah, I wasn't super precise on my hypothetical. I'll fix that. – Michael Snook Jul 4 '15 at 6:59

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