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I'm slightly uncertain about the finer points of the rules and how they might play out in a match-up between the 2004 world championship decks of Julien Nuijten (slide) and Aeo Paquette (affinity).

Suppose Nuijten controls an Astral Slide and a Viridian Shaman and can cycle a card whenever he wants to. Suppose that Paquette controls Glimmervoid and Blinkmoth Nexus but nothing more. Can Nuijten force Glimmervoid to be sacrificed?

(I'm much more interested in expanding my understanding of the rules than I am in whether the answer happens to be yes or no—the why is much more important than the what.)

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Yes, Paquette will have to activate the Blinkmoth Nexus at some point or lose the Glimmervoid. The two scenarios are:

  1. Nexus is activated during the endstep with the glimmervoid trigger on the stack. Simply slide out the nexus after it becomes a creature (but before the glimmervoid trigger,) it will be gone until the next endstep because this endstep has already begun!
  2. Nexus is activated before the endstep.
    • If its your opponents turn, slide out your Viridian Shaman, and target the nexus during the endstep, the glimmervoid will be destroyed during your next endstep*. If you slide the nexus, your oppenent would be able to reactivate it on their turn because of the APNAP** ordering of triggers, (better to destroy the artifact now.)
    • If it is your turn, Simply slide out the nexus after it has become a creature but before the endstep* and the glimmer void will be destroyed before the nexus returns. Due to APNAP** your slide trigger is below their glimmervoid trigger, and they won't have the nexus back until the glimmervoid is already dead.

*because of the intervening if clause, the trigger will not trigger if the clause is not satisfied at the beginning of the end step (intervening if clauses are checked twice, once to trigger, and once on resolution!)

** APNAP is Active Player, Non-Active Player, it is how simultaneous triggers are resolved.

N.b. it seems Paquette's best play in this, contrived, situation is to simply let the glimmervoid die, that way they can keep the nexus.

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I think the answer is "almost yes". Here's how: on his own turn, Nuijten slides out Viridian Shaman. When it returns, target Blinkmoth Nexus if it's an artifact. Here's why this works: Astral Slide sets up a delayed trigger. It triggers at the beginning of Nuijten's end step, at which point Glimmervoid also triggers (*).

Rule 603.3b: If multiple abilities have triggered since the last time a player received priority, each player, in APNAP order, puts triggered abilities he or she controls on the stack in any order he or she chooses.

That is, Glimmervoid's ability goes on the top of the stack and Astral Slide's ability goes on the bottom. If Paquette doesn't animate Blinkmoth Nexus before Glimmervoid's ability resolves, Glimmervoid is sacrificed. If he does, Glimmervoid is not sacrificed but Blinkmoth Nexus can be targeted by Viridian Shaman once it returns to play. If Paquette doesn't control an artifact in the next end step (which will be Paquette's), Glimmervoid will die by then. [This 'if' is why the answer is only almost yes: if Paquette can keep playing artifacts then Nuijten can't force the sacrifice.]

(*) Note that this assumes that Blinkmoth Nexus has not already been animated when the main phase ends and the end step begins. If so, target it with Viridian Shaman and continue as above, but note that Glimmervoid doesn't even trigger:

rule 603.4: A triggered ability may read "When/Whenever/At [trigger event], if [condition], [effect]." When the trigger event occurs, the ability checks whether the stated condition is true. The ability triggers only if it is; otherwise it does nothing.

Note that sliding out Viridian Shaman on Paquette's turn doesn't do the trick: in that situation, Glimmervoid's ability is put on the bottom of the stack and Astral Slide's ability is put on top, meaning Astral Slide's ability resolves first. When it does, it returns Viridian Shaman and its ability is put on the stack, resolving before Glimmervoid's. After Viridian Shaman's ability has resolved—note that it can not have targeted Blinkmoth Nexus—but before Glimmervoid's ability resolves, Paquette can animate Blinkmoth Nexus. If he does, when Glimmervoid's ability resolves it will do nothing (rather than cause Glimmervoid to be sacrificed).

Note also—as an aside, not addressing the stated question but the same part of the rules—that if multiple copies of Viridian Shaman are slid out, they return one at a time. One can for instance target a Welding Jar with the first and target a non-regenerated artifact with the second—or alternatively, target a Cranial Plating with the first, and then choose the second target depending on whether or not a Welding Jar was used to regenerate the Cranial Plating in response.

If different creatures are slid out, the player who controlled Astral Slide when they were slid out chooses the order in which they return. One could for instance slide in Viridian Shaman first, destroying one's own artifact, then slide in Eternal Witness to get it back.

(Is my understanding of the rules correct?)

  • You ask "Can Nuijten force Glimmervoid to be sacrificed?" but in the answer you say "I think the answer is yes... If Paquette doesn't control an artifact in the next end step (which will be Paquette's), Glimmervoid will die by then." That doesn't really sound like "forcing", since Paquette can make sure it doesn't happen. You should clarify the wording of either your question or your answer to make them consistent. – murgatroid99 Apr 1 '16 at 19:48
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    Other than that, the analysis looks correct, but the last two paragraphs are irrelevant to the question. – murgatroid99 Apr 1 '16 at 19:55
  • Is "Assume that Paquette will eventually take a turn in which he cannot play any artifacts" sufficient clarification? (With enough slides and shamans, Nuijten can keep him out of Thoughtcast mana, and Paquette will eventually draw those pluss Disciple of the Vault plus Somber Hoverguard, so it's not a completely unreasonable assumption.) – Jonas Kölker Apr 1 '16 at 19:57
  • But that's really a different question. Now you're describing how the whole game will probably eventually play out with cards that weren't mentioned, instead of just talking about a single situation. One option is to just answer with "No, but Nuijten can force Paquette to either sacrifice the Glimmervoid or allow the Blinkmoth Nexus to be destroyed". – murgatroid99 Apr 1 '16 at 20:04
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    If the glimmervoid trigger is on the stack you just slide the blinkmoth....? – Affe Apr 1 '16 at 23:07
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The way I see it, it comes down to which would resolve first, Glimmervoid or Astral Slide. If Astral Slide, which would have to be triggered on Paquette's turn, resolves first and Viridian Shaman comes back from exile, then Blinkmoth Nexus would get destroyed if it was an artifact. Paquette could get around this by activating Blinkmoth Nexus ability to become a creature after Astral Slide resolves but before Glimmervoid could resolve. If Glimmervoid resolves first, it would stay in play if Blinkmoth Nexus was an artifact but then Blinkmoth Nexus would get destroyed when Astral slide resolves since it resolves at the beginning of end step, not the end of turn.

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