23

Arnold, Beth, and Chuck are playing a multiplayer game (e.g. Commander or Free-for-All).

Arnold has Maralen of the Mornsong:

Players can't draw cards. At the beginning of each player's draw step, that player loses 3 life, searches his or her library for a card, puts it into his or her hand, then shuffles his or her library.

Beth has Dictate of Kruphix:

At the beginning of each player's draw step, that player draws an additional card.

Currently, it's Chuck's turn. He begins his draw step, and chooses that Dictate of Kruphix's ability go on the stack, and Maralen's ability go on top of that. Because Maralen is on the board, Dictate's ability is essentially useless (Maralen prevents players from drawing cards).

Using Maralen's ability, Chuck tutors up a card. Suppose Arnold really hates Beth. After Maralen's ability resolves, Arnold concedes. Because Arnold has conceded, Maralen is no longer on the field.

800.4a When a player leaves the game, all objects (see rule 109) owned by that player leave the game and any effects which give that player control of any objects or players end. Then, if that player controlled any objects on the stack not represented by cards, those objects cease to exist. Then, if there are any objects still controlled by that player, those objects are exiled. This is not a state-based action. It happens as soon as the player leaves the game. If the player who left the game had priority at the time he or she left, priority passes to the next player in turn order who’s still in the game.

Chuck now proceeds to draw 2 cards (1 from the draw phase and 1 from Dictate of Kruphix).

Obviously, this isn't an ethical thing for Arnold to do. But is it within the rules of the game? Or am I mistaken? Would something else happen instead?

A separate question: would this result in Arnold being banned from future tournaments?

  • 1
    I really thought there was a better duplicate around somewhere, but all I've found is boardgames.stackexchange.com/q/25600/409 – Cascabel Oct 13 '16 at 3:48
  • 4
    Multiplayer concessions are always problematic, as even if the most set-back player concedes, they will alter the outcome of a game because it's one less player that needs to be defeated. There's also aggressive conceding in Emperor games, where one of your generals concedes in order for you to be able to one-shot the opposing Emperor. It's not pretty, and has very little to do with winning Magic with skill, but don't ever try to monkey-patch it by house-ruling against concessions - they're there for a reason! – TheThirdMan Oct 13 '16 at 6:38
  • 9
    One nitpick. It's not Chuck who chooses the order of the abilities on stack. 603.3b, right? – Michał Politowski Oct 13 '16 at 8:02
  • 1
    @tsuma534: Emperor isn't a tournament format, so it's mostly a question on how your group likes to play. In casual play, I wouldn't say it's an illegal move, but I also wouldn't say it's proof of skill, as it's completely circumventing the Emperor mechanic and the game rules. Keep in mind that concessions aren't a game mechanic, especially not to influence the game in your favor - it's a way to handle the event of a player leaving the table within the game rules. It may be sly, but it's not inherently "fair". – TheThirdMan Oct 13 '16 at 8:52
  • 7
    Another nitpick; by the time you have stacked the triggers in the draw step, 'chuck' has already skipped his normal draw step draw, and would only get 1 card from the kruphix trigger; all steps have the same formula something happens, i.e. draw a card, declare attackers, declare blockers, etc., then both players get priority. some phases like main, upkeep, and, end-step, don't have an event, players simply get priority. – esoterik Oct 14 '16 at 1:07
32

The rules say you can concede whenever you want to:

104.3a A player can concede the game at any time. A player who concedes leaves the game immediately. He or she loses the game.

This is kind of unavoidable, because people have to be able to pick up their cards and leave. And it's certainly possible to use this spitefully, whether via your scenario or another. (It doesn't even have to be something fancy - just dropping out a turn before your inevitable death can swing things.)

Many people adopt house rules in order to curtail that sort of behavior. It's hard to define clearly what is and isn't acceptable, especially since you can be plenty spiteful even without ever conceding, but if you play with people you get along well enough with, you may be able to get away with "don't be a jerk". More broadly, if you do things that make you miserable to play with, you might quickly find yourself not having anyone to play with.

As for tournaments, well, there aren't really serious multiplayer tournaments, and so the Magic Tournament Rules don't have anything explicit about multiplayer. There is potentially commander at Friday Night Magic, and if they're abiding by the rules, they'll have to allow you to concede at any time. But while I don't think the store could actually kick someone out for making a spiteful concession, the same about being pleasant to play with probably applies there: it's a local store, with many of the same people coming repeatedly.

  • 4
    The tournament rules say that players may not concede in exchange for any reward or incentive, which potentially applies here (it could, for example, if Arnold states "I'm condeding, so that you have a disadvantage!"). That is for a judge to decide, and in the event of the judge following the above logic, should result in a DQ, and may lead to an exclusion from future events on the TO's disgression. This is an example why multiplayer, non-2HG tournaments don't work well with the rules... – TheThirdMan Oct 13 '16 at 9:01
  • 6
    @TheThirdMan Arnold gains no reward or incentive by giving another player a disadvantage, so that rule does not apply. In fact, the TR does not apply to events run at Regular REL at all. Arnold cannot be disqualified for this behavior, but you are correct that he can be banned from the venue at the TO's discretion. – Rainbolt Oct 13 '16 at 13:01
  • 1
    @TheThirdMan You can't seriously be implying that a judge might disqualify a player who conceded for personal satisfaction. Is that a possible interpretation? Sure. Is is a reasonable interpretation? Not really. – Rainbolt Oct 13 '16 at 16:19
  • 5
    For what it's worth, even if the literal rules of the game don't address this, I think it'd be totally reasonable for a judge or store owner at a store to at least gently encourage people to be good to each other. They already have an incentive and maybe even a responsibility to make sure it's fun for everyone; this is just another way people can make things un-fun. So sure, maybe they won't say "you are banished from commander at FNM!" but they might say "hey, you know, people may not want to play with you if you keep this up." – Cascabel Oct 13 '16 at 17:03
  • 1
    @TheThirdMan I think ultimately the problem with trying to define collusion that way and interpret that rule that way is because it’s clearly conceivable to have a third person in a position where their choice of moment at which to concede will always advantage somebody. Losing players being forced into a “kingmaker” position even if they don’t want it is far from unusual in free-for-all games (of any kind, not just Magic). And there are a whole host of reasons why players must be allowed to concede. – KRyan Feb 7 '18 at 21:16
5

This is NOT a rules based answer.

I have not played Magic for some time, but when I did play there was a simple house rule (for multiplayer).

If you conceded, you could not play the next "game" either. The general idea is that concessions were not supposed to be tactical things in multiplayer, but to fill the need of "I gotta go"

Kind of the same way with being dealt out in poker. If you miss the blinds then you have to wait for them to come back around.

That said, there was no rule that said you could not concede. So some people did, just to get their friends a boost. Those people usually had a hard time finding others to play with though.

2

The most powerful example I have seen of tactical concession in multiplayer comes from control changing effects. If Player A has a giant creature (say Blightsteel Colossus), Player B has stolen control of that creature from Player A and is swinging at Player C with it, Player A can concede to exile the creature (since Player A is that creature's owner). A concession in this situation can immediately change the winner of the game.

Another fairly common way that a player can concede spitefully is to prevent you from dealing damage to them if you dealing damage gives you some benefit (such as gaining life). For example, if you are attacking them for lethal damage with a creature with lifelink or are dealing them lethal damage with Death Grasp, they can concede to prevent you from gaining the life.

Using specifically timed concessions is absolutely legal in multiplayer. The important thing to consider is that it is only one of the may tools a player has to play spitefully. In a multiplayer game, you could attack only one player. You could use removal spells or counter spells in obviously sub-optimal ways to harm a particular player. You could play the most spiteful card in the game: Kaervek's Spite. At the end of the day, the ability for a player to concede at any time is important for reasons beyond the game (if someone needs to leave immediately, they should not have to wait for someone else to finish an exceedingly long retention of priority). While it can be used to obnoxious ends, it can also be used to punish players who are being obnoxious or winning in obnoxious ways.

Multi-player in any game involving player elimination (of which Magic is one) is very likely to have problems of kingmaking (Is kingmaking in multiplayer games a problem that can be fixed?). This is one of the big reasons there aren't many serious multi-player Magic tournaments. But this is also a thing you have to play around to win at multi-player. You must not only win against your opponents decks; you must also win against your opponents and their personalities.

As far as how this impacts deck-building, try to make sure you are winning with your own cards rather than with Confiscated permanents.

1

I'd just like to point out that this scenario doesn't work the way you think it does. Maralen's draw cancellation is separate from her second ability. During the draw step, the first thing that occurs is the state-based draw, which wouldn't occur due to Maralen's first static ability. Then the two abilities would trigger. So in this specific scenario, the initial draw is skipped, the player would tutor, then Maralen's controller concedes with Kruphix's trigger on the stack. Then Kruphix's ability resolves, resulting in the player drawing a card, but only one, because the draw for turn action has already occurred and was blocked by Maralen.

Now, back on topic... In multi-player casual, it's douchebaggery to do something like this. Giving another player an advantage by leaving the game intentionally is just messed up. Im not sure there are multi-player tourneys, but the rules state a player may concede at any time. So there's no rules infraction, just a major dick move.

-2

I will go against the grain here.

There is no problem whatsoever with conceding when you feel like for whatever reason you feel like.

Sabotaging someone else by conceding is no different from sabotaging them by throwing a lightning bolt at an unfortunate creature, and sabotaging other players is one of the core premises behind multiplayer.

Being able to concede for any reason at any time is a fundamental rule that stops abuse. Forcing players to remain in games when they need to leave or it is no longer relevant for them to play is abusive. You cannot concede abusively. It is not abuse to destroy another players gameplan in magic. It is to force them to remain in a social interaction when they would rather not.

  • 2
    looks to me that the question was if it's allowed by the rules, not if it's ok to do so in some moral context – ilkkachu Aug 12 at 15:14

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.