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Inspired by some comments on this question where someone might play two sorceries at the same time, a different question arose. Namely, if someone is to reveal cards from their hand (without an obvious reason like "reveal a card at random from your hand") does this count as casting? Or more accurately, does it count as proposing as laid out in rule 601.2a which is the first step in casting?

I'm unable to find any clarity on the matter, though that may be more to do with a restrictive internet filter I'm behind at the moment than the lack of availability of an answer out there on the Internet.

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You can reveal your hand and cards at will. It doesn't count as casting.

3.12 Hidden Information

Hidden information refers to the faces of cards and other objects at which the rules of the game and format do not allow you to look. Throughout the match, a draft, and pregame procedures, players are responsible for keeping their cards above the level of the playing surface and for making reasonable efforts to prevent hidden information from being revealed. However, players may choose to reveal their hands or any other hidden information available only to them, unless specifically prohibited by the rules.

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    I find this rule very convenient in casual events. When someone casts a spell that reveals my hand, like Duress, I'll keep the cards they revealed on the table so they don't need to spend extra time writing down the cards they saw or trying to remember them later (any new cards I draw afterward I will keep hidden, as normal). – Alex P Nov 23 '16 at 17:25
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    If you see them going for a notepad, sure as it'll save both some time, but otherwise, keep them hidden. Their memory may fail them, and this is to your advantage. – CyberClaw Nov 23 '16 at 17:28
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    @AlexP I've seen this done even at pro-level events. – David Z Nov 24 '16 at 2:38
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    @AlexP You're losing something by doing this. What about when you draw your second Duress and play it? If you kept the first one on the table, your opponent knows you drew another and knows you still have one in hand. If you had not left it on the table, your opponent wouldn't have all this extra information. – user985366 Nov 24 '16 at 22:45
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    @user985366 I'm guessing he is careful playing what's on the table first, but still, it can happen in a moment of distraction. – CyberClaw Nov 25 '16 at 9:45
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As stated correctly by the other answers, it's perfectly legal to reveal cards from your hand to your opponents at any time. As the question seems to be more about possible situations where such action may be misinterpreted, let's delve deeper into that question.

Basically, whenever you reveal cards from your hand for a clearly social reason (such as suggesting you have a sure way to win, or bragging about a top-deck draw), you should be fine, as you're likely to accompany this by some kind of commentary or body language. It gets more complicated when you're expected to do something, such as cast a spell or reveal a card, and you choose to reveal any unrelated card instead of doing that.

As an extreme example to illustrate the concept, let's say you just entered your main phase, tapped an exhaustive amount of mana, then reveal All Is Dust (or another card that requires no further interaction, such as choosing targets) without commenting it. An opponent then responds with tapping two Islands and casts Counterspell. Surely, you will have a hard time explaining to that player that you really just meant to show them the card and weren't actually casting it, and I'm sure in a tournament scenario, you wouldn't get away with it, no matter how much the rules cover your action.

Something more encounterable would be Keranos, God of Storms and players misinterpret revealing the card because of Keranos's ability is actually casting that card (which makes sense, considering players rarely do something in their draw step after drawing a card for the turn), causing them to act as if the spell would've been cast and just resolved. This might happen because they're distracted, Keranos's controller not being clear enough, or a combination of the two. It mostly won't be a problem, but might sometimes result in them revealing choices they'd make, which obviously gives the Keranos player a great advantage not only because they now have better information regarding that spell specifically, but also where to direct the 3 damage Keranos deals.

As with many things in MTG, rules alone only define what's allowed, but you will have to make an effort to communicate your actions in an ambiguous or interpretable situation. These examples cover extreme cases that probably won't appear in any tournament scenario - which isn't by chance, but because players usually have a good sense of when their actions might be confusing others.

  • Actually, casting "All Is Dust" almost always requires further action: Producing mana. The opponent should really wait until you start producing the mana. Until then, you could technically refuse to produce the mana to cast All Is Dust and revert the casting. – ikegami Nov 29 '16 at 6:10
  • @ikegami: Due to how players usually play, you would be correct. If you re-read my example, though, I mentioned explicitly (or at least tried to) that the player more than sufficiently filled their mana pool prior to casting the spell. – TheThirdMan Nov 29 '16 at 9:05
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Revealing a card from your hand without any card/effect asking you to do so is not illegal by the rules. Here's what the Magic Tournament Rules says about it.

Two important points are being described :

  1. "Players are responsible for keeping hidden information from being revealed"

  2. "Players may choose to reveal their hands"

Basically, as long as information is hidden to your opponent, but not to you, it is not illegal to give it away. It happens in big events, where players will sometimes show a game-winning card from their hand to convince an opponent to concede and save some time.

Unless specifically stated, revealing a card from your hand will never be "automatically" considered as casting it, using it as a cost for an ability or anything else.

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