I was watching the most recent episode of Commander Clash in which Richard manages to pull of a win with Barren Glory. I believe the win wouldn't actually have worked out if not for MODO rules engine doing something funny.

We see that before Richard combos off with Barren Glory, when he doesn't meet the conditions, Barren Glory does not trigger at all. But once he satisfies the requirements, the trigger does happen and even though Tomer Blue Sun's Zenith's Richard in response to the trigger it appears that as long as Richard was able to satisfy the condition when the ability triggered he would have won. I'm just wondering how this would have worked out in paper with a judge and whether MODO did anything funny or I just don't understand how Barren Glory works.

  • What do you mean by this: "he doesn't actually get a Barren Glory trigger on his upkeep, but once he satisfies the requirements, he does "
    – GendoIkari
    Apr 4 '18 at 13:28
  • 1
    I voted to leave open. While technically covered by the possible duplicate question, the fact that MODO bugged out on this could lead to confusion that Barren Glory is an exception to the rule, especially if the Commander Clash has a high number of views. The answer below clarifies this nicely and there's value in addressing this case explicitly.
    – Manath
    Apr 4 '18 at 18:59
  • I've voted to reopen since this situation isn't actually resolved by the linked question -- it's not explained by covering whether "if"s are checked on resolution. This situation came up because of a bug and the answer is about that bug. In reality this situation should never have even come up in the first place, so we never should have reached the point where we might check on resolution. Apr 5 '18 at 10:09
  • As far as I can tell from the video, the trigger condition was in fact met at the beginning of the upkeep, so the ability triggered correctly. The bug was just that the condition was incorrectly not rechecked at resolution time.
    – murgatroid99
    Apr 6 '18 at 21:44

The win with Barren Glory was in fact a bug. Barren Glory's ability has an "intervening 'if' clause", which is described in 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. If the ability triggers, it checks the stated condition again as it resolves. If the condition isn’t true at that time, the ability is removed from the stack and does nothing. Note that this mirrors the check for legal targets. This rule is referred to as the “intervening ‘if’ clause” rule. (The word “if” has only its normal English meaning anywhere else in the text of a card; this rule only applies to an “if” that immediately follows a trigger condition.)

This means that you have to have an empty hand and no other permanents both at the time that the ability triggers, and at the time that it starts to resolve. In the game in question, the player with Barren Glory had a card in their hand when the ability started to resolve, so they should not have won the game.

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