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A while back, some friends and I played a Two-Headed Giant game. During that game I played a Rite of the Raging Storm, and I want to check if how we played it was accurate:

  • During each team's upkeep, both team members would each get a 5/1 Lightning Rager token, so each team had two 5/1's available each turn.
  • The Lightning Ragers of the enemy team could not attack our team, as the "you" in the first ability applied to our team as a whole.

Safe to say we were able to deliver 10 damage every turn with our Lightning Ragers and theirs sat there uselessly... hence me wanting to check we played it out correctly.

Did we handle that right?

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You played that partially correctly. Each player does get their own trigger to get a Lightning Rager token. However, your opponents' Lightning Ragers can attack your teammate.

Rule 810.7 says

The Two-Headed Giant variant uses the combat rules for the shared team turns option (see rule 805.10). This is a change from previous rules.

Then rule 805.10b says

As the declare attackers step begins, the active team declares attackers. For each attacking creature, the attacking team announces which defending player or planeswalker that creature is attacking. The active team has one combined attack, and that set of attacking creatures must be legal as a whole. See rule 508.1.

So, the Rite of the Raging Storm only prevents those Lightning Ragers from attacking you, but it doesn't apply if your opponents declare that they are attacking your teammate.

The change mentioned in rule 810.7 happened in the Dominaria Comprehensive Rules change, and that article has this to say about the change:

Here's the big Two-Headed Giant change—we're no longer dealing with "attack the team, use some mental gymnastics to figure out the defending player." Now you simply attack players or planeswalkers, not the team.

This results in a handful of changes: Propaganda effects are worse, but prevention effects can be used sensibly. Plainswalkers and planeswalkers both behave pretty much the same, except you can't attack one player and call the other your defending player. Saboteur triggers ("when this deals combat damage . . . can be anticipated more meaningfully.


Note: Regarding the upkeep triggers: the rules for Two-Headed Giant do not directly address "at the beginning of..." triggers, but a ruling on Ghirapur Orrery confirms that "at the beginning of each player's upkeep" triggers for each player, not each team:

In a Two-Headed Giant game, Ghirapur Orrery’s second ability triggers for each player on a team separately. If one player has cards in hand, it can still trigger for the other player.

This is notably different from a trigger condition that says "at the beginning of each upkeep"; Sun Droplet, for example, has this ruling:

In Two-Headed Giant, triggers only once per upkeep, not once for each player.

  • I would've thought that each team gets a single token, based on rule 805.4: Each team takes turns rather than each player. Since Rite of the Raging Storm says "At the beginning of each player's upkeep..." wouldn't that be changed to "At the beginning of each team's upkeep..."? – J. Sallé May 22 '18 at 17:29
  • Players still exist as individual game entities, and there's nothing in the rules that directly indicates that turn-based triggers change in the way you describe. I don't have hard evidence one way or the other, but the fact is that the ability doesn't really make sense as a team ability. The token still has to enter under the control of a specific player. – murgatroid99 May 22 '18 at 17:39
  • I see your point. I'm far from being an expert with THG games, and as you said, the rules don't directly indicate that the trigger would happen one way or another. Thanks for the explanation. – J. Sallé May 22 '18 at 17:42
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    Here's a ruling on Ghirapur Orrery that supports what I said: "In a Two-Headed Giant game, Ghirapur Orrery’s second ability triggers for each player on a team separately. If one player has cards in hand, it can still trigger for the other player." – murgatroid99 May 22 '18 at 17:43
  • @Hackworth I'm well aware of that. Since OP's question refers specifically to THG, and THG in turn has the ruling 810.2: "The Two-Headed Giant variant uses the shared team turns option. (See rule 805.)", I thought it a pertinent question. – J. Sallé May 22 '18 at 18:12
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So, the way 2 headed giant works is each team shared the turn, but each player gets the same phases. So when a card says "at the beginning of each player's upkeep", both players on the team get the token at the same time because both players are taking their upkeep step (it just happens to be at the same time). You played that correctly.

Your opponents could have attacked your team's life total, however. This is because 2HG sees the players of a team as separate, only sharing the resources of life total and poison counters on the team (if applicable). Rite of the Raging Storm says the tokens it creates "can't attack you or planeswalkers you control." Your teammate, however, is not treated as being you and thus could have been attacked by the other team's lightning ragers and damaged your shared life total.

Hope this helps and if you have any other questions please feel free to ask. I'll answer to the best of my ability.

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The link you provided says "The short way of remembering this is any reference to "you" on cards still means each individual player." So "you" refers to you, not your team, and your teammate can be attacked.

  • It does say that, but it also says we "attack as a team, block as a team" -- it sounded like a restriction that applied to me would apply to us as a team. (But it sounds like that's not the case.) – doppelgreener May 22 '18 at 18:48

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