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Me and my friend have been arguing about these two things for a while now. Also, I’ve been learning it from him, and haven’t played it anywhere else.

  • First, he played Incendiary Flow on my Geralf's Masterpiece, which says it “deals 3 damage to a player or creature. If a creature dealt damage this way would die this turn, exile it instead.” My card was 7/7, so I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be dead if my math is correct. He also said me being exiled meant being sent to the graveyard. I’m pretty sure he’s wrong.
  • Second, when I countered him with a Failed Inspection, he countered that with a Failed Inspection, and I thought that counters automatically send the spell to the graveyard.
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    In the future, please ask each question as a separate Question. – ikegami Jul 25 '18 at 6:31
  • @bwarner Thanks for the title update. I wasn't sure what to do for it either. – doppelgreener Jul 25 '18 at 22:52
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My card was 7/7, so I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be dead if my math is correct.

It would take 7 damage to kill a creature with 7 toughness. The damage doesn't need to be dealt all at once, so Incendiary Flow could kill your 7/7 if 4 or more damage had been dealt to it earlier in the turn. But not on its own.

Keep in mind that Geralf's Masterpiece is only a 7/7 if your hand is empty. If you have one card in your hand, it's a 6/6. If two, 5/5. And so on.

Damage from previous turns doesn't matter because all damage dealt is cleared during the Cleanup Step.

119.3e Damage dealt to a creature by a source with neither wither nor infect causes that much damage to be marked on that creature.

704.5g If a creature has toughness greater than 0, and the total damage marked on it is greater than or equal to its toughness, that creature has been dealt lethal damage and is destroyed. Regeneration can replace this event.

514.2. [As part of the Cleanup Step], the following actions happen simultaneously: all damage marked on permanents (including phased-out permanents) is removed and all “until end of turn” and “this turn” effects end. This turn-based action doesn’t use the stack.


He also said me being exiled meant being sent to the graveyard. I’m pretty sure he’s wrong.

The graveyard is where it would normally go. Incendiary Flow creates a replacement effect that alters that.

When a creature is dealt an amount of damage that meets or exceeds its toughness, the creature is destroyed. When a permanent is destroyed, it's put into its owner's graveyard (unless it regenerates).

Incendiary Flow overrides this. If a creature it damages would be sent to the the graveyard before the end of the turn in which it was damaged, it's exiled instead. The Graveyard and Exile are two different zones. It's virtually impossible to get back a card that's been exiled, while a lot of cards can leave the graveyard or can take other cards out of the graveyard.

701.7a To destroy a permanent, move it from the battlefield to its owner’s graveyard.

400.1. A zone is a place where objects can be during a game. There are normally seven zones: library, hand, battlefield, graveyard, stack, exile, and command. Some older cards also use the ante zone. Each player has their own library, hand, and graveyard. The other zones are shared by all players.


when I countered him with a Failed Inspection, he countered that with a Failed Inspection, and I thought that counters automatically send the spell to the graveyard.

That's completely legit. Just like you cast in response to Incendiary Flow, they can cast in response to your Failed Inspection.

Normally, when one casts a spell, this is what happens:

  1. Player A casts Incendiary Flow.
  2. All players pass priority.
  3. Incendiary Flow resolves.

This last step is where the spell actually takes affect.

However, one could cast a spell in response to Incendiary Flow (i.e. in step 2).

  1. Player A casts Incendiary Flow.
  2. Player A passes priority.
  3. Player N casts Failed Inspection targeting Incendiary Flow.
  4. All players pass priority.
  5. Failed Inspection resolves:
    1. Counter Incendiary flow (by moving it from the Stack to the Graveyard).
    2. Draw a card.
    3. Discard a card.

(Incendiary Flow never resolves because it was removed from the Stack.)

Of course, players can cast spells in response to Failed Inspection (i.e. in step 4) too.

  1. Player A casts Incendiary Flow.
  2. Player A passes priority.
  3. Player N casts Failed Inspection targeting Incendiary Flow.
  4. Player N passes priority.
  5. Player A casts Failed Inspection targeting player N's Failed Inspection.
  6. All players pass priority.
  7. Player A's Failed Inspection resolves:
    1. Counter player N's Failed Inspection (by moving it from the Stack to the Graveyard).
    2. Draw a card.
    3. Discard a card.
  8. All players pass priority.
  9. Incendiary Flow resolves.

(Player A's Failed Inspection never resolves because it was removed from the Stack.)

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    Would it be better to edit out the second question, and the answer to the second question; to encourage the asker to ask a separate question? – GendoIkari Jul 25 '18 at 14:41
  • @GendoIkari, Not sure, but I have no problems with it. I can always move that part of the answer. – ikegami Jul 25 '18 at 18:34
  • Interstingly, if Geralf's Masterpiece was 3/3 due to cards in your hand when your opponent cast Incendiary Flow, once you cast your Failed Inspection you would have one less card in your hand and he'd become 4/4. Your opponent counters your Failed Inspection. His Inceniary Flow resolves - you've now got a 4/4 with 3 damage marked on it and it survives. – Michael Anderson Jul 26 '18 at 5:14
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You're correct in all counts on the first set of questions.

A 7/7 creature does not die unless something kills it, typically by dealing an amount of damage equal to its toughness. After applying the damage, your Geralf's Masterpiece would still require 4 more damage to kill, meaning it's still kicking. The "exile it instead" is referring to if something else kills the damaged creature in the same turn. For example, if something else does another 4 damage to the creature before the end of the turn, it would be exiled (and not sent to the graveyard). Being "exiled" is another way of saying "removed from the game" (not being sent to the graveyard).

A player can counter a counter with another counter so your friend was right in that instance. The concept of a "stack" exists in Magic which allows these interactions.

These sorts of questions and misunderstandings are extremely common for new Magic players. I highly recommend you personally read through the rules as published by Wizards, available here.

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First

Incendiary flow says

If a creature dealt damage this way would die this turn

Dealing less than lethal damage to a creature doesn't kill it.

exile it instead

This means instead of going to the graveyard it is exiled.

Second

All spells and most activated abilities (excluding mana abilities for example) use the stack, this means when a player casts a spell or activates an ability there is time to react to it before it resolves. This includes counterspells like Failed Inspection. You can counter a counterspell. (unless there was an ability preventing it like "this spell cannot be countered")

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