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What happens when one target of Paradoxical Outcome becomes leaves the battlefield while Paradoxical Outcome is on the stack? Does it fizzle?

The rules text of Paradoxical Outcome:

Return any number of target nonland, nontoken permanents you control to their owners’ hands. Draw a card for each card returned to your hand this way.

  • It would be helpful to include relevant card text into the question. Links can decay or change. Presumably the card could even change, which could potentially change a question like this. – Keeta 2 days ago
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    On this site we operate under the assumption that Gatherer card links will be good indefinitely, and that card text will not change functionally. Gatherer is listed as the official source for card text in the Magic rules, and Magic cards get functional errata extremely rarely. – murgatroid99 2 days ago
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A spell only fizzles if all targets become invalid before resolution. The spell will resolve on the remaining targets, and a card drawn for each card actually returned to your hand.

608.2b If the spell or ability specifies targets, it checks whether the targets are still legal. A target that’s no longer in the zone it was in when it was targeted is illegal. Other changes to the game state may cause a target to no longer be legal; for example, its characteristics may have changed or an effect may have changed the text of the spell. If the source of an ability has left the zone it was in, its last known information is used during this process. If all its targets, for every instance of the word “target,” are now illegal, the spell or ability doesn’t resolve. It’s removed from the stack and, if it’s a spell, put into its owner’s graveyard. Otherwise, the spell or ability will resolve normally. Illegal targets, if any, won’t be affected by parts of a resolving spell’s effect for which they’re illegal. Other parts of the effect for which those targets are not illegal may still affect them. If the spell or ability creates any continuous effects that affect game rules (see rule 613.10), those effects don’t apply to illegal targets. If part of the effect requires information about an illegal target, it fails to determine any such information. Any part of the effect that requires that information won’t happen.

  • The last two sentences are particularly interesting. Does that mean that if there was a part of the effect that said "add an amount of {U} equal to their total converted mana cost", you would actually get no mana whatsoever if one of the targets become illegal? – Fax 2 days ago
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    @Fax I assume the wording would be more be similar like the existing wording specifying "for each card returned this way". Then there's no problem since failing to return one of the targets won't change the CMC of those actually returned. – ryanyuyu 2 days ago
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Paradoxical Outcome will not resolve (i.e. 'fizzle', though that term does not appear in the rulebooks) if you target only one permanent and that leaves the battlefield before it resolves. Otherwise, if there are any legal targets left, all of these will still be returned to their owners' hands and you'll draw some cards (one for each of those permanents you own).

608.2b If the spell or ability specifies targets, it checks whether the targets are still legal. A target that’s no longer in the zone it was in when it was targeted is illegal. Other changes to the game state may cause a target to no longer be legal; for example, its characteristics may have changed or an effect may have changed the text of the spell. If the source of an ability has left the zone it was in, its last known information is used during this process. If all its targets, for every instance of the word “target,” are now illegal, the spell or ability doesn’t resolve. It’s removed from the stack and, if it’s a spell, put into its owner’s graveyard. Otherwise, the spell or ability will resolve normally. Illegal targets, if any, won’t be affected by parts of a resolving spell’s effect for which they’re illegal. Other parts of the effect for which those targets are not illegal may still affect them. If the spell or ability creates any continuous effects that affect game rules (see rule 613.10), those effects don’t apply to illegal targets. If part of the effect requires information about an illegal target, it fails to determine any such information. Any part of the effect that requires that information won’t happen.

(emphasis mine)

The next step in spell resolution is

608.2c The controller of the spell or ability follows its instructions in the order written.

which will happen if it still has legal targets.

  • Although the word "fizzle" doesn't appear in the rules, it is simply a common shorthand for the bold sentence of 608.2b. So your first sentence is somewhat misleading (or at least ambiguous, it implies that fizzling isn't actually a rule, as opposed to the fact that the fizzle rule doesn't actually go by that name in the rules). – GendoIkari Jun 12 at 20:49

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