A player has Tamiyo, Collector of Tales on the battlefield, and is also the target of opponent's Cruel Reality. The player with Tamiyo can not sacrifice her, but does he lose 5 life when Cruel Reality triggers?

  • Sigarda, Host of Herons and Tajuru Preserver also prevent sacrificing permanents, and will have the same result (lose 5 life) – Ayatollah of Rock 'n' Rolla Jun 25 '19 at 12:33

The player will lose 5 life.

As Tamiyo states, effects controlled by an opponent (such as Cruel Reality) cannot make you sacrifice permanents. Cruel Reality also specifies what happens if a player can't sacrifice a permanent when the ability resolves. It doesn't matter for what reason the player can't sacrifice a permanent, whether they have no permanent left to sacrifice, or another effect prevents the sacrifice.

With different wordings of Cruel Reality, the Tamiyo player could get around both the sacrifice and the life loss. Cruel reality could read:

At the beginning of enchanted player's upkeep, that player chooses one:

  • Sacrifice a permanent

  • lose 5 life.

The player could choose to sacrifice a permanent, but can't because of Tamiyo.

It could also read:

At the beginning of enchanted player's upkeep, if that player controls a permanent, that player sacrifices a permanent. Otherwise that player loses 5 life.

In that case, Cruel Reality would also try to make the Tamiyo player sacrifice a permanent and not cause 5 life loss.

  • There is a ruling for Cruel Reality that states "The enchanted player can’t choose to lose 5 life if they have a creature or planeswalker that can be sacrificed.". So this ruling is not applicable because no creatures or planeswalkers cab be sacrificed in this case? – mindless Jun 22 '19 at 20:05
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    It means more generally that there is no choice involved in Cruel Reality's effect. If you can sacrifice something, you have to. – Hackworth Jun 22 '19 at 22:36
  • Can you choose to sacrifice something in this situation or are you forced to lose the 5 life? – Styxsksu Jun 24 '19 at 14:00
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    @Styxsksu As my answer states, you will lose 5 life. Generally, you are not allowed to choose anything in any situation unless a rule or effect tells you to. Tamiyo's effect straight up prevents sacrifices caused by your opponent, rather than allowing you to choose whether or not to sacrifice, so you can't choose. – Hackworth Jun 24 '19 at 14:42

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